The AK-47

The Ak-47 and its variations, arguably the world’s most popular military rifle with an estimated 70-milion manufactured, has recently inspired at least three heavy-duty folding knives. In “rifles of the world” John Walter states that, the Kalashnikov is simple, solid, reliable and surprisingly effective. The knives it inspired share those same characteristics. The knives include: Cold Steel’s Ak-47, Ernest Emerson’s Comrade M.F. and Boker’s Kalashnikov, which comes in three versions, old Steel registered the trademark “Ak-47 years ago. So that there would be no confusion, Boker, in October 2003, told its dealers that the name Ak-47 is trade marked by another cutlery company and cannot be used in the promotion of the Boker Kalashnikov line of knives. They asked that they not use Ak-47 in any promotions, advertising Web site use, or in any way to promote the sale of the Boker kalashnikov line. They also package an insert stating this with their Kalashnikov products. All three of these knives are beefy, and a real handful. Your father’s folding hunter they are not. The Cold Steel Ak-47 has a broad 4 inch clip-point blade and a 6 inch handle. Cold Steel literature states the weight is 7.6 ounces, the postal scales at my office state 7.2 ounces.

The Emerson Comrade M.F has a 3.9-inch clip point blade and a 5-inch handle. The weight is 5.2 ounces, making it the lightest of the trio. The size of the knife makes it seem lighter than it is. The Boker Kalashnikov has a 3 7/8 inch blade and a 5 inch handle. Weight is 5.9 ounces. The Cold Steel Ak-47’s large handle is crafted from thick bead-blasted air craft- aluminum scales that are bolted to steel liners mentioned in this article, and the scales are grooved to provide an even better grip. There is an ambidextrous pocket clip, and a unique feature is the pommelwith two lanyard holes. Cold Steel states that it is designed to be used as a less than lethal percussion tool for self-defense.

The Ak-47 has a Cold Steel’s Ultra Lock locking mechanism. A spring loaded sliding volt makes the knife as a bout as rigid as a fixed blade when open and also holds the blade shut when the knife is closed. I found the lock to be smooth secure and easy to operate one handed. Another feature is a thumb plate, which can be used for conversional one handed opening, or to snag the edge of a pocket for even quicker deployment. The knife is manufactured to Cold Steel’s rigid specifications in Taiwan, using carefully tempered and sub-zero quenched Japanese 8A steel. It was designed for Cold Steel by Andrew Demko. The Emerson Comrade M.F. uses a unique construction one handle slab is of 0.125 inch thick G10. The other, which provides a frame lock is of 1.8 inch thick titanium. On mine, the frame lock is by far the stiffest of that type I’ve encountered, no matter what the frame lock was constructed from. I’d say there’s no chance of accidental closure here. Ernest Emerson told me that the Comrade M.F. also known as CQC-12 was inspired, not by the Ak-47 rifle directly, but by the Ak-47 bayonet.

In Emerson’s 2006 catalog he elaborates “I have always admired the Ak-47 bayonet. I have used them for years in the field, usually to smash something open or pry something apart. Well, I final got around to designing a folding version.” One reason for his admiration may be that the Ak-47 bayonet has a practical clip-point blade that can server many purposes, rather than the slim spear point of most other bayonets. The 3.9 inch blade has a Bowie style clip point. It resembles the blade on Emerson’s CQC-13 Combat Bowie folder. One of the major differences I found between the Comrade M.F and the Combat Bowie was that the Bowie is a liner lock. Then there’s the price the Bowie is $239 retail, while the Comrade M.F lists at $395. Most Emerson knives have the Emerson Wave feature, a notch at the top rear of the blade that can be snagged on the edge of a pocket to pull the blade open. Once the knife is out of the pocket, it’s open and ready for use. Emerson was the first to come up with this method of opening, although I realized the same results several times by accidentally snagging an opening tab as I was pulling a knife from my pocket.

The Emerson Wave feature is now officially required on all knives Emerson’s company supplies to military combat units, military search and rescue units and law-enforcement agencies. Emerson uses 154 CM heat-treated to 57-59 RC, in his knives. The Emerson line is made in the U.S.A. Emerson uses the slogan “America’s Knife Company.” We are truly one of the last companies where the knives are 100 percent made in America. That means everything, including materials.

The Boker comes in three versions. While all are serial numbered, the top grade, with snake-wood inserts in the aircraft aluminum handle, is limited to 2003 pieces and evidently is aimed at collectors. Boker says they have exclusive rights from famed firearms designer Mikhail Kalashnikov to use his name on a knife line. As mentioned earlier, there are three versions in this series. The KALTD contains snake-wood inlays in the gray aircraft aluminum handle. The KALB is all black, with a black 6062-T6 aircraft aluminum handle and cocobolo wood inlays. The blade is coated with black PVD, a sapphire like material. Blades are clip-point, more elongated and therefore traditional than on the Ak-47 and Comrad M.F.

Best for users might be the basic KAL. It shares the same handle contours as the other Boker Kalashnikov knives. Designer Dietmar Pohl said that the contours as the other Boker Kalashnikov knives. Designer Dietmar Pohl said that the contours follow that of the Automat Kalashnikov-47 rifle. Inserts in the aircraft- aluminum handle are of black G10. A liner lock maintains blade rigidity when open. All the series feature blades of 440C. A ”Red star” with Kalashnikov’s name in both Western and Cyrillic covers the pivot area. The knives have pocket clips. The gift box has the appearance of a Kalashnikov clip. All there Bokers are made in Solingen, Germany.

 

I carried the Cold Steel Ak-37 and the Emerson Comrade M.F. for several days each. Both worked well in the bottom right pocket of cargo pants. Gowever, due its massiveness, tha Ak-47 rode most comfortably in a large nylon sheath I scavenged from the Tuckerman Knife by Colonial cutlery. I hope Cold Steel decides to offer an optional belt sheath for it. When it comes to price, the Cold Steel Ak-47 is by far the most cost-effective. Retail is $100. Emerson’s Comrade M.F. is the most-expensive at $395 retail. The three versions of the Boker Kalashnikov are $365(snake-wood), $265 (cocobolo) and $215 (G-10).

These three massive folding knives, while all different in, price appearance and locking mechanisms, have a common inspiration. And all promise to be as rugged and reliable as the gun that inspired them.