Experts' Choice

The Ontario Knife Company struck gold again in 2002 when it introduced the RAT Series of outdoor knives. Developed in conjunction with outdoor expert Jeff Randall and Mike Perrin of Randall Adventure Training (hence RAT), these knives are a group of fixed-blades hellbent for hard duty. They range in size from the 7.9" RAT 3 with a 3" blade to the giant killer RTAK II, which stretches out to a whopping 16.6" — 10.3" of that in the blade. The RAT 5 and 7 fall in between and there are three folders in the series: the RAT 1, RAT 1A Assisted Opener and RAT II. All of the fixed-blade knives are U.S.-made with high carbon steel with Micarta scales. The folders have AUS-8 stainless steel blades and are produced offshore.

The RAT fixed-blade knives have become legendary as tough and affordable outdoor knives. As luck would have it, this series entered the market just a couple of years before the modern Bushcraft movement that revolves around the fixed-blade knife as its central base. Ontario’s sturdy RAT fixers stood at the ready and are currently widely used by Bushcrafters and survivalist users alike.

A note on blade steels is in order here. “While Ontario Knife Company is able to produce knives in a wide array of steels, the most common ones are high carbon spring steels as well as a variety of stainless steels,” Andrew states. “Most importantly, Ontario Knife Company tailors the knife to fit a purpose or variety of purposes, and the steel is selected to best meet that purpose. Ontario Knife Company is best known for fixed blade knives but also has many popular folders, mostly featuring frame-locks or liner-locks.”