Well Cougar, here I am!
I am a proud owner of a Project 1. It's a great knife that has taken quite a few lickngs, and were it a watch it'd still be ticking.
In another thread I got a little immature when a certain somebody made an unbased blanket statement about me that got me p.o.'ed. Not withstanding my deviance from better judgement and civility, I stand by what I said.
It's a great knife, among the best in it's class or out of it, and will serve you well in a variety of environemnts, but probably isn't the best choice for artic climates.
You'll probably want a kydex sheath, I have had good results with the one I got from Scott Hendryx, I should note this is my first real experience with kydex, I'm not saying his is the BEST, just that it's past my tests. Bear in mind that the kydex will cause some wear of the kalgard on the spine of the blade.
The kalgard itself isn't the most durable finish in the world, stabbing it into dirt will take it right off, but it can withstand much chopping and slicing. Mine got most of it's kalgard worn off the first day, from sticking it into the dirt repeatedly, and stayed that way for a real long time. I didn't have any problems with rust or discoloration at all, despite extensive field use in a corrosive environment, and even after much exposure to blood(animal, not human, I use it for dispatchng game among other things).
The handle, though round, will not roll in your hand unless you hold it so loose anything would roll. Indexing isn't a problem if you draw it from a sheath, and as Cougar mentioned, the crossguard is shaped on the left in such a way that you can index by it, but any which way after you've used the knife for a while you get used to where it should sit in the hand. I guess mostly from feeling where the gaurd is on your index finger and thumb. In short, I have had no problems with indexing whatsoever, and have been using my knife for nearly two years now.
The checkered handle doesn't bother me in the least. I will wear my arm out from chopping before the checkering will wear out my palm. In fact, I find the handle so comfortable, I have a hard time believing anyone wouldn't. Anyway, it doesn't really transfer shocks either.
I think the main thing is, if you have soft hands or are unused to manual labor, you might get skinned. Like I have said, I have no callouses on my hands whatsoever, and have experience no discomfort at all, even when chopping down sizeable(6-10 inches) trees.
The only thing you might encounter is that since the endcap is screwed on, it will work loose as you chop. It's not a big problem as it happens slowly, just keep it in mind and check it when you rest your arm during chopping, or when you're done if it's a short task. If you use a lanyard, it's no biggy at all.
My Project both chops and slices with great proficiency. It'd be a good pry-er too, but I try to avoid that. Recently I didn't and broke my folder. It flexed, but I ignored it. Bad move.
I like big fixed blades, and would mind if the Project was a bit longer, but if I were to choose one of the smaller ones, it'd be the Shadow V.