Monday, December 31, 2012

A Review of the KaBar Acheron

The ‘Zombie’ knife series from KaBar is intended to address the needs of a niche market, that of the Zombie Apocalypse/Post Apocalypse planner. According to sources the designation ‘Zombie’ came from a production meeting where they were trying to decide on a name for the new series of knives they’d produced which were intended to be seen as the last resort in a ‘world gone mad’ scenario. Somewhere along the line someone mentioned zombie apocalypse movies and although everyone initially stared, the idea caught on.

Whether there’s any truth to that, I don’t know, but I will be getting back to the subject as I find out more.

According to the description at KaBar’s website their Zombie series is intended to function,
Whether setting up camp or securing your perimeter, the Original Zombie knives are designed to perform under the most rigorous, unexpected and apocalyptic situations.

KaBar named this knife the Acheron; the name has its roots in Greek mythology being both the first river a ghost, or spectre, came to in Hades and the name of a minor god, “and it is called Akheron since within the bosom of the earth it goes forward pouring forth pains …” (from Stobaeus, Anthology, trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric V, Greek lyric C5th B.C.). This is a smallish neck knife so I don’t know how much pain it could “pour forth” but let’s take a look at it and see how things go.
             First, let’s take a look at the knife’s spec’s and see what we’re looking at … the Acheron is a fixed blade knife crafted from 5CR13 stainless steel that measures out at an overall length of 6 1/4 inches with a blade length of 3 1/8 inches and is 0.131 inches thick. The weight is a very nice 0.05 pounds and it comes in a plastic sheath that works well with either a beaded chain or a neck cord. For usage as a neck knife I usually recommend that people choose a synthetic cord because most synthetics have better resistance to abrasion than does organic cordage, also, many people have issues with beaded chains, e.g. dog tag chains, the chains sometimes irritate the neck. Which is definitely not a good thing when you want to be able to wear the knife for days on end.
             The knife is of the ‘skeletonized’ style which is good for a neck knife as it eliminates some of the weight without reducing the strength of the blade. The blade is hollow ground but I think I would have preferred a straight grind for this one.
              Straight out of the box, I purchased this one from, the knife wasn’t as sharp as I would have liked. The first thing I did was to remove it from the bubble pack it came in and attempt to shave my arm (Jackie hates it when I do this) and it didn’t do anything. In all honesty with the blade factory set at 15 degrees and the blade being hollow ground I would have expected for my problem to be more along the lines of not laying my arm open by trying to do this, but to have nothing happen is very disappointing. I would almost have preferred to be able to say “… it took sixteen stitches to patch me up after testing the knife …” My brothers have been on hand when I’ve actually managed to do this (we’re all very good at first aid now, and I’ve gotten better at not doing anything THAT stupid) and came to regret when I started one of my knife trials.
            So, straight out of the box I found that it isn’t shaving sharp, there was a suspicion in my mind that this was going to be the case because the machining marks were still visible on the edge of the blade. However, it can be said that it was at least serviceably sharp. My second test for blade sharpness is to hold a sheet of paper by one corner and see how cleanly it cuts the paper. This test was passed quite nicely. So saying, I took my ceramic pocket sharpener to it until the blade was as sharp as I’m accustomed to having.
            Since that time I’ve been using the blade as a daily carry blade, trying it on every task that comes along, including a few where I would normally use one of my larger blades. For only being a lightweight utility knife I must say that it fulfills most functions very well. I haven’t had much time outside lately but when I have, the Acheron is doing what is required with no problem.
            Now, for me the knife had one big negative, and I know there are people out there who will have this same problem, the handle. The handle is about 3 inches long and when you wear an XL sized glove … well … it makes the knife just a bit awkward to handle. For my wife and our children, it’s probably a good fit but I haven’t turned it over to them yet to see what they think of it.
            Overall, so far, I’d have to give this one good marks. As a knife for a smaller person this one would be a good pick. Lightweight, easy to conceal, and holds a decent edge for extended periods with only a minor bit of honing. You could spend a lot more money and do worse than this.
            If you decide to give this one a try, drop me a line and let me know what you think of it. Who knows, I may even decide to publish it here.

Until next time, keep your steel sharp and your powder dry …… Storm  

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