One to Watch Giant Mouse Ace Iona
Tony Sculimbrene 11.30.18
If 2017 was the year of production knife excess ($500 integrals from Benchmade and Spyderco both say hello) 2018 has been a year marked by some excellent value-focused knives. CRKT released a $70 S35VN carbon fiber version of their massive hit the Pilar. The Spyderco Chaparral in CTS-XHP came in at under $100, even after new MAP. And finally, the Massdrop Gent was released with amazing action and a S35VN blade for less than $100. Values are everywhere this year on the knife market. Giant Mouse, it seems, was not about to be left out.
The Giant Mouse Iona comes out of a collaboration between Jesper Voxnaes and Jens Anso, as all Giant Mouse knives do. But unlike most of the Giant Mice we have seen, this is a distinctly different knife. First, there is no flipper or thumb hole deployment. Second, this is a budget focused knife. The price of the Iona is under $100. Giant Mouse hasn’t breathed the air of economic knives since their inception, instead focusing on the high end enthusiast market. Finally, the Iona runs the much-maligned FRN material for its handles.
The Iona’s specs make it clear that Giant Mouse is aiming squarely for the most competitive segment of the market—small to midsized EDC knives. This knife hits the magic ratio, with a blade longer in inches than it weighs in ounces (2.875 inches to 2.4 ounces). The clip is Giant Mouse’s take on the over-the-top wire clip. The knife sports a simple and effective liner lock. Again and again, this is a knife that makes sense as an EDC.
Then there is the handle. Lots and lots of people hate fiberglass reinforced nylon (and its variants). The complaint is usually that the material is flimsy and plasticky. Some people also don’t like how hollow the material feels. But over the years and after using many FRN knives, I have learned these complaints make no sense. The texture FRN provides is great and here, when cut into an Anso pattern (handy for Giant Mouse that he is one of their two primary designers) it will be positively great in the hand. Unlike G10 and micarta FRN tends to not ding or chip, especially when dropped onto concrete. Finally, FRN is just amazing in terms of weight, besting even high-tech materials like carbon fiber. All of this, coupled with the gentle curved shape of the Iona’s design makes me think that FRN was 100% the right choice. It also doesn’t hurt that FRN is cheaper than most other materials.
The Iona enters the most competitive part of the market at a time when the production knife market is as hot as it has ever been, but thanks to a combination of good design, superior blade steel, the right handle material, and a price under $100, it looks like a real competitor.
What: Giant Mouse Ace Iona
When: Out Now
Specs: M390 steel, 2.875 inch blade, 2.4 ounce
Made in the USA: No, made in Magiano Italy
Highlights: One of the cheapest M390 blades available, magic ratio of blade to weight, great price