Sunday, September 12, 2010

Defense on the Down-Low; Meyerco Dirk Pinkerton Thumb Drive Utility Keychain Knife

"Derp...why do they call it the Thumb Drive?":

In this business, there are times when a knife manufacturing company partners with a custom knifemaker to produce something so cool, and so inexpensive, that it just seems like an automatic no-brainer to get one. Personally, the items I'm referring to are usually under $20.00 USD, and made by a reputable manufacturer. Spyderco recently demonstrated this concept with authority and finesse with their foreign-made, but high quality mini-slipjoint "SlipIt" folder line. Spyderco's Bug, Honeybee and Grasshopper, are three knives with a tiny pricetag, that are big on practical performance.

You've likely noticed that the popularity of lightweight, keychain-size knives and tools has gone, and continues to go through the proverbial roof! There are times and places for our big folders and monster fixed blades, but in everyday life, light and small makes total sense. We live in a society where everybody carries so much gear, that man-bags, shoulder bags and the like ("man-purse" etc.) are gaining fast social acceptance. We've all got phones, mobile devices, headsets, car keys, wallets, multi-tools and much more. People are crazy for pocket size tools like those made by the mini-master Peter Atwood. Atwood makes pocket tools and small utility items in small batches that sell out in minutes after he announces them. They're very neat, highly collectible and can be quite expensive.

I'm willing to bet that this design was at least partially inspired by the OSS thumb daggers prevalent in the spy game of WWII:

This is where we all benefit from factory knife firms partnering with skilled knifemakers like Mr. Dirk Pinkerton. The Thumb Drive is a Pinkerton design produced by Meyerco at a very reasonable price. Meyerco, is a Dallas cutlery firm with a history of collaborating with well-known makers like Blackie Collins and the talented Darrel Ralph.

Pinkerton's custom pieces are usually light, tough, and priced fairly. It seems Mr. Pinkerton is finally getting the recognition he deserves for his simple, inspired designs. "Elegant Simplicity", is a phrase I tend to kick around all too often when a knife or tool really hits the spot with me. I acknowledge that I use some variation of those two words often, but in the case of Meyerco's aptly-named Pinkerton Thumb Drive, "elegant" and "simple" hit the nail of description squarely on its head! It should be noted that THIS Thumb Drive does not store data, nor is it usb compatible.

This little rascal starts as a small hunk of AUS6 stainless steel, the sheath is a glass-filled nylon (think "Zytel") type material that very closely mimics the look, feel and fit of Kydex. Get yourself a length of ball-chain, and the Thumb Drive will make a fine neck knife because of its light weight and small profile. Included though, is a key ring, instead of a ball chain, to fasten this knife pretty much anywhere you please. The sheath fit is good. I was expecting a "tick!" or "snap!" when the TD is inserted into its sheath, but it's silent. Regardless of not hearing and feeling an affirmative click upon insertion, the little sheath does its job admirably. It takes a bit of pressure to get the knife fully inserted, but once it is, no worries, the sheath grips it tight. The Thumb Drive is NOT going to slip from its home at inappropriate times. It comes out to play when YOU want it to.

I tried to replicate accidental circumstances which might cause the little shank to come free of the sheath. I attached it to my own keys, and chucked them around recklessly in the yard. I attached the sheath's key ring to a ball chain and spun it around like a bolo, to see if centrifugal force could unintentionally free the knife. No dice, this is a solid sheath that does its job of protecting you from the TD's sharp edge flawlessly. Drawing the knife is no big deal, despite the good fit in the sheath. For a tiny little guy, the grip is surprisingly adequate, multiple decorative holes are tapped through the polygonal handle piece, they serve to lighten the knife slightly, and they look damn cool!

The included "finger sling" is essentially a mini-lanyard that acts as an extension of the grip, and aids in overall retention of the Thumb Drive. It's handy to loop it around your ring finger, which creates tension when using your thumb to push against the sheath while drawing the Thumb Drive.

I should note, the Thumb Drive comes in at 3 3/8" overall, with a 1 5/8" blade. It's made from THICK stock. It's extremely hard to get a sharp edge on a thick knife that measures so narrow from the spine to the cutting edge. The TD came usably sharp, perfectly adequate, but not hair-shaving sharp. After all, this is the sort of knife that can indeed be used for general utility tasks, but really shines in the penetration/puncturing department. I spent a few minutes with a Smith's diamond rod and gave the edge more of a rough, grippy, almost "micro-serrated" edge, as I like to refer to it. I often prefer that type of edge that can be produced with a diamond hone in new condition, over the clean, refined edge that fine ceramic rods and stropping can offer. The TD is a great poker! I jabbed it into cardboard, thin aluminum (see below), clamshell packaging and even a mattress box spring. With its wicked needle-like point, Pinkerton's Thumb Drive design is the king of puncturing.

The Thumb Drive penetrated the stealthy matte-black hide of a soda can repeatedly, as if it was gliding into room temperature butter; this lil' blade is made to puncture:

I poked various materials to the point where the edge had dulled, but only slightly, it seemed to have zero effect on the Thumb Drive's sticking ability. This small knife is labeled as a "utility" knife, and indeed, it will do all of your basic knife utility chores, but this knife might well shine in a last-ditch defensive role. There are so-called "hideout knives" that are far less concealable, and far less pointy. The Thumb Drive's tip is impressively strong as well. As I mentioned, it's needle-sharp, but the blade is ground thick all the way to the tip, giving it backbone. I doubt it'd be easy to snap the very end point of this knife under normal use, and it's unlikely that under abnormal use, or even abuse, that the TD's tip is going anywhere.

So overall, we have a small, concealable package carrying a thick piece of cool looking steel with a sharp, tough point. The knife & sheath weigh barely anything, and would likely be a great option for joggers, dog walkers, or anybody who could benefit from a low profile knife for light utility and worst-case-scenario defensive use. Another fine aspect of this product is the price! I believe the Meyerco TD retails for roughly $17.00 USD, but as we know, can be found at various web retailers for less. As I mentioned initially, I love it when we see a simple concept well executed for daily use, that doesn't set us back a ton of money. Dirk Pinkerton once again puts his creative design foot forward and brings us something practical, highly portable, and fairly priced. The TD would make a great little gift to help keep somebody safe, and it's useful obviously in a non defensive capacity as well. Bravo Meyerco!

Aptly named; the Thumb Drive:

You can see, and buy the Thumb Drive at web shops like

Check out Mr. Pinkerton's awesome custom stuff at

You can visit Meyerco at

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