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Greg Lightfoot Pitbull
Custom Combat Knife Review

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Greg Lightfoot Skinner(pattern #Pitbull)

General - One of the major reasons for getting this one was my interest in BG-42 stainless steel. Made by Latrobe, BG-42 is used in aerospace industry for ball bearings. One of the primary demands for BG-42, is to withstand high temperatures and high frequency vibrations. As you can see this is no where near to the knives and cutting, yet BG-42 is widely recognized as a superior, high-end knife steel. Just the fact that Chris Reeve has switched to BG-42 steel from the ATS-34, makes it interesting for knife enthusiasts ;). Since I didn't like Sebenza, which is made of BG-42, I've started looking for another knife from someone who would know what to do with BG-42. Production knives were out of question, this is not the place where you get the best performance out of the steel, besides BG-42 the best to my knowledge has not been used in any production knife until recently, when SOG started using it for their newly introduced SOG X-42 Recondo. Canadian knife maker Greg Lightfoot is a well known person in the knife society, plus BG-42 is his definite favorite to work with. So, when I have found his Pitbul at Larry's KnifeArt, I've decided that was it.
    Precisely speaking, Pitbull is not a custom knife exactly, rather it's a semi-custom, since it is made in a limited run of 25 pieces, however as long as Greg was making it alone, I've decided to put it in the customs section anyway. Eventually I've picked up couple more BG-42 blades, see Small Sebenza Review and SOG X-42 Field Knife Review.

The Blade

 - Drop point, blasted blade with fully sharpened false edge, measures 4" inches exactly. Haven't measured its thickness exactly yet, looks like 3/16" which is plenty thick enough to make a strong knife, it is not Busse standard ¼" thick, yet I wouldn't call it thin anyway ;) The geometry makes an excellent user knife, except the sharpened top. Lots of belly for slicing, strong point, yet very sharp to offer an excellent penetration. I guess this was designed as a tactical knife, though will do very well for utility jobs. Donno about others, but to me the handle was the least convenient for stabbing BTW. The blade is quite wide as you can see on the picture. That allows the handle to be quite high from the edge, which in turn is more convenient for slicing through the thick material, though I suspect wider blade can be more difficult to cut through something sticky like a rubber or cheese.
    As of the edge holding, it was quite good, though I was expecting more. Of course my tests were not perfect, yet that was a usual routine, cutting cardboard, some wood whittling and piercing few canes. The edge held well on cardboard, though my subjective opinion is that the Nimravus made of the M2 Tool Steel was better. However, the Pitbull was not as sharp as Nimravus I've sharpened with EdgePro, though had a thicker edge than. Anyway, Pitbull's edge holding was satisfactory, better than ATS-34 blades I've had, let alone 440C. Restoring the shaving sharp edge was very easy, 5 strokes on each sides with 800 grit ceramics stick and it was back. Sometimes later I'll be testing some more, Pitbull vs. Nimravus and American Ninja. Though regardless those results, IMHO Pitbull will make a very good utility/hunting knife. Considering that BG-42 is much less brittle than both ATS-34 and D2 steel, which contributes positively to the edge holding, and BG-42 is more rust resistant than both of the steels mentioned above, it should be a durable piece :) Another interesting experiment will be to compare Pitbull with my custom American Ninja, since it is made of D2 hardened to 62 HRC. Unfortunately I don't know what the Rockwell Hardness is for Pitbull.
    Interestingly, I've cut myself twice in 1 week with Pitbull. Never happened anything like that with me, even though currently I own over 200 knives :) Both accidents occured when drawing the knife from the sheath. Which is my greatest complaint with this otherwise terrific knife. Kydex sheath is too tight and drawing the knife requires significant efforts, besides the edge of the fingergroove is shaving particles off of the sheath with every draw. Hopefully then it removes all the extra Kydex, drawing process will become smoother.

Handle

 - Have to admit, when I have first handled the Pitbull, its handle seemed really uncomfortable. Donno how's that. Fit and finish on Pitbull are perfect, the handle is smooth, no flaws, yet it just didn't feel right in my hand. However after I worked witht the knife for 3 hours, I've completely changed my mind regarding the handle. Remember, I've mentioned above that Pitbull is a better utility knife then a tactical. Stabbing, especially with the normal, i.e. forward grip is quite inconvenient, apparently my rather large paws are contributing to that as well, when I was holding Pitbull in a normal grip, but not using the finger groove, i.e. having my fingers behind it, the handle felt small, I kept moving my palm to fnid a better position, but with not much success. Reverse grip is slightly more comfortable, but not the best either. For everything else: cuting, slashing, slicing, Pitbul is just fine, well excluding chopping ;). After such prolnged use my palm was not irritated or bruised. Overall, for utility tasks Pitbull handle is just great, comfortable and smooth.

Specifications:

  • Model - Pitbull;
  • Blade Length - 102mm (4"), bead blasted;
  • Thickness - 4.75mm (3/16");
  • Overall Length - 229mm (9");
  • Material - Latrobe BG-42 Stainless Steel;

Last updated - 09/01/11