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A Knife for Every Reason
A Knife For Every Reason
January 15, 2008by Brendan O'Brien
In baseball he’s called a utility player. A guy you can fearlessly stick anywhere on the diamond in any situation. Put him in right field because he’s comfortable shagging fly balls or move him to first base because he’s just as adept at fielding hard hit grounders. His usefulness is his versatility.
The knife world has an equivalent of baseball’s utility player and it’s known as the tactical knife.
When asked what defines a tactical knife, we like to go with Blade Magazine Cutlery Hall of Famer® and Spyderco president Sal Glesser’s definition: “A tactical knife is a knife you have to make do with for whatever you need it at the time, whether that means to cut a person out of a wrecked car or defend yourself from an attack.”
Although in theory ANY knife could be classified as a tactical knife, this article will focus on the newest factory fixed blade tactical knives.
The people at TOPS Knives have always prided themselves on providing military personnel and people of law enforcement with quality knives capable of completing even the most dangerous of tasks. In particular, the company has always maintained a special relationship with the Marine Corps and that special bond is once again evident on the new TOPS Marine Heat.
By combining design input from Larry Keen, one of the founding members of TOPS and a former Operational Recon Marine, with an impressive list of criteria compiled by active Marine Corps members in Fallujah, Iraq, the company conceived the Marine Heat.
Among the FIBUA (Fighting in Built Up Urban Areas) criteria deemed necessary was a readily deployable 6-inch blade and a thick full-tang with a strong handle and three-screw blade fitting. The Marine Heat also features a heavy-duty non-reflective blade coating as well as the company’s new MOUT (Military Operations in Urban Terrain) point – a full-point perfectly suited for digging. A “humpback” on the spine of the blade was included to provide integral strength and to the give the blade the ability to penetrate further if required.
“We have found that TOPS has become the personal carry choice for many military units and we are certainly pleased,” says TOPS president Mike Fuller. “We were proud to include a bit of Marine Corps red in the handle of the Marine Heat and we realized the need to make it affordable so the enlisted field marine could afford it. We also lasered the Marine Corps emblem right onto the blade,” Fuller says.
Each Marine Heat is hand ground and done in 1095 high carbon alloy and includes a thick kydex sheath with rotating steel clip as well as a pocket-size Lansky touch-up sharpener for field use.
In The Eye of the Beholder
Odds are, if someone called you stubby and stout you’d probably take great offense. However, it’s a des...
Little in Size But Lots of Knife
Little in Size But Lots of Knife
October 03, 2008by By MSG Kim Breed (retired)
Model Small Alias
Pattern Utility folder
Maker Andrew Fitz
Blade Steel CPM 154 stainless
Rockwell Hardness 58-59 Rc
Blade Length 3 1/8”
Blade Width at Widest 1.75”
Blade Finish Hand-rubbed satin
Handle Bead-blasted 6AL4V titanium
Lock Frame lock
Closed Length ~4”
Maker’s List Price $475
I was not familiar with the voice on the other end of the phone. It was that of knifemaker Andrew Fitz wanting to know how to get his knife tested in an installment of “Spec Sheet.” He politely told me about himself and his knives. I received a good impression from talking to him and told him that I would look at the knife and then make a decision on whether to do a “Spec Sheet” on it.
A week later I had a nice frame-lock folder in my hands. Exhibiting excellent eye appeal and sturdy construction, the knife is a handful. The contoured titanium handle fits my hand perfectly. The blade reminded me of a Japanese chopping knife. I could tell I was going to have fun cutting with the “Small Alias.”
I had to use the Small Alias in the kitchen first just because the knife’s design provides enough room to palm the blade and use it in a chopping motion. The Small Alias diced and sliced carrots and celery for the stew pot. The knife is very controllable and the blade shape lends to a rocking motion when held in a standard grip. However, this is not just another knife for the kitchen. It is a multi-use piece, and I really like the wide blade.
Now for the real challenge—cutting plastic foam. It’s not as easy as you think because the edge can tear the foam very easily. I started out with a half-inch sheet of the foam packing. The Small Alias made long cuts without tearing it. Next I grabbed some foam peanuts and, using only the weight of the knife, cut thin slabs. It took me just one peanut to get the right technique down; after that it was smooth slicing.
So much for the finesse stuff—I needed a tougher medium.
A cardboard box was just asking to be sliced up. (Actually, it was just too long to fit in the garbage can.) The Small Alias “ate” long slices in the cardboard and before I knew it the box was in pieces at my feet. This is still too easy!
I had purchased a new 100-foot roll of half-inch sisal rope for test cutting. The Small Alias removed about 2.5 feet off the roll, which equates to 60 half-inch cuts. The thumb notches are in the right place and are rounded off so no sharp edges chewed on my thumb. Lockup was positive throughout the cutting, and the handle is very comfortable.
It was time to cut some wood. I had some 1x4 pine boards left over from a home project that fit the bill. I started whittling and the Small Alias bit deep into the pine board, producing a whole bunch of curly-cues....