Al Mar’s Been On The Cutting Edge Of
The Knife Scene For Nearly 40 Years
By Payton Miller
Back around the time the 1970s were morphing into the 1980s, there was very little middle ground between production folding knives and high-zoot custom lockbacks with a two-year waiting list. But what there was of it, the late Al Mar had already begun staking out.
At the time I was working for a Los Angeles-based gun magazine and Al would drop by our office from time to time to show us his latest offerings. They were elegantly graceful, single-bladed folders for the most part, featuring premium, razor-sharp Japanese steel blades, exotic handle materials and “raptor-esque” monikers such as Eagle, Falcon, Hawk or Osprey. I’d pick one up, handle it and suddenly become aware how much more appealing the contours were than those of the knives I was used to.
AL Mar Ultralight Hawk
Photo: Roy Huntington
Then, as now, they exuded a “cool factor” that made the competition somehow overweight and clunky. These days I always make it a point to scan the Al Mar Knives display at their SHOT Show booth every year. This last one, President Gary Fadden showed me an Eagle prototype that’s a knockout. It’s part of their Ultralight Series featuring scales of what Gary refers to as “a new form of carbon fiber.” I’m no expert on handle materials, natural or synthetic, but the knife—which weighs just under two ounces—simply looks great. Featuring the company’s bombproof Front Lock design, it could probably cut you if you stared hard enough at it.
Al Mar also offers a Tactical line (folding and fixed-blade) an Everyday Carry line (which includes the Ultralight Series), plus a super-premium line of Japanese kitchen knives. Somewhere in this assortment, something is absolutely guaranteed to push your “I gotta have that button. www.almarknives.com