I finally got a Blackjack 124 into the field this week and actually go to use one a bit. There are lots of ways to ‘review’ a knife and for me, getting it out on a field trip beats sitting in the office looking at it.
Overall Length: 8.25 Inches
Blade Length: 4.125 Inches
Steel: A-2 Tool steel @ 58rc
Blade Thickness: .215 Inch
Weight: 5.8 Ounces
It’s a midsize, fixed blade knife with the capability of doing a good job on small ‘projects’ and totally capable of heavier duty tasks including large game dressing. The fit and finish are flawless.
The first thing I appreciated was the generous handle which gave me plenty to hang onto. On lighter duties like kitchen detail, a small diameter, shorter handle is fine. For heavier duty (which the 124 is capable of) I want a knife that gives me something to hang onto.
In addition, the ricasso between the front of the guard and the sharpened edge gives me plenty of room to get my index finger in position to give better control for more delicate work. So often the larger knives don’t leave enough room to manuever.
I really liked the profile of the blade. The thickness of the blade near the guard provides plenty of strength for a little prying and twisting. As you move toward the tip there’s a noticeable thinning of the blade giving you the ability to make finer cuts. While I didn’t split any firewood with it, I have no doubt it would work fine on smaller pieces. I’d prefer to use a knife with a longer blade that carries that thickness farther down the blade for any serious batoning.
For a knife this length, it has a nice heft to it with the balance point behind the guard, just behind the first finger on the handle. It felt really comfortable with the weight shifted into my hand. The feeling of control was centered in my hand, not out in front of it.
On smaller belt knives like the Trestle Pine Buddy, I’m not a fan of the sheath retaining straps. They just seem to get in the way. The sheath of the 124 has a strap and it holds the knife firmly in place. In fact the first few times the strap was snapped shut, it was a bit of a chore to pull it over far enough to get it to snap. After a weekend of taking the knife in and out of the sheath and re-snapping the strap, it got easier to snap without losing its tight retention. When it’s snapped in, the 124 doesn’t move….at all.
Convex ground edges are the rule on most of the Bark Rivers as well as the Blackjacks. I’m a huge fan of the convex grind and the Blackjack 124 is typical of convex edges. They like to cut. The edge bites in and just wants to keep on going. I didn’t use the knife enough to take the edge off but my experience with the Bark River A2 Steel makes me confident the Blackjack will perform similarly. It holds an excellent edge and doesn’t require a machine shop setup to dress the blade.
Over the years, I’ve had an opportunity to pick out what I feel are the best fixed blade knives for my personal uses. I’ve added and deleted according to my needs and likes. This will give you an idea of my regulars. I’ll admit I’ve got a few more that go in and out of rotation, but these are my current regular ‘go to’ knives. There’s a mixture of blade steels including 1095, A2, Maxamet, S4V, Laminated VG10, each having their own merits.
I had four days to cut, chop, split, slice and just get a feel of the Blackjack 124. In brief, I like it. A lot. It’s definitely going into the current rotation and fits that mid range size perfectly. If you use a knife in the field and want one that works and looks good, I highly recommend the Blackjack 124.