Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Ontario RAT-3 Review

Ontario has a great reputation for developing knives for the Military as well as Civilians. They're built right here in the USA (support our economy, right). I've used dozens of Ontario Knives over the years and have had no complaints with any of them.

The RAT-3 was designed by Randall's Adventure and Training (hence the acronym RAT). These knives were a precursor to what is now ESEE Knives.Ontario and ESEE has since parted ways. I remember the RAT line of knives being the "cats meow" among RAT/ESEE fanboys prior to their separation. If you search both sites you will see little difference in the knife designs. However, the price is another story. Ontario offers these designs at a much more reasonable price.
The RAT-3 comes with an injection molded sheath, boot style clip plate, and a tek-lok/hardware. The injection molded sheath was very tight upon arrival, but after a pulling it in-and-out a few times it was perfect.  Needless to say, you don't have to worry about losing your knife. The clip plate can be used for boot carry or belt carry. It held quite well on the belt with little movement. I was shocked that the RAT-3 came with a tek-lok. That makes this knife an even better value, since tek-lok's cost around $12 when purchased separately.
SPECS:

  • Overall length of 7.8"
  • Blade length of 3.5"
  • 1095 steel
  • Blade Thickness of .131"
  • Full Tang
  • Full Flat Grind w/ Drop Point Blade
  • Black Powder Coat
  • Tan Micarta Scales (removable)
  • Exposed Pommel w/ lanyard hole
Being a smaller knife its limited in its function. Your not going to chop trees down with it. A knife this size is more designed for camp chores or cleaning game. Although it can be used for more, like batoning smaller sized wood. It would also serve well as a EDC fixed blade.

The black powder coat looks great and held up very well even after rough use. Since 1095 is a carbon steel it is susceptible to rust. The powder coat will prevent that. 

The knife came with a semi-sharp blade but with a few strops on a ceramic sharpening rod it was hair shaving sharp. 1095 will take a wicked edge fairly easily. With the RAT-3 having such a thin blade, I was a little concerned about its ruggedness. But after using the knife I was very surprised at how tough it really is. Along with a thin blade and a full flat grind, the RAT-3 carves through wood quite well. There is some aggressive jimping on the spine of the blade and gives a secure grip. 

The handle doesn't fill up my hand entirely. I have about a half inch gap from the pommel. The knife has a finger choil and when choked up on the knife- it fits very well. The micarta slabs are much "softer" than other knives I own and has a comfortable feel. The micarta is a tan/gray type color and is held on by blackened hardware. 

Overall I like the RAT-3 and for the price it's an exceptional value. Like I said above, this would make an excellent chore knife, skinning knife, or EDC fixed blade.  You will see this knife again in the future in the "Building a Bargain Bug Out Bag" 

Here is a link for purchase on Amazon:




10 comments:

  1. Thanks for the review. I was looking at that one but went with the ESEE 3 after reading some other reviews. Now I think I might snag one of those too, or maybe one of their larger ones. Do you have any experience with the ESEE line?

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    1. Yes I currently own and have owned multiple ESEE brand knives.

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    2. What are your thoughts on OKC vs. ESEE?

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    3. Ontario Knives as a whole? Or the RAT Line. Ontario has developed knives for the U.S. Military for 50 plus years. I've used them extensively and don't have any gripes with them as a company. If your talking about the RAT Line vs. ESEE. To me they are the same knife with different branding. The same guys that started ESEE designed the RAT Knives and put their names on them and Jeff and Mike both promoted them prior to forming ESEE. They are of the same steel (1095)and same design. The ESEE's come sharper out of the box than OKC. I will say ESEE's micarta looks better but function the same as OKC. The coating is the same and they have the ESEE logo etched. But overall the same knife. In function they are the same, I look at knives as tools and not a "brand" guy (meaning Im not brand loyal, I go with what works). But OKC version can be had for a lot cheaper, to me a fairer price. I believe ESEE is using prestigious pricing on theirs. I have purchased and currently own ESEE, but they are not my go to knives.

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  2. Thanks Jack, that's exactly what I needed to know. I'm all about paying for quality rather than a name.

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  4. Hey, I am considering one of these knives as a small bushcraft knife. One of the most important things to me is how well it can strike a ferro rod without being modified. Sadly, I haven't been able to find anything online about this. Would you happen to know, or would you be willing to try it out to see for me?

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    Replies
    1. No it will not strike a ferro rod with the coating on them. You would have to modify it.

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  5. could you talk a little more about the teklok itself, maybe even do a stand alone review? how is it for urban/edc type carry, it looks a little bulky

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  6. I have the Ontario RAT 5,I think it's a great knife.

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