Humans shall not live on bread alone, but on a folder, to open the bread and make a sandwich, among other things. Few things are more functional and versatile than a folder, not only because of the variety of uses that can be given to its edge, but also for its small size and weight that differentiate it from a knife and allow to easily carry it daily and always have it on hand when the need to give use to its edge arises.
In addition to the fortunately rare defensive use that can be given to a folder’s edge, the most typical uses are very varied and practically unlimited: opening a package, cutting bread and cold cuts, open ammo containers, peel an orange or any other fruit that requires it, cut tape, cut the annoying label of a garment that does nothing more than brush your skin, cut a loose thread on the shirt, cut a rope, cut …, and so on for a long time. This makes the folder an essential element of daily life and it is not surprising that a person has more than one folder, and two, three, or ten, to the point of becoming such a hobby or passion that any number of folders is never enough.
The variety is endless. There are folders for any taste, of all colors and flavors, and for all budgets. Design, quality and price are combined in many models of folders from a wide variety of brands, some renowned and others of new creation, as in the case of First Tactical, which produces the Diamondback Tanto folder I talk about in this article.
First of all I want to thank the detail they have had at First Tactical for sending me the Diamondback Tanto folder that illustrates this article and giving me the opportunity to test and evaluate it.
But first let’s talk about this young brand, still little known here in Spain. In 1999, an experienced successful businessman named Dan Costa bought the outdoor clothing brand Royal Robinsunder whose umbrella was at that time the tactical clothing brand 5.11 Tactical. Dan separated the two brands in 2003 and 5.11 Tactical became an independent brand that soon achieved great success and popularity. Its success was such that in December 2007 Dan sold 5.11 Tactical for 305 million dollars. Years later Dan Costa founds First Tactical, which officially kicks off on April 1, 2015 and start accepting orders on July 4 of that year.
“Made to serve those who serve others”, that is the motto of First Tactical. Its business model is to serve consumers directly, without dealers, to reduce costs and offer you the best value. From the beginning the brand is also present in Europe and attends orders directly from the UK (yes, they also sent to Spain for a flat rate of £8.95, slightly more than 10 €).
First Tactical philosophy consists of creating functional gear for professionals based on the principles of innovation and reliability. First Tactical works closely with end users to achieve products that truly meet their real needs. Their ranks include former veteran professionals.
“At First Tactical, we Listen to the needs of our customers. Engineer cutting edge materials. Ask real operators to Field Test in the most demanding situations. And Deploy top-quality products, direct to the customer.”
With such a presentation letter is not surprising that the folder Diamondback Tanto highlights because of both design and quality, and good price too. At first it seems an expensive folder compared to other similar, but once you realize of its finished quality it can be concluded that the price is not only on par with other similar knives but also cheaper.
Finishes stand out among all the features of Diamondback Tanto, so it offers an appearance of great quality difficult to find in other similar folders.
The purpose of a folder belongs to its edge, whose attributes depend on the steel the blade is made of. The Diamondback Tanto has a Tanto, 3.43 in. (8.7 cm.) long, 0.14 in. (3.6 mm.) thick, black satin coated blade, made of AUS-8 steel. This medium range type of steel has a Japanese origin and is very similar to 440B steel, which is slightly more resistant to rust and than 440C but less hard; toughness is also similar but many not hold its edge as well as higher quality steels which carry a greater degree of carbon (the more carbon, the harder and more edge holding), though it can be easily sharpened to get a razor edge.1
The folder closed is 0.77 in. (2 cm.) thick and 4.58 comfortable inches (11.6 cm.) long [8 in. (20.3 cm.) when opened, with the edge extended]. The G-10 handle takes your attention compared to other folders because of its great finish, especially at the edges. G-10 is a grade of garolite, laminate composite made of fiberglass, with very similar properties (maybe slightly inferior) to carbon fiber but with a much lower price; it is a very tough and durable material, besides of very light, considered the toughest of all the fiberglass resin laminates and stronger (though more brittle) than Micarta. Steel and G-10, the folder weighs 5.61 oz. (159 grams).2
The opening of the knife is done manually pushing outward with your thumb what has been called Thumb Bridge Technology. Instead of a hole in the blade to put in the tip of your thumb, or a pivot attached to the sheet to push with the thumb, as is usual, the Diamondback Tanto has a cut at the top of the blade which is upper closed with a plastic bridge, called Thumb Bridge Technology, which facilitates the opening of the folder with bare or gloved hands. When the folder is open the thumb can rest/push on that bridge too.
The blade has a classic Liner Lock mechanism whose plate is thicker than usual. That makes it stronger and therefore more safe to prevent accidental closing of the folder. The liner lock is easily pushed with your thumb to close the folder.
The pocket clip is another of the highlights of the Diamondback Tanto. In addition to its excellent finish, it has a very effective design that facilitates the entry of the fabric below the clip when you put the folder into your pocket, but at the same time it exerts more than enough pressure to keep the folder in place. On the other hand, the clip is bolted to the handle at the end of the hinge, as close as possible to the edge of the handle so that the folder stays fully hidden inside your pocket, with the tip of the blade down. Moreover, the way clip is attached to the handle depends less on the screws. Clip is inserted into the handle itself for a stronger link to the handle. That way it won’t get loose easily so you would often have to tighten the screws. Clip can be mounted on either side of the handle, something appreciated by lefties. And just in case, the folder comes with two spare screws and their wrench.
A truly unique feature of this folder is the inclusion of a kind of plastic scraper housed inside the handle. The truth is that the usefulness of this accessory can be very limited, but better to have and not need than need and not have, so it is welcomed because after all it does not add weight or space to the folder. Folder comes with two of these plastic scrapers, one in its housing inside the handle and a spare one for when the first one gets worn, broken or lost, a nice touch so you don’t end without it easily.
Finally, in terms of price, which is usually a determining factor when purchasing any product, honestly, I think price fits the quality of the folder. Although it is a Made in Taiwan folder, like many others, it seems to be a quality assurance and control behind it which results in a product that does not have the typical poor appearance of some folders. First Tactical Diamondback Tanto costs $64.99 in the USA. In the UK, from where First Tactical serves orders to Spain, it costs £49.95, just under 60 €, plus shipping (flat rate of £8.95, just over 10 €); that sums 70 € (meanwhile Brexit doesn’t turn into custom taxes). There are other folders with similar quality, steel and desing but more expensive, as the $63.75 SOG Flash II Tanto, sold in Spain for about 85 €.
In short, Diamondback Tanto by First Tactical prove great quality and design, but price could be a problem for some people, though it is as much or even less than price of other similar folders. I do not think you get wrong if you get this outstanding folder as your choice for everyday carry.
1.Best Pocket Knife Today. Guide to the Best Knife Steel)
2.Best Pocket Knife Today. The Ultimate Guide to Knife Handle Materials)