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TOPS Knives USMC Combat Knife

Discussion in 'Knife Reviews & Testing' started by mistwalker, Nov 9, 2011.

  1. mistwalker

    mistwalker Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    I picked up another TOPS knife a couple of months ago. I wanted it for a project I was working on, but thought I should go ahead and do a review on it too.

    It’s the new USMC Combat Knife.

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    The specs: (from the TOPS website)

    Overall Length:………………13 3/4"
    Blade Length:…………………7 1/2"
    Thickness:…………………….1/4"
    Steel:………………………….1095 High Carbon Steel RC 56-58
    Handle:……………………….Black Linen Micarta
    Blade Color:………………….Tac Black
    Serrated Blade:……………….1 1/2"
    Weight:……………………….17.5oz
    Sheath:………………………..Nylon
    Designer:……………………...Laci Szabo



    The sheath is the standard TOPS ballistic nylon sheath. It has a large utility pouch on the front that is great for carrying along some extra gear, and it has a molle back for attaching to tactical vests and drop leg systems. It also has metal eyelets that work well for both attaching the knife to the shoulder strap of a pack and one set even works as an improvised retention strap.

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    It’s definitely not a small knife.

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    Being one who likes having a bow drill option to fall back on for fire starting I like that the knife has bow drill divots on both sides of the handle to suit both left and right-handed people. It also gives both people the ability to safely use the other hand should their strong hand become injured.

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    The double guard gives the user a good leverage point for twisting the blade when boring, or to create more trauma in a wound. It also gives a good purchase for a forefinger to extricate the knife should it get hung up in bone or cartilage.

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    Because the handle is bisymmetrical I like that they included notches in the front of the handle for easy indexing in the dark.

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    The knife has a feature I happen to like a lot and that is a tang extension that is flat and perpendicular to the point of the knife. This one is designed to serve well as a glass breaker/skull crusher and to baton the knife in chisel fashion when the need arises.

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    The handle has grooves that give it a similar look and feel to the original USMC combat knife of old, but having a full tang and being made of 0.25” steel stock it feels a lot sturdier and has taken some of the same abuse I’ve seen break a few of the stick tang models.

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    As I said earlier, I am a fan of the bow drill, and like having a dedicated bearing block in micarta along because they are smoother and produce a good bit less friction than wooden ones made in the field even without a lubricant. So putting it to the test starting a fire was first on the list. The heavy steel and sharp edge made quick work of splitting, chopping and whittling the parts I needed.

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    I tend to prefer my divots in the center of the handle on smaller knives, but with this one being large enough to chop with that may well have caused a hot spot on the tip of one of the “strong” fingers in the grip while chopping. In any case the divot still worked really well.

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    Last edited: Nov 9, 2011
  2. mistwalker

    mistwalker Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    The knife has lots of mass and strength to work with when it comes to tearing into logs for fire starting materials or grubs to eat :)

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    And it has plenty of length and mass when it comes to some necessary chopping, even in well seasoned hard wood.

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    Plus as I said, I really like being able to use a knife in chisel fashion when the need arises to chisel into wood or through ice.

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    All in all I’ve been really pleased with the knife, it inspires a good deal more confidence in rough use than my old leather handled stick tangs.

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  3. caine

    caine

    Nov 9, 2003
    Nice I got to check this one out at blade. Feels great
     
  4. mistwalker

    mistwalker Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    Yep, that's when I first checked it out. I think it feels great too. Does well in the woods too.
     
  5. Ankerson

    Ankerson Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 2, 2002
    Nice review, very nice looking blade. :)
     
  6. sodak

    sodak Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 26, 2004
    I like it, great review! It looks to be a very strong knife that should be able to withstand a lot of use/abuse and different uses.
     
  7. Ankerson

    Ankerson Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 2, 2002
    Yeah I am really liking that one, if I was still in I would look into get one of those for sure. :)
     
  8. mistwalker

    mistwalker Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    Thanks guys, so far it's doing really well at standing the abuse I've put it through. For a big, hard-use knife I'm liking it a lot.
     
  9. Deviltooth

    Deviltooth

    198
    Jul 16, 2011
    Great review. I've got a few TOPS knives and tend to like the somewhat dramatic designs. I'm not really a fan of the 1095 steel though; as time goes on I find myself with a preference for stainless.

    Still, I'm badly tempted and may bite.
     
  10. mistwalker

    mistwalker Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    Thank you, glad you liked it. I have a few of them too. I still like spring steels, but I'm liking some of the newer stainless steels a lot also. I have a TOPS DART in CPM S30V that I really like to. I'm also liking the CPM S35VN a lot, I wonder if they'll be making something from that steel in the future.
     
  11. bcornelis

    bcornelis

    995
    Jan 4, 2007
    Thanks for the review. I was also thinking about purchasing this knife at some point and your review was helpfull.
     
  12. TheGame

    TheGame

    Sep 24, 2008
    As always, excellent review. It's pretty easy to tell you like a few TOPS designs, and through your own reviews I actually checked a few of them out last time I was at SMKW. I liked quite a few of them, too. I'll probably end up getting one or two down the road ;)

    :thumbup:
     
  13. Timelord

    Timelord

    67
    Mar 28, 2011
    Nice review. I also liked your TOPS Power Eagle review as well.
     
  14. wildmanh

    wildmanh KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jul 9, 2000
    Mystwalker I see that you carved the tip of that stick for your bow drill. How is the knife for other types of carving? I like the overall design of the knife, but that edge looks a bit to steep and thick for general use. What are your thoughts on general use? Thanks!
     
  15. mistwalker

    mistwalker Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    Thanks, glad to hear it was helpful.


    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.


    Thank you, glad you liked them. The Power eagle is one heck of a chopper!


    Well, it's not exactly a Mora or a Woodlore of course. With a 1/4" thick blade it still comes under the "sharpened pry bar" type of heavy duty knife, but it is a very sharp pry bar and it does alright for my needs for a large knife in the woods. I happened to like some sharpened pry bars...
     
  16. wildmanh

    wildmanh KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jul 9, 2000
    Thanks for the the comments. Bet it would slice better if you knocked the shoulders off the grind. Hope I'm using the right term. Either way, cool knife and well written review.
     
  17. mistwalker

    mistwalker Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    Oh there is no denying it would slice better with a higher grind. With grinds too much one way or the other is always a trade off of strength over slicing or vice versa. It's just a matter of personal needs. I wanted this one for rough use to start with. I'm sure some steel could be removed to make it slice better, it's not so easy to add it in for strength...:)
     
  18. sasquatch1

    sasquatch1

    456
    Mar 16, 2011
    oh man i would be all over this if i could get it without serrations!
     
  19. Hammer27

    Hammer27

    Sep 17, 2006
    Thanks for the review, I'd been looking at this knife just recently!
     
  20. Mossyhorn

    Mossyhorn Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 6, 2009
    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.
     

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