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Ontario Spec Ops - Big 1095 Knives - Any Thoughts?

Discussion in 'Knife Reviews & Testing' started by rifon2, Feb 5, 2007.

  1. rifon2


    Oct 9, 2005
    So here are some big, inexpensive knives, made in the USA.

    You're getting these 1/4" thick slabs of 1095, powder coated.
    10 inch blades.

    I'm thinking I'd like to buy an SP5, SP6, or SP14.
    Here they are: http://www.ontarioknife.com/specplus_pg1.html

    (Yeah, the sheaths don't look too hot and we don't love
    the Kraton (or Grivory?) handles...)

    But still - street price of about 40, 45 bucks for one of these
    big guys? Sounds pretty good to me.

    Anyone have any experience with them, or know anything
    about them?
  2. Magnum22


    Jul 6, 2006
    that giant tanto doesn't look like it has the geomety to cut very well as a quarter inch thick slender blade with a saber grind. at least the sp5 is flat ground and broad, i'd go with that one first. the sp6 is not .25" thick and you'll save around $20 if you ditch that last inch and go with the sp1. the ontarios i'd pick from that spec plus line are the sp17, sp19, or spc21 but those arent giant knives. i think the sp19 is plenty hefty for big knife work. still, rtak2's the big ontario to get, it seems, but it aint $50.
  3. rifon2


    Oct 9, 2005
    I do like that big tanto! though what you say is true.

    Wondering if the RTAK2 is similar to these Spec Ops,
    but with Micarta scales and a commission paid to the RAT guys?

    They're all 1095 - maybe a different heat treat and coating
    for the RTAK2?
  4. rifon2


    Oct 9, 2005
    SP5, SP10, or SP14.

    I really think I'm gonna get one of these today,
    they're all around 45 bucks and I can take a look-see.

    These 3 are all 1/4" 1095. The 5 and 10 have a different
    blade shape, the 10 has the little hilt which I can do without.

    And the 14 tanto, well, that's just one serious looking piece...
    even to keep on the desk, as a letter opener ;)
  5. killerskill

    killerskill Banned by Moderators Banned

    Oct 6, 2006
    I have the BIG tanto also. I took the black off reprofiled the edge and WOW!! I got it cheap. I think $40. It's an awesome knife for more than twice that amount.
  6. rifon2


    Oct 9, 2005
    Glad to hear it, thanks for the post!

    I just found it for $41.95 plus 6 bucks shipping from a good
    dealer, I think I'm gonna do that one for starters.

    Good way to start the day, for sure

    SOLEIL Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Mar 20, 2006
    I have a few of them. They work well and can take a hell of a beating. Don't expect the coating to last long. I had to remove the grip protrusion at the base as it causes discomfort when chopping hard. They perform well like 1095 should and will not rust with minimal care.
  8. Cmhmiles


    Mar 17, 2006
    I’ve had the SP2 for years. It used to be my belt knife for camping and hiking. It worked well, though I never really abused it. My father bought the SP8 – Machete to clear branches blocking his dear stands. He hadn’t used it much, when one day while chopping it broke clean in two. Bad heat treat? I think he sent it back to Ontario and got it replaced with little trouble. Overall, I don’t think they are a bad deal for the money.
  9. ashtxsniper


    Oct 28, 2006
    I have 5 raider bowies and 5 sp6 fighters. The raider bowie is a great chopper. Just remember the quality con trol sucks and the edges are ground at very poor angles. Wit a fw hours of reangleing on a diamond stone they make great knives for the price.
  10. DISCO


    Jul 12, 2004
    Hi i own the raider bowie and survival machete.Both are big heavy choppers, the sp8 is my most used blade great for all round tasks.I chose to use the sp8 more over the bowie as the flat tip is better for digging and chisel type uses.Not had a problem with it so far would recommend any of the two of them.The handles will chew up your hand so cord wrap or wear gloves.Hope this helps a bit.
  11. Return of the J.D.

    Return of the J.D.

    Nov 29, 2005
    I had an Ontario FF6 snap on me in medium use a while back. It's like the SP6 but it has a round steel pommel and a steel guard, with a kraton grip (instead of the all-kraton guard/grip/pommel of the SP6). The FF6 has the tang (about half an inch wide just back of the guard) tapered down to 1/4 inch near the pommel; it is then threaded so it will screw into the pommel. I was doing a few snap cuts at a piece of soft wood, and suddenly the pommel went flying off into the night. The tang had snapped where it's narrowed and threaded--I guess just too thin to take the force of a very moderate chop. By way of full disclosure, I'll say that I'd ground some of the kraton from the sides of the grip, to make for a more-oval shape, instead of the thick, rounded shape that it came with; I'd also ground off some of the sides of the round pommel, for the same purpose.
  12. misque


    Jul 9, 1999
    I have(or, I should say had) all three of these knives.

    Now, please keep in mind the following is my opinion which is worth what you paid for it. :yawn:

    The SP14 just got sold because I have no need for that pattern. It is extremely thick all the way down to the edge and has to be radically re-profiled to be of any use to the average user. Might be good if I needed to pierce body armor, but, I'm not a SPEC-OP warrior so...

    The SP6 is a decent enough knife, but, I personally am not carrying around a knife that has the word "FIGHTER" stamped into the ricasso. Think: "what if I had to use this knife in self defense? What would the jury think when the D.A. brought out this knife with the word FIGHTER emblazoned on it and really emphasized that fact?". A great knife if you can get around that one little sticky spot. It'll do yard work and camp chores good enough to make you smile. It's also a great classic design that I admire and I'm keeping it with the intention of dremeling out the word FIGHTER so I can take it somewhere other than my yard without paranoia. ;)

    The SP5 is far and away my favorite user in the bunch you've asked about. It is a great using knife pattern, is decently thin down to the edge, has enough belly to be a decent slicer and has enough length to be a decent chopper.
    In other words, it's an excellent working bowie style knife. It'll whittle fuzz sticks or stick a wild pig with equal aplomb.

    Also, IIRC, Cliff Stamp tested these and found the heat treat on them somewhat irregular from knife to knife. Personally, I haven't noticed it on mine, but, I also haven't vigorously tested them for such as Cliff has.

    Hope this helps.
  13. jag-engr


    Dec 21, 2006
    My brother has the SP8 square machete. He has used it to clear line for surveying. It chops more like a hatchet, but it will take a pretty good edge. The handle is solid, but has some give to it (seems a little hard for Kraton to me).

    The chopping power is impressive, but if you miss what you're swinging at or swing too hard for the cut you're making, it will jar your arm something fierce.

    I prefer an 18" Ontario machete for that kind of work.
  14. rifon2


    Oct 9, 2005
    Definitely helps, thanks.

    In fact. looking over the 3 knives for a couple of days and taking
    input from this thread, I decided to get the SP5.

    Great piece of into about the word Fighter on the 6. Also, the 5
    just looks more like a more generally useful shape, as you say.

    The 14 initially is very cool looking, but after that you realize you
    probably have a knife you're never, ever gonna use.
  15. rifon2


    Oct 9, 2005
    Cool, thanks ashtxsniper. I guess if you have 10 of them you were able
    to get over those grinds, as you say. ;) :cool:

    The SP5 looks like the one for me, for now.
  16. rifon2


    Oct 9, 2005
    Thanks everyone for the input, very helpful.
  17. Vivi

    Vivi Banned BANNED

    Dec 4, 2005
    I have an SP1. I made a few modifications to it, such as cutting off the top guard and completely grinding away the secondary bevel. Works much better now. Cuts like a *knife* should and I can place my thumb on the spine now. I also flattened the sharpened top edge, because with it formed into an edge the knife was terrible for batoning through branches. I chopped some with it when I first got it and the handle is loose from the tang now. It still feels secure enough, but I know this would bother some people. They're good deals, but take a little effort to get the most out of them IMO. The SP5 looks like it would be nice with the flat grind and no top guard though.
  18. deltablade

    deltablade Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 29, 2006
    I am modoifying a maine raider sp10 and have been trying to sand the black off after reshaping the blade, and am burning thru the hours sanding
    do you have a better way of removing it?


    Almost finished with conversion, balances well now. just need to sharpen and work with it to check toughness
  19. Buck268


    Nov 5, 2006
    I've played around with my USMC Ka-Bar a lot. Both using and abusing it; it has shrugged even using it as a thrower off like nothing. I especially like batoning with it since the heavy saber grind serves as an excellent wedge and tends not to get stuck. Chops good for the size, even with the weight distrobution, and holds an edge great. I just never can get that edge thinned out enough, but I guess I can't complain it still shaves and slices great.
  20. tknife

    tknife Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 18, 1999
    I have the SP5. It's okay, but the sheath really does suck, and the edge that came on it was all but useless for cutting. I had the edge reprofiled, and now it's nice and sharp. It sits with my emergency pack now.

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