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Thread: TOPS Knives USMC Combat Knife

  1. #21
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    Excellent review as always. That to me is the ideal survival knife! The only things I would change would be to have it in plain edge and in stainless steel (and I agree with Mossyhorn that snaps would be far better than velcro on the sheath).

  2. #22
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    Some interesting comments. Plain edge would be a plus for me as well, but if it was stainless, I'd pass. For it's intended purpose, it's hard to do better than 1095 at the HRC the OP quoted, and the blade coating, if done properly, should take care of any rust concerns (the edge shouldn't matter, if it gets sharpened, rust is a non-issue). Very tough steel, and with the low saber grind, it should be very strong as well. Perfect for all the jobs that military folks put their knives through, including combat. Yes, some slicing ability is sacrificed, but everything is a trade off.

    Strong and tough, easy to sharpen. Probably cuts acceptably, and will hold up to hard use and abuse. That's my take on it - and I like the looks of it too!

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by sasquatch1 View Post
    oh man i would be all over this if i could get it without serrations!
    You may be able to order it without serrations, I'm not sure. I tend to like having serrations on one of my knives in the field and the folder I've been carrying lately doesn't have any.


    Quote Originally Posted by Hammer27 View Post
    Thanks for the review, I'd been looking at this knife just recently!

    Glad you enjoyed the post. I had been wishing for something similar to a full-tanged USMC fighting/utility knife for years. It was one of the first TOPS knives to catch my eye at the last Blade Show.


    Quote Originally Posted by mossyhorn View Post
    Great review with excellent photos. I've become a fan of some of Top's latest offerings. I only wish that the nylon sheath had snaps like Spec-Ops uses on the combat master.The velcro
    just doesn't seem to make a secure fit.
    I have wished the same thing at times. Historically I am not a big fan of velcro in many uses at all. The snaps are more durable under "normal" conditions than velcro, but in combat conditions anything can become damaged quickly. The advantage in the velcro is that it can be more easily repaired out in the field, especially with the prevalence of velcro in military uniforms. Considering that both velcro and snaps can be fragile I really like that TOPS tends to put in eyelets that with a little paracord quickly make a field expedient retention strap.
    History is a gallery of pictures in which there are few originals and many copies. ~Alexis de Tocqueville


    B.H. #27

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buffalohump View Post
    Excellent review as always. That to me is the ideal survival knife! The only things I would change would be to have it in plain edge and in stainless steel (and I agree with Mossyhorn that snaps would be far better than velcro on the sheath).
    Thank you, glad you enjoy the reviews. I can see where a plain edge could be an advantage in a wilderness environment working with organic materials, but I tend to like having serrations when working with some synthetic materials. As for the stainless, as far as I know only a few stainless steels approach the toughness of spring steel and all of them that I am aware of would raise the price a significant amount.


    Quote Originally Posted by sodak View Post

    Strong and tough, easy to sharpen. Probably cuts acceptably, and will hold up to hard use and abuse. That's my take on it - and I like the looks of it too!
    I think that probably sums up pretty well where they were coming from with it.
    History is a gallery of pictures in which there are few originals and many copies. ~Alexis de Tocqueville


    B.H. #27

  5. #25
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    Its purely a personal preference. I have never found myself in a situation where I wished a knife had serrations, but there have been several where I wished it didnt. As to the steel, again its personal. Just by virtue of the fact that I prefer a knife without a coating, and in that case it HAS to be stainless. When it comes to pure strength agreed tool steel is better but then why not use CPM-3V, 5160 or 52100, all of which are preferable to 1095. Not sure what the RRP is, I did see one for sale on e-bay for $180 which seems like an excellent deal to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by mistwalker View Post
    Thank you, glad you enjoy the reviews. I can see where a plain edge could be an advantage in a wilderness environment working with organic materials, but I tend to like having serrations when working with some synthetic materials. As for the stainless, as far as I know only a few stainless steels approach the toughness of spring steel and all of them that I am aware of would raise the price a significant amount.




    I think that probably sums up pretty well where they were coming from with it.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buffalohump View Post
    Its purely a personal preference. I have never found myself in a situation where I wished a knife had serrations, but there have been several where I wished it didnt. As to the steel, again its personal. Just by virtue of the fact that I prefer a knife without a coating, and in that case it HAS to be stainless. When it comes to pure strength agreed tool steel is better but then why not use CPM-3V, 5160 or 52100, all of which are preferable to 1095. Not sure what the RRP is, I did see one for sale on e-bay for $180 which seems like an excellent deal to me.
    Oh of course. It's always based on our personal experiences. I've had a few times I wished my folder didn't have serrations, so now I carry one that doesn't. As far as my fixed blades go none of my customs have serrations, they are my hunting and "bushcraft" knives, as for my more tactical knives it's about 50/50. In the woods i would most of the time rather noth have serrations with the one exception being making hearth boards from frozen wood where batoning the notch in with a thicker blade can mean splitting the board and ruining the socket. I pefer to have an SAK around for that given a choice but I do a lot of what-if thinking. As far as the stainless goes I have been really impressed with how tough CPM S30V and CPM S35VN are but they are my only real experiences with tough stainless steels, and they tend to be expensive. The one time I've really put 154 CM to the test it did pretty well at some serious chopping through 8 inch logs a couple of times but I haven't had the opportunity to put another 154 knife through any serious work and did no lateral testing with the first one because it was a borrowed knife and I didn't want to take it beyond reasonable expectations of the knife.

    They are only $180.00 on the TOPS website currently, and that's not a bad price for what you get plus TOPS warranty. I imagine the same knife in S30V or similar would likely double that cost.
    History is a gallery of pictures in which there are few originals and many copies. ~Alexis de Tocqueville


    B.H. #27

  7. #27
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    The reality is there arent that many big knives made of stainless. I think only Cold Steel and SOG make big knives out of SS, but I might be wrong about that. Oh, and Strider...

    Scott Gossman did some testing of CPM-154 and said it was tough as nails. S35VN too. But yeah, cost is a factor. Its a great deal for $180, really good value for money. And who doesnt want that these days?

    Quote Originally Posted by mistwalker View Post
    Oh of course. It's always based on our personal experiences. I've had a few times I wished my folder didn't have serrations, so now I carry one that doesn't. As far as my fixed blades go none of my customs have serrations, they are my hunting and "bushcraft" knives, as for my more tactical knives it's about 50/50. In the woods i would most of the time rather noth have serrations with the one exception being making hearth boards from frozen wood where batoning the notch in with a thicker blade can mean splitting the board and ruining the socket. I pefer to have an SAK around for that given a choice but I do a lot of what-if thinking. As far as the stainless goes I have been really impressed with how tough CPM S30V and CPM S35VN are but they are my only real experiences with tough stainless steels, and they tend to be expensive. The one time I've really put 154 CM to the test it did pretty well at some serious chopping through 8 inch logs a couple of times but I haven't had the opportunity to put another 154 knife through any serious work and did no lateral testing with the first one because it was a borrowed knife and I didn't want to take it beyond reasonable expectations of the knife.

    They are only $180.00 on the TOPS website currently, and that's not a bad price for what you get plus TOPS warranty. I imagine the same knife in S30V or similar would likely double that cost.

  8. #28
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    Great review Mist !!!

    Mist, do have any idea if there is a suitable bit to use for making a bowdrill divot in a micarta handle ??? I'd really like to put one on each side of my new Tops Alaskan Harpoon, like on your Tops USMC.
    Last edited by TwinStick; 11-10-2011 at 08:06 PM.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwinStick View Post
    Great review Mist !!!

    Mist, do have any idea if there is a suitable bit to use for making a bowdrill divot in a micarta handle ??? I'd really like to put one on each side of my new Tops Alaskan Harpoon, like on your Tops USMC.
    Thanks, glad you enjoyed it. I haven't done it yet but plan to do it in a couple of knives. My thinking is I'll mark where I want the center to be, spike a dent in it with a straight punch or nail set and then use a 1/2 inch round nosed router bit chucked in a drill press. Center to bit up in the dent and clamp the handle in place and drill the divot about 1/4 to 5/16 inches deep.
    History is a gallery of pictures in which there are few originals and many copies. ~Alexis de Tocqueville


    B.H. #27

  10. #30
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    Make sure you have a respirator on when you do this.

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buffalohump View Post
    The reality is there arent that many big knives made of stainless. I think only Cold Steel and SOG make big knives out of SS, but I might be wrong about that. Oh, and Strider...
    And CRK.

  12. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by mistwalker View Post
    ...That easy to tell eh, lol. Yeah, I like several of their designs quite a bit. I was checking out there area at SMKW back in the summer myself. They make some of the toughest knives I've ever used....

    I will be making my way to TN again sometime next year. Will definitely stop by SMKW and look again. I may buy one, depending on what else I see there at the time. I do like a lot of their designs though. They do look pretty good.

  13. #33
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    Great to see review from you again Mist. I have to say that this is one of the best looking TOPS' in a while for me. How many TOPS knives do you have by now?

  14. #34
    +1 great review & pix.

    +1 hate serrations. Hope they're optional.

    Anyone looking for a big stainless military knife should check out the Zero Tolerance S30V bayonet. It's a beast.

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by sodak View Post
    Make sure you have a respirator on when you do this.
    Why is this ? I don't own a respirator. Handle is black linen micarta, according to thier website.

  16. #36
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    It's a good idea to take all airborne dust seriously, from metal or wood or composites. Some are really poisonous, all of them can lodge particles or fibers in your lungs that do not assist breathing.

    Go to Shop Talk and check with the knifemakers on what they wear for respirators and why.

  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Esav Benyamin View Post
    And CRK.
    And TOPS I have a TOPS DART in S30V It's not exactly a small knife.

    But you're right, it was a CRK knife I wanted...still want actually, in S30V that made me price S30V steel and heat treats so I could understand the cost.


    Quote Originally Posted by TheGame View Post

    I will be making my way to TN again sometime next year. Will definitely stop by SMKW and look again. I may buy one, depending on what else I see there at the time. I do like a lot of their designs though. They do look pretty good.

    SMKW is like a buffet...they make it so hard to make a decision...


    Quote Originally Posted by A.L. View Post
    Great to see review from you again Mist. I have to say that this is one of the best looking TOPS' in a while for me. How many TOPS knives do you have by now?
    Thanks man, glad you enjoyed it. Well, a couple have been traded along the way, a couple have been given as gifts, and three are out on loan... but I think I still have 6 of them here.
    History is a gallery of pictures in which there are few originals and many copies. ~Alexis de Tocqueville


    B.H. #27

  18. #38
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    As always, a great review covering realistic usage with excellent pictures.
    Frank R

    ... Still looking for a vorpal blade.
    (op cit Lewis Carroll)

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  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by knarfeng View Post
    As always, a great review covering realistic usage with excellent pictures.
    Thanks Knarfeng, I'm sure i get carried away at times, but i try to keep it real
    History is a gallery of pictures in which there are few originals and many copies. ~Alexis de Tocqueville


    B.H. #27

  20. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by mossyhorn View Post
    Great review with excellent photos. I've become a fan of some of Top's latest offerings. I only wish that the nylon sheath had snaps like Spec-Ops uses on the combat master.The velcro
    just doesn't seem to make a secure fit.
    I literally JUST put this on my Christmas list after reding this!

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