One to Watch: TRM Neutron
Tony Sculimbrene 07.23.18
Three Rivers Manufacturing is a small knife company located in Three Rivers, Massachusetts. They have been in the knife business for quite along time, working as an OEM for a number of companies. In the past five years they have been making knives under their own label. Their offerings have been unique–interesting designs, top shelf collaborations (RJ Martin and Bob Terzuola), and well made. Their most prominent OEM work has been as an aftermarket handle scale maker for Spyderco’s Mule line.
Unlike a lot of small knife companies, TRM has a wide variety of knives. They have made fixed blades, modern style slipjoints, flippers of all sizes. They are not a one-note singer. But despite the unusual amount of variety they have yet to make a linerlock. The Neutron, which will release in a small batch on July 5 and a wider release later, will be their first. The blade shape and handle are borrowed from TRM’s large modern slipjoint, the Viator. With that size and shape, the Neutron is already ahead of the competition. The Viator was a slim, nicely sized, slicing machine. The blade is just at three inches with a 2.75 inch cutting edge. The handle is subtly shaped with a nice set of curves. The pocket clip is a stamped design that rides at the very end of the handle with plenty of tension. The Neutron, unlike the Viator, sports a blade of 20CV, one of the best steels on the market. The entire knife, down to the G10 on the handles, is made in the USA, with all but the G10 being produced by TRM itself.
All of that is very impressive, but the real selling point for the TRM Neutron is the price–$159.95. For a small batch, USA made knife running 20CV that price makes the Neutron an exceptional value. It is either the cheapest or one of the cheapest knives available with that steel. The Benchmade Valet costs about $10-$20 more. Its not often that small batch, domestic gear is a great value.
The Neutron has a few other interesting touches. First, the knife sports easily swappable handle scales. TRM even sells extras so you can quickly change the look and feel of your Neutron. The knife also sports three stand offs towards the rear of the knife, giving it a very stable feel without larding the knife up with a full backspacer. Finally, TRM promises that the Neutron will be “flickable.” In the age of the titanium framelock flipper, people often overlook the ease of use of a good, flickable thumbstud knife. But once you get the hang of them, they are just as fast as and just as fidget-friendly. The DPx Urban and the Ontario RAT knives were excellent, flickable thumbstud knives. Let’s hope the Neutron is in that same class.
The TRM Neutron is an exciting release–a knife from a company that produces impeccable blades with a high end steel all for well less than $200. The first batch sold out in 22 minutes, so be ready when the next batch gets released.
What: Three Rivers Manufacturing Neutron
When: Available July 5, 2018 in a small batch; wide release later
Where: TRM’s website initial, many knife retailers later
Specs: 3″ blade; 2.5 ounces
Made in the USA: Yes
Highlights: Slim, light design; easily swappable handle scales, slicey blade, flickable thumbstud deployment, great value