Saturday, April 21, 2012

Strider SnG CC Review by Alex


 
Most people who like tactical knives or hard use knives have probably stumbled across Strider Knives. Like the Sebenza and many other high end production knives, the pricing on Strider Knives are going to be the same, if you buy from a dealer. My SnG is a knifeart.com exclusive, with, what Strider calls, Arctic Grey G10 scales. Strider knives typically come in Black, brown, and ranger green scales. The CC denotes that it is a “Concealed Carry” model, but more on that later. Street price for a CC SnG is $475 at monkeyedge.com.


Strider StampStrider makes three other knives with the same design, just different sizes, as the SnG. The PT is the smallest of the 4, then the SnG, then the SMF, and the SMF XL [Editor's Note: Links would be included, but the crappy Strider site is getting an update so there are no links the product page or the product pages for its brothers]. These knives are made in batches, so they are often times sold out at most dealers. [Editor's Note: Here is a written review.  Here is a video review.]

Design: 2

The ergonomics of the knife is fantastic. In usage, I do not find that there are any hotspots that hurt my hand. The cutout on the handles make the opening hole very accessible, even with thick gloves on. People that I lend my knife to tend to think that the studs on the blade are used for opening. Actually, they are stop pins, but can serve to open the blade, as well. There is also a large choil on the blade that allows for choking up on the knife for finer, more precise cutting. While the large choil does make it so you lose a little bit of cutting edge, I have never found that it gets in the way.What differentiates the “Concealed Carry” model to the regular “Lego” versions is the fact that the G10 Scales and Titanium Lockside have been radiused to reduce the foot print of the knife. It has also reduced the weight of the knife from 4.5 oz to 4.2 oz.


Fit and Finish: 1

Let’s face it, Strider knives are not the most refined out of the bag (they come in a bag, not a box). The action was tight and the lock was a little sticky when I received the knife. After a few dozen openings though, these things did work themselves out. My knife is now buttery smooth, and the lock no longer sticks.The finish of the knife, however, was outstanding. No blade play or rock lock, the G10 is cut flush with the titanium lockside, the blade coating and flaming on the titanium are very evenly and cleanly done. The blade is very, very slightly off center towards the lock, though.
 
Grip: 2

The jimping is very functional, while not being too aggressive. Coupled with the design of the handle and choil, the knife is very secure and comfortable in hand. There is jimping on both the spine of the blade and top of the knife, but as well as on the butt of the knife, making it very comfortable and secure in a normal grip and a reverse grip.


Carry: 1

The knife may be a bit heavy for some people. I know Nutnfancy has his 4 oz. rule for EDC knives. This knife comes in at 4.2 oz. The CC scales really help this knife disappear in your pocket. I hardly notice it or the weight when I have it on me every day. I carry it in cargo shorts, jeans, slacks, and occasionally IWB (in the waistband) when wearing sweats or shorts without pockets. It has never bothered me in any of these.I did knock the SnG a point in carry because it does stick out of my pocket a little too much. Nearly an inch of the knife is exposed when it is clipped. [Editor's Note: I am not convinced that EVERY knife needs to be deep carry, especially a more tactical blade like this one]

Retention Method: 2

Strider uses a titanium clip on their knives. It is very tight from the factory, and I have no worries about it every coming out of my pocket when I don’t want it to.


 In pocket, shown in Triple Aught Design F10 NYCO Shorts 

Blade Shape: 2

The blade utilizes a spear point blade. I have no qualms about this. It has adequate belly, and has worked for me in every instance that I needed it to.

Grind: 2

My SnG has a 3/4 grind, meaning that the blade is left flat for about 1/4 of the blade, and hollow ground the rest of the way. What this does is it gives you a very thick blade, while still having excellent cutting ability. This is where the SnG shines. Strider touts that their knives can take abuse like no other folding knife. You can pry with it, you can baton with it, and just all around abuse it. The thick blade stock aides in all of these activities. The edge was ground very evenly from the factory, and was shaving sharp, but not up to my (arbitrary) standards. I have since mirror polished the edge and have gotten it to whittle hair.

Steel: 2

It is S30V. I’m no steel expert, but like the “Folding Knife Score System” stated, it is the “sweet spot” of knife steels.

Lock: 2

The SnG uses Chris Reeve’s integral lock, more commonly known as a framelock. It is strong, but also easy to use. It also features Rick Hinderer’s Lockbar Stabilizer. While I don’t tend to overextend my lockbar, it is nice to have this feature.

Deployment Method: 2

Not quite the round hole that Spyderco uses, but the oval hole works just as nicely. The blade can be flicked out of the handle with no wrist movement. I won’t complain about the thumbstuds being in an awkward place, in regards to the handle, because they are not designed to be used for opening, they are the stop pins.

 
Overall Score: 18 out of 20

This knife is my favorite knife I have ever owned, even over the Sebenzas and customs that I once had in my possession. Because of this, I wanted to give it a perfect score, I really did, but I had to knock it for a few things. I must say, though, that I think what really makes a Strider a Strider is its ability to be taken beyond what a knife should be expect to do, which is cut. I like that I reliably pry with the SnG if I was stuck in a car, or baton wood for a campfire if I ever get lost in the woods. I like knowing that this knife will withstand a bomb and keep on coming. This sense of security that I have in my knife’s ability more than makes up for the little bit that sticks out of my pocket, or the grittiness that it had out of the bag (which, again, is now gone after the break in period).One more thing that I think more than makes up for its shortcomings is the Strider warranty. If you haven’t modified your knife, and it breaks under normal use, abuse, or pure recklessness, Strider will most likely fix it or replace it for only the cost of shipping. There are not many knife companies that will do that for you. Just be sure to read their warranty first.

18 comments:

  1. Hi,
    Some comments on the Strider SNG from my own experience... (SNG DGG)
    1. Dull blade on delivery - knife came new from TAD gear.
    2. Lock forced against non-lock side after light baton-ing (wood for fire).
    3. Loved the handle shape, fit in the palm and deep choil, however the DGG for me is to thin in the hand and you must wear gloves for hard use - maybe the standard handle would be better.
    4. Speaking of hard use - Striders are built for it - or so they say. In my experience - after a year of general use, I have a knife I can no longer use as the lock no longer engages correctly... I've read this in other reviews since - but my SNGs framelock no longer makes full contact meaning excessive vertical and horizontal blade play... not what I expected from a $450 knife.
    5. Personally I also found the knife tricky to sharpen until I'd put my own angle/bevels on it.
    6. In real life use the SNG cut poorly - not because of the blade itself - but because if you cut any type of loose material it would snag of the secondary smaller choil at the base of the blade - this was very irritating - what should have been a quick task with one cut can become a frustrating slash and stab to try and open something as simple as plastic sheeting.

    Fundamentally Strider SNG's can't live up their intended/advertised use... Yes i can send it back to the Strider spa - but being in the UK that is not a great option... IMO the best option was switching to the Spyderco Para2 - its outperformed both striders I've owned for a fraction of the price.
    So these are my personal opinions after owning two Striders and using the SNG DGG as my edc for around a year...

    Anyways - hope theres is some constructive opinion there - great blog!

    Cheers!

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    1. Great review! Though, the finish looks a little clean. You really should give the knife a run for it's money!

      It should be noted that Strider has finally changed their lock up and should reduce the frequency of long-term detriments to a scalloped tang.

      I really like my SMF and PT and have been wanting to get an SnG. I did a pretty length review of the PT on my blog and it is still one of my favorite little folders. I also broke my SMF and they replaced it, no questions asked.

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    2. I actually did give this SnG plenty of usage. The black oxide is just holding up really well. Thanks for the comments!

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    3. The fit and finish on Strider stuff has always been an issue. I think that as they have gone more mainstream, they have worked on these issues. I know that the PT was discontinued in part because of issues with the pivot (which was redesigned once before the discontinuance). Generally my hands on with Strider knives has taken place at knife shows and they have been really pristine examples, so I think it is a matter of manufacturing variances. If you get a nice, snug, tight knife it is a score. The problem is that much variance in a knife so expensive is a concern. I haven't seen a "sloppy" Strider, personally, but it would be a very big issue if I laid out $500 for a knife and got one. The SJ series of knives and the newer SNG and SMF blades seem to have tamed some of the variance issues and the problems with the blade tang.

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    4. I had no idea that the oxide coating held up so well.

      As for the PT, IIRC, it was because they had trouble working with a smaller pivot because they had already been set up working with the larger pivot. Though, I personally think, the PT is a just a wee bit too small, anyways. Feels more like a toy than a knife, but it can handle tasks even other custom/high-end dollar knives can't, so I'm glad I have one.

      It is annoying that QC can be shoddy with Strider. Though, my experience with the customer service has been pretty decent. Not to mention, the blades (disregarding handles, etc) are still very good. I'm not a strider fanatic/fanboy/whatever-you-want-to-call-it, but after using, abusing, and even breaking one, I will continue to buy their knives.

      Though, I'd wish they'd work on their website. It's been "INOP" or years or so.

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    5. Regarding the PTs. As far as I know, they are NOT discontinued. In fact, monkeyedge has some in stock right now, after being out of stock for months. I think the SnG and SMF are must more popular models, so they get priority in production.

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    6. Yes, I wasn't commenting on them being discontinued. I was referring to the change with the pivot. The smaller "spanner" style pivot was a nuisance (they kept stripping the female hex side) and that is why the switched to the 3 pin/prong pivot (female side).

      Indeed, the PT has been through a few changes. If you look closely even, the lockbar relief has even been changed in the newer models (I assume to make the lockbar less stiff).

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    7. Actually, the comment about them not being discontinued was directed towards Tony. Also, regarding the poor QC of Striders, I also feel as if they have gotten their stuff together. Between the ones I handled at knife stores, meet and greets, and my own, I have never seen one that I would describe as "sloppy." Like I said, they are not the most perfect knife on the market, but I don't think they are any worst than most companies. Hell, I've handled more Spydercos and Benchmades that have bladeplay or are off centered than I have Striders, proportionately, of course.

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    8. Alex is right. A little digging shows that the PTs went out of production so that they could redesign the pivot again. According to a few sources, including Monkeyedge, the pivot has changed for a third time.

      The lockbar/tang interface has also been redesigned.

      I totally agree the average amount of variance. Almost all production companies have that variance among different individual units. I think people are wary because for roughly the same price you can get a Sebenza and I have handled probably a dozen (especially when I was lusting after one) and there were NEVER production variances. CRK stuff is a different breed of knife, but they really do set the standard for what people expect in this price range.

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    9. The quality control from Chris Reeve is unmatched by any other production company out there. I always see the comparison between CRK and Strider regarding the QC, but I don't think that is fair. It is comparing a company that has average to above average QC to a company that has the best in the business.

      I would love for Striders to have the same fit and finish and QC as CRK, but realistically, that's just not going to happen.

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    10. Striders are not for pussies who go hiking and botton wood. There for baddass who need a knife to possible cut and stab through metallic materials and pry shit with.

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  2. The photos in this review are excellent.

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    1. Thanks! Natural lighting plus a neutral background make a world of difference.

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    2. Did you use a grey card to set your white balance? I think the good white balance is what makes them look good also.

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  3. I agree. These are some excellent photos. The "Arctic Gray" is really awesome.

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    1. If you guys would like to request any other pictures of the knife, I would be happy to oblige.

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  4. Alex,

    Great review! I learned a great deal more about the SnG thanks to you. Thanks!

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  5. After opening my sng several times, the lock bar doesnt make contact as well, causing vertical blade play. Locks up nice when gripping the blade because pressure is put on the lockbar. I'm not convinced that strider can fix this. If the steel deteriorates from the titanium lock bar rubbing upon opening, then any fix will be temporary.

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