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Knife Review: TOPS Knives Baja 3.0 Fixed Blade Knife

Knife Review: TOPS Knives Baja 3.0 Fixed Blade Knife

Posted by SD on Nov 10th 2020

The TOPS Knives Baja 3.0 Fixed Blade Knife

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 talking about the Baja 3.0 fixed blade, which is currently in stock at BladeOps.

The Blade:

The blade on this is made out of 1095 high carbon steel that comes in with an RCC 56-58. 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.

Baja 3.0

The blade has been coated with a Coyote Tan coating. A coating benefit has plenty of benefits. One of the biggest advantages is how well a coating can increase both the wear resistance as well as the corrosion resistance of the blade. This is because the coating creates a barrier in between the blade and the environment. This means that anything that would normally come in direct contact with the blade is going to have to go through the coating first. The coating is going to reduce the maintenance time of this blade as well, partly because of the barrier that it forms. It will make the blade easier to clean, because you do not have to worry about any of the grooves in the blade.

The next advantage that a coating brings is how it creates smoother cuts. This is because the coating reduces the friction that you are going to get with the blade, which in turn, cuts down on any roughness that you may encounter when slicing with this.

Another of the advantages is that the coating does creates a matte blade. This leads to any of the glares and reflections being reduced. This is an essential characteristic of a fixed blade that has been designed to use in the field. You would not want the glares and reflections giving away your position in the field.

One of the only disadvantages of a coating is that it is going to scratch off after time or with heavy use. Once a coating has been scratched off, the blade is once again subject to rusting and corroding. The scratches will also add back in the friction element that was once removed. This does mean that slicing is going to be complicated again. To maintain the quality that the blade once had, it would have to be re-coated.

The blade on the Baja 3.0 has been carved into a drop point blade shape. The drop point blade shape is known for being versatile and durable. It makes the ideal shape for a knife that is going to be sued in the field as much as the Baja 3.0 will be.

For starters, the spine of the blade curves very slowly to the point. On the spine, there is also a row of thicker jimping. The jimping on the spine is going to give you the control that you need when the going gets messy or tough. The gentle slope of the spine does create a slightly lowered point. The lowered point is going to give you slightly more control over your cuts, which may be crucial if you are in the field. The Baja 3.0 has been designed to take on some of the toughest things, including skinning game. The lowered point and the control it adds is going to allow you to easily skin game without worrying about piercing any of the internal organs.

The point on the drop point is broad as well. The point is thicker, which also means that it is going to be stronger. This is a crucial aspect of the TOPS knife, because it allows you to have the strength and durability to take on some of the harder tasks. The last major advantage of the drop point is how large the belly is. The large belly provides you with plenty of surface area which will allow slicing to be a breeze.

The Handle:

The handle on this fixed blade is made out of green canvas micarta. This material is created when thin layers of canvas are soaked in a phenolic resin and then set. This process creates a material that is strong, lightweight (which is crucial for a knife that you are going to be carrying with you into the field), and even looks classy. It is able to look classier than most other knife handle materials because it is the canvas that shows through, instead of a plastic-y looking material. This material is also durable and tough, which is exactly what you will need out of a fixed blade.

While micarta does have plenty of great aspects, it does have a few drawbacks. The absolute biggest one is that when the process is first finished, it doesn’t have any surface texture. This means that a lot of time and hand labor is going to need to go into carving in texture on this handle, which is going to make it a more expensive product. One of the other bigger drawbacks that micarta has is that it does tend to be brittle. This means that if subjected to too hard or sharp of an impact, it may begin to break down and crack.

The micarta on this handle is made out of green canvas, which pairs nicely with the Coyote Tan Coating on the blade.

The handle has three deep grooves that go diagonally across the width of the handle. The three go down the length of the handle. These grooves are going to add enough texture that you feel in control over the task at hand. The spine has a slight curve to it, the butt is slightly rounded, and the belly has a bulge in the middle of it. The bulge is there for comfort as well as control. There is a slight finger guard on the metal portion of the blade. There is a large lanyard hole that will fit almost any lanyard that you want it to.

The Mechanism:

This is a full-tang fixed blade. A full-tang blade means that the metal portion of the knife extends through the entire shape of the blade. Then, the micarta handle scales are screwed into this portion. There are a couple of benefits to this: the first is that there are going to be no weaker portions where the handle and the blade have been screwed together or are attached. This means that you are going to have more durability and strength with this TOPS knife.

Another benefit of a full-tang blade is that if the handle scales happen to break or fall off, you still have the entire blade shape. You would not be left with just a blade, just a more uncomfortable version of the original knife.

There are plenty of advantages to having a fixed blade. The biggest one is that the fixed blade is incredibly easy to clean: all you have to do is wipe down the blade and the handle. You do not have to worry about any of the inside parts, because there aren’t really inside parts.

The other major advantages are how strong, tough, and durable a fixed blade is.

The Sheath:

The sheath that accompanies this knife fixed blade is made out of leather. Leather is definitely known as one of the more traditional materials that sheaths are made out of. Leather is known to be rugged, tough, and strong. This is not going to break apart the way that plastic does. And, if the stitches happen to come undone, you can easily re-sew them. Leather is also going to provide a custom fit for your Baja 3.0 once it has been broken in. Not only that, but it is going to be completely silent. You will be able to pull the Baja 3.0 in or out and not have it make a sound. This is idea for those outdoor lovers that don’t want to disturb the wilderness. It is also perfect for hunters who don’t want to scare away their potential game. Lastly, when cared for, leather has an incredible aesthetic. When taken care of correctly, it is only going to look better with age.

Of course, leather is also going to have some disadvantages. The first is that it is not a waterproof material. If it is exposed to water often, it can dry out, which will lead the leather to crack. Leather is also not heat resistant. The same thing is going to happen, the oils can dry out and cause it to crack. Luckily for us, a simple oil occasionally is going to make the leather last longer and age a little better.

The sheath can be carried either horizontally or vertically.

The Specs:

The blade on this TOPS knife measures in at 3 inches long with a blade thickness the measures in at 1/8 inches thick. The overall length of this fixed blade measures in at 6.25 inches long. The weight of the knife comes in at 3 ounces without the sheath. When the knife is in the sheath, it weighs in at 5.1 ounces. This knife was made in the United States of America, so you can be proud of the quality of the knife as well as what it represents.


The TOPS Knives Baja 3.0 knife takes its name from the rough and tumble "bad ass" area of Baja, California. Known best for its off-road competitions, this area demands a blade that can build a shelter, skin an animal, make some basic wooden tools and whatever else a serious survival knife may be asked to do. The 1095 high carbon steel blade takes deep bites and long slices. A grooved green canvas Micarta handle makes it comfortable to hold and ensures you keep a solid grip on it. Comes with a steer hide sheath. A practical, trusted companion, this USA made knife is certain to get the job done.

This knife is currently in stock right now at BladeOps. That being said, the stock is limited, so if you want your hands on this TOPS knife, order your Baja 3.0 right now.