Monday, May 7, 2012

Mid to Large Sized Heavy Duty Folders on the Horizon

Spyderco Paramilitary 2 is one of the most well-reviewed mid-sized heavy duty folders (between 3 and 3.5 inches for purposes of this article).  There is no disputing it, pretty much everyone, their buddies, and their friends love this blade.  But there is some competition on the horizon that could give this super popular blade run for its money.

First, there is the slightly less expensive option, the newly released Cold Steel Mini Recon 1.

Relying on the fantastic Tri Ad lock, Cold Steel shrunk the blade to 3 inch and they add the always popular drop point to the stable of traditional blade shapes--a clip point and a tanto.  The steel is still the Cold Steel stand by of AUS 8, which is merely okay, but the lock is pretty awesome.

Second, there is the newly released little brother to the Surefire Charlie, the Surefire Jekyll.

This blade is a hard use framelock with 154CM steel for the blade and an aluminum scale on the non-lock side.  I like the fact that this is a flipper and I also really like the 3 inch drop point blade.  Lots of belly and the grind does a good job of delivering a lot of mass to the tip.  The price, around $195, is not too bad either, for a Surefire product.

Finally, there is the soon to be released TAD Gear Dauntless production knife (I am trying to get some more information, hopefully you will see that soon too).  Here is the announcement, in case you haven't already seen it:

For 8 years we’ve worked with some of the best custom knifemakers in the industry to bring our signature Dauntless design to life. Over this time, both customers and staff have often requested a production version of the Dauntless. We heard you loud and clear and are excited to say that day is close at hand. In a few weeks, we will launch the first ever TAD Dauntless designed and produced exclusively by us.

To celebrate this milestone, we’re calling on all D.O.G.'s to submit an image of their Dauntless collection to for a chance to be highlighted in a special commemorative book capturing the history of this distinguished blade.

Continue to follow us on Facebook for updates as the launch draws near.

And here is the sketch of the blade itself:

We don't know much, but given the proportions of the custom versions, this looks like it will fall into the 3-3.5 inch blade size.  It will almost certainly be the most expensive of these three knives though.  Nothing from TAD is cheap.  

I'd include the Benchmade Adamas but is bigger than the arbitrary 3.5 inch blade length cut off I set for knives in this category.  Also, I find the design utterly and completely boring.  It is a fatter version of the full-sized Griptillian.  And I think the Griptillian is just a better design, so why go for this heffer (7.7 oz for the 3.82 inch Adamas and 3.82 oz for the 3.45 Griptillian)?


  1. I'd be interested in seeing the difference between the mini-grip and full grip. Please add the full size grip to the review

  2. I am a little surprised by the blades you choose to highlight. You set the price rather high by including the SureFire, so there are many other blades I think need be mentioned. There are many Emersons that fit into the 3-3.5" heavy duty catagory. Emersons tend to polarize people though. What about the Zero Tolerance knives? The ZT 350 and 550 would be tough contenders. And I think the strongest competition for the PM2 comes from Spyderco itself. The Gayle Bradley and Manix 2 are tanks that are just a good as the PM2 for me.

  3. I like that Surefire is stepping into the ring here with some interesting knives but I am not a fan of the aluminum handle scale. Just looks cheap and uninspired. The Benchmade Barrage is a worthy adversary in my opinion. Very nice knife. But honestly the Para 2 is a modern classic and I don't see it going anywhere. For $100 you really can't go wrong with it. Just my .02 of course.

  4. I'm super excited for the Knifeworks exclusive Para2 with the CTS-204P (Bolher M390/Latrobe 20CV analog). Should be quite the performer. Though, My biggest peeve with the Para2 is the excessively large handle. Aesthetically, it's just displeasing. I understand that that larger handle is to aid in use with gloves, however I feel like the P2 could be redesigned to have a more balanced look (like the Manix2).

    The production TAD Dauntless should also be interesting. I actually think the design is a more of a fad than anything else. I'm sure they will use excellent materials on the production model, but I really dislike the overall design.

    My favorite Dauntless models, however, were from Boguszewski and the various runs from Strider. I still wish I could get one of those. I just felt the execution from those two makers had the cleanest looking lines and simplest forms. I'm not bashing on TAD or anything (I actually own a decent amount of their clothing and they are great, albeit expensive), but the Dauntless really isn't doing it for me (unless it's from the two makers mentioned).

    Those two are the most eye catching for me.

    Here's a link to the Dauntless Archives if anyone is interested:

  5. Have you considered the Benchmade 940 as well?

  6. I realize now that the heading was misleading. Changed to "...on the horizon"