I got the chance to own a Rat Cutlery RC-3 plain edge. I love that little rascal and since I got it, I use it hard and a lot !
Jeff Randall and Mike Perrin (owners of Rat Adventure Training and Ratcutlery) have created an outstanding and affordable tool, one of the best of their Ratcutlery line of knives which contains a lot of great tools ! (Also I think I will review their excellent book “Adventure In The Third World” very soon!)
Jeff Randall & Mike Perrin (Photo (c) J. Randall)
These two gentlemen have been designing knives for more than a decade. Their designs is inspired by their own needs. Their land of testing is the peruvian rain forest, near Iquitos, the biggest city on the amazon where they teach how to survive in the jungle. When they are not teaching to Special Forces or help a film crew to cross the forest, these two modern “Tintins”, half journalists, hall witnesses of the world, enjoy the uncharted zone, pushing always the envelop of their curiosity as they’re answering the call of adventure. As a knife is an important part of your gear (with a machette), they’ve been using a lot of steel and even review them in Tactical Knives and now in SWAT Magazine.
(Also I think I will review their excellent book “Adventure In The Third World” very soon!)
Seems like the RC-3 is their favorite design to date. And this is true this little knife
If you favor lil’ fixed blade over folder you should really enjoyed the RC3 in everyday situations. First, the ergonomy should fit your need perfectly. The choil (just under where RC-3 is written on the blade) is very handy for precises works and micarta just feels great even with wet hands. There is no hotspot. there is even some kind of sensual feeling whil holding this blade. The square section makes it easy to index the blade in the dark or without to look at it.
I love where the balance is (right on the logo enprinted on the micarta handle), which give a lot of life to the blade but this is really a personnal preference.
The full flat grind blade is thin (which is an exploit for US Designs these days who tends to favor thick knives…) and it gives a great power to the cutting. The slicing is easy and deep. I also like the belly: turning the knife into a great slicer with a drop point which caracterize it as a classic hunting skinner knife immediatly.
1095 is a great steel. A good old steel to be precise. I always been able to get it super sharp. (My nightmare is S90V, D2 or BG42 which are “a bear to sharp” without diamonds.) 1095 is a classic of carbon steels which is a great steel when it’s well heattreated BUT it can rust faster than an angry chimp will throw feces on you.
With the coating used on the blade, there is no concern. That coating is very very scratch resistant and it gives a positive grip when you work holding your knife by the naked blade. Very often I sand the coating of my knives but here, I don’ plan to do it as I enjoy it as it is !
What is the outstanding is the great heat treatment by Rowen, Idaho, on all RAT Cutlery knives, at 57HRC the strenght of the blade gives you a lot of confidence in that little knife.
The sheath system give you dozen of alternative ways to carry your blade. My favorite is in the front pocket or in my bag.
It’s easy to forget it and very handy to use. Notice how I use the cord stopper as a plug to retain the sheath in uppper position in my pocket.
A push of your thumb on the thermoformed plastic and the blade is free.
So if you are looking for a little fixed blade which can take a punishment and carry on cutting.
I have used it for batoning, kitchen duty, at the sea (the edge get som pitting but I was able to strop it on my leather belt…). On very hard plastic (the coating can be noisy when you need to saw in plastic…) on wood (the cut gives some kind of soft patina to the wood, like M2 does…) so whittling is easy (even if a sak is helpful for delicate carving). Chopping is limited to making some notches with a flick of your wrist. It’s very easy to convex the grind and get better performances but sa far as I am concern, the edge on mine (40°) is enough for clean cuts even on hard wood.
The RC3 is a great alternative to a folder. Its lock will never fail you!
And it’s a real workhorse covered by a great warranty, lifetime, no question, unconditionnal guarranty.
(This RC-3 is used everyday by a friend of Jeff Randall who live in Peru.
Jeff wanted to exchange it for a new but his friend always refused.) (Photo (c) J. Randall)
I notice also this knife could be a great “self defense tool” with its glass breaking pommel and its positive grip and not all knives designed as tools are good also for that other darker territory. No surprise this knife is a huge success in the USA and is favor by Police Officers and Special Forces. It even got the outstanding rate of 4,77/5,00 at NTOA review ! Bushcrafters of the world seems also to love that short knife for its polyvalence, design and quality.
Mike Perrin and his RC-3 (Photo (c) J. Randall)
You can even use it as a light chopper for notching branches. This is a knife you can take with you while camping, with his friendly antisheeple size, it won’t raise any eyebrow when you will start to use it to whittle some sticks or clean your game unless you do that in the middle of the city !
So if you are looking for a solid, sharp, reliable knife which can be used as EDC or packed for any trip. The RC-3 has proven all those qualities in those last three years worldwide from ranchers to bushcrafters to US Marshalls to adventurers.
All knives “made in china” are crap !
I used to be like that too. (And I still favoring “Made In Usa”, as I love american cutlery in spirit, design and quality.)
Since the day I have received a box full of Laguiole knockoff made in Pakistan. (Ten years ago, those knives manufacturers in Pakistan wanted us to test their 1 dollar knives and they have sent us a bunch in all sizes !!! 50 knives ! All smelling petrol and with very strange colours on the handles…)
But as we found out with Fred Perrin, their steel was much better than the official “440A” 100 euros french made laguiole (we kept that in silent…), their constructions was very solid and the knives were great tools (and eventually made excellent gifts!)… Since that time I don’t mind of what is written on a blade.
Also we know heat treating and geometry are perharps even more important than the steel anyway. I’ve been surprised by the quality of some 440A blades in a long and hard use cycle and been disappointed by S90V and BG42 blades which were impossible to get sharp… Gosh even som 01 and 52100 blades handmades can be a bear to get really sharp. Or is it me ?
Good craftmanship is international, also is good manufacturing.
No stamp on the blade will change anything or ever be a label of quality.
Time can change things also. Taiwan (and soon China) is the new Japan.
After WWII my grand parents would not buy anything “Made In Japan”.
Nowadays, it’s almost a quality label. (and Japan can thank a guy named Jack Welch (General Electrics C.E.O. !!! ) who has implemented “SIX SIGMA” policy (99,9% perfection goal in quality) in the 80’s for their quality control in car manufacturing…. eventually it was like shooting in his own foot… as we know Hell is paved with good intentions! )
So that 8Cr1MoV steel Byrd blades were supposed to be “440C” stamped.
But Sal Glesser wanted to check the quality and the composition of his Byrd blades, only to discover it was NOT “440C” and he could not honestly stamp it.
Quality control is everything, don’t you think ?