With the advent of StatCast, baseball has become even more stats-driven. Players that a generation ago would have commanded significant salaries are left unsigned well into the off season because that one gaudy number hides a parade of horribles in other categories. Its bewildering for casual baseball fans and fans of earlier eras and a good guess as to why baseball fandom has become more polarized—more hardcore fans and fewer casual ones.
But one universally beloved part of StatCast is the fact that you can now focus in on specific plays, sift through data and find the one jaw dropper, and revel in it with ease. You no longer have to hope and pray that some intern at ESPN will remember the play and drop it on Sportcenter. Thanks to StatCast and MLB TV you can find them yourself. This leads to a situation where hardcore fans become fans of specific kinds of plays. My favorite genre is the Giancarlo Stanton No Doubter Home Run. Here is my favorite of these GIFs,
The Millit Torrent is the knife equivalent of that Stanton dart to left field. The minute I got it in my hand I knew Millit and the designer TJ Schwarz had crushed it. This is a knife that will absolutely blow you away. If the Todd Begg Mini Bodega and the Hinderer Half Track were both amazing feats of machining, they look like normal human home runs compared to this Stantonian blast. If there is any knife that proves that production blades can be as nice as custom ones, this is it.
Here is the product page. There have been two generations of the knife, with the second generation having a few differences (the differences are covered in Nick's video found here). The main difference is a slightly more textured and larger flipping tab. My Torrent is a first generation model, though as a person that prefers a smooth tab (see the Massdrop Gent x Ferrum Forge Gent review for more), I don’t think the generational difference will impact my score. As configured it cost $595. This is my personal knife that I received in trade. There are a lot of options with a variety of materials, many of which will run you less, and some of which will run you more (the double Dammie version, blade and overlay of Damasteel, probably tops the price scale). This is the first written review. Here is a video review from Nick. You can find a stock of Millit Knives over at Blade HQ and Millit sells them direct as well.
And here is the review sample:
Twitter Review Summary: Like Terri Hatcher told Seinfield: “...spectacular...”
If this knife was not absolutely perfectly executed, I would be tempted to deduct a point from the design because of how overly complex it is. But like with the Steelcraft Mini Bodega, the extreme attention to detail IS part of the design. This is a knife that you are supposed to revel in, to hold and explore with your fingers and eyes. Every detail, every clever cut out is an invitation. This is a knife of wonderous complexity, and thanks to the brilliance of both the designer, TJ Schwarz, and the execution, none of that complexity gets in the way of the knife’s performance (and yes, I have used this beauty for mundane cutting tasks on a regular basis).
If you could wash away all of the nooks and crannies of this knife and look at it in a simplified form (which Millit should consider doing—a $200 ultraminimalist version of this knife would sell like hotcakes, which is how this more complex version is selling...), the bones here are fundamentally solid. The handle shape, known from a slew of fixed blades, with its cutout for your first two fingers and then a swell for grip, works well. The reverse tanto-ish blade shape is solid (more on this below). The clip, sculpted as it may be, works exceedingly well. Over and over again, this knife gets the “knife fundamentals” down pat. The fact that it has this layer of extreme complexity overlaying all of this is what makes this knife an easy home run of a blade.
The performance ratios are good, thanks to smart design and an abundance of TJ Schwarz’s favorite knife accent—the cutout.
Fit and Finish: 2
Other than the Sawby Swift, which approaches levels of fit and finish that can only be explained in my head via magic, the Torrent is the best made knife, custom or production, I have handled. Some of the Millit crew came fro Chris Reeve and they brought their triple aught tolerances with them. It would be difficult to conceive of this design in a less well-executed form. There are too many things that need to be great, absolutely perfect, for this knife to work. But over and over again, as I have used and explored this knife, Millit nailed it.
Lets look at some of the insane small details: they countersunk the screw holes AND then chamfered the edges to the countersink hole.
There is a symmetry to the overlay cutouts and the titanium milling on the other side.
The milled pocket clip has not just holes in it (TJ Schwarz, remember) but milling around the holes (see two pictures above). Virtually every detail that can be imagined has been fawned over and the end result is a knife that frankly stands above the crowd. If the Perceval was a slicer head and shoulders better than the rest, the Torrent is the same in terms of fit and finish. That this knife is produced on a large scale is crazy.
Even crazier is the fact that Millit didn’t walk away with the Manufacturing Award at the 2018 Blade Show. If the history of the big award didn’t completely convince you that something is wrong with Blade Show voting, the fact that this knife was shut out entirely has to be the convincing final argument in that regard.
For all of the complexity in the handle scales themselves, the Torrent's handle shape is pretty simple and as with most things, simplest is best. There are dozens of ways to make a good handle, but all of them are simple, no finger scallops, no traction aids, just a good, solid shape and that is what we have here.
Two things that you will notice in owning and carrying this knife: first, it is actually a pretty comfortable size, and second, despite the fancy pants materials and design it is pretty wear resistant. I usually keep keys in the pocket opposite my knife (my left from pocket), but other than that I have not babied the Torrent and it looks just as good today as the day I slid it out of the wholly overdone packaging (which, by the way, is reaching ludicrous levels right now). A lot of fancy knives carry terribly because they are basically show pieces for Instagram and while this knife can flash its beauty there, it is also a practical tool. Its rare to find something like that in the production or custom knife world these days.
I am not an avowed fan of pattern welded damascus. Its nice and all, but I am not going out of my way to get it on a knife. But Damasteel's stuff tends to be not just pretty but high performance. Here, the blade steel is the very rare Thor 93X which is a combination of PSF27 (itself a powder metal version of D2) and RWL34 (a kissing cousin, formula-wise, to 154CM). The result is a blade that holds an impressive edge for a long time. Its beauty is really a secondary thing, but, and this is abnormal for me to comment on, it is quite striking. I am constantly thinking of how much this knife looks like the ripples on the top of a pool of oil. They shimmer and catch light in a way that makes them look almost like they are moving. So, again, like with the carry aspect of the Torrent, we get beauty and performance.
Blade Shape: 2
Where are we in the taxonomy of blade shapes? I have no idea. I guess this is a mellowed reverse tanto, but really names don't matter. This is a blade shape that works. I like it quite a bit, especially with the more gradual belly than on something like the Benchmade 940.
The grind is quite nice. The main bevel is beautifully symmetric and the cutting bevel is even and thin. I wouldn't call this knife mega slicey, not Perceval or Chaparral level slicey, but it is quite capable. The stock is surprisingly robust, but everything culminates in a good edge in the final analysis.
Deployment Method: 1
I don't need the texturing or the extra height, but this knife is not quite the flipper that a WE Knife is or some of the better ZTs are. Its, well, languid. That's something a bigger and more textured tab can't fix. But those are issues others have complained about so I feel justified in dropping the score down to a 1.
If the knife were a snappy flipper or there was no overlapping consensus about the flipper tab (when was the last time you saw a reference to Jurgen Habermas in a gear review?), I'd have held the score at 2. As it is, I think both issues together warrant a single point deduction.
Retention Method: 2
Hey, look, a sculpted clip that doesn't stink. This is actually a very capable clip one that I would not complain about regardless of its method of production. Its springy, snappy, and has just the right amount of tension. It also looked like it was virtually impossible to make, so that explains why it is almost singular among sculpted clips.
It is quite rare to find a knife with this level of fit and finish that happens to have terrible lock up. Everything here is as you would expect--snug, immovable, with just the right stick and great access to the lock bar. I loved the lock up and disengagement on the Torrent.
Overall Score: 19 out of 20
This is an elite level blade, on par with the best the production world has to offer. It also happens to be a knife that hangs quite nicely with the custom tactical tier of custom knives. It has resplendent details, eye-catching curves, and a surprisingly practical build. Its not the best flipper in the world, and some people would prefer the second generation over this knife. I am confident that if you handle either model you will not be disappointed. A stripped down version with less cut outs and a less exotic steel would sell quite well in the market.
The Torrent, along with Millt's OEM work on the Dauntless, prove to me that they are among the best knife makers in the world. Its amazing how often we are treated to start ups hitting home runs right out of the gate. In both the gear world and the baseball world, it is a good time to be an enthusiast.
The CRK line up stacks up quite well in terms of fit and finish, but lacks the panache of this knife. The better Chinese made knives--Reate (and their OEM work) and WE (and their OEM work) match up quite nicely to this knife. Still, given a choice between this and a Mini Bodega I might end up knifeless for the same reason that Buridan's Ass starved. We have another competitor in an already crowded field. The Half Track is probably a sentiment hair ahead of the other two, but honestly that is more of a mood thing (Heidegger AND Habermas references in one review, how pretentious...) than an actual critical assessment. That said, I'd really like to see these domestic companies make some more value friendly knives. The TRM Neutron looks to be that exact knife. Wait and see how that turns out. I got in on the first limited release.