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Pohl Force H3 Alpha 2 Review

Discussion in 'Knife Reviews & Testing' started by lava_lamp, Oct 30, 2010.

  1. lava_lamp


    Oct 5, 2006
    Pohl Force H3 Alpha 2 Review - Part 1



    I received a Pohl Force H3 Alpha 2 as part of a pass around here: http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/showthread.php?p=8828751#post8828751. The knife was made by Pohl Force, a German maker of “Knives for the World’s Elite.” I couldn't find markings anywhere on the knife or packaging to indicate where it was manufactured. You can learn more about Pohl Force here: http://translate.google.com/transla...s&hl=en&safe=off&client=safari&rls=en&prmd=iv

    The US distributor of Pohl Force knives is www.youwantit2.com. There, the Apha 2 retails for $199, including a well-made padded and zippered nylon pouch. The pass around version is plain edged spear point with black scales, but partially serrated, tanto, and tan-scaled versions are available.


    Size & Weight

    The H3 Alpha 2 is much bigger than I expected. In fact, it is one of the largest folders I've ever seen and is the heaviest. It is in the same league as the Strider AR and the biggest offerings from Cold Steel and Extrema Ratio:



    Fit & Finish

    The Pohl Force H3 Alpha 2 is well made -- equivalent to a Spyderco or one of the better Cold Steel models. The pieces fit flush and the edges that contact your hand are smooth. The blade is centered and opens smoothly. There is a removable thumb disk opener on the back of the blade that is tough on the thumb, but works well with gloves. It isn't easy to flick the knife open with your thumb, but the heavy blade deploys with a loud "thunk" if you apply enough wrist action. The back lock design features a "safety" dent and seems very strong. I couldn't discern any side-to-side blade play, but there was slight vertical bladeplay when enough force was applied.


    The oversized highly-ergonomic handle features generous finger grooves, chunky jimping, 2mm thick stainless steel liners, 4mm thick 3-D contoured Zytel scales, a closed back design with Zytel backspacer, and slotted screw construction. The pivot and clip are held in place by slotted screws, too, and can be adjusted with a large coin. The hollow pivot looks like that used on larger Strider knives, but doesn't require a special tool for adjustment. That's a plus for field use. The wire clip looks like the one found on some modern Spyderco knives and holds the knife in place securely. It is reversible right/left and tip up only. The butt end has a non-removable glass breaker.


    The Alpha 2's recurved blade is made from 440c stainless. Some of us tend to look down on 440c in favor of "super" steels like S30V, etc., but conventional wisdom seems to be that 440c is a serviceable steel, and maybe easier to sharpen in the field. Pohl Force says the 440c is hardened to a Rockwell hardness of 58-59. The wide blade tapers down from a 5mm thick spine in a hollow grind and has a false edge along the top. The blade is coated in a metallic greyish-black titanium-aluminum-nitride (TiAlN) PVD. The coating looks great and seems durable, though only time will tell how well it will hold up. After a few weeks of pass around duty, it shows some light surface scratches. The Pohl Force website calls the coating non-reflective, but it is smooth and seemed slightly reflective to me.

    Last edited: Oct 31, 2010
  2. lava_lamp


    Oct 5, 2006
    Pohl Force Alpha 2 Review - Part 2



    The H3 Alpha 2 was shipped with two sheaths: a well-made nylon belt sheath holster for carrying the Alpha 2 folded (US $33.99), and a Kydex "Quick Draw" holster for carrying the folder locked open like a fixed blade (US $51.99). I haven't seen a sheath like that before and I like it, though the clip is more oriented toward an upside-down position on a shoulder strap or MOLLE vest. The knife clicks into the Kydex, but I'm not sure the fit is tight enough to make me feel comfortable that it couldn't fall out.


    In Use

    In a day of carry, I found the H3 Alpha 2 to be a bit tedious to tote in my suburban life -- it is really large and heavy. I did some light chopping for firewood kindling and got the results I expected: it's a good chopper and a not-so-good slicer. It feels great in the hand in every grip, except for an overhand icepick grip where I tend to put my thumb on the glass breaker. I have XXL hands and can easily get all my fingers on the handle with room to spare. I will put the knife to work for the next week and report back with final conclusions.



    Thanks to Mr. Pohl for letting me borrow his knife and to MorrowJ and BladeForums for putting the pass around together. The H3 Alpha 2 is a big, heavy duty folder that seems like it can take abuse. Who is it for? Service personnel. For the rest of us, it may be overkill. I just couldn't carry this knife in many places. Also, while the H3 Alpha 2 is very well designed and implemented, paying US $200 for 440c steel and Zytel handles would give me pause.

    To be continued...


    Last edited: Oct 31, 2010
  3. Zombie Zeke

    Zombie Zeke

    Nov 26, 2006
    Wow. Heavier and Thinker than a Spartan? Thats a beefy knife.
  4. tinwiskers


    Jul 10, 2008
    very nice review, love the pictures, tables ad links you provided! I've been wanting to try an Alpha2 or 3 but have been hesitant with it's bigger size as I typically don't carry anything much bigger than a Manix or Paramilitary but I am open to change. Look forward to seeing the rest of your review and hopefully i can catch another pass around or find one in a trade.
  5. jack lowe

    jack lowe

    Oct 29, 2002
    so far one of the better reviews i've seen of this knife! :thumbup: :) looking forward to part 2!


    Oct 29, 2005
    nice review.

    but you list two knives as the pohl force alpha 2 with different dimensions. is the one in your review an updated model?
  7. DennisStrickland

    DennisStrickland Banned BANNED

    Jun 24, 2009
    hey lava thanks for all those weights & specs bookmarked for reference. that knife is just too heavy for me regardless of performance.nice of you to do the complination.
  8. lava_lamp


    Oct 5, 2006
    I posted a version with a typo. The second knife in the table should have been the Extrema Ratio Fulcrum II and has now been corrected. Thanks for catching the error.
  9. Morrow

    Morrow Don't make this weird Staff Member Super Mod

    Apr 11, 2007
    Wow...what a great review. Thanks! :thumbup:

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