Very rarely in the world of automatic knives does something come along that perfectly blends performance and ergonomics as well as the USA-made Meyerco “18-XRAY Tactical Automatic” knife. The Darrel Ralph-designed 18-XRAY contains some advanced features; precision construction and a look and cutting power that make it stand out in the world of military knives. Darrel recently informed me that Meyerco has made some upgrades to the handle and mechanism of the 18-XRAY over the past few months, so I was anxious to get a preview.
Superb, Safe Action
The safety/button of the 18-XRAY is the heart of the knife and its best feature. If it wasn’t already patented it would have probably been copied by practically everyone else—it is that good! The “Slide Auto Safety” or “SAS” is the safety and firing button all in one. Inspired by the sliding movement of the old Italian picklock stiletto safeties, designer Ralph took the concept in a completely different direction—forward!
Many auto knives use a sliding bar or button that blocks the depression of the firing button. They usually require the user to pull back on the safety and then push a separate button. The 18-XRAY dispenses with that; instead, the firing button is the safety. To fire, simply push the spring-loaded button forward a quarter inch until it mates into a recess in the handle and then depress it inward—two mechanical operations accomplished with one fluid hand movement. Brilliant. Fast. Robust.