Mil-Tac Knives & Tools has only been in business a little over four years now, and they are already hitting some home runs with their knives. A bit of a disclaimer is in order before I go any further: Knifemaker Ray Ennis and I designed a couple of the fixed-blade knives for Mil-Tac—CE-1 and CE-2. However, I have no financial interest or profit from my designs. My purpose was to help a new knife company get a leg up, and to see my designs get into the hands of our fighting women and men at a reasonable price.
Mil-Tac is owned by Craig Sword. I thought it appropriate that a guy who owns a knife company has the last name of Sword. He isn’t new to the cutlery business; he had a hand in another cutlery firm for a number of years before branching out on his own. Sword has a military background and maintains contact with active military personnel, many of whom are serving on the frontlines. Sword is constantly getting feedback from our troops on his knife designs, and he acts accordingly on modifying or improving the designs.
While there are a number of designs Mil-Tac is producing, I elected to review one of their fixed-blade knives (not my own design) and one folder. The folder I chose to review is the MTF-1 (Military Tactical Folder), designed by knifemaker Allen Elishewitz.
The MTF-1 is a large folding knife with a 4-inch drop-point-style blade made out of N690Co stainless steel. This is a real man’s knife! The size of it gets your attention, however, the knife is only 5.5 ounces. The handle scales are milled black G-10, and I really appreciated the design of the handle scales; they grip you back! The blackened blade is Teflon-coated, to help in keeping the blade from rusting!
Closed length is 5 inches and open overall length is 8.75 inches. Included is a pocket clip, and a ballistic Nylon sheath can be ordered if you choose to carry the knife on a belt instead of in your pocket. Another design characteristic of the MTF-1 is dual thumb studs on the blade—something I feel is mandatory in a tactical folder. The MTF is a locking liner, and it also has a manual lock so the blade is double-locked once opened. This makes the MTF-1 a virtual fixed. The liners are stainless steel.
The MTF is one smooth-opening folder, and it can be brought into action. The blade locks open solidly, too—there’s that “click” that lets you know the liner type lock has done its job. Sword is having the MTF-1 (there’s several models) made for him by Fox Cutlery in Italy.
The MTF-1 also has friction grooves on the top back of the knife blade for proper thumb placement in the fencing grip. And, the spacers in the handle are also “bumped’ and it aids in a secure grip on the MTF-1. A lanyard hole is on the top back of the blade. Retail on the MTF-1 is $169 and there are several models to pick from.
The Miller Marine Model or M3 is a recent addition to the Mil-Tac line. The knife was designed to handle all sorts of chores around the base camp when it’s not being used in a combat scenario. In truth, a “fighting” knife is probably used 98 percent of the time for chores around the base camp, and only used, if rarely for combat. The M3 was designed to excel at camp chores, and it can easily double as a fixed blade combat knife should the situation arise.
The 5.5-inch stainless steel, CPM S30V blade is bead blasted for a subdued look. The blade shape is a drop-point design with a soft re-curve to it. The extra little “oomph” or belly to the blade allows it to cut deeper than a straight-edge blade does, and without a lot more effort. The 5.5-inch handle is covered with grooved black and gray G-10 handle scales with diagonal grooves in it. This is the same pattern that is on some of the 1911 pistol grips that Mil-Tac produces.
The G-10 handle scales don’t extend quite all the way to the end of the knife. Instead, the end of the knife—the butt—is left bare, and it could be used to hammer things. Of course, a knife makes for a terrible hammer, but it’s better than nothing if you ask me. The butt of the M3 also has a lanyard hole, which is mandatory on any fixed-blade knife that will be used around water.
The guard on the M3 is actually a part of the knife—it’s not separate. And, the guard is angled, with the top guard being a bit further forward than the bottom guard is. This makes for a great fencing-style grip on the knife. The guard also has two holes drilled into it—these holes can be used to lash the M3 to a wooden shaft, thus making it into a spear of sorts—not a bad idea for survival situations.
Additionally, the M3 comes with a Spec Ops Kydex-lined sheath—one of the best fixed-blade sheaths I’ve run across. Retail on the M3 is $249. Mil-Tac also makes titanium mine probes, and they are a hot seller for those involved in EOD in the military. Again, not cheap, but then again, titanium isn’t a cheap material. You can contact Mil-Tac at www.mil-tac.com or call (877) MILTAC6.
By Pat Cascio