Sometimes it is easier to get a “feel” for a knife when you compare and contrast it to another knife in a similar niche. That is what we are doing here. These particular pocket knives were factory samples from Shot Show, given to Clay, and passed along to me. At bat are the Böker Plus A2 Mini and the Remington [by Buck] Sportsman.
If you want the short version then let me tell you what you probably already know. The Böker is better in almost every way. Here are the details.
Both knives were “sticky” out of the box. The Böker was reasonably so but the Remington has got to be the stiffest knife that I have ever owned. The Böker became smooth as glass after a break in period and some oil. The Remington got much better with the same treatment but it is still fairly stiff. However, there is an effective thumb stud on the Sportsman if you care to deploy it one handed.
Both were reasonably sharp out of the box but not greatly so. The Böker was slightly better but both benefitted from a post-box sharpening.
The blade on the Böker is 2.9 inches and the blade on the Remington is 2.6. That might not sound like a lot but that .3 of an inch matters when blades are this short. Presumably Remington kept their offering shorter to bring the weight down.
The blade shape is a win for Remington in my book. Blade shape is largely a matter of personal preference but I am the “person” and I am “preferring”. Both are drop points but Sportsman’s blade curves up slightly where the Mini stays straight or even drops down a bit. Both have jimping but the Remington provides a solid ramp for the thumb that is missing from the Böker.
As far as blade composition goes the A2 is made of VG-10 steel and the Sportsman is made of 420J2 stainless steel. I do not care how good your heat treat is, 420 cannot touch VG-10. I am not a knife or steel snob but this is one place where you get what you pay for.
The handles on both have very good traction. The Böker’s handle looks better but the Remington functions better (even though it looks slightly hokey). Both have better than average traction; the Böker’s is good but the Remington is great when it comes to function.
Both blades are liner locks. The Böker’s liner is made of titanium and the Remington is made of steel. Even so the weight on both is about the same at an advertised 2.3 ounces. With the clip I still think the A2 is slightly lighter but with the clips removed from both it truly is a draw.
The Sportsman is bulkier especially if you leave the clip on. If you opt for clip carry the Remington is a huge steel thing and the Mini has an understated polymer clip. Both work but the Sportsman would probably retain better yet get in the way more.
Last, the Böker came in a nice box with cut outs (Remington no cutouts) and an adjustment tool. I am so glad I have that tool as I did not have it prior to getting these knives and it worked on both as well as the previously reviewed Kershaw Atmos.
The Remington Sportsman is like a pretty girl. She looks good until she is standing next to an aspiring supermodel like the A2 Mini. You almost feel bad for Ms. Remington until you see the price on the Mini. The Sportsman retails in the 14.00 USD range and the Mini is in the 90.00 USD range. Again, both are liner locks 🙂
If I was purchasing these knives, the Remington would get the nod hands down. To me, pocket knives are already a compromise. They are the tool that gets to the fight or the job. If I knew the job(s) I was facing every day I would bring a more specialized tool that is better.
Tipping things towards my choice even more is the fact that the Sportsman is “aging” better. The Sportsman has a softer steel and it will need more sharpening – thus reducing weight and friction. The Mini is as loose as I want now. It can one hand flick open if you keep it lubricated and you do it right. A couple of times I have gone for the knife and the blade was not fully in the handle. Also, I go clipless. The Remington drops much more weight and size than the Böker when you remove the clip. Playing Devil’s Advocate, I could see purchasing the A2 Mini over other pocket knives if size and weight considerations were absolutely paramount and you still wanted one pretty good blade – say if you did a lot of extended (minimalist) hiking or camping.
Most people opt for knives like the Mini because they want “the best”. That is OK, but lets just be real and call it a matter of preference and self expression.
I love both of these blades and it is safe to say I will never give them up. Both are solid knives. I like the Böker Plus A2 Mini more but I would buy the Remington Sportsman.