DPx Gear (Dangerous Places Extreme) was created by Robert Young Pelton out of “specific needs for equipment in hostile and deadly environments.” Pelton is an adventurer, filmmaker, and writer whose experience traveling the world’s hot spots led him to create his own brand of knives after much frustration with the inadequacy of other knives. One of the newer knives in the DPx Gear lineup is the HEFT 4, designed by Tommaso Rumici and Robert Young Pelton. Our friends over at Tactical Intent were kind enough to send me a HEFT 4 Assault Stonewashed for review.
Touted as the big brother to the DPx HEST the HEFT (Hostile Environment Survival Tool) 4 Assault has a stout, four-inch sword-ground blade in 0.19” (4.83 mm) German Lohmann Niolox® 1.4153.03 steel, cryo-hardened to an insane hardness of 61 HRC. Niolox® is a niobium-enhanced, high-performance stainless blade steel produced in Germany by Lohmann Stahl (Steel). Niobium is one of the best stable carbide formers, aiding in the formation of martensite during hardening. In other words, Niolox® is some awesome steel, and it is what DPx has chosen for the HEFT 4 Assault.
The HEFT features a bottle opener/pry bar that also functions as a striker pommel (aka skull crusher) at the end of the handle. This innovative pommel design has an integrated lanyard hole, which no survival knife would be complete without. The Stonewashed version of the HEFT 4 Assault has a matte black TiCN PVD coating that is tumbled for a grey stonewashed look, giving it a beautiful but durable finish.
The HEFT’s ergonomic handle and black G10 handle scales are hollowed out to offer a mini storage cavity for carrying fire starter, cordage, fish hooks, button compass, or whatever survival necessities you deem worthy of residing inside. The handle scales are secured in place with 304 stainless steel hybrid slotted/Allen screws. These screws can be removed with a standard screwdriver, 3mm Allen wrench, or even better, the DPx Mr. DP Skull Tool. A ¼” magnetized hex driver is located on the right side of the handle near the pommel, adding even more functionality to this awesome piece of hardware.
As if the handle compartment, pry bar, bottle opener, and magnetic hex key weren’t enough, The HEFT goes over the top by converting the “jimping” on the thumb ramp into various size wire strippers! Yes, you read that correctly. If you weren’t looking for it, you might mistake it as plain old jimping strategically placed for added blade control during fine tasks, but these different sized, round cutouts are in fact wire strippers.
A black CORDURA® sheath houses the HEFT 4 when it’s not being used to cut, chop, pry, and smash. The sheath has a single MOLLE attachment on the back for mounting it on your webbing, as well as a top plastic loop and bottom grommet holes for lashing the sheath to your leg or kit with 550 cord. A hard plastic insert and retention loop keep the blade (and sheath) protected and the knife inside the sheath during rigorous field activity.
I spent some time with the HEFT 4 in the field and found that it lived up to its reputation. The HEFT held up well against the stress of batonning the blade into hard mesquite wood. After going through a three-inch piece, the blade showed no signs of wear to the hair-splitting edge or the TiCN PVD finish. The tip also held up impeccably to the action of stabbing it deep into the wood and then levering it out. Niolox® is definitely some quality blade steel when it is cryo-hardened properly.
I loved everything about this knife. The only negative I can say is that one of the sets of handle screws (screw and post) seemed slightly longer than necessary, allowing the post to turn inside the handle. This did not affect the performance or cause any handle-scale shifting, but it was slightly annoying to my OCD. Hardly enough reason to keep me from highly recommending this knife or using it myself. DPx Gear has done an amazing job with the HEFT 4.
The HEFT 4 Assault is made by LionSTEEL® in Maniago, Northern Italy. In my experience, the Italians seem to know what they are doing when it comes to making knives, and LionSTEEL® is one of the most reputable knife-making companies in Italy. DPx Gear offers a lifetime, no-questions-asked warranty on their knives, so you can buy in confidence, knowing that if anything happens to your knife, they’ll have you covered.
If you’re even considering purchasing the HEFT 4 or any other DPx Knife, head over to the Tactical Intent website. They carry the full line of DPx Gear at some incredible prices! They also carry a ton of camping, survival, and tactical gear. Tell them Black Sheep Warrior sent you!
Photo Credits: Chad McBroom