explanation of the Boker Specialist wanted

Apr 7, 1999
Can someone tell me why the specialist was designed without a finger guard or even a significant finger cutout? I handled one for a while and concluded that it was not what I wanted solely because it felt like it might slip through my hands during a thrust. I just don't understand the design. It is made specifically for self defense, thus it should have forward thrusting grip security. Yet combine the thick broken sword tanto tip with a thin guardless g-10 handle and you have a finger tendon's worst nightmare. For those who have not handled one of the tanto specialists, the tip is thick like a buck strider. I might understand it if the tip was a fine dagger which wouldn't present as much resistance, or if the grip was tacky rubber that stuck to my hands better. In the second case you would have something like the tsunami which feels fairly secure even without a guard. But as it is it just feels dangerous. Was it designed without a guard or cutouts just for looks, or is there an explanation relating to draw speed or something?

[This message has been edited by generallobster (edited 10-16-2000).]
I think the Specialists are the ones w/ zytel handle without the holes in the handle, and the Bud Nealy series are the ones w/ G-10 handles and the holes in the handle. Which one are u talking about?

From my understanding, the specialist are cheap version of the Bud Nealy series. I have the Nealy tanto and also handled the spcialist before. And no, the Nealy tanto is far thinner than the Buck strider. The Nealy is about double the price from the Specialist, and IMO it's worthy the money. I am guessing the lack of hole and finger cutout and uses of cheap plastic(zytel?) handle are all to keep the price down. The G10 definitly gives you better grip, IMO it's not that bad for stabbing.
I think nowdays nearly everyhting has to be "tactical" or "self-defense purpose" to have marketing value.
I have SpecialistI with cocobolo handles and I use it as a all-purpose fixed blade. And I have been happy with it.
I've used it to fruit peeling and rope cutting etc. at work. Last time I had to stay at hotel I made sandwiches with it in my room - worked perfectly. Tanto blade hasn't disturbed me at all - vice versa.
Corner in the handle rubbed my palm, but I rounded it.
Knife is flat and easy to hide. Doesn't take much room in my overnight bag.
The truth is, I don't find the sheath as good as it is said to be. I'm thinking of purchasing a leather sheath with clip for it.
So, I've been happy with it since I don't need it for self-defense. For self-defense there really is better choises.
I'm pretty sure the specialist I is the model with the option of either g-10 or wood handle material, 440c steel, and it has full cutouts through the metal. I'm not talking specifically about the cheaper zytel handle model with 420 steel, but my question probably aplies equally to that design. The model I had was the g-10, tanto tip knife. I know the tip is not a buck strider, but you have to admit it is very thick at the tip and not all that sharp along that second edge. In fact that second edge is ground shorter than the buck strider. Anyway The design is quite similar, and it probably makes the tip very strong. From what I remember the spine goes up to the tip where it is abrubtly ground down from full thickness to a triangular point. Great tip if you want to open an oil drum--but what happens if you hit something dense and tough like a leather jacket backed by a sternum during a scuffle? I jabed a phone book a few times, and I have never felt a more insecure fixed blade. Penetration with that tip was very poor, and the resistance would have caused slipage and a lot of damage to my finger had I not carefully placed the butt of the handle in the well of my palm and griped the handle tight enough to tear some thumb skin on the filed spine notches. I'm not saying the knife is useless, I just think that if it is marketed specifically for self defense then it should at least have something in the design to keep my fingers safe. The tanto model I had seemed made for self defense because it came with a little instruction pamphlet with hand drawings of a "secrect agent" character modeling all the hidden carrying positions.

[This message has been edited by generallobster (edited 10-16-2000).]
I have also wondered about this for some time. There was this Boker ad about the Specialist with these lines (quoting from memory) : 'No screwdiver attached - ever. If You're looking for a cute little pocketknife, this baby might hurt your sensitive eyes' Funny, as I handled one, I thought : 'What a cute little fixed blade
A guard would make the knife a little wider, but since the multi-carry sheath is a lot wider than the knife, that is not an issue for concealment. The guard could, maybe, get hung up under the clothes and f*ck up a draw when the tension is high.
A cutout for the index finger wouldn't create any of these small problems and make the blade a lot safer.
Still, the specialist remains a cute little FB for light utility use, with a clever multi-carry system.

Take care,
Tobse !
Tobse is quite right, the Specialist is rather light use utility tool than pure tactical knife. Yes, it is pretty (mine has cocobolo scales and satin finished 440C blade), it is funny, it is flat and easy to conceal, it has quite versatile multi-carry sheath, it is fast to deploy. Speaking about situation when you need the knife to defend your life - yes, it is somewhat more useful than no knife at all. But BÖKER - Walter Brend tactical folder is far more suitable for defensive use. Or BM Nimravus Cub if you are determined to fixed blade. Or Camilus CQB-2. Or Fällkniven F1. Or SPYDERCO Bill Moran Featherweight. There are a lot of knives with similar dimensions and in this price range what will fit your handle far more comfortably and securely.

My Specialist-2 has elongated drop point blade (similar to CRKT - Pat Crawford's Pont Guard) and it is far better thruster than "tanto" version. The geometrical blade tip is really nothing to do with original Japanese tanto knives, and only slightly reminds Japanese medieval sword tips. In my opinion the choice of this blade shape is caused with fad only and has no justification in knives, especially in small knives.

BTW, blades shaped like Japanese swords (SOG Tsunami for ex.) are designed for tip strength but not for penetration. This was the main idea of original Japanese swords - to pierce if will hit the soft part of opponent body or armor and to do not break if will hit the hard part of armor.

[This message has been edited by Sergiusz Mitin (edited 10-16-2000).]
I have never been able to figure out why a "self-defense" blade (which is how the custom Nealys are marketed) would have such an insecure grip. I have a 5" Aikuchi which has the same grip problem, and I consider it unusable for that reason - I'm putting a new handle on it myself. Not that it couldn't be used as is, by someone with the appropriate training, but why take the risk?

The beatings will continue until morale improves.
Originally posted by fishface:
I have never been able to figure out why a "self-defense" blade (which is how the custom Nealys are marketed) would have such an insecure grip. I have a 5" Aikuchi which has the same grip problem, and I consider it unusable for that reason -

The reason is simple. All of Nealys efforts were concentrated on the sheath design. As he says, "the gimmick" Most of his knives, are not practical for self defense because of the handle design. People buy his product because of the hype on the sheath system. Read the articles about his knives published in the knife rags over the past 5-6 years. The emphasis is on the sheath. I have an Aikuchi, and I agree with your post.


He could have at least make some aggressive finger grooves, like Lightfoot blacktip : http://lightfootknives.com/blacktip.html
I think that will help a lot.

It's kind of mess up, that he will sacrifice the functionality of the blade for a so-so shealth design. Beats me.

[This message has been edited by SharpEdge (edited 10-17-2000).]