I like to carry a stout fixed blade knife on my range gear at all times. I do this for a number of reasons not the least of which is that you never know when a knife will come in handy when you are outdoors. It is also useful for clearing a bolt over malfunction in an AR-15. Some trainers, like Pat Rogers, consider a compact knife to be essential support gear for the carbine.
When choosing a knife for this role, I usually shop for something that is a tool first (not an over the top “tactical” knife) because nearly anything with a sharp edge can be pressed into the role of a weapon. I also look for something that is fairly compact so I am not lugging around extra weight and so it can be carried in a number of different ways like attached to a “battle belt” or secured with hook and loop in the kangaroo pouch of my plate carrier. A compact knife is also easier to exert control over when trying to pry back the bolt during a malfunction. If you were to picture such a knife in your minds eye, it would probably look a lot like the BHK-T1 from Blind Horse Knives.
The BHK-T1 is ground from 1/8″ thick D2 steel. The drop point blade is 2 7/8″ from the tip to the scale and the knife is 6 3/4″ overall. The blade is saber ground (more on this later) with a polished convex edge. It has a small false edge at the spine that gives this knife a great working point.
The handle is large enough for my medium sized hands to have a full 4 finger grip with room to spare. The handle scales are made from nicely contoured and rounded black micarta that has been bead blasted. The scales are fixed to the blade with good looking fish eye bolts and an oversize brass lanyard hole.
The included fold-over style kydex sheath has adjustable tension and rivet spacing that makes it compatible with a number of accessories like Tek-Loks, MOLLE-Loks, Spyderco G-Clips, and similar items. The sheath came with a small Tek-Lok configured for horizontal belt carry.
The knife and sheath weigh just under 7 ounces total.
Observations from Use
I used the BHK-T1 in a number of different ways because a knife of this size and shape is useful for a number of different tasks. I used it for EDC which it excelled at thanks to its compact size and capable sheath. I used it on my range gear and, just to get an idea of how it cuts, I used it in the woods a bit, too.
I have been carrying the BHK-T1 as an EDC for much of the time that I have had it and I really like it in this role. Its dimensions lend themselves very well to a variety of carry methods from horizontal belt carry, to vertical belt carry, and even pocket carry. I like my EDC knives to have usable points and the BHK-T1 has a very usable point thanks to the swedge (false edge). The swedge really thins the point down nicely while still leaving a lot of material on the center line of the blade so the point isn’t fragile.
I also took this knife into the woods because I find that processing wood is a great test of how a knife cuts. The BHK-T1 bites into wood well for tasks like notching and making feather sticks. This is probably partially due to the edge type (convex) and partially due to the great geometry. BHK went with 1/8″ steel for this knife but by choosing a saber grind (a flat grind that only comes about halfway up the height of the blade) they leave behind plenty of material to keep the blade strong. The result is a knife that should be very durable to lateral pressure but is still thin enough to cut well. Kudos to BHK for this subtle, but important design element.
The BHK-T1 is right at home as an EDC or a compact companion in the woods but I think it really shines as a tool for your range gear. It is compact enough to carry very well in a number of different ways. I mostly carried it on my battle belt using a MOLLE-Lok. I also stuck some adhesive Velcro to the exterior of the sheath so that I could tuck it into the kangaroo pouch of a plate carrier or into the panel on the back of some chest rigs like those from Mayflower R&C. If you happen to have a bolt over malfunction (empty brass lodged between the top of the bolt and the charging handle) with your AR-15, the spine of a stout knife like the BHK-T1 can be used to pull the bolt carrier to the rear and hold it so that the charging handle can be pushed forward to release the brass. The BHK-T1 is works well for this technique but beware, the edge of any knife can suffer some edge damage if it contacts the sides of the ejection port. I didn’t notice any edge damage to the BHK-T1 when I tested pulling the bolt back with it.
The handle is grippy without causing hot spots over prolonged use. It isn’t what I would call hand filling since this is a very compact knife, but it is nicely rounded and well contoured which makes the grip comfortable and secure. The BHK-T1’s handle is neutral enough that can be held comfortably with the blade up or down and with the edge in or out. However it is also contoured enough that it gives tactile feedback as to how the blade is oriented even if you can’t see it. There is no guard but the edge is slightly offset from the handle to prevent your hand from sliding up onto the edge.
The sheath is very secure, fairly compact, and very functional. Many knives come with some sort of afterthought for a sheath. The BHK-T1 comes with a sheath that is actually well suited to its intended use. You would think more knife makers would figure that out but, sadly, they haven’t. BHK nailed the sheath on this one.
Those of you who like ferro rods will be happy to know that the spine of the BHK-T1 is square and throws sparks very well.
D2 steel offers excellent edge holding capability but it can be a bit of a pain to sharpen. Thankfully, BHK really refines the edge to a high polish. I was always able to bring the knife back to shaving sharp with just a loaded strop even after cutting up a ton of cardboard after a move and time in the woods to test the knife. BHK’s D2 does seem to be a bit easier to sharpen than some that I have tried so perhaps they aren’t taking the steel as high on the Rockwell hardness scale as they could be (that is fine with me, I hate sharpening knives).
Functionally, this is a great knife but some users might find some fit and finish nits to pick. The grinds are a touch uneven, there are still grind marks on the non-cutting surfaces of the knife, and the secondary grind curves a bit where it should be straight. Absolutely none of that effects the function of the knife. The fit and finish is good where it counts. The edge is highly polished and hair popping sharp (the factory edge cut paper nearly silently), the handle is perfectly fit to the blade stock, and the surfaces that contact the hand are nicely rounded. So basically, this is made like a tool. It might be a little rough in spots but it is functional and refined where it counts.
Apart from the small fit and finish issues, there are a few things I would change. I would taper the handle just a little bit near the blade. As it is, the scales are basically just squared off which can make pinch grips a little tricky. A little bit of jimping on the spine might also be nice on a knife of this type. I find some jimping to be helpful for when you are using your thumb to apply leverage for a cut. BHK offers several custom sheathing options and, even though the included sheath is very nice, a pancake style sheath with eyelets on each side would offer a bit more versatility for mounting the knife to PALS webbing (MOLLE) even if it would add just a bit of bulk.
The BHK-T1 is a great knife. Its dimensions make it great for EDC or for use on your tactical gear. BHK’s good understanding of blade geometry make it very stout without sacrificing too much cutting performance. It is comfortable to use, easy to carry, and it cuts like a laser. I am really impressed with this little knife.
Check out the BHK-T1 at BlindHorseKnives.com.