Reviewed 03/24/2010 by Richard
-Price Paid: N/A
-Used for Light Duty/General
-Owned for 3 months
This knife has really exceeded all of my expectations. I am a bit of an expert on budget knives because I'm poor, and so I really standardize my expectations of the "import" lines of major knife companies according to they Spyderco Byrd series and the Benchmade Red Class. This knife has really blown them out of the water. Now I am no SOG lover, if you look at my review of the SOG Vulcan on this site, I was critical enough. But this knife is really something
So first off, the blade, about 3.6 inches (but I feel like it might be a bit longer) of bead blasted 8CR13MoV. Pretty standard in imported knives, according to some it is comparable to AUS8, but I feel that it is just a touch short of the same edge retention. Seems to be better at being rust resistant though. Pretty easy to get a very sharp edge, and cheap enough that you feel very comfortable beating it up. Clip point blade, quite pointy at the tip, some belly to work with, a simple design, but one of my favorites. Sharpening choil, and it appears to be just slightly hollow grounded. Also has thick enough spine that I would feel comfortable putting it up to some hard tasks. Ricasso also present, for extra support.
Opening mechanism: dual thumb studs, that actually have a slide, where if you put a flathead screwdriver in, you can adjust where you want the thumbstud to sit. This is actually alot cooler than I though it would be, first of all, I thought you loosen it, and then tighten it where you like it, but actually, when you turn the screwdriver, it rolls from side to side, and so it is very simple to operate. I personally stuck a zip tie in the that extra space, and secured it in by rolling the thumbstud. This allowed me to "wave" it perfectly.
Lock: Lockback, tried and true design, very very tight lock up with absolutely zero play. Also easy to work, most lockbacks come rather stiff, but this one was just easy enough to disengage without using too much force, but no so easy that you may think you could disengage it accidentally.
Handle: full steel liners and G10 covering, simple and effective, and I like it. The full steel liners add a fair amount of weight, which I personally am fond of, but if you are not, then consider that when you consider buying this knife. The handle doesn't "cave" at all when you squeeze the knife, which I like too. It feels very reliable and balanced in the hand. Note though, that the steel liners extend past the handle near the base of the handle. This is the biggest problem I have with the knife. First of all, if you grasp it very tightly the pinky and ring finger will feel the liners dig in just a bit. Not a deal breaker, but just take that into account. Also, I am a big fan of very discrete carry, and the steel liners that potrude from the base of the handle allow for a little bit of the handle showing. Not much by any means, but I just feel like it is unnecessary. On the plus side, if you need to bang your knife on anything for any reason, well it's there. Alot of knives are made with a "glassbreaking tip", and I guess you could count this in with it. It certainly could break glass, but in a situation where you might need to, it doesn't matter what end of the knife you use, or your elbow, or anything else for that matter.
Clip: Now this is the usual issue I have with SOG knives. They advertise their "low bayonet carry style" and it really is low. But usually it is also very loose, wobbly, and weak. That is how I broke the clip on my SOG Vulcan, which cost me an 100 dollar EDC essentially. This clip however, is very stiff, actually too stiff, and I had to bend it outwards since it gripped so strongly. Since then, it has been perfect. Also, I didn't notice at first, but upon closer examination, there is a clever method of reversing sides for them south paws out there. Not a big deal for me, but still a plus in my book.
I've used it around the house for mostly light jobs, but the occasional batoning and beating. It has withstood all of it perfectly and has no sign of damage at all. This to me, makes the perfect beater knife.
Also note, this knife did not come very sharp. I'd say it could shave off a few hairs if you put pressure on it, but about 3 minutes with my Lansky system, I was able to make it scary sharp.
Now compared to the Byrd line and BM's Pika II, I find this knife to be much more reliable. The weight distribution and the full liners gives it an edge over the Cara Cara. It is actually also longer without looking really long and weird like the Cara Cara. The Cara Cara came sharper though, and both have 8Cr13MoV steel and G10 handles. With both being right at 30 dollars, I would have to go with the Salute. The Cara Cara's blade shape also makes it less usable as a poking device. It is a pretty close one though, and I am in no way dissing the Cara Cara, or any of the Byrds. The BM Pika II, however, was a huge letdown. The light FRN handles felt cheap to the touch, and had poor ergonomics. It didn't feel like it was made for a human hand, and I have pretty average sized hands. The Pika II is supposedly slightly better steel though.
Comment by Dave 01/28/2016
I was wondering why the thumb stud wouldn't loosen. Good thing I read this review before I took pliers to it. Thanks.
Comment by Liam 02/01/2014
WOW. This is a great review, Thanks for putting in so much effort!