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Böker/Nealy "The specialist" - First impressions

Oct 11, 1998
Last weekend the postman brought me a some long awaited order. Böker finally managed to deliver the long announced Bud Nealy / Böker "Specialist". As the past showed, Böker is often a little bit optimistic in relation to it´s production schedule.
Anyway, after opening the carton, I found a nice giftbox with the Nealy/Böker MCS Logo and the Böker tree on top. While it´s not exactly high class rosewood it makes for a nice change to the usual standard carton. Inside it´s compartmentalized, to stow each part of the MCS system (which stands for Multi Concealment Sheath, by the way). First impression was quite favourable.

So what you get inside the box is the following:
1. the knife
2. a Kydex sheath with 7 bolt holes and a magnet inside
3. a Kydex belt loop
4. a neck chain
5. a nylon webbing belt loop
6. a Kydex flap
7. two fitting screws

To start with the knife, it´s 18,5 cm long, with a 9 cm long and 3 mm thick blade. It´s a geometric tanto shape with very little belly hollow ground (both sides) from 440C at the main edge, flat ground at the leading edge and has a satin finish. The handle is slightly contoured to fit the hand, has four holes drilled through (to decrease weight according to the makers) and fitted with black G10 scales (a version with Cocbolo wood, will also be available). The base of the grip (in the index finger grove), the top of the spine (where your thumb rests) and the pommel is grooved too make the grip more secure.
Well these are the technical facts. Now to my personal impressions. The Specialist is quite small, which you won´t notice by only looking at some pictures. I have more or less medium sized hands and while I didn´t found the grip uncomfortable, it seems a bit short. The whole thing is more or less in the same size range as a CRKT KISS or the SOG Air folders. A AFCK looks big next to the Specialist. The knife arrived sharp, but didn´t thrill me too much, which called for the sharpener. With very little effort I could put a hair popping sharpness to the main edge. How long this will hold is another question, but time will tell.
Performancewise there wasn´t so much time, to really put it through some hard tests. Let´s say that it performed good in the kitchen considering the lack of belly, opens letters to my satisfaction and passed the attack on the old rolls of carpet in the cellar with quite impressive results. It´s a nice cutter (for it´s size) and penetration is on par with bigger knifes (maybe the tanto shape isn´t so bad after all?). On the other hand, I won´t voluntarily stab with it, if avoidable. The grip is too small and I would fear to slide into the blade, at least in my hands. A girlfriend of mine found it quite comfortable. I´ll have to see how it performs over time.

The real beauty of this little gizmo is the sheath system. It´s made out of 1 mm Kydex and contains a powerful magnet to hold the knife inside. Which it does quite well. Even if only the top third is still in the sheath, the knife does not fall out. On the other hand apply enough force (e.g. jump down maybe half a meter and land hard) and the knife will drop out. I solved this by making it a little tighter with a heat gun, now it´s very secure and still easy to draw (even if you throw it down and stop it on the neck chain, it stays were it should). Naturally it has the same drawback as all Kydexsheaths, it scratches the blade. Don´t expect to keep the nice satin touch if you use this knife. The magnet amplifies this.
While the sheath is nicely made, the fittings make it work. You can fasten the Kydex belt loop to it to carry it high or low vertically on the belt, horizontally left or right. The Nylon webbing belt loop is for IWB carry, to secure the sheath to the belt (not abselutely necessary IMO). Neck carry is another option, I substituted the chain with a cord, but this is only my personal preference, the chain is ok. Finally you can attach the flap to the bottom of the sheath and clip the knife upside down to your waistband, vest, boot or pocket. This I really like, since it works great inside of suit pockets and doesn´t print at all.

Bottomline? Well hard to judge. For a production knife it´s done very good and offers the MCS system for an affordable price. From a practical POV I´m undecided. It´s a little small to classify as a defense knife for my taste and for utility purposes a folder would do the job as well. For somebody in the suite and tie community it certainly offers a possibility to carry a fixed blade daily without any raised eyebrows. I like it and found reasonable priced. On the other hand, if I would live on the other side of the big lake as most of you, where shipping isn´t a major consideration, I would advise to check out T.H.Rinaldi, Mark Boyer or R.Simonich (hope I typed those guys right) too. I would think you can get more blade for your bucks from them and can order your personal knife.
Uops, this sounds a little bit negative as a final note. This wouldn´t do the little Nealy/Böker justice. If you are buying Benchmade and Spyderco then the Böker would make a very fine alternative. Qualitywise and from the price they are on the same level (even if it´s "only" 440C, made in Germany after all, sorry got a little patriotic J ). So take a look at it, the next time you visit your favourite knife dealer.


Here some pictures


Best regards to Germany
I bought mine yesterday at the "Pferd & Jagd" fair here in Hannover ( but no special price
). Böker has a booth there and I talked a little with Mr. Dalichow. He told me they changed the sheath a little bit to make it mor safe. My version is secure, it didn't lose the knife after a little jumpin' & thumpin'.
I agree with you about the knife. A nice little toy, well made and the carry system is excellent. Up to now I only tried neck carry. I too worked the edge over to get the sharpness I prefer.
I like it but I should have bought the REAL nealy last year.
Take care,
Saw the pics of this knife. Hate to say it, but... looks a whole lot like a Stiff KISS to me.
What are the Boker/Nealys selling for? If they are really over $130 as i heard, then i will save for an extra week or two and get one from Bud Nealy....probably opt for the Pesh Kabz, seems more a serious tool for defense.
Yeah, I would agree on that one, but I would think the Böker a little bit better equipped. Unfortunately they are a lot more expensive.

Well if you can´t get one in the states, you can try and order from Böker directly. Somewhere in there website must be a order page if I remebere correctly, just try the link Ralf provided. And be prepared for a hell of a shipping charge, customs and vat at your end etc.. Really a pain to order international. I usually can add 25 - 30% on the prices you know on your end.

They sell for round about DM 200,00 here in Germany which makes about US$ 120,00.

One final comment here. I received the CRKT Stiff K.I.S.S. yesterday and am now able, to compare the two knifes directly. While some testing should be done as well, at first glance the KISS offers more or less the same abilities as the Böker/Nealy. Admitedly the material and workmanship is better in the Böker, but at something around U$ 20,00 the KISS is stiff competiton. So if you can live with AUS6 instead of 440C, chisel instead of hollow grind, Zytel instead of Kydex and work on a low budget then go for the bargain of the KISS. There isn´t that much what the Böker can do better. (Actually I would feel more comfortable to stab something with the KISS than with the Böker/Nealy). I´ll see how the two knifes compare further in the future.