I recently got a great deal on a Gerber Gator knife. Overall it is one heck of a knife! Got the drop point:
I am shopping around for similar knives of other manufacturers. I am partial to Gerber and Buck, but I am open to USA-made alternatives.
A friend works at the local BPS and we spent a good hour fondling all the knives they have behind the counter. Lots of nice knives, but the balance on most leave something to be desired.
I learned that SOG knives are all made overseas - as are some of the other brands' "budge" lines. So that's flat-out for me.
I *really* like - REALLY - like the feel of the Buck Alpha Hunter. Unfortunately it doesn't come in "blackout" or "coated" finishes. I may get one anyway:
What I would think is IDEAL would be a folder with the blade features of the Gator - serrated blade, coated blade finish, attached to the Alpha Hunter. The A.H. is HEFTY and feels like you have something significant in your hand. Not sure on the rubber grips but I like them. I like the overall shape of the "drop-point" Gerber and the A.H. knife (straight point?). Similar to a Tanto blade in that it has a good penetrating tip, but also a large enough sweep on the blade to provide utility cutting / deer skinning / etc. The serrations to me seem like a "must have" feature but perhaps I'm being too picky. If you add serrations and an oxide finish (in other words a non-shiny finish) to that A.H. folder, then that for me would be the perfect tactical / utility knife! Seems like all the nice utility knives are "Tactical" and more spendy - I guess mall ninjas need matching accessories too
I can get a black oxide finish on the A.H. via Buck's custom knife department, but only in the FIXED blade. Personally I would like that in a folder.
Balance on the good Buck knives are correctly in the handle. Most of the other mfr models are weighted in the blade, meaning they aren't balanced and are meant to be seen more than used. Even the Buck "nite hawk" or whatever it is called - the long K-Bar shaped one - is even blade-heavy. Compare that with a real working knife like K-Bar etc. and it feels like it was made for kids and mall ninjas.
So I am really not impressed with most of them. Not saying they aren't good knives, but I am wanting something that feels better in my hand. More than a pocket knife / swiss army knife but less than a full-length hunting knife like a K-Bar. I have yet to find that and unless I modify an A.H. I don't know that my ideal knife exists. Any recommendations?
Another question - what does it take for something like that A.H. to get a custom finish? I assume it is more than sand blasting and painting it! How do the custom knife guys do things?