Here I come with yet again another review of a Chinese folding knife. This one, like the “Gnome” (that I’ll probably review someday, as I have it and like it a lot) has an interesting history. It actually came out a few month before the model it clones! It was based on preview pictures and prototypes that Custom Knife Factory, the Russian-Chinese midtech/high end production brand had published. It’s an Anton Malyshev (of Russia) design, a Russian vision of the Overbuilt tactical folder genre. Well a Chinese vision of the Russian vision, since it turns out that the Russian is a tad larger and the blade have slightly different shapes… Plus the finishes the Chinese offer are not proposed by the Russian and vice-versa.
Anyway, it’s a tank of a knife (T-50, T-90, etc. are denominations of Russian tanks if I’m not mistaken) with big sculpted titanium handles connecting with big stand-offs/pivot, and hoisting a big, almost FFG, blade in D2. Titanium sides and blade stock are all 3.9mm thick. The combination of all that metal makes a heavy knife at 174g. Heavy but not unwieldy and difficult to carry. So it’s a nice “big EDC” folder.
The pivot has caged bearings, thus allowing a very very smooth action. The detent is not super-strong (strong enough that you can’t shake the knife open, still) but the the blade is deployed with authority and it falls back under its own weight, aided maybe by a little nudge.
The lock bar has a steel insert at the contact point and the relief cut is on the outside but that doesn’t grab your pants too much when getting the knife out of the pocket. It doesn’t press very strongly on the blade (hence, possibly, the medium detent) which allows a very easy disengagement and closing. There’s absolutely no stickiness and the lock is at about 33%, early yet very solid.
Fit and finish are very good, every detail sharp but with rounded edges. The handle finish I have selected is a dark stonewash, likely obtained by first sandblasting the titanium, then tumbling it with rather large rocks. The blade is lighter but seems to have been through a similar process as it’s sporting a stonewash that doesn’t have any of the polished aspects often seen with stonewashed D2. My blade is well centred but the tip is slightly twisted.
Overall a very good piece at a great price, with an interesting history (based on time line and anteriority, that many use for patents and the other forms of legal robbery, the CKF T-90 could actually be considered the clone of this T-50) at a very decent price. You can’t be wrong when you decide to go the T-50 route!