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Strider MH Field Knife Review

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Strider MH

Story - It took quite some time before I've acquired my first Strider knife. First time I've heard of Strider knives was again on Cliff Stamp's website, where he posted Strider WB review. Overall, it is a very positive review. However, I did have strong opinion against ATS-34 Strider knives were made (I still do basically, but not the one used by Strider) of. I've been disappointed with ATS-34/154CM several times, with different manufacturers, thus I've had my reasons to think twice. So, finally when I've decided to get a knife from Strider and check it out myself, I wanted BG-42 blade, instead of Strider's standard ATS-34. I've met Strider guys at BAKCA(now almost defunct) 2000 annual knife show in September, and asked about the knife made of BG-42. I've been told that they'd have to make a custom one. BG-42 is used by Strider in their folders and sometimes for custom orders. However the project got delayed, then after exchanging emails with more knowledgeable people than myself, and taking into consideration fact that all the Strider knives are heat treated by Paul Boss, which by common opinion is one of the best in that(heat treatment) business, I've changed my mind & decided to go with ATS-34, after all that is Strider's forte, so why not to try it. Then, the problem was which one to get :)
    I was contemplating for a while, decided to buy MT model, but in 01/01 at SF Gun Show in cow palace, I've met with David and Bibiana of Oso Grande Knife And Tool Company. They are really nice people to deal with, in person or with the email, all the questions I've emailed were answered promptly and in timely manner :) After handling most of the Strider blades I've changed my mind one more time & decided to get MH model, with G10 handles and tigerstripe coating. Unfortunately, G10 handles are incompatible with tigerstripe coating, (read details below, in the Handle section) so I've had to settle with MH, G10 handles. It's been several month from then and surrently I am trying to work with Strider guys to get another MH made of BG-42 steel anyways, at this time to make comparison :) In the end BG-42 is a better steel, I believe Mr. Boss will treat it well, and eventually I can get a little bit thinner edge on the knife, without compromising the edge strength, plus increasing the cutting. Don't know how big the improvement will be, probably not very significant, but I think it's worth a try :)

General

 - Simply put, Strider MH a very beautiful knife :) It is designed as a field knife, thus certain specifics in the design. Primary designation for the field knife is different types of cutting after all, including chopping may be, so the the knife is rather blade heavy, and more traditional clip point is used, instead of tanto. Which, I personally find much more useful than tanto. Built like a tank, very tough and solid, MH can, and will take a lot of use and abuse. After all I've heard of Striders, including their remarks regarding the handle ergonomics, I wasn't really expecting MH to be that much comfortable in hand, rather the opposite, but it is :) That was a nice surprise. In general, grind lines are even, edges are nicely rounded. The sheath is really worth mentioning :) High quality, multi-carry, Kydex sheath, with extra pocket on it, to accomodite your favorite favorite multitool, or sharpener, or whatever else you have in mind ;) I didn't find any defects of flaws in the knife. Well, Strider's reputation is well deserved apparently.

Blade

 - blade length, 6¼ inches total. Long clip point, saber grind, bead blasted blade, made of ATS-34, heat treated by Paul Boss himself ;) I like MH blade geometry a lot, besides exceptionally sexy looks, it's very functional. MH is gonna do either well, or very well for all sorts of the tasks such as: chopping, slicing, fine cutting, etc. MH is quite blade heavy, and as you can see on the picture it has a lot of belly. The long clip point, while it may not be as strong as tanto point, still has plenty of strength for most of the cutting/stabbing applications. If you need something stronger, (probably you should be looking for the tanto) then Strider has plenty of tantos in the menu ;), or another tool maybe, a chisel for example.
    Out of the box, MH had a fairly thick edge, I've measured it with using Edge-Pro Apex sharpening system+Magic Marker method. The result was approximately 28 degrees. I considered it somewhat thick for the knife of this size & width (though MH is .25" Strider standard thick), but I thought the little bit thinner edge would improve cutting performance, without degrading the edge strength. So, I've lowered the angle to 25 degrees, and polished it too. Not really necessary on the heavy-duty knife, but anyways. By the way, MH produced significantly less burr, and was more scratch resistant during the sharpening than any other ATS-34 and 154CM blades I've ever had sharpened. Partially this is due to the higher angle, I mean lesser burring, another part I believe is better heat treating. The ATS-34 used in MH seemed to be more difficult to grind than any other manufacturers blade mae of the same alloy. This might be my own wrong impression, yet at least it did seem to me that way, especially that second time I've sharpened Benchmade 940 Osborne, which is speced at 59-61 HRC, and MH is speced at 60-61HRC, MH was significantly harder to grind.

Blade Material

 - As I've mentioned above, it's ATS-34 steel. For the stats - ATS-34 steel composition. And I've said many times, I don't really like this steel. At the beginning, when I've found out in Strider FAQ, that they were using BG-42 steel as well, but prefereed ATS-34, I was sort of surprised why? I've asked this question on the Strider Forum on the BladeForums. Mick's answer was that, basically for the smaller and thinner edges BG-42 works well and holds the edge longer than ATS-34, however for the large, heavy-duty blades you can't really tell the difference. Well, he's the maker, apparently he knows what works better for his knives :) Sometimes later, I'll definitely get BG-42 MH too, for comparison. Like I said above I've started working on it already. I guess it will take time to get it done. As an update (2009), I never managed to ge that knife done. It was postponed by Strider several times, eventually I gave up. Results form the other independent tests show that BG-42 is more tough and less chipping prone than ATS-34, but, and this is important but, the thing is that those tests were conducted with the same production ATS-34 blades I've been unhappy with. Not the Strider's. For the reference - ATS-34 vs. BG-42 steel composition comparison.

Edge Holding

 - So far, I haven't conducted any specific tests to check the edge holding on soft materials. However, my primary concern with ATS-34 blades was rather its toughness, than anything else. I wrote about the edge chipping problem that I've had with my Benchmade Osborne 940. So, first thing I did after sharpening, well it was the next morning, since I was done with sharpening well after 2 am, thus I didn't feel like swinging my knife ;) Although as an indicator or knife wear resistance it was a good sign. Anyways, next morning I took the same wire that caused chips on the Osborne 940 (154 CM blade) and some other type cables too, and started cutting. Test #1 was the same wire cut that chipped 940. MH passed without any problems. Well, to keep things fair I have to mention that the particular 940 that suffered chipping had the edge at 21 degrees, MH has 25. That's thicker enough to make a difference. However, during the following test-cuts tha cables used were with steel wire and much thicker too. Cuts were done using different methods such as: sawing motion, chopping, push-cutting, etc. Overall I've cut 4 different types of cable and wire, 3 cuts on each, except the first case where I made 5 cuts. After all this "wire working" MH had no chips or rolls on the edge whatsoever. No scratches either, still mirror polished. And it was still shaving! IMHO that's a very good result. Especially form the ATS-34, that's been so disappointing all the time. There goes yet another proof of the statement - 80% of the blade is the heat treatment, 20% is the steel. Donno about exact percentage, but really, heat treatment is all too important.

Handle

 - Standard handle option for all strider knives except their folder is paracord. As an option G10 can be used, or something else probably for custom orders. While paracord has its fans & admirers, it's definitely not my forte. Generally speaking Strider Knives doesn't consider handle ergonomics to be on the top of their priority list. And they have their reasons, primarily it is the designation of their knives primarily for military personnel. Their explanation is, when you are in the "situation" your primary concern is the knife strength, durability, reliability etc, not the comfort. I'm not really buying that. Today's soldiers are no ninjas to begin with, i.e.their primary weapon isa firearm, not a knife, and whenever they use a knife it is most likely for normal cutting, probably more often hard items too. You do need comfortable handle for that. That "situation" they refer to, can happen, but it's very rare and basing knife construction on those rare occasions isn't a good design decision. Although, it does save costs for the maker. However, Strider knvies does offer ergonomic handles, those models cost a bit more, 50$ to be precise. When I've received my MH, I was pleasantly surprised by how comfortable the knife was using different grips. As of G10, it's durable, and can take many abuse, not slippery, at least in my experience. So, it's just fine :)
    One thing that was sort of disappointing was the inability to use G10 with the tigerstripe blade coating, which looks very cool IMHO. And unlike other coatings, it's very durable, for that it's not a coating in conventional meaning of this word, but a side effect of heat treatment process. As Mick explained, when G10 is used for handles, the epoxy gets all over the blade, and it has to be blasted off, that in turn, excludes the possibility of tigerstripe coating use :(

Specifications:

  • Model: MH:
  • Steel: ATS-34 Stainless Steel, hardened to 60-61 HRC;
  • Blade Length: 6¼"
  • Thickness: ¼";
  • Overall: 11½";
  • Handle: G10 (or paracord);
  • Sheath: Kydex;
  • Warranty: Unconditional Lifetime;

Last updated - 06/25/13