Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Review: HHA ASOT-01

I've finally gotten my hands on one of the much desired Hardcore Hardware Australia ASOT-01's for my very own, as part of my Giftmas haul, and I'm finally getting around to telling you about it, now that I have had it in my grabby-hands for a little while. I had covered this blade after it came out in a Wish-Lust piece, as well as getting to pay with one again at the SSAA SHOT show.
We have a few of the HHA items in the household, with a TWI-02 Tactical Writing Implement , and two of their smaller knives, the LFK-05 and LFK-02 blades.
Putting my three most similar blades together, you can see how the ASOT-01 compares to with the ZU Bladeworx Mekanik and the very deadly Benchmade SOCP CQB.
The distinct bevelled ring design of the ASOT-01 enhances the tool's accessibility and comfort, making it exceptionally fast and easy to draw. The ring is very comfortable, and the inwards scalloping wasn't at all troublesome as I had thought it might have been. The ring, much like that of the SOCP also enables transition to a rifle or hand-gun with no disconnection between the tool and firearm.
That scalloped thumb recess at the top of the ring supports a positive grip and for the application of downward force, opening cans of whoop-ass and the like.
Unique to the ASOT-01 is its "live edge identifier" knob at three quarters along the length of the handle. This enables the user to quickly identify the position of the single-sided cutting edge by feel. Good for in the dark, or when your blade is obscured. I really liked this feature, it made for a fast steady draw as well as keeping it firmly in the right orientation.
The personalised mounting provided with the ASOT is based on the ambidextrous kydex sheath it comes with along with Tek-Lok and Molle-Lok mounting options. Customised for vertical, horizontal or angled wear the mounting is further expanded by the provision of eyelet holes along both sides of the sheath to facilitate alternative attachment to the body or gear with paracord, cable ties or the like.
With its low profile design which allows the tool to be sandwiched on or behind magazine/accessory pouches, or horizontally along the belt line to maintain optimum concealment and retention. However, the sheath adds considerable width, which limits where you can place it somewhat, but not so much as to be impossible.
Made from 6mm (0.236") D2 tool steel stock, it can withstand some substantial impact without loss of sharpness. Halfway down the sharp edge, serrations have been cut into the blade to aid in the performance for more demanding cutting tasks.
The blade is 100 mm (3.93") long, with an overall length of 198 mm (7.79") and 27 mm (1.06") wide. When its its widest, it's 40 mm (1.57") wide. The blade with it's G10 handles weighs in at 120 g (0.26 lb) which is not bad for the size it is. The D2 steel is thick, and dense, but the very narrow throat and ringed end.
In its friction locked sheath, its 205 mm (8.07") long, and 60 mm (2.36") wide and weighs in at 160 g (0.35 lb). Again, the width makes it much more like a belt knife rather than the dagger effect of the SOCP.
The ASOT-01 is a non-prohibited design, single edged but ready to grind down on the back side of the blade, something the guys at Platatac have told me that Operational Operators Operating have been known to do. As always with this kind of knife, please check your local State laws in relation to knife ownership and carry.
[EDIT - 26/2/2016]
The good folks at Hardcore Hardware Australia dropped me a line with several words of caution, and I'm only too happy to agree with them -
"Josh, we do not advocate the re-grinding of our tools; such practices void HHA’s warranty. What you are suggesting in your review in this regard also constitutes a breach of Victoria State Law; I would be inclined to re-think this approach. Thank you in advance for your co-operation. HHA"
I'd rather touch-up a paining in a gallery with a crayon than re-grind one of their blades myself, it's nerve-wracking enough to sharpen them right.

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