The Boker Orca was originally a dive knife developed in collaboration with Germany’s elite counter-terrorist unit, GSG-9, to handle the rigorous duties of underwater demolition and waterborne combat operations. I am a fan of tough-use field knives so I was excited to test the second generation of the knife. The new version came about as a result of requests from sportsmen and outdoorsmen who liked the original Orca and, with a few changes, thought the design would make a tough field blade. For the new release a couple of major changes were made in the design with an eye towards this goal. First, the over-molded handle was replaced with a skeletonized full-tang handle featuring more user-friendly contoured Micarta handle scales to provide better ergonomics in long-term uses during camp crafts and game processing. Another change, one that may be seen as an upgrade, was to use Bohler N690 blade steel. Previous tests have shown N690 to be a tough steel with good corrosion and abrasion resistance, which makes it a good candidate for a knife often exposed to harsh elements.
I was impressed upon opening the box. The knife comes supplied with a heavy-duty nylon sheath made by Spec-Ops, a company that is well-known in military circles for tough well-made sheaths. With the heavy-duty construction, near universal blade fit, brass hardware, adjustable retention, and ease of changing the hand of draw, it is easy to see why these sheaths are popular.
The knife had several elements that caught my attention. The contours of the handle offer comfortable ergonomics while at the same time provide a very secure purchase. Plus there is an ample guard that protects the fingers from an extremely sharp edge in plunges. The nice curves are not limited to the handle; the 5.25-inch blade has some nice lines of its own. The re-curved blade has a shallow hollow-ground primary edge with a 1.5-inch section of vicious 1-2-1 serrations at the base. The first 3 inches at the tip of the spine are beveled, but not sharpened, leaving a flat area that makes a point which enables good penetration yet leaves mass that lends strength to the tip. There are no acute angles on the handle or the spine side of the knife. All outside corners have been rounded over, the jimping on the spine is done using radius notches rather than angular ones. Even the grind lines of the blade have been softened and rounded. These softened angles all serve to reduce stress risers and add significantly to the durability of the blade in hard use.