Issue 14 Boot Knives Patrick Vuong 0 COMMENT Unusual Suspects Redundancy — while it’s seen as unnecessary by some, it’s made a priority by those concerned with personal protection. From tactical pens to concealed-carry pistols, a reliable backup tool or two can mean the difference between life and death. Therefore, we’re interrogating a lineup of boot knives. This type of weapon usually comes as a short, double-edged fixed blade that’s best for thrusting and carried in a sheath, which is either clipped to or tied around one’s high-tops. Keep in mind, they’re not quick to deploy. You’ll have to either bend over, crouch down, or raise your ankle, then pull up your pant leg before drawing the blade. Also, boot knives come with certain legal responsibilities. Always check state, county, and town laws before you carry one. Still, if it’s permissible where you live and work, a boot knife can provide an added sense of security in peaceful times…and a tactical advantage in the worst of them. Make: Columbia River Knife & Tool Model: Sting OAL: 6.85 inches Blade Length: 3.2 inches Blade Material: 1050 carbon steel Weight: 3.9 ounces MSRP: $70 URL: www.crkt.com Make: Cold Steel Model: Peace Maker III OAL: 8.5 inches Blade Length: 4 inches Blade Material: German 4116 stainless steel Weight: 3.4 ounces MSRP: $31 URL: www.coldsteel.com Make: TOPS Knives Model: Ranger Bootlegger 2 OAL: 9.6 inches Blade Length: 5 inches Blade Material: 1095 carbon steel Weight: 7.3 ounces MSRP: $159 URL: www.topsknives.com Make: Spyderco Model: Street Beat OAL: 7.19 inches Blade Length: 3.5 inches Blade Material: VG-10 stainless steel Weight: 3.2 ounces MSRP: $280 URL: www.spyderco.com Make: Kershaw Knives Model: Secret Agent OAL: 8.7 inches Blade Length: 4.4 inches Blade Material: 8Cr14MoV stainless steel Weight: 3 ounces MSRP: $40 URL: www.kershawknives.com Make: SOG Specialty Knives & Tools Model: Pentagon OAL: 9.75 inches Blade Length: 5 inches Blade Material: AUS-8 stainless steel Weight: 5.6 ounces MSRP: $104 URL: www.sogknives.com Make: Skallywag Tactical Model: Dagger OAL: 7.85 inches Blade Length: 3.85 inches Blade Material: D2 tool steel Weight: 3.8 ounce MSRP: $225 URL: www.skallywagtactical.com Make: Boker USA Model: Applegate-Fairbairn Combat Knife OAL: 9 inches Blade Length: 4.75 inches Blade Material: 440C stainless steel Weight: 5.8 ounces MSRP: $190 URL: www.boker.de/us Interrogating the Unusual Suspects CRKT Sting 411: CRKT gives this classic A.G. Russell design the modern production-knife treatment, producing strong results. Spear-point blade with dual plain edges is nothing to take lightly. Pros: Contoured handle with thumb detent, which is great for both grip and sheath retention Cordura-coated Zytel sheath is multi-positional with adjustable straps. Cons: Got sweaty legs? The 1050 carbon steel blade has poor corrosion resistance. Handle might be a little short if you have sausage fingers Spyderco Street Beat 411: The Street Beat is the Porsche 911 of this group — beautiful, powerful, and expensive. It was created by Fred Perrin, a knifemaker, martial artist, and former French commando. Pros: Clip-point blade is made of premium VG-10 stainless steel and is razor sharp. Boltaron sheath with a G-Clip system is great for boot or belt carry. Quality construction Cons: Overly deep finger choil, which unnaturally alters our grip The hefty price tag Skallywag Tactical Dagger 411: This veteran-owned company creates top-notch, U.S.-made products for one purpose: saving and defending lives. Its Dagger is no exception. Comes in black and flat dark earth. Pros: Ambidextrous design features scary-sharp tip and edge. Excellent Blade-Tech sheath (caveat: its Tek-Lok attachment is great for belts, but you’ll need to lace the sheath if you boot carry.) Cons: Hurts the wallet as much as it does bad guys — but you get what you pay for The ring in the handle might take a little getting used to (but once you do…it’s go time!) Cold Steel Peace Maker III 411: Cold Steel is known for resilient and powerful edged weapons promoted by over-the-top marketing. The Peace Maker III is a more subdued, affordable option without sacrificing any performance. Pros: Laser-like blade that’s great for various tasks, from camping to self-defense Low cost for a good knife that feels great in hand Lightweight and easy to handle Cons: Polypropylene handle gets slick in sweaty palms Odd-shaped sheath makes it awkward to re-holster the knife smoothly Kershaw Secret Agent 411: Kershaw’s newest boot knife merges aesthetics with ergonomics and economics. A tool that not only looks cool, but also works effectively for its price point. A secret agent, indeed. Pros: Textured rubber overmold on the glass-filled nylon handle offers a secure grip Despite its mid-level size, the knife carries discreetly thanks to the slim sheath Cons: We know it’s designed as a budget knife, but we’d have been giddy like schoolgirls if the blade was made of S30V or 154CM instead of Chinese-made 8Cr14MoV. Boker A-F Combat Knife 411: This is Boker’s iteration of the famed WWII-era knife by combatives pioneers Rex Applegate and W.E. Fairbairn. This model comes with a double bevel, a strong tip, and a Kydex sheath with Tek-Lok attachment. Pros: Old-school aesthetics with modern production values Finger-guard enhances grip and prevents accidental cuts to the user Durable Kydex sheath Cons: At 5.8 ounces and almost 200 bucks, it’s the portliest and one of the costliest knives of the bunch. The well-formed handle can get slippery when wet. Lacks a boot clip SOG Pentagon 411: Originally made for cops and troops, there’s no surprise the Pentagon is popular with outdoor enthusiasts. It offers a sturdy grip, different carry positions, and a more versatile blade than most boot knives. Pros: Blade has one plain edge and one serrated edge, allowing for a wider range of uses The rubber-like Kraton handle feels natural in hand An overall tough, sharp knife Cons: It’s fairly large for concealed carry. Sheath’s snap-button means a slower draw There’s no boot clip, so you’ll need cord or laces to tie it to your boot. TOPS Ranger Bootlegger 2 411: Made in the United States with input from former U.S. Army Rangers, this blade can seriously f*ck shit up — be it tinder, robber, or Taliban. A versatile knife for all sorts of outdoor adventures. Pros: Badass blade with TOPS’s patented Saw Teeth on the spine Contoured Micarta handle fits perfectly in our palm Good balance for a long blade and quite durable Cons: The sheath seems like an afterthought; the knife rattles inside it, while the buckle strap — the only means of retention — is too cumbersome to disengage quickly in an emergency.