Mission MPF folder and MPK review

Cobalt

Gold Member
Joined
Dec 23, 1998
Messages
17,261
As you all know, titanium is an extremely advanced alloy which has been adopted from the aerospace industry and into the knife industry.

Almost two years ago a purchased a couple of titanium knives, one being the Folder(MPF), the other being the Fixed blade version(MPK).
The MPF folder sat in my safe for a year before I even started using it. When I took it out, it went on a trip to Hawaii to me. I was absolutely amazed at how this knife did not change appearence even after 4 diving excursions. It still cut incredibly well with an edge that last as long as my gerber ATS-34 ez-out, but not as well as my ATS benchmade or Spyderco knives. This says a lot for titanium, an alloy noted more for it's memory and corrosion resistance than hardness. The blade is at least 5/32 inch thick, which I like since I prefer thicker blades. The overall feel of the knife is incredibly solid with no play whatsoever. A few times, I could have sworn I scratched it, but I find no evidence of scratches so it must have been my imagination. I dropped the knife onto the cement open and of course it fell tip first. There was some dulling of the point which I quickly fixed with my diafold. Overall a knife worth the money.

I have not used the MPK fixed blade knife as much, but for those who want a sturdy knife(the blade appears to be over a 1/4 inch thick) that weighs less than a knife half it's size, this is it.

Now back to titanium, the stuff they use for their blade material is Beta alloy. The main difference between Beta Ti. and pure Ti is the addition of around 13% Vanadium, 11% Chromium and 3% Aluminum. For example, the common 6AL4V is an Alpha-Beta Titanium having 6% Aluminum, 4% Vanadium. This alloy is no were near as strong as the Beta Titanium but strong enough for it's use and to make knife liners and handles. Heat treating can of course improve the Ti and some makers make blades out of this stuff. Titanium Beta alloys are some of the strongest Titaniums out there. Tensile strength is on the order of 187,000 psi, which compares favorable when you consider that 1095 steel has a tensile strength in the range of 110,000 psi to 186,000 psi. Of course alloy steels and even alloy titaniums will vary and can be higher. Hardness is uually were titaniums loose out to the hardest steels. This is all a matter of what type of alloys you use as well as the heat treatment process. Not all ATS-34 blades are created equall and neither are all Beta titaniums. Rockwell hardness tests don't do the titaniums justice since it is not indicative of the actuall edge holding. I'm sure that if I rockwelled(b) the mpf titanium blade it would not even reach 50, but it can hold an edge better than my ez-out ats-34 blade with a rockwell near 57. This should be no surprise as CPM 440V can outlast the best ATS-34 blades and has an average Rockwell of 56. The alloying and heattreat/quench process makes the difference.

Hope this helps,
 
I have a few questions for you, if you don't mind my asking:

1. How did you find the handle on the MPK? It's made out of Kevlar/Hytrel material IIRC, and is supposed to sort of "mold" to your hand as you us it, how did it hold up during use?

2. I held one of the prototype Steel MPF folders at the 1998 Blade Show and it seemed like one heavy workhorse of a knife. What blade style did you have (clip or modified tanto), how easy did you find it to resharpen, and how did you find the ergonomics?

3. How were the sheath/ carry systems for the knifes? Did the MPF come with a holder?

Thanks for the info

Spark

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Kevin Jon Schlossberg
SysOp and Administrator for BladeForums.com

Insert witty quip here
 
MPK
I have not noticed the handle to change much on my MPK, but it definitelly feels good in the hand. I do not use this knife for around the house type chores since I consider it one of my ****-hits-the-fan knives, but I'll tell you that inspite of it's lightness the thing is rock solid. Ok, after your question I went out and chopped some wood for my wood burning stove. It cut into the wood about as good as any of my large knives, however, due to it's lightness it took more wacks to get to the same place. But as a side note, I can wield this knife like no other in it's size class. As a fighter this knife will excell due to it's lightness. It holds an edge quite well, like the folder. I'll keep you up to date as I use it more. Since I live in CA, folders are my main tool since it is illegal to carry fixed blades concealed and you look like a terrorist carrying one exposed.

MPF
Mine is the clip-point(one of the first 200 made). It is one of my favorite knives, it feels great in my hands, it is a large knife, but confortable to carry for a big one. It sharpens about the same as 440A steel, fairly easy, and holds an edge as good as any of the standard knife steels. I love the serrations on both knives. The style of serrations is circular instead of pointed and appear to cut better than the pointed type serrations.

Yes, the MPF came with a nylon sheath, but I like the clip carry better. The MPK came with the Kydex sheat, which I like.

just one thing to add: WARNING

If you use a grinder to sharpen knives becareful when sharpening Titanium knives. Do not use a grinder at typical rpm's used in steel because titanium is a combustible metal and the produced dust and shavings can catch fire easily, causing your grinder to turn into a big fire wheel. Of course, this has never happened to me, just remember to have a type D fire extinguisher on hand, I find those work best when extinguishing metal fires. I use DMT diamond to sharpen all my knives so this does not affect me, but I have heard of many using their grinding wheels to sharpen knives.
 
I got a chance to fondle a Mission Folder. First impression: lightweight. Very cool. I would love to carry this knife purely because of the size to weight ratio. The blade design is perfect and opening was smooth and beautiful until I encountered ONE SERIOUS FLAW.
Pardon my audacity, but the lock is an accident waiting to happen. It just begs to be released. With the most minimal of torquing, the lock failed, and not due to a flaw in the knife, but in the design. The entire index finger rests on and is cupped into the integral lock, unlike the Sebenza lock that is tucked away. With just the very slightest turning of my hand, my index finger would pull the intgral lock and disengage it. Any type of hard work, strong grip, twisting motion or violent use of this knife could very easily disengage the lock. It has about the same design safety as the little KISS, that easily disengages with some twisting motion, but the problem is, it is on a big working knife that you are supposed to use hard, not on a little keychain knife. It would open even easier with gloves on, and considering what the MPF knife was designed for, that is a very likely possibility.
I was very disappointed. I hate to be so harsh, but in design, that is the worst lock I have ever encountered.

JMHO,
thad
 
I guess since I am left handed, I never had to worry about the lock in the way you mentioned. I pulled the knife out and used it right handed to see if the lock would fail and it did not. As a matter of fact, the lock is as solid as I have ever seen. It actually requires quite a bit of force to release it purposefully, not to mention releasing by accident. I definitelly don't see the problem you mention, and I'm sure I have done more with it than you have simply because I own it.

Hopefully we can get some more responses to this scenario from people that own these knives.

I have seen the Sebenzas and frankly don't see a difference in the supposed hiden lock. In order to release it, the lock has to be partially exposed. In fact, it almost appears to me that the sebenza lock release portion is more exposed and subject to release than the MPF.

Have the new MPF's changed compared to mine?
 
I also have a clip point MPF and am right handed. I have used it hard for about six months and never had an accidental closing. I've been digging and prying with it. Also I test all knives, before buying them, with gorilla gripping. The only way it could accidentaly close, is when the lock breaks! Thaddeus, how did you get the lock closed?

Markus

P.S. Please forgive my bad English!

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I like the MPF as well. Its tough and corrosion proof for those of us who tend to be on the sweaty side or spend time around corrosive environments. A couple of things that may or may not bug you though are the pivot pin OD is purposely a lot (relative term) smaller than the blade pivot hole ID. I believe this was done to counter act the effects of galling when unlocking but it can cause the blade to wobble a bit unless the lock is gripped firmly. I ended up rebending the lock and using Tetra lube to fix this so it impinges further and stays somewhat lubricated. The actual cutting edge to handle length ratio isn't that great; the knife has a large choil for "choking up" on the blade but this just reduces the actual cutting edge. Also I "de-horned" my sample a bit but that was kind of out of a desire to tinker than actual necessity--depending on how caloused your hands are or whether gloves are a factor. While dehorning I couldn't avoid de-horning the nylon ball detent so it kind of stopped detenting. My fault, of course, but it actually didn't effect the knifes ability to stay closed. Jim, at Mission, gave me a bunch of extra detents to fix it. So most of things cited may or not actually be problematic depending on what your idea of the knife should be. As far as the fundamentals are concerned, the lock is solid in the sense that it stays locked when you want it to. The blade cuts and stays sharp suprisingly well. And the whole package is apparantly undetectable to magnatometers, if thats important. I wish Mission would make a 5" bladed version.

Brian
 
The lock has a cutout for your index finger, just like the other side of the frame. The lock cutout also acts as the "guard". If the lock leaf were RECESSED and lower than the other half of the frame, then maybe it would not be such a problem, but the lock leaf is actually a major part of the handle grip. If you are gripping the knife and twist your hand, particularly if you were putting pressure on the guard (like a stabbing pressure), the lock leaf grips with friction to your index fingger, and with a little twist it pops right loose. This is a particular motion, but not one unfathimable, and is part of every liner lock test. Many knives have this problem to varying degree, like the CQC7 which has the frame cutout on one side, but leaves the liner lock exposed. A twisting motion will release the lock on any liner lock that is not recessed, such as the AFCK, but on some knives it takes more pressure than others. The MPF is worse than any liner lock, in that it has no frame to support the hand, the lock IS the frame. That means that any pressure rides right on the lock, and wherever your finger goes, so goes the lock. The Sebenza has no guard, and the lock does not cup the hand but is out of the way, slightly recessed. I can not, without unreasonable effort, get the Sebenza lock to twist loose. The MPF lock, because it cups the index finger with it's guard, allows for a lot of friction from the index finger, and with minimal twisting, less than any I have ever applied, it followed my finger right along and popped loose.
If you were digging at wood or anything with the point, or stabbing with it, and twisted your hand at all, which is quite reasonable both in a stab, or in routing a hole in wood, the lock would fail and your forward pressure would cause the blade to guillotine your fingers.
Your mileage may vary, and it is just my opinion, but I would give that lock a very poor rating on the safety scale and would never trust my fingers to it for anything but light cutting. Considering that it is an extreme knife, that worries me.

I hope I didn't offend anyone, I am not trying to make waves, but just warn people that the design is very flawed in one of the basic tests of a liner lock.

thaddeus
 
Thaddeus, I have tried what you say and can't seem to break the lock. In fact I went to a local knife store that has Sebenzas on hand to compare this yesterday. The lock on the sebenza is just as exposed as this one is, in fact more so from the feel of it. yet, when I tried to break or twist open the lock on it, I couldn't either. I don't think there is a design problem, I think it is the way you rest your hand thats causing the problem. It seems that you are the only one thats has had that problem, maybe your sample was defective or maybe you really are holding it in a way that will open it.

Have to admit that there is more frame to grab than the Sebenza since this knife is so much more beefy(the titanium handles are thicker) than a sebenza and maybe there lies your problem. I don't have that problem and the lock is definitely more recessed than a sebenza, with a knife that is even more sturdily built than a sebenza.
 
I have tested what Thaddeus says on the MPF and the Sebenza, since I own both. Fact is that I managed to unlock the Sebenza with my right hand pointing finger, but I did not manage it with the MPF! (I have an old style Sebenza) As I said I have used the MPF very hard (I was with the Military here in Austria) and have NEVER experienced lock failure!!! (I have done Stabbing drills into wood and torqued it out with no lock failure!) Maybe it closes when you do not grip it firmly? The lock seems to be even stronger when you grip it tightly!

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[This message has been edited by markusblattner (edited 03 January 1999).]
 
I read the postings yesterday about the lock on the MPF compared to the Sebenza and took a day to evaluate both as well as the CRKT S-2. I own all three (and know I spend too much on knives).

After trying to twist the hand on the fully engaged locking mechanism on all three knives I noticed clear differences. What they have in common is that you can't unlock any of those three by chance when you hold the knife firmly. On the contrary, the integral lock engages actually further and safer with more pressure.

Among the three knives it's the S-2 which gives the weakest impression. The problem here is that the locking bar is curved and not too wide at the end where it touches the blade. Even if it sill holds the blade very firmly in position, the bar feels definitely weaker than the ones on the other knives. In addition I noticed that the notch in the opposite side of the handle which is similar to the old style Sebenza is too far to the front. When you disengage the locking bar with the thumb and close the blade with your index finger by pushing on the spine, it happens that the base of the blade comes in contact with your thumb. In other words, the part of the blade, which is held by the locking bar, rotates over the part of the handle where the cutout for disengaging is. I would call this a design flaw.

Sebenza and MPF are equally sturdy. The Reeve knife has the titanium plates rounded on the bottom which feels good, but the overall design of the handle makes it somehow slippery at a forward thrust. The grooves cut in the bottom front part help a little but not too much, since they are not too pronounced. The locking bar is extremely good and hard to disengage. There is no play whatsoever and more pressure on the bar engages it even better until it touches the opposite side of the handle, which is the final position for an integral lock. Disengaging the lock is hard once it’s in that position and the new handle design of the Sebenza doesn’t make is easy. I never understood why Reeve changed the handle design. I like the clear lines of the old ones much better and the cutout in the handle makes opening much easier than the new type. My whish is they would offer both as a choice.

Personally, I like the handle design of the MPF best of all three knives. While the S-2 is too curved and the Sebenza offers just the shallow grooves for better grip, the handle of the MPF really takes the cake. When you grab that knife you can feel immediately here was a guy at work who thought about ergonomics. I personally dare to say this is one of the best handles on the market for big hand folders right now. The reason: integral lock, integral guard, palm swell, slight billhook butt, nice thumb ramp on the blade and all this in a grown up size. After paying close attention to the ‘problem’ Thaddeus mentioned, I tried to repeat moving the lock as he mentioned it. NO SUCH LUCK! Once that lock is engaged with just average pressure, you’re having a hard time to disengage it. And once you put some pressure on it, it locks even more firmly up than the Sebenza and you can’t open it with one hand alone anymore! The bar does never touch the other side of the handle but gets stuck half the way. This might change with use, but the titanium is so thick, I think it will take years. The area where the locking bar touches the blade is about double of what the Sebenza is and about four times the one of the S-2! That makes for the strongest integral lock on the market. A nice feature is the clip, which is mounted on the pivot pin of the blade on the right side. I haven’t noticed it before, but that clip works as a kind of guard over the locking bar and prevents it from being engaged too much.

As a result I concur with the real users of the MPF and not the guy who just fondled it. Maybe Thaddeus had a flawed or fubar’d one, or he didn’t engage the lock enough. I for my part love my MPF dearest.

Ralf

[This message has been edited by Ralf (edited 04 January 1999).]
 
I sampled both my Sebenza and my MPF and didn't encounter any lock problems. Although
I'm not an expert, while testing I didn't find any flaws with either knife.
 
Greetings,
And thanks to all for the great feedback and kind words. This is our first folding knife, and I think we did a pretty good job for a first time. We have really learned a lot on this project. For those custom-folder-makers out there, I have come to really respect the effort that you put into each of your knives. Buiding a folder is easily an order-of-magnitude more and difficult work than putting together a fixed blade. In fact, I have personally put in over 400 hours of AutoCAD work into the MPF1. Anyway, feedback is what a good manufacturer relies on to make their product even better. Please, if there are any questions or concerns with our products, please give us a call or email and we will be more than happy to answer your questions or solve your issues.

Thaddeus,

We appreciate the feedback about the folder locks. We had a couple fail in the initial run, and, as a result, we have changed the process for building and QA'ing our folders.

1) We now use Lock-tite on the pivot pin screw to ensure that it does not become easily untightened.
2) We now test each knife by turning it upside down and banging the back of the blade on a padded area of the workbench. If a lock fails, we regrind/rework it so it will not fail again. All folders must pass this test before being shipped.

We also tried what you are having problems with and could not recreate it. 6 random folders that we selected worked perfectly. I also called Kim Breed (Blade Magazine knife tester and retired MSG 5th special forces), he recently tested the MPF for Blade and told me that he tested the lock and blade strength by rammin the MPF1-Ti into a tree and proceeded to grab the handle and do 12 chinups - Kim is 190 pounds. He also said that the lock was rock solid.

If you are still experiencing a problem with this knife and it is defective, please send it back and we will make it right - no charge to you.

Again, feedback helps us make a great product even better. And for those that responded to our recent email survey, we really appreciate the time you spent in filling out the survey. We received 95% response rate - this really is a great industry with great people.

With this feedback our hands, look forward to even better products from Mission.

Have a great new year
Sincerely,
Rick
 
Hm, well this is what these forums are about. I loved everything about the MPF that I checked out, until I popped the lock and then I immeditaly set it back down. Indeed it could have been a flawed piece. I respect everyone's use experience here, but it will not change my experience. The fact is, the lock immediatly failed for me and that is it. Now, asiide from that, with all this input, I will give the MPF another chance and see if the one I was considering purchasing was a flawed piece. The reason that I often put liner lock tests above people's experience, is because the fact is, most people just don't use their folders that hard, and once they do, it is too late to prevent a disaster. That is why I test my liner locks before I use them and in the advent that I use it hard, I will know it will hold up. It appears as if these knives have been tested well in the shop and in the field, and I will give them another chance. After all, I love the knife in it's entirety as long as I feel that the lock is solid.
Mission knives: you are welcome to send me a piece and I will give a a fair review and post it on Northwest Cutlery's site with all my other reviews.

Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences, but to all out there that are looking at buying one of these, my experience remains the same: be sure to test the lock before you buy one, and thankfully it sounds as if Mission Knives will stand behind your product so long as you discover any unlikely flaws before a disaster occurs.

thaddeus@primenet.com
 
Rick,
Are there any internet dealers that carry the MPF? I am having trouble locating it.

Thanks
 
Greetings,
Yes, I believe that Scott Moore, Howard Korn, CFI, and Mike Turber all carry the MPF.

If you are interested, please contact any of these dealers soon. We only have a few left now and will be building MPKs for the near term as larger and larger govt. orders are starting to roll in for the MPK. Our next run of MPFs probably won't ship until after summer.

Sincerely,
Rick
 
Rick , what steel are you going to be using for the steel blade folders?
 
Cobalt,
Much research was done and much feedback has been filtered through ... and the winner (which we will be using) by far is A2.

Rick
 
Rick,
Do you forsee any anodic cell problems with such a non stainless steel. This is usually not a concern with the typical stainless because they have enough corrosion resistance. I was just wondering about A-2. Otherwise A-2 is an excellent steel.
 
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