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Knife Review: TOPS Viking Tactics Norseman Fixed Blade Knife

Knife Review: TOPS Viking Tactics Norseman Fixed Blade Knife

Posted by SD on Dec 19th 2019

The TOPS Viking Tactics Norseman 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 a newer arrival at BladeOps: the TOPS Viking Tactics Norseman fixed blade.

The Blade:

The blade on the Viking Tactics Norseman is made out of 1095 carbon steel. This is the most popular standard carbon steel that you are going to come across. Really, it is a completely average steel. It has low corrosion resistance which is a major drawback. This steel also has pretty average edge retention properties. So, if it is this average, why do people want it? Well, it is crazy tough. It is nearly resistant to chipping, it is a breeze to sharpen, and when you do sharpen it, it is going to have a very fine edge. This steel is also not too expensive to produce, which means that the overall cost of the knife is going to be lowered because of that. On an average pocketknife, this is not the best steel. But, on a survival knife or heavy-duty fixed blade, there really is not a better budget steel out there for it. It is going to take a hard beating and be a reliable option for when you need it most.

TOPS Viking Tactics Norseman

The blade on this fixed blade has been finished in an acid rain finish. The acid rain finish is a darkened stonewash finish. This finish is created in nearly the exact same way that a stonewashed finish is, except that it does have an extra step to it. Before the blade undergoes the typical stonewash process, it is subjected to an acid treatment. This acid wash is going to oxidize the blade, which does give it a darker look. It also makes it more corrosion resistance, because it does add a layer of oxidization that will protect the steel from the environment.

After the acid treatment, the stonewash finish is finished like normal. The stonewash finish is going to give the blade a textured appearance, which is one of the key features of the stonewash finish. The textured look is going to hide scratches and smudges that occur over time, which is one of the main reasons that this is such a low maintenance knife.

Plus, the stonewash finish works to cut down on glares and reflections, but since this is an acid wash, it is going to hide the glares and reflections even better than a standard stonewash.

All in all, the acid rain finish was the perfect choice for this fixed blade, because it adds an element of ruggedness to an already tough knife.

The blade has been carved into a drop point blade shape. The drop point blade shape is the perfect cherry on top of an already great blade. The shape ensures that the blade is going to be tough, durable, and reliable.

For starters, the spine extends out of the handle in a straight manner, until it begins to gently slope to the point. The shape of the spine creates a lowered point, or like the name implies, a dropped point. The lowered point is going to give you a better ability to control your cuts and slices. It gives you enough control that you will be able to perform fine detail work with this blade.

The next major characteristic that sets the drop point blade shape apart is that the point is relatively broad as well. It is the extra broadness that is going to give this blade shape the strength that people have come to associate with the drop point blade shape. You will be able to take on the toughest of tasks without worrying about the tip breaking. It is not a fine tip, like it would be with a clip point, so you can rely on it a little bit more.

All of that being said, the broad tip is also one of the biggest drawbacks to the drop point blade shape. Really, it is the only drawback to this blade shape. Because of the broadness, you will not be able to pierce with this TOPS Viking Tactics Norseman fixed blade.

The last major characteristic and feature of the drop point is that the belly has plenty of surface area, with a larger curve. This is going to let you excel at slicing. As you can see, all of the characteristics of the drop point really add up to a perfect blade shape.

The Handle:

The handle on this knife is made out of canvas micarta. Micarta is a phenolic resin, which is just an organic compound by the name of Phenol. This material is created when the manufacturer takes thin layers of canvas cloths and soaks them in resin. This produces a material that is lightweight, strong, and even looks classy because the canvas is what makes up the bulk of the handle material. This means that it is the canvas that you are going to see and notice, instead of a plastic-y material that many fixed blade handles are made out of.

One of the interesting things about micarta is that it actually doesn’t have any surface texture. The resin makes it very slippery and smooth. This is not going to work for a knife handle, so a lot of handle labor and time has to go into carving texture into the handle. This does make it a more expensive material, which does mean that the overall price of the knife is going to be increased. Micarta is a hard and durable material that is great for a heavy-duty fixed blade such as this one.

The handle is unique because there are actually two different colors of the canvas. The upper 1/3 is made out of a browner/orange canvas, with the lower portion being made out of a tan canvas. The shape is also relatively extreme. The handle is thin, especially when being compared to the blade, which is thicker, much thicker, than the handle itself. The spine has an inward curve that extends for the bulk of the length, although it does curve outward near the butt, because the butt is thicker than the rest of the handle.

The belly on this knife has a dramatic and deep finger groove. This is followed by two shallower and more elongated finger grooves. There is a finger guard, which is important with a knife like this one because of how large and sharp the blade is. The ergonomics of the handle will fit nicely in your hand. The butt of the handle has a large square skeletonized out of it, which will fit nearly any lanyard that you want it to.

The Mechanism:

This is a large fixed blade, which is ideal for a survival knife. Some of the benefits of a fixed blade is that the blade can be both longer and thicker. This is because it doesn’t have to fit inside of the handle, like a regular folding knife does. This extra length and width mean that the blade is going to be stronger and more capable of taking on a wider variety of tasks. With a survival knife, you want to be able to take on as wide number of tasks as possible, because you are never going to be sure what might come your way.

Fixed blades are also going to be easier to maintain. All you have to do to clean them is wipe down the blade and the handle and oil them occasionally. You don’t have to worry about the insides resulting because there aren’t inside mechanisms to worry about.

The Sheath:

The accompanying sheath that comes with this TOPS fixed blade is made out of coyote tan kydex. Kydex is a modern plastic material that is often used in the creation of holsters and sheaths. Of course, like any modern plastic, there are the pros and the cons to having this material as a sheath. The first is that it is waterproof and is capable of surviving in a variety of extreme environments. One of the extreme environments even includes saltwater—which is known to be extra harsh on knives and their accessories. Kydex is also scratch resistant, as it has a Rockwell hardness rating of 90. This sheath is not going to stretch or shrink over time, which means that if it first your knife, you are always going to have a perfect fitting sheath. One of the best advantages of having a Kydex sheath is that it does not require much maintenance at all. Really all you have to do is wipe it down occasionally. You may have to tighten the screws every once in a while, as well. All in all, though, this is definitely on the lower end of the spectrum when it comes to how much maintenance it is going to require.

Of course, it has its disadvantages as well. The first is that this is an incredibly noisy material. There is no way that you are going to be able to pull out your knife or put it back in without making a sound. The next is that because it is stretch proof if it doesn’t fit originally, it is not going to ever fit. This means that it can be too loose or too tight for your knife, which is going to cause a lot of rattling around. This will just add more noise. Lastly, and this is the biggest disadvantage, you are going to dull your blade’s edge as you repeatedly withdraw and replace your knife into the sheath. This is because of how hard and unforgiving the Kydex really is. You can get an insert to protect your blade if this is too big of an issue in your mind.

The Specs:

The blade on this TOPS knife measures in at 5.88 inches long with a handle portion that measures in at 5.62 inches long. This means that the overall length of this fixed blade measures in at 11.5 inches long, which is definitely a beast. The head thickness on this knife measures in at 0.19 inches long. The overall weight of the knife comes in at 10.1 ounces. This knife was proudly made in the United States of America.


This fixed blade knife features green and tan canvas micarta handles, a drop point style blade in an acid rain finish and includes a coyote tan kydex sheath.

TOPS Knives and Viking Tactics teamed up to create the Bloodline Series--a set of 3 different fixed blades of varying sizes that feature never-before-seen decorative jimping on the spine and a fresh new handle makeup that sports two different color of micarta. The Norseman is a hefty fixed blade that becomes ideal for hunting or conduction modern-day combat operations.

This knife is currently in stock at BladeOps, order yours today by clicking here