The knife I’ve been working with lately is a beast of an auto well suited to tactical applications. It’s the Atrox automatic from Koenig Knives, and if you haven’t heard of the company yet, you’ll want to become acquainted with them.

Koenig Knives is a relatively new shop out of Boise, Idaho, but that doesn’t mean that it’s new to making knives. Koenig is a three-man shop of former headed up by Bill Koenig. Bill has been a lifelong knife enthusiast and had been making plans to open up a knife shop with his father. Bill’s father passed away before they could fulfill their dream, but Bill pushed on and founded Koenig knives and made their dream a reality.

Koenig Knives are all American made, and Bill believes in keeping things local. He has the machining for his knives done by in nearby Meridian, Idaho. Koenig’s first knife is the Atrox, a tough auto named after a western diamondback rattlesnake. Rattlers are known to strike fast and to be able to survive in harsh conditions, so it’s an appropriate name for a tactical automatic.

Standout Auto

There’s a lot about the Atrox that makes it stand out in the auto world. The first feature is the hefty 0.19-inch-thick blade with its high, flat grind and false swedge. The blade’s a full 4 inches in length and has a tanto tip that is more traditional than Americanized. It also has a plain edge that comes razor sharp from Koenig. The blade steel is cryogenically treated A2 tool steel at 58-59 Rockwell hardness coated with a black finish. A2 is seen a lot more in fixed blades than folders, but it’s great steel with good edge retention and excellent strength to it. It is carbon steel, though, so keep an eye on your exposed edge and give it proper maintenance and care.

The handle on the Atrox is milled from two solid slabs of 6061-T6 aluminum and is just under 0.63 inches in thickness. It’s contoured for a comfortable fit in the hand, and the grip is enhanced by grooves milled into the handle flats and serrations along the front of the handle. A right-hand, tip-up-oriented, titanium pocket clip is provided on the knife, and a slot near the pommel allows for a lanyard to be attached. The narrowness of the slot might limit what you use for lanyard material, although paracord with the inner cord stripped out should work fine.

The Atrox operates using a push-button firing mechanism positioned on the left-hand scale. There is no manual safety on the knife, but the button is recessed to prevent an inadvertent activation. The spring on the Atrox is sufficient to kick that hefty 4-inch blade out positively, helped out by the 416 stainless steel pivot and phosphor bronze washers. A quick shot of lube when I got the knife helped speed things up a bit, too. Once open, the lockup is excellent. I couldn’t detect any discernable blade play at all.

In hand, the Atrox has a solid and positive feel. There’s plenty of handle to hold on to, and the contour and finger serrations ensure a good grip. A set of deep but well-rounded jimping on the spine of the blade gives you a comfortable and secure spot for your thumb when doing heavy push cuts. When it comes to pocket carry, the Atrox works best in jeans, uniform trousers or whatever the latest military fatigues are this month. And that’s really its role. This knife excels at hard duty use and would be a welcome addition to a cop or soldier’s gear, or for folks serious about self-defense.

While I’ve usually worked with A2 in fixed-blade knives, I have to say that using it day to day in a folder was a joy. The edge retention was excellent, and I cut a lot of nasty stuff with it while I had the knife. A simple wipe down with some Ballistol now and again was all that was needed to keep things in shape. The blade coating holds up well, and maintenance is minimal.

If you need a big, rugged, American-made folder that opens fast and strikes hard, take a hard look at the Atrox from Koenig Knives. I don’t think you’ll be

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