The Vosteed Raccoon Crossbar Lock is one of my favorite EDC knives in recent history. Vosteed recently allowed me to check out one of the latest versions of Raccoon, one with a different steel and some great looking aluminum scale options. I jumped at the chance in large part because I was interested to try Vosteed’s texture treatment of the aluminum scales on these new versions and to try their Nitro-V blade steel in a knife I already know I like.
Blade Length: 3.25″ | 82.55 mm
Overall Length: 7.60″ | 193.12 mm
Blade Width: 1.07″ | 27.27 mm
Blade Thickness: 0.118″ | 3.00 mm
Blade Material: Nitro-V
Blade Grind: Flat
Blade Style: Drop Point
Blade Finish: Satin
Hardness: HRC 60±2
Handle Length: 4.36″ | 110.75 mm
Handle Width: 1.10″ | 27.95 mm
Handle Thickness: 0.49″ | 12.40 mm
Handle Material: Aluminum
Weight: 3.66 oz | 103.80 g
Opener: Thumb Stud
Lock Type: Crossbar Lock
Pivot Assembly: Caged Ceramic Ball Bearing
Pocket Clip: Reversible | Stainless Steel
Carry Position: Tip-up
Observations from Use
This is a new version of a knife that I already like very much and a lot of my interest in reviewing it will lies in the comparison to the Raccoon with micarta scales that I have already used extensively. The size and shape are identical but scale material and blade steels differ.
There is a lot to be said for how Vosteed treated the aluminum scales on these knives. Aluminum scales can lend a rigidity and weight to a knife that is very satisfying but they can also be cold and slick. Vosteed used a matte powder coat on these scales that seems durable and feels textured in hand which I appreciate. They also milled an attractive texture pattern into the scale. This is the grippiest and most comfortable aluminum-handled knife I own.
I should note that these really are aluminum scales. They are still screwed to the same stainless steel chassis found on other versions of the Raccoon. The result is a knife that feels even beefier than previous versions of the knife and makes a lot of very satisfying sounds when you flick it like only an all-metal knife can.
Vosteed used Nitro-V steel on this version and I was keen to try this considering all the time I have with their 14C28N. On paper, Nitro-V is very similar to 14C28N and I found that to be true in day to day use. It feels similar on sharpening stones and responds similarly on a strop. Edge holding also seemed very similar. Like the Vosteed’s 14C28N, this Nitro-V steel seems to be an excellent, fine-grained, and tough stainless steel that makes a fine choice for an EDC knife that will be pressed into varied tasks.
During my time with this knife, I tried to figure out what I could tell you about how to choose a Raccoon variant for yourself… then a record cold snap hit my area and it became obvious. If you don’t have to deal with cold temperatures regularly, I actually really like the feel and sounds of the aluminum-scaled version of the Raccoon. If you do have cold temps on the regular, the micarta versions will likely feel warmer in hand. It is nice to have options and I hope that one day Vosteed may even offer accessory scales to their customers as it would be very nice to be able to swap them.
In the end, this is just another option for an already great design. It has the same useful blade size and shape. You get the same great handle design that splits the difference so well between being slim in the pocket but hand filling. It is the same just-right EDC knife with a new scale and steel option.
I own a number of aluminum-handled knives and found this one to be very comfortable and very grippy. The scale treatment provides both a soft, textured feel and plenty of grip. It also happens to look great in my opinion. The Raccoon Crossbar Lock Knives already feel very stout but these new aluminum versions seem to lean even harder into that impression.
See our previous review of the micarta version of this knife here.