Monday, January 23, 2012

Dauntless Knives

TAD Gear is a name everyone that reads this site is familiar with, and if your not, you should be.  Nothing they make or sell could be described as cheap, but some of the stuff is really quite amazing.  One of their most incredible offerings is their Dauntless series of knives.

Here is the idea behind the Dauntless.  Every six months or so, TAD Gear contacts a custom knife maker, usually a very high profile person, and commissions somewhere between 10 and 12 knives (there is no final tally, and some makers, like Strider, made more than 10, according to rumor, Strider made around 100).  The maker is required to do a couple of things.  First, they need to incorporate the TAD Gear logo on the knife somewhere.  Second, they need to follow a few general design cues.  The blade, generally speaking, is between 2.5 inches and 4 inches long.  All but one of the Dauntless designs were folders (Kingdom Armory made a fixed blade version).  They all either have a metal bolster or all metal handles.  The blade itself is a modified spearpoint.  There is a pronounced choil in the handle and many have another choil at the base of the blade.  Most are framelocks.  They all have fullers (or blood grooves) on the blade and in the handle.  Finally the handle shape is generally the same.  But other than those loose criteria, the custom maker is free to do whatever they want.  The knives that have come out of this process are truly amazing works of art and awesome tools.  Some of the highest profile names in the custom knife business have taken part--Strider, Hinderer, J.W. Smith, Allen Elishewitz, and Warren Thomas, to name a few.

Here is my favorite of the Dauntless knives, the Brian Fellhoelter Dauntless Compact Ti (this is the full sized version, but they look the same):

This photo belongs to Brett Shandelson and he has kindly let me use it.  As a note, if you want to see some insane, truly insane EDC gear, check on Brett's Flickr page, found here.  The gear is awesome and the photography is amazing.  None of the designs are terrible and many are just as amazing.  In particular, I also like Phil Boguszewski's Ti version and JW Smith's traditional bolstered version.

All of the Dauntless knives can be found in a great and beautifully photographed site: Dauntless Archive.  There is also a sub forum over on USN, found here. Here is another Dauntless photo site.

Unfortunately these knives are not easy to find.  First, because only 10 or 12 are made, there aren't a lot to begin with.  Second, TAD Gear posts them on their website and they are sold out within 2 or 3 minutes.  Third, very very few hit the secondary market.  Dauntless owners are exceedingly possessive with their blades and few, if any of them, ever sell these wicked tools.  Even eBay has no real record of selling Dauntless knifes.  So, like with Atwoods, all we can do is wait and hope to get lucky.

But from the looks of these knives, the wait is worth it.

Also, if anyone has a Dauntless they'd like to part with, send an email, we might be able to work something out.  Email me at anthonysculimbrene at comcast dot net (in the usual format).  I hate to ask, but this would be a pretty cool write up.


  1. The JW Smith Bolstered version is beyond pimp....I can tell you I've definitely lusted over one with the OD green

  2. You have the Les George pictured.

  3. Les George's version is nice, but I like the Fellhoelter version better. Pic fixed.

  4. I was one of the lucky few to grab one of the JW Smiths in OD. Being my first Dauntless it will remain with me forever. There's nothing out there like a dauntless, any owner will agree.


  5. Great review. Love the Dauntless series and concept. I have four myself with one more on the way. :)

  6. The Les is wayyy better the the Fellhoelter version

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  8. This Dauntless knife looks amazing. I love the dauntless concept as well. Anyway, this can be a good addition in my collection of knives including cold steel knives and Kershaw knives.

  9. This Brian Fellhoelter Dauntless Compact Ti looks cool and compact indeed. I like the simplicity of the design. I can really see the sharpness of this knife on the photo. I look forward to getting this kind of knife as well.

    gerber pocket knife

  10. I like this knife as well. It looks very compact and sharp. This is a perfect companion for a survival trip like camping and mountain climbing. I wonder if this knife is better than my kershaw chive.

    1. I feel confident in saying that thiese knives are better than a chive.

  11. Great review on this knife. By the way, I like the handle of the knife on the photo. The idea of making a metal handle is excellent. I'm sure that this Dauntless knife will meet the standard of every survival knives lover. Did you happen to make a review on buck hoodlum? It's one of my favorites. Anyway, I look forward to reading more reviews on knives.