Archive | Knives

The Survival Knife in your Pocket – Cold Steel Pendleton Mini Hunter

I owned a Cold Steel Pendleton Mini Hunter years ago. I never really did much with the one I used to own because I didn’t have a sheath that made it very practical to carry but the knife itself was excellent. I thought of it as a paring knife on steroids which is to say it was an excellent utility knife that was quite stout.

Fast forward to earlier this year when I was looking for a knife with some basic requirements – stainless, large and stout enough to baton sticks of a reasonable diameter for fire making, small enough to EDC, and with a 90-degree spine. The idea was that, when coupled with a Swiss Army Knife (with saw) and a ferro rod/lighter, it would be the foundation of a sort of EDC-able survival kit. Surprisingly, this was difficult to find in a relatively affordable production knife which drove me back to the Pendleton Mini Hunter. It not only fits this niche but I found that it has become extremely affordable. I purchased one for just $35.

The knife itself is excellent. The flat ground AUS-10A blade is 3″ long and .130″ thick at the spine which is quite stout. It features a drop point blade shape that has a distal taper to the tip rendering a strong but useful point. The handle is molded rubber that allows a four-finger grip (though it is narrow) and is comfortable to use even when cold thanks to the lack of exposed tang. It has a small guard that is unobtrusive and the 90-degree spine throws sparks like a champ.

In use, it really does feel like the most useful paring knife if your kitchen but 10X as durable. It may not sound like it initially, but that is supposed to be high praise. It can cut your apple for lunch, trim a thread, dress your deer, or start a fire in challenging conditions which is pretty impressive for a knife that costs $35, weighs 2 ounces, and is exceedingly easy to carry… as long as you spend a bit more money on sheaths.

When it comes to sheaths, there are a ton of options. I can only speak to the two I’ve tried. The first is a KSF (Knives Ship Free) Pocono Pocket Sheath. This leather pouch sits gracefully in your front or back pocket and has room to carry a ferro rod (which I do) in addition to the knife.

The sheath second option, a kydex sheath from RK Kydex, is probably the better option considering the versatility, availability, and affordability. I set mine up with a single snap loop which makes it easy to carry on my belt, as a neck knife, or in the pocket. I had this sheath in days, the quality is excellent, and I only paid $28 for it which is very affordable compared to most of the market. I highly recommend these sheaths.

The combination of the Cold Steel Pendleton Mini Hunter and the RK Custom Kydex Sheath was perfect for fleshing out my pocket survival knife idea. It is on my belt as I type this. I think this knife would make a great addition to anyone’s kit or a great gift.

Links to the products above:

Cold Steel Pendleton Mini Hunter AUS10A

Cold Steel Pendelton Mini Hunter 3V (upgraded steel)

KSF Pocono Pocket Sheath

RK Custom Kydex Sheath


The above URLs may be affiliate links.

Sosby Blades Wedge – A Mini Review and Customer Service Story

I purchased a Sosby Blades Wedge almost two years ago. It is an excellent knife that pulls off being both very compact and very hand-filling. The handle locks into the hand via a generous choil and works in any grip which can be achieved directly out of the well-designed sheath. The design of the blade places the needle-like tip exactly where it should be for piercing. This knife is a compact, self-defense powerhouse with decent utility.

There was just one small problem… I purchased my Wedge secondhand and the previous owner decided to give it what appeared to be a Worksharp edge. It was well polished and sharp but it looked like they lingered too long in one spot because there was an inward curve to the edge. I don’t mean something like a graceful recurve or hawksbill-style edge… it was like a shallow angle. This made it just about impossible to lay the edge down on a stone for sharpening.

I contacted Sosby Blades asking if I could pay to have the edge reground and was totally open about having purchased the knife secondhand. Sosby Blades was concerned that too much stock had already been removed which would change the intended geometry of the knife so rather than letting me pay for a repair, they offered to replace the knife at no cost. Needless to say, I was impressed.

Sosby Blades is a custom maker that releases knives in batches. They have stock right now on some of their most popular knives. Check out their website: https://sosbyblades.com/

Amtac Gear Teases New Knife – Northman X

NOTE: See below for the latest information and images.

Amtac Gear recently shared a tease for a new knife in the Amtac Blades line – the Northman X. This knife splits the difference between the Minuteman and the original Northman dimensionally. It appears to be an amalgamation of the larger Minuteman/Magnus grip with the Northman-like blade which should make for a knife that is equally at home in a pocket sheath or on the belt, especially for those who find the Northman handle to be on the small side.

You can read our review of the Northman to get a taste of why this is an exciting development. Like all Amtac Blades, I am sure this new knife will be supported with all the sheaths users need to squeeze every last ounce of versatility out of it.

https://amtacblades.com/

UPDATE: The NorthmanX is now confirmed and available to pre-order. https://amtacblades.com/northmanx/

Review: Amtac Blades Northman

I’ve been using the Amtac Blades Northman for more than a year now. It’s time to unpack what I’ve learned.

Specs

Steel: M390
Blade thickness: 5/32
Blade length: 3.5 inches
Overall length: 6 7/8 inches
Blade weight: 4.3 oz

The Northman’s spear point blade tapers to a very acute point, has a high flat grind, and a sharp 90 degree spine for striking a ferro rod. It features textured G-10 handle slabs. While the handle slabs are flat, the handle itself is heavily contoured featuring a deep first finger groove and a large punyo.

The knife is delivered as a package that includes the Northman knife, the Pocket FireSheath, a storage sheath, and an aluminum trainer version of the Northman that fits all the same sheaths.

Observations from Use

I want to start my observations with the Northman with some thoughts about the uniqueness of this knife because a lot of the rest of my thoughts will start from this foundation. The Northman is one of the most unique knives on the market in my opinion. I don’t mean from the standpoint of the design or the actual knife, though it is unique in that way. I mean it is unique in capability and the completeness of the entire package.

Belt version and Pocket version of FireSheath (Pocket version included)

There are other defensive or EDC or outdoor-oriented fixed blades on the market, but few that move so effortlessly through all three spaces. There are few (maybe none) knives that have so complete of a sheath eco-system available directly from the maker. I don’t know of another maker that includes a storage sheath that promotes mindfulness in preventing training accidents. The Northman is actually more than just the knife itself and it is unique. This sounds cliche but much of what I just mentioned is the key to what makes this knife truly useful.

I use my Northman a lot of different ways. This is made possible thanks to the variety of available sheaths and the useful blade shape. The knife’s compact dimensions and easy pocket-carry make it a fine EDC fixed blade. It is easy to carry and easy to access when using the included Pocket FireSheath. The useful point and long, slightly curved cutting edge is useful for a wide variety of mundane tasks.

The Northman works great in places a normal fixed blade wouldn’t like in a bee suit.
Carpentry? Check!

The Pocket FireSheath is also excellent for outdoor use as it allows you to place the knife out of the way of a pack hip-belt and keeps it accessible while wearing a pack. While Amtac Blades offers a number of sheaths for this knife, the FireSheaths (Belt and Pocket) are particularly well-suited to outdoor use with their integrated ferro rod. Carrying a Northman in a FireSheath means you are never without a fire starter which I find handy.

As a support to a concealed handgun, I prefer to carry the Northman on my belt using the Belt FireSheath that I purchased seperately. The Northman manages to pack a lot of blade length into compact package and it is very comfortable to carry on the belt either near the wearer’s centerline or pushed out toward the non-dominant side hip.

Some words on the sheaths available for the Northman: There are 5 of them and all are completely ambidextrous meaning the knife can be inserted either way. All but the storage sheath (included) make use of Discreet Carry Concepts (DCC) clips which is a very good thing. This ecosystem of available sheaths does a lot to drive the usefulness of the Northman. The knife comes with the Pocket FireSheath – a sheath with a long DCC clip meant to sit the knife deep in your front pants pockets with the punyo exposed for an easy draw. The Belt FireSheath, Minimalist Belt Sheath, and Deep Concealment Sheath are all belt sheaths with various capabilities that can be purchased as accessories.

Northman shown with both versions of the FireSheath

The inclusion of a storage sheath is particularly interesting to me and I think it speaks to the fact that this knife is sold by a man, Bill Rapier, who trains people to use them. The training sheath gives you a place to store your live blade while training with the training drone. This is so clever. It requires purposeful action to prepare for training. The trainee must place the live blade into the storage sheath and then place the drone into their sheath before training can begin. This mindful action, like the safety on a gun, can help prevent training accidents.

The handle of the Northman works for me and my hands (medium or large glove size depending on brand). The handle is very compact and might feel a little cramped in a basic hammer grip for very large hands but, for me, this is the feeling of being locked into a handle. This handle, with its deep first finger groove and punyo, sort of grips you while you grip it. I find it especially comfortable in a reverse grip with the edge out. The handle does allow for a variety of grips despite the heavily contoured shape.

Shown with my hand for scale

The handle does allow you to get very close to the edge. Some users will love this for the fine control it allows and some will worry about it. As mentioned above, this grip locks you in. I have never had an issue with this even when striking hard surfaces with the drone.

Finally, because I know it will come up, this knife is not inexpensive at $450… but it is a good value. If you spend much time looking at knives, you’ll know that knives with premium stainless steel and textured G-10 handles aren’t cheap to begin with. You’ll also know that sheaths with centerline mounted DCC clips aren’t cheap. You’ll know that 1 to 1 replica aluminum training knives aren’t cheap. You’ll also know that sheaths like those described above with an integral ferro rod and training knives so precisely made that they fit the same sheath as the live blade aren’t just expensive, they are just about non-existent. There is value for money here.

Always up for adventure

Wrap Up

The Amtac Blades Northman reminds me of the venerable, long-serving AR-15. Follow me here. The AR-15 itself is useful because it is versatile and easy to live with much like the Northman. AR-15s become more specialized and useful in more specific roles thanks to a plethora of available optics and the ease of mounting them – much like the plethora of sheaths for the Northman.

What I am trying to say is the Northman has inherent usefulness built into the knife itself which is enhanced by the completeness of ecosystem that Amtac Blades has built around it. This is unique and useful in a way that I don’t think is matched anywhere else. This is a tremendous knife.

http://amtacblades.com/northman/

And more adventure…
Fire prep? Check!

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