Pros: Blade Sharpness, Sheath/Scabbard, Handle Material, Blade Material, Materials, Weight, Overall Quality, Finish
Excellent knife, excellent value
This review is on first impressions only, as I have just received it (in a timely manner--thanks knife center!). I bought this SRK to replace an Ontario RAT 5 that I have never been happy with. Based on previous experience with CS knives and positive reviews I went into this purchase with confidence and was not disappointed. Fit and finish are superb, the blade is fearsome and shaves like a Gillette out of the box, and weight and balance are spot on. The rubberized kraton handle is very grippy and comfortable in any hold. I also like the sheath, which secures the knife with confidence with or without the belt loop/retention strap in either left or right hand draw. Very thoughtful. All knives represent compromise, but this is one of the best I've seen. The blade, while impressively thick at the spine, is ground to a keen edge that is just as well suited to delicate slicing as it is for plunging through wood or metal. Even the back edge of the clip point is surprisingly sharp, though ground much thicker for tip strength. This is to be my go to knife for my bug out/camping kit, and it's hard to imagine any situation in which it would fail or represent a poor compromise, from skinning game to punching out of a crashed vehicle. Weight is such that I would never leave it behind to spare my pack the extra ounces. If the San Mai steel lives up to its reputation then this knife represents an extraordinary value in its price range or any other. For those who can't commit the extra $40 I believe the AUS8 version would still be a great choice.If forced to nitpick, I would like to see exposed steel at the pommel. Don't know whether the kraton would stand up to being driven by a blunt/hard object. While the handle is big enough for my extra large hands, I could appreciate a little extra girth. Neither of these criticisms represents a compelling enough reason to redesign this beautifully balanced tool however. Some might prefer a coated blade. While I appreciate and use some of the modern wonder coatings in my occupation as a gunsmith, I do think there is something to be said for this traditionally polished blade. Specifically this: many, if not most, people who purchase this knife will not be highly trained spec ops warriors who require blacked out stealth. For the unfortunate few of us who might have to rely on this knife as a weapon, I have to think the flashing gleam of a six inch blade would be quite a deterrent to any attacker. In low light especially, it could mean the difference between engaging in a potentially deadly fight or having an aggressor turn tail. Just my two cents. Bottom line, I'm very happy with my purchase. I think CS did an outstanding job in designing and building this knife. If you feel the blade suits your mission, then buy it. You won't be disappointed. It makes all the other knives I've seen in this price range look lacking.