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SHOT Show 2007 Report - Knives


Gerber STL 2.0
Manufacturer: Gerber Model: STL 2.0
Blade Steel: Stainless Hardness Rc: NA
Blade Shape: Drop Point Edge: Plain
Blade Length: 1.2" Blade Thickness: NA
Length Closed: 2.9" Length Open: 5.1"
Lock Type: Frame Lock Liner Material: Stainless
Handle Material: Stainless Weight: 1.1 oz.
Available? Now MSRP: $16
Starting off small, Gerber's STL 2.0 (stands for Strong, Thin and Light) is a 1.1-ounce frame lock with a 2.125-inch drop point full grind blade of indeterminate Chinese steel. An oval hole is included for one hand opening, but the knife and blade and hole are so small and the hole so close to the frame that it's not an easy task. You either need to use a thumb nail instead of your thumb or I found the most reliable method was to use both thumb and second finger to squeeze the blade at the hole and then rotate the handle away using the third finger to get the blade started. A bit awkward, but doable, at least without freezing cold hands or gloves on.

Why do I seem to care so much? Well, it's a darn near perfect size and configuration for small pocket or Altoids tin survival kit, that's why. It's just 0.188" thick overall. It really wouldn't have been so difficult to make it a bit more functional. Still, with an MSRP of $16, if thin and light and affordable is a requirement, this might fill the bill.

Gerber Dougle Take
Manufacturer: Gerber Model: Double Take
Blade Steel: 440A Hardness Rc: NA
Blade Shape: Wharcliff & Clip Point Edge: Serrated & Plain Edge
Blade Length: 2.6" / 2.6" Blade Thickness: NA
Length Closed: 3.5" Length Open: 8.75"
Lock Type: Liner Lock Liner Material: Stainless
Handle Material: NA Plastic Weight: 2.2 oz.
Available? April 2006 MSRP: $32
The Double Take is a Bob Lum design that provides two blades in a gentleman's folder. The canoe shaped handle holds a central liner lock that works on both one hand opening blades. One end opens a clip point plain edge, the other a serrated Wharncliff. Closed length is 3.5 inches, each blade is 2.6 inches. Weight is 2.2 ounces. MSRP is $32

Gerber Torch 1
Manufacturer: Gerber Model: Torch I
Blade Steel: 440A Hardness Rc: NA
Blade Shape: Drop Point or Tanto Edge:Plain Edge or Combo (Tanto only)
Blade Length: 2.75" Blade Thickness: NA
Length Closed: 3.6" Length Open: 6.25"
Lock Type: Frame Lock Frame Material: Stainless
Handle Material: Stainless with FRN Inlay Weight: 3.3 oz.
Available? April 2006 MSRP: $40
The Rick Hinderer designed Torch I is a stainless frame lock with textured glass reinforced nylon inlays for better grip. The 2.75-inch drop point blade incorporates a flipper that forms a full half guard when open, which we like a lot. Without assisted opening, the flipper isn't really designed to open the blade without using a flick of the wrist to get it all the way to the lock, otherwise use the double thumb studs to open. A black coated tanto blade version with combo edge is also available.

The lanyard hole is a slot forward of the butt of the handle, which slopes down to the end. The top of the handle and the slightly ramped thumb rest incorporate wide jimping which is somewhat rounded off without any sharp edges. The tip-up right-hand carry pocket clip is removeable. Closed length is 3.6 inches. Weight is a hefty 3.3 ounces. MSRP is $40

Gerber Big Rock Camp Knife
Manufacturer: Gerber Model: Big Rock Camp Knife
Blade Steel: 440A Hardness Rc: NA
Blade Shape: Drop Point Edge: Plain Edge or Combo
Blade Length: 4.5 Blade Thickness: NA
Overall Length: 5.5"/mm Tang: Full
Handle Material: NA Rubber Weight: 6.4 oz.
Available? April 2006 MSRP: $48
The Bill Harsey designed Big Rock Camp Knife is a no-nonsense modestly sized and very functional fixed blade, just about what you'd expect from a Harsey design. The full tang 4.5 inch high grind drop point blade is 440A steel with a dull satin finish. You can get it plain edge or with partial serrations.

There's a soft rubber overmold on the glass-filled nylon handles with raised ridges for added gripiness. The tang is exposed at the butt with a good sized lanyard hole. The deep finger guard protects your hand and there's a raised thumb ramp on top. Weight is given as 6.4 ounces. The sheath is a very simple nylon affair with a thumb strap and plastic insert. Without the strap secured, the knife rattles loosely in the insert. Good knife design, poor sheath. If you get one, I suggest getting a better sheath. MSRP is $48.

If the CPM S30V steel, CNC machined G10 handle, better sheath and other refinements of my own RSK Mk3 put it beyond your reach financially, this would be a good value priced alternative, though with the 440A steel you'll be able to get lots of practice sharpening it, not the worst skill you could acquire.

Gerber FlikGerber introduced two new tools. The Flik is the more conventional of the two, one of Gerber's "one-handed opening" line where the pliers slide out of the handles with a "flick" of the wrist, locking into place. The needle nose pliers have the v-cut wire cutters of the Freehand, but this is a much smaller tool with handles only 4.5 inches long, shorter than the standard Gerber multipliers.

The tools all open outwards with the pliers closed, the major tools being one hand opening plain edge and serrated blades, a wood saw and scissors. MSRP is $105 with Summer, 2007 delivery.

Gerber RadiusThe Radius is a butterfly opening tool with the unique features of rubberized "soft-grip" handles for a more comfortable grip and tools that open out with the tool closed, but from the sides, not the back of the handles. The tool selection is somewhat limited with a one-hand opening drop point plain edge blade and one-hand opening scissors and a flat and Phillips screwdriver with cap lifter and wire stripper, respecitively. The needle nose pliers incorproate a spring action.

Closed length is 4.75 inches with a weight of 9.4 oz. The blade is 2.5 inches MSRP is $75 with Summer 2007 delivery .

New on both these tools is "opening assist" that provides a means to lift the smaller tools out from their stored location without having to dig for them with a finger nail. Sliding the lock release raises them up for easy opening.

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KA-BAR TDI Last Ditch
Manufacturer: KA-BAR Model: TDI Last Ditch
Blade Steel: 9Cr18 Hardness Rc: 58-59
Blade Shape: Straight Edge Edge: Plain Edge
Blade Length: 1.625" Blade Thickness: NA
Overall Length: 3.625" Tang: Skeletonized
Handle Material: Integral Weight: 0.5 oz.
Available? Now MSRP: $21
KA-BAR's TDI Last Ditch is small enough to be concealable almost anywhere. It retains the basic shape of the TDI series fixed blades as conceived by Tactical Defense Institute's John Brenner, but it is really small with a 1.625-inch straight edge triangular blade that comes to a very sharp point. The 9Cr18 stainless blade and handle are black powder coated, with an overall length of 3.625 inches.

The skeletonized handle bends down at nearly right angles to the edge and has a large cut-out with just enough metal left to allow a good grasp. There is jimping in the inside and the top of the curved handle. The deep half guard ensures you don't slip onto the blade if you are thrusting with the Last Ditch in a defensive effort. It all seems well designed to be useful either with a slash or thrust when you are out of other options.

Weight with the sheath is 0.8 ounces. The molded black plastic sheath has six lacing holes and it's small enough to be easily laced into a pair of boots. Or, you can hang it around you neck, a black 550 parachute cord neck lanyard is included. MSRP is $21. P.S. Be real careful putting that sharp pointy blade back in its sheath, it'll draw blood very easily if you miss the slot...

Large Dozier Hunter
Manufacturer: KA-BAR Model: Large Dozier Folding Hunter
Blade Steel: AUS 8 Hardness Rc: 56-58
Blade Shape: Drop Point Edge: Plain Edge
Blade Length: 3.6" Blade Thickness: NA
Length Closed: NA Length Open: 8.5"
Lock Type: Lock Back Liner Material: None
Handle Material: Zytel Weight: 4 oz.
Available? Now MSRP: $40
KA-BAR has two new Bob Dozier blades. The Large Dozier Folding Hunter (imaginative name, that) is a straightforward lockback with a 3.66-inch plain edge drop point blade of AUS8A stainless with dual opening studs. Another in KA-BAR's popular line of value prices Dozier designed folders made in Taiwan. The 4.84-inch handle is constructed of molded black Zytel with no liners, textured on the side and with a modest curved bottom that forms a slight guard at the front. There's no lanyard hole, which seems like an odd omission for a knife meant to be used out where losing it could be a real problem, especially since their other Dozier utility folders all have one. The pocket clip is reversible. MSRP is $40.

Bull Dozier
Manufacturer: KA-BAR Model: Bull Dozier
Blade Steel: 9Cr18 Hardness Rc: 58-59
Blade Shape: Clip Point Edge: Plain Edge
Blade Length: 6.5" Blade Thickness: NA
Overall Length: 12.125" Tang: Full
Handle Material: Zytel Weight: 13.6 oz.
Available? Now MSRP: $112
Bob's Bull Dozier is a unique looking contemporary full tang fighter with a clip point blade that's got a sharpened clip and a deep swedge that runs three quarters of the way back up the blade. There's 6.5 inches of black coated, fine edged AUS8A stainless with a 5.63 inch handle. That Zytel handle incorporates a forward leaning full guard and three oval Kraton G inserts on each side for added grip. This one does have a lanyard hole. The molded glass-reinforced nylon sheath has a reversible drop-down attachment plate for multiple carry options. MSRP is $112.

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Kershaw had some new variations of its flipper style opening mechanisms this year.

Kershaw Junkyard Dog II
Manufacturer: Kershaw Model: Junkyard Dog II
Blade Steel: 13C26 Hardness Rc: 57-59
Blade Shape: Drop Point Edge: Plain or Combo
Blade Length: 3.75" Blade Thickness: 0.125"
Length Closed: 4.875" Length Open: 8.5"
Lock Type: Liner Liner Material: Stainless
Handle Material: G-10 Weight: 5.2 oz.
Available? February 2007 MSRP: $80
The Junkyard Dog II is a larger version of the original introduced mid-year 2006 and like it, is made in the U.S. With G10 handles and lacking the Air Force insignia of the original, this is a much better looking knife in my opinion. The production knife will have gray G-10 handles. The simulated rivets are still there, but barely noticeable in the blasted foliage green G10 surface. The 3.75-inch drop point blade is Sandvick 13C26 stainless and is available with a plain or partially serrated edge.

There's a pronounced finger guard, which allows access to the liner lock and that's added to with the flipper extending down further with the blade open. Unlike most Kershaws with a flipper, this one operates a bit differently. Rather than pulling, you push down on the flipper to open the blade. No assist, but it opens with alacrity. The liners are 410 stainless. Closed length is 4.875 inches. The right-hand pocket clip is removable and can be changed from tip up to tip down carry. No lanyard hole, unfortunately. MSRP is $80.

Kershaw NRG
Manufacturer: Kershaw Model: NRG / NRG II
Blade Steel: 13C26 Hardness Rc: 57-59
Blade Shape: Drop Point Edge: Plain
Blade Length: 2.812" / 3.5" Blade Thickness: 0.10" / 0.125"
Length Closed: 3.57" / 4.75" Length Open: 6.5" / 7.25"
Lock Type: Liner Lock Liner Material: Stainless
Handle Material: G-10 w/ Trac-Tec Insert Weight: 2.2 oz. / 4.9 oz.
Available? April 2007 MSRP: $80 / $100
Pseunetic opener
The Lee William's liner lock NRG ("energy," get it?) is another unique opening system which he has dubbed "Pseunetic," that uses a flipper of sorts that's not connected to the blade. It's somewhat akin Leatherman's Blade Launcher, but much more refined and effective. It also incorporates a retention system using Nitenol wire to retain the blade when closed. It takes a definite effort to break loose the blade, which then accelerates open and locks up with alacrity. It really opens fast, like an auto or assisted opener. It's one of those opening mechanisms where you just sit there flipping it open again and again, becoming somewhat addictive. Click here to download and view a video clip of opening the blade(212KB .AVI) or click here to view the video on YouTube.

What's Nitenol wire and what makes it special for this particular use? I didn't know either, but this is what Kershaw said: "Nitinol gets its name from its elemental composition and the discovery team who first recognized the potential of this powerful alloy (Nickel/ Titanium / Naval Ordinance Laboratory)... Nitinol Wire is a SuperElastic alloy which can be strained at least eight to ten times more than ordinary spring steel without permanent deformation. It can be rather severely compressed, bent or otherwise distorted, but snaps back to its preset or "trained shape" with considerable force that can be used as work. This impressive "memory" takes advantage of stress-induced martensitic transformation."

The break-loose effort ensures there's enough force to swing the blade all the way open to lock-up. With some flippers and no assisted opening, it's easy to not quite get the blade all the way open, but we found that almost impossible with the NRG. This was one of those openers that just captures your imagination and you find yourself sitting there flipping it open again and again. We liked it.

There's a both a full-size and smaller NRG with 3.5 and 2.8 inch blades, respectively. Blade shape is a straightforward narrow chord plain edge drop point in Sandivik 13C26 stainless. A swedge runs the full length of the spine ending at the very slightly raised thumb ramp. There's no thumb opener at all, the Pseunetic flipper does it all.

Handles are machined and textured gray G-10 handles (not the color shown in the protoype pictured) with black Trac-Tec inserts for improved grip, over stainless liners and liner lock. There's a decent finger guard, which compensates for the flipper not being attached to the blade which typically provides a good guard, regardless of the handle design. Closed length is 4.75 and 3.75 inches, respectively. The right-hand pocket clip is removable and can be changed from tip down to tip up carry, though tip up leaves quite a bit of the handle exposed compared to tip down. MSRP is $100 and $80, respectively.

Kershaw Needs Work
Manufacturer: Kershaw Model: Needs Work
Blade Steel: 13C26 Hardness Rc: 57-59
Blade Shape: Warncliff Edge: Plain
Blade Length: 3" Blade Thickness: 0.125"
Length Closed: 4.125" Length Open: 7"
Lock Type:AO Liner Lock Liner Material: Stainless
Handle Material: Polymide Weight: 3.5 oz.
Available? February 2007 MSRP: $50
The 3-inch warncliff blade of the Needs Work is Sandvick 13C26 and gets an opening assist from Ken Onion's SpeedSafe mechanism. The molded polyimide engineered plastic handle is quite comfortable and is angled up from the blade which makes for much better ergonomics in use.

A deep recess for your index finger keeps your hand off the blade and the 420 stainless liner lock is easy to access. On top, the thumb rests naturally on the spine of the blade, without a high ramp.

Overall length is 4.125 inches and it weighs in at just 3.5 ounces. It's equipped with a lanyard hole and a removable pocket clip. MSRP is a modest $50. My first impression when I heard the name "Needs Work" was that was a stupid name for a knife, but the knife clearly calls out to be used, one of the most ergonomic warncliff blades I've handled, so it actually makes sense in that meaning of the phrase. That probably says something about my mindset, just not sure if that's good or bad.

Kershaw Offset G-10The Offset, Kershaw's pioneering effort using a MIM (Metal Injection Molding) blade, gets new CNC machined G10 handles with a sunburst patter similar to the Spec-Bump. Looks better and feels good in the hand, but all this advanced tech does not come cheap with an MSRP of $300.

Zero Tolerance

Over on the tactical side of things, Kershaw showed off new Zero Tolerance blades, or knives and a shroud cutter if you're being picky.

Zero Tolerance 0121
Manufacturer: Zero Tolerance Model: 0121
Blade Steel: S30V Hardness Rc: 57-59
Blade Shape: Recurve Drop Point Edge: Plain w/ Line Cutter
Blade Length: 4.25" Blade Thickness: 0.125"
Overall Length: 8" Tang: Full
Handle Material: G-10 Weight: 9.1 oz.
Available? 2nd Qtr 2007 MSRP: $235
The Model 0121 is a Strider designed full tang fixed blade incorporating Ranger Green G10 handles and CPM S30V steel with a matte black tungsten DLC coating. The wide chord recurved drop point blade incorporates a line cutter just forward of a deep finger choil. The spine incorporates a large thumb ramp with big grooves. A lot more comfortable with tactical gloves on, I am sure.

The G10 handles are machined to give a textured surface and secured with two large socket head screws and nuts. A lanyard hole is included. Blade length is 4.25 inches with an overall length of 8 inches. It comes with a multi-position, MOLLE compatible Kydex sheath. MSRP is $235.

Zero Tolerance 0500
Manufacturer: Zero Tolerance Model: 0500
Blade Steel: 154CM Hardness Rc: 57-59
Blade Shape: Drop Point Edge: Plain
Blade Length: 3.75" Blade Thickness: 0.160"
Length Closed: 5.125" Length Open: 8.875"
Lock Type: RAM Lock Liner Material: Aluminum
Handle Material: G-10 Weight: 4.9 oz.
Available? 2nd Qtr 2007 MSRP: $180
The Grant and Galvin Hawk designed 0500, given the moniker of "MUDD knife," was introduced at Blade Show last summer, but is only now finally reached production. Its claim to fame is that the pivot and RAM lock is protected by polyurethane seals to prevent mud, sand, or whatever to gum up the works.

Beyond that, it's a relatively conventional folder with a 3.75 inch drop point blade of 154CM, tungsten DLC coated. The deep recess in the bottom of the handle allows room for the oversized opener lugs, designed to be easy to operate even with gloves on. The frame is 6061-T6 aluminum with textured G10 scales. The low-ride pocket clip is reversible. Overall length open is 8.875 inches and weight is 4.9 ounces. MSRP is $180.

Zero Tolerance JB1
Manufacturer: Zero Tolerance Model: JB1
Blade Steel: 154CM Hardness Rc: 57-59
Blade Shape: Circular Cutter Edge: Plain
Blade Length: NA Blade Thickness: 0.10"
Overall Length: 6" Tang: Full
Handle Material: Integral Weight: 3.5 oz.
Available? 2nd Qtr 2007 MSRP: $79
The JB1 shroud cutter is 6 inches of 154CM stainless with matte black Tungsten DLC coating. It has a Strideresque handle shape reminiscent of the PT line. A recess for forefinger and thumb make for a secure grip. The cutting area is a 270 degree circular edge with a 0.34-inch opening. You would have to have pretty tiny fingers to get them inside that.

There's also two oxygen wrench cut-outs at right angles to each other in the handle. A quick release nylon webbing strap is threaded through the handle and the ballistic nylon OD sheath is MOLLE compatible and "jump rated." MSRP is $79.

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We've already covered the new hunting knives and aluminum handle Charge tools from Leatherman first shown at Outdoor Retailer last summer, so for SHOT Show Leatherman only had one really new product to show off, and an early prototype at that, but it is expected to serve as the basis for a whole new line of lighter weight tools.

Leatherman FreestyleThe Freestyle was conceived as more knife and less tool, so to speak. We're still not convinced that it's possible to replace a dedicated ergonomic folder with a multi-tool, but we're willing to keep an open mind until we have a chance to try. Holding the tool, it was a notably more comfortable and ergonomic than the existing line and that may well be adequate for many everyday users.

The key design goal was to cut weight and increase usability as a "pocket knife," without seriously compromising the tool side of the equation. Customer research had determined that the pliers and screwdrivers were the key tools for many users, so that was the design goal. Apparently not everyone wants ever possible tool at hand, but we always knew we were something of a minority.

Leatherman Freestyle RenderingTowards these ends, this tool, despite having fairly decent size pliers, is designed for comfortable pocket carry with a more useful full-sized blade profile, a one-hand opening modified drop point. While other Leatherman tools have come with a pocket clip or been marketed as pocketable (after all the original was called the Pocket Survival Tool), they either were a bit on the bulky side or the knife blade was an afterthought or they were too small to be useful for many tasks. For reasons that still aren't clear, Leatherman declined to allow us to photograph the tool with the blade open and neither would they provide a photo. All they could provide was the rendering shown here that shows the prototype blade shape just barely exposed with the pliers open. Use your imagination, I suppose.

Leatherman FreestyleLeatherman had a few carefully guarded prototypes on hand for us the play with, but again, were quick to emphasize that they were just that, prototypes, not even pre-production, and that while the basic package was fixed, we should expect changes and improvements as they move towards production. You got the feeling they were showing it off as much to get some outside feedback as anything. In other words, this is NOT the final design and expect it to be significantly different in some of the details.

We found the blade very easy to open with its relatively large opening hole, much larger than existing models. The blade opens from the outside of the tool, locks up with a liner lock, and the closed handles are much more ergonomic than prior tools. It's a big improvement in this regard. The large carbineer style clip, similar to ones incorporated into the new knife line, is built into a handle frame that drops down at the rear of the tool. It secodns as a bottle cap lifter. I'm not sure but that a lanyard hole wouldn't be a simpler and less weighty solution for those times when security is an issue, but if you want to just clip the tool to your clothing or rig and have an appropriate loop to use, it does make that simple and quick to accomplish.

Leatherman FreestyleThe needle nose pliers are relatively thin, but decent sized with the usual Leatherman configuration of a soft and hard wire cutter. They fold out from the handles in the usual Leatherman manner. There's a bit holder that unfolds out the end of the handle with the knife blade. Two double-ended screwdriver bits (the same proprietary flattened style as used on the latest Wave and Charge, etc.) are included on the tool, one in the bit holder, the other in a recess in the other handle. Other bits could be carried in one of the bit sets/carriers Leatherman sells.

The prototype was all stainless steel and there were lots of holes in the frames to take out weight, but it was hinted that an even lighter titanium framed model was to be expected, at higher cost of course. Another possible upgrade would be better steel for the knife blade. With a projected MSRP range given from $50- $100, depending upon model, there should be one for every user level, from basic to discriminating. They are projecting November 2007 deliveries, just in time for the holidays.

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Lone Wolf

Lone Wold Diablo
Manufacturer: Lone Wolf Model: Diablo DA / Diablo
Blade Steel: S30V Hardness Rc: 60-62
Blade Shape: Drop Point Edge: Plain Edge
Blade Length: 3.3" Blade Thickness: NA
Length Closed: NA Length Open: 7.6"
Lock Type: Dbl Action Auto Liner Material: Stainless
Handle Material: FRN Weight: 4.1oz
Available? Now MSRP: $249 / $199
The Lone Wolf Knives Diablo-DA is a double action automatic that uses the same sliding scale activation as the existing Lone Wolf autos. It will also be available in a strictly one-hand manual opening version. Lock-up is via stainless steel liner lock. The spear point 3.3-inch CPM S30V blade is full height ground and has a slight thumb ramp on the spine behind the dual thumb studs.

The knife is 4.3 inches closed and weighs 4.2 ounces. Scales are glass-filled nylon with a light surface texture similar to that used on the other Lone Wolf knives with such scales. Just enough to make them grippy, not so much as to be uncomfortable. The handles have only a very slight depression to serve as a guard and to provide access to release the liner lock. There's no lanyard hole and the tip-down right handed pocket clip is removable. MSRP is $249 for the DA auto, $199 for the manual opener.

Lone Wolf Paul Prankster
Manufacturer: Lone Wolf Model: Paul Prankster Folder
Blade Steel: 154CM Hardness Rc: NA
Blade Shape: Drop Point Edge: Plain
Blade Length: 3.2" Blade Thickness: NA
Length Closed: NA Length Open: 7.4"
Lock Type: Paul Axial Frame Material: Stainless
Handle Material: G-10 or Cocobolo Weight: 3.3 oz.
Available? 1st Qtr 2007 MSRP: $180
Lone Wolf introduced their largest Paul Knife ever, the Prankster. This is the first Paul that is more than just a gentleman's folder with its practical 3.2-inch clip point plain edge blade. It is also the first to use upgraded steel, 154CM being selected. The spine incorporates a slight thumb ramp that is matched by a slight recess on the bottom of the handle to serve as a guard, together providing a good grip.

The 4.2-inch handle continues with a downward curve, providing a full and ergonomic grip, but there's no lanyard hole. The stainless frame and lock are pure Paul, with flat overlay scales in either textured G10 or Cocobolo wood shown above. The lock has a robust crenulated crown on the left side that makes it easy to grasp, so there's no chance of slipping while opening or closing the larger blade.

The removable tip down clip is right hand only. The Prankster tips the scales at 3.3 ounces. All in all, a nice effort that I suspect is going to be a hit with Paul collectors who want to carry a more utilitarian sized knife and those who appreciate the precision and finesse of the Paul Lock. MSRP is $180.


RAT 3RTAK IIOver at Ontario, Jeff Randall was showing off his small RAT 3 fixed blade in good old-fashioned 1095 carbon steel with a black phosphate coating. Except for the blade steel and coating, specs are the same with a full tang, full flat grind drop point and green canvas micarta handles. Pick either plain or partially serrated blade and black, tan or black molded nylon sheath with TekLok attachment for $106, plain, or $108 serrated, significantly less expensive than the D2 versions.

Jeff and Mike Perrin have also refined their original RTAK into the RTAK II. The canvas micarta handle slabs now extend down to a deeper half guard in front and a bird's beak on the butt. The radiused edges seem a bit smoother and it's much more comfortable to grasp. There's still an exposed tang with a lanyard hole. The blade profile has been changed from the original clip point to a drop point, providing added strength at the tip and much better chopping capability. All in all, some excellent improvements that will make this "pocket machete" even better. MSRP is $164 for plain edge, $168 for partially serrated.


Puma Rescue KnifeCoast Products was showing off Puma's new Police, Fire & Rescue knives. There are five knives in the series, all essentially the same except for the blade style, and in one case, color. The hnadles are aluminum with a rubberized inlay. Lock-up is via liner lock with the release a large button on the side of the handle. On the tail end of the handle is a slotted seat belt cutter with an exchangable razon blade. Also located here is a carbide glass breaker. It is unusually placed, being on the spine of the handle, not the end. To use it you would have to strike as if the knife were a hammer, instead of the typical punch. We're not sure if that is an advantage or disadvantage or just different. We look forward to having our resident EMS/Firefighter test this one. At the very end of the handle is a lanyard hole.

There are five blade styles, all 50/50 serrated, including a narrow clip point, tanto, a modified spearpoint. For rescue use there is a rounded tip and a blunt screwdriver tip. The screwdriver tip blade comes in a bright blue handle, the rest are dressed in black, and it has a much larger elongated lanyhard hole compared to the others. This handle also incorporates aggresive jimping fore and aft, top and bottom (click here to view all five knives in the line). All have a disk for opening. Blade steel is the ever mysterious "German cutlery steel." A right-hand tip up pocket clip is included. Also inlcuded is a "special blade tool for custom adjustment of the main blade tension" since the pivot requires a special spanner style wrench. MSRP is $160.

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SOG PowerAssistSOG showed off a early prototype of their new PowerAssist multi-tool. The most unique feature, as you may have guessed from the name, will be assisted opening blades, one plain edge, one serrated. The assist was not yet incorporated into the prototype we were shown, and to be honest, I'm not sure why you'd need it, except for bragging rights. In any case, both blades open with the tool closed using a thumb stud with a safety on the side of the handle, but all the other tools remain interior accessible, as with prior SOG multi-tools.

Unlike other SOG multi-tools, only one side contains addtional implements, the assisted opening mechanism takes up that space on the side with the two blades. That means no file in this tool. With both baldes on pne side, that also means one if right-handed, the other left-handed, but at least with the assist, you only have to get it started with the off hand.

The AUS8A stainless blades are 3.75 inches long by 0.125 thick. The lock release is a slider on the side of the handles. A safety is also provided to lock the blades closed.

SOG Piano LockThe remaining tools all lock using SOG's new "Piano-Locks" that allow for individual lock and release of the components. Each component has its own lock bar (key). This feature will be extended to all the other SOG multi-tools.

SOG Gear CoversAnother feature of the PowerAssist that will be incorporated into the other tools is the new "Gear Covers." These covers extend to the circumference of SOG's unique compound leverage mechanism so that the gears no longer bite into your hand when tightly gripping the handles using the blades and tools. This is a major improvement that addresses one of the most common complaints about the SOG multi-tools. The pliers themselves are re-designed as well, larger with larger wire cutters. This improvement carries over to all the SOG large multi-tools.

An EOD version incorporates a new explosive well spike (C4 punch) that can double as a glass breaker or scribe. This improvement also carries over to the other EOD models.

Weight is given as 3.7 pounces and it comes with a nylon sheath. The MSRP for the PowerAssist will be$115 - $122, satin polish or black oxide finish, respectively.

SOG also introduced a version of their PowerLock called the PowerCut that substitutes dykes with integrated wire stripers (10, 12, 14 gauge) for the pliers. MSRP is $105 - $112, satin polish or black oxide finish, respectively.

SOG Team Leader
Manufacturer: SOG Model: Team Leader
Blade Steel: Duratech 20CV or 440C Hardness Rc: 60 or 56
Blade Shape: Drop Point Edge: Plain
Blade Length: 5"1 Blade Thickness: 0.160"
Overall Length: 10.25" Tang: Full
Handle Material: Zytel Weight: 7.4 oz.
Available? 3rd Qtr 2007 MSRP: $260 / $120
Timken Latrobe finally found a major production knifemaker to use their Duratech 20CV, their wonder-steel that they claim is "35% tougher" than Crucible's highly regarded CPM S30V. SOG has used the steel in their new Team Leader, a fairly conventional 5-inch drop point full flat ground full tang fixed blade with a bead blasted finish. Alternatively, at less than half the price, it can be had in 440C. Some of us are old enough to remember when that was THE premium stainless. Technology marches on. With a blade thickness of 0.160 inch, weight is 7.4 ounces.

Scales are molded Zytel with a checkered surface. There's a fairly deep integral guard with deep scallops in the exposed tang for the forefinger and bird finger that we found a bit uncomfortable. With gloves you probably wouldn't notice. There's a slightly raised thumb ramp leading up to the blade's spine. The exposed rounded end of the tang protrudes out the end with a large lanyard hole. All in all, a very practical design that we're looking forward to trying in it's 20CV incarnation.

The sheath will be leather, but there wasn't one to examine. MSRP with Duratech 20CV is $260, with 440C it's $120.

SOG Vulcan
Manufacturer: SOG Model: Vulcan
Blade Steel: AUS 8 Hardness Rc: 57-58
Blade Shape: Drop Point Edge: Plain
Blade Length: 3.5" Blade Thickness: 0.160"
Length Closed: NA Length Open: 8.375"
Lock Type: Arc-Lock Liner Material: Stainless
Handle Material: Zytel Weight: 5 oz.
Available? 3rd Qtr 2007 MSRP: $150
SOG's Vulcan uses a flipper to aid in quick opening by simply pressing on the back of the blade. They call the 3.5-inch by 0.160 AUS8 blade a spear point, but it looked like a drop point to me with a fill length swedge. The blade locks using SOG's Arc-Lock. A relatively steep thumb ramp and dip in the handle for a secure point for your thumb on top. It is equipped with dual thumb studs as well.

Liners are stainless with molded Zytel scales. The flipper forms a deep finger guard and it and the liners are deeply scalloped, which we found uncomfortable. The liners are exposed at the end, dipping down to form a bit of a bird's beak with "SOG" cut up of the liner. The point actually lies inside this "extension" when closed. At 4.88 inches closed, it weighs 5 ounces. Also included are a lanyard hole and reversible low-carry clip. MSRP is $150.

Manufacturer: SOG Model: SOG-TAC Automatic
Blade Steel: AUS 8 Hardness Rc: 57-58
Blade Shape: Upswept Point Edge: Plain
Blade Length: 3.5" Blade Thickness: 0.125"
Length Closed: NA Length Open: 8"
Lock Type: Button Liner Material: None
Handle Material: Aluminum w/ G-10 Insert Weight: 3.8 oz.
Available? 3rd Qtr 2007 MSRP: $130 - $150
SOG also introduced its first auto, the SOG-TAC Automatic. Blade shape is highly upswept with a straight spine. The 3.5-inch blade is of AUS8A and is available in either satin finish or black TiNi (Titanium Nitride). The hard anodized aluminum handles have G10 inserts and four finger grooves. Opening is via a coil spring and a safety is included that locks the blade both closed and open. Closed length is 4.5 inches and weight is 3.8 ounces. The pocket clip SOG's is low carry reversible bayonet style. MSRP $130 - $150, satin or black TiNi finish, respectively.

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First Published: February 11, 2007
Revision: 01 February 12, 2007
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