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While custom knife maker Darrel Ralph has had a lot of homeruns in his designing career, for some of us any mention of his name always brings to mind one special family of blades, the “Madd Maxx” and its cousins. Basically, Madd Maxx knives are very practical, single-edge folding daggers. Though Darrel has made the model in a wide variety of sizes, it is the 5-inch-plus bladed versions that really put the design on the average knife buff’s most-wanted list. In my own circle of friends, these magnum-length Madd Maxx blades are usually referred to as “Phil Gibbs Specials,” after the well-known commercial knife designer now employed by A.G. Russell. In case you can’t guess, Phil is rather famous (infamous?) for his taste in monstrous folders.

Hand Tech Made
A commercial version of the Madd Maxx was produced by the old Camillus Cutlery company for a short period of time before it closed its doors but, frankly, these were a poor substitute for the custom models. For a while I thought the only way anyone would be able to obtain a Madd Maxx was by putting up some serious cash and ordering a full-blown custom from Darrel. Then, by luck, I made it to the Meyerco Cutlery booth the last afternoon of the 2010 SHOT show a short time before the event closed and found Darrel displaying a couple of new models of his own. Called the “HTM-Madd Maxx 5.5,” they are part of a new line of semi-handmade knives Ralph is calling “Hand Tech Made” or “HTM.”

The “saber ground bayonet style blade” is 5-3/8 inches long and is ground from CPMS30V stainless steel. There are two basic versions, one bead-blast finished and one black DLC coated. Both are available in manual or assisted-opening options. The handle frames are titanium with a frame lock and a black carbon fiber scale on one side and a carry clip on the other. All weigh 7.2 ounces and the suggested retails run from $439.95 to $499.95. If that seems high, price a custom version of the knife!

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