Friday, April 19, 2013

SURVIVE! Knives GSO-4.1

It all started with the EDC-4 and yet again, SURVIVE! Knives continues to create and innovate. I'll be honest- I was very impressed with the very first production run and have been with every model to date. SURVIVE! has brought us a wide range of knives this year. Everything from small neck knives up to the mega chopper GSO-10 and everything in-between. Adding to their uniqueness, is the use of exotic super steels that is not seen very often by other manufacturers. Personally I believe this is because the other guys want to make a buck (huge profit margins on cheap steals). Where as Guy wants to produce a functional user tool and making money is secondary.
Notice the sheath update, that features a drain "canal" down the center of the sheath
During this run, Guy ran a CPM-3V and M-390 batch of GSO-4.1's. I've never used M-390 and was curious about it's characteristics. I did some research and learned that Benchmade uses this steel in a few knives in their line. The general consensus is that M-390 is extremely wear resistant and offers a high corrosion resistance. Due to its high concentration of vanadium and chromium carbides. Making it a popular steel for surgical cutting instruments. Needless to say I was intrigued.

Here is a link for more information about Bohler M-390: http://www.bohler-edelstahl.com/files/M390DE.pdf
Since I don't feel you can "upgrade" something that is already stellar (EDC-4). Because of that reason I won't use the word "upgrades", we will instead talk about the differences between the two knives. Off the bat you will notice that the GSO-4.1 has a broader spear point tip and "fuller" saber grind. A combination that will lead to excellent tip and overall strength in the blade. Jimping has also been added to the spine and the butt section of the tang.

As with all SURVIVE! Knives, this thing has a wicked sharp edge. With the heat treat on the M-390 it has maintained a killer edge with all the stuff we have thrown at it.
The handles of the GSO-4.1 extended the whole length of the tang, with a hidden lanyard hole (just like we seen on the GSO-10). The hidden lanyard hole allows for more real estate (which I'll go into later) but also keep the lanyard out of the way when not in use. The jimping on the butt section gives a secure thumb contact when the knife is held in the reverse grip (helping with control if you have to use the GSO-4.1 as a weapon).
Many knives of this blade size lack in handle length (ESEE-4 for example). Using a knife shouldn't be an uncomfortable task. Just as the EDC-4, the GSO-4.1 has exceptional ergonomics. There are peaks and valleys in the grips in all the right places. With the extension of the grips to the end of  the butt section, I really can't see any room for improvement on the ergonomics. But leave it up to SURVIVE!, they may find a way to make improvements on our perceived perfection. In use the knife tool was comfortable and I used it without fatigue over extended periods of time.

I've gotten canvas micarta on all of my previous SURVIVE! Knives and like them very much. This go-around I wanted to try the G-10 offering. The G-10 is a high visibility orange. Which is a nice attribute in a survival knife, in the case you drop it on the forest floor. It will help in finding or retrieving your most critical survival tool. I've had G-10 grips on a few of my knives in the past and have always enjoyed it. SURVIVE!'s G-10 has the look of a canvas micarta which is aesthetically pleasing. It's also very smooth and has an overall great fit and finish.

The sheath has a new drain "canal" that runs down the center of the sheath. Other than that it has all the same features as before. Take a look at our previous reviews for more information about them.
All SURVIVE! Knives are produced here in the good ol' USA. Guy added a laser engraved flag to the blades as a reminder. A nice touch and adds character to the knife. As with all other SURVIVE! Knives, there are options for handle material and color, sheath color, as well as steel choices.

I've carried the GSO-4.1 as my EDC since receiving it. Tackling a variety of task ranging from survival type stuff to cutting boxes open and everything in between. I couldn't be happier with this knife and look forward to seeing what SURVIVE! has planned for the future. Oh, and it will continue to remain my EDC knife.

SURVIVE! Knives has some killer pre-sale promotions and if they continue, I highly suggest you taking advantage of them.

We will have a video review in the next coming weeks.

Check out SURVIVE! knives for more information HERE

9 comments:

  1. BSS,

    Love reading the posts here! Quick question for you concerning my next buy. I'm an avid backpacker and am looking for a knife in that 5-7" range. Reading your posts and "playing" with some of these I've narrowed it down to Grayman, ESEE, and Becker. Any input from there?

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    1. Thanks glad your enjoying our site. For the price I'd suggest the BK2. However it is a heavy knife and I would suggest getting the micarta grips for it. Grayman knives are very heavy duty and high for 1095 steel. You can find similar priced knives with better steel options. I'll be honest I'm not a huge ESEE fan, mainly because of the snobbery associated with them. would recommend the BK2 over the ESEE-5. Because its pretty much the same knife. Although the BK2 has cro-van in the 1095 which makes it a little better. But there are plenty of good options out there.Also check out the GSO-5.-1. It's lightweight and right at the range your looking for. Check out scrapyard knives. They have a 5 inch knife in a super steel for just over a $100. You do have to buy the sheath seperately. But it's still a deal. Let me know if that helps and feel free to ask any further questions.

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  2. Jack,

    Thanks for the quick reply and sorry about the Anonymous post earlier, computers and I don't get along all that well. I've checked out the scrapyard site and honestly have no idea what the difference is in those metals. I understand 1095 is great for holding an edge (please correct me when I go wrong here..) but can rust, SS is great because it doesn't rust, but what is Super Steel? I'm a gun guy and can go on all day about those but man a knife conversation still makes me feel dumb.

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    1. No worries. 1095 is the most common steel used on production knives. It is a good steel that can be sharpened easily. Your right it does have potential to rust, thats why most are coated. It holds an edge fairly well. "Super steel" is a slang term for some modern day steels that are super tough. They can be used very hard and will maintain an edge for a very long time. They usually don't chip or break. Basically they require little to no maintenance where a 1095 will. The problem with them is that if you do let them get dull they will require a heavy duty sharpening system. But I tend to just strop or hone mine after each use and it maintains well like that.
      Some steel choices I like (and not all are considered "super steels): CPM-3V, S30V, D2, and CPM-154. There are plenty more but its a long list. I thought about it after I wrote my response earlier- Look at the Ontario Blackbird SK-5. Its made of CPM-154. Its an excellent all around knife. It measures 5 inches and is super comfortable and lightweight. I have a review on it here on the site. Check it out, I think you will like it. It cost about $100.

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  3. Alright Jack!

    As I'm getting ready to purchase the SK-5 I got the "look" from the Boss. So I figured it'd just take a few more days of "look, Babe, this is perfect for backpacking, hunting and even deployments. Its a GREAT buy!" and she'd come around. Got home today and there was a package on the table....she got me the ESEE-6! Oh man, called the guys and we have an overnight planned for Saturday up in the Sequoias. Gotta break her in. I know you aren't big on the ESEE, but man she feels bomb-proof.

    -Josh

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    1. Josh,
      I don't dislike ESEE knives as a knife. Just some of the elitism owners kinda associate with them. I appreciate knives as tools and if it works...it works. Basically just because I like a certain brand I don't condemn all competing brands. If you get what I'm saying. I do like the ESEE-6 (and 3 & 4). With that said I think you will enjoy it. Break it in right this weekend. Lol. Now you need an ESEE fire kit to go with it. Have fun on your trip this weekend!

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  4. The only place I have found Survive! for sale is on their website and blade HQ. Both are completely sold out. Do you know of any other dealers?

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    1. Those are the only two sources I know of. Good luck!

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  5. You said the G-10 is smooth. Is there any texture/grippyness to it at all? I love the high vis aspect but iffy texture is the only thing holding me back from going with the orange G-10.

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