Battle Blades is a company brainchild of Kelly Van Orden who had a two-fold idea. Kelly wanted to develop a picatinny rail compatible knife system that would allow the user to mount the knife to their long-arm for quick access in the field, with the option of being worn in a traditional belt/MOLLE sheath configuration. Kelly also wanted to set up a foundation for veterans with the profits from Battle Blades. A foundation that would assist service veterans financially, as well as provide service programs that would help veterans obtain sporting rifles and other sporting goods.
Battle Blades is not a knife production company, but a company that designs blade systems based on working concepts. Kelly’s original design, which was based on his original concept of a rail-mounted knife system, began as a crude prototype by a man with no manufacturing experience. After making many mistakes along the way, Kelly met Mike Fuller of TOPS Knives. Through a joint effort, Kelly’s idea came to fruition and was introduced in prototype form at the 2012 SHOT Show. Since that time, Battle Blades has worked with TOPS Knives to produce several other unique blade systems.
I was recently in contact with Kelly Van Orden who sent me a Battle Blades Wolfhawk Tanto to review. I was not at all disappointed when I opened the package. The Wolfhawk is one of the original Battle Blades designs equipped with their patent pending rail-mounted sheath system. While the knife is definitely a high-quality TOPS knife, the sheath system is what is truly unique about this blade.
The Wolfhawk is a compact, 7 ¾“ knife with a 3 ¼“ blade and a 0.160” blade thickness. It is a full-tang knife made from 1095 high carbon steel (RC 57-59) and finished with a traction coating and linen Micarta handle scales. The knife weighs in at 3.8 ounces, 5.2 ounces with sheath and attachments.
The knife itself has a very good feel to it. The symmetrical handle design allows the knife to be held comfortably and securely in either a forward or reverse grip with the edge facing inward or outward with either grip. The stout tanto blade configuration is very well designed and will no doubt take a beating. Overall, the knife has more of a dagger feel to it due to its handle design.
The sheath system comes with an injection molded nylon scabbard with a MOLLE-compatible belt-loop nylon housing and rail mounting clips. The rail mounting attachment works with any picatinny-style rail system. I found the knife to be exceptionally handy when mounted to the left side of my rifle forend. The scabbard has a locking system that is unlocked by pressing the thumb between the two protruding levers on one side, or by pressing the top lever with the thumb and the bottom lever with the index finger. This system proved to be very secure, but easy to unlock with the proper drawing technique.
The nylon sheath setup is quite ingenious. It has cutouts to lock the scabbard in place when the nylon is wrapped around it and secured with a hook and loop closure. My only issue with it (at least with the one I received) is that the scabbard does not sit exactly flat inside the nylon housing. It tends to sit slightly turned to one side, as if the cutouts are just a tiny bit out of alignment. This is not a huge issue as it does not affect the performance of the sheath. It just aggravates my OCD a little.
The complete package also included a TOPS survival whistle, typically included with every TOPS knife, and a demonstration DVD illustrating the mounting options and operation of the Battle Blades Wolfhawk sheath system. Also included was a TOPS certificate of authenticity so there is no doubt that you have an authentic TOPS knife and not some Chinese knockoff (insert patriotic, free-market capitalist comment here).
The Battle Blades Wolfhawk is an excellent knife system that I would highly recommend, especially if your operational needs would benefit from a weapon-mounted sheath. The Wolfhawk is the perfect size for and EDC knife as well. My one recommendation to improve this system would be an injection molded belt clip attachment that would allow the scabbard to be carried on the belt in a horizontal configuration, independent from the nylon sheath system. This would make the knife perfect for concealed every-day carry.
The Wolfhawk retails for $175.00. For more information about the Battle Blades line of knives, check out the Battle Blades website. If you are into social media, you can follow Battle Blades on their Instagram and Facebook accounts. For more information about TOPS Knives, the maker of the Battle Blades Wolfhawk, check out the TOPS Knives website. You can also follow TOPS Knives on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
Photo Credits: Chad McBroom
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