Jan 6, 2001
Here are my comments as the knife has just arrived. I will write in length as I have not heard any reviews on this knife over the internet and I wish there were at least one. See WWW.TOPSKNIVES.COM

It is a very NICE knife. Extremely stout, even bomb-proof! Probably the thickest blade I've seen yet. A full 1/4 inch THICK! This knife is as indestructible as it gets. It is all business with a nice black finish too, and SHARP. It is a very useful size as well. 5.5 inch blade and 9.5 inches overall. I haven't used it yet, but I'm sure it would perform well under the very worst of conditions.

The grips are beautiful as well, gray and black grain micarta. This knife has a FULL tang, just like the Ek knives were. The tang is an integral part of the handle and would provide an excellent gripping area if the micarta slabs were to fall off (in no less than an explosion with this knife) It has a good sized and shaped pommel as well with lanyard. Gripping serrations on the rear of the blade are intelligently located for better purchase and control. Price is @ $170 plus shipping. Not very cheap, but not extremely expensive either. The Sheath is Kydex and hold's very secure, almost too securely, but this might "break-in" as the knife gets holstered more often (not necessarily a sheath problem, but more on that later). The knife came delivered in about a week from the order enclosed with a very nice hand written letter from the company owner, a nice touch in the world of mass production. I like craftsmen (and women) who take pride in their work and what they sell. It shines through in the finished product.

For comparison's sake this knife approximates the size of a BenchMade Nimravus very closely, both in blade length and overall length, both have a Full tang , but both also have distinct differences worth mentioning. The sheath hold's the knife "too" securely IMO, but this would have more to do with the sheath design and the handle design on the knife. The sheath, for one thing, could use some sort of thumb "push off" as the Nimravus has (a small flange or node). This allows you to grip the handle and push with the thumb, downwards as you pull the knife upwards out of the sheath. This could be easily accomplished by swelling the sheath opening on the top, where your thumb would naturally fall when drawing the knife. Further hindering the deployment from the holster would be the smallish handle size in relation to the overall knife size AND thickness.

The handle is smaller than the Nimravus in width and length, however the handle is thicker on the Nite Hunter, as a result of the full tang which is probably double the thickness of the Nimravus in the handle area. I think that the Nite Hunter could learn a few lessons from the Nimravus in the handle area. The Nimravus grip "fills" the hand much better than the Nite Hunter, even though the Hunter has a much thicker grip, it is just too narrow. In my opinion, the handle on the Nite Hunter should be wider (maybe the addition of a palm swell on the top side of the handle and more out-curving on the bottom) and the micarta slabs should be longer and fill more of the available handle area(this also is an easy fix for TOPS, like the sheath).

Now, I have large hands (but not much larger than the average male's), so my comments on the handle size are partially because of that perspective. I am very pleased with my purchase overall, but being a perfectionist, I am disappointed that this dimensionally (and quality is first class) excellent knife could be a entirely BETTER knife with only a few MINOR improvements in the design area. From a purely utilitarian standpoint, however, this knife will do it all.

If I were to re-design this knife, I would make the alterations previously mentioned, however, keep the overall length/blade thickness the same. Also I think a drop point (strictly personal preference) similar to the Elishawitz would be nice (their "dawn warrior" model has a drop point, but slightly smaller 5" blade)

I hope that this review wouldn't deter anyone from buying this knife, as I will forward my comments to TOPS themselves as a courtesy. However I would hope that TOPS would take my constructive criticism under advisement. I believe my comments would represent the impressions of 90% of the buyers who purchase this product. I don't believe in sugar coating anything, and I believe all of my criticism's are valid.

In closing, I am very pleased with this addition to my collection and feel that I have got my money's worth and then some.

Hope this review is helpful.

A.J. Healy

Nice review. For some reason not many people are interested in TOPS knives. Personally, I think TOPS makes great knives, and on top of that they are good people to deal with.
I don't have experience with this particular model, but I will second that TOPS makes a fine product. I have a Hawk Recon that is excellent, it's a 5.5" blade and a full .25" thick, tough to beat, and it even comes in an attractive package with the black coating and micarta handle slabs. I also have a quite impressive little neck knife by them the Spokane Street Scalpel, it's an interesting piece and about as tough as they come as it's also a .25" thick, it does the job of a neck knife and a small prybar.
I also am a big TOPS supporter. They are really great people to deal with and they make wonderful, useable knives. There is something especially nice about a low production, handmade style knife that begs to be used and was not made to just hang on a wall.

I own a Street Scalpel, a Recon, a Magnum and a Wolf Pup. I like each one of them!
Anybody out there own a "Storm Rider" model? It seems to be their "bread & butter" knife. It also seems to have a much larger gripping area.

I think there are a couple reasons why they seem to not garner a lot ot interest now. (By the way, they were all over the forums about a year to a year and a half ago. Do a search of the General and the Review boards if you are interested.) I received a used Steel Eagle from Cliff Stamp. One of his observations was that the ridges on the handle made it extremely uncomfortable to use for long periods. I would have to agree. The whole Spec-Ops Mystique that surrounds the blades and all of the holes and slots seem to be a turn off to some people. (Not me)
Lastly, people around here seem to really want a knife that slices and cuts well and the TOPS are just too thick to do that. From what I have learned, 1095 isn't the steel to use if you want a thick blade that you can grind the edge down thin for slicing and not have to worry about becoming damaged. Wow! That's the definition of a run on sentence. INFI and CPM-3v are steels that accomplish this task well. I also think that if they had a forum here, that it would really bring the interest level up. I am still very intrigued by the Anaconda though. For some reason, that knife calls to me. The one thing holding me back though, is the price. For a little more money, I could get a Busse Battle Mistress and I feel that the BM is a much better knife.

Jim McCullough


Next time you feel your life is sooo tough, read this- Some American Heroes
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by HUNTER3897:

The whole Spec-Ops Mystique that surrounds the blades and all of the holes and slots seem to be a turn off to some people.



Name's Ash......Housewares.
Check out March 2001 Blade Magazine. They "test" a TOPS Fire Zone and chopped through a telephone pole with no damage to the blade. I really don't know a lot about steel quality etc., but the test was interesting.
Jim :

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">people around here seem to really want a knife that slices and cuts well and the TOPS are just too thick to do that.</font>

There are several new TOPs blades that look to have a decent geometry. They seemed to have broadened their knives outside of the killer tactical look and now may be offering some decent cutting tools.


I look forward to seeing them. I don't remember if we ever discussed this, but did you ever contact TOPS about the tip damage on the Steel Eagle? I have heard that they have good customer service but don't remember if you ever asked them about it.

Jim McCullough


Next time you feel your life is sooo tough, read this- Some American Heroes
I contacted TOPS through the email listed on the website at least twice. The first was for the fracture of the teeth while I was cutting/breaking wire. I can't remember what I contacted them for the second time. I never recieved any responce either time. I probably should have put that in the review.

Regarding TOPS and their web site:

Numerous other threads have discussed this situation before, but I will mention it again. Mike and Helene Fuller do not always follow up on the emails TOPS receives. They don't particularly like dealing with computer "stuff". I believe their web is handled by a third party.

If you have a problem with their knives, simply call them. They are wonderful people to deal with, and without question, they will help you out.
Cliff Stamp

What Jayharley says is true.


This has got nothing to with TOPS, but great link

I gotta say, in reference to customer service, if you provide an e-mail, you should expect people to use it, and stay on top of it. Otherwise you should specify that the e-mail is only to be used for site-related issues, as I've seen on several websites (you know, "Please E-mail problems with this site to") If you provide an email address as a means of getting in touch, you should use it.

I hate to get off topic too, but thanks. The first time I happened on to it, I couldn't stop reading it until I got to the end. It makes you feel like you are in an actual firefight. I went to Barnes & Noble to buy the book but they were out. The book is called "Blackhawk Down" and is supposed to be every bit as good as the article. The guy behind the counter at B&N is in a military book club and they had one of the actual pilots who was there come and talk to them. He couldn't say enough about the book or the pilot.
If anyone is wondering about what we are talking about, click on the link in my signature line. Sorry about the topic drift.

Jim McCullough


Next time you feel your life is sooo tough, read this- Some American Heroes