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Talon vs. Mean Street

Oct 16, 1998
I am overcome with a need for a small utility fixed-blade that can do anything. These 2 are about the same size and price-range. Both are "super-steels" (or, in the case of the Talon, super non-steel). I like the idea of having a go-anywhere FB utility that can meet any situation, including possible defensive needs - the Holy Grail. SO, which would y'all choose? The MS is thicker (1/4") and "nuclear tough," but is it too thick? And how will INFI deal with corrosion, from being kept up close and personal all day, as opposed to the immaculate resistance of talonite? On the other hand, the MS seems better for defense . . . well, I've read a bunch about each but am still undecided - does anyone have experience with both? Help! thanks - FF

The beatings will continue until morale improves.
No blade can "do anything" (or, at least, not well). Can we have some more info as to what kind of use you plan on putting this knife to?


I would go with the thin MS. Nothing to do with materials really. INFI is cool, Talonite is cool too, so that's a wash. I would go with the MS because the handle is longer, and it is designed with self-defense and extreme use in mind.
interesting . . . thanks for the input . . . any other opinions out there? Lean Mean Street is looking good . . . FF
For utility purposes & day-to-day use I would go with the Talon for two reasons: 1)ease of carry with many options available; 2) ease of resharpening - edge comes back incredibly easy after hard use. For pure defensive/ extreme use I would agree with Steve. I think it depends on where the primary emphasis lies since the Talon would certainly be very capable for defensive/extreme use.

While I like my Battle Mistress very much, I got rid of my Badger Attack. Just plain TOO THICK! I'm not sure if the thinner version of the Mean Street is thin enough..., it's still about 1/6". Of course, that's personal preference.

I've neve owned the Mean Street, but I've got a Talon, and it's a great all-around knife.
Hi, I have some experience with Mean Streets,(owned a standard INFI 1/4 & currently own a Lean Mean Street). I just had the opportunity to handle a Camillus Talon at The Spirit Of Steel Show here in Texas at the Camillus booth,(by the way, great folks running the booth) I was impressed with the way the Talon looked & felt, (great knife). From my experience & from what I've heard & read, my opinion is that both of these knives will be great knives for cutting & slicing. However, if there for a need for high stress use, get the Mean Street. Talonite, while a great blade material, is just not as tough as INFI.

Guess what! I have an INFI Mean Street and a Camillus Talon.
The Mean Street is 1/2" longer than the Talon, and blade stock is 1/4" The Talon is 1/8" stock. If I were going to dress a deer, I would use the Talon, if I were going to pry the lid off a tank, I would use the Mean Street. :0

They're both great designs and materials.IMHO I've got a Talonite Kanji that's awesome. Balanced, cuts great,sharpens easily,no rust.
Yet, I'd be reluctant to use it to pry open a steel fire-door. Maybe in 1/4"?? But, I've handled a solid-ass Mean Street that'd prob open the door. My point is: Both knives can perform similar tasks, to varying degrees of efficiency and incurred damage. My choice would depend on task. How about one for each season or reason? which is best is variable.
If we are talking one knife for possible rugged use, I would go with the tougher knife. In this case, I'm guessing the Mean Street. I've not handled a Talon. The MS will cut. It will slice. You can clean small and large game with it. Just not as efficiently as a different blade design. But it will get the job done and do some jobs that other blades won't. I did a squirrel last weekend and normally I use a pair of side cuts to take off the front paws but I just chopped them off the the MS. The reasonably decent point made the cuts I needed to skin the critter. Obviously, it's not the ideal squirrel knife but it is serviceable. Instead of a pair of sidecuts and a small, sharp blade, I just needed one tool, the MS.

My Mean Street surprised me. It does a fairly wide variety of jobs well and I use it for things I would never subject another knife to. It was sharp enough to cut some roofing cloth and trim a few shingles. And really handy for prying up staples and roofing nails. Seriously, I don't own a better tool for than kind of prying and I own a lot of tools.

I have a Lean Mean Street on order and I suspect this will be an improved slicer but I will be more careful with it in other departments although I don't doubt that it will take some serious abuse as well. But I won't trade my thicker MS for nothing. That's a tool! I'm a big fan of thin blades but the thicker blade has its place. And part of that is just plain being tough. I never ever abused good knives until the MS came along. Now I'm not sure what counts for abuse with that knife.


I get some pleasure from finding a relentlessly peaceful use for a combative looking knife.
Whoa - the votes are in, and lean mean street it is!! Ooh, I'm giggling like a schoolgirl in anticipation . . . thanks guys!

The beatings will continue until morale improves.
I can repeat another time: do not fall into unjustified fascination and you will not have reasons to be disappointed later. No one blade material or knife design is clearly superior over all another but some people want you to think it is super. Last year this was INFI, this year this is TALONITE. Next year probably will be something else...

I would advice you to go with BENCHMADE Nimravus (or Nimravus Cub if smaller knife is required) with ATS-34 (more corrosion resistant) or M-2 (tougher and less prone to chipping) blade, depending on your particular needs.

Alternatively go with Fällkniven model F1 or model WM if very small/neck knife is required. Very good steel, handy design and reasonable price.

Another very reasonable alternative is SPYDERCO Bill Moran Featherweight.

Don't look for SUPER knife ignoring simply good knives and you will save your money, time and nerves. In my opinion above some reasonable price limit (100$ or so) as more expensive knife are you buying as less knife for each your buck you are obtaining...
Tell ya what FF, I was in the same position as you are in now. Now I have both and that solved the problem for me. The Talon I carry as a neck knife and the thin Mean Street I carry on my side. Like the others have said: Talon for just plain slicing and edge down cuts, and the MS for all of the rough stuff plus cutting and hard slicing....they are both great knives and both have different personallities but ya can learn to love em both
Originally posted by fishface:
Whoa - the votes are in, and lean mean street it is!! Ooh, I'm giggling like a schoolgirl in anticipation . . . thanks guys!

Bremerton, Washington
Thanks for the input guys. you have indeed helped me see the light: gimme Busse!

Sergiusz: your comments are well-taken, however I find the moran too delicate and the F1 has no guard to speak of, which makes me nervous, defensively speaking. The Nimravus Cub in M2. . . hmmm . . . that's a good suggestion, I'll take another look. But I must say that the Lean Mean Street really appeals - the blade shape is relatively useful, it can be used for protection too, as opposed to say an MOD Razorback. And it can be used as a serious TOOL, as Hoodoo describes. "Nuclear Tough" definitely has its selling points!

Now, I just have to FIND one of these . . .

The beatings will continue until morale improves.
While I like thinner blades on some knives, because the thicker blades are simply overkill, unless the edge profile on the thinner Mean Street is significantly more acute you are not going to notice much of a cutting difference just because the stock is thinner unless you are cutting very binding materials. This is why Boye's hunters can cut as well as just about anything even though the stock is around 1/4" .

For a heavy use small blade that I like to be able to handle delicate cutting as well I dual grind the edge. I will leave about 1" infront the the handle at a decent thickness and profile the rest much more acute. I can then do hard cutting on the thick part without fear of chipping it apart.

It is not that difficult to sharpen, if you use a convex bevel then the sandpaper+leather will allow you to sharpen both a the same time.

Sergiusz, the performance for your dollar drops off dramatically long before $100. The $10 Frosts of Sweden and similar knives easily own all performance rankings that are in anyway based on price. I have a $5 (Canadian!) Henckels paring knife that cost wise will cut circles around a Sypderco Bill Moran in anyway you look at the performance if you scale by the cost.

The only exception to the cheap blades winning in the cost rankings are the uses which place a lot of stress on the blade as most of the cheaper knives are not built for this and so they break apart. But then again most people don't expect their knife to do these kinds of things anyway. Usually because they are used to knives that can't.

Sergiusz, the performance for your dollar drops off dramatically long before $100. The $10 Frosts of Sweden and similar knives easily own all performance rankings that are in anyway based on price.
You are right by all means! The largest part of my life I have used the knives, which couldn't be sold even for $5 today. I have used them in very different conditions including those called now as "survival" ones and I'm alive so far. If you would look onto Far North, Africa, Asia, South America natives - they all are using knives which are worth less than nothing in overage Forumite's opinion and they are alive also. Even in Europe and I think in America also not each tenth (or maybe each hundredth?) used knife is modern Hi-Tech knife for $100 or about.

Well, what causes the users to look for "the best knife", "super steel" and another "wonder" stuff?
The desire to replace skills with hardware? Greatly probably...
The snobbism? I have $100 worth knife! Only? I have $300 worth knife! Who more?
Maybe some reasons more are forcing people to gallop in basically wrong direction paying catastrophic price for hardly noticeable performance's increase? Not in the knives only - guns, cars, computers, etc., etc., etc.
Why we are basing our desires not on our real needs but on another man possession?
Who knows...
But this is a topic for completely another discussion, right?

[This message has been edited by Sergiusz Mitin (edited 10-03-2000).]
Sorry but I disagree in general. I guess if all we are talking about is cutting things, then I almost agree. But I don't see anything wrong with pride in ownership, especially when we are talking about knives.

For instance, why buy a Monet when you get a cheaper painting at a garage sale. They both hang on the wall and take up space so they must be comparable? Methinks not. Nor is a Frost $10 knife comparabe to a high quality custom fixed blade. Don't get me wrong. I like Frost knives and they DO cut but I can appreciate the quality and craftsmanship that goes into more expensive knives. Cost too much to get micarta and infi and bg42? May be. But where do you draw the line? But I don't judge knives by their price tag but by a whole bunch of different factors. Look and feel, for instance, are high on my priority list. I appreciate craftsmanship. Knives are one of the few things that you still see that in. If you are comfortable using a broken piece of metal sharpened on a benchgrinder as a knife, fine. I'm sure it will be servicable. But not my cup of tea.

Call me a snob if you want. I appreciate my Old Timers as much as the next guy but if I could afford custom knives, I would be buying them as well. Is that supposed to be wrong? Is that supposed to be some kind of moral crime? Who is setting the standards here? I guess I must be missing the point here? If any old knife will do and a "native" pos machete is as good as a battle mistress, then why do you bother coming here to discuss knives? To show us the error of our ways?


I get some pleasure from finding a relentlessly peaceful use for a combative looking knife.
I can see Sergiusz's point, but I can also see Hoodoo's; for sheer utility, quality of product does not increase in any way commensurate to price. However the aesthetic pleasure of owning a beautiful object that performs exquisitely and satisfies fully . . . that can be worth a lot. Not to mention the peace of mind of not having to worry that your knife will fail on you.

That said, Cliff, are you pecifically familiar with the lean versus regular MS? Do you have an opinion as to whether the LMS will in fact offer better cutting ability than the regular version? I'm pretty sure that 3/16" of INFI in a knife that small would be plenty tough enough, but the 1/4" regular version is much easier to obtain, and a tad cheaper. Your discussion of dual-grinding the edge is interesting; since my sharpening skills are dreadful, I will have to practice that on a POS first . . .

thanks. FF

The beatings will continue until morale improves.
The MS comes in 3 thicknesses: 1/4", 0.23" and 3/16". I have a 0.23 and was able to use a 1/4" model for about a month. BIG difference!! The 1/4' model is just too thick. Actually, this one was a tad over 1/4. I have used my 0.23", actually 7/32"(0.219")at the spine with a bit thicker tang, daily since I got it and have done just about everything you can do with a knife. Sliced vegies and meat in the kitchen, dug bullets out of wooden backstops, cleaned fish and squirrels, picked splinters out of my hands, pulled wooden trim pieces off windows then pried out the nails, used it as a chisel on wood by beating the spine with a hammer, no dents just a few light scratches(!), and of course opened mail (tough job!).

I don't think i'd do all this with a 3/16 model! But, maybe I would!! My advice to you is this:
(1) If you want a slicer that MIGHT be used as a prybar, get the 3/16" model. If you want the best of both worlds get a 0.23" model and if you want a sharpened pry bar get the 1/4" one.
(2) Call Andy Prisco!!! He will fix you up with what you want if anyone can.

Either way, Enjoy!!


[This message has been edited by Dr.V (edited 10-03-2000).]