1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

  2. Click here to enter the drawing for your chance to win a Kizer Sheepdog & Ka-Bar Dozier Folding Hunter, , Bladeforums.com swag or memberships!

    Be sure to read the rules before entering, then help us decide next week's giveaway by hitting the poll in that thread! Entries close at midnight, Saturday August 10!

    Once the entries close, we'll live stream the drawing on Sunday, July 28 at 5PM Eastern. Tune in to our YouTube channel TheRealBladeForums for a chance to win bonus prizes!

    Questions? Comments? Post in the discussion thread here

In the Search for the Perfect Knife- Few GSO models insight/comparison and survival knife ramble

Discussion in 'Survive! Knives' started by amikee, Jun 10, 2018.

  1. amikee

    amikee

    330
    Apr 24, 2014
    Greetings All

    By all means this will not be a comprehensive review nor it will be the ultimate advice on choosing the knife for you but more of a personal insight about some S!Ks that I owned and went thru as well as some philosophical rumbling about tools of survival and their characteristics. I am going to use a 1-10 scale, 10 being the highest. Just please remember

    Let me start by saying that I have owned quite a few knives during the past 23 years, a variety of steels, companies, custom makers to my own knives that I made over 400 in the past few years. Been a woods boy entire life and sharp instrument was always a part of the trips, walks, camping, etc. Good thing to mention is that I do wear M-L size gloves and would call size hands medium-ish.

    Survive!Knives showed up on the horizon few years ago but due to several customs I owned at the time I did not give this company much attention. Production knives have never really appealed to me and besides some folders and Mora I have not bought much. Traded for some to try them out and handled a huge amount, but never considered them mine.

    My first impression is going to be about old spec 3.5. Steel CPM20CV.
    This was my first S!K model and it was an instant winner in my book. Nimble factor was there, light weight factor was there, excellent ergonomics for its small size made it just an amazing companion. I really admired the thickness/thinness of the blade and rather slim edc type handle that made 3.5 both pleasant to use and carry around. Yet, there was something missing. I felt that the blade size was not enough. Perhaps for splitting some sticks for the fire, perhaps for comfortable cutting/carving. Don't know. But it was not it although I did love this knife very much and playing with it was a pure joy.

    GSO 3.5 old spec
    Designation: EDC, companion, lightweight backpacking knife
    Initial impression: 10
    Feel in hand: 8
    Blade lenght: 8
    Blade shape: 10
    Blade thickness: 10
    Edge geometry: 8
    Handle lenght: 10
    Handle shape: 10
    Sheath: 10
    Carrying comfort: 10
    Use: light
    Nimble factor: 10


    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    As I moved forward into S!K models and kept on reading of recommendation for the "one and only", "the chosen one", "the ideal one" etc. knife I have discovered that I "need" something larger. Hell! Survive knife should be large and thick and beefy overall and nothing short of BK2 wouldn't cut it amd that was/is a popular opinion despite the fact that most of the common folks myself included will probably never be cutting themselves out of an airplane nor pry the doors during international missions so such knife would be really of no use to me in 99% of situations.

    Let's face it. When you go to the woods bushcrafting or putting it plainly, just play with wood you are choosing to do so. It ain't no survival but extreme fun. Can a hunting trip become a survival expedition? I guess it could if you are 100 miles from home in the middle of nowhere. I am not here to judge.

    For me a knife needs to fulfill its primary function. That is to cut and slice. Most of the jobs concentrate about preparing food and most of us probably know this by now that unless a knife is not designed for for the kitchen it won't be that good at slicing tomatoes and such.

    That being said for us, big boys, knife should be a good all arounder, with sufficient thickness to split some wood and I am not talking taking down a foot wide tree but sticks, striking ferrocerium rod, playing around with kindling, cut sausage or bacon into few pieces and very important factor, to admire the good looks while doing it all.

    The hype of 4.1 is great and I have not found many knives to live to their hype. Quite the opposite. Several of them were quite overrated. But I do understand that knife shape, size, color, steel, etc are a preference thing so there is nothing negative anyone can say to someone who just love his/her knife. And I will not do it either. Friend of mine was kind enough to send me his old spec 4.1 in M390 to try it out and dang, was that a sexi knife! I liked it quite a bit and went on my "must have" list immediately. Availability is somewhat limited although just today I saw at least 3-4 for sale on ebay under 300.00 in like new to new condition. I am a sucker for stonewash/tumble finish and both 3.5 and 4.1 had phenomenally smooth and gorgeous flats. Edge is something of a personal preference so not going to get into that. Was it too thick for me? I'd say so. Probably that is why we see so many of them convexed.

    Anyways, decided to compare 4.1 and 3.5. Comfort level was much higher than on 3.5 but I'd consider them a different category and old spec 4.1 was one of the most knvies I have ever played with despite some minor finish "issues" that did not bother me at all and actually made it look little rustic. Old spec 4.1 looks robust and it is. Only thing that it made it feel little "too gentle" was the weight due to its skeletonized handle. This factor is purely psychological as most/all of us seen Guy's videos and those knives can handle most any abuse. But still, despite 4.1's greatness, the "larger" sizes kept on calling.

    GSO 4.1 old spec
    Designation: larger EDC, companion, lightweight backpacking knife, light survival knife, medium utility knife
    Initial impression: 10
    Feel in hand: 8
    Blade lenght: 8
    Blade shape: 10
    Blade thickness: 9
    Edge geometry: 6
    Handle lenght: 10
    Handle shape: 10
    Sheath: 10
    Carrying comfort: 10
    Use: light to moderate
    Nimble factor: 10


    [​IMG]
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2018
    Oyster, OBX351 and Silver Needle like this.
  2. amikee

    amikee

    330
    Apr 24, 2014
    Then the opportunity showed up and 5.0 was at the doorstep few days later.

    Designation: medium utility, heavy backpacking knife, medium-large survival knife, medium utility knife, camp knife
    Initial impression: 7
    Feel in hand: 8
    Blade lenght: 9
    Blade shape: 10
    Blade thickness: 8
    Edge geometry: 8
    Handle lenght: 10
    Handle shape: 10
    Sheath: 10
    Carrying comfort: 8
    Use: moderate to heavy
    Nimble factor: 5


    This was a beautiful beast, however, it took me some time to like it. It was just big and thick. This is something that would definitely never break, potentially could chop (I never chop), work great on splitting wood and be good all around. Weight difference from 4.1 and 3.5 was significant of course and from the moment I opened the box I knew it will not be here too long. Unfortunately, it just felt too bulky for me and would probably feel that way to most who prefer going to the woods and such with rather lighter set up. For playing in the backyard would be awesome for sure. Felt very good in hand but weight was more that I would like. Don't get me wrong. It was a good heft but I knew I would never carry it more than it deserves. So it had to go. Unfortunately, I am not in the position to get all of them at once and compare and play and then make a decision.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2018
  3. amikee

    amikee

    330
    Apr 24, 2014
    So that old spec 5.0 got traded for old spec 4.1 CPM20CV

    Designation: larger EDC, companion, lightweight backpacking knife, light survival knife, medium utility knife
    Initial impression: 10
    Feel in hand: 8
    Blade lenght: 8
    Blade shape: 10
    Blade thickness: 9
    Edge geometry: 6
    Handle lenght: 10
    Handle shape: 10
    Sheath: 10
    Carrying comfort: 10
    Use: light to moderate
    Nimble factor: 10


    Again, I really thought this is going to be THE knife. It looked so darn perfect, it was in virtually new condition, felt nice in hand, nimble factor was amazing. But again, the edge geometry was not my favorite. It was sharp alright and previous owner did phenomenal job sharpening and polishing the edge. It was an awesome knife and this handle just like the one my friend sent me to try was just about as perfect as it can get. So robust in looks, plenty comfortable. Yet there was still something about that skeletonized handle that did not rubbed me in the right way. Again, I knew it was tough, I saw it and like mentioned earlier, I'd say if nothing else existed this would be THE knife. But decided to trade it for something that was supposed to even better.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2018
  4. amikee

    amikee

    330
    Apr 24, 2014
    Now, good ladies and gentlemen, now that trade was something I did not expect coming. Brand spanking new, new spec GSO 4.1 in 3V Delta. I was blown away, not immediately but in less than 12hrs. It feels great in hand. It is a quintessence of perfection, pure joy to hold and use. I would call this 99.99% perfect knife for me. You ask about 0.01%? Well, let me tell you, this new finish although executed perfectly, does not blow away the old spec stonewash and if there was 1 thing I would change finish would be it. As a side note I also slightly more prefer the looks of the old spec handle with its rather straight tang but I'm just being picky. I feel like with this thickness/steel combination the world could be conquered without any sacrifices due to its weight nor lenght. It's a beautiful piece and psy was right. It is a great knife.

    Designation: larger EDC, companion, lightweight backpacking knife, medium survival knife, medium utility knife,
    Initial impression: 7
    Feel in hand: 10
    Blade lenght: 10
    Blade shape: 10
    Blade thickness: 10
    Edge geometry: 10
    Handle lenght: 10
    Handle shape: 10
    Sheath: 10
    Carrying comfort: 10
    Use: lmoderate-heavy
    Nimble factor: 10


    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    At this very moment I believe this is the best production/mid tech knife money could buy.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2018
    supertac916, OBX351, Oyster and 2 others like this.
  5. joeG26er

    joeG26er

    288
    Mar 29, 2000
    great write ups - thanks !
     
    amikee likes this.
  6. amikee

    amikee

    330
    Apr 24, 2014
    There was one more knife I had a pleasure handling recently thanks to my friend John. It is a 4.7 model in 3V.

    I spoke/wrote/chat/txt with quite a few folks over the past few weeks about this knife and most said that would be the most comfortable handle ever. Well, not going to say it is not comfortable but my 4.1 feels much better to me. The most difficult grip for me was the chest lever as the bottom of the handle is digging into my palm/wrist area. Also, and you will be surprised, I found that top swell on the handle rather uncomfortable in my hand. Again, my mediumish hands prefer something more nimble in nature and for me 4.1 is about as perfect as the knife gets as far as ergonomics go. Of course comfort is a very personal thing and what feels good in my hand may not feel good in yours, etc. But handle was not the thing that bothered me the most. It was the blade shape. It's neither fish nor fowl. Again, personal preference is the keyword here. I much prefer dedicated drop point blades and 4.7's shape is more of a spear point than drop point although I do see the slight drop there. Just did not blow me away. For many it is and would be a great knife. Definitely robust and heavy use considering the thickness and steel. I would definitely classify this as survival knife and for most people it could probably be the one. I'll stick to my 4.1 though ;)


    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Thank you for your time
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2018
  7. Psybull

    Psybull

    620
    Dec 31, 2015
    It's good to see some new input on these older blades, nice pictures as well.
    That 5 looks like it had just rolled off the showroom floor, so nice.
    Your 4.1 in 20cv looks like a million bucks with a set of Tony's koa scales on it now.
     
    Oyster, ajvail18 and amikee like this.
  8. amikee

    amikee

    330
    Apr 24, 2014
    updated. thank you
     
  9. amikee

    amikee

    330
    Apr 24, 2014
    Thank you. I was going to post some more photos but somehow they got eaten during transfer from one device to the other and they're probably gone for good.
    Thank you again for an awesome trade. Looks like you may be the one who successfully wiped out my future knife buying away. My wife will appreciate that for sure haha
     
    Oyster and Psybull like this.
  10. amikee

    amikee

    330
    Apr 24, 2014
    One good thing to mention also is that those knives should not be considered as typical bushcrafting knives which they are not. There are serious tools that could be used for variety of tasks and be sufficient at most. That's why they are called Survive!Knives IMO. For a bushcrafter, a crafting/carving type grind like scandi or zero convex would be much of use along with some other features helping with fire. These fire notches on S!Ks are more than sufficient for scraping ferrocerium rod. I was recently discussing the issue of the bushcrafting features of knives during survival situations and I am talking stricte, no fantasy. So options like heavily corroding O1 would not be my first choice nor ability to strike spine with flint to make spark. I think we can agree that if you are in the survival situation and you have to strike spine with flint to make a fire you have more serious things to worry about. Not bashing this option but that's just not for me.
     
  11. Psybull

    Psybull

    620
    Dec 31, 2015
    It's good that your wife will be happy but the search never ends trust me.
     
    Oyster and amikee like this.
  12. Psybull

    Psybull

    620
    Dec 31, 2015
    That metal bow drill divot on the 4.7 scales, did you have to send the grips to him/her or are they ready to glue in yourself?
     
    amikee likes this.
  13. amikee

    amikee

    330
    Apr 24, 2014
    He can install them for you if you send it grips or can send it to you. I would prefer him doing everything since he custom makes them and knows how to fit them properly and such.
     
    Psybull likes this.
  14. amikee

    amikee

    330
    Apr 24, 2014
    Shhhh, let that be the secret. Maybe she won't see this tread ;)
     
    Psybull likes this.
  15. amikee

    amikee

    330
    Apr 24, 2014
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Silver Needle, Oyster and ATJ999 like this.
  16. ATJ999

    ATJ999 Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 12, 2013
    Great job man, good posts. I really love all those knives you tested, they are definitely some of my favorites! I have a hard time choosing one over the others though. But, I will say the new spec 4.1 is REALLY growing on me! Looks like your gonna really enjoy the new 4.1, and get lots of use out of it.
     
    Oyster and amikee like this.
  17. TRfromMT

    TRfromMT Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 4, 2016
    So the new spec 4.1 is THE knife? I know it took a day or so to warm up to it.

    I like your comments on the 4.7 handle. I think I may have a little larger hand, and for me the 4.7 is the worlds most comfortable knife. Interesting comparison.
     
  18. amikee

    amikee

    330
    Apr 24, 2014
    It is very positively surprising to see that production model has such excellent ergonomics as 4.7 does. Team at S!K definitely spent quite a bit designing those handles. Fit for customers is still individual thing of course.

    And yes, I'd say NS4.1-3VD is a strong contender running for the title. Thank you
     
    Oyster and Fancier like this.
  19. Hundred Acre Wood

    Hundred Acre Wood

    158
    Mar 19, 2017
    Having both the new spec 4.1 and the 4.7, these are my conclusions as well. I have very large hands (e.g. palm a basketball) and the 4.7 is the more comfortable handle for me.

    The 4.1 is still a spectacular knife, but the handle is a little thin for my size hands.
     
    Oyster, Fancier and amikee like this.
  20. OBX351

    OBX351 Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 29, 2014
    I loved your reviews! Thank you for them!! I really like the new 4.1 shape and handle. I also agree with you on the 5, it's a beast for a small med knife but for that much weight I would rather have more blade like the 7/7. I've found that my perfect knife is the 5.1 with the new or old 4.1 3v as the second knife and my 7/7 as my backup. But my friends constantly accuse me of carrying too much gear!! I am looking forward to getting Guy's take on a bushcraft knife. That one might make me sell a few of my other bushcrafters, we'll see. Glad we have you as a Survivor!!
     
    Oyster, Fancier and amikee like this.

Share This Page