Aluminum handles: I'd like your opinion

Jul 22, 2000
I'm considering purchasing a MOD Tempest or Trident. However, I'm uncertain about one thing: aluminum handles.

Perhaps I'm wrong, but I've come to associate aluminum/kraton handles with the $6.99 value special selling at the 1stopknifeshop?

Is aluminum strictly "low-brow" considering the popularity of G-10, and titanium? Is aluminum still a serious handle material?

What are the pros and cons of aluminum handles?

[This message has been edited by Full Tang Clan (edited 09-03-2000).]
Aug 16, 2000
Not exactly "low brow"..
Check out the aluminum on the benchmade 940 Osborne..very nice.
Oct 11, 1998
I don't like aluminum handles because they scratch easy, are to slippery, are heavy and feel cold. I much prefir G-10.

Roger Blake
Aug 31, 1999
My CRKT M16-03 has aluminum handles, I don't have any complaints. (This is now my primary carry knife, and I use'em hard) A few scratches on the blade, but nothing to complain about. I would think that handle design is probably more important than material used.
Jun 11, 2000
Aug 15, 2000
Aluminium handles scar quite badly, especially if you carry them in the pocket with your keys, coins, etc. However, the MOD knives come with a special hard-coating on their handles which may lessen the problem somewhat. I don't have any clue how durable it is, but G10 sure beats it for scar resistance. But if you (like me) think dings and scratched add character, then you'll like this feature

The other thing about aluminium handles is heat or cold. Here in the tropics, we don't get winters but the heat can be a killer. Leave your metal-handled knives in the open for a while and you'll get your hands sun-burned when you pick them up.

In case my statements are taken out of context, I have to say I still love my CRKT Mirage, aluminium handle and all.

May 13, 1999
My SpeedTech Synergy makes great use of anodized aluminum, as does my new Kershaw Boa. It ain't what you got, it's how you use it!

AKTI Member #A000832

"Sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes, the bear eats you."
Apr 12, 1999

I like aluminium scales very much. In my opinion it's the kraton insert that makes the knife look cheap.
I carried a C-15 for serveral years and had no problems.
(Yes, one time after walking outdoors for some time at minus 20 degrees Celsius I realized that I had to tighten the screws that hold the knife together. No big thing if you have the right key)

Oct 30, 2000
Personally for me I don't like Aluminum handles at all because of the fact that they get dented very easily.
I had a MOD Ladyhawk, dropped it on the floor once, and there was a dent right at the handle tip. I was kind of dissapointed as I never thought they get dented so easily. I can accept scratches, but I just can't accept dents.

I used to like G-10 as a handle material the most, but since yesterday, when I recieved my Microtech® LCC, I kind of like that combination of Carbon Fibre and Titanium.

Zytel as a handle material works well for knives which you plan to use hard. But i do not like the way it makes a knife look cheaper, and makes it feel "not so strong".
Personally, I feel that the weight of the knife is also a deciding factor on how strong we feel the knife is. If you were to take an Emerson® CQC7 and put the blade on a zytel handle of the same size, I don't think it will feel as "strong" to me as if it remains G-10.

silent souls leave .308 holes
Oct 11, 2000
When you are talking about aluminum for handles it is really important to be specific about what is being used. For example, cheaper grades of aluminum, such as 1015 are pretty soft and don't take an anodize coating well - thus if a handle is made out of this aluminum, then you will undoubtedly have dents and scratchs.

On the other hand, if you have 6061T6 hard anodized, you have a handle material where the base has a hardness of about 35 - 40 and a coating that has a hardness of more than 90. Thus it will not dent so easily, and will not take scratches.

Fundamentally, anodize coatings are Al2O3 with some type of dye mixed in for colors. Al2O3 is sapphire, or a ceramic. In fact it is the basis for green scotchbrite, it is easily harder than any steel. So any properly anodized aluminum will have some scratch resistance to start with.

Also, aluminums which are 6000 series (6061, 6063, etc) and 7000 series (7075, etc.) can be hardend one way or another. Most are air or age hardend. At its hardest, with some of the 7000 series aluminums, you can approach the mid 40's on a rockwell C scale, which is much better than any plastic. G10 is a glass filled composite, so it is a little different beast, but I am sure it isn't harder or more scratch resistant than hardened 7000 series aluminum.

Most of the quality manufacturers will list what they use. For example Microtech on their Socom elite are using 6061 - T6 hard anodized according to their website. This should easily hold up as well as any other type of handle to scratches, and dents. It will definately be harder at the surface than G10, steel or anything else possibly except anodized titanium or Titanium nitride coated steel.


Aug 21, 2000
Another thing on the scratches, a scothbright pad will remove them. Most people just mark up the handles with regular carry, the scothbright will remove this. It would take a pretty hard scratch to get past the anodized coating. I have used a scotchbright a few times on my Trident and it looks new when you are finnished. The Kraton inserts are very well done, and provide a lot of grip right where you need it.
Jul 1, 2000
I love aluminum handles. The ones on my Mouse are flawless after about six months of daily carry at work and at home with constant use. Check out any of Spyderco's aluminum/almite handles. Definitely not bargain basement!
Oct 3, 1998
When it comes to aluminum, it's definitely what the maker does with it! It can look cheap -- but I don't think the MODs look cheap, nor do the Microtechs, nor do a host a other knives. They will scratch with time, but do you want perfect-looking handles or performance? *If* they are textured right, they aren't too slippery. Aluminum is nice and light.

My favorite carry knife, a Benchmade Axis 710, has aluminum handles. It's textured very nicely, enough to give grip but not enough to bother my hands. It's got some scratches from use, but not too many, because I don't carry the knife in a pocket that has keys or change in it. It actually seems lighter than the g-10 handled 710s. Overall, I can't complain at all, and would probably buy aluminum again, at least from Benchmade.

I don't know that it's my favorite handle material, but if I otherwise liked the knife, I wouldn't let it stop me at all.


[This message has been edited by Joe Talmadge (edited 01-16-2001).]
Dec 1, 2000
the aluminum I think you're speaking of is the poorly made cast aluminum, like on the handles of Pakistan boot knives at the flea market....definitely cruddy.
however, aluminum alloy, properly executed, is the material for the frames of many Beretta and Ruger handguns. whether or not you like either of these, the frames are VERY durable, and more than stout enough for a knife handle. so, no worries....but G10 does look and feel better in my opinion.
Aug 8, 1999
IMHO, the best aluminum handles are those with the Tuffram finish that Spyderco puts on the Lum CHinese, Mouse, and a few other models. It is extrememly scratch resistant. The MOD knives are not Tuffram, but their dark finish means that when they scratch, they tend to look "weathered" or carried instead of just scratched.
Jun 13, 2000

Other than Ti it's my favorite 'non-grown' handle material, but it has to be 6061T6 hard anodized or better.

Don't be afraid to try it!

Jun 23, 1999
My BM/Crawford Leopard still looks great after a couple of years of use. A BM Sentinel looks a little more scratched because I think scratches show up better on the dark flat aluminum of the Sentinel as compared to the more sanded look of the Leopard. Aluminum is comfortable and lightweight. Like someone said, its the handle design... I have a very similar looking COMMANDER from Columbia River Knife & Tool, and its scales are made of zinc. Zinc is much heavier. Makes you apprciate the better quality aluminum even more.



Feb 25, 2000
Where can you get a BM 710 with aluminum handles? I've only seen them with the G10 scales. Is this a regular offering now or was this a special run for their "Knife of the Month" program?

Semper Fi