The TOPS Blackout Bob Fieldcraft 3.5 Fixed Blade
In late 1998, TOPS Knives was founded with a mission to create the highest-quality knives around. Their knives are tools, designed and built using the extensive knowledge and real-life experiences of many operators with backgrounds in military, law enforcement, outdoor professions, and martial arts. Specifically, they have worked with designers with backgrounds ranging from Navy Seals to Airborne Rangers, from martial arts instructors to survival experts, and from SWAT Team Members to Native American weapons experts. They have a designer from nearly every background that uses hard-core knives. Perhaps the best part, all TOPS fixed blades are manufactured and hand-finished at their facility in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, USA.
Their knives have been requested and deployed in “Hot Spots” all over the world. Numerous individuals who are or were field operators use or have used their knives and report top performance and reliability from times when their life depend on the tools, they had with them.
Their mission is to create the highest-quality, rugged, unique, overbuilt, and functional tools for service members and outdoorsmen of all kinds through their superior manufacturing, finishing processes, and genuine field operators’ testing.
They have a vision to provide their clients with tools they can trust completely to exceed their expectations every time. Their values include American integrity, quality, durability, performance, and consistency.
Today we will be discussing the TOPS Blackout Bob Fieldcraft 3.5 fixed blade, which is exclusive to BladeOps.
The blade is made out of 1095 carbon steel. This is a basic from of carbon steel. The steel is most commonly used in knives, especially knives that are going to have to take a beating. The steel has a carbon content of .95% which does harden the steel and reduce the amount of wear that a blade will experience over time. However, this steel is also not as tough as other steels that you are going to come across because it doesn’t have as much manganese as it could. Manganese also makes a steel harder, which does make it a little bit more brittle. This means that 1095 carbon steel is not going to be brittle, which is one of the reasons that it can take such a hard beating.
This blade steel holds its edge for long periods of time and is also easy to sharpen. Unfortunately, this steel does tend to rust easily. Of course, after each use, make sure that it is completely dry before placing it back in the sheath.
The blade actually has two finishes. The lower half of the blade is a satin finish, while the upper level is a black finish. This finish is what makes this version exclusive to BladeOps.
The satin finish is the more common of the finishes. It shows the fine lines of the steel, without being flashy. This portion of the knife is also pretty neutral in terms of reflections. You will be able to find more reflective as well as less reflective finishes.
The black portion is matte, which is going to cut down on glares and reflections almost completely. This portion adds a little bit more rugged aesthetic to the blade. On the blackened portion, you have the name of the knife the TOPS brand, and the TOPS logo in silver.
The blade has been carved into a drop point blade shape. This is the most common blade shape that you are going to come across in the cutlery industry to date. This is because it is both versatile as well as tough, which makes it a great blade shape for almost any type of knife.
The first thing that makes it versatile is that it has a spine that slowly curves toward the point of the blade from the handle. This creates a lowered point, which allows you to take on some of the finer detail work with the Fieldcraft 3.5. Of course, since this is such a large blade, you are going to have less control than you would on a smaller knife. That’s just how it goes.
This leads to why it is such a durable and tough blade shape. The lowered point is also a broad point. This is where the bulk of the strength of the blade shape comes from. Now, since this is such a large blade, it gets toughness form many other places. However, the broadness of the point allows you to take on some of those tougher tasks without worrying about the blade snapping. This is why the drop point blade shape is so loved on knives that have to take on tougher tasks, such as tactical blades.
Funnily enough, this leads to one of the only drawbacks of the drop point blade shape. Because the blade’s point is so broad, it does reduce some of your ability to stab and pierce. This shouldn’t be too big of an issue. The blade is massive—it’s going to be able to do what you need it to. However, it is not going to be as good at piercing as a spear point or a clip point would be.
The last reason that this blade shape is so versatile is because of the large belly that it sports. The large belly is going to help you excel at slicing.
The handle on the Blackout Bob Fieldcraft 3.5 is made out of G-10. G-10 is a type of Garolite, which is a laminate composite made out of fiberglass. This material does have many similar characteristics to that of carbon fiber. However, because it is the lesser of the materials, it can be produced and bought for only a fraction of the cost. This does mean that the overall cost of the knife is going to be kept down.
To create this material, the manufacturer will take layers of fiberglass cloth, soak them in resin, compress them, and then bake them under pressure. This process creates a material that is tough, lightweight, strong, and still hard. Out of all the fiberglass laminates for knife handle materials, which include carbon fiber and micarta, G-10 is known to be the toughest of them all. However, because it is so hard, it does mean that it is also going to be the more brittle option that you come by. This does mean that if it is subjected to hard or sharp impacts, it may begin to break apart or crack. Another one of the disadvantages is that the bulk of the fibers are arranged in a single direction. This means that in that specific direction, it is going to be incredibly tough and durable, but when it begins to get stressed in other directions, it will begin to break apart.
One of the other major advantages of G-10 is that patterns and texture can easily be added to the handle. This keeps the cost down and adds enough texture and grip that you don’t have to question whether or not you can keep hold of the knife during use. Fixed blades especially benefit from the G-10’s qualities, because they are usually larger, which means that they will usually have more weight. However, with G-10, it will keep the cost down, while still remaining durable, and lastly, it is non-porous, which means that it will not absorb any of the fluids that you come in contact with throughout your tasks.
The handle on this Bob Fieldcraft is made for a good grip. It is relatively simple, with a spien that has only a slight bulge in the center of it. The butt of the knife does flare out slightly, which is going to help achieve a bit of a better grip. The belly has a similar bulge to the spine, which will help the ergonomics of the handle fit inside of your hand in the best way. There is a slight finger guard, but the bulk of the finger guard is made out of the metal of the blade. There is a large finger guard near the butt of the handle, which will fit almost any lanyard that you can come across.
The face of the handle is texturized roughly to give you the most secure grip. This knife is made for some serious outdoors work, which means that you may come in contact with some messier situations. The texture is going to ensure that you have a solid grip while you are using this knife.
The TOPS BlackOut Bob Fieldcraft is a fixed blade, which means that there is no inner mechanism to help open the knife. Instead, the blade is always in “open” position. To store this blade, you instead cover it with a sheath that is included.
There are a few benefits to having a fixed blade. The first is that it is easier to take care of. This is mostly due to the fact that there is no mechanism. There are no small or moving parts that you have to be concerned about. All you really have to do is wipe down the blade and the handle and oil the blade occasionally.
You can also bring a fixed blade into play the fastest out of any type of mechanism. This is because all you have to do is withdraw the blade from the sheath and you are ready to go.
The last reason that having a fixed blade is so phenomenal is because it can take on a much wider variety of tasks. You can use it for truly anything that comes your way.
The sheath that comes with this TOPS knife is made out of Kydex. Kydex is a man-made, modern material that is often used in creating holsters and sheaths. There are a couple of different advantages to having a sheath made for this modern material.
The first is that it is waterproof, scratch resistant, and it is also stretch and shrink resistant. Not only is it waterproof, but it is incredibly durable and stable, meaning you can have it with you in a variety of extreme situations—including humidity and salt water. It is also going to stay unaffected by many different chemicals. Because of all of these advantages, it really doesn’t require any maintenance. This is perfect for a tactical knife. It allows you to be prepared for almost any tactical situation that may come your way. Not just that, but it actually prepares you for almost any situation that comes your way.
However, there are disadvantages to this sheath material. The biggest complain about Kydex is that it is not silent. It is actually not anywhere near silent, which means you definitely can’t be sneaking around if you are going to need to withdraw your blade. The next is that it is stretch proof. This means that if the sheath does not fit your knife perfectly, there is going to be a rattle when you move. The last, another big one, is that you do risk dulling your blade’s edge with repeated withdrawal and replacing of your knife.
The blade on this knife measures in at 3.75 inches long with a handle that measures in at 4.5 inches long. This means that the overall length of this fixed blade is going to be 8.25 inches long. The head thickness is 0.16 inches. This TOPS knife weighs in at 5.5 ounces. Like a true TOPS knife, this one was made in the United States of America.
This exclusive fixed blade knife features black G-10 handles, a drop point style blade in a black traction coating and includes a kydex sheath.
For years, the Fieldcraft by Brother of Bushcraft (aka BOB, aka BROS) has been one of TOPS' top-selling models because its size and versatility. This scaled-down version is the ideal size for hunting small fish and game or basic small camp and EDC chores. Boasting a Scandi grind on the 1095 carbon steel blade, this knife is built for serious outdoor use.
This exclusive knife is currently ins tock at BladeOps. To get yours now, click here.