Wednesday, May 30, 2012

"Made in the USA" First Impression Review: Ontario Blackbird SK-5 Wilderness Survival Knife


Ontario Knife Company was kind enough to send us their Paul Scheiter-designed Blackbird SK-5 "Hedgehog" Wilderness Survival Knife to test and review for our upcoming "Made in the USA" Wilderness Gear article. I thought I would post a quick "First Impression" review ahead of the main review so that readers can get an idea of the looks, dimensions and sheath.

The SPECS:
  • Steel: 154CM Stainless Steel
  • Blade Length: 5"
  • Overall length: 10"
  • Blade thickness: 0.13" (3.3mm)
  • Rockwell hardness: 58-60 RC
  • Micarta Handle
  • MOLLE Compatible Sheath
  • Knife Weight: 8.4 oz.
  • Sheath Weight: 3.5 oz.
  • Paul Scheiter Design
  • Made in USA

The Blackbird SK-5 ("SK-5" stands for "Survival Knife, 5" Long Blade) came packaged inside a plain cardboard box.


My first impression after pulling it out of the box was that the Blackbird looked more attractive than most of the stock photos I've seen on the internet. The sheath's earth-toned "Coyote Brown" color coupled with the gray canvas Micarta handle offers a pleasing contrast, with a look that says "serious wilderness knife."

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The Blackbird features a 154CM Stainless 5" long blade with a full flat ground/spear-point design and a small bevel at the edge. The Micarta handle is secured to the tang of the knife with three stainless steel Allen screws. One feature I particularly like is the wide lanyard hole in the handle. It should make lashing the knife to a pole for use as an improvised machete or spear easier.

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The Blackbird has a full tang and the blade is just over an 1/8 of inch thick:

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Sheath

The sheath is a MOLLE compatible cordura nylon sheath with a felt-lined plastic insert in it to hold the blade. The knife is held in place by a single retention strap with a heavy button snap.

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Comparison Shots

The Blackbird next to the 4.25" Mora Bushcraft Force

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Next to the Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Knife (review will be posted soon!)

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UPDATE- Check out our full Field Review of the Blackbird

First Impression Summary

The Ontario Blackbird looks to be a very promising medium-sized bushcraft/wilderness survival blade. It is comfortable in the hand, and the blade is a simple, no-nonsense design that's built for function over style, something I find appealling. The back of the blade is sharp enough to spark a firesteel, or to scrape magnesium or natural tinders for fire-making.

The back of the blade is also ground flat all the way to the tip, making it well-suited to batoning. The sheath is attractive and functional, though I was hoping it would come with a pouch to hold a sharpening stone, firesteel, etc. Rumor has it that Ontario is working on a new sheath, so I'll be interested to see if the new version has a pouch when it's released.

The knife came shaving-sharp right out of the box, something I've seen with most Ontario knives when they're new. It's nice to see this trend continue with the Blackbird as well. 

Overall, this looks to be a great all around bush knife. The 154CM stainless should hold an edge well, and the full flat grind should lend itself nicely to wood carving, food prep and batoning. Dave and I plan to give a pair of SK-5 Blackbirds a good thrashing over the next two months in the mountains, and we'll report our findings in an indepth review sometime in July/August.

The Blackbird is available from LifeView Outdoors

3 comments:

  1. An excellent field/utility knife that will handle itself in any survival or emergency scenario. Paul Scheiter did a great job with this knife as this is a proven design. The choice of 154CM was a solid decision and the roughed micarta scales are bullet proof. The knife flies through camp and trail chores and batoning firewood is child's play. Knife is crazy sharp out of the box and reasonably priced. A knife to last a lifetime!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the comment Nicholas. Yes, it is very well constructed. I had major technical issues with both my main and backup laptops over the summer, so it delayed us from posting a lot of our content. All is well now, so we should have the field review of this knife up fairly soon.

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  2. Thanks for the comment Nicholas. Yes, it is very well constructed. We had major technical issues with both our main and backup laptops over the summer, so it delayed us from posting a lot of our content. All is well now, so we should have the field review of this knife up fairly soon.

    ReplyDelete