When Ranger Man first asked if I wanted to do a review on a couple of Camillus knives I thought, “Camillus? Sounds familiar, but I can’t place it.” Some of you might remember them, but I had to go looking and then I had a surprise.
Here’s a quick history of the company…
(Excerpted from Wikipedia.)
The Camillus Cutler Company has roots going to back to 1876. Adolph Kastor started the company in New York City where he imported German knives. In 1897 due to a new tariff law the knives became too expensive to import, so he started manufacturing them instead. He found a guy named Charles Sherwood who had his own knife manufacturing business in Camillus.
They did quite well with the business and then along came World War II. In 1942 two Marine Corps officers, Colonel John Davis and Major Howard America, working together with cutlery technicians at Camillus developed what would later become the USMC 1219C2 Mark 2 Combat Knife, or as the military likes to describe things: Knife, Fighting Utility .
Camillus made more of these knives than any other manufacture during the early years (there were several manufacturers.) Care to guess what that knife is? Check it out:
That’s right. Camillus helped to design and develop what later became known as the USMC KA-BAR Fighting Knife.
Skipping ahead, the company went bankrupt in 2007 and then re-launched itself in 2009 featuring modern knives with titanium carbonitride coated blades.
But Are They Any Good?
Hello late 2011 and Ranger Man asking Jarhead Survivor if he’d like to test out some new blades. “Hell yeah!” I said. “Send ‘em on to me.”
You can buy these knives at Walmart if you think they’re something you might like to own after reading the reviews. One of the things I like is that the prices are very reasonable and another is that the brand is endorsed by Les Stroud – someone I consider to be a top notch and realistic wilderness survivalist. (Unlike Bear Grylls and his survival knife endorsement. Read my review of that knife here.) Don’t get me wrong – I’m not swooning because Stroud put his name on it, but I’m much more apt to give it a try because I like his style – marketing at its best.
So the company rep shipped me a few of the blades to try out and here’s my review.
First of all, I’ve got to admit that I was all set to dislike these knives simply because they are sold at Walmart (same as Grylls’ knives), but I was pleasantly surprised when I opened the box and dug the knives I’d ordered out.
First was the Camillus 9” Fixed Blade Knife with Bamboo Handle. I wasn’t too sure about the bamboo handle, but after holding it in my hand I was forced to rethink it. It felt good and was far more rugged feeling than I expected for what I would consider a smaller field knife. It’s not as heavy as my beloved Bekker KA-BAR, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
But the question is does it work well? I took it out in the field for a few days and have to say that I like it. I used it to split wood, cut rope, trim trees, cut steak, and onions and peppers, and all the uses and abuses you subject a field knife to and it held its own with ease. It came with a decent edge and so far has maintained it.
The sheath is a standard nylon sheath. Nothing special, but it works fine.
To be honest I like to test a knife for months before I give a solid recommendation; however, from what I’ve seen of this knife so far I don’t think you’d be disappointed adding it to your collection.
I give this knife four out of five stars. It’s usable, tough, and damn it, it’s a nice looking knife.
The next knife I tested was the 7” Folding Knife with G10 Handle. (I’m taking these descriptions right off the website.)
I’d been using a Gerber folding knife as my EDC knife, but after putting this in my pocket I don’t think I’ll be going back to the Gerber. This knife is solid, has a nice weight, a very smooth open and close action, and it was reasonably sharp out of the box. The only feature I haven’t decided I like on this knife is the Tanto point. I’ve never used one before and every time I take it out to use it for something that requires a tip it throws me off a little. Still, this is a pretty nice little knife. The only trouble I’ve had so far with it is the clip that holds the knife in your pocket: it’s wiggling loose and the small screws are one of those star bits, of which I only have a limited set. I’m going to have to buy some of the very small bits in order to fix it.
Still, a very nice knife and I give it four out five stars as well. Click here for a closer look.
There’s one more knife I’ll cover in a later post as I haven’t had a chance to give it a fair test yet.
If you have experience with Camillus knives I’d like to hear about it. Sound off in the comments section below.