By Dave Workman
No shooter worth his or her salt walks around without some kind of general utility knife, the easier to use, the better.
Over the years many knives have come and gone. Some had great designs and are still in production today. Others seemed designed to attract impulse buyers with little concept of function but a desire for flash. I’ve deliberately lost a couple of these, given a few others away or just set them aside.
Bear & Son Cutlery has a “sideliner” model that looks like a real piece of work, and that’s a good thing. The Bear Edge Pattern 106 folder is designed for people who rely on a good knife on a regular basis.
What makes a knife like this valuable as an accessory? Or, would it be better to ask, what makes it “tick?”
For starters, Bear designed it with a 3.5-inch USA 440 stainless steel blade and a thumb tab — that material takes an edge and holds it. It features assisted opening, so you don’t have to ruin a thumbnail tugging to pivot the blade out of the handle. It locks in position with a sideliner lock, hence the designation.
The blade has a black finish except for the cutting edge, and a shape making it well-suited for all kinds of chores, from cleaning small game or fish, delicate trophy caping work, cutting cord or rope, general survival work and even defensive uses. At the top rear are four grooves positioned exactly where someone’s thumb will rest if they’re using the knife to cut flesh or heavy material.
The handle material is Zytel, a high-strength thermoplastic plenty tough and can take a fair amount of hard use. I’ve seen this stuff work under all sorts of conditions and on this knife, it’s textured for a firm hold even in wet conditions.
Overall, the knife is 7.875-inches long and 4.5-inches closed. Now here’s the fun part: It only weighs 3.3 oz. Something that lightweight isn’t going to be noticed until you need it. It features a reversible pocket clip and is designed to be carried tip up.
An MSRP of $39.99 makes it a very good deal.
And it has company. Bear has a similar model with the same open and closed measurements but with a 3.375-inch blade. Weighing 4.3 oz., this second assisted opener knife features the same blade steel and a black G10 grip. MSRP is the same.
A good folding knife may seem like just an affectation; something people carry just to be part of the crowd. That illusion evaporates the moment a knife is needed, and just like a good defensive sidearm, when you need one, you need it right now.
That’s when a model like this Bear Edge Pattern 106 struts its stuff. Afterwards, it cleans up fast, you can stroke up the edge to factory sharpness and put it away until next time.
For more info: https://gunsmagazine.com/company/bear-son-cutlery-inc/, (800) 844-3034