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Randall and Blackjack 1-7 Observations

Discussion in 'Knife Reviews & Testing' started by 2manyknives, Sep 14, 2009.

  1. 2manyknives

    2manyknives

    698
    Aug 9, 2006
    The following is not a review or performance test. There is no chopping, cutting or pushing blades to their limits. Certain Blackjack models have clearly been based on classic Randall designs. As a long term admirer of Randall knives I was keen to have a look at how close they are. The results are shared below.

    The 2 knives selected for comparison are both known as 1-7. The Randall designation would indicate that this is a Model 1 with 7 inch blade. Other Blackjack models such as the Number 5 depart quite significantly from the Randall naming convention.

    From the pics you might think that these look quite different. The Randall has the classic leather washer grip and the Blackjack a micarta saber grip. That’s just these particular knives. The Blackjack comes with a similar leather grip option (and a few others as well) while the micarta grip is an extra cost option if you are ordering your own Randall. Yes they look a bit different but the difference could well have been the other way round.

    Appearances
    The dimensions of the 2 knives are very close. They both have nominal 7 inch blades and grip length is similar. The Blackjack gives the appearance of being thicker through the blade. The Randall is thickest towards the centre line of the blade and tapers back towards the spine. The Blackjack does this to an extent but it not as pronounced. The last few inches of the top edge of the Randall blade are usually sharpened but not so with the Blackjack. If you are the type that likes to baton, the Blackjack would do better at it. The Blackjack is clearly based on the Randall but the blade profile is not identical.


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    Grips
    Comparing the 2 different grip styles is not really valid. Instead I compared the Randall grip to another Blackjack (Model 5) that has a leather washer grip. The Blackjack Model 5 could well be referred to as the 1-5 as it is essentially the same knife as the 1-7 but with a shorter blade. The leather Blackjack grip is a little chunkier than the Randall and the retaining nut is not as pronounced. The Randall seems to have a little more drop. In the hand the Randall feels lighter and slimmer. I’m no student of knife fighting but I did some fencing many years back. There is a ‘liveliness’ to the Randall that brings fencing to mind. There is something evocative that is hard to nail down. The Blackjack doesn’t do the same thing for me, despite being every bit as functional as the Randall.

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    Guards
    The Randall has a double brass guard and the Blackjack a double nickel silver guard. The Randall can be ordered with nickel silver as an extra cost option.

    Blades
    The Randall blade is forged 01 and the Blackjack is A2. You can order a Randall in stainless if you want and there are plenty of Blackjacks around in 1095. The Blackjack has a convex edge and the Randall is more conventional. The Blackjack was razor sharp out of the box. When I received the Randall it was delivered with quite a dull edge.

    Workmanship
    I couldn’t pick between the 2 of them. Both are nicely finished with good grind lines. Neither had any noticeable faults or blemishes.

    Sheaths
    Both came with leather sheaths. The Randall has the sharpening stone pocket on the front. The Blackjack sheath has some holes for tying the sheath to packs etc and could fit a much wider belt than the Randall. Workmanship on the Randall sheath was noticeably better but both sheaths are functional.

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    Conclusions
    I like them both. I suppose that the most profound difference is that you can readily buy the Blackjack now. The Randall can be ordered but be prepared to wait 4 or 5 years or pay a premium. The Blackjack costs considerably less under any circumstances. From a value perspective, the Blackjack is hard to beat, although the Randall is a great investment option.

    Both will do most things required of a knife. The double guards could get in the way for some purposes. Both are tough, well made knives that should stand up to a lot of work. To me they have aesthetic qualities that distinguish them from other capable but less elegant designs, but that is subjective. The Blackjack might have some advantages if you need to chop or baton.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2009
  2. GrinderMcgee

    GrinderMcgee

    Jun 23, 2008
    The Randall has a hollow ground blade and the Blackjack is convex. Also, the Randall knife has silver solder in the guard joint.

    Very nice comparison, both of these blades are classic. Thanks.
     
  3. Loneriderz

    Loneriderz

    396
    Dec 1, 2008
    Never been attracted to bowies and fixed blade in general but I have to say those 2 knives are beautiful. I'd never have any practical use for them but I'd say they'd look very good good in a display case. They definitely have tons more "character" than my modern folders.
     
  4. DennisStrickland

    DennisStrickland Banned BANNED

    Jun 24, 2009
    for using the black comes out on top.if collecting the randall wins out
     
  5. bruce

    bruce

    Dec 4, 1998
    I disagree. I've carried a similar Randall during part of my Army career and trusted it. Some years ago, I looked the Blackjack over in comparison to the Randall and decided against it. I would trust my life to the Randall but do not feel the same about the Blackjack. The quality in a Randall is measured by its performance in the field.
     
  6. Loneriderz

    Loneriderz

    396
    Dec 1, 2008
    Is the upper clip/ swedge of the Blackjack knife sharpened? I'd love a Randall but the wait time is really too long.
     
  7. 2manyknives

    2manyknives

    698
    Aug 9, 2006
    No the Blackjack is not sharpened on top. Neither is the Randall in the pics above - the Randalls usually are but I ordered it dull on top to avoid some legal issues. That is another big plus for the Randall in that you can order pretty much any variation you want within reason but only if you are prepared to wait for it.
     
  8. Loneriderz

    Loneriderz

    396
    Dec 1, 2008
    Thank you... I really have no need for a knife like the Randall and the Blackjack. They sure are pretty and I doubt any of my folders are that fine looking. Still... I don't know, let's wait and see.

    Regards
    Azad
     
  9. shunsui

    shunsui Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 12, 2008
    I'd love to hear you expand on the "performance in the field" measurement. Are we talking serious abuse without breaking in half, holding an edge for an ungodly time, the tail cap falling off ? What's your trust requirements ? I just find that kind of statement vague.
     
  10. Masteroffajitas

    Masteroffajitas Banned BANNED

    Oct 7, 2008
    Man that blackjack is sweet, I keep seeing them on knive sship free just wishing I could grab it through the computer just to fondle it.
     
  11. Leatherface

    Leatherface

    Dec 3, 2005
    complete agreement

    i would feel very well armed with either

    my druthers?? prolly the Black Jack
     
  12. A.L.

    A.L. Basic Member Basic Member

    Jun 27, 2007
    Good looking knives, and I like those shealts a lot BUT:
    why on earth couldn't the sheath strap be at the spine side? This would allow drawing without worrying about the knife cutting the strap.
     
  13. kvaughn

    kvaughn Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Ive got one of the older Effingham? Ill. 1-7's. Do you know if it's A-2 also? It says carbon steel on the blade.--KV
     
  14. tltt

    tltt

    May 1, 2008
    Those were mostly 1095.
     
  15. kwackster

    kwackster

    Dec 23, 2005
    Recently i aquired the exact same Blackjack model with the one-piece black Micarta sabre grip, and it really is a very well made knife.

    I haven't tested it out in the woods, but i do have a few pics;

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  16. bruce

    bruce

    Dec 4, 1998
    Find it however you want. I'm not here to convince you of anything, just to add testimony of my own experience. For twenty-three years I was a professional who carried knives as part of an equipment set. I carried either a Randall or a Mad Dog, a CRK Sebenza, and a Fieldmaster SAK. I evaluated many, many other knives but these had the quality I needed. No Blackjack knives ever rose to the level of quality I required.

    You obviously won't be swayed without your own experiences so go "get some"!
     
  17. t1mpani

    t1mpani Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Jun 6, 2002
    Actually, I think most of the original Blackjacks were 52100 steel. Current productions are 1095.
     
  18. tltt

    tltt

    May 1, 2008
    The older mag ads I have seen list 1070-6, 1095, and 52100. The 1095 ref. appears in the most old ads. From what I've seen posted here and at Knifeforums, they were a bit fast and loose with the steel types over the 90's years.
     
  19. DennisStrickland

    DennisStrickland Banned BANNED

    Jun 24, 2009
    randalls are forged. thus stronger & probably more durable. however blackjacks [current prod.] hold a better & longer edge. my brother has one of largest collections around [142 at present] some dating to 1950s. we own & use many brands in field. one thing we know is randalls are heat treated at a med r.w. hardness.the knives are nearly unbreakable but cutting performance is not as impressive as many other brands.
    our comment: randalls have world wide mystique, known from russia to venszuela. even recog in mongolia. collector interest is strong but the cutting perm. is outstripped by many brands.i carried a randall along with my ka-bar for 4 yrs. in u.s.m.c. i never saw a ka-bar broken from calif. to phillipines. edge perm. was about the same.stake your life on what you desire;however we know randalls are'nt the greatest cutting performers. as an investment product the randall are hard to beat.
     
  20. bruce

    bruce

    Dec 4, 1998

    When you generalize that you believe Randalls are not the greatest cutting performers, do you have an informed opinion between their 01 steel and their 440C steel? I agree that there are other knives in 01 that possess superior cutting ability (my Mad Dog ATAK Hunter comes to mind) but I've grown fond of Randalls 440C steel. It cuts better than most in my opinion.
     

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