Taking this knife out in the woods was a pleasure.
The 1-7 seemed to be able to handle most of the tasks I might ask my HALO Attack to accomplish, but in a lighter and easier to carry package. The blade on the 1-7 is only about half an inch shorter then the HALO; but the combination of shorter blade and sheath, and the light weight handle construction, are noticeable on the belt.
This knife was no slouch in the field, and I would say it's comparable to most 7” Bowie knives. I put this knife to the test doing many camp type chores like whittling and light baton work. While whittling the knife felt good in hand and was easy to control as the blade bit as deeply as I cared to push it. When notching, or other pressure cuts, the large choil does take up some precious real-estate; but, as mentioned later in the review, the choil has it's own rewards; and, on this knife, works for me. A few snap cuts on green wood, and some time spent under the bat reducing seasoned oak to kindling, proved this fighting knife converted to civilian duty up to the job. But, in respect to that savagely beautiful block of B&W Ebony, I did not beat on this knife as hard as I might.
That said, the 1-7 did take my hard use without issue, and still thin sliced tomatoes when I was done.
The Knife In Hand:
The conversion to a single quillian guard really changes how this knife works in hand.
Without the top guard my hand is free to slide much farther forward, allowing me to comfortably find that neutral balance spot; worked this way, the knife seems to move effortlessly.
The circular cut-out on the spine of the knife just in front on the guard looks sexy enough in the website photos, but really starts to make sense once that upper quillian is out of the way. My thumb could easily slide forward into that cut-out when extras pressure was required.
The generous choil on this knife is big enough for my large forefinger, and works well with the features mentioned above. In fact, utilizing the choil and thumb cut-out together, or sliding around to a pinch grip, really lets me appreciate this knifes great balance.
All and all, I find the single quillian guard a win-win situation; giving up little of the versatility of the original design, yet allowing the hand to comfortably slide into alternate grips.
The all important Sheath:
The sheath is a very sleek set-up, befitting the overall nature of the knife. Made by Sharpshooter Sheath Systems, the leather and stitching are of high grade materials. The knife fits the sheath very securely, and it seems to be a very safe package.
This style of sheath uses a strap with a snap as a retention system. The strap crosses over the guard and fastens in the center of the sheath. This style of strap is much preferred to a strap that goes around the handle, as those will often let the knife slide out a bit when inverted; very dangerous. The strap has a very handy feature, as its designed to be slid under the belt loop portion of the sheath when open, keeping it safely out of the way when drawing and re-sheathing the razor sharp blade.
The large belt loop will accommodate the largest belt, and there is a small flap with two holes at the bottom of the sheath to allow for a tie off point. I appreciate the large belt loop, as I often use very wide belts in the field. I never tie a knife off to my leg, but I can see using the lower tie down point for lashing the knife to a pack or other gear.
If there is a downside to the sheath, it's in it's use on the belt, and it's a problem that plague all sheaths of this size and design. Even though the sheath is designed to hold the snap strap out of the way, it's hard to be sure it's where it needs to be when blindly deploying or re-sheathing the knife, as one does from the hip. Also, the sheaths small throat opening dictated by the relativity narrow blade (short edge to spine) can be hard to find when trying to get that razor sharp blade back into it's safe haven. This is always a problem with blade longer then my index finger, especially when I can't see what I'm doing. This will improve over time as the sheath breaks in, and I get use to the maneuver.
Overall I find the BlackJack Model 1-7 to be savagely usable for a knife it's size.
The knife may be designed as a fighter, and I'm sure it would excel in that role, but it works equally well pulling the kind of duty a camper or woodsman might throw at it. The “Hunter” modification only furthers its appeal in civilian use, it's a real user.