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Critique my knife purchase

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by Dalko43, Apr 26, 2016.

  1. Dalko43


    Apr 26, 2016
    The purchase is already made, and I'm not going to buy another knife for quite some time, but nonetheless I am interested in hearing critique and feedback from forum members regarding my purchase:

    What: Blackhawk Gideon Drop Point Knife, 5" blade, AUS8A stainless steel, partial blade on the back edge, Black Ti-Nitride coating.
    How much: Bought it for ~ $100
    Reason: Believe it or not, I wasn't too concerned about the "tacti-cool" factor. I've served my time, got to use some decent gear. But I've always viewed gear as expendable, meaning that I'll buy decent stuff, take good care of it, but at the end of the day its a tool and a means to an end. The tool might break, get lost, wear out, ect. so I refuse to spend an arm and a leg on getting the best, most expensive, most sought-after piece of kit. If the tool works and has decent reliability, then that's all I need. At $100, the Gideon drop point seemed like a good deal compared to many other bushcraft and survival knives. It's AUS8A stainless steel seemed relevant, given that I use this knife almost exclusively when I am outdoors (hunting, camping, exploring); I really like having a blade material that will resist corrosion since nearly everything metal is inclined to rust in the northeast where I live. I will and currently do use this knife for a variety of camping chores: cutting rope; trimming branches; gathering wood shavings/kindling; carving; batoning small branches and small-sized logs. At a bit over 10" (blade and handle combined) it is probably a bit on the long side for the hunting and fishing I do, but I could see this knife's utility in such situations especially for bigger game. The tactical design on this knife also isn't lost on me...the contoured grip and drop point demonstrates that there was a martial intent behind the design of this knife. To be perfectly honest, I'll be more than happy if I can go about my life without ever having to use this knife in such an application, but it's good to know that I have another tool at my disposal should I ever find myself in a bad situation. Right now this is the only blade of note that I carry when out in the woods, with the exception of maybe a small, cheap folding knife. My wood processing needs are minimal; I mostly gather deadfall and branches off the ground for camp fires. If I ever need a tool for more substantial wood working and processing, I could see the value of having a more dedicated survival knife or even a full on chopper, but I'm more inclined to use a small hatchet or survival axe for such tasks. I'm definitely limited as to what size logs I can process with the Gideon (mostly due to blade size and the relatively small flat spine on the back edge), but given my style of camping it has worked well enough thus far.

    So what are your thoughts?
    Will the AUS8A stainless steel hold up to my intended uses (especially the wood batoning)?
    Was the purchase for $100 a good buy, compared to the other options out there?
    Am I trying to make a square peg fit in a round hole by using a "tactical" fixed blade as a outdoor/hunting knife?
    Does blackhawk have a reputation for reliability and quality?

    This was my first serious knife purchase. I've had swiss army knives, small cheap folding knives, but nothing this expensive....lol...I know, $100 isn't a whole lot in the knife world considering what's out there, but for me it was a big step up from what I had previously been working with.

    Edit: some photos posted for context:
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2016
  2. McBokerson


    Aug 3, 2013
    Are you happy with your purchase? That's all that really matters. And as long as you take care of your blade it should last you a very long time, or at least until you buy another! (It'll happen sooner than you think)

    When that time does come, go ahead and try out something made by esee, becker, fallkniven, or ontario. All of which are extremely well made and most of which can be had under $100 also.
  3. SW-EDC

    SW-EDC Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Dec 4, 2015
    I've owned several AUS8A blades but not for purposes your intending so unsure how it will perform. I imagine it will be okay.
    $100 seems a bit high for a knife made in Taiwan but seems that's the going rate for this knife.
    On the plus side, I do like the style..nice blade/handle shape/finish.
  4. wroughndt

    wroughndt Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 31, 2011
    I got one of these in a trade and gifted it to my little brother. He attached the sheath to his backpack and that is where it has been ever since. Through camping, four wheeler rides (lots!) and general hiking. It is still in great shape. It is a very well made knife, is built to take a beating and comfortable in the hand. Nice score... I might actually go buy another now that you bring it up.

    Edited to add, as long as you don't do something crazy, I think it will stand up to battoning just fine.
  5. Dalko43


    Apr 26, 2016
    Haha...maybe so. For the time being, yes I am happy with this blade. I am eager to do some backpacking this coming summer to truly put this blade to the test, but so far it has done most of what I have asked of it. My only real issue with this blade is trying to find a good way to secure it to my belt along the small of my back. Right now it sits upright (blade pointed to the ground) due to how the sheath is configured.

    I've read a bit about esee and ontario, and I certainly considered those options. Who knows, maybe at some point I'll give them a try. I was actually heavily considering the ESEE 6P-B but ultimately went with the Gideon.

    The design does look cool to me as well, but function always trumps form in my book, and the handle sits really well in my hand, and the whole thing feels very well balanced. I wasn't too concerned about the "Taiwan" label....a lot of stuff is made overseas nowadays; such is capitalism. So long as the brand/manufacturer has a reputation for reliability, I'm okay with something being made overseas. To my knowledge Blackhawk has a decent enough reputation for reliability, maybe not the best, but decent enough.

    Do you have any specific feedback on how the AUS8A blades worked for you?
  6. Dalko43


    Apr 26, 2016
    Thanks for the feedback!

    BTW, what would be considered something "crazy" in your mind?
  7. wroughndt

    wroughndt Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 31, 2011
    Something with gravel on it, through a knot, twisting it... Who knows. It is a stout knife, as long as you use your brain you should be fine.
  8. Sonnydaze

    Sonnydaze Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 6, 2009
    We need to keep in mind that many of the finest Spyderco models, several over $300 and loved by their owners...come from Taiwan.
  9. Armadew

    Armadew Reisloafer

    Nov 22, 2006
    Taiwan is capable of making fantastic knives. There isn't some magic surrounding the country keeping them from exporting quality materials. My favorite knives are Spyderco's Taiwanese models :)

    Blackhawk isn't mentioned super often here, but I can't remember anyone saying too much bad about them. Almost pulled the trigger on a few myself.
  10. lemonslush


    Aug 13, 2012
    Yea, should not matter what we think. If you like it and it makes you happy. Who cares.
  11. CookieRawwr

    CookieRawwr Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 23, 2014
    It looks like a solid knife, never bought anything from Blackhawk but I would of considered one of these if I known about it before.
  12. VanDammet

    VanDammet Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 30, 2015
    Dude, come on, what were you thinking?? You need to return this immediately and buy a timeless custom in an overpriced super steel like I would. I'll just repeat what's been said, if you dig the knife, then I'm happy for you bro. It's a lot of blade with a lot of tactical features for $100 - good on ya (I don't know what that means, but my oldest son says it sometimes...). Seriously, it's not my personal style, but it looks to be well made, has a ton of cool features packed into it, & best of all is the blade shape/cutting edge...has a nice point & a long useful cutting edge.
  13. 15Tango


    Apr 26, 2015
    Ive had very good experiences with AUS 8 steel. I have no experience with this specific blade or manufacturer but Ill echo what others have already beat me to saying with- If you personally get enjoyment from it and it performs well for you, then awesome! Good luck, Let us know how it goes
  14. VanDammet

    VanDammet Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 30, 2015
    I wish I would have read this before I wrote my stupid post....this is so precisely right on! I started with tactical folders & now collect nothing but custom fixed blades...go figure.

    OP - I know that you don't plan on buying another knife "for quite some time", but brother (that sounds a bit odd, but my backspace button is on the fritz) - you WILL feel the force compelling you to ignore your other financial responsibilities & buy another knife, soon. And then another, then three more, then boom, you're a degenerate knife nut like most of us are. Welcome to the fold!


    Feb 23, 2000
    It fits your hand and carries an edge, what more do you need?
    Aus8 is pretty good though I find keeping a keen edge is a bit tricky as they can get a folding bur. Not my favourite steel, but shouldn't just give up if abused as it can take some punishment.

    For the great outdoors there really isn't much need for "much" knife. A knife sure but it doesn't have to be that clever. No different to a watch. If later you want something sexier then thats nice too.
  16. Dalko43


    Apr 26, 2016
    Haha! Love how you opened that post! And just to be clear, it's not like I'm having second thoughts on my purchase. I'm keeping the knife and intend to use it for camping/backpacking. I just wanted to hear opinions from others, perhaps some of whom have been around the block and have a bit more experience than I do when it comes to the different brands and blade materials.

    No worries.

    Maybe...I pride myself on using what I have rather than going out and buying a new product every time I come across a new challenge/project. I'm not saying I won't ever buy other knives, but I intend to get maximum use of this thing before I entertain getting another knife. Honestly, I'll likely look into a hatchet or small forestry axe before I get another knife...not that I'm trying to start an axe vs large knife discussion, but I have gotten more used to using an axe over the last few years.

    I've heard similar things about AUS8A's edge retention. I'll have to see what kind of abuse it can take before any work on the edge is required. Honestly the biggest selling point over say a 1095 carbon steel knife, like an Ontario RAT-5 or an ESEE 6P-B was that the Gideon's AUS8A has a higher resistance to corrosion which means a lot to me here in the Northeast....what that actually translates to in real-world use remains to be seen. Like I said, I intend to put this knife through its paces this coming summer, which will undoubtedly have some rain.

    As for how "much" knife is really needed for outdoor traveling/activities, I mostly agree with you. Practically speaking, you really don't need much of a blade to get/prep fire wood and perform basic functions/tasks around a camp. The same can be said for carrying a firearm for personal defense (not sure if that is a touchy subject on this forum) or a first aid kit for medical emergencies or map and compass for hiking. The likelihood of encountering a situation where such measures are needed is slim. The way I view it, I don't carry certain tools/kit on me because I think that I'll need them on a daily, or even occasional, basis. Rather, I carry certain tools/kit on me because in the unlikely event an emergency/crisis arises, I want to be able to deal with that situation.
  17. SW-EDC

    SW-EDC Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Dec 4, 2015
    Back to Taiwan quickly, most of my S&W knives are made there and you know what, they haven't had so much as a hiccup of a problem after 10 years of owning.
  18. RevDevil

    RevDevil Super Evil Supermod Staff Member Super Mod

    Nov 9, 2009
    Sometimes we see something we like, and want it to do something it was not designed for. The knife in the OP is NOT a woods knife, by any stretch of the imagination. It's a "tactical fixed blade", probably designed for other purposes than woods survival. See that giant swedge on the spine? Dead giveaway that it isn't a woods knives, it's not even heavy or big enough to be a chopper. It's like buying a kitchen knife and wishing it was an automatic. OP, if you like it, then enjoy it. DO not expect too much out of it when batoning or any sort of hard woods type use. A little more research would have given you ESEE/Becker/BRKT, and a dozen other companies that specialize in "woods knives". Just my thoughts.

    Location of manufacture vs price is a very complex topic, you cannot reliably say, "seems to be too much money for where it was made." You're missing over 90% of factors involved.
  19. BladeScout

    BladeScout Basic Member Basic Member

    May 16, 2010
    Its your dough and if the knife speaks to you, its all fine.

    You mentioned backpacking; the type of knife would not be my first choice for bushcraft and other chores in that vein when out and about.
  20. VanDammet

    VanDammet Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 30, 2015
    RevDevil - I agree, of course, but there's something to be said for a guy choosing to take a knife that he just likes, and deciding to use it as his outdoors knife. Besides, when the dead rise, and ohhhhhh yes, they will rise, Dalko43 is gonna be happily stabbing into their infected brains in the Georgia countryside, while all the guys stuck with their traditional woods knives are going to be wishing they had a better penetrator.

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