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Finally Got My Shadow Tracker 2

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gear, Survival Equipment & More' started by mistwalker, May 9, 2012.

  1. mistwalker

    mistwalker Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    I had been impatiently waiting on the arrival of this knife since I first found out it was in the works. Now I know that as a rule TOPS does not make the traditional type bushcraft knives per say. A lot of TOPS knives typically fall into an area of having brute strength above all else. Having had knives fail under certain situations myself I understand this and it is one of the reasons I own several TOPS knives. In my studies of survival under extreme situations tough is a prerequisite for the knives I use, just as it is a prerequisite for teaching these techniques to others. Yes the knives I've had fail were being asked to perform well above and beyond the realm of what is commonly considered reasonable expectations of a knife, but life is not always reasonable, and these were not simple destruction tests. Having quite a bit of experience with TOPS' knives and coming to trust them to be tough and survive a good bit of extreme use and abuse, this one caught my attention because the redesigned Shadow Tracker combines features I like in my dedicated survival knives with features I like in dedicated field craft knives. It is not all that big, but not exactly small, it has a higher grind now, but not a flat grind with some steel left in the spine for strength under lateral stress. It's not a dedicated fighter so there is no large guard, nor is there a choil or index finger grip forward of the handle for extrication, but there is an ample first finger notch for both protection in plunges and traction in pulling. Because of this cutting pressure can be applied right in front of the handle where the most force can be placed and more easily controlled. Also it has a nice sharp tip which is something I seem to have a major hang up on for good penetration in tough materials, boring holes, fine tip work, removing splinters and such, and scraping small bits of debris from wounds. Also it is made of a good stainless for corrosion resistance in harsh and salt water environments.

    This is not an actual review of the knife, that will come later on, but just few pics from the first couple of days of playing around with it as I've had time.

    The knife comes with a well-made kydex sheath. It has a good snug fit with no rattling and a thumb-push for easy drawing of the knife.



    The knife has nice clean lines. A 4 inch blade, and a black linen micarta handle.


    A comparison shot with an “actual” bushcraft knife, essentially a Woodlore clone made by Mick Spain


    The knife came with a nice sharp edge


    So far I've only done a little whittling and notching, but have been really happy with the results. I've made a few feather sticks, and made a figure-4 trap trigger. Yes, the 2x8 is just for weight to hold the trigger together for the photo. The first pic here is a video, just click on it to play it.








    And before anyone asks, yes I do have and like several knives by various companies and makers, and this isn't even a third of them...just all I felt like carrying at the time.

  2. fmajor007


    Apr 1, 2010
    WOW! Good introduction Mist. It looks like a nice, no-nonsense, no-"frills", "get the job done" knife. As you said, not too big nor too small. Hard to tell how the ergo's work without personally handling it, but it looks neutral enough to be comfy with most tasks.

    Incidently, thats a whole lot of steel there on the deck!

    I know you've a good bit more than that (at least in terms of customs!!!), but do you have any "favorites" that you tend to reach for more than others?
  3. mistwalker

    mistwalker Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    Thanks man. Well...I'm pretty moody and have several "favorites" based on things like size, intended application, and carry system. I guess these are among the ones that get used more than some others, but there are also other favorites currently stored at other places. By all rights, as much as I carry it, my old RC-3MIL should be included in this pic, but it's as much the carry system I like as it is the knife.

  4. schmittie

    schmittie Basic Member Basic Member

    Nov 28, 2009
    Well now I'm curious. What's the carry system that gets so much love?
  5. pitdog


    Apr 13, 2007
    I liked the Shadow Tracker as soon as I first saw it, nice simple design !

    How do you like it compared to the Wilderness Guide you recently reviewed ?
  6. tknife

    tknife Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 18, 1999
    That looks great, and it really does look like a TOPS take on a bushcrafty kind of knife. How thick is it? I really like the blade shape :thumbup:
  7. mistwalker

    mistwalker Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    Thin profile that doesn't print too heavily that rides high and inside belt for discretion without being "concealed", easy on and easy off one-handed yet still secure during the draw all via their little plastic boot clip screwed to the sheath. I like it for when I am doing studies in urban woods and urban environments. I'd love to have a duplicate system with a 5/32 blade...but I've learned to deal with the shy 1/8 just because of the carry system for specific applications. As soon as I hit the real woods though it is always replaced with a stouter, heavier blade.

    Oh, you know me and stout blades with sharp points, what do you think? :)

    Thanks I thought so too, and I love the blade shape. It's 3/16, which is where the stout part comes in, but with the higher than standard saber grind it still has great slicing ability.
  8. panzertroop

    panzertroop Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 8, 2008
    Awesome blade and review. Thanks
  9. TheGame


    Sep 24, 2008
    I really like the simple look of the sheath on this. Some sheaths are just too elaborate for me. (Depending on the blade, of course) This one seems to be done right. Thanks for the pre-review, Mist. :thumbup:
  10. untamed


    Jan 7, 2003

    Hello again! As usual; good stuff with the reviews!

    I'm really not surprised you find an affinity with that knife design :wink:

    WILLIAM.M Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 14, 2006
    Looks like a Winner to me

    Always look forward to your posts--and your Excellent photos too

    Thanks Mist
  12. mistwalker

    mistwalker Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    Thanks man, but this barely scratches the surface of the actual review of this one. It's currently undergoing tests in several activities :)

    Thanks man, I know what you mean, there are those times when less is definitely more. I love the fit on TOPS' kydex sheaths.

    Thanks UT, I appreciate that. Yeah, I think most people that know me and where I spend most of my time can easily where this one would fit into my life very well.

    Thanks Bill. I thought so too as soon as I saw it. I think it is a great mix of cutting ability, strength, ease of carry, and functionality in multiple environment types.
  13. lumberjake


    Mar 13, 2012
    Amazing photos as usual. I got a Tops several years back, when I didn't know much about knives. I still think it makes a great urban survival type knife as I live in a city and who knows what kind of natural diaster could strike but being a 1/4" thick saber grind and about 4.5" long blade its not the greatest for the woods. Something I've learned since being on these forums. I cannot fault the knife as its designed for police and government agencies where prying is required and I just liked how it looked and the quality is incredible. I think Tops doesn't get the attention it deserves here because they are listening and producing the kind of knives people here like with thinner yet strong stocks, higher grinds and really great overall designs on top of the already awesome build. I think the problem may be they simply have too many knives to choose from!
  14. EvilBunny


    May 17, 2014
    Hi, this is my first post to this blogsite. I just purchased a few knives today and one of them being the TOPS Shadow Tracker 2, from a knife collector that needed some $. The owner said it was a numbered series but I cant confirm on TOPS site. Mistwalker, what is the number under the TOPS logo (R045)? I have a number there also but it is different. He also stated that he sent the knife back to TOPS and they custom cut the handles for $30. I have just made an attempt to contact TOPS, and await their response. The handle set screws are different than the ones in your pics, but match the ones on the Kydex sheath. Im hoping I didnt buy a clone. I have a few Benchmade folders and this knife seems to have quality. Thanks
  15. Rockywolf

    Rockywolf Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 16, 2005
    4th from the right...which Breeden is it? Great looking bunch!

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