I have a number of friends who like to make fun of me because I always have at least two knives on my person. Admittedly, both are folders, but I like to have one available for either hand. In the field, remembering the rule that “2 is 1, and 1 is none”. I recommend having a decent fixed blade knife backed up by a useful (read well designed and sturdy) folding lock blade. This week we’ll take a look at a few well designed models, the pros and cons of design, and when they can serve you best.
Buck Strider Tarani
Anyone who has ever handled a Strider knife knows how beefy they are. They are extremely strong and built to take abuse without failing. My Buck Strider Tarani feels almost as hefty in my hand as the Strider EB fixed blade. The 3.5″ blade has 3/4″ of serrations under the remaining plain edge. Made of ATS-34, the drop point blade is stippled above the bevel so that if your thumb slips out of the opening-hole you can still complete the draw stroke thanks to the heightened friction on the blade surface. The glass-reinforced nylon handles are secured to the steel liners with four rivets. I’m sure the handles are very secure, but I’d prefer common hardware here. If the knife ever needs disassembly for cleaning it’ll have to go back to the factory. I’m not sure if that was intentional on Buck’s part, but I’d much prefer some philips-head screws in place of those rivets. Yeah, it’s a pain to keep them tight sometimes, but it also makes maintenance easier. I really like the shape of the handle(s) because of the finger groove and the deep wide ridges along the spine of the blade and the handles where they meet. The clip on this knife is also reversible but I prefer to carry it on my right side because of its size / thickness which is just under 5/8″! The blade locks out via a liner lock that is very positive in its engagement of the blade. While some liner locks barely engage the steel end of the blade, this one slides over to center on the back end. Further, Buck / Strider designed the liner lock to be easily disengaged by your thumb: how? They formed the liner lock curve so that it sits just a bit higher than the finger groove cut out of the grip handles. That little bit makes it easier for your thumb to engage and push over the liner lock. Remember, it’s the little things that count.
SOG Trident Desert Camo
The SOG Trident is a folding lock blade that they sent me, and it too is a handy knife. SOG also makes a fixed blade Trident, and I guess we can call this the little brother. The 3.75″ blade opens easily thanks to SOG’s patented S.A.T. = SOG Assisted Technology. We are all familiar with this type of technology: you start the blade opening and it’s pushed the rest of the way by spring power. Because SOG knows that none of us ever want a folding knife to open in our pocket (ouch) they have designed a safety lock into this knife. It locks the blade shut and you have to take the safety off to open the blade. The SOG Trident has what SOG refers to as a “Groove” (trade marked) in the handle / grips. It allows the user to cut paracord, string, etc, without having to open the blade. The grips are shaped well and the clip is positioned to allow a deep-pocket carry of the knife. Formerly available with black handles, the Trident is now available in three-color desert camouflage.
This brings me to a new knife Emerson has introduced: the CQC-10. As I mentioned earlier about an evolutionary progression from CQC-7 to SpecWar to Commander, I’d have to include the CQC-10… right after the SpecWar and before the Commander. Check the grip ergonomics and the blade. Gone is the Tanto style blade, but not yet existant is the deep belly curve of the Commander. This no-nonsense folder offers the best of several worlds. The blade is perfectly functional for utilitarian use, but because of the tip design can also be easily deployed for rescue purposes. The grips are nicely shaped to insure a secure hold even under wet or slippery conditions. The lanyard hole, as with all Emerson knives, means you can tie the knife onto your gear someplace – especially if you happen to be working in a maritime environment.
That brings me to the last knife of the review: the CQC-15 which I’d have to put inbetween the SpecWar and the CQC-10 on the Emerson Knives evolutionary scale. The tanto style blade isn’t fully existent here – but neither is it completely non-existent. The partial tanto style allows for strong blade tip strength and the soft curve provides for better cutting power when pressing into cuts. The soft belly curve found in the Commander is just starting to be seen in the CQC-15 and the grips are shaped well for a secure hold.
Extrema Ratio RES
The R.E.S., which stands for Rescue Escape Survival, is a three-blade folder built to the specifications of a group of helicopter pilots in the Italian Army’s Special Operations Forces Aviation section. Just knowing that made me feel better. Here’s a knife designed to serve specops helicopter pilots in the event they go down. The design, as specified, had three purposes:
1) Cutting safety belts (nylon webbing);
2) Glass and plexiglass breaking;
3) Field work (survival in a hostile environment).
Two of the three blades are held open by a postive liner-lock system, with the third being automatically deployed at the push of a button. The three blades are:
- a drop point general purpose blade
- a wood saw
- a nylon / cloth / rope / wire cutting blade
The design assumes that two mot commonly deployed blades will be the general purpose blade and the cutter blade. The general purpose blade is equipped with a thumb-stud for easy one-handed opening, while the cutter blade has a blunt tip (to prevent injury in rescue / EMS situations) and is deployed automatically by pushing the release button. The wood saw is in the middle and is opened by lifting it at its blunt tip. An interesting – and potentially invaluable – safety feature is that the cutter blade cannot be deployed while either of the other two blades are already open.
Any of these knives will serve you exceedingly well in the field – in virtually any environment.
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