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Browning OPMOD Fixed Blade Knife Review

Browning OPMOD Fixed BladeIn the interest of full disclosure, the good folks at Optics Planet sent me a Browning OPMOD Fixed Blade with the expectation that I give the knife an honest and unbiased review. Their confidence speaks to the quality of the knife, and I am pleased to report that their confidence is warranted.

To give you some quick background information on the knife, OPMOD is an Optics Planet exclusive brand which allows them to tailor individual products to their own specs. In the case of the Browning OPMOD, Optics Planet collaborated with Browning to produce this knife. Using this method, Optics Planet can provide design direction that makes products extremely relevant to their customer’s needs while maintaining a high degree of quality.

Listed below are the general specs for the knife:

    Knife Design: Full Tang Fixed Blade
    Blade Style: Tanto
    Overall Length: 8.5″
    Blade Length: 3.5″
    Steel: 5Cr
    Scale Material: G10
    Sheath: Molded, Blade-Tech with Tek-Lok belt clip

Initial Impressions

Upon first handling the knife, I have to say that I was pretty impressed. The first thing you notice is that the knife has a tanto blade which is inspired by the tanto design of old Japanese swords. A tanto knife lends itself well to piercing due to the tip strength, making it an ideal fighting knife. Additionally, a tanto shaped blade maintains a long straight edge which allows the user to generate a lot of cutting pressure if they so desire. This knife certainly affords the user this ability.

The fit and finish on this particular example are top notch. The blade grind is nice and even, the jimping is well spaced and placed, and the edge was wicked sharp. Even the angular transition on the edge itself was darn near perfect and this is where a lot of companies miss the mark with their tantos. The knife was well balanced and comfortable to hold.

Performance

From a performance standpoint, the knife is great. I beat on the blade pretty hard and it responded well. Out of the box it was sharp enough to slice through paper like butter. Even after whittling away on a 2×4 for a while and making numerous drag cuts through cardboard, I was still able to slice the paper with no binding, tearing or grabbing. The wear resistance on the steel was impressive. I also performed some chopping operations and did not notice any major edge roll or chipping. Piercing functions were effortless as well, largely in part due to the tanto blade. It is also pretty easy to sharpen.

The sheath seems to grab pretty well and feels durable. It has plenty of rivets which give you a variety of attachment options. The Tek-Lok belt clip works as advertised. The sheath does have a rubber strap added to provide extra support for the knife but I don’t think it’s necessary. The sheath retains the knife just fine without.

As for ergonomics, the knife is generally good. The finger grooves were well positioned and made it very comfortable to hold. The jimping on the top is comfortably placed and isn’t too sharp so as to cause discomfort to your thumb while still giving nice grip and control. My only minor nitpick in this area was that the texturing on the G10 scales was mostly limited to the top of the scale, so the knife handle was a little bit slick on the tips of my fingers when they were wet. The finger grooves mitigated this to the point where I wouldn’t worry about losing the knife under hard use but the slickness was at least on my radar.

Build quality as mentioned previously is excellent. A lot of attention to detail went into the design and the fit and finish is high quality. Before trying it I was a touch skeptical of the 5Cr steel, but was pleasantly surprised to find that it is actually really usable. I have no qualms about the steel whatsoever. The scales are nicely machined with a number of chamfer cuts designed for added comfort on your fingers. The finish is smooth and seems to be wear resistant.

As for value, I would consider it high. The knife retails for about 50 bucks at present and for the way it performs and way it feels, I can say it is worth the price. The knife comes with everything you want but nothing extraneous. I think both Browning and Optics Planet did a nice job of keeping the price reasonable for this one.

Things To Note

There are a few things to note about the knife that may be polarizing. Of course these are matters of personal taste, so in the end it’s up to you to decide whether or not they matter, but I thought they were worth mentioning.

The first item is that the knife has a series of 5 small holes positioned at the tail of the handle where you would attach a lanyard. The most common lanyard material in the industry is paracord, and these holes are too small to comfortably pass paracord through. That said, you could make a lanyard out of another material, but using a paracord lanyard on this knife is unlikely.

The second item is that the knife is made in China, as indicated by the marking on the blade. Now, the country of origin is not a reflection of the build quality of this knife. The knife is built to a high standard with a high level of quality control. The country of origin shouldn’t scare you, but if you are a die hard made in America guy, this knife isn’t. Do keep in mind that I have reviewed other high quality Chinese made knives and they too perform admirably.

Conclusion

As you can see from the review, it’s a solid all around knife that provides solid value. If you are looking for an affordable tanto bladed knife then this one will serve you well. If the knife is not your style but you are interested in the performance, you can also check out some other Browning Knives at Optics Planet. All in all I think that you will be satisfied with the knife and I am comfortable recommending it.

If you have used the Browning OPMOD Fixed Blade and want to share your opinion, please feel free to post your experiences in the comments section below!

1 comment

  1. Mike

    I have just rec’ve a Brownin OPMOD folding knife and it is AWESOME for the $$ paid *[$19.95] It has the look and feel and performance of a custom build.
    I would recommend this to anyone needing a good study SHARP folder for everyday use. Especially helpful in the military and LE arena.

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