Famed Swiss Army Knife manufacturer, Victorinox now adds two new folding, lock-blade hunters to their extensive knife line.
Long before there were multi-tools (folding pliers with tool blades integrated into the handles) there was the Swiss Army Knife (SAK). The basic knife was a folder that in addition to the main spear-point blade, also feature a minimal assortment of useful tool blades. The basic knife was made by both Victorinox and Wenger with each company producing half each of the knives issued to Swiss Army personnel.
Over time, the blade assortments grew and varied, with multiple knife versions produced to meet a wide variety of both sporting and everyday activity needs. Even the traditional red thermoplastic handle scales emblazoned with the Swiss cross and shield could be had in other materials (wood and aluminum), and depending on the model an assortment of different colors. Designed to be a friendlier, less aggressive appearing pocket folder, the basic SAK military version (still being produced) evolved into a palm-sized tool kit that could be useful in any setting¾military or civilian.
During the 2013 Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT), I stopped at the Victorinox display booth and discovered that the firm now makes two different SAK designed specifically for hunters. Bearing the names “Hunter XS” and “Hunter XT,” both folders feature one-hand opening blades with a integral frame lock. In addition, there’s a Phillips screwdriver or a corkscrew (depending on whether the knife is marketed in the U. S., or Europe and Canada) positioned on the opposite side of the handle, as well as an attached lanyard. The major difference between the two models is the addition of a wood (also works well on bone) saw blade in the “Hunter XT” Model.
All blades in these knives are crafted from cutlery grade stainless steel, which provides a significant resistance to rust and staining. Even though stainless can rust if not adequately cared for, the enhanced chromium content of the steel formulation is excellent insurance against the adverse effects of moisture and bodily fluids encountered during primary big game field care.
Both knife models have two one-hand-opening, modified drop-point pattern blade with a pain edge for general field care, mated with a curved serrated blade that’s ideal for opening the abdominal cavity and cutting through ribcage cartilage. The curved blade design of the gutting blade provides added leverage when put to use and the dull point won’t pierce underlying viscera. Moreover, when either blade is opened a locking mechanism, which slips in behind the heel of blade, is automatically engaged and prevents the blade from accidentally closing. When the cutting chore is completed, the lock can easily be disengaged with the thumb, allowing the blade to be folded back into the handle.
Another distinct advantage engineered into both of these lock-blade folders is the orange handle scales. No matter what type of terrain or lack of adequate visibility, the brightly colored handle scales will stand out from the background and prevent accidental knife loss. Made from a rugged, slightly tacky, molded thermoplastic the scales are also fitted with additional contact surfaces so that either knife model fits comfortable in the grip pocket of the hand.
And both folders come with a formed, heavy-duty nylon case that allows safe and secure belt carrying. The short lanyard, positioned at the knife handle terminus, made it easy to retrieve the knife from the carrying case. While I often tote a folder, even a larger lock-blade model, in my pocket, having the option of using belt-mounted containment make real sense.
I used the “Hunter XT” folder on a recent wild boar hunt and found that the blade combination was ideal for basic game care chores, including field dressing, skinning, quartering (saw blade came in handy here) and even opening up the chest cavity by using the curved serrated blade to cut through the cartilage that attaches the ribs to the breast bone.
Various Swiss Army Knife models have been around seemingly forever. And it’s gratifying to see that the folks at Victorinox have left big game hunters out of the multi-bladed, folding knife equation. While their “Hunter XS” and “Hunter XT” folders are not necessarily configured like s typical folding hunting knife, nevertheless, the serve that purpose brilliantly.– Durwood Hollis