Monday, April 16, 2012

Review: United Cutlery Trophy Master - Sidekick Tanto

I haven't covered any of my knives for a while, and thought this one would be a good addition. This is the United Cutlery "Trophy Master" Sidekick skinning knife, in "tanto". I don't have a link back to the manufacturer, as it seems United went Bankrupt in 2006 which is sad, as I've picked up a lot of their products over the years, my Lord of the Rings wall-hangers for one. Anyways, sad news at that is, I can still give you a review of this blade, and they are available through a variety of on-line sources it seems. So. What can I tell you about this knife? Firstly, it's made from corrosion resistant 420 J2 steel, which is both hard-wearing and low maintenance, but also holds a reasonable edge. It features an integral finger ring, a curling tail and a crenelated aggressive thumb grip.The polypropylene sheath is fitted with a belt clip and retains the blade with a pop-out mechanism which mates with the finger-loop on the blade. This is a little blade, being only 15.5 cm (6 1/8") long overall, but considering its purpose, that may not be a concern for you.
The Sidekick fits my hand very nicely, I have long fingers and I thought that might be an issue for a "naked" blade without scales, but the design lent itself very well to my grip. The "fingers through, thumb on the spine" technique for holding this knife enables some precision and control under circumstances that might otherwise be challenging with a "make a fist" grip. Whilst being designed as a skinning-knife, this version's "tanto" point is somewhat at odds with that, however, it has suited my needs very nicely, as a slicing and penetrating blade.
 The overall cross-section is quite stocky, which does interfere with thin-slices, but offers a very sturdy and stiff cutting edge on the other hand. The false edge of the spine meets the tip very neatly, and allows for a very sharp point to be achieved. Similarly, the straight edge of both the "tanto" tip and the main edge of the knife make for easy sharpening, but i have found that the thickness of the blade overall does not lend itself to keeping a finely honed edge.

That said, this is a dependable blade, that doesn't slip from your fingers when they are covered in goo and gore, is small enough to be manageable in confined quarters and has a beautiful aesthetic to it. It's a solid little knife, and whilst it isn't my first "go-to" blade, it does sit on my bedside table, just in case.

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