Knife Review: Extrema Ratio K-TALON

Extrema Ratio’s K-TALON is an elegant, super-slim karambit knife with a fixed, hooked hawksbill blade and grip-ring. K-TALON comes in two versions of blade finish, Dark Stone and Stone Washed, both shown in this review and the video.

This review of the Extrema Ratio K-TALON includes an in depth video with overview and detailed measurements, plus image galleries and more..

Detailed Video Examination

This video takes a detailed look at the K-TALON and also includes some tips on fitting an Ulti-Clip to the K-TALON’s Kydex sheath.

A few more details:

What’s in the box?:

A good look round the K-TALON sheath – Things to look out for here are:
Included in this review are the two optional clips; the Ulti-clip slim and the belt clip. The K-TALON’s sheath is slim, made from Kydex and has a drainage hole. The blade retention can be adjusted via the two fastenings at the mouth of the sheath. Out of the box, the sheath has a paracord neck lanyard. The Kydex is held together with hollow rivets and along with slots provides a variety of mounting/fixing options.

A good look round the K-TALON – Things to look out for here are:
K-TALON has a very slim profile and the grip-ring is generous enough to allow for gloved hands. This gallery shows the dark stone blade finish close up. The elegant curved blade has a fuller and the finish is beautifully precise.
Despite the very slim handle, the distinctive Extrema Ratio grip pattern is clearly evident – no mistaking this is an Extrema Ratio.

The Blade and Handle – Detailed Measurements:
For full details of the tests and measurements carried out and an explanation of the results, see the page – Knife Technical Testing – How It’s Done.

The blade is made from N690 steel.

The Factory edge up close:

Followers of Tactical Reviews will know my views on factory edges, but to recap:

Anyone using a knife will need to sharpen it. That first factory edge is just like the first tank of fuel that a new car comes with (or first charge of the battery).
A good factory edge is a ‘nice to have’ but not a ‘make or break’ for a good knife, as you will be putting your own edge onto it soon enough.
The factory edge does however indicate the care a knife maker has put into the final finish.
It is for this reason Tactical Reviews measures factory edge sharpness and specifications, and includes this information in the detailed technical testing.

As a further look at the factory edge, this section has been added to include some high magnification photos of the factory edges.

What is it like to use?
A hook-bladed karambit is typically associated with tactical uses and less so for general EDC. Actually in its more typical tactical usage scenario you would actually not use it for every day cutting; the condition of the edge needs to stay at its absolute sharpest for an instance when it is needed in an emergency.
I am not looking at it from this tactical point of view, but instead as an EDC blade. The hooked, hawksbill blade was initially developed as a utility knife and farming tool in Malaysia and the Philippines during the 11th century, so is very functional for certain types of cut.

As a utility / EDC knife, a hawksbill blade is very well suited to cutting cords, stripping wires, pruning plants, and cutting carpet or other sheet materials.

Though the profile is so slim, the K-TALON handles very well.

Although in this gallery I have only shown grips that use the grip ring, you can ignore the ring and just hold the handle without putting a finger though (see below). This gives even more positions to hold the K-TALON.

The karambit hawksbill curved blade works really well for some but not all tasks. Where it excels is in those cutting jobs where the curve of the blade can capture and control the cut. Cuts where a straight blade might slip off, or struggle to get purchase, the hawksbill blade grabs hold. In these instances the cut becomes much more controlled. In terms of EDC, as long as it is partnered with a straighter blade, the K-TALON makes for an exceptional addition in cutting power.

Review Summary

The views expressed in this summary table are from the point of view of the reviewer’s personal use. I am not a member of the armed forces and cannot comment on its use beyond a cutting tool or field/hunting knife.

Something that might be a ‘pro’ for one user can be a ‘con’ for another, so the comments are categorised based on my requirements. You should consider all points and if they could be beneficial to you.

What doesn’t work so well for me

It is too big to be a ‘neck knife’.
No belt clip supplied as standard.

Things I like

Excellent handling.
Grip ring is large enough for use with gloves.
Choice of two blade finishes.
Easy to carry due to the very low profile.
Adjustable tension sheath retention.
Easy to fit and adjust belt/clip attachments.

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