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Author Topic: Big Blade Beat down  (Read 595 times)

Roper1911

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Big Blade Beat down
« on: March 12, 2017, 03:29:39 PM »
I recently went on a hunt for a new EDC knife in the 3.5 inch+ range, I had been rocking a Kershaw Hotwire, but 2.5 inches just isn't enough steel for me. so after some (A lot) of over time I went hunting and selected 3 new candidates and one old knife that I've had for years and just never carried religiously.

first: the points of judgment-
Price
Blade size
Out of box sharpness
Fitament
Finish
Design
Carryablity
lock type
Method of opening
Steel alloy
Edge retention
Comfort of use

the four knives in no particular order are
Camillus CUDA 9"
COAST RX320
Ontario Knife RAT Model 1A
Kershaw/Emerson CQC-4KXL

keeping with that list order, starting with the CUDA 9.
"Almost rugged"
Price: $23.63
Blade size: 3.75 inches
Out of box sharpness: Moderate, ****
Fitament: minor horizontal play, no vertical play. poor blade centering.
Finish: Carbonitride Titanium. ****
Design: Hybrid spear/drop point, saber grind
Carryablity: low ***
lock type: liner lock
Method of opening: Gravity/thumb slider
Steel alloy: AUS-8
Edge retention: ****
Comfort of use: *****

the CUDA 9" isn't badly priced for what it is, it's not a super refined offering, it gets a little slippery when wet, and the pocket clip isn't repositionable at all. even if you could tip up carry this knife, like I prefer. it would be a horrible idea because the knife has next to no retaining force when closed and can easily be opened with a simple flick of the wrist.
for what I paid I've gotten a hell of a lot of mileage our of this knife. I'm unimpressed with the carbonitride coating, as I have managed to ding it some. but I've also worn through Kershaw's excellent DLC/PCD coating on my old, sadly stolen Kershaw Shallot. so you can't judge the knife too harshly on that. the handle is a smooth G10 on both sides, so it has some grip, but lacks grip in wet or oily situations. it has a somewhat halt hearted choil at the end of it's basically straight handle. and some shallow, but effective jimping on the thumb ramp.
the blade is big and beefy, backed up by thin steel liners that hold it back from being the folding prybar this knife really wants to be. it's also the thickest of all the knives on the table at just over half an inch. (.55) it's a good, cheap beater. and for the last six years it's been kicking around on my desk, nightstand, or glove box. waiting to be hammered through a folding chair or steel fire door.

Coast RX320
"Not the Bad Medicine you're looking for."
Price: $9.99
Blade size: 3.9 inches
Out of box sharpness: Low-moderate ***
Fitament: moderate side to side play, minor vertical play. horrific blade centering. **
Finish: bead blasted.
Design: drop point
Carryablity: high. *****
lock type: Liner and secondary slide lock
Method of opening: leaf spring assisted
Steel alloy: 5CR15MOV
Edge retention: **
Comfort of use: ***

the Coast RX320 is the cheapest and worst(?) knife on this list. at about $10 shipped, you're getting a great knife. but at $20, (what I paid.) it's kind of disappointing.
after a week of carry the RX320 is already showing edge wear.
the handle is glass filled nylon with almost no grip wet or dry, as well as very little in the way of finger choils to retain the grip if you find yourself needing to stab something. there is a bit of a swell in the middle, and a flair at the end to keep the knife from slipping forward out of your grip. but nothing to keep your hand from sliding forward onto the edge. and the blade centering is terrible as well. but the clip is very well done so it has that going for it... the secondary lock is great as well. very positive, doesn't move unless I want it too, and allows you to lock it open as well, which I like. but the thumb stud assist needs to be hit rather accurately in it's "sweet spot" of it can spring open rather slowly, and if you don't use just the right amount of pressure you can "thumb" the blade and stall it before it locks.

TL:DR, it's a $10 knife. you're getting a $10 knife. don't expect a $40 knives performance.

Ontario Knife RAT M1A
"Mean speed at a Goldilocks price"

Price: $36.42
Blade size: 3.5 inches
Out of box sharpness: razor sharp ******
Fitament: zero horizontal and vertical play. perfect blade centering. ******
Finish: surface precision ground.
Design: full flat ground drop point
Carryablity: high *****
lock type: Liner Lock
Method of opening: spring assisted
Steel alloy: AUS-8
Edge retention: *****
Comfort of use: ******

I'll be honest. I got the Emerson CQC-4KXL first and thought that no other knife could beat it in my personal preference.
the RAT Model 1A (M1A) is the shortest blade in the big blade beatdown, it's the higher end of the two assisted models, and it shows.
where the RX320 springs open and locks, the M1A jumps from closed to locked faster then you can really perceive, it even beats my Dads old Benchmade switchblade he was issued during his time in the sandbox. the thumb stud's sweet spot is much larger, and the speed is fast enough to prevent thumb stalling. the clip isn't as good as the Coast's deep carry clip, but it has a pretty standard screw set up, so I might swap it for an aftermarket or manufacture one. the safety. god. the safety is useless. it's tiny, and it has no retention in the locked or unlocked position and just slides around willy-nilly. it got so annoying that I just disabled it with a drop of super glue.
the G10 handles are something I've never experienced before- Actually grippy G10, I believe that some people might call it aggressive, or mean, and it might be for some lilly palmed city slicker. but I'm a working class man who's always elbows deep in something. the grip shape is wonderful, it has a deep, well profiled choil that grabs your index finger and holds it like a woman, firmly. but not painfully tight. the bulge after the choil gives solid purchase with your middle and ring fingers, and the final curve back in gives your pinky something to latch into, the deep but well rounded jimping on the thumb ramp isn't painful to use short term, but could be a source of irritation after a few hours. you could probably stab a steel plate and not have your grip slip forward, or hang from it and not have it slip backwards. end point is: this knife will not leave your hand unless you want it to or unless your hand is no longer attached to you. maybe not even then. as it stands, the RAT M1A is my current EDC. it's light, comfortable but grippy in the hand. and even though its the same steel as the CUDA 9", it clearly has a better temper. the M1A, like the M1A rifle, is a capable fighter, but looks more like a simple hunters knife. a deep carry clip and a larger, more positive safety and this would be perfection in knife form.

Emerson CQC-4KXL
"Pocket Lightning, tough as hell."

Price: $35.49
Blade size: 3.9 inches
Out of box sharpness: razor sharp ******
Fitament:  zero horizontal and vertical play. perfect blade centering. ******
Finish: tumbled and precision ground.
Design: spear point saber grind, no false edge
Carryablity: moderate high ****
lock type: frame lock
Method of opening: Wave/thumb disk
Steel alloy: 8CR14MoV
Edge retention: superb ****
Comfort of use: *****

the Kershaw Emerson CQC-4KXL is a big, beefy knife.
it has one G10 scale, which is identical to the G10 on the CUDA 9". so much so that I bet it's a premanufactured G10 sheet that's textured from the manufacturer and then sold to other makers.
the frame lock hits a perfect 50% lock, all the screws are Philips or flat, making this knife very user friendly.
the handle shape could be better, it has a great choil, but nothing to keep your hand from slipping backwards off the handle it it becomes embedded in something. but the choil and scalloped thumb ramp give excellent comfort of use.
Kershaw's usage of 8CR14MoV is questioned by some, it's very similar to AUS8 steel. superior to 440 stainless in my opinion. but not as good as some of the higher end stainless steels like CPM154 that my old Shallot used.
the CQC-4KXL is the heaviest knife on the list. due to it's slab stainless steel frame lock.

one of the things about the Emerson wave openers is what I dub the "Emerson" effect.
when using a wave opening knife. everyone in 10 feet immediately takes a step back.
North Carolina"it has two fire modes, safe, and most decidedly unsafe"
~Chief Warrant Leon McMurdo. Shilo Mountain Rangers, sixth battalion. Mount Hector School of Military tactics. November 8th 3451.

Yes. When the question is 1911, the answer is "yes". ~HVS

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    coelacanth

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    Re: Big Blade Beat down
    « Reply #1 on: March 12, 2017, 05:01:04 PM »
    Nice review.    :thumbup1     I don't own any of those knives but its good to have some info on board should one cross my path. 
    Arizona"A dying culture invariably exhibits personal rudeness.  Bad manners.  Lack of consideration for others in minor matters.  A loss of politeness, of gentle manners, is more significant than is a riot."
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    Mikee5star

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    Re: Big Blade Beat down
    « Reply #2 on: March 12, 2017, 05:46:45 PM »
    Very nice review.  I put the Rat 1A on my amazon list for future purchase.
    Alaska

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    Re: Big Blade Beat down
    « Reply #3 on: March 12, 2017, 07:07:16 PM »
    I have the Kershaw Emerson CQC-9k and like it better than the 4KXL I handled at the knife store.  I have two of the Kershaw Emersons and they are great for the price, plus Kershaw's warranty is awesome, I have sent knives in to be sharpened and straightened (My Cryo II had a blade that was almost rubbing the side because it was so off center), back in less than a week.  My wife used to have a Ontario Rat Model 2, I couldn't believe how nice of a knife it was, just wish the pocket clip had more retention.

    Desert Rat

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    Re: Big Blade Beat down
    « Reply #4 on: March 12, 2017, 08:15:21 PM »
    You can't beat the Rat-1 in any of its models for price vs. value. It's a very nice design.  :thumbup1

    Roper1911

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    Re: Big Blade Beat down
    « Reply #5 on: March 12, 2017, 08:48:36 PM »
    <snip>  My wife used to have a Ontario Rat Model 2, I couldn't believe how nice of a knife it was, just wish the pocket clip had more retention.
    it uses the same hole pattern as benchmades. so you can buy an aftermarket clip for about $20.
    North Carolina"it has two fire modes, safe, and most decidedly unsafe"
    ~Chief Warrant Leon McMurdo. Shilo Mountain Rangers, sixth battalion. Mount Hector School of Military tactics. November 8th 3451.

    Yes. When the question is 1911, the answer is "yes". ~HVS

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