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Camillus Talonite Talon - initial impressions

Feb 7, 2000
Well, I have recently had the opportunity to try out a Camillus Talon. Thanks go out to those who made this possible; you know who you are. I just received the knife today, so these are only my initial impressions of it, having spend a few hours playing around. I will be posting more at a later date, once I've had a chance to actually use the a bit.

Let's get this out of the way first, as it is, IMHO, the least important part of the knife, since there are so many aftermarket sheathmakers out there. I have to say, this is a very clean-looking sheath. While I prefer a simple clip made out of Kydex or Concealex for attachment to the belt, given the slimmer design, I have to say that the 'Tek-Lok' is much more secure and adjustable, and I would highly recommend it for field use, where these features outweigh the slightly greater bulkiness. Another thing I noticed on the sheath is that all the edges are properly radiused, and the whole thing just looks more like a custom sheath than a production sheath. It even has a drain hole at the point of the blade which, while unimportant as far as rust is concerned, since this is a Talonite knife, makes it much easier to clean out the sheath.

Now, for the bad part: the retention on this sheath is definitely sub-par. While this makes for a very smooth and quick draw, a flick of the wrist while holding the knife handle sends the sheath on its merry way. This is something Camillus definitely should look into, as the benefits of the Tek-Lok are lost if the knife will not stay in the sheath. Since this knife is very suitable as a camp food-preparation knife, rather than a defensive knife, I wouldn't even mind seeing a form of secondary retention added.

While a little on the small side for my preferences, the handle should be very comfortable to the average person. The thumb and finger serrations (cut into the tang, and only about 1/16" wide) add quite a bit of grip retention to the knife, without being uncomfortable. The areas where these are located (thumb ramp and front half of the index-finger cutout) feel 'sticky' more than anything else, which is quite reassuring.

The handle slabs are G10, with three lengthwise grooves milled into them. The G10 itself is fairly smooth in comparison to, for example, Benchmade's G10. However, these grooves really help to prevent the knife from twisting in the hand, and should function more effectively when wet than traditional textured G10. The handle slabs themselves do not work too effectively in preventing the hand from sliding forward and back (two grooves similar to the three lengthwise ones, cut from top to bottom and spaced evenly along the shorter lengthwise groove, would seem to solve that very effectively). The addition of a cutout for the index finger, in combination with the finger serrations, make that problem a minor one, as they are more than adequate to prevent the hand from sliding under normal (and slightly excessive) use.

So, if I had to make any suggestions to change things about the handle, I would add those two grooves in the scales, and probably add a bit of a finger guard (just because I prefer finger guards
). Still, all-in-all, this is a very comfortable handle, and should easily perform any of the tasks which one would normally expect of a knife of this size and style.

Other Ergonomics:
I would specifically like to note the balance of this knife. At first, it felt slightly odd, since the balance point is directly at the back end of the index-finger cutout, as opposed to being centered over the finger. This is actually quite comfortable, and the blade seems to 'disappear,' as the balance tends to feel as if there is nothing past the end of the handle. If I was Camillus, I might drill a couple of holes in the tang to lighten the knife (not that it's abnormally heavy) and more the balance forward a little; I might not. I'm glad I don't have to make those decisions, since I really couldn't choose which I prefer.

The blade shape - a pretty traditional drop-point, with the axis of the blade angled slightly down from the axis of the handle (the point is in line with the lowest milled groove in the handle) - is quite nice as a utility blade. I will bring up again my feeling as to the 'correct' use of this knife: I see it as a knife primarily for camp use, given the blade shape and the corrosion-resistant properties of Talonite. It could be used for any number of other uses, but this is where I really see this knife fitting in.

The Blade:
While I just addressed the shape of the blade briefly, I would like to now point out some other things I have noticed about the blade. First, Talonite definitely will take a shaving-sharp edge. How long it will keep that edge remains to be seen, but it definitely will shave quite easily. The blade is also no more hand-flexible than any other modern steel blade of the same thickness which I have handled, so anyone who has been worried that Talonite may be similar to Aluminum in strength can stop worrying. The blade is flat ground, again encouraging the use of this knife in a utility role. The grinds come down to a pretty thin edge. While it is not quite as thin as that of some other knives, it is by no means as thick as some have seemed to imply is necessary with Talonite.

Another thing I have noticed is how slippery the surface of the blade feels. I am not certain if this is a result of the blade finish only, or if it is due to the 'inherent lubricity' of the Talonite. Whichever is the cause, in practical use, it should allow the blade to cut with less drag.

The Conclusion:
Well, those are just my initial impressions. I will have more for you all after I've spent some quality time with the knife.


1)The talon is drilled out under the scales-take a peek. (quite a bit actually)

2)Camillus has rectified the sheath retention issue. I spoke to Will about this.
Since this was a review of Talonite, and not the Talon as a whole, he opted to give a new sheath to a customer, as opposed to the users of this loaner.

The awesome lubricity is what I love about Talonite. I believe that is one reason it cuts well when "dull" to the touch.

"The most effective armor is to keep out of range"-Italian proverb
Hehe, I did take a peek, but look under the scales of a Benchmade Nimravus. That's drilled-out. As I said, I'm not even sure if I would prefer the balance moved back, and the added machining cost probably makes it less than optimal.

I'm glad to hear the sheath was fixed, as I was worried there for a while. I would still be interested to see a sheath with secondary retention offered as an option, for those who do more heavy-duty stuff.

Just a note: I do intend this project to result in an overall review, not just on the blade material, since, well, that's just how I am.

To add a couple of things:
One thing which impressed me was the quality of the grinding work on the scales, which are virtually mirror images of each other (better than I've seen on any other production knife, and better than many custom's, as well).

Also, as for Talonite, I was able to make the edge roll by attmpting to cut the metal handle of one of those Chinese-food containers. A Benchmade 730 (I used this as it is nearly the same size, and is my only 'beater' knife which is sharp at the moment), made of ATS-34, did not roll when approximately the same forces were applied. I should note that the rolling of the Talonite was virtually un-noticeable visually, unless the light reflected off that portion of the edge just right, but can be obviously felt when an attempt is made to shave hair (that portion won't shave).


Just one quick word on the balance point. I balanced the knife that way on purpose, and Camillus (Phil Gibbs and Will Fennell) stuck with my design to the letter. Being a hunter who takes several deer and an elk now and then every year, plus a knife user since I was old enough to pack one I have found on a knife the size of the Talon I like it to be a touch handle heavy as you noticed. The reason for this is you can open your hand or loosen your grip and the knife stays in your hand rather than falling out. I think about this when I build knives that size as I once dropped one and tried to catch it with my foot and it stuck in the calf of my left leg. When I pulled it out it was readily apparent that I had punched a hole in my femural artery and made quite a mess. Then on the way to the hospital I ran out of gas.....and there is more but it belongs in a thread called stupid, funny, knife stories!


[This message has been edited by Rob Simonich (edited 09-13-2000).]
See, I knew there had to be some reason.

Another thing to add:
I tried the knife wet, and then wet and soapy, and the grooves definitely worked as I though. While the surface of the handle felt a bit slippery (it is still somewhat grippy), the grooves seemed to grab my hand, and the knife stayed very secure.


I disagree on the handle. First I don't think added groves are needed, I had no problem with the knife moving forward or back. The design is very well thought out I think. Wile you are useing it take note to the angled front part of the scales it is placed just right. My thumb would fit right there for more pressure wile cutting. I also found no need for a finger grove or added gard. The only thing I found is the thumb groves needed to be a little more forward. But other than that the handle is damb neer perfect, for me. Btw I didn't think much of it until I used it for awile its greatest points seemed to be hidden by just looking at the handle, and wile useing it they start to show themselfs. I used a Talon for about 4 hours one night and no hot spots showed up.
"Hold the Mayo, please!" - Darn! that only works in fast-food joints! (HeHeHe!)

Rob, in your new Knife Catching Circus Act which part of the foot do you use catch the knives?

Regarding the Talon's sheath, I just received a replacement & they have fixed the problem - the knife locks in solidly now - no fear of coming out unexpectedly. I don't think I would carry it up-side down with the current sheath though because not a lot of the handle is grabbed by the sheath - I'll leave catching knives with body parts other than the hand to Rob. Horizontal or vertical carry would be very secure.

E-U, one thing you will find is you can bring the edge back very easily - mine fell edge-first on concrete(original sheath!) and chipped out noticeably - lot of small chips in edge! Less than 5 minutes work with medium Spydee sticks and couple passes on white sticks brought edge back good as new & shaving sharp. Have fun testing it - I think you will be impressed.


I just wanted to say that your 'Initial Impressions' on the Talon was very well thought out and written. Your post left me with a really clear understanding of what the knife must feel like in the hand.

I've been considering getting a Talon, and I look forward to reading your upcoming full review.

Great work!




Tuvo muy mala suerte...se callo en mi cuchillo.

I recently picked up a used Talon because I wanted to try the Simonich Cetan design and secondly because I wanted to give Talonite another try. I can tell that I am really going to love this knife on a long term basis. I second all of e_u's comments, the handle does seem a little small at first. It is comfortable during hard cutting though, and the butt of the handle tends to seat into the cup of the palm which helps a great deal in stopping the hand from sliding up during poking and chiseling. The small handle also results in the smallest possible visual signature while the knife is being carried. I know this isn't a performance characteristic, but I know that the size of the fixed blade that I carry for everyday use is primarily limited by what my wife thinks is too much, so the smaller the knife looks relative to its effective size, the better.
Again, as e_u said, the fluting in the handle is effective in keeping the grip from slipping without being uncomfortable.

I really like the blade shape. It is fairly narrow, but has a good paddle shaped belly, which means blade control will be good when the tip is burried in the material, and it will work well scooping peanut butter out of the bottom of the jar. In short, I think it is a really excellent and versatile utility blade. Camillus has done an excellent job grinding the blade too, the grind is wide and the edge is an excellent compromise between cutting efficiency and strength.

Speaking of edge strength, this was by biggest concern with the Talonite Talon. I was worried that after spending a couple hundred bucks, I would have a knife that either had an edge too thick to cut well, or an edge that had to be babied to keep from destroying it. Those concerns were unfounded. The first thing I did with my Talon was attack a hard plastic container lid. I cut in tight circles, I hacked the edge into the heavy rim and twisted the edge, I twisted and torqued until I was satisfied, and the edge was still intact and cutting well. There were some barely visible turned spots on the edge, but not what one would call damage, and they sharpened out with a couple of strokes.

So the edge is plenty strong, but it cuts well too. 1/2" sisal rope is 95% cut through in one stroke against a cutting board. This is cutting efficiency in the same ballpark as my best cutting blades.

It is really hard to find something not to like about this knife. It is an excellent piece of state of the art cutting tool.

NICE Steve!!! Glad to see you got to hack away at the plastic cap with the Talon. And I'm really glad to hear you weren't able to peel away any of the edge.

Glad to see you're liking it too, Steve! It is one nice little utility knife for everyday carry & with the new sheath can be carried anyway you want. I like Rob's a little better but for everyday carry I feel more comfortable with the Talon - less invested & replaceable. Talonite holds an edge better than some people give it credit for and it is sooo easy to resharpen - I wouldn't recommend dropping it edge first on concrete like mine(mucho small chips along 3/4 of the blade) but took less than 5 minutes to restore it to as new condition - any other steel would have taken lot longer, esp. 420V.
Want to hear how it holds up over long-term use? Keep us posted please.
Talonite & 6K rulezz!
I absolutely love the Talon also. I bought it for kayaking next summer. Iam convinced that it will not let me down. My only complaint is the sheath retention. If turned upside down, my Talon will fall right out. I am very dissapointed about that. Sounds like this could be a common problem.


Louis Buccellato
Knives, Weapons and equipment. Best prices anywhere.

"only the paranoid will survive"
The Martial Way, please check out the Camillus Forum and look at the thread about the sheaths. Camillus is replacing the sheaths that are loose. Get a hold of Will and you will get a new one!
In a fit of joy that E_eutopia and the FAMOUS Steve Harvey seem to approve of TALONITE and the TALON in particular.....


On a much more serious note, if you are have problems with a loose sheath on a TALON, please call 800-344-0456 and describe the situation. We will take care of you. There were some tolerance issues with SOME of the first run sheaths and knives. We did not change the overall sheath design, ...just tightened up some deminsions. The is no visual appearence differences. Some sheath/knife fits are great.....others are loose. You will know right away. We want you to be happy....so let us know.

Glad you guys like 'em. They are like DORITO'S....we will make more

Stay Sharp!
Will Fennell
Camillus Cutlery
Not too surprising they liked the Talon - knowledgeable users would tend to like great knives & you have made a very nice knife with an excellent blade material.

The new sheath is excellent - thank you very much fo fixing a minor, but inconvenient problem - the old sheath will go in the mail soon.

Talonite RULEZZZZ!

Famously wordy I suppose.

I still won't go so far as saying Talonite rules. There is still the strength trade-off, and I don't think the edge holding superiority to the CPM steels has yet been firmly established. It is possible to make a cobalt blade that is too weak at the edge for hard use.

Camillus deserves great credit though. They grind the Talon(Quest?) right. It is strong and reliable based on the one I have, and it cuts efficiently. All that remains to talk about is extraordinary edge holding, imperviousness to corrosion, and no place to hang a complaint.

[This message has been edited by Steve Harvey (edited 09-25-2000).]
I do like the design but with one major reservation: lack of a full guard.

My point: if I happen to be dressing out a deer and the point suddenly gets stuck, the potential exists for my hand to slip forward and my fingers to get cut pretty good. This could even occur with a good grippable handle.

Certainly, if there are any plans for a Talon with a full guard, I would get one without any hesitation.

Just one comment:

well, maybe more then 1 comment:
The replacement sheath is just perfect! I am now wearing it as a neck knife and it has not fallen out once (except when my dog pulled it out
)I like the handle! I like the blade shape! I like the way it holds an edge! I like the way it sharpens with ease!
GREAT JOB WILL AND CAMILLUS (never really knew how to pronounce Camillus until I called the factory
) Ka Mill Us

Bremerton, Washington