Monday, September 22, 2014

TOPS Fieldcraft Knife

I'm not a big knife collector, but only because my wallet has a credit limit. It's also rare for me to spend over $20 on a knife, let alone $100 +, but I wanted something else on my battle belt besides the Gerber LMF that was currently taking up too much space & weight. I opted to get the TOPS Fieldcraft Knife designed by The Brothers of Bushcraft (BOB) and made in the USA. I believe it's been out for over a year and I recently saw it at a decent price on Amazon, so I decided I had to pick one up for my kit.

[Click on images to enlarge]

Summarized from the TOPS site: 

The knife is 10" total in length. The blade is 4.5" long, 3/16" thick, and made of 1095 High Carbon steel with a rockwell hardness of 56-58. The cutting edge is a modified Scandinavian Grind, which is very effective for carving, skinning, and other general wood work.

The knife feels great in my hand with a fluid ergonomic handle. Additionally, the canvas micarta used for the handle adds to the comfort of the grip. The thumb scallops on the side of the handle provide further control for carving and skinning purposes. The aggressive jimping on the spine provides added grip on the knife beyond the bolster.  There is also a divot toward the rear of the handle, before the lanyard hole, for a bow drill. I doubt I'll ever utilize this feature, but never say "never". There are plenty of videos of guys abusing the hell out of this knife, especially batoning, and it's held up without issue. The knife comes with a molded Kydex sheath, but if you go through the TOPS website, you can purchase a leather Bushcraft sheath for an additional $40. However, I am quite comfortable using Kydex, as I'm sure many of you are as well. 

Included with the knife is a slim and effective whistle. While probably the last thing I give a damn about, it serves a purpose and is now in my med kit. The Ferro rod and magnesium rods that come with the knife have their own compartment on the Kydex sheath. Some people have switched these out with different fire starters, because they felt the Ferro rod was not very effective. However, I found the Ferro rod to produce enough of a spark when used correctly. As pictured below, face the half-moon scraper or the "shango notch" on the exposed pommel toward your body and then strike the rod down & away to produce an effective spark.

 A view of the exposed pommel with the shango notch, the lanyard hole, and the bow drill divot.

The hollow brass rivet for the lanyard hole can also be used to separate a bullet to harvest the powder that can then be used as a quick & effective fire starter, as seen in this review by Innerbark on YOUTUBE. Watch the whole vid if you have a moment. There are a lot of vids on this knife btw.

But can it open a bottle of beer? Yep, no problem there - 10/10

The molded Kydex sheath has a steel belt clip which, again, seems to irk some users, but I have had no issues with it thus far. The belt clip is also adjustable, allowing it to rotate for a vertical, horizontal, or angled carry.

As pictured below, I decided to paint the Kydex sheath with AERVOE coyote tan (purchased from DSG). I simply masked off areas I didn't want to paint, like the interior of the sheath, and hit it twice within an hour. I then let it sit for about 48hrs before I touch it again. The paint will come off with use.

And, finally, I also added a piece of shock-cord to the fire-starter rods for extra retention. Note the Serpa holster for my FNP-9 on my battle belt below, it was also painted with AERVOE coyote tan. It has held up well. 

Final notes. Total weight as pictured on the battle belt with firestarter and sheath is 0.83 lbs. Now to use it & abuse it with purpose. 

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