Finally Got My Shadow Tracker 2
I had been impatiently waiting on the arrival of this knife since I first found out it was in the works. Now I know that as a rule TOPS does not make the traditional type bushcraft knives per say. A lot of TOPS knives typically fall into an area of having brute strength above all else. Having had knives fail under certain situations myself I understand this and it is one of the reasons I own several TOPS knives. In my studies of survival under extreme situations tough is a prerequisite for the knives I use, just as it is a prerequisite for teaching these techniques to others. Yes the knives I've had fail were being asked to perform well above and beyond the realm of what is commonly considered reasonable expectations of a knife, but life is not always reasonable, and these were not simple destruction tests. Having quite a bit of experience with TOPS' knives and coming to trust them to be tough and survive a good bit of extreme use and abuse, this one caught my attention because the redesigned Shadow Tracker combines features I like in my dedicated survival knives with features I like in dedicated field craft knives. It is not all that big, but not exactly small, it has a higher grind now, but not a flat grind with some steel left in the spine for strength under lateral stress. It's not a dedicated fighter so there is no large guard, nor is there a choil or index finger grip forward of the handle for extrication, but there is an ample first finger notch for both protection in plunges and traction in pulling. Because of this cutting pressure can be applied right in front of the handle where the most force can be placed and more easily controlled. Also it has a nice sharp tip which is something I seem to have a major hang up on for good penetration in tough materials, boring holes, fine tip work, removing splinters and such, and scraping small bits of debris from wounds. Also it is made of a good stainless for corrosion resistance in harsh and salt water environments.
This is not an actual review of the knife, that will come later on, but just few pics from the first couple of days of playing around with it as I've had time.
The knife comes with a well-made kydex sheath. It has a good snug fit with no rattling and a thumb-push for easy drawing of the knife.
The knife has nice clean lines. A 4 inch blade, and a black linen micarta handle.
A comparison shot with an “actual” bushcraft knife, essentially a Woodlore clone made by Mick Spain
The knife came with a nice sharp edge
So far I've only done a little whittling and notching, but have been really happy with the results. I've made a few feather sticks, and made a figure-4 trap trigger. Yes, the 2x8 is just for weight to hold the trigger together for the photo. The first pic here is a video, just click on it to play it.
And before anyone asks, yes I do have and like several knives by various companies and makers, and this isn't even a third of them...just all I felt like carrying at the time.
“When men speak ill of thee, live so that nobody will believe them.” - Plato