Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A.G. Russell Acies 2

When the iPod came out it was a curiosity and then after about a year it exploded.  The consumer electronics world and the music world have not been the same since.  Every year a dozen or so companies touted their new device as the "iPod killer" and none ever were.  In fact, the "iPod killer" is now better known as the iPhone.  So too, in the knife world, except this time people are doggedly trying to knock off the Sebenza.  As a production knife with the fit and finish of a custom, it is really unrivaled.  As a custom knife that has the availability and price of a production blade, it again is unrivaled.  But in the course of the past twenty years there have been dozens of "Sebenza killers."  None have succeeded.  The Sebenza will be approximately 22 years old this year and is still going strong.

A.G. Russell, however, will not be deterred.  He is determined to out-Sebenza the Sebenza.  His Acies (Latin for "edge" and pronounce A-SEE-US; thanks high school Latin!) looked like a winner--a Ti framelock with a deep carry, over the top clip, a nice blade shape, a Hinderer lockstop, and oh yes, ZDP-189 steel, the Acies was definitely a contender.  But there were some issues.  First, there was a problem with the lockbar.  There were very few reports of disengagement (few, if any), but the lockbar displayed a great deal of wobble when engaged.  Lots of frame locks do this, my Leafstorm did, for example, but it is concerning nonetheless.  Additionally there was the issue of size.  The original Acies was so big that it was not really a good EDC choice.  You could carry, no doubt, but at more than 3 inches, it was just not in that sweetspot of 3-2.5 inches.

Enter the Acies2 (ugh, why no space?), the smaller version of the now out of production Acies.

At 2.99 inches it stands to fix a lot of the problems (two, really) of the original.  The original was a beautiful blade, but the smaller version with its tighter dimensions seems even better.  The blade:handle would rank as the highest I have reviewed thus far, a stunning .793 (the Small Sebenza was a .74).  This is one of the trademarks of an A.G. Russell folder and it is really amazing to get that much free blade length.  Additionally, the weight is the same as the Small Sebenza.  And finally, the big issue--price.  The Acies2 is $35 cheaper.  Better steel and lower price?  It looks like we have a fight on our hands.  Only the fit and finish concern me, but I am sure Kershaw (which makes the blades for A.G. Russell) fixed the lockbar problem.  Here is the YouTube video from A.G. Russell:

I'll see if I can get one for review, but either way, we may have our first, real Sebenza killer in the Acies2. 


  1. I bet they did the name without space because of SEO/search term and name uniqueness. Doesn't Spyderco do with the Delica line?

    Also, that knife looks fantastic. So you say $35 "less" - that puts it at what, $350 or so?

  2. Looks really nice. I agree, a 3" blade on this style of knife is appealing and it seems to have a lot of other things going for it. I look forward to the review if you manage to get your hands on one.

  3. The Acies 2 RRP is $295

    CRK note the small Sebenza RRP is $350

    That is a delta of $55 or ~15%

    Does anyone know if the Acies2 pivot design is same as Sebenza. ie with the pivot screw sitting inside a blade bush spacer?

  4. Wow, a beautiful knife. There is an audience that will buy it over the CRK Sebenza simply for the ZDP blade.

    The AG Russell video pronounces it "AY-cheese," with two syllables. Guess they missed HS Latin? I think your pronunciation sounds classier.

  5. I happened to have my Sebenza on the desk near me when I wrote this and it was clearly marked at $330. The price, however, has gone up and is, as shown above, $350. This makes the Acies even better.

    Also church Latin says a cheese us, but classical roman Latin, which seemed to stick in my brain better is a see us.

  6. What is the blade grind on this knife? It looks hollow. The blade shape reminds me of my ritter mini-grip