The number of folding tactical and tactical/utility knives available on the market is seemingly infinite. Everything from cheap junk knives available in “tourist trap” shops (the ones that also sell blowguns and “Samurai” swords) to high-end custom blades are available in numbers like never before. Gone are the days when a Buck folding knife was the only game in town.
I could probably write about a new knife every week for the rest of my writing career. However, that might not sit so well with my editors, so I try to be selective in the knives I write about, finding the most interesting and unique blades to test for you.
One of the most unique tactical/utility folders to come out recently is Kershaw’s Natrix Copper. But before I tell you about it, let me just take a moment to define what I call the “tactical/utility folding knife.”
A tactical/utility folder is a knife with a locking blade. It features all the characteristics of a defensive tactical folder but in a smaller package. Usually such a knife has a blade in the 3-inch range. It is not intended as a true defensive tool and thus is often used for mundane day-to-day tasks (such as opening packages). The tactical/utility folder is very handy for this purpose because almost all modern tactical knives are capable of being opened with only one hand — and rather rapidly at that.
The Kershaw line of knives is extensive, especially since it includes the Zero Tolerance line. New Kershaw models are being introduced every few months. Every Kershaw knife I have reviewed is excellent and reasonably priced. The new Natrix Copper, though, is a standout.
It’s called the Natrix Copper because of the pure copper bead-blasted handles used in construction. Let me say that again: The handles are solid copper, not copper-washed or copper-plated. Copper is a rather precious commodity these days — so much so that pennies aren’t even made of it anymore, and copper plumbing or even copper cables from electrical substations are prime items for theft.
Kershaw says, however, that the copper will eventually end up with a pattern of coloring that matches the owner’s hand, as it develops a patina over time. (If you don’t want that to set in, any copper polish can bring it back to its original color.)
The overall design of the Natrix Copper is based on the Zero Tolerance Model 0770. The 2.75-inch drop-point blade is made of D2 High Carbon tool steel and features a stonewashed finish. It opens manually and does not feature Kershaw’s SpeedSafe Assist. Instead it relies on the totally manual operation of the low-profile KVT ball bearing finger flipper, or you can pull the blade up via the long groove that runs across the top of the blade. The blade is held open by a sub-frame lock. The sub-frame lock is colored a contrasting black, and the lock release is matte stainless steel. The matching matte stainless pocket clip is reversible.
Overall open length of the Natrix Copper is 6.4 inches. Weight — thanks to the copper handle — is a solid 3.7 ounces. By way of comparison, the standard Natrix with G10 handles weighs only 2.9 ounces.
The extra heft of the copper handles gives the Natrix Copper a solid feel in the hand, unlike any similar-sized tactical/utility folder I have used. The extra heft serves as a reminder to not leave it in the pocket for a cycle through the wash (been there, done that) or, worse yet, for a walk through the airport metal detector (have not done that).
The blade comes from the factory very sharp and makes short work of plastic bubble-lined mailing packages. The 2.5-inch blade is just right for a knife like this, and Kershaw’s sub-frame lock holds the blade in a vice-like locked position.
This is simply a great knife that stands out from the extremely crowded tactical/utility knife field. Apparently a lot of people feel the same way because the Kershaw website store is already sold out. Don’t worry though … more are on the way. MSRP is $94.49.