Friday, August 17, 2012

Review: Schrade Army 10 Knife

I had the good fortune to get my hands on another knife to add to my collection. I've been quite busy at my day-job shunting pixels and yelling at vendors about patient safety to do much writing, but it's remarkable how a piece of good steel in the hand makes one feel better. So, in this blade, I am trying to recover my mojo, as it were, and get back on the horse so to speak. Without further ado then, let me present the Schrade Army-10 Knife which was sent to me from the folks at LEGear.

This is a fighting knife, branded as being "US Army" by Schrade which is cool, and I can totally get behind that, it fits both my accent and heritage, being a (dual-Australian/) American citizen and my father having been A US Army veteran (Vietnam, 1969-70) so, as you might imagine, I have a soft spot for the Army. However it's branded, it's the mettle of the metal that I'm most interested in, however.

Lets go into that shall we?

This is a moderately sized, fixed drop-point blade which measures in at 26cm (10.4") of which 14cm (5.3") is the plain edged blade. It masses in at 280g (9.9oz). Comparing that against the KA-BAR Zombie Killer "Death" Dagger with it's 21cm blade, 35cm overall and 340g in mass you can see that it is a far more wieldy blade. especially if you plan on strapping it to your person.

The metal of the blade is a 1070 High Carbon Steel, which is a tough, hard steel, and is commonly associated with hard-use applications like machetes and the like that can and will take a lot of rough use and abuse such as battoning and chopping. The handle material is black Kraton which is a synthetic rubber, and is springy and soft to the touch. The handle is bolted to the full tang with 4 hex-bolts, and leaves the spine of the tang exposed. I read some comments in researching this knife that the Kraton seemed "flimsy" and "rubbery" but I think this must be from folks used to G10 scales and the like. I found it married to my grip really nicely. The lanyard hole was nicely placed too, recessed from the Kraton.

The back of the tang features 5 crenelations that sunk below the spine and the handle, leaving it flush with the back of the blade, making it snag free, but by virtue of the rubbery Kraton, a good positive grip can be achieved without needing to tense the hand unduly. I was always taught to hold a handle fairly, but without choking it, whether it was a knife, golf-club, sword or whatever. Finesse comes from controlled motion, and a clenched fist is a ridged one.

You can see here the sculpting that is present in the Kraton on the back of the grip, as well as the "US Army" logo and decal on the side of the blade. Which was pretty, and unobtrusive printed on top of the black Teflon coated surface of the blade.

Those sculpted regions in the back of the handles marry up to a reverse grip really well, and the cutout for the lanyard hole in the butt of the knife is still nicely exposed in this grip.

In a forwards grip, the finger notch sits nicely between index and middle fingers, with a raised guard to stop fingers sliding forwards, and again ,that set of crenelations to rest a thumb grip on.

The nylon sheath has some features worth mentioning too. The primary belt loop opens up with a broad hook-and-loop band, meaning you wouldn't need to undo a belt to put it at your waistband. A thigh loop set of lanyards and cord couple this to keep it from flapping on the bounce. A press-stud closing PALS/MOLLE band, and corresponding loops give a downwards-draw carry option. the metal loop at the bottom of the PALS band was a mystery to me though, another attachment point? I don't know. It moved independently to the PALS/MOLLE strip.

The front side of the sheath carries a secondary, Fastex style clip closing pouch, with is attached to the main sheath by both a long and broad hook-and-loop field, but also by the straps that wrap around the sheath to form the PALS/MOLLE loops on the back. Having this pouch being removable, gives the option of either stripping it off (at the expense of loosing a layer of additional stability when MOLLE-bound), but also allowing that secondary pouch to be flipped so it opens "upwards" in the event the blade is worn "downwards". That was quite a clever addition. The materials of the sheath are adequate, but not exceptional. There is only one main press-stud closure for the blade, meaning it is not "jump-ready", but as I'm unlikely to be "Airborne" tabbed any time soon, this isn't really a concern for me. The closure does have an odd extra hook and loop layer to it, presumably to adjust the tightness of the closure, but I cant for the life of me think why the trouble was taken, and a second loop wasn't added.

All in all, this is a really nice knife, and I am very glad to have gotten my hands on it. Not the bestial monsters that the KA-BAR Zombie Killer knives are, this is a mid-sized blade for serious working people who need to get a job done, but space is at a premium.

I think I will be adding this to one of my chest rigs and experimenting with how best I want to carry it, because I certainly do want to. Often.

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