TOPS Knives has plenty of new knives to look forward to this year. They have a little bit of everything in the works from concealable defensive options to the full-size field knives. Check out the video below for a sneak peek of what is yet to come in 2020.
Resolute Tools is a new company that seeks to bring the aerospace design and manufacturing experience of Resolute Aerospace to EDC tools. That begs the question… what happens when aerospace meets EDC? Intricate machining, function-first design, and material science happen. The X-1 happens.
The X-1 is a retractable EDC utility knife with a Grade 5 Titanium (6Al-4V) housing with an aluminum-bronze blade slider. It makes use of standard disposable utility blades and offers tool-less blade replacement. It weighs in at just .445 ounce with a blade and is only .125″ thick.
Observations from Use
Have you ever held something in your hand and you could just feel that it was something that was very, very fine? That is the impression that the X-1 gives when you hold it. It feels like something you should be proud to own – like something special.
Minimalism is fine but it seems like Resolute Tools really only looked at minimalism as a starting point. Then, they set about stripping away every extra sliver of material or pretense until they had something beyond minimalist. There are only two monolithic parts (three if you count the blade) which themselves have been reduced to their most simple, lightweight forms.
The attention to detail goes deeper than just the design and extends into the materials. The 6Al-4V titanium material for the housing was chosen for its elastic properties making it well suited for use as an integral spring to tension the detent on the slider. The slider itself makes use of an aluminum bronze bearing alloy that has a low coefficient of friction. It feels almost oily (in a good way) as it slides within the titanium housing.
That minimalism does come at a price. Many similar EDC utility knives have a larger blade carrier that slides inside a much larger housing. This serves to prevent the blade from rubbing on the housing. The X-1 has a much more minimal blade carrier and, unfortunately, it allows the blade to rub against the housing to some extent which will prematurely dull the blade. When I pointed out the dulling issue, Resolute Tools told me this was an intentional design decision to keep the X-1 as small as possible while still retaining the functionality necessary to cut tape on Amazon boxes or other EDC tasks. They also tell me that carbide utility blades will resist dulling better than the typical carbon steel blades. I can confirm that while some dulling does happen pretty much immediately, a working edge capable of opening packages and the like is retained for quite a while.
I would like to describe the experience of carrying the X-1 but there is really nothing to describe. It’s like carrying nothing at all. It’s so thin and so light that you’ll never know its in your pocket. I like carrying it in my jeans coin pocket. The clip is integral to the housing and well designed. It retains the X-1 well and slides onto the pocket easily. It is a joy to carry.
Using the X-1 is just as nice as carrying it. It rests in the hand easily. It opens and closes easily with a satisfying detent action when the blade carrier reaches its limits. You can feel solid stops at both ends of the blade’s travel with a gentle thud as the blade carrier detent drops into place. Every corner is broken to make it feel soft in the hand. Like I said earlier, it feels like something special.
If the X-1 is what Resolute Tools comes up with for their first entry into the EDC tools market, I can’t wait to see what they’ll do next.
The Resolute X-1 is in its final days on Kickstarter. It on pace to exceed 5 times it’s original funding goal and Resolute Tools is already making them. You can find out more at their campaign page: Resolute X-1 on Kickstarter
TOPS Knives just released two new knives, the CUMA Kage and Tidal Force. Both are definitely big and bold.
The KAGE (Pronounced KU-MA KA-GAY), means “Shadow” in Japanese. The name is drawn from one of the designer’s lifelong passions, GI JOE: the Arashikage (Storm Shadow) Clan.
SIJO Waysun Johnny Tsai is a lifelong martial artist and world-renowned self-defense instructor. Riding off the success of his wildly popular TOPS Knives release, the C.U.M.A. TAK-RI, and its connection to the GI JOE Ninja Commando Snake Eyes, Sijo wanted to create something that he has sought after since his childhood, a functional Snake Eyes Sword.
Wanting to show influence, but not wanting to make an identical sword to the comics, Sijo drew the sword to his favorite Escrima stick length, 24″. Through years of training Sijo has found that 24″ is a perfect length for close range combat with an edged weapon or stick.
He then changed the tip and added a striking Punyo tip to the handle. Sijo didn’t just want a short tactical sword, he wanted to create a bush sword that could replace an axe, one that could fell a tree as well as remove an enemy’s limb in combat. Once satisfied with his initial hand drawings, he sent the sketches to his good friend Roland III of FOX KNIVES USA fame to transfer the hand sketch to a digital format.
Once the artwork was complete, Sijo landed back with his family at TOPS KNIVES. Over the next two years, Sijo and TOPS created a prototype and at the suggestion of Leo Espinoza and Craig Powell, TOPS added some fullers and holes to the handle to lighten the weight of the sword, Outside of the new fullers and holes in the handle, the sword’s CAD file was created from the original hand and digital drawings provided by Waysun Johnny Tsai and Roland Hinojosa III.
During the prototype stage, IDW comic book / GI Joe artist Robert Atkins agreed to upgrade the official Snake Eye’s sword in the comic book with The C.U.M.A. KAGE. That story arc written by GI JOE legend Larry Hama, is GI JOE: SNAKE HUNT and runs in GI JOE: A Real American Hero issues numbered 266-276.
The C.U.M.A. KAGE is finally here and Sijo could not be prouder of the final product that TOPS KNIVES has delivered.
Let’s face it. Cleavers are awesome. So are Karambits. Put them together the right way, and you end up with an interesting tool. The Tidal Force is that tool. Use it for daily tasks. Use it for food prep. Use it for self-defense. Whatever you decide to use it for, you’ll look good doing it. It has TOPS famous differential heat treated 1095, Some classy burlap Micarta handles and a solid Kydex sheath with a leather dangler.
RE Factor Tactical’s latest entry into the Sicario line of defensive knives, the Sicario III, represents their third in the collaboration series with custom maker Toor Knives. The new Sicario III is the most compact yet at just 6.5″ long with a 3.25″ blade.
Like previous Sicario offerings, this one features a CPM154 Persian inspired blade shape with a hollow primary grind. The result is a very acute, piercing point with a aggressive cutting edge. The full tang construction with slab handles and a large, easy to access finger ring for retention. The included sheath comes with a clip for IWB carry.
If you have been following the other Sicario knives, you’ll know you have to act fast to put one of these in your hands. Once the pre-order for these ends on May 4th, they will not be offered again.
The Spyderco Endura and Delica with the Emerson Opener (Wave) are among my favorite knives of all time. The Endura and Delica are excellent on their own. The Wave adds a new level of one-handed usefulness and nobody executes Wave openers better than Spyderco. I am also very fond of the Spyderco Military series and consider the Para 2 and 3 among the most versatile pocket knives available. With all that background, it’s easy to understand why I am so excited about the exclusive version of the Para 2 that BladeOps just announced.
They will be offering a Para 2 with Emerson Opener. It will have almost everything that makes the Para 2 great – that excellent G-10 handle, the Spyderco Compression Lock, CPM S30V steel, and 4-way pocket clip. There are two main differences between the basic Para 2 and the waved version. The most obvious difference is the addition of the Wave. The second difference is the saber grind that replaces the standard full flat grind.
The Spyderco Para 2 with Emerson Opener is available for pre-order now with an expected ship date of 5/4. If you know anything about Spyderco exclusives, you know they tend to sell out quickly, so act now if you want one.