Actually, they use 52100 and 5160 for their blades. Their warranty policy is the best I have seen for a production knife company, and they have a custom shop that will do just about anything you want to the knife.
I have two (Sport 99 & Fieldcraft) and recommend them. Used the 99 to process two deer with last week. These are good quality knifes for the money. 52100 is a good steel that's easy to sharpen and holds a good edge.
With that said, their sheaths are poor; I would rather pay more and get a better (decent) sheath. Their steel (52100) is good and holds and takes an edge well, but it stains easily. Their fit and finish is OK, but very good for the money. Their out-of-the-box grind is very thin. It may seem sharp (it is) but at the price of durability. Chipping, breaking and folding over of the edge will be easy, as will be correcting same on a stone; everything in life, including edge geomoetry, is a compromise.
When one considers style (eye of the beholder), function, durability, reliability and price, they are good value for the money. Their CS is renowned but they really need to look at that sheath!
They provide an excellent alternative to the common factory stainless steel knife. They make handles out of classic wood, antler, and micarta. They mostly use 52100 alloy (rare indeed for a factory blade. I like the thin convex edge profile. These are excellently designed knives with excellent materials. I did opt to have them substitute a larger finger guard on mine (for $10 as I recall). The sheaths are traditional leather, I have no problem with them.
By the way. I think that edge durability problems on new blades are often due to the sanding belt and buffer process used by factories. I think people often leave weak material at the edge that is hidden by the buffing. I always resharpen factory edges before serious use and seldom have problems.
[This message has been edited by Jeff Clark (edited 01-02-2001).]
I like the steel used(52100), but I am waiting to find one that is evenly ground in the shoulder area. It seems that every one I look at is very sloppily ground. Once I find one nicely ground, I will buy it.