Showing posts with label automatics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label automatics. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Spyderco Autonomy VS Hogue EX-A01

Alright ladies and gents!  It’s the match you have been waiting for.  In this corner is The Hogue EX-A01 automatic knife and in the opposite corner we have Spyderco’s auto knife:  Autonomy!

Spyderco has autos? 

I’ve been told that Sal, doesn’t like autos but when he’s asked to make one for US border guards or the Navy, well he just can’t say “no!”  I understand this on several levels.  When your country asks you to step up, how could you say no?  And if you say no, how would that affect your business long and short term.

rescue Automatic switchblade
Spyderco's Autonomy


The Autonomy was developed by special request for the Navy’s Rescue Swimmers.  The original version had a bright orange handle, but soon other military and paramilitary organizations wanted one.   The knife comes with only a rounded tip and a fully serrated Wharncliffe blade.  What I think is totally cool is the knife is designed so you can wash out the coil spring and re-oil it without disassembling the knife.  In fact, you can replace the spring without disassembling the knife.  More on this later!

I don’t have too much information about Hogue’s EX-A01.  I know Hogue better for pistol grips, but they began life as Hogue Tool and Machine started by Guy Hogue.  Like any good company they looked at their corner of the market and saw where they could expand.  In 2009 they teamed up with Allan Elishewitz to make knives.  The auto comes in two blade lengths, 3.5 and 4 inch.  They have a variety of blade shapes and styles as well as handle materials.

All in all, both knives are very cool.

Spyderco utilizes H-1 steel for the 3.75 inch Autonomy blade.  H-1 has an established reputation for laughing at salt water.  It is also an austenitic steel which, according to Spyderco, work hardens as you sharpen it.  This gives you a slightly softer spine and a hard edge.  This is the classic design on samurai swords, hard edge and softer blade.  The blade has a black DIC coating (Diamond-like Coating) to assist anyone who must worry about light discipline.  That doesn’t mean Madam Fifi uses aluminum chains instead of steel.  Of course if reflections are a problem, I’d recommend taking a black magic marker to the silver spider logo and serrated edge.

Automatic knife switchblade
Hogue's EX-A01


Hogue’s 3.5 inch blade is made of 154cm steel which they cryogenically treat.  Being a martensitic steel it goes through a complicated cycle of phases while cooling.  These changes are temperature and compositionally related and are driven by diffusion of carbon.  By carefully chilling this steel the manufacturer can push the ferrite and austenitic phases to form the harder martensitic phase.

Don’t get any ideas about trying this at home.  You could warp your blade, crack it or turn a perfectly fine steel into crap.  Just a word to the wise.

The Hogue blade has a black cerakote finish with protects it from scratches and other minor damage.  Some cerakotes have properties that make them less visible in infrared vision.  The blade can be described as a tanto harpoon style.  I’ve never been afraid of sharpening tanto blades; just sharpen both edges as independent edges.  You’ll be fine.

spoon clip automatic knife
The clip lets the knife ride low in the pocket.  What you carry should be only your business.


Both knives feature large buttons, but the Autonomy has a very large and protruding button that will grip your skin or the material of your glove, including dive gloves.  Both place the safety where I like it, next to the activation button.  I like the idea the safety can be deactivated and the knife opened by rocking your thumb backward and forwards.  That way your grip doesn’t change as it must if the safety is on the knife spine.

While both knives have clips that can be changed, the Hogue is designed to be tip up or down, but right side only.  The Spyderco is right or left, but tip up only.

So at the bottom of round four here’s the box score:

Property
Hogue
Spyderco
Blade Length (inches)
3.5
3.75
Blade type
Harpoon Tanto
Serrated rescue
Grind
High V
High V
Blade Steel
154CM
H-1
Spring Stiffness
Good
Stout
Pocket Clip
Spoon
Wire
Clip Versatility
Tip up only L or R
Tip up or down, R only
Handle Material
6061-T6 Aluminum
G-10
Special Features
Course gimping
Oversize lanyard hole
Weight (oz)
5.55
5.35
Price Suggested Retail
$250.00
$349.95
Made in
USA
USA


Both knives have been described as flat grind, which is incorrect.  Both have a shoulder making them a high v-grind.  Both are about the same weight but the black G-10 Autonomy is significantly more expensive as compared to the rescue orange handle.  This might be Spyderco’s way of saying they don’t want to sell the tactical black to the public.  Just my thoughts.
The button-like object is the spring housing.  Easy to clean and oil.  Note the generous lanyard hole.  


Both can be found with better pricing if you shop around.

Spyderco sells a service kit “including a module wrench, protective blade guard, Torx wrench, two replacement kick springs, thread-locking compound, a spare pivot screw, and step-by-step illustrated instructions.”  After all you could be stationed where parts and mail service are only a dream.

Frankly, my needs are best met by the Hogue auto.  The serrated Autonomy blade has limited functionality.  It rips through straps, belts and rope.  But it doesn’t do very well cutting firesticks, my steak, cardboard and so many other daily functions.

Head to head rounding the last turn
Rounding the last turn in this mile and a half course, head to head and winner is......you the consumer.


The winner of this match is…,  well, I carry two knives and one is a full serration and the other plain edge.  I would be happy to pocket either.  

Friday, June 13, 2014

Switchblades

Switchblades. Auto knives. Push button knives.  Flick knives.  No matter what you call them, fully automatic knives have an undeniable appeal.

They aren’t new.  The first ones were made in the mid 1700s.  Following the U.S. Civil War, knives became factory products made in quantity. 

Knife sales increased thanks to the internet of its time, the catalog and advertisement.   In 1892 George Schrade invented the first really practical auto knife.  We’re still re-inventing the auto knife.  The Blade Show featured the so-called dual mode and hidden auto which could be opened manually or automatically with a hidden release.

HK duel mode knife
HK's dual mode Scorch.  Open like a manual knife or use the hidden release.  And it's made in the USA!
So far so good!

In search of more readership, Women’s Home Companion published an article in 1950 about switchblades called “The Toy That Kills.”  Did you hear that sound?  No, it wasn’t the click of a knife opening.  That was the opening shot of the war on knives.

The image of a hoodlum standing in the mouth of an alley smoking a cigarette, wearing a black leather jacket, and shockingly tight pants with an Italian switchblade in his back pocket and dating your daughter was too much for our legislators.  Especially when their wives began to think these Hollywood romantic bad boys were cute!

In 1958, The Switchblade Knife Act was passed making the sale of auto knives, but not possession, illegal.  Many states also passed laws banning autos, dirks, Bowie knives, short swords and butterfly knives.  The U.S. is not the only nation in the world that feels their citizens can’t be trusted with a knife much less one that opens by pushing a button. 

Traveling overseas with almost any of our ubiquitous knives could land you in jail.

Let’s zip forward to today.

Since then some states have passed knife rights laws to allow their citizens to buy, sell and own autos.  We have groups like Knife Rights and AKTI to thank for that.

Two of my favorite knife manufacturers package their autos with dire warnings about the proper documentation needed if you return your auto for service or warranty work.  With many states making it legal to own autos, I wanted to know how these companies would treat legal autos in need of service.

Spyderco requires a letter (on letterhead!) stating you are authorized to possess one of their autos and a restricted item return form.  They will not return your knife to you without all the paperwork.  They really don’t like autos and currently only carry one at the request of the U.S.Coast Guard rescue swimmers called the Autonomy.

This policy will remain in effect regardless of state laws, so if you own a Spyderco auto, unless you’ve got current paper, don’t bother sending it back.

Not that I blame them.  Several years ago when imported butterfly knives were banned, Spyderco was making them here in the U.S.  One part, that little latch on the bottom of the handle, was imported from overseas.  They had paperwork from Customs saying it was okay and legal.  All the lawyers on both sides were in agreement.  It was all good.  Then ICE decided the little latch was contraband, seized the shipment and all the other knives associated with the shipment.  People almost went to jail and fines were levied.  It wasn’t very nice.

I’m actually surprised they even make an auto given the complexity of the legal system.  We tend to think of the Federal government as a great monolithic organization.  It often acts as individual organization and has little if any interest in cooperating with other departments.

My next stop was Benchmade.  They make a fine line of autos 

Benchmade Auto AFO II, a great automatic knife.
Benchmade's AFO II.  They upgraded this knife two years ago and it really performs!

and this year have introduced more covert autos in which the blade can be opened like a manual knife, or pressing a hidden button springs the blade open.  Look at the gold class 7505 Sibert or the black class 5400 Serum if you’re interested.

They too have restrictions on sending autos back.  You cannot send it back via the post office and you must have or sign their Auto Opening Knife Acknowledge form available on their website.  Benchmade recommends you take your auto back to a registered Benchmade dealer and arrange to have them ship it back for sharpening and tune up. 

Just in passing they suggest you send any of your Benchmade knives in every two years for resharpening and overhaul.  You paid for the service when you bought the knife, you should take advantage of it.

It doesn’t matter if you have a CCW, or if your state allows autos or if your old unit/department passed them out like sticks of gum.  Each vendor has different rules that they think will keep them out of legal trouble.

Is right?  Frankly what do I know about the law?  I don’t even write radio dialogue for lawyer commercials.  Find out what they want and work with them.

Still want an auto?  I don’t blame you.  I like them too.  If you carry one, just keep your wits about you.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Medina Gun Show


I was at a knife gun show last weekend.  There has hasn’t been a show in this area for several months so I expected a good turnout of tire kickers and browsers. 

I used to do the same thing myself.  For a 5-spot I could look at stuff, ask questions, swap lies and have a good time.  I’d take a little extra cash in case I saw something I liked, but my little extra was 60 bucks.  I seldom found anything I couldn’t live without for under 60 bucks.  Under 500 bucks, there are a lot of once-in-a-lifetime deals in that range but beer budget doesn’t support champagne taste.

On the whole I enjoyed the show.  I sold a few knives and swapped a few stories. Bumped into a few-off the-wall conversations with customers.

“Got any full automatic knives?” he said.
“Yes, I just happen to have two.  One from Spyderco and one from HK.  Benchmade makes the HK line.”  I did my Vanna White imitation and gestured at the knives.  She is much better at that than I am.  He looked confused.  So I picked up the Spyderco and plugged on.

“I like the Spyderco because they put the safety next to the release button.”

He takes the knife opens it and said, “But you have to close this yourself!”

He grins and shows me a Microtech out-the-front and flicks it in and out.

“Very nice.”  I said.

“And your prices are too high.  I paid a lot less,” he gestured with the open knife blade, “for this than you’re asking for that.”  He points to my price on the Spyderco.

I try being nice, but I like the role of the curmudgeon too much to not play that part.

“That’s great.  Too bad you didn’t buy two of them when you had a chance and then you wouldn’t have to spend your time bothering me.”

Well, as Groucho Marx said, or maybe it was Karl, “Don’t just leave in a huff, leave in a huff and a half.”  And he did.

Later I see a fellow check my prices online with his smart phone.  That almost always means I won’t get the sale.

“Will you take $15 for that knife?”  Something about gun shows makes people think it’s a flea market and we will haggle like two Armenian rug merchants.  I’ve gotten used to it to some degree.

I look at the price.  I’m asking $24 for a nice Kershaw folder.  I typically mark my prices reasonably below MSRP.  I also pay sales tax out of that and of course I have to pay for it in the first place.  I don’t have a lot of room to wiggle.

“No sir, I’m afraid I can’t do that.”

“Well, I can get it on Amazon for $17.”  (I checked later.  It’s a close-out and it’s a good price but you have to pay shipping and tax.)

“Well sir, in that case I think you should.”

He wandered back a little later and said, “Don’t you want to make a little money right now?  I want that knife, but I don’t want to wait two weeks for delivery."

Of course the answer was I couldn’t help him.  I also didn’t tell him that SIR stands for Simpering Imbecile Retard.  (No, it’s not politically correct, but it is true.)

If I was smarter I would have said something like:

“Yes I’d like to make a little money.  I’ll sell it you for the internet price of $17 but I have to charge you $7 shipping and handling, a buck for tax, grand total $25.  Oh, and you have to pick it up at my house in two weeks.  Or you could just pay me the $24 now and walk out owning it.”

That’s what I write this blog for.  To get it out of my system.  Someday, I’ll actually say that to some hairball.

I over heard this snippet of conversation at the show:
One man to another:
“I have to get home before the third quarter to protect my TV from my wife.”
“Oh, is she a football fan?”
“No.  She’s a Browns fan.”

Monday, January 17, 2011

Treasure at the Gun Show and I Was There!

It was a pretty good weekend, knife related. I was at the Medina Gun Show and managed to sell a few knives and I had a lot of fun talking to people. Everything was going great and then a fellow walked up to me and said:

“Do you buy knives?"  He was holding a big, torn glossy shopping bag in both arms.

I used to say no, but now I say “Sometimes, but I’ll be happy to look at them.” He handed me the bag, and I was expecting low-end Frost and Iron Warrior. I can’t tell you how surprised I was. The bag was filled with unused Spydercos in excellent condition. He had a wonderful selection of both new and discontinued models.

I have to admit, I immediately wondered if they were stolen. I’ve never seen such a treasure trove. He explained he was a collector and wanted to sell them as a lot.

He had a Citadel 83mm Spyderco Auto.

CPMS30V steel, aluminum handle, 3.35-inch blade, 4.8 ounces of comfort

I fell for the Citadel’s blade shape. The grip and blade are just right for my hands and I really think they have the best positioned release and lock.


The round gray button is the release while the sliding switch is the safety.

The only thing that could be better would be a small button safety and a current size beveled release button in the present locations. This way you could just slide your thumb over the safety and onto the release in one smooth motion. I’m a big fan of smooth, continuous motions. Let’s not be herky-jerky when working with tools.

Actually he had two.  I’ve only seen them at the Spyderco booth at the SHOT Show - where I couldn’t get one to write about for love nor money. I mentally added the prices and figured he had at least $1000 of knives there.

“How much are you asking?” I asked.

“What would give me?” He replied and added, “I know what they’re worth.”

I just don’t carry that kind of money with me. So I walked him over to my friends who buy and sell knives. After they dickered a bit they came to an agreement and money changed hands.

How much did they pay?

Sorry, you don’t get to know that. But I think they did well.

What did the old fellow have?

A partial list includes:

Police, plain edge C07

Citadel, C119P

Cricket, stainless steel C29

Dragonfly, plain edge C28BK

Native 3, plain edge C78

Scorpius, plain edge C87

Poliwog, plain edge C98

And perhaps the holiest knife of all,

The D’Allara Rescue.

9/11 found NYPD Officer John D’Allara on the phone to Spyderco. “I need knives, rescue knives. The searchers don’t have the right stuff. Can you help me?”

Of course they did. Who wouldn’t? People from all over the USA drove to New York City to help after the Trade Towers collapsed.

John climbed into the debris field and starting passing out the much needed knives. An unstable steel plate slipped free and crushed John.

As I understand it, Spyderco recovered that plate and used some of the steel plate in the building of each D’Allara Rescue Knife. And when the steel is used up, the D’Allara pattern will be retired, never to be reissued. I can’t think of a holier knife than that.

Well, actually I can, but Osama bin Laden hasn’t been captured….Yet!