I have been looking for new ways to test knives, subjecting them to realistic and objective challenges. I don’t have the budget to make ballistic gel torsos to destroy, but cardboard is mostly free and offers standardized means of measure. I came up with this test when brainstorming ways to test Will Woods’ Kraken. And naturally, I decided to try a few more knives for comparison as well as a Range Master tactical pen.
I already reported that I achieved about 2 1/4″ of cardboard penetration with my Range Master Tactical Pen. This would be my baseline against which to judge the knives.
The Kraken led off the test. All three attempts broke 3″, with the greatest penetration being 3 1/4″. The micarta scales provided firm grip throughout.
Wrapping up the fixed blades, I decided to give the Mora Bushcraft a whirl. Nothing about the Mora surprises me anymore so when the first strike almost reached the hilt, I was more surprised that the following two did not.
Just for edification’s sake, I decided to throw two folders into the mix. The first is the Cold Steel Mackinac Hunter – a folder that is more robust than many fixed-blade knives. The second was the Benchmade Mini-Griptillian, my most frequent EDC blade.
Finally, the little Mini-Grip punched over its weight. It buried itself to the thumb stud on all 3 strikes. Apparently, a razor sharp skinny blade is better suited to piercing cardboard than even the sharpest big knife.
Putting the whole test in perspective, the performance of the tactical pen is even more impressive. It isn’t a knife, but provides considerable penetration power for times when a knife is not available.
I am not willing to call my rudimentary test as the final word on anything. But it seems as if thinner blades and uniform shape (the Mora’s parallel blade cheeks verses the wedge of the Breed and Woods knives) travel a bit farther before running out of steam.
It seems as if 3.5″ is a good working benchmark for blade performance. For those blades big enough, it was the high water mark for several. I will be replicating this test in future knife reviews, so those that reach this point will have a mark of distinction.
I will have full reviews of the Breed and the Kraken as testing wraps up. But there is still lots to do. The Kraken is proving itself fairly adept as a kitchen implement, making prep-work easy for this weekend’s chicken curry.