AMERICAN BLADE WORKS’ MODEL 1 V5 TAKES A SLEEK APPROACH TO HIGH PERFORMANCE
American Blade Works is known for top-quality, small-batch creations of superb knives, and its new Model 1 V5 is, without a doubt, no exception.
This amazing new knife exhibits a sleek, smooth design, and a powerful punch. Utilizing its thicker-than-normal blade and perfectly ergonomic handle, it allows all the force from your arm or hand to flow into the knife.
This blade truly is an extension of a person’s body, and when it was tested in the field, that fact was backed up tenfold.
But being a very new knife on the market, there is always a lot to prove when it comes to actual performance when in use. Luckily, the great people over at American Blade Works sent me a sample of Model 1 V5. They said to do what I needed to test the metal, as well as the overall mettle of the knife, and that is exactly what I set out to do.
OUT OF THE POUCH
The knife arrived in a clamshell-style, zippered case with a soft fabric interior that was a nice variation from the usual small cardboard box offerings that usually accompany a purchased knife.
The knife felt very balanced in my hand. The carbon fiber handle was somewhat of an enigma as it exhibited both a smooth and rough surface at the same time. With a gentle touch, the handle felt smooth and allowed my hand to slide easily across the handle’s surface to reach the assisted flipper mechanism and to adjust my hand to releases and to close the knife.
Conversely, by adding a bit more pressure and strength on the knife’s handle, the surface gripped incredibly well and “locked” my hand in place. It is a remarkable feature I seldom experience on other knives.
This folder offers an assisted flipper mechanism to release the blade. The smooth protrusion sported just the right amount of tension needed to quickly flick open the blade.
All too often with such openers, it either takes a great amount of pressure to release the blade or very little pressure in which the blade loosely opens and at times falls back into the handle without locking. This well-balanced design didn’t stick or falter from opening, even when I repeated the action nearly 20 consecutive times.
The locking mechanism was crisp and engaged every time I opened the knife. Additionally, when I gripped the handle, my thumb didn’t unintentionally release the lock, as it has with other knives.
American Blade Works put just the right amount of contact metal on the lock for me to engage it when I wanted to and not from an accident of my thumb hitting the release.
It’s these small details that separate the high-quality knives from the seemingly identical imposters out there on the shelves and online. That’s why it is very important to “feel” the knives, if possible, prior to purchasing. What looks good to the eyes, may not be practical in your hand.
The blade appeared sharp right out of the pouch. I quickly did some cuts to gauge its sharpness and after a few sheets of cardboard and a piece of thick rubber piping, my initial thoughts were justified that the Model 1 V5 was ready to use immediately.
The blade featured a drop-point tip and exhibited a thick spine, which I prefer in most of my knives.
Overall, the look and feel of this new member to American Blade Work’s library of offerings started out this review by scoring high marks on both feel and overall look.
Although knives are considered one of the best tools to carry for a number of situations, one cannot deny the fact that some knives are capable of self-defense applications. Personally, I have studied in the martial arts for a few decades and have taken and taught numerous self-defense classes.
As such, I look at knives from both angles, one being a tool, the other being a self-defense weapon, and it’s that type of thinking I applied to this knife review.
Frankly speaking, not all knives are suited for self-defense. Some with top- or bottom-heavy issues may not be easy to control. Others with complicated handles, protrusions that interfere with grip, or awkward designs, all make implementing the knife for self-defense more of a hindrance than a help.
This is a fact that people not “in the know” about self-defense or knives in general overlook and that could spell disaster for them if or when they are confronted by an aggressive attacker.
This knife, however, has no such drawbacks for self-defense purposes. First, it is very concealable with its compact and slim design. You’re able to clip it to your front pocket or anywhere on your belt for fast access when time matters, and its lightning-quick, smooth opening is essential for fast reaction to a threat.
Additionally, the texture on the handle allows you to flow from a standard grip to a reverse grip with no effort. There’s nothing on the surface that would catch on your palm or thumb area and disrupt this important transition. Once reversed, the knife stays put firmly due to your pinkie finger “locking” into the curved upper portion of the knife’s handle.
The odds of needing a knife for self-defense are slim, but it’s good to be prepared. For all other times, a knife is an everyday necessity for a plethora of varied tasks. The Model 1 V5 can be that knife too.
“…the handle felt smooth and allowed my hand to slide easily across the handle’s surface to reach the assisted flipper…”
I utilized various materials found throughout my home to test not only the blade’s sharpness, but also the ease and comfortability of the knife as it slices and punctures through cardboard, cordage, and thick, multi-layered duct tape.
Cardboard is often the underestimated choice when testing a knife. Yes, it’s just paper, but the multiple layers, mixed with glue throughout, gives many knives pause as they attempt to slice cleanly through.
For the Model 1 V5, this wasn’t an issue. Only upon the initial thrust in the material was there slight hesitation. But I believe this was due to the thick spine of the blade. Once the cardboard pieces were “skewered”, cutting through posed no effort whatsoever.
Cordage wasn’t an issue, even the heavy-duty 550 paracord wasn’t a match for the sharpness of the knife. Every attempt resulted in a clean cut, even when multiple strands were layered and cut through simultaneously.
“The blade featured a drop-point tip and exhibited a thick spine, which I prefer in most of my knives.”
Duct tape, or more specifically, layers upon layers of duct tape, can prove a challenge for any blade. The fabric integrated within the tape, coupled with heavy-duty glue causes a gunky mess for most cutting instruments.
The key is to have a sharp blade that severs the tape at the beginning of the cut with your free hand peeling it away under tension so as not to sticky up your knife. Like a precision scalpel, my blade cut through the material quite efficiently with the handle providing a secure grip to guide the knife’s tip through the massive layers of tape.
POCKET ONE TODAY
The question as to whether you should purchase this knife is not the question. What is, is how fast you can secure one to ensure you’ll have this trusty tool by your side at all times.
To me, this knife is an all-around winner. The only negative I ascertained from my testing was the length of the handle. Personally, my fingers are thin and long which, at times, engulf the entire length of the handle, either leaving my pinkie finger hanging or having difficulty securing a solid grip.
OWE YOURSELF A TREAT
With this model, the grip was fine, but an inch or so longer would have been welcome to extend the knife’s end past my hand and act as a pommel for various applications. Again, this is a minor flaw and one that would only affect a very small percentage of possible buyers.
American Blade Works has produced a quality blade in both design and functionality. It would be right at home at your side for both rural and urban applications, as well as being your EDC for years to come.
The Model 1 V5 is the pinnacle of the line, and you owe yourself a treat by securing one today for a much easier tomorrow.
THE EVOLUTION OF THE VERSION 5
The Model 1 V5, as you may have guessed, had a few predecessors before this version hit the market. Michael Martin from American Blade Works helped to shed some light on the variations.
He said that the Version 3 has aluminum scales, different from Versions 4 and 5, which have carbon fiber. He also stated that Versions 4 and 5 were very similar themselves. Save for an improved pocket clip and added screws under the scales for increased rigidity.
Additionally, the Model 1 V5 has a redesigned lock-up, too. Subtle differences among the American Blade Work’s knives offer variety and choice for the knife consumer.
American Blade Works Model 1 V5
Knife Type: Assisted opening folder with flipper
Overall length: 7.86 inches
Closed length: 4.61 inches
Blade length: 3.25 inches
Material of Blade: S35VN
Blade Thickness: 0.125 inch
Handle Material: Twill carbon fiber
Weight: 3.40 ounces
American Blade Works
Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared in the July – August 2021 print issue of Knives Illustrated.