Thursday, September 1, 2011

Review: Boker AK-74 Automatic Knife

One of the worst feelings is being disappointed after making a supposedly careful decision. We've also spent lots of money on impulse buys on things only to be disappointed. This feels bad, but isn't as bad. We tell ourselves that we were weak and somehow, it makes us feel better. Naturally, its a given we feel good when we make that careful thought out purchase and its exactly what we wanted or better. How about when we make a snap purchase and it turns out to be awesome? Nothing feels better. You just gambled and you won. I gambled on a Boker Kalashnikov AK-74 Automatic knife and I won big.

This is my first automatic knife. I've wanted one for a while. However, there simply isn't much in the mid-range of quality. It often seems that the autos out there are either junky imports or high end stuff like Benchmades and the super high end, Microtechs that make the Benchmade's look like mid-range! I had just finished looking at a Benchmade Mel Pardue auto at a gunshop, when a knife that I'd seen before online, one or twice, caught my eye in an AK magazine-shaped box. I picked it up and handled it. Felt good, looked good, locked good, opened good, and the price was good! Overall, I liked it better than the $150 knife I'd just handled. So I took the plunge, plunked down $45, and never looked back.

The Ak-74 is an automatic drop point tactical folder with a side-mounted push button lock-release. Much like with Benchmade's automatics, its just push and click. When closing, just push the lock and fold the blade. Pretty simple. It does not have a safety thanks to a lawsuit that Benchmade leveled at Boker. I'm not really sure who was in the right, but Boker started making the AK line without the safety and recessed the lock button down a little more. I think I had one accidental opening in the year and a half it was part of my EDC kit and nothing bad happened during it. As for carrying and using an auto, I found I really really liked it. I even carried it at work. However, I opened it so that the spine would hit my pant leg and I would then flip it out the rest of the way so as not to frighten the sheeple.

The blade is a handsome looking drop point, modeled slightly on the AK-74 bayonet. I certainly don't think its a close resemblance. There is a pseudo swedge that almost gives it a clip point appearance. The drop point's shape is excellent and both edge and point are controllable for food prep, opening packages, and other general cutting tasks. Its made of AUS8, so its edge is not particularly long lasting, but neither is it terrible. The maximum edge sharpness is perfectly adequate for EDC work. Never had any issues with corrosion. The handle is aluminum. The color is painted on, but it held up pretty well with regular use.

The ergonomics are among the finest I've ever felt on a knife. Its like it was made to fit my hands. The grip features excellent comfortable finger grooves so it doesn't feel like you're going to slip easily either way. Boosting this, are 3 raised portions matching the grooves along the sides. Everywhere else there is a pebbled texture that is smooth but still reasonably grippy. The jimping is wonderful on this knife. The jimping is deep and secure for the thumb in both normal grip and reverse grip. The pocket clips is a deep pocket design that is nicely secure, but its wavy shape impressively adds to the draw of this knife! A great feature. The lock may be the weak point. It is a single point of locking. As most side button locks are. Even so, I would rate this as a solid medium EDC choice.

There are many different styles of this knife. There is a liner lock version, which I have never handled. No matter the lock up there are several colors to choose from. They sell this knife without the springs too. So you can generally find these for order and buy it and the springs separate to get around the foolish federal laws on automatics. Remember, if you want an auto. Make DAMN sure, that you can legal own one. Kentucky CCW laws allow me to carry literally any weapon legal in the USA with my permit. But a few miles down to the south, I'd be in serious shit if a Tennessee cop found it on my person.

It has become one of my favorites, and its hard to say what could make it better, other than offering a some versions in a better steel and maybe even doing some polymer frame versions. It's made in Taiwan as part of Boker's Boker Plus line. I seriously have no issues with Taiwan. I've had and seen too many excellent knives made there. Sure, there are cheap shitty ones coming from there too, but if it says Taiwan I will be inclined to give it a chance.

If you're seriously considering getting an automatic knife. This is a wonderful place to start at. Automatics are very cool and surprisingly useful. There is no legitimate reason for them to be reviled and be subject to such outright stupid laws. I recommend that you give the Boker Ak74 a try before you sit down the serious cash for one of the higher end knives. If worst comes to worst, you'll have a spare auto that is won't hurt so bad if you loose it.


North said...

You are on the GBBL:

North said...

Oops. Being redundant.

Dan said...

Awesome review RK. I have held a number of Autos and agree - there really isn't much of a mid range. This one sounds pretty sweet and definitely doesn't sound like the 10$ gun show specials I am more familiar with. I will have to try and handle one at some point.

Anonymous said...

I think Boker makes some of the best Autos for the money out there. I'm a huge fan of their Magnum line. They're about the same price as the AK, maybe a little cheaper. They come in a couple different blade styles. I prefer the Tanto. I have a "champagne" colored version that I've beaten to death. But the blade is still good and it still opens like a champ. I've carried mine almost everyday for about year. I'm actually going to start buying a Magnum every few months now. I'd like to have 6-8 so I know that I'll always have one even if they stop making them. I'm sure the AK is much the same.

My Switchblade said...

You definitely have some great insight and great stories..
Automatic knives