Recently, we left our carbon steel comfort zone here at Dragoon Solutions. Kyle picked up an Entrek USA Backup Utility, to see how the knife would fare as a small, light, all around field knife. The initial review is definitely a positive one.
First, lets go ahead and go over the numbers real quick. The knife is just about 8.5 inches long. The handle makes up right around 4.5 inches of that. The cutting edge is about 3.5 inches long, and a hair under an inch wide (all measurements are eyeballed with the ruler inside a Rite in the Rain notebook). There is a small "false choil," between the end of the handle and beginning of the cutting edge which, in my opinion, is wasted space. Its not big enough to choke up on the blade for better control, and the contour of the micarta handle naturally prevents that anyway.
The blade is made of 440c stainless steel, which is a big change for me. I am used to ESEE and their Rowen 1095 carbon steel. The Entrek USA website describes the steel and their treating process, but to tell the truth, it is well over my head. I know that this knife will most likely resist rust better than my ESEE knives, and it seems to sharpen up just as well. It came out of the box shaving sharp, so I know it is capable of a fine edge.
The Backup Utility shows Entrek USA's level of attention to detail in their knives. The edge was flawless out of the box. The jimping on the spine, where your thumb would rest for control during fine work, gives an extreme amount of traction. Some may say it is almost a little bit too sharp. I find it gives very positive control while wearing gloves in the field which, more often than not, I do. The Micarta slabs have a very extremely comfortable contour. Even though the handles on this knife are small in comparison to a knife like the Laser Strike, I feel it still fills the hand due to the attention put into the Micarta slabs. I think one of the most impressive little details is how the hardware, the screws and lanyard hole, are ground to contour to the slabs. That is something you don't often find in less expensive knives.
The overall shape of the knife, in Mike's words, is almost like a steak knife. The thickness of the blade gives me a lot of confidence for rough field use. In my limited time with the knife so far, I have batoned smaller pieces of hard wood, and made very nice curly feathersticks from hard, seasoned deadfall. As a small, yet solid hard use knife, I don't think you can go wrong with this blade.
The only real negative I have found with this knife is the factory sheath. I may be slightly biased, as I am used to the sheaths that come from ESEE with their knives. The factory sheath for the Backup Utility is disappointing. It is made from a thinner kydex, and the retention is not as positive as I would like. Putting the knife into the sheath, it feels like it should be in like Excalibur, but I would definitely not trust the knife to be carried in a handle down manner. The other real fail point to me is the belt clip. It simply does not hold well to my riggers belt, whether I clip it inside or outside the belt. When I try to draw the knife, if I do not push down with my thumb and completely remove the blade before pulling the knife up, I end up with a sheathed knife in my hand. Also, you must resheath the knife perfectly. If the blade is off center even slightly, it may bind up about a quarter way in.
In all, I think this is a great knife, and I am looking forward to putting it through more rigorous paces. My only real complaint at this point is the sheath. For a manufacturer price of 140 dollars, I would like to see something better, and that is compatible with Tek Loks and MOLLE Loks. However, I do know there are companies that charge twice as much for knives that only come with a cardboard sleeve, so this isn't a no-go for me. I will be looking to a local kydex bender to make something a little more to my liking.
Entrek USA seems to be an underdog of a knife company. I don't know why, but I don't see a whole lot of information about these knives on YouTube, or on forums I follow. I really think the quality of the knife is comparable to any knife I have used (ESEE, Swamp Rat) for a great price. I would not hesitate to recommend this blade to friends or clients for a lightweight general purpose field knife.
( I posted a link to my blog earlier. While my post had added value over the link, I felt it only right to add the full review (- some formatting and maybe a picture ) so you don't have to click the link.
Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk.