Sunday, April 8, 2012

Small EDC and Tactical Fixed Blade Knife Comparison & Review

I recently completed a video comparison on 4 small fixed blade knives.  I am still rocking the hideaway straight as my EDC knife but started to look around at some other options as well.  The awesome custom fit of the HAK is also it's only real weakness, if you are wearing gloves you pretty much can't use the knife.

The four knives are the TOPS M1 Sub Compact, Boker Fred Perrin Neck Bowie, Tops FDX Hunter Point, and the Esee Izula.  The main common feature between these, besides small size, is a deep(ish, depending on blade) finger choil.

1. TOPS M1 Sub Compact

I kept eyeing this knife up and really wasn't sure if I wanted to try it or not.  It has such a small handle, I don't like spear point knives, and some of the previous Tops knives I have seen or owned were not for me.  I'm glad I picked it up, not sure if I will keep it or not but it's a good little knife.  This is a design from the Relentless Knives guy, Daniel Certo.  He has some great designs, appear quite affordable for custom-made but of course there is a bit of a wait for some models. This is a production version of his knife.

Some points:
  • VERY short handle
  • Good kydex sheath
  • Neck carry sheath, could be used for belt carry but doesn't come with any attachments
  • Good option for static cord carry in the pocket
  • Very thick knife for its size
  • Thick handle for size
I see this knife as a fixed blade option for people that prefer folder size but want fixed blade strength/security.  The overall length is about the same as a lot of folding knives I own!  Other possible carry options could include laced into your boots (emergency services worker), attached to a backpack strap for a light emergency/EDC knife that you will always have handy (and can use with gloves on), key chain carry, etc.

Handy knife, I quite like it but this short handle and blade shape will definitely not be for everyone.  It's a pretty good price too, $70 on Amazon.  Also check out Relentless Knives, they have some very cool blades.  I would like to see a stainless steel version of this blade for those of us that get rained on a lot.  You can get S30V knives from Relentless but I can't afford it right now  :(

Stats from TOPS:
O/A Length: 4 3/4"
Blade Length: 2 3/8"
Thickness: 3/16"
Steel: 1095 High Carbon Steel RC 56-58
Handle: Tan Canvas
Blade Color: Ash Gray
Sheath: Kydex Neck sheath
Designed by: Daniel M. Certo

2. Boker Fred Perrin Neck Bowie - I think I pretty much covered it all in this previous post.

I think this might be discontinued, better get one while you can!  :)

3. Tops FDX Hunter Point

Now this is some serious knife.  Another one I've wanted to try for ages but there is very little info on.  Possibly now discontinued in this version, not sure, still readily available for under $80.  I love the incredible finger choil, it wraps around your finger for amazing security for such a short handle.  The skeletonized handle is a little uncomfortable but with a little camoform tape, I loved it.  A cord wrap would also work plus there is a version with micarta? scales.

Very thick, fairly heavy, really too heavy for neck carry.  Feels pretty nimble for such a heavy blade though. Very nice kydex sheath with removable metal belt clip.  I also made a video just showing this knife for those that don't want to see them all.

Some points:
  • Short handle
  • Good kydex sheath
  • Very thick knife for its size
Definitely not your typical blade, I can see it as an interesting option for tactical officers, military, emergency workers, or anyone that wants a very secure knife that is reasonable compact.  The one hitch is that if you have very large gloves on, perhaps your finger won't fit in there. Not sure.  There is also a long-handled version of this knife.

Got the info from knifecenter, can't find the knife on the Tops site:

  • Overall Length: 6"
  • Blade Length: 3"
  • Thickness: 3/16"
  • Steel: 1095 High Carbon
  • Handle: Skeleton
  • Blade Color: Black Traction Coating
  • Sheath: Kydex
  • Weight: 3.7oz
  • Weight w/ Sheath: 5.6oz
  • Handcrafted in the USA

4. Esee Izula

There's so much info out there on the Izula, I can't really add much.  Great all around knife, would be useful for many roles: bushcraft, EDC, game/food prep, self-defense, emergency, etc.

Removable handles are available, easy to find kydex sheaths for it if you don't like the sheath that comes with it.  Az Welke makes fantastic kydex Izula sheaths, non-marking, pops right out with the thumb ramp and very secure.  He is on ebay.

*Again, PLEASE NOTE that stores or people I mention on here have NOT paid for or requested my endorsement or review (unless I say otherwise) and they in NO WAY endorse my views.  If you don't like something I write, it does not reflect on them, they don't even know who I am.  If you send them hate email or refuse to buy their product because you don't like my writing or my opinions, you are an ass.*

I use an Izula II for my woods neck knife, very comfortable.  I was just splitting some wood last night for our fire pit  :)

The Izula is not very comfortable with the skeletonized handle and bare hands, a little camoform tape (shown below) or a cord wrap helps.

A comparison shot with the always awesome hideaway knife:

A comparison shot with the classic Mora 511:


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