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Knife Review: TOPS Street Scalpel 2.0

Knife Review: TOPS Street Scalpel 2.0

Posted by SD on Sep 17th 2019

The TOPS Street Scalpel 2.0 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 discussing the Street Scalpel 2.0 fixed blade knife. This is currently in stock, but supplies are going quickly. If you like what you read, you are going to want to act fast to get yours before they run out.

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.

The blade has been finished with a black traction coating. Like any coating, this one is going to prolong the life of the blade. This is because it creates a barrier in between the steel and the environment, which is going to increase the wear and rust resistance of the blade. Another big benefit of this coating is that it is going to cut down on glares and reflections, which can be crucial in a tactical situation.

Unfortunately, the coating is going to scratch off with time or heavy use. Once a coating has been scratched off, the blade has to be recoated to retain the good qualities. In fact, it is commonly said that a scratched off coating is worse than no coating at all. This is because it adds some serious friction to the blade and leaves different spots on the blade unfinished.

TOPS Street Scalpel 2.0 KnifeThe traction element of the coating is just a textured top coat. TOPS President Mike Fuller explained the coating when he said, “We use an epoxy hybrid base with polyester in it. It is electrostatically applied in its dry powder form, and it goes on the blade between three and five thousandths-inch thickness. The knives are then put into an oven and baked at a little over 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 17 minutes, depending on the thickness of the material. It’s not an ultra-smooth finish like some coatings have, and it enables the user to hold the blade for close work if necessary.”

This means that although it may make your slices less smooth, it is going to allow you to take on a wider variety of situations. With a fixed blade, you really do have the ability to take on more than with a pocket knives, and that may sometimes include holding the blade, instead of the handle. This is one of the reasons that it got its name the Scalpel, because it does allow you to perform that fine detail work. This coating is the cherry on top that ensures that you stand a higher chance of working safely and efficiently.

The blade has been carved into a classic drop point style blade. This is the most common blade shape that you are going to find in the modern cutlery industry. However, the drop point shape on the street scalpel 2.0 is not as typical as many drop point blade shapes. For starters the spine is completely straight, you cannot tell when it starts to angle downward, it just gets finer and finer. But the spine itself does not have any curves; it just has been cut with an angle. At the top of the spine, there is a row of thicker jimping, which is going to work to give you even more control over it. This is going to enhance the texture coating on the blade. In fact, the blade itself has been created to really give you the best control over it.

Like a drop point has to have, the Street Scalpel’s blade does angle downward, creating a lowered tip. For starters, this is where the blade got its name from, because the point is literally dropped. The lowered point lends itself to adding more elements of control that you will easily be able to utilize on this TOPS knife. In fact, you will even be able to perform fine detail work with the Street Scalpel 2.0. The blade is not so large that it will be unwieldy, at it has all of the elements needed to feel in control and secure while using it.

Most drop point blades have a much broader point than the clip point blade shape, which is one of the reasons that it does not usually excel at piercing. However, because of how the spine is designed on the Street Scalpel 2.0, you will get a little bit more ability to pierce. Of course, it will still have a lot of the strength that comes along with a drop point, although a little bit less. The point is significantly finer than an average drop point, so you will get a good balance between the strength that it does have and the ability to pierce. Normally, all you get is strength and no piercing ability.

The finer tip does, unfortunately, mean that you may want to be careful when you are piercing into harder targets, as it will be a little bit weaker.

The last major advantage of any drop point is how large the belly is. The bigger the bely, the easier it is to slice. Enough said.

The Handle:

The handle is made out of Canvas Micarta. Micarta is a material that is made when the manufacturer takes layers of canvas and soaks them in resin. The first thing that many people notice is how they look. You get the appearance of the canvas, which does provide a more natural, classy appearance to the handle. Plus, the resin makes the canvas hard, tough, and still keeps it lightweight. The handle on the Street Scalpel 2.0 is black, which creates an all-black knife.

The biggest drawback to canvas micarta is that the resin does take away all surface texture. TOPS, the manufacturer will add it back in, but it takes time and hand labor, which does end up increasing the cost of the knife.

Just like the blade, the handle is made for control over this fixed blade. The belly does bulge out, so that it fits more snugly inside your palm. Plus, there is a massive lanyard hole that will fit any lanyard you want, allowing you to keep it close by.

The Mechanism:

There are a variety of benefits to having a fixed blade knife. The first is that the blade has the ability to be longer and thicker. This is because it does not have to fit inside of the handle, like a folding knife does. This means that the blade is going to be more durable, stronger, and more reliable. The blade is going to be able to take on tougher tasks than the smaller blades of a folding knife would.

The next major advantage is that the blade and knife are going to be easier to clean and maintain than a folding knife. This is partly because there are no small moving parts, or even any parts on the inside, that can begin to break down or rust. This means that cleaning is going to be easier, because you don’t have to worry about cleaning the insides. All you really have to do to maintain this TOPS is to wipe down the blade and the handle. Occasionally, you will want to oil the blade as well. As always, make sure that the blade is clean and dry before you put it back in the Kydex sheath.

Also, the fixed blade is able to just be larger in general than a folding knife. This means that you will be able to take on those tougher tasks that folding knives cannot handle.

The Sheath:

The sheath that is included with this knife is made out of Kydex, which is a thermoplastic acrylic-polyvinyl chloride material that is often used in sheaths and holsters. This is a much more modern material, which does carry its advantages. For starters, it’s waterproof. This material can be submerged in saltwater and still maintain its quality. Kydex is also scratch resistant, so you can take it with you on any adventure and not have to worry about the sheath becoming destroyed. It also won’t stretch or shrink over time—Kydex sheaths are crazy durable and will hold up very well when expose to different environments. Plus, they are super low maintenance and require very little attention.

But not any material is without its disadvantages. For starters, Kydex sheaths are very noisy and have a snapping sound when you are putting your blade back into the sheath. Some people have a satisfaction that comes with this sound, but others hate it, because the sound is going to draw attention to your and your massive knife. The biggest disadvantage about using a Kydex sheath is that after repeatedly withdrawing and replacing your knife in the sheath will end up dulling the blade’s edge.

The Specs:

The blade on the Street Scalpel measures in at 3.13 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.19 inches thick. The handle portion of this knife measures in at 3.87 inches long, which creates an overall length of 7 inches long. This is a smaller fixed blade, as many times, fixed blades are well over 8 inches long. That being said, it is also going to be lighter weight for a fixed blade, weighing in at 3.1 ounces. This TOPS knife was proudly made in the United States of America.


This fixed blade knife features black canvas micarta handles, a drop point style blade in a black traction coating and includes a black kydex sheath.

The new TOPS Street Scalpel 2.0 takes all the good things about the original but comes in with less overall weight, a redesigned handle with more of a finger guard and a thinner blade stock to aid in slicing tasks. Additionally, the sheath has been altered to allow for multiple carry options and includes beta loop straps.

This knife is currently in stock at BladeOps, but the supplies are going incredibly quickly. If you want to get your hands on one of these, click here to order yours now