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Archive | Tactical

TOPS Knives Releases the SXB Knife

Knife people seem to have a love/hate relationship with the Wilderness Survival Knife (WSK) design. Some love it for its ability to perform a wide variety of tasks and potentially replace multiple tools. Some hate it for its large size and brute force approach. All I know is that I have seen some very capable people doing a multitude of survival related tasks with them and doing them very effectively. I also know that the new SXB from TOPS Knives is one of the most radical WSKs I have seen yet.

SXB

Take TOPS Knives’ well known Tom Brown Tracker, stretch it out by nearly 5″, add TOPS Knives’ Rocky Mountain Tread handle treatment, add an extended pommel and guard, and you have something close to the SXB EJ “Skullcrusher” Snyder. Interestingly, because the SXB is not quite as tall as the Tracker, it manages to weigh 2 ounces less in spite of all the extra blade length.

SXB Flyer

Overall Length 16.75″
Blade Length 10.38″
Cutting Edge 9.75″
Blade Thickness 0.250″
Blade Steel 1095 RC 56-58
Blade Finish Black Traction Coating
Handle Material Black Linen Micarta
Handle Style Rocky Mountain Tread
Knife Weight 26 oz
Sheath Included Yes
Sheath Material Black Ballistic Nylon
Sheath Clip Molle Backing
Designer EJ “Skullcrusher” Snyder

Ek Knives Reborn

The Ek Commando Knife is one of the most important pure fighting knives of all time. Its maple handle slabs, poured lead rivets, and long double edged blade should hold a special place in the heart of anyone who appreciates knives, history, and design. The Ek Knives name has been passed around between various entities over the years and most recently it has settled with an American company who knows a thing or two about classic combat knives…

Ka-Bar is reintroducing the Ek Knives brand under the name Ka-Bar Ek Combat Knife Company and they officially released their first knife, the Model 4, today.

The Model 4 manages to look both very modern and unmistakably like an Ek at the same time. It features a 6.625″ double edge blade that is ground 1095 Cro-Van steel and given a parkerized finish. The handles are made from texture glass filled nylon which is a functional choice for a knife like this. The sheath is a self-locking design that is similar to Ka-Bar’s other hard sheaths.

It warms my heart to see a classic back on the market. Check out the Ek Model 4 at Ka-Bar. You can see more about the history of of Ek Knives at EkKnives.com.

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Tahoma Field Knife Kydex from InnerBark Outdoors

The Tahoma Field Knife, a large fixed blade designed by Andy Tran of InnerBark Outdoors and produced by TOPS Knives, is one of the finest large survival knives on the market. It comes from TOPS with functional sheath but there is always room for improvement.

innerbark sheath

InnerBark Outdoors worked with Red Feather Gear to develop is a kydex dangler sheath for the Tahoma Field Knife. The sheath has a welt to add rigidity which is nice for such a heavy knife. It also features a closed dangler loop that can not be accidentally opened and a well formed thumb ramp to aid in removing the knife from the sheath.

Check out the Tahoma Field Knife Kydex Sheath at InnerBark Outdoors. The price is quite reasonable considering the size of the sheath.

Stout Gear

If you like hard working, custom knives that offer big performance at a reasonable price (who doesn’t?), Stout Gear should be on your radar. I have been purchased one of their Ibex models and I’m seriously impressed. I like it so much that I am already making room in my budget to pick up their Scout model! You can stay tuned for a full review of the Ibex.

Stout Gear Ibex

Ibex

Stout Gear offers several models in several sizes so it is difficult generalize their knives but there are a few things that characterize them. One of those characteristics is good cutting geometry. These knives are made for hard work so they are very thick at the spine and in order to make them cut, Stout Gear uses very tall, slightly convex primary grinds and then applies a 20 degree, polished bevel. The result is a tough edge that cuts very well.

They also have large, hand filling handles with comfortable contours. You’ll find deep bellied, drop point blade shapes on most of their knives. Their work is extremely clean (look at those plunge lines!). They also use tough, high quality steels that are well suited to the tasks envisioned for the knife. Most of their knives use CPM S35VN which is one of the only modern stainless steels I have been able to warm to because it is fairly easy to sharpen. I can sharpen anything, I just don’t care to spend a lot time doing it!

The Scout

Thankfully, Stout Gear is not one of those companies that sells you a great knife and sticks you with an afterthought of a sheath. I could probably write whole post just about the sheath. It is completely unique and very functional. It is a kydex sheath that is constructed much like a leather sheath in that is has an HDPE (tough plastic) welt between the outer layers of kydex. This allows the kydex layers to retain the knife without contacting the blade. This prevents scratching the blade and dulling of the edge by contact with the kydex and all the grit that ends up in the sheath of a knife that is actually being used. The sheath also features metal belt loops that Stout Gear makes themselves. It has to be the most bomb-proof sheath system I have ever seen.

All of their knives have starting prices below $300 – most well below $300. They cost less than many production knives with similar features (thick premium steel, sculpted G-10 handles, quality sheath, etc.). You need to get to know Stout Gear.

Wolverine

Wolverine

Gryphon M10FFG

The Gryphon M10 is one of the finest production defensive fixed blades available. It is light, compact, easy to carry, and purpose built to support point driven techniques. Previously, it was only available with a hollow grind which is appropriate for its use but may have limited some of its general utility and edge cutting performance to some extent.

gp_M10FFG

The Gryphon M10FFG is the latest iteration of the venerable M10. The FFG in its name stands for “full flat grind” which indicates that the primary grind is flat from the edge to the spine. This should increase the usefulness of the M10 for slashing cuts and as a general utility knife without radically changing the characteristics that make it great.

It is also worth noting that the M10FFG is ground from laminate VG-10 rather than just solid VG-10 like the hollow ground version. This means that there is a harder VG-10 core layer sandwiched between two layers of a softer metal. This laminate construction makes the entire blade more durable.

Check out the Gryphon M10FFG at Cutlery Shoppe.

  • Blade Steel: Laminated VG-10
  • Blade Finish: DLC (Diamond Like Coating)
  • Handle Material: Black Zytel
  • Blade Length: 4″
  • Length Overall: 8 1/2″
  • Blade Thickness: 3/16″
  • Weight, Knife: 4.4 oz. (119 g)
  • Sheath Material: .080″ Boltaron
  • Weight, Sheath: 2.1 oz. (60 g)

Rocky Mountain Bullseye C.A.T. from TOPS Knives

Just over a week ago, TOPS Knives introduced their C.A.T. knives with a new grip pattern called Cryptic Cyber. Now they have released a second grip pattern option with a very cool back story.

tops_knives_bullseye_hunter

The new Rockey Mountain Bullseye texture came about serendipitously! The folks at TOPS were machining handles when a machining error created a divot pattern in the surface of the grip slab. It looked good and it felt good so the only thing left to do was program the machine to make the mistake divots on purpose. I wish my mistakes turned out so well.

tops_knives_bullseye_tanto

The new texture is available on the C.A.T. knives in both drop point and tanto. The C.A.T. series is a mainstay of the TOPS Knives lineup thanks to their handy size and versatile shapes.

TOPS Knives launched the new scales today and they are available at an introductory price in both the Tanto version and Hunter’s Point (drop point).

  • Blade length: 3 1/4″
  • Overall length: 7 1/4″
  • Thickness: 5/32″
  • Scales: Black G-10
  • Steel: 1095
  • Sheath: Kydex with multi-position steel clip
  • Weight: 7.5 oz

tops_knives_bullseye

TOPS Knives C.A.T. with Cryptic Cyber Scales

The C.A.T. (Covert Anti-Terrorism) knives have been in the TOPS Knives line up for nearly as long as TOPS Knives has existed and they have been largely unchanged in that time. They announced that they would be breathing some new life into the knives at SHOT Show in the form of a new scales called Cryptic Cyber Scales.

203t01

The new scales are machined G-10. The surface has a texture similar to checkering along with pattern that is somewhat reminiscent of a circuit board. These scales are extremely grippy.

TOPS Knives launched the new scales today and they are available at an introductory price in both the Tanto version and Hunter’s Point (drop point).

  • Blade length: 3 1/4″
  • Overall length: 7 1/4″
  • Thickness: 5/32″
  • Scales: Black G-10
  • Steel: 1095
  • Sheath: Kydex with multi-position steel clip
  • Weight: 7.5 oz

200h01

Joe Watson Knives Punch Blade

Push knives (punch blades) are one of the easiest to carry styles of defense fixed blades. They are also fairly intuitive to use. However, many of the available push knives on the market just aren’t that great. Joe Watson Knives is developing a push knife that looks to have a lot going for it.

joewatson_punch_blade

The handle is hand filling with a broad backstrap to which helps prevent twisting and spreads the force of a blow out over more of the palm. The post area that connects the blade to the handle is well rounded to prevent injury. The random textured G10 scales should also go a long way toward preventing twisting.

The blade is very reminiscent of Joe’s Archangel design. It has a strong point that is well suited to the intended point driven use of this knife but also has a useable edge. The blade is not centered on the handle like many push knives. Instead, Joe has offset it so it falls naturally between the index and middle finger. It is also set at a slight angle to the handle in order to allow a much natural fist position and to more effectively lock the wrist.

It is obvious that a lot of time and thought went into this knife. It is not available to order yet but will hopefully be added to Joe’s line up of custom knives soon.

Joe Watson Knife to Benefit Elder Heart’s Mission 22

Our friend Joe Watson of Joe Watson Knives is mostly known for his no-frills self-defense oriented blade designs but he can gussy them up too! He recently created this knife to be part of a collectors set that will be raffled to benefit Elder Heart‘s Mission 22, an effort to raise awareness of the epidemic of veteran suicide.

The knife is Joe’s Mini Bowie Pattern ground from CTS-B75P steel and heat treated by Joe. It has a satin finish with a polished convex edge. The sculpted carbon fiber handle slabs are set off with mosaic pins. The knife will be offered with a custom Dalton Fury 1911 along with a holster and sheath crafted by Jim Ryan.

Stay tuned to the Elder Heart Facebook page for details on the raffle.

joe watson mission 22 elder heart benefit joe watson mission 22 elder heart benefit 2

Emerson Combat Systems Fighter – New for 2015

Emerson Knives just released their newest model – the Combat Systems Fighter. The new knife has simple lines and design elements familiar from other popular Emerson creations.

emerson_combat_systems_folder

The blade and handle are somewhat reminiscent of the Emerson Roadhouse though with a tip that looks very much like the venerable CQC-8. The melding of these two designs results in a knife that looks new but seems familiar. The knife features 154CM steel, titanium liners and lock bar, and the aggressively textured G-10 you have come to expect from Emerson.

Check out the new Combat Systems Fighter at Emerson Knives.

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