Benchmade 590 Boost: Benchmade may not have released as many new models as in some past years, but the ones the company did put out were the solid working kind we have come to expect. A couple that especially caught my eye are the 590 Boost and 4600 Phaeton. The 590 Boost is an assisted-opening, Axis-locked, 3.7-inch S30V drop-point blade on a Versaflex handle frame.
Benchmade 4600 Phaeton: Joining Benchmade’s family of other out-the-front (OTF) autos, the 4600 Phaeton is a more utilitarian 3.45-inch S30V drop point on an anodized aluminum handle frame.
Bear OPS AC-600 Bold Action VI: Bear & Son Cutlery has added several new full-auto folders to its extensive traditional pocketknife line. The Bear OPS AC-600 Bold Action VI and AC-300 Bold Action III particularly caught my eye. The first offers a 3.13-inch, drop-point blade made of 14C28N stainless with a bright or black finish on a Zytel handle.
Bear OPS AC-300 Bold Action III: The Bold Action III is more of a traditional stiletto with a 3.25-inch 14C28N blade on an aluminum handle frame. For those that live under restrictive local laws, Bear & Son Cutlery also produces manual versions of both knives.
CRKT Homefront: Custom knifemaker Ken Onion continually produces innovative designs ideal for everyday carry. A couple of the more impressive ones this year are the Homefront Tactical and Bombastic folders. Along with being a very practical cutting tool, the Homefront offers the advantage of easy disassembly for complete cleaning. The flipper-opening, stainless steel blade is 3.5 inches long on a glass-reinforced nylon handle frame.
CRKT Bombastic: Another flipper opener, the Bombastic spots a spear-point, 3.31-inch blade of 8Cr13MoV stainless on a glass-reinforced nylon handle frame. This one looks like a great backup to clip to your boot or inside a waistband.
Buck Knives Model 110: As I mentioned earlier, you know automatic-opening folders have gone mainstream when Buck Knives starts offering a push-button version of the classic Model 110. The 3.88-inch blade is made of 420HC stainless while the handle frame is brass and hardwood.
Buck Knives Model 119: Another option is the Model 119, which has been a popular private purchase among U.S. troops since its introduction in WWII. Now Buck is celebrating the model’s 75th anniversary this year with the 119 Special. The 6-inch 420HC blade is mounted on a choice of black phenolic plastic or hardwood handles with a special commemorative medallion mounted on the grip.
DoubleStar Fury: This is a fairly new company to the field of tactical cutlery, but its kukri-style Fury machete and Wrath combination crash/combat tomahawk are certainly unique weapons. The Fury provides a 10-inch blade of S7 carbon steel with G10 handles scales and a durable Kydex sheath.
DoubleStar Wrath: The Wrath is 16.5 inches long overall with an S7 carbon-steel cutting edge head. A Kydex sheath is again provided for carrying the weapon.
Browning Speed Load Tactical: Browning has a new assisted-opening, interchangeable-blade folder called the Speed Load Tactical. This knife offers a 3.25-inch 420J2 stainless blade in a choice of drop-point, tanto, sheepsfoot and, interestingly enough, standard hardware store Stanley cutter-point styles. It has G10 handles and a steel pocket clip.
DPx HEST/F Urban: The DPx HEST/F Urban began as a Kickstarter campaign at last year’s SHOT Show. This year the knife is in full production here in the U.S. The sturdy 0.16-inch-thick, 154CM blade is 2.9 inches long. The handle frame is titanium with G10 scales, a window-breaking point on the butt and a Chris-Reeves-pattern frame lock. There is also a bottle opener built into the spine of the knife.
ESEE Cleaver: ESEE is well known for making reasonably priced, tough-as-nails survival knives, but this year the company pushed the envelope a little with its Cleaver and Tertiary models. The ESEE Cleaver uses a 1095 carbon- steel blade with a tactical black oxide finish mounted a G10 handle, and it comes with a leather sheath.
ESEE Tertiary: The Tertiary was designed by LEO Lee Smith as a weapon retention and ultra-close-quarters weapon. With even minimal training, anyone can use this as a straightforward punching and cutting blade well suited to emergency use. The 1095 carbon-steel blade is 2.5 inches long, and it is available with G10 handle scales.
Hogue OTF: Once primarily thought of as a handgun grip company, Hogue now has a very extensive line of high-quality tactical blades. New models for 2017 include the OTF and the X5 folders. As you would expect from the name “OTF,” this is an out-the-front auto with a choice of a tanto or clip-point blade made of 154CM stainless. The handle body is aluminum.
Hogue X5: The X5 is a manual-flipper folder with either a 4-inch 154CM spear or modified wharncliffe blade. A button lock keeps the knife open. The aluminum handle frame is covered with G10 handle scales.
KA-BAR Jarosz Choppa: KA-BAR’s American-made Jarosz Choppa machete offers a 9.88-inch-long, 0.188-inch-thick blade made of 1095 carbon steel. The handle scales are Ultramid, and a polyester, MOLLE-compatible sheath comes with each knife. Better yet, the chopper only tips the scales at 16 ounces.
Kershaw AM4: Kershaw has joined with another famous Portland, Oregon, company to create a new family of Al-Mar-designed folding knives. I was particularly impressed with the AM-4, which is based on the AMK Eagle. This folder offers a 3.5-inch, 8Cr13MoV stainless, assisted-opening blade on a G10 handle frame.
Kershaw Launch 7: The Launch 7 is yet another one of Kershaw’s expanding line of auto-opening knives. The 3.75-inch, CPM 154 stainless blade springs out of an anodized aluminum handle frame.
Krudo Dao: You can count on Louis Krudo for unique interpretations of the tactical theme, and his Dao and Vinix folders are classic examples. The Dao features a 3.75-inch-long, 0.19-inch-thick blade of 9Cr18MoV stainless. The frame is stainless steel with G10 scales, and the blade turns on special ball-bearing washers.
Krudo Vinix: The Vinix is a little more conventional in design, but it’s built for maximum strength in every detail. The N690 stainless blade is 3.5 inches long, turning on thrust-bearing washers. The stainless steel frame has G10 handle scales.
Ruger Muzzle-Brake: Ruger has joined with a group of well-known custom knifemakers and CRKT to create a family of practical field knives under their own brand. An early release in this group is the Ken-Onion-designed Muzzle-Brake, which has a 7.5-inch, 8Cr13MoV stainless blade and a nylon handle. The sheath is made of injection-molded nylon.
SOG Spec Elite II Auto: SOG is once again expanding its line of U.S.-made auto folders. One particular model that caught my eye was the Spec Elite II Auto, which is based on the earlier Pentagon folder. This model offers a 4-inch blade of AUS-8 stainless on an aluminum handle frame.
Spyderco Police 4: Spyderco is always focused on improving its standard line of one-hand-opening folders for everyday use. Case in point: the Police 4. The Police is one of the company’s oldest designs, but the new version offers a flat-ground blade of K390 stainless on a G10 handle with steel liners.
Spyderco Chinook 4: Another model that received a facelift is the Chinook 4. Originally designed by James Keating as a folding Bowie knife, the latest version offers a flat-ground, 3.89-inch blade of S30V stainless on a stainless frame with G10 scales.
TOPS I-Stick: It would be hard to find a company more focused on tactical cutlery than TOPS. Take the new I-Stick push dagger. This double-edged weapon is made for self- defense in close quarters. It has a 1075 carbon-steel blade and a Micarta handle.
TOPS Tactical Fly: The Tactical Fly is an even more unusual folder for the company that combines a classic butterfly handle with a practical 4-inch blade made of 1095 carbon steel.
Winkler SD2: Winkler Knives is well known for working with spec-ops groups to produce purpose-driven tactical cutlery for many real-world uses. The new 3.25-inch, 80CRV2 carbon-steel SD2 is meant to be a very discreet concealment weapon that can also serve many everyday uses in the field. The handle comes in a variety of materials, and the sheath is Kydex with a spring clip.
Winkler Contingency: The Contingency is another blade specially designed for concealment in the worst places. Its 3.5-inch blade is 80CRV2 carbon steel, and the handle is available in both natural wood and Micarta.
Zero Tolerance 0920: ZT knives built its reputation around over-the-top tactical folders, and its new 0920 and 0460 models are no exception. The 0920 features a spine-mounted flipper that opens a 3.9-inch-long blade made of CPM 20CV steel. The handle is titanium, and the blade turns on KVT ball bearings.
Zero Tolerance 0460: The O460 is a Dmitry Sinkevich design for more discreet urban carry. The 3.25-inch blade is S35VN stainless, and the handle frame is again titanium with KVT ball bearings.
Every year, the cutlery industry debuts a ton of new models, and as in every past year for the last several decades, I have once more discovered that the death of the tactical knife “fad” is just more wishful thinking by certain traditionalists. If anything, it is picking up speed rather than dying. Why? Because these tactical knives are actually useful for a wide range of chores.
Among the trends, both automatic and “flipper”-opening folders are appearing in ever greater numbers. You know push-button folders have entered the mainstream when you see that Buck Knives is producing an auto version of its legendary 110 lock-back! Spine-mounted flippers are a little more controversial, but I have found them to be very practical.
- RELATED STORY: 11 Quick-Draw Neck Knives For Everyday Carry
Other trends include more push daggers, machetes, tomahawks, karambit-based fighters and one cleaver turned all-purpose outdoor knife. In other words, there’s something for practically every taste. In the gallery above, I’ll try to cover some of the best new tactical knives out there right now.
For more information about the tactical knives featured here, please visit the following sites.
Bear & Son Cutlery
Columbia River Knife & Tool
This article was originally published in “Tactical Weapons” August/September 2017. To order and subscribe, visit outdoorgroupstore.com.
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by Tactical-Life / Aug 11, 2017