Age of the Machete | Machete Reviews

TOPS Knives covers a common denominator in real-world bush living, the machete!

Joe “Shangoman” Flowers, collaborated with TOPS shop manager, Leo “The Lion” Espinoza on the design for a new machete. After much deliberation, they finally came to a positive agreement with the design and practical field ability… and the Machete .230 was born.

Going back about ten years, when it came to the subject of machetes the options were limited. If you resided anywhere in North America, you had four main choices—Barteaux, Ontario Knives, Cold Steel or Tramontina. These companies made some effort to get their machetes just right, but none of them ever had a useable point. In fact, the point was usually the thickest unground part of the blade. This could have been for a number of reasons, like safety for those walking in groups so no one got poked, or to prevent the point from going into the user’s foot due to a bad swing or follow through swing. Another reason: long, thin, machetes are not stabbing tools. The blunt tip was a turn off for me, but as long as I had a small knife with a sharp point on me, I could cover all bases, so to speak. Finally, TOPS Knives created a machete that comes with a sharp edge ready to go, and doesn’t need any modifications to the handle. On top of that, it has a sheath—somebody wake me!

First Look

Well-known machete expert and writer, Joe “Shangoman” Flowers, collaborated with TOPS’s own Leo Espinoza on the design. Sticking with a tried-and-true steel TOPS used 1095 carbon steel for the blade. Normal, the overall length for an 18-inch long bladed machete is roughly 23 inches. The TOPS Machete .230 measures 22.5 inches long overall. This difference is mainly due to the handle length being 6.75 inches. With a blade length of 15.75 inches and a thickness of 1/8 inches, this is a machete built for chopping hard wood as well as regular machete duties. The .230 is finished in an ash grey, baked-on powder coating.

Holding the machete, the author shows where the handle on a conventional machete ends. TOPS Knives added some Micarta to the area most people use for a more comfortable grip.

At first glance, the handle seems to be rather large compared to most machetes. It is, and for a good reason. Most machetes found in Latin America have a few inches of unsharpened steel between the handle scales and the actual cutting edge of the tool. This is where the machete can be held for carving, cutting food and for short, quick chopping. Being that TOPS Knives and their designers have such a vast knowledge on these things, they have just made it a lot easier and comfortable to use the machete in this fashion. TOPS uses black linen Micarta with elastic shock cord integrated into the handle as a lanyard.

Few machetes, if any, come with a sheath—and if they do, it usually is one you don’t want that is made of poorly sewn canvas with no retention whatsoever. The Machete .230 comes standard with a ballistic nylon sheath featuring two 6-inch long pockets, which are perfect for storing survival items or tools.

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  • gary miller

    good work Reuben. I was a land surveyor for a long time. I have always used two different machetes because of the season. in summer you have all the live green grass and weeds so I used a thinner longer bladed machete in the winter I went with a shorter thicker knife. the .230 looks good but I would have two concerns one how hard would the .230 be to sharpen in the woods and how does the lanyard work. I love the sheath I worked with some guys from central Mexico they had these great leather sheaths for there machetes. I asked them why they would buy a sheath that cost 5 times the price of there machetes they figured that a good sheath would out last 10 machetes. good point. gary

  • Jay

    Why is it so many of you reviewers do not think it important to mention the price of the item? Do you honestly live a life where money has no meaning? Do you not think that some of us have to make our decisions based in large part on the cost involved?

    Let me clarify. It does not matter in the least how wonderful something is if its cost prohibits its acquisition.

    Do your readers a service – tell us how much. Otherwise we waste a lot of time we cannot spare, reading about things we cannot afford, written by people we soon come to dislike.