Oct 4, 1998
I have had the opportunity to evaluate the prototype of the new OTF from the James Brothers. Keeping in mind that this was a prototype knife, here's what I found:

Visually, the knife is very appealing, (most of you have seen the pics). The handles are 6061-T1 aluminum. The prototype had three narrow inlays on each side of the handle, with the center one longer than the two outside ones. The handle color can be varied with anodizing, and of course the inlays can be most anything, (MOP comes quickly to mind). It was also equipped with a (removable) titanium pocket clip.

The handle is about 4 3/4" long and the blade is about 3 3/4" long, making for a good blade to handle ratio. The prototype blade was ATS34, Jim tells me that other blade materials are a definite possibility. The proto blade is double edged with five cuts, about 3/8" long down the center. There is also a groove milled down the center of the blade. This groove is stopped about 3/8" from the tip. This is a good thing, strengthing the blade tip. It is my understanding that this design will be the same in the production knife.

The handle is 1" wide at it's widest point and has four finger grooves on the bottom. There is also a shoulder at the front which acts as a guard. All of this allows good control of the knife when doing a forward thrust. After talking to Jim, I tried a number of such thrusts into an oak board. The blade easily penetrated the oak and lock up never failed. The handle design works equally well in the saber and reverse grip. I had a few friends look at the knife and they felt the same.

One of the features I really liked about this knife was the location of the launching "button". This is actually a knurled, semi-cylinder located on top of the knife at the front, just behing the "guard". In this location it in no way interfered with my grip on the knife. It also makes this a truly ambidextrious knife. (My wife is a "lefty", had no trouble with operating the knife, and loved it).

The "button" travels about 7/8" in both directions (forward and rearward). The spring is tensioned to either launch or retract the blade by pushing the button, and is released(or retracted)during the last fraction of an inch of travel. The result is a very safe knife - it would be next to impossible to accidentally open this knife in your pocket.

The prototype is well made and solid. The seam between the two halves of the handle was very visible, but Jim informs me that this will not be the case in the production models, due to the design changes he is currently working on. Jim also said that the blade lock up on the production units will be like that of the side-opening Cheyenne. As anyone who has hanndled a Cheyenne can attest, this is rock solid.

To sum up, this is a first class knife, and one that a lot of people have been waiting for. As soon as Jim can get caught up on his "bread and butter" machine shop work, and finishes some design changes, the new OTF will be available. I can hardley wait!!

I too am looking forward to Jim releasing the production version of this knife. The mechanism sounds fantastic! Nice review