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Buck Knives 113 Fixed Blade

21 Sep

For those of us who love Buck’s folding lockback knives, comes the “Boone and Crockett Small Elk Skinner” aka the model 113. The 113 fixed blade is of a similar style and dimensions as their legendary 112 folder. It features shed elk antler scales, a brass bolster and a  3″ drop point blade of 420 HC. A Boone & Crockett medallion is embedded in the handle. It measures 7-1/8′ overall and weighs 5.0 oz.

Buck Elk Small Skinner Knife - Boone and Crockett Collection

Buck 113 Fixed Blade

I think the 113 is a great looking knife and would make a great user or collectible. The only change I would like to see would be the option for an upgraded blade steel. 420HC is a great steel but I would like the option of 154CM or S30V.

The 113 is made in the USA and comes with Buck’s ‘Forever Warranty’. Suggested retail $190 although it’s listed for around $130 on a number of online retailer sites – which is an absolute bargain for a limited edition knife with shed elk antler scales!


Zero Tolerance / Rick Hinderer ZT 0550

15 Sep

Thomas W. of Kershaw and ZT knives recently shared pictures of the new ZT 0550 knife on BladeForum. This is the ELMAX steel version of the 0550 (with a pre-production or unfinished blade). The same thread indicates production will not begin until December 2010 with availability in early 2011.

For more on this new design,  my previous post on the Zero Tolerance / Rick Hinderer ZT 0550 collaboration.

More on the Leatherman MUT

7 Sep

Last week I discussed the Cold Steel Pendleton Lite Hunter receiving a 2010 ‘Best of the Best’ award from Field & Stream in the hunting knife category. Well there were also several knives and tools given honorable mentions, including the Leatherman MUT.

I blogged about the new Leatherman MUT back in July, but recently saw that Leatherman has several video’s showing the MUT and MUT EOD in action. These are nicely done clips that show how the unique features of these two multi tools are meant to be used (although I must admit that I cringed when they used the pliers to tighten a scope ring nut!)

The MUT is apparently still not available from retailers but can be pre-ordered from at least one site for $135, substantially less than it’s MSRP of $180.

Buck / Strider 889 Folder

6 Sep

Discontinued by Buck several years ago, the Buck/Strider SBMF 889 remains a favorite in my EDC rotation. Based loosely on the Strider SMF frame lock, the Buck version is a liner lock design.

It’s hardly fair to compare a (then) $50 Buck 889 to a $400 Strider SMF but people did and still do. What the Buck 889 is useful for is letting someone experience a Strider-ish design for a small outlay of cash.

-Weight: 4.9 oz. (138.9 g)
-Handle Material: TACCOM(tm) glass-reinforced nylon, quad-hold design
-Carry System: Black oxide stainless steel reversible belt clip
-Color: Black, OD Green, Coyote Brown
-Blade Steel: 420HC Black Oxide coated
-Length Overall: 8.13″ (20.7 cm.)
-Length Closed: 4.65″ (11.8 cm.)
-Blade Length: 3.5″L (9.1 cm.)
-Blade Shape: Extra wide, drop point
-Made in USA

420HC blade steel is sometimes looked down upon by steel snobs, but it has decent qualities and Buck does an excellent job of heat treating it. If you have not tried Buck’s 420HC steel, I would encourage you to do so. Many of their ‘base level’ knives use this steel.

Buck also made an 882 and 887 verson of the Strider SMF which are essentially the same knife as the 899 with higher grade blade steels (and G10 scales in the 882).

All three of these models are now discontinued but are available frequently at knife/gun shows and on Ebay. Prices are up somewhat now that they are no longer available from the factory, although you can still find an 889 for under $70.

Below are some photos of my 889 alone and alongside a Buck 110.

Kershaw Composite Blade Knives Explained

3 Sep

Kershaw has been using ‘composite’ blades in some of their knives for several years. This video clip explains why they do it and how it’s done. Good stuff!

As a price comparison, one of the online retailers lists the standard Kershaw Junkyard Dog II with Sandvik 13c26 steel and G10 scales for $53.95. Compared to the same knife with Sandvik 13C26/CPM-D2 composite blade (with copper accent) for $76.95. In my opinion that’s a small increase in price for a substantial upgrade in materials and technology. Not to mention the ‘cool factor’ from a composite blade 🙂

Kershaw JYDII Sandvik 13c26 Blade

Kershaw JYDII Composite Blade

Cold Steel Pendleton Lite Hunter: Best of the Best?

29 Aug

In the September 2010 edition of Field & Stream, reviewer David Petzel declared the Cold Steel Pendleton Lite Hunter the “Best of the Best” winner for hunting knives.

Petzel liked its 4116 Krupp steel blade, sharp factory edge, ease of resharpening and the $22 price.

One could argue that a budget knife shouldn’t be considered in a “Best of the Best” test, but who am I to debate Field & Stream? So let’s take a closer look at the Pendleton Lite Hunter.

Cold Steel has a number of critics among knife nuts for their ‘Solid Proof’ DVD product catalogs (you can request one free from their website). In the DVD’s they demonstrate the abilities of their knives on everything from cinder blocks and steel barrels to hanging sides of beef. Think what you will about their marketing, but it’s hard to debate the strength of their knives.

The Pendleton Lite Hunter is designed as a working mans hunting knife. It’s not fancy and it’s not made of the latest exotic material. However it is the appropriate size and has a useful drop point blade shape for field dressing game.


Blade Length: 3 5/8″
Overall Length: 8 1/2″
Steel: 4116 Krupp Stainless
Weight: 2.7 oz
Handle: 4 7/8″ Long High Impact Polypropylene
Sheath: Codura Sheath
MSRP: $21.99

I have a Cold Steel Finn Bear with the same steel and am reasonably impressed with it. Again it’s not made of the latest ‘unobtanium’ but it gets the job done.

From the Cold Steel web site:
“Over the years our Pendleton Hunters have become enormously popular, and while we think they are reasonably priced, many have asked us for a more affordable Pendleton that will accommodate just about anyone’s budget.

So we got together with Lloyd (Pendleton) and designed a new knife we call the Pendleton Lite Hunter. In appearance it strongly resembles the rest of the family with a drop point blade, modest guard, hollowed bolster area and a flared butt to aid retention. The only major changes were the adoption of more affordable 4116 Krupp steel and the use of polypropylene instead of Kraton for the handle.

In our testing it got straight A’s in the field as it is equally adept at field dressing and skinning, held a decent edge, was easy to sharpen, and proved to be tough as nails.

If you’re looking for a very affordable hunting/utility knife that comes with a good, pouch-style sheath and delivers more than your money’s worth in performance and value look no further than the Pendleton Lite.”

For the price the Pendleton Lite Hunter would make a nice knife for a young hunter who may loose or abuse a knife. It would also serve well as a backup knife or a knife you can stow in your truck, gear bag, boat or tackle box.

Cold Steel’s products are manufactured in Japan, Taiwan, or China. I presume the Pendleton Lite Hunter is made China but couldn’t confirm this.

Spyderco Balance Carbon Fiber Knife

25 Aug

Spyderco has introduced a new liner lock folder called the Balance. It’s a design by Ed Schempp, who has done a number of other Spyderco knives.

I think the knife looks a little odd (to my eyes, a lot of Schempp designs are odd), but it may be small and non-threatening enough to be accepted around the office or in other places ‘sheeple’ frequent. Call it a modern interpretation of the gentleman’s folder. It’s certainly made of upscale materials:


Overall Length: 4-7/16″ (113 mm)
Blade Length: 1-15/16″ (49 mm)
Cutting Edge Length: 1-1/4″ (32 mm)
Closed Length: 2-5/8″ (67 mm)
Steel: VG-10
Handle Material: G-10
Weight: 1.3 oz. (37 g)
Clip: Left/Right
Tip Carry: Up/Down
Made in Japan

From the Sypderco Web site:

Balance is a state of equilibrium or equal distribution.  In our case it’s an Ed Schempp folder that is symmetrically identical on both ends when the folder is closed.  Odd looks aside, when held in the hand it’s ergonomically proportional and a natural fit.

The VG-10 blade is full-flat ground and arcs upward a radical curve with a deep finger choil.  When the index finger is positioned in the choil, the cutting edge aligns with the forearm moving the blade’s weight back and the center of gravity toward the cutting edge where it responds like a natural extension of the hand.

The enlarged Spyderco Round Hole is dead center on the blade when closed and perfectly off-centered when open, positioning the thumb for flowing one-hand operation, justifying the name Balance.

Handle scales are gray carbon fiber and assembled with screws for cleaning and adjustment.  Four-way, left/right, tip-up/tip-down hourglass clip, clips discreetly in a pocket.  Piped lanyard.  Symphonic fit and finish.

‘Spydercollector’ posted a nice video of a pre-production version of the Balance:

MSRP is listed at $199 but it’s listed for around $130 at a number of internet retailers. There is some knife forum discussion/speculation that Spyderco may also introduce a non-carbon fiber Balance (either FRN or stainless handle) at a substantially lower price.

Bond Arms / Buck Knives Vantage Folder

21 Aug

I think knives with third party advertising on them are pretty cheesy. But a new offering from Bond Arms and Buck Knives is just plain cool! The paragraph below from Bond Arms explains the offering:

“Made in the U.S.A. by Buck Knives! Choose from Rosewood or Black Ash. This knife is a great addition to your knife collection or to your self defense knife needs. The Bond Arms logo is embossed into the wood. It comes with a removable pocket clip on the back and a stainless steel blade.”

In my opinion the Bond Arms logo and checkering on the scales are tastefully done and add nicely to an already appealing knife.

The knife being offered is Buck’s Vantage Avid which is much like the Vantage Pro I reviewed here a few weeks ago. The only differences are a 13C26 blade and wood scales instead of S30V and G10. Both are good knives with excellent steel. One would be hard pressed to notice any difference in usability and edge retention between S30V and 13C26.

‘mrstraightshot’ posted a nice video review of the knife:

Bond Arms has been manufacturing 100% Made in the U.S.A., derringer style firearms, since 1995 and is recognized for its dependable, well-built double-barrel handguns, which feature historically inspired designs.

Price wise, the Bond Vantage Avids are $60 which is about twice as much as a standard Buck Vantage Avid. I happen to think it’s a pretty good deal for a unique knife that’s made in the USA and comes with a Forever Warranty. If you’re a Bond Arms fan, it’s a definate must-have item.

Thanks to Dave H (aka ‘plumberdv’ on Blade Forum) for the top two photo’s. Be sure to check out his post on these knives on BladeForum.

Wilson Tactical / Kirby Lambert Collaboration Knife

18 Aug

I’ll note that the limited run of this knife (10 serial numbered pieces at $550 each) completely sold out in about a day! In any case, the Wilson Tactical / Kirby Lambert “Snap with IKBS” knife is still worth reading about.

A Lambert folder has been on my dream list for several years now as I believe they represent the pinnacle of what a tactical folding knife should be. Below is info and some nice photo’s from Wilson Tactical on this knife:


For over a decade, WILSON TACTICAL® the knife and tool division of WILSON COMBAT® has brought the finest in quality edged tactical tools to our discriminating clientele. For 2010 we are raising the bar and will be offering a limited collection of handmade knives by some of today’s premier tactical knife makers without the long wait typically associated with special ordering a custom edged masterpiece.

These newly designed knives featured in the new CUSTOM ALLIANCE will be few in number, and will quickly become a valued centerpiece of your collection. These offerings will typify the WILSON standards of extraordinary quality, classic design and unmatched value.

Wilson Tactical Custom Alliance Knife by Kirby Lambert
“Snap with IKBS” by Kirby Lambert

Designed by Kirby to be the perfect EDC knife, here’s why:

  • Small Enough For Comfortable Everyday Carry, But Can Also Take On The Tasks Of A Large Tactical Folder
  • Wide Blade Design Gives It A Feel Of A Larger Knife
  • CPM 154CM Stainless Steel Blade For Maximum Edge Holding And Corrosion Resistance
  • .080” 6AL/4V Titanium Liners For Maximum Strength And Minimal Weight
  • Carbon Fiber Bolsters And G10 Handle Scales For A Lifetime Of Use
  • Finger Choil Allows For Added Comfort As Well As A Rock Solid Grip In Both Regular And Reverse Grip
  • Fold Over Pocket Clip Allows For Deep Concealed Carry
  • Great Ergonomics…
  • Positioning Of The Flipper Combined With A Solid Detent And The IKBS Allow It To Fire Open Like Lightning
  • Secure Lock-Up In Both The Open And Closed Position

IKBS – Ikoma Korth Bearing System

Rather than the blade rotating against washers, a race is machined into the liner where ball bearings are placed. The blade then rotates on the ball bearings allowing the blade to rotate with minimal resistance while retaining zero side to side blade play. For more information on the IKBS, visit

Wilson Tactical Knife


Steel – CPM 154CM
Blade Length – 3.5″
Blade Thickness – .160″
Handle Length – 4.6″
Overall Length – 8.2″
Weight – 5.2 oz.
Bolster Material – Carbon Fiber
Handle Material – Olive Drab G10
Hardware Material – Stainless Steel
Liner Material – .080” 6AL/4V Titanium
Features The IKBS Pivot Bearing System

Wilson Tactical / Chris Reeve Knives – StarTac Titanium Framelock

16 Aug

The StarTac is a new titanium frame lock collaboration between Wilson Tactical and Chris Reeve Knives. It’s a beautifully designed knife with a number of cues taken from Reeve’s other folders and incorporates Wilson’s signature Starburst grip CNC machined into the titanium billet frame.

Here are the specs on the StarTac according to the Wilson Tactical web site:

The evolution of a 20 year quest to make the most rugged tactical folding knife, the StarTac is a new collaboration between Wilson Tactical® and the legendary knifemaking precision of Chris Reeve Knives.

  • Limited Edition Wilson Tactical® / Chris Reeve Knives Tactical Collaboration
  • Titanium Framelock Construction with Advanced Engineering for a Lifetime of Reliability
  • Signature Wilson Starburst Grip Design for Enhanced Traction
  • Ambidextrous Thumb Stud
  • Exclusive Lanyard with Engraved Titanium Bead

    The StarTac combines the mechanics of the tried and tested Reeve Integral Framelock, machined from solid 6AL4V titanium billet and adds a tough, hair popping sharp S30V stainless blade. Unique internal engineering features and an advanced blade pivot system ensure that your StarTac will operate smoothly and lock up with vault-like precision for many years to come.

    The Wilson signature machined Starburst grip pattern adds the perfect amount of handle traction for hard-use and visually identifies your knife as a Wilson limited edition. An exclusive lanyard with an engraved titanium bead adds a practical, finishing touch. Limited quantities are available of this truly exceptional tactical folder.

    Blade – CPM S30V Stainless Steel
    Hardness – RC 58-59
    Blade Finish – Stonewash Polished
    Handle – 6AL4V Titanium Billet with Titanium Pocket Clip
    Blade Length – 3.675″
    Blade Thickness – .140″
    Weight – 5 oz.

  • The knives are expected to be in stock by the end of August, although there are apparently some examples floating around. With a retail of $430 the knife is in what I would consider the ‘serious user/serious collector’ category.

    ‘JohnWayneColt45’ posted a nice video review of the StarTac: