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Unusual Suspects: Pointless Knives

Most knives have a tip that can pierce or stab. Anyone who has studied edged weapons in combat will make note that most deaths occur from a stab as opposed to a slash. For chores that require cutting as opposed to stabbing, we’ve seen various profiles such as Wharncliffe and sheepsfoot blades, yet there are a few other profiles where the front of the blade is squared off and never really comes to a point. Cleavers and straight razors are two types that immediately come to mind, and at this point we’ve been very careful not to use the term knife.

That changes with this lineup. Each of these knives lacks a point or a tip, yet they were designed to be carried every day for users who might depend more on a keen blade for slicing, shaving, chopping without a pointed tip that may cause unnecessary damage while performing these tasks.

The design itself might be centuries old but the resurgence in these types of blades goes back about 20 years with custom knifemaker Jon Graham, who revived the concept with his Razel series of tactical knives. So if you have a need for slicing, dicing, shaving or chopping without the need for a stabby point, this lineup may have something to suit your needs.

Like most specialized blades, they’re not for everyone but in many cases, this design is for someone looking for a blade a bit more task oriented. Just because they’re pointless in construction doesn’t mean that they’re pointless in execution. 


Benchmade Knives 381 Aller Fume

OAL: 4.48 inches
Blade Length: 1.6 inches
Blade Material: CPM S30V
Weight: 1.6 ounces
MSRP: $160
URL: www.benchmade.com

benchmade aller fumee

411Benchmade has released a few versions of this particular knife and all of them perform several functions. It’s a friction folder with more of a sheepsfoot profile to the blade. The Aller Fumee has various tools, including a pry tip/screwdriver and bottle opener. The pocket clip is designed to be a money clip, and the handle has a hole that can be used for a lanyard or a key ring. Most importantly is the hole in the handle that allows it to function as a cigar cutter.

benchmade aller fumee

Pros:

  • The blade is made from CPM S30V; this has been the standard for tactical folders for the past 15 years.
  • While not TSA compliant, this little knife is legal in most parts of the world.
  • This knife works best as a cigar cutter.

Cons:

  • It’s a friction folder and relies on hand strength to lock the blade in the open position.
  • As fine a cutter as it is, this knife is no workhorse. You won’t be chopping wood for a campfire with it.

Graham Knives Razel SS 2.5

OAL: 5.5 inches
Blade Length: 2.5 inches
Blade Material: Nitro V
Weight: 3.75 ounces
MSRP: $425
URL: www.grahamknives.com

graham knives razel ss

411: Jonathan Graham was the maker who popularized this style of blade over 15 years ago with his Razel design. Since then, we’ve seen them as large fixed blades, folding knives, and even Karambit types. This one is a small fixed blade that rides in the pocket with a heavy-duty leather sheath. The bottom edge meets with the front edge to provide a nice point. 

graham knives razel ss

Pros:

  • This is a custom fixed blade with a very reasonable price, considering the features that are incorporated.
  • The blade steel is Nitro V, which is tough and versatile enough for a pocket, kitchen, hunting, fishing, and tactical knife.
  • The top serrations are surprisingly effective.

Cons:

  • The handle is just slightly short for my hands. The lanyard helps a bit, but an extra inch in length would make this perfect.
  • The sheath is a pocket type to ride like a folding EDC knife. Another option for belt carry would be nice.

Gerber Tri-Tip

OAL: 5.75 inches
Blade Length: 2.875 inches
Blade Material: 7Cr17MoV
Weight: 6 ounces
MSRP: $36
URL: www.gerbergear.com

gerber tri tip

411: The Gerber Tri-Tip is essentially a pocket-sized cleaver. Rather than just having the profile, this one has that weighted feel that a traditional kitchen cleaver has with a bias toward the front. If you’ve ever used a cleaver or Chinese hatchet in a kitchen for any length of time, you’ll know that feel and Gerber captured it in this mini rendition.

gerber tri tip

Pros:

  • We were skeptical about the aluminum handle, but it turned out to be quite comfortable.
  • The ergos are very good on this one despite its smaller size. I could choke all the way up to the bottom of the blade and rest my thumb on the top for finer cutting tasks.

Cons:

  • A non-coated blade may have been a better choice than a black-coated one, especially with food prep as its primary task.
  • The belt slot on the sheath is a bit too long and relegates this as more of a piece to leave in a pocket or pouch on a pack as opposed to on-the-body carry.

Boker Cop-Tool

OAL: 6 inches
Blade Length: 1.77 inches
Blade Material: 440C
Weight: 4.2 ounces
MSRP: $95
URL: www.bokerusa.com

boker cop-tool

411: This knife can function as a pry bar, scraping tool, and chisel and has a guthook for cutting seatbelts in a rescue situation. It’s a perfect knife to stash in a range or bug-out bag or keep in the glovebox because of its price and versatility.

boker cop-tool

Pros:

  • The blade is made from 440C stainless steel, making it rust resistant, and it has an easily maintainable edge.
  • The G10 scales have a nice, not overly aggressive feel.
  • This is a very versatile tool, and one you can use to pry instead of your main EDC knife.
  • The placement of the choil gives better leverage than most knives of this type for prying tasks.

Cons:

  • The sheath seems a bit loose and really only allows you to wear this as a neck knife. Coupled with the loose fit, if you wear it in this manner you’ll eventually lose it.
  • The lanyard is a bit too long and gets in the way.

TOPS Knives Tac-Raze 2

OAL: 7.5 inches
Blade Length: 3.13 inches
Blade Material: 1095
Weight: 3.9 ounces
MSRP: $60
URL: www.topsknives.com

tops knives tac-raze2

411: We used the Tac Raze 2 for a wet shave, and it was perfect. As an EDC carry knife, the leather sheath can be worn horizontally and vertically. The only limitations on this one as a chopper or slicer falls on the strength of the friction folder in your hands. Also, 1095 might be a workhorse of a steel, but for things like wet shaving or food prep you’ll need to maintain the blade more than you would a stainless steel one.

tops knives tac-raze2

Pros:

+ The blade steel is 1095 — great for sharpness, toughness, and edge retention.

+ The knife truly evokes the elements of a classic straight razor in a more tactical design.

+ The blade is extremely sharp.

Cons:

While the knife has a nice finger choil and textured jimping at the top of the blade, it’s hard to take advantage of these on a friction folder.

It’s a friction folder and relies on hand strength to lock the blade in the open position.


CRKT Ripsnort

OAL: 7.75 inches
Blade Length: 3.25 inches
Blade Material: 8Cr13MoV
Weight: 5.8 ounces
MSRP: $75
URL: www.crkt.com

crkt ripsnort

411: CRKT turned to Philip Booth for this design. The Ripsnort looks like a straight razor, but feels like a cleaver. This makes for a nice EDC knife with more of a gentleman’s folder look. It may not sound alarm bells if you work in an office and a coworker needs a knife and you produce this from your pocket. However, this knife could benefit from texturing and maybe a more versatile clip for tip-up or tip-down and right- or left-handed placement.

crkt ripsnort

Pros:

  • The stainless steel liners are so thick on this one that it could almost qualify as a frame lock.
  • Fits in the hand well. It indexes properly in both forward and reverse grips.
  • The flipper acts like a guard when the knife is open.

Cons:

  • The handles may look beautiful with the stainless steel and POM (Polyoxymethylene) scales, but they’re a bit too slick. This knife needs more texturing.
  • The clip only allows for tip-down carry.

Gerber Flat Iron Cleaver Frame Lock

OAL: 8.375 inches
Blade Length: 3.5 inches
Blade Material: D2
Weight: 5.35 ounces
MSRP: $60
URL: www.gerbergear.com

gerber flatiron cleaver

411The Gerber Flat Iron Cleaver has been around for a while, but this version has a number of upgrades, including a Micarta handle, stainless steel frame lock, and a D2 steel blade. These characteristics make it a better work knife or EDC type as opposed to one primarily for food prep like the Tri-Tip. D2 is a great steel, but not as corrosion resistant as a stainless steel blade.

gerber flatiron cleaver

Pros:

  • Very light and easy to carry — two important qualities in a carry knife.
  • For not having a flipper or bearings, this one flicks open quickly.
  • The Micarta handle has a very nice feel to it and is grippy enough to keep the knife from slipping.

Cons:

  • The clip is a bit chunky and will shred up your pockets eventually.
  • The slotted opening cut isn’t the most intuitive.
  • Materials used are excellent for an EDC knife but not the best for a cleaver.

MORE OF THE UNUSUAL SUSPECTS AND OTHER KNIVES




One response to “Unusual Suspects: Pointless Knives”

  1. Big D in Big D says:

    Wow, no Spyderco?

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