Review: Bear OPS, Butterfly Knives
Pat Cascio 05.04.16
I’ve got to admit, it took me a good long time — years, in fact — to warm up to the butterfly type of knives. Guess I’m just old and set in my ways, or a traditionalist in some ways. I believe my folding knives should, well… fold. But when I got to thinking about it, butterfly knives actually do fold into the handle, only it’s a two part handle, and the blade does fold into the two halves of the handles.
For many years, butterfly type knives were extremely popular, unfortunately, most that were on the market were assembled from cheap parts imported from China, and they were just junk, pure and simple.
For the life of me, I don’t understand why butterfly type knives are outlawed in many states and locales. It doesn’t make sense to my mind. For some asinine reason, those politicians who rule our lives believe that one type of knife is more deadly than another, based simply on the method in which a folding knife is opened.
Another good example are automatic folders, or “switchblades”, if you will. Just because they open with the push of a button doesn’t make them any more dangerous than other folding knives. I own some automatic opening folders, and the truth is, I can “flick” open some of my other folders much faster than I can an automatic folder — it takes a moment to find the button after the knife is drawn from the pocket of a sheath. With many folders, I simply draw the knife from my pocket and the blade is flicked open in a second or less.
We have the movies to “thank” for the bad reputation of butterfly knives, simply because people are seen twirling the butterfly knife and opening it. But that’s just flash, my friends — nothing more. But it looks dangerous on the big screen, so many states and locales have outright banned the ownership of butterfly knives. Sad!
Bear & Son Cutleryhave a fairly new division, that they call Bear OPS, and they are introducing a lot of “tactical” type knives — knives not only for everyday cutting chores, but also for for self-defense purposes. Bear OPS is a well-kept secret in the knife industry for some reason, and that’s too bad, as their knives are made in the good ol’ USA!
Recently, Bear OPS has added eight new models of butterfly knives to their lineup. To be sure, in many ways, butterfly knives are safer than some other types of folders. You don’t have to worry about the knives accidentally opening in your pocket, and when the knife is opened and held firmly in your hand, it is impossible for the blade to close accidentally on you — impossible!
One of the features I like on their new line-up at Bear OPS is that the latch on their butterfly knives has a roller lock, making it easier to open the blade and locked it open. Some butterfly knives take a bit of effort to unlatch the lock — not so with the Bear OPS new line-up of butterfly opening folders.
All of the new butterfly folders in the Bear OPS line have Bowie clip point blades, made of premium 14C28N stainless steel that combines edge sharpness and edge retention. This steel also resists rust — remember, stainless steel blades can still rust if you don’t care for them, they just rust slower.
The blades are heat-treated to 58-60 on the Rockwell scale – -tough stuff, to be sure. The sample I received had a decent edge, but not as sharp as I wanted it to be, so it took me about a minute on the crock stix to put the edge on the knife I wanted. However, the edge that came on the knife was fine as-is, I’m just very picky anymore. After writing about knives for more than 22-years, I want my edge to be hair-poppin’ sharp on all my knives. Just me…
Now, one of the major advantages of a butterfly knife is that the long blade folds into the long handle. And as mentioned, once the knife is opened and held firmly in your hand — even if the latch isn’t locked — it is impossible for the blade to accidentally close on your hand or fingers. Locking the latch on the bottom of the handle scales is only a little more insurance.
Speaking of the handle scales, those are made out of T-6 aircraft grade alumimum, with a water-transferred coating of Blue, Pink or Carbon Fiber — my sample had the deep blue coating on it, and it’s a tough coating, too. There is also a Reaper Z coating from their Undead series… wish I had ordered that one — I’m a Zombie movie buff.
The blade on my sample measured in right at 4-inches in the opened position, and that is the limit for my tastes in a folding knife blade length. They also have shorter blade models, too. I do like the Bowie style of blades on many knives — very efficient for many tasks.
Now, lest one believe that a butterfly type knife is only useful for self-defense use, I put my sample to use on some other tasks — especially around the kitchen. It’s a very efficient cutter, but the handle scales can get a little slick when cutting meat (the fat gets on your hands). However, for cutting fruits and veggies, the knife shined.
I also tested the knife stabbing it into stacked cardboard boxes, and it easily penetrated to the handle scales. I took the knife and pounded it through some wood, too, and the handle scales and the blade held tightly — didn’t loosen at all. I even did some knife throwing at some trees. I never could get it to stick, but the knife was abused and the handle and blade stayed locked-up.
If you’re in the market for a new pocket knife, or a hunting blade, you might want to take a look at the Bear OPS butterfly folders for your next purchase. I could think of a lot worse folding knives for hunting or survival purposes than this butterfly folder. If you’re like me, your first thought isn’t to look at a butterfly folder for survival or as a hunting knife, but if you stop and think about it, it’s still a well-made folding knife — it just folds a little bit different than the traditional type of folder. And, it locks open, stronger than anything else in a folder, too.
Depending on the model chosen, the prices range from $137.50 to $145.00, and that is a great deal on an American-made butterfly folder in my book. Never mind all the cheap butterfly folders you’ve seen that are ready to fall apart in your hand and can’t cut warm butter. Take a close look at the quality USA made butterfly folder from Bear OPS, I think you’ll like what you see, and don’t forget their lifetime warranty, either.