Steel Will High-End,Top Quality and Outdoor Blades

A break down of Gekko Knives and their uses.

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I was perusing the knife case at the Cleveland Avenue Vance Outdoors location the other day as I normally do when I'm there, being that I love knives. I don't head out the door with some sort of blade on my person. My blade choice depends on what I plan on doing for the day, or where I might be going. Some days the carry choice is all utility, such as a traditional folding knife by Case or a Swiss Army knife of some sort. Other days a tactical utility folding knife is the choice. On trips to the great outdoors, there is often a mix of knives, which will includes a fixed blade when I'm on the trail. Sometimes the knife of choice is determined by the manner of dress. On days when tactical cargo pants are the uniform of the day, the knife selected will be different than the knife chosen for "Sunday go to meetin" attire. In the end, you really can't own too many knives-or guns for that matter.

I noticed in the case there was a selection of knives by Steel Will ( I realized that many of you might not be familiar with the brand. I thought I would talk about the Steel Will knives I have worked with to date, as well as the company.

Steel Will is a higher end manufacturer of tactical and outdoor blades, both fixed and folding. MSRP's of Steel Will knives can run between $49 and $300 or so, depending on the particular blade, and where the blade is manufactured. There should be something for almost everyone who desires a knife of the finest quality, at less than custom knife prices. The three categories of knives that Steel Will manufactures are the Tactical Series, Outdoor Series, and Urban Series.

According to Steel Will, their goal is to build the best knives in the world-the steel and material they've chosen to create their blades is selected to "assure the distinct properties for which it was created". This means that the steel can come from the "U.S., Japan and other countries". The website doesn't specifically name the specific countries of Italy and China, but they too are suppliers.

The first few knives that Steel Will began marketing used steel from the U.S. and Italy-particularly Italy. Italy knows it stuff when it comes to steel. Anyone ever hear of Beretta and Benelli? Being a WWII history buff, I recall the sleek Italian battle cruisers of that war that made the ships of the British fleet look stodgy by comparison. Some of that sleekness still exists in the Italian blades of the Steel Will line.

Gekko 1510 Single Image Discontinued Gekko 1510

The first knife I tested from Steel Will was Italian-a tactical folder called the "Onrush". The Onrush is a tactical folding knife that has found favor among law enforcement officers. The Onrush showed me that their folding knives lock up with the strength found in a fixed blade knife-rock solid. The 3.62 inch, N690C Onrush blade features a black PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) coating for protection from wear and corrosion, and is opened via finger flipper. Like all Steel Will knives, the grips are synthetic and designed to hold provide good adhesion when wet. In the case of the Onrush, the grips are G10. The Onrush is likely the best tactical folding knife I've tested to date-truly SWAT capable. Steel Will adds and discontinues certain models from time to time, but the Onrush is still in production. MSRP is $189.99. I believe there was one in the Cleveland Avenue display case.

The second blade I've tested is sadly discontinued, but there are others of similar style and form in the Steel Will line. This model was also made in Italy-the full tang, fixed blade Gekko 1510. Featuring a 4.3 inch N690C blade, the Gekko blade features Steel Will's satin finish. According to the Steel Will website, their Satin Finish is more than just an appearance enhancer; the Satin Finish is "one of the most effective and brutal metal treatments available. The blade surface is covered with small uni-directional strokes forming a uniform pattern. The blade has a matte finish but reflects direct sunlight. An added benefit is that most minor wear and scratches from regular use are unnoticeable with the Satin Finish". The Gekko's Micarta handles feature a lizard like pattern for a distinctive look. The Gekko balances very well in the hand, and is a great overall design. There was only one problem I found with it-ok, not really a problem. The Gekko is so sharp that I managed to slice through the original Italian leather sheath that was included like a hot knife (no pun intended) through butter, when I sheathed it carelessly. The later sheathes have been reinforced on the back to prevent that from happening. Like I said, the fixed Gekko's have been discontinued. You can still find them new in the box. If you can't find the fixed blade version, but still want the Gekko name, there are no fewer than 10 folding Gekko variants currently available on the Steel Will website. The MSRP of the fixed blade Gekko's-there was the 1510 and 1530, was $203.99. MSRP's of folding Gekko's range from $119 to $289.

The third Steel Will knife I've tested is a large tactical folder called the "Apostate". Made in China, I found that this magnificent blade exhibited all the same quality that the Italian Onrush exhibits. Lockup was just as solid. Although sadly discontinued, the Apostate's 4.13 powder coated S35VN blade locks up just as solidly as the Onrush. The Apostate is at the upper limits of folding knives that carry comfortably in the pocket. For me, a folding blade any longer would simply be uncomfortable. Like the other two Steel Will blades I've tested, the Apostate is also very comfortable in the hand. If you can find one of them snatch it up. Since it is made to Steel Will's specifications and directions, is not big box checkout line junk. The MSRP was $174.

If you are looking for an upper end tactical/utility/outdoor knife consider the Steel Will line. Check them out at Vance Outdoors now that you know more about them. I think you will be suitably impressed when you hold one in your hand.