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Knife Review: Modern Gladius by TOPS Knives

Knife Review: Modern Gladius by TOPS Knives

Posted by ST on Jul 3rd 2023

Modern Gladius Knife by TOPS Knives: A Dynamic Combination of Tradition and Innovation


The Modern Gladius knife from TOPS Knives, designed by the team at Smoky Mountain Knife Works, pays homage to the classic Roman weapon while incorporating modern design elements. With its impressive specifications, including a robust blade steel, practical blade finish, ergonomic handle material, and versatile sheath, the Modern Gladius is a formidable fixed-blade knife suited for a range of cutting tasks. In this in-depth technical review, we will explore the knife's specifications, delve into the advantages of its blade steel and finish, analyze the benefits of the handle material, and evaluate the functionality of the sheath.

TOPS Modern Gladius


  • Knife Type: Fixed Blade
  • Overall Length: 11.38"
  • Blade Length: 6.50"
  • Cutting Edge: 6.00"
  • Secondary Edge: 6.00"
  • Blade Thickness: 0.190"
  • Blade Steel: 1095 RC 56-58
  • Blade Finish: Black Traction Coating
  • Handle Material: Tan Canvas Micarta
  • Knife Weight: 8.3oz
  • Weight w/ Sheath: 14.3oz
  • Sheath Included: Yes
  • Sheath Material: Black Kydex
  • Sheath Clip: Dangler

Blade Steel

Unyielding Strength and Versatility: The Modern Gladius features a blade constructed from 1095 carbon steel, renowned for its exceptional strength and resilience. With a Rockwell hardness rating of 56-58, this blade steel exhibits excellent toughness, making it highly resistant to chipping and breaking during demanding cutting tasks. The 3/16" thickness of the blade provides added durability and stability, ensuring reliable performance even under heavy use.

The choice of 1095 carbon steel offers versatility, as it can be easily sharpened to a razor-sharp edge and maintains that edge well. This makes the Modern Gladius a reliable tool for both slicing and piercing tasks. However, it's important to note that 1095 steel is prone to corrosion, so proper maintenance and regular oiling are necessary to prevent rust formation. With proper care, the Modern Gladius' blade steel will serve users admirably for a wide range of cutting applications.

Blade Finish 

Enhancing Performance and Durability: The Modern Gladius features a black traction coating as its blade finish, which serves multiple purposes. The coating not only provides a sleek and tactical appearance but also enhances the knife's overall performance. The black finish reduces glare and reflections, making it ideal for tactical or covert operations where stealth is crucial. It minimizes the risk of revealing your position and allows for discreet use in various environments.

Additionally, the traction coating provides an added layer of protection to the blade, increasing its resistance to corrosion and wear. This ensures the longevity of the knife, even when exposed to harsh environmental conditions. The combination of aesthetics, reduced glare, and enhanced durability makes the black traction coating on the Modern Gladius a highly beneficial feature for both professionals and outdoor enthusiasts alike.

Handle Material 

Ergonomic Design and Superior Grip: The handle of the Modern Gladius is expertly crafted from tan canvas Micarta, a

TOPS Modern Gladius, Handle

popular material known for its exceptional grip and durability. Micarta is created by layering resin-soaked fabric and subjecting it to high pressure and heat, resulting in a robust material that withstands the rigors of heavy use. The tan canvas Micarta handle on the Modern Gladius not only provides excellent traction but also ensures a secure and comfortable grip, even in wet or greasy conditions.

The slight taper towards the guard of the handle promotes a locked-in feel, preventing slippage and allowing for precise control during intricate cutting tasks. The inclusion of fullers on each side of the blade enhances the grip and adds a tactile element, further enhancing the knife's overall ergonomics. Whether engaged in tactical operations or navigating the great outdoors, the Modern Gladius' handle material guarantees reliable and comfortable handling, ensuring optimal performance in any situation.

Sheath Material 

Practicality and Versatility: The Modern Gladius comes with a black Kydex sheath, which is well-regarded for its durability

TOPS Modern Gladius, Sheath

and functionality. Kydex is a thermoplastic material known for its outstanding strength, resistance to impact, and excellent retention properties. The sheath's rigid construction ensures secure retention and protects the blade from external elements, providing peace of mind during storage and transport.

The sheath's dangler attachment adds versatility to the Modern Gladius, allowing for flexible carry options. The dangler design suspends the knife lower on the body, providing quick and easy access to the blade when needed. It is particularly useful for those engaged in outdoor activities or requiring a quick draw in tactical scenarios.


The Modern Gladius knife from TOPS Knives, designed in collaboration with Smoky Mountain Knife Works, is a harmonious blend of traditional aesthetics and modern functionality. With its formidable blade steel, practical blade finish, ergonomic handle material, and versatile sheath, the Modern Gladius excels in various cutting tasks, making it an ideal companion for outdoor enthusiasts, tactical professionals, and collectors alike. Whether facing survival situations, engaging in self-defense, or appreciating the craftsmanship of a well-designed knife, the Modern Gladius delivers exceptional performance, reliability, and style. Embrace the spirit of ancient warriors with the Modern Gladius and experience the perfect balance of tradition and innovation in your hands.

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