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Review: Smith & Sons Knife Co. Brave

posted by gumptiongear August 26, 2016 0 comments

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Proudly conceived and produced in Sulphur Louisiana, the Smith & Sons Brave sets an impressive standard for fixed blade EDC knives. Endowed with state-of-the-art quality, impeccable resilience and a razor sharp blade, the American made Brave has managed to carve out a place of prominence in our own personal gear stash.

On Performance and Design…
Within the outdoor adventure communities, there will always be those who prefer to carry a folding blade. And without question, there are plenty of bomber folders available that fit the bill for outdoor adventure. But experience has taught us that when you’re running your adventures hard and fast, the right fixed blade knife can cut down on weight and, more importantly, eliminate the chances of your knife failing when you’re off the beaten path and need it most.

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Choosing a fixed blade knife for your backcountry excursions or everyday carry isn’t about getting the best blade for hunting or survival. Instead, it’s about finding the right balance of size, function and utility.  Measuring in at an overall length of 7 ⅜”, the Smith & Sons Brave is smaller and lighter than many of its fixed-blade counterparts – yet it remains large enough to tackle all the essential tasks for a life lived under the big blue sky.

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Boasting premium D2 steel and a tenacious full tang design, the Brave is capable of handling everything from processing tinder to prepping dinner at camp. The 3.5” cutting edge with a flat grind ensures that this blade is up to virtually any task you set before it.  It’s wide enough to give you leverage without being so wide as to compromise precision on smaller tasks. All the while, the 4.2 ounce weight means that the Brave virtually eliminates the size and weight entanglements that prevent so many backpackers and hikers from packing in a fixed blade.

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A beautiful 90 degree spine serves as a secondary tool in the back country. Use it to scrape together bundles of tinder and save your blade for other tasks. Partner it up with a ferro rod, and it will throw sparks like a blacksmith’s shop ensuring that you’ll always be able to kickstart a fire.

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As with any knife, one of the most important aspects is the ergonomics. After all, if the knife doesn’t feel at home in your hand, you’ll never use it. Towards those ends, the Brave has a sizable handle with a neutral grip that will suit pretty much any hand regardless of size. At just over four inches long, the handle is substantial enough that even larger hands can securely and comfortably grip this tool. In terms of the fit and finish, everything is 100% contoured with no hard lines or angles.

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Lastly, when you build a brand based on craftsmanship, function and enduring quality there’s no cutting corners. That’s why the included sheath is designed to match the beauty and character of the knife it encases. As with all Smith & Sons sheaths, this case is handmade in house ensuring a proper fit, function and quality.

Notes from the Field…
Admittedly for some reading this, the Brave’s $200 starting point may seem a little pricey for a knife designed to baton wood and start campfires. We could take the easy road, and simply express that the price point is a direct correlation to the skilled American craftsmanship used in making the Brave. We could point to the fact that the knife functions superbly and, with proper care, will last several lifetimes. And, while each of those factors is true and a worthy justification in their own right, there’s more.

DSC_0122The Brave also offers unsurpassed ergonomics for repetitive use with minimal strain, great balance for excellent maneuverability and a strong, razor-sharp D2 steel blade — all qualities that combine to make your field work faster and safer, thereby reducing your risk of injury. Add in the level of customization that is available when you purchase your Brave, and suddenly you realize that the value of this knife almost exceeds its performance.

We’d be derelict in duty if we crafted a knife review and failed to touch upon the steel used. As noted, the Brave features D2 tool steel. An older, proven tool steel, D2 has been relied upon in industrial settings for making some of the  most durable cutting and metal forming tools possible. With its extreme wear resistance and impressive toughness, this steel makes for a knife blade that offers an incredible cutting edge that just won’t stop. Of course, D2 only fully hits its stride with proper process and attention to detail. Which is why Smith & Sons selects their steel from small American suppliers and heat treats it in house to ensure  treated by Smith & Sons to ensure .

One of the great benefits of D2 is that it offers excellent wear resistance and exceptional edge retention. However, it can also be very difficult steel to sharpen. And while it doesn’t need sharpening all that often, you almost need to be a master-sharpener to get a fine edge. Which is why one of the great values of owning a Brave – or any Smith & Sons Knife – is that it comes with free sharpening for life. Simply contact the Smith family, package up the knife and send it to their Louisiana HQ where they will bring that razor sharp edge back to life.  

Bottom Line…
Built from a labor of love and destined for a life of labor, the Brave is exceptional in every way. If you enjoy adventuring outdoors, you owe it to yourself to have the right cutting tool to make life outdoors more enjoyable; and in our opinion the Smith & Sons Brave is that knife.

*Gumption Gear Review received the item featured in this review from Smith & Sons Knife Co. at no cost and receives no monetary compensation for this or any related review. The items featured were provided solely in return for our honest views and opinions.

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