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Kudos to Steve Dick & Tactical Knives

Oct 3, 1998
Well, with the occasional magazine-bashing that goes on here (for good reason), I thought I'd give some kudos. I just got the latest version of Tactical Knives in the mail, and seen some encouraging things.

First article I read was by Steve Dick, on the Carnivour. He did an excellent job of finding both the good points, and those things that could have been executed a bit better. Very rare to find good constructive criticism these days. And more importantly, Steve had the guts to hint that liner locks might not be perfect. He mentions that they are susceptible to several types of failure, and that users are going around with lists of tests before they buy liner locks. In a magazine full of ads for liner lock knives, this was refreshing honesty.

My biggest complaint is the performance testing -- Steve apparently tested the knife and found that (surprise) the ridiculously thick, polished factory edge isn't so great. Since the edge is the one thing that's really adjustable by the user, I feel that when a reviewer finds a knife that doesn't perform up to its potential due strictly to the factory edge, the reviewer should re-sharpen the knife and report the results with both factory and re-sharpened edges. I assure you, with my edge on it, the Carnivour would perform!

Then I looked at the next article, also by Steve, on Kopromed. I just got to the first paragraph, where he talks about the importance of thin edges (and performance).

Then I looked at the front editorial. I wasn't expecting much, because I felt Steve had missed some key points in his ATS-34 editorial last time. But this one was right on, discussing the current over-emphasis of knife strength and under-emphasis of performance. I still wince whenever I see a review that is very light on performance, but the reviewer says, "I could never destroy this knife", as if that says everything. "BUT DOES IT CUT?," I feel like yelling.

That's as far as I've gotten in the magazine, but I'm impressed so far. Hopefully the rest of the magazine is as good, and Steve continues pushing for honesty about weaknesses, and more on performance (still a little light on performance data, from what I can see).

The rest of the magazine reads quite well, Joe. There`s a great piece on Bob Lum and his colaboration with Spyderco. (As well as some nice pics of C46.)

However, in "The Steel Bin" column about GIN-1. They sight the Spyderco Police as one of the first popular production knives with GIN-1. And they have a nice picture of the Police.....with the blade clearly stamped ATS-34! It was sorta funny to see.

Steve Dick has an editorial on page 6 that answers your "But does it cut?" question. He talks about how cutting up barrels used to be the standard test for tactical/survival type knives. He calls for makers to make knives that are "both tough as nails and that cut like light sabers." He ends up saying "If I had the to make a choice between strength and cutting effectiveness, I would go with the latter every time."

All in all, a nice issue! I hope this is a harbinger of things to come.

[This message has been edited by Steve B. (edited 17 August 1999).]
I love my Carnivour but would like to re do the edge on my sharpmaker. Joe, how did you do yours? What is the 15-20 edge and how do you do it? Thanks in advance.

I also have to say that the issue of Tactical Knives is better than average. I did find it interesting that he didnt like the stonewash finish.

Also did anybody notice that the cover Carnivour looks different than the production version?



If you go into the knife review forum and find my article from a few months ago, "How to Make the Benchmade Axis Perform", I go into detail on how I sharpened the Axis's edge, and that's really instructions on how I sharpen a recurved blade in general. Let me know how it works for you!

Thank you Joe. I knew it was here somewhere. I sure do miss that search function. I'll let you know ASAP.


Funny about TK. One of the issues this year on the Muela said it was a 420 blade .... on the blade is showed 440 clearly.

Me and my eyes.

Steve B. -- I think the discussion of the police was most likely only a poor choice of pictures. I *think* the police was indeed the first knife using GIN-1. And, if TK had the foresight to use a standard police, you'd see G-2 (other name for GIN-1) stamped right on the blade. Unfortunately, they used the rare limited-edition titanium-handled ATS-34 bladed Police model, which of course is ATS-34. They might have been correct factually, but made an almost-surreal choice of photos to accompany the article.

Hey, I didn't say they were perfect
I just saw a noticeable improvement


Joe-I hope you didn`t think I was knocking them, I just thought it was an amusingly unfortunate choice of photos! Just wondered if anyone else had noticed. Actually, it was my son who spotted that one!

I used to work for a major astronomy magazine, and I realize the hazards of being a photo editor! Especially when your magazine caters to such a demanding crowd, like astronomers or knife collectors. If you don`t sweat the details, someone is always going to let you know!

Kudos where they`re due, and TK deserves them this month!
Ok, just so you know the real story behind the ATS-34 Police photo. The art department called and said the photo that came in with the article was not useable. They needed something yesterday if not sooner so the magazine could go to the printer. I went through my files looking for a Police photo and all I came up with was the ATS-34 model. As you said, this was one of the original Gin-1 models so I felt the caption would still be accurate.
Mr. Dick,
I want to thank you for telling it like it is. You have renewed my somewhat lagging faith in knife periodicals. I always thought TK was the best of the bunch and this issue proves it. Thanks again.

BTW, TK is the ONLY rag that I read from cover to cover. If the world could only have one knife rag, I would most certainly want it to be Tactical Knives. ROCK ON!!

The choices we make dictates the life we lead.

Ah, the perils of deadlines.

I have one of those titanium-handled Police models also. I put a huge scratch on it while sharpening, probably ruining what would be a nice re-sale value by now, sigh.

One thing for sure about TK, their art department is picky, but this is the way it should be since photos usually make a magazine.

I had an editor (not TK) tell me once that finding good text from experienced people was not the problem, but good photos were. You can edit text, but it's impossible to edit bad photos.

I have no doubt that otherwise good articles sometimes fail to make the cut due to bad photos. - Jeff

Randall's Adventure & Training

in respone to the question that tthe Carnivour on the cover looks different than the production knife I definitely noticed it earlier but I figured it was my imagination.