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Busse Combat Active Duty
Combat Knife Review

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Story - In 2002 Busse Combat announced a contest to name a new knife. What was really new and unusual about this knife, at least for Busse was its thickness 1/8" INFIholics were really excited about that. Knife made of INFI steel at that thickness promised to be a high performance cutter. Eventually the knife was named Active Duty. Few more months of waiting and here she is :)

General

 - AD is a small, stout fixed blade. Obviously 1/8" thick, 2.5" blade knife is not a heavy duty, chopper etc. It's light cutter, or in other words light utility use, small knife. AD is a special run. At least for now it's not in the Busse main line. As far as I am concerned total of 150 ADs were produced. It features snakeskin nukarta handles, satin finish, "Busse Custom Shop" logo on the blade and a leather sheath. I don't have any complaints regarding the fit and finish of AD. No scuffmarks, grind lines are even. The convex edge was almost mirror polished and really sharp. I've heard of some troubles with leather sheath, but personally I've got no troubles with mine.

Handle

 - AD handle is similar to that of SJ, BA3, GM. I personally like this handle geometry a lot. I find it very versatile and comfortable. For the utility knife at least. Made of snakeskin nukarta it offers enough security not to become uncontrollable even when your hands are wet or oily, yet it is not abrasive enough to become annoying. Besides snakeskin nukarta looks very cool ;) Even though AD is a fairly small knife the handle is long enough to provide secure and comfortable grip, even for my rather large paws. I've used AD fro various tasks during last couple weeks and never had a problem with handle comfort. In different grips, for different style cutting it was almost equally comfy.

Blade

 - 2.5" long blade is flat-saber ground, sporting satin finish and full convex edge. Which definitely adds to its cutting performance. Other than that AD blade is a classic - straight, clip point small knife. Because the stock is fairly thin and the edge it convex AD is a very good performer as far as cutting is concerned. NIB sharpness was very good. AD was able to push cut through free hanging thin paper and shave in both directions. I was not very interested in NIB performance so I decided to take the edge little bit further. I started with the 3000 grit polishing tape (from the edge pro) on the pad. Since the pad s soft this allows sharpening convex edges. After around 50 strokes per side the edge was true mirror polish and shaving and push cutting ability improved noticaebly. Final step was to strop AD on the CrO loaded leather strop. After that I went for cardboard cutting. I already knew INFI wear resistance properties, but what was interesting how the thin edge would hold up. However considering that cutting medium was not really hard it should've been a problem. After approx. 150 inches of cardboard cutting I didn't notice any edge degradation, besides I've simply run out of cardboard to cut. Therefore, I've decided to continue testing in the kitchen.
    I have over two dozen Busse knives and there are not many that one would use in the kitchen. Sure, if you want you can use BM to peel the potato, but it is rather inconvenient ;) For chopping frozen meat sure BM or PH will do, but for majority of kitchen cutting Busse knives aren't well suited. I've used BA3 before in the kitchen, and it performed surprisingly well for 3/16" thick blade, mainly thanks to very thin edge. Still, AD should've done much better.

Edge Retention, initial testing

 - Above, I've already mentioned cardboard cutting. AD performed superbly. Thin stock plus convex edge made push cutting real easy, almost effortless. Since I do not intend to use AD neither for chopping, nor for prying I skipped that part of the testing and proceeded to the kitchen. Overall AD spent 3 days in the kitchen, where I tried to use it for all types of cutting. I found that kitchen testing provides very realistic data regarding the knife being tested. Sure, most of the materials cut in there are very soft, yet the variety of the materials (reads food) makes you to use different grips, cutting techniques. In the end it's quite a challenge for the knife.
    During those 3 days I've cut variety of food and packaging using AD. Intentionally I was trying to use AD all the time, but if was clear that AD was a wrong tool I would switch to the right kitchen knife. Basically, AD had a trouble with thick medium cutting, simply because of the short blade :) E.g. bread, 5 lb chunk of ham, etc. were rather hectic to cut with the knife that small. Other than that it had no problems.
    For vegetables, peeling, boning and carving AD was performing real good. For delicate cutting and peeling such as garlic cloves AD was more comfy than my small utility Global knife - GS-1. Because of the handle and shorter blade. Obviously global is a better cutter, because of its twice as thin stock, but still AD offered more control. Also, while boning and carving I was more confident with AD. Chances of chipping or rolling INFI steel are much lower than CROMOVA 18 of which Globals knives are made.
    In the end, I am very satisfied with AD performance. As a light utility knife AD is hard to beat. Obviously utility use is not limited with cardboard and kitchen, there's a lot more to it. But to get the initial idea of what the knife is capable to do and how it will perform overall those tests were enough. Certainly more tests are coming :) I didn't have time for any outdoor/garage usage/testing of the AD. Which is another interesting area, after all AD isn't a kitchen knife, although I'll be using it there occasionaly when the task is right ;)

Specifications:

  • Model - Active Duty;
  • Blade - 63.50mm(2.5")
  • Thickness - 3.17mm
  • OAL - 203.20mm(8")
  • Steel - INFI steel at 58-60HRC
  • Handle - Micarta
  • Acquired - 02/2003 Price - 250.00$
  • Warranty - Unconditional Lifetime;

Last updated - 09/30/12