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Boker Kalashnikov 74 Automatic (Pics)

Discussion in 'Knife Reviews & Testing' started by Mike Carter Custom Knives, Aug 23, 2008.

  1. I have always liked Boker knives. They have traditionally been made in Germany with impeccable quality. Like many manufacturers, Boker has added products that were outsourced to lower cost Asian production facilities.

    This knife, model KALS74 (Kalashnikov 74), manufactured in Taiwan, comes boxed in a novel package made to look like a ammo clip.

    Inside, you will find a nice looking finger groove automatic knife with a pocket clip.


    The knife is 4 1/4 inches long, 1 3/8 inches wide and 5/8 inch thick ( 13/16" including pocket clip) closed. It has a 3 1/4" x 1" blade of AUS8 stainless steel, flat ground, with smooth gray bead blasted finish. The blade was extremely sharp right out of the box.




    As noted on the blade, this is a design by Dietmar Pohl of Germany. Mr. Pohl is quite knowledgeable about knives and is a respected author on the subject as well as a knife designer. I have had the pleasure of working with Dietmar on a knife article that was plublished in the German publication "Messer Magazin" and I happy to meet him at the 2008 Blade Show.

    The release button is recessed but not quite flush with the handle. With the blade closed, the button extends about 3/32" inch beyond the handle and about 1/16" with the blade open.

    The fist time I saw this knife I passed on it because it did not have a safety. I am very leery of carrying an auto without a safety as I have had them open in my pocket when bending over or pressing something against my leg. The grooves for a safety switch had been cut into the inside of the handles but the switch was not present. Later, I found the knife at a gun and knife show and I was pleased to see that the safety switch had been added so I bought one.

    My enthusiasm for the safety switch soon faded however when I began using the knife. The switch slide is anything but smooth and it is very difficult to operate with the thumb and virtually impossible with your forefinger as would be necessary in the opening position. I am sure that is is something of a challenge to design a safety that is strong enough to prevent accidental disengaement but still easy to disengage when needed. This one however just seems to be poor fit and operation. It does click solidly into both positions but does not do so easily.




    The handle is some form of plastic but it is very rigid and study. I was not able to flex it all at the blade slot. The fit and finish is very good with just the slightest bit of slop in the blade fit. The action is smooth and crisp with a solid lock up. The blade snaps open with authority and a distinctive "snap" that might not be desirable if wanted to open the knife discretely.

    It has a nice feel in the hand. Finger grooves are always a risk as there are all size hands out there but this one fit's my medium size hands perfectly. The textured handles with raised ridges provide a good non-slip grip. At only 3.5 ounces, the knife is light weight but it's 4 1/4" x 1 1/2" size is on the upper limit of what I like to carry in my pocket. The pocket clip is quite sturdy but I think it is longer than it needs to be. I would prefer a shorter, less obvious clip.


    I haven't had the knife long but from the light to medium use I have given it so far the blade is still as sharp and pristine as when I took it out of the box. I like the overall size and design.

    All things considered, I think this is a good knife at it's under $50 price point. Not great, but good. I seldom buy Taiwan manufactured knives these days but the Boker and Pohl names sold me on this one along with the AUS8 blade steel. A better safety, less obvious pocket clip, and perhaps something to quiet the opening snap a bit would make this one a winner in my opinion. Making it just a bit smaller might be even better.

    This review with more pictures can be found on my website at Boker Kalashnikov 74 Review

    Mike Carter
  2. The Moose

    The Moose

    Mar 13, 2006
    I'm going to pick one up soon... I really like the idea of the box looking like a clip
  3. riz_aaroni


    Feb 7, 2007
    I like the knife too. The handles are metal and seem tough. The blade is really sharp out of the box, box is a clip too lol. The safety is the only think I really dislike. It serves little purpose on mine since it doesn't lock into postion and slides to the off position. Hell, you could always grind the button flat with the handle which would help things. Minus the safety, it is a good knife. I think I paid $30 for mine at a gun show.
  4. barrabas74


    Jul 27, 2005
    i bought the same knife with a slightly different blade from boker years ago. It still snaps into place strong and it had the same box. I like the knife overall and think for the money its not bad.

    On a side note my clip is about half that long and has a more traditional clip.
  5. I stand corrected. The handle is aluminum. The texturing and feel fooled me.
  6. bradpierson26


    Aug 7, 2008
    i also own this knife, its more of a collector piece for me since i cant carry an auto yet :( thus the safety being so stubborn is of no consequence to me. it looks great and feels smooth in your palm. a couple of drops of bluelube made it a beauty to open! that loud clicking on the opening is a plus for me. it just sounds powerful and badass
  7. riz_aaroni


    Feb 7, 2007
    Very true. What do you mean 'able to yet'?

    Also the texturing is fooling. I took mine apart to put in the spring and the blade is surprisingly light. Not a bad thing, but just interesting I guess...not a lot of material that makes up the blade.
  8. Reeek


    Aug 16, 2008
    I like them for what they cost - a lot. I own 8 in a variety. The safety is directly affected by the level of pivot screw tightness. If the safety gets loose you need to tweak the screw tighter. If the safety is too tight you need to back it of just a hair. You can find a pretty good compromise with the pivot screw and it takes just a smidgeon to change the dynamics of the safety and the speed of deployment.

    I think they are a great value. I don't carry them. I just collect them as well.
  9. scotchleaf


    Oct 23, 2006
    I shy away from these because of the fakes out there
  10. Daniel L

    Daniel L Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 2, 1998
    The Kal74 (without the spring) is one of my favourite "inexpensive" knives. The blade is about .10" and flat ground making it an excellent slicer and I find the blade shape to be perfect for utility use.

    There's a little play but nothing I'd be worried about. They are a veritable bargain :)
  11. bradpierson26


    Aug 7, 2008
    im in army ROTC. so when i get my commission as an army officer, i can legally carry an auto knife.
  12. riz_aaroni


    Feb 7, 2007
    Until then 100% illegal lol. Only messing around. Don't happen to go to RIT do you? Not sure if there is an Army ROTC program here now that I think about it. Who knows, take advantage of the fringe benefits like that.



    Sep 14, 2008
    I have one with a tanto blade. I don't use it, just got it for my collection. It's about the cheapest auto you can get, and you get what you pay for.

    I love the feel of it in my hand and the spring is extreamly strong. But if you intend to use it and not just collected it - a word of caution: a friend of mine got one after he saw mine and after using it on his duck hunts several times the lock (not the safety on the back, but the mechanizm that locks the blade out) failed to engage all the time. He returned it under warranty and the replacement did the same thing after a while.

    Also, even though it says BOKER on it, it was made in Taiwan for Boker. It does not compare to other Bokers I own in terms of quality.

    But for $40, it is still worth it. Just don't rely on it to save your life.
  14. flashlife


    Feb 16, 2007
    Sorry to nitpick, guys, but the box is a simulated "magazine", not a 'clip'.
    A cartridge clip is a little metal doo-hicky that holds a bunch of cartridges together for easy insertion into a magazine.
  15. kozak6


    Dec 28, 2005
    The clip has some interesting grooves in it. How do they affect your grip?

    How much engagement is there between the button and the blade? My brother has the very similar Mini-Magnum, and there's hardly any at all.
  16. Reeek


    Aug 16, 2008
    I actually like the raised portions of the grip. I tend to get a grip with my fingertips on the clip to handle the recoil when I fire the button.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2008


    Sep 14, 2008
    It seems funny using the words "recoil" and "fire" when talking about a knife, but the spring is so strong on this auto that those terms are perfectly appropriate.

    More than once it jumped out of the hands of people I was showing it to.
  18. Reeek


    Aug 16, 2008
    Been there ;)
  19. catochris


    Jul 4, 2008
    I carry one sometimes. I mostly carry it on the outside of my shirt at the neck
    So it is a lite knive I would have liked to be able to change the clip to the other end . I was thinking that mine was the only one with a stiff safety.
    but my main folder that I use is a C.S. Recon . The blade is pretty strrong
    I am in the sand . so ya only get one chance
    Good Review
  20. Rossymeister


    Apr 26, 2013
    Great review!

    Does anyone know the size for a replacement coil spring for the mini kalashnikov?

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