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I recently introduced relative newcomer Steel Will Knives to the Black Sheep Warrior audience with a review of the Cager 1420 from their Urban Series. In case you missed it, you can go back and read the Cager review for a little background on the company and their various product lines. Well, I’m back with another Steel Will offering from their Urban Series. This time it is the Censor 1320 and it is the knife that first drew my attention to Steel Will.
The Censor 1320 is one of three Censor variations from Steel Will and definitely the most interesting in terms of its blade profile. As with every Steel Will knife that I have received, the first impression is definitely one of care and quality. The knife came beautifully packaged in their Urban Series laminated cardboard box, with the knife neatly secured to the inner liner and the sheath and accessories tucked away underneath. While the packaging doesn’t guarantee quality, it does leave an impression of a company that pays attention to the small details. You can’t judge a book by its cover, but you can definitely determine how much effort went into making the cover.
Steel Will uses several different steels for their knives, but for the 7.68” full-tang Censor they chose Japanese AUS-8, a popular, well-rounded stainless steel that works very well for an EDC blade. AUS-8 is capable of taking a razor-sharp edge, which is quite apparent when you see how sharp the Censor comes from the factory.
The 3.54” blade of the Censor 1320 has a straight spine with a recurve edge, giving it a definitive advantage for draw cutting (pulling the blade through a medium from the base to the point) but making it a decent penetrator as well. These are two distinct qualities to look for in the geometry of an EDC defensive blade. The 1320’s 0.16” thick blade has a fuller (the beveled groove in the flat of the blade) for weight reduction and is finished off with a satin finish for a rugged yet elegant look.
One of my favorite features of the Censor series is the curved “pistol grip” handle shape. With this pistol-style grip the skeletal structure of the arm is in line with the point, which allows the user to generate powerful thrusts with the knife. By shifting the grip slightly forward, the knife can be held in a more traditional grip, allowing the user access to the more obscure angles attained with a straight grip. This handle is just as versatile in the reverse grip where the curved handle allows for added cutting leverage while exposing the pointed pommel for impact strikes.
The Censor has some very aggressive jimping inside the thumb groove and along the back of the tang where the palm contacts the handle. The Censor’s textured, black nylon handle scales are slightly undersized to allow the jimping to protrude out from the handle. One might argue that the jimping it is a little too aggressive unless you are using this knife with gloves. While it offers a very secure grip, any impact will cause the jimping to bite into the hand a bit. The placement of the jimping, however, is perfect. If this knife slips out of your hand, it is because you did something wrong.
Concerning the undersized handle scales, there are two improvements that I would recommend to the manufacture: The first would be to use G10 scales like the ones on the Cager. The nylon scales have a slightly hollow feel to them. This is not something that affects the function of the knife, but it would give the knife a more solid feel. The second recommendation would be to forgo the undersizing and make the scales flush with the tang to address the sharp edges of that protrude from the scales, again following suit with the Cager’s handle design.
The injection molded nylon sheath is well formed and locks the knife firmly in place allowing the user a variety of carry options. The accompanying locking belt clip can be mounted in a variety of positions. I would like to see the addition of a more discrete mounting clip, considering the Censor is marketed as an “urban carry” knife. An inside the waistband (IWB) clip would be an excellent option for this type of knife.
The Censor 1320 is a nice little EDC knife with some excellent functional features. Definitely a good investment for the reasonable $59.99 price tag associated with it. The Censor is also available in spear point (1310) and drop point (1330) blade configurations as well, but the 1320 is definitely my favorite of the three.
Photo Credits: Chad McBroom