Friday, April 23, 2010

On The Böker Sublaw.

Ever since I read the Mercop review, I wanted a Subclaw. Actually, that's not entirely true. After reading that review, I wanted a grab n' stab sort of backup blade, and a fixed blade in a sheath on the belt line (a la clinch pick) seemed just the ticket. California's surprisingly reasonable* knife laws require fixed blades to be carried openly, however, and that ruled out the La Griffe or Ka-Bar's attractive TDI line (which, incidentally, includes a training variant).

I ordered the knife, rather painlessly, from KnivesPlus, at the entirely acceptable price point of $25.97. (The usual absurd knife manufacturer markup of 70% or more seems to be intact.)

Cold Steel Ti-Lite (4" Blade); Böker Sublaw (1 7/8" Blade)

She's actually a bit bigger than I anticipated. While being wispy thin, the blade and grip are quite tall, which makes for a surprisingly comfortable grip. The beefy clip is held in place by a trio of Torx screws and is reversible. Unlike the Ti-Lite, it didn't loosen noticeably within the first week of carry. A lanyard hole is included. Also unlike the Ti-Lite, the thumb stud is duplicated on both sides and doesn't seem screwed in. The Ti-Lite's Torx screw also loosened up after about a year and a half; loctiting the screw to the stud produced a usable stud that seemed to stay put while rotating in place, which is unnerving. Hopefully the Subclaw's stud is a bit more durable.

Fox Labs 2oz Cop-Top, SIG P226/.40, Cold Steel Ti-Lite, Böker Sublaw, Surefire 6P LED, Tactical Polymer Coffee Ring Mitigation System (5.5" model)

Unlike other openers, I've yet to find a way to snap the 'claw open rapidly; riding the stud out to full lock seems to be the only way to run it. (Of course, it took me a year to figure out how to snap the Ti-Lite's thumb stud, so...) The clip seems to hold on tightly. Clipped to the inside of a waistband at 1 o'clock, it'll stay put all day. Deployment, after some practice, is smooth, but not nearly as fast as a strongside pocket clip. I guess some more practice is in order.

The blade, in AUS8, shipped in "disturbingly sharp" condition, and I'm all too happy about that. Actually, it's sharp enough that I'm hesitant to use the knife, lest I fail to return it to factory condition. On the Ti-Lite, AUS8 seems to produce a shaving sharp edge that will last a few days under moderate use. (I just found out that stropping the hell out of the blade with the rough backing of a leather belt does wonders for edge quality.)

So far, I'm impressed, as well as lacerated - that hawkbill blade is nasty! The combination of an aggressive point and a shaving-sharp edge with some bite really cuts deep. For the price point, the Subclaw seems to be a worthwhile investment.

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* Despite most, if not all, of California weapon laws being utter bunk - at least we know the legislature wants to protect the people from air gauge knives and shobi-zues, whatever the hell those are - all folders, other than switchblades, can be carried anywhere not otherwise prohibited. Fixed blades must be carried openly, which doesn't entirely make sense, but there's not length limit, either. Sticking a cavalry saber down your pants leg is bad juju, while wearing one on a Sam Browne belt is a-ok.

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