This is one of the sturdiest knives of its type (EDC with pocket clip) that I’ve tested. For me, it seems like almost a hunting/camping knife with a bit more “substance” than a small EDC. The size and weight of this beast would disqualify it as an EDC in my pocket. Unfortunately, it does not come with a separate sheath or pouch for open carry on a wilderness trip, but it’s too big for comfortable carry in the pocket of my hiking shorts. It just flops around and I’m constantly reminded that it’s THERE! The knife is so very close in its specs and functionality as the Kershaw Lonerock folder, except that the Kershaw knife exchanges the pocket clip for a sheath (which I really like). The liner lock is substantial and does not appear flimsy or thin. It even has gimping to assist index finger grip along with the gimping on the blade. The handle has a full steel liner instead of a recessed partial liner.
The pocket clip is reasonable, though, for its size, I would have made it a tad bit longer and a few micrometers wider (better yet, have a pouch for belt carry). However, if we must have a clip, Ontario Knife Company did make some good decisions. Not only is the clip adjustable for left/right handers, but you also have the option to have the clip on the bolster (default) or near the butt end of the knife. So yes, you have 4 options – left/right/butt/bolster.
The blade comes with either a black powder coat or natural stainless steel. I prefer the natural since I knew that the coating would scratch and wear away pretty easily. I even met in person with the sales guys at the OKC headquarters in Franklinville, NY, and they told me (among many other things) that the powder coating scratches fairly easily. I don’t like the look of a hacked up knife, so I chose the stainless model. The blade itself is a subtle and slightly modified drop point style which does no dropping at all in the last 1 inch before the tip, and that makes for an optical illusion that looks like it has a tiny bit of a clip point effect happening. It’s also a full-grind design with no swedging. The AUS-8 is, of course, a decent steel but it’s not a high-end high-carbon blade, and that’s also obvious in the price point. The heel of the blade also has a simple gimping that won’t tear your thumb apart, and thankfully there is a sharpening choil. The choil is minimal, however, and my guess is that it may disappear altogether with lots of sharpening, and that will limit your ability to sharpen the blade right to the very end of the edge near the ricasso (piece of steel between the cutting edge of the blade and the handle itself.
The thumb-studs are solid and adequate. They’re probably a bit sharper than they need to be, but because I’m not opening it 50 times a day, any serious criticism of their construction is just being unnecessarily picky and snobbish.
One more point on the blade; on the edges of the spine (top of the blade) you’ll find a very sharp cut. This can be dangerous if you thrust your hand into your pocket to grab the knife. The edges of the spine are definitely sharp enough to cut your finger. I hate to bring sandpaper close to a perfectly finished steel blade (for any purpose other than sharpening) but it may be your only choice to minimize potential injury.
Without question, I see a well-crafted knife which is obviously understated. It’s like a Kung-Fu black belt who is 115 lbs and skinny with a few pimples – but can kick a@#$$ like you’ve never seen. Compared to the Kershaw Lonerock folder, it’s not pretty or flashy, but I think that’s done on purpose. It does not look really aggressive or sleek, but that matters not to me!
My overall impression of the RAT model 1 from Ontario Knife Company is a positive one. It is a larger EDC for those who like this option and it is extremely solid in your hands while you’re actually using it. At a sub-$45 price point, it’s WELL worth it. The specs are quite nice for the price, and while I have only owned the knife for 6 weeks, I’m very confident it will last a lifetime of normal use. The fact that it’s made in Taiwan does not scare me. The warranty is decent (not as good as Buck’s warranty, however).
The RAT model 2 is really the same except it’s 7 ” long overall instead of the 8.5″ of the RAT model 1. Both are well worth the cash for the exceptional quality and workmanship.
Let me know if this has been helpful or if you agree/disagree with my assessments! I’m here for any questions you may have!
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