Alright, full disclosure: I’m endorsing Kilimanjaro, and I had input in designing some of the line, so be advised of that when you read this review. I’m not exactly impartial; this is a blade that was created to be what I like, what I want to use, at a price point EVERYONE can afford.
I’ve always liked “rescue folders”, that is, folding knives with an integrated seat-belt cutter and glass-breaker built into the handle, but the blunted blade, like a pair of toddler’s safety scissors always drove me nuts! I understand the reasoning; when rescuing someone, the last thing you want to do is stab the person you’re trying to help accidentally. I get this, and it’s good thinkin’ actually, but for me, it doesn’t work. I want to MAINTAIN the ability to stab and thrust with a blade I carry.
Enter the UTAC by Kilimanjaro Gear. This is one solid blade.
I’ll start with the extremely grippy handle. While not exceedingly heavy, this piece has heft, and feels quite solid in the hand. The grips are made of G-10, a laminate material known for its strength and durability. It’s not cheap either, and is found on blades on the expensive end of the spectrum. On the pommel end of the blade is a carbide-steel glass-breaker, which WORKS. Sad to say, many glass-breaks on very well-known, expensive blades aren’t effective. Trust me on this. We made sure that the UTAC’s glass-breaker would work on automotive safety glass.
Near the glass-breaker is the “seat belt cutter”, which in reality is just a re-named hook knife. I used hook knives under canopy skydiving to cut single shroud lines under load without risking cutting lines nearby, for cutting 550 cord in the field and out of it, cutting zip-ties and flex-cuffs on my teammates wrists without hurting them during training, etc. Hook knives are very useful tools to have around.
The blade is constructed of 7Cr17MoV, a solid steel in this price range. Holds an edge well, and sharpens easily. You’ll find it comparable to American 440A. The blade comes in two versions, a drop-point with a desert colored handle, or tanto in black. All the blades have a low-reflective flat black coating. Blade is 3.6 inches (9.1 cm), overall length is 8.3 inches (21 cm).
So why do I love a folder incorporating “safety features” with an aggressive drop-point or tanto blade, which are not “safe” at all? Simple. This isn’t a “safety blade”. The glass break isn’t just for getting out, it’s for assaulting IN. The hook knife isn’t just for cutting seatbelts stuck on their tensioners, but for a myriad of things hook knives are good for. While this blade would be perfect for keeping in one’s glove compartment for an automotive emergency, it’s not limited by a “safety blade”. This knife is ready for ANYTHING.
And what’s the damage? This is the coolest part. The UTAC retails for $33. I have some very expensive custom blades, and I love them very much, and use them tons, but I always am a bit careful because of the replacement cost. At the UTAC’s price point, I’m not concerned with losing it, breaking it, or anything. It can get USED. And that is a very good thing.
Visit Kilimanjaro at www.kilimanjarogear.com/
About the Author
Joel Lambert is a combat veteran of the United States Navy SEAL Teams, where, among many other things, he became proficient in basic and advanced SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance & Escape) skills, urban evasion, fieldcraft, tracking, counter-tracking, booby traps, and all the rest of the tricks and techniques he uses to evade capture on his Discovery Channel show titled LONE TARGET in the US and MANHUNT in the rest of the world.