L to R: Darrel Ralph’s Broad Head neck knife, HTM DDR Gun Hammer Radian and the HTM DDR Gun Hammer Bowie. TERRILL HOFFMAN PHOTO

Pair of Gun Hammers
The two folders that I received for review were the HTM Gun Hammer Bowie and Radian models. The only difference between the two models is the configuration of the blade, so both share features such as Military “Type II” hard-coated 6061 aircraft aluminum frame to help reduce weight while maintaining strength and structural integrity, and a CPM S30V blade steel that will hold an edge longer than many other steel grades. Also included in the design is a 3D-machined ergonomic handle with grip grooves to offer a solid hold even when wet or when gloves are worn. Darrel advised that he uses the term “3D” as his knives are not flat. They are rounded, contoured and ergonomic; as a matter of fact, he calls the grips ETAC Grips for “Ergonomic Tactical” grips that are designed to fit the hand more like a pistol than a flat knife handle. The term “Gun Hammer” comes from the index finger flipper, which also acts as a finger guard when open, and looks like a Commander-style pistol hammer including serrations. Pretty slick, eh?

The Darrel Ralph Gun Hammer folders feel very good in the hand due to the contoured, rounded “3D” grip.

The Gun Hammer series uses hardened wear parts to increase tool life while the .09 thick titanium lock is almost thick enough to be considered a frame lock. This lock will ensure the blade stays deployed even when used in extreme circumstances, i.e. uses that a folding knife is not designed to do. Gun Hammer models come with assisted or manual-opening systems, DLC or non-glare blade finish and are available with Radian re-curve blade, Bowie blade, or Torpedo blade and, of course, they are made completely in the USA. As these knives are based on the custom designs that Darrel makes one at a time and price is quoted individually (in excess of $1,000 is common), I can see where $279 can be viewed as a heck of a deal to the “knife-ist” who wants to get the best blade possible but is on a budget.

The Bowie and Torpedo blade designs are similar with the Bowie having a bit more belly. Darrel told me, “The Bowie blade is popular, but I think all future knives will have the Torpedo blade as it will do what the Bowie does and has a much stronger tip.” The ambidextrous thumb studs are large and easy to manipulate with the thumb, but the serrated finger flipper is probably the way to go when deploying this knife quickly. Like all things, the only way to achieve rapid knife deployment, regardless of method used, is to practice. The spine jimping is deep and allows the hand to solidly sink into a saber grip, if so desired. I have to give Darrel credit…the ETAC grip does feel very good in the hand.

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L to R: Darrel Ralph’s Broad Head neck knife, HTM DDR Gun Hammer Radian…