I recently reviewed the Vosteed Cutlery Raccoon and, if you haven’t read that review, I liked it… a lot. In fact, that Raccoon is within reach as I type this even though this is a review about a different offering from Vosteed. The Nightshade, with it’s bold and unique blade shape, was the knife that put Vosteed on my radar. So, when they asked if I would like to try the Mini Nightshade, I jumped.
Blade Length: 2.60″ | 66.04mm
Overall Length: 6.31″ | 160.37mm
Blade Width: 1.13″ | 28.28mm
Blade Thickness: 0.098″ | 2.49mm
Blade Material: 14C28N
Blade Grind: Flat
Blade Style: Shilin Cutter
Blade Finish: Stonewash
Hardness: HRC 60±2
Handle Length: 3.71″ | 94.33mm
Handle Width: 0.89″ | 22.6
Handle Thickness: 0.42″ | 10.57
Weight: 1.80 oz | 51.00 g
Opener: Thumb Stud
Lock Type: Crossbar Lock
Pivot Assembly: Caged Ceramic Ball Bearing
Pocket Clip: Reversible | Stainless Steel
Carry Position: Tip-up
There are other finishes and handle materials available but my review sample has a stone-washed blade, black G-10 handles, and red accents.
Observations from Use
You are probably like me and the first thing you notice about any of the knives in the Vosteed Nightshade series is the blade. That blade is what really sets it apart visually and functionally. It is a very unique leaf shape with a continuous curved edge and a point that sits well below the center line of the handle. This isn’t just a design gimmick. I have found that this makes using the tip of the knife for cuts very easy. It also allows you to make use of the curved edge for drawing or scoring cuts without having cock your wrist as much. Both of these are nice for some very common utility tasks like processing cardboard or opening boxes.
Apart from the unique and useful shape, the blade also boasts 14C28N steel which is excellent. The blade features a very tall flat grind which, coupled with the 0.098″ stock, makes this knife a very slicey, very aggressive cutter. Vosteed does a particularly good job tapering the thickness of this knife down to a very acute point so it cuts extremely well from heel to tip.
You may have noticed that I marked one of the stats above in orange text. The weight, or lack there of, on this knife is impressive. This knife comes in under 2 ounces which puts it squarely in the ultralight category of EDC knives. This category is very competitive lately and the price, features, and uniqueness of the Mini Nightshade make it very compelling.
The handle on this knife is excellent. The G-10 slabs are nicely rounded and chamfered for comfort. They also feature a subtle machine texture that is grippy without being rough on your pockets. The blade assembly, bearings, and cross-bar lock all ride in steel inserts that are precisely inlet into the underside of these slabs and the pocket clip threads into brass inserts in the slabs. This setup is rigid but very lightweight.
All of the little details that I have come to expect from Vosteed are present and part of what makes this feel like a great value. The deep carry clip has plenty of clearance for thicker fabrics like denim. There are anodized aluminum elements like the backspacer and thumb studs that provide some color. The ergonomics are on point, providing a full four-finger grip in a compact package.
I also want to bring special attention to the action on this knife. It is up there with the best of any knife I have tried and certainly the best on a cross-bar locking knife. You can’t get a crispy detent on cross-bar locks since the lock itself is the detent so, often, these knives don’t feel quite as snappy as something like a well-tuned liner lock or similar lock. The Mini Nightshade is an exception to that rule. It absolutely flies open when you load your thumb into the thumb stud and yet it also glides smoothly without wanting to outrun your thumb when you slow roll it open.
There are two things I would change. The first is the clip. I was surprised to find that the clip is surface-mounted on this knife and some sort of flush mounting setup like other Vosteed offerings would be nice for something this refined. Second, I would like to see some jumping added to the spine of the knife. This knife offers such great control over the tip and that would really be enhanced with some jumping about midway down the spine.
The Mini Nightshade manages to pack an ultra-useful blade shape into a knife that straddles the line between EDC and gentleman’s carry. Its incredibly lightweight and compact design make it home as a fifth pocket carry while it’s ergonomic shape and full four-finger grip make it at home in your hand getting stuff done.
You can see the whole Nightshade range at Vosteed.com.
Or, check out the Mini Nightshade Cross-Bar Lock (on sale for 10% off at the time of this writing) at Amazon.com.