Extrema Ratio

As I was sorting through all my kit the other day, both in my house, in my attic and in my shed, in an attempt to get some camping and emergency preparation supplies together, it occurred to me that I've had an assortment of Extrema Ratio knives on hand (and often in hand) for a couple years now. These knives have been around for awhile, but have always been difficult to procure in North America. EXXCESS Quality Products reduced the challenge of procurement when they became the exclusive importer for the continent. Having reviewed an assortment of Extrema Ratio knives that couple of years ago, I figured it was time for an update - and they've been more thoroughly tested in field conditions now.

The three knives I'm going to revisit are the Col Moschin, the Fulcrum, and the RES folder.

The Col Moschin

The Col Moschin knife was specifically designed and developed for the 9th Reggimento D'Assalto Paracadutisti, nicknamed the "Col Moschin" unit and considered the elite of the Folgore brigade. What does all that mean in English? As much as I had to look it up (and me with an Italian last name) it's the 9th Parachute Assault Regiment. Now consider this: If someone was asked to design a knife for the 82nd or 101st Airborne, we'd expect it to be one heck of a knife, wouldn't we? Well, the Col Moschin is. Let's take a look.

The blade length is 6.3 inches and the handle is 5.11 inches, giving an overall length of 11.41 inches. Total weight is just over half a pound at 9.17 oz. Blade thickness is a full quarter-inch and it's made out of N690 stainless cobalt steel. Extrema Ratio uses N690 in the large majority of its knives because the additional cobalt content adds strength to the blade. While I haven't used this knife as a pry tool, I have beaten it fairly thoroughly in the field. I've cut all sorts of cord, string, rope, nylon, etc and have used it as a chopping tool on small diameter branches. The edge has held up well and was easy to "dress up" with a diamond stick (in one instance) or a small stone (in another). While I consider the blade length slightly more than is necessary for general camping uses, for combat or survival purposes it may be just a tad short.

The Fulcrum

Next on our list is the Fulcrum. My test and evaluation knife is the Fulcrum S Testudo. The Fulcrum S has a blade length of just under 6 inches and an overall length just over 11 inches. The full-length tang is 1/4-inch thick from pommel to within 5/8-inch of the tip (by my measurement). The blade is of Tanto configuration, double-bevel ground with 1.5 inches of serrations nearest the hilt. The knife has a published weight of about 10.5 ounces. All in all, a decent-size knife for field work and of sturdy construction as far as the blade is concerned.

The grips are matched halves of ABS rubberized plastic. They are cut to fit the tang and notched/grooved in three places:

  1. At the pommel. There is a lanyard hole and the grips are cut around that hole appropriately.
  2. On the spine immediately behind the hilt. This allows a placement point for your thumb when pressing down on the blade.
  3. Where your index and middle finger wrap around the grips in a standard saber grip.

This is the one Extrema Ratio knife I have truly abused. At one point I hammered it into a tree and stood on the handle to see if I could break the blade. It held my 200 pound weight with a little flex, but no bend that I could find, once I pried it back out. The Tanto-style blade makes the edge slightly more challenging to maintain, but it's really not a big deal. I consider this knife ideally sized for a general use trail/camp/field knife, but the blade just a bit short for combat or survival use. If it WERE meant to be a general purpose field blade, I'd appreciate a clip point or modified Bowie-style blade instead of the Tanto. Just my preference.

I've cut everything with this knife that I listed above for the Col Moschin and I've used it as a pry bar on a few occasions. It has surprised me that I haven't broken the tip--but that speaks to the strength of the blade.

That brings me to this review's folder: The RES.

The R.E.S., which stands for Rescue Escape Survival, is a three-blade folder built to the specifications of a group of helicopter pilots in the Italian Army's Special Operations Forces Aviation section. Just knowing that made me feel better. Here's a knife designed to serve SpecOps helicopter pilots in the event they go down. The design, as specified, had three purposes:

  1. Cutting safety belts (nylon webbing);
  2. Glass and plexiglass breaking;
  3. Field work (survival in a hostile environment).

Two of the three blades are held open by a positive liner-lock system, with the third being automatically deployed at the push of a button. The three blades are:

  • a drop point general purpose blade
  • a wood saw
  • a nylon/cloth/rope/wire cutting blade

As a folder for the soldier or law enforcement officer, this is an excellent knife. The versatility offered by the three blades and the automatic opening feature of the third cutting blade (nylon/rope/wire especially) makes it a great tool for cops and firemen alike. As a backup knife for the average field soldier, this knife offers much more than just a four inch plain edge blade. After about a year and a half of use, my RES shows no looseness in any of the locks nor any blade wiggle in any of the three blades. Due to its thickness, it's definitely a knife you'd wear on your belt or carry in a larger cargo pocket. This is NOT a knife to be carried in the hip pocket of your jeans.

In all I'm just as happy today with these Extrema Ratio knives as I was when I first tested them. They are still just as pricey as they were then, but you get what you pay for. And if your life depends on your knife, do you really want to skimp?

For more info about Extrema Ratio Knives, visit EXXCESS Quality Products (the North American importer) online.