Sunday, September 19, 2010
Meyerco Dirk Pinkerton Variable BroadHead
As you know, I've been on a roll with reviews of Meyerco's inexpensive foreign-made products lately. Until a few months ago, I was only familiar with Meyerco through knife magazines and websites. As I mentioned previously, I've never seen a Meyerco brand knife in a retail shop here in the Pacific Northwest. Meyerco is headquartered out of Dallas, TX, and it may simply be a distribution issue or something. Meyerco knives may very well be sold in my area, it's possible that in the past, I haven't looked in the right places. Meyerco has a long history of collaborating with custom makers like Bob Terzuola, Darrel Ralph, Blackie Collins and many more. If I'm not mistaken, Dirk Pinkerton, the North Carolina custom knifemaker is their newest collaborator on factory made designs. Pinkerton makes many nice looking, defensive minded fixed blades. Even his custom handmade knives are reasonably priced. You get a lot of knife for a fair price. For the knife collector on a budget, Meyerco's translations of Pinkerton's designs are even more affordable. Just recently I reviewed the Meyerco 'Thumb Drive' micro fixed blade, another Dirk Pinkerton design.
The Thumb Drive is a neat little knife with a definite lean toward last-ditch self defense. The BroadHead fills a similar niche, Pinkerton's own website says of the custom version:
"The Variable BroadHead is a small, truly ambidexterous self defense knife. It can be used in almost any grip you can imagine."
The BroadHead is indeed a bit more versatile (compared to the puncture-friendly design of the Thumb Drive) from my experience. It's essentially a push dagger-esque design that Dirk originally created for a friend in law enforcement.
This is a knife that's meant to fit any which way in the hand under duress. Realistically it can be held with virtually any finger through the hole, or held in a more traditional sabre grip. The Meyerco BroadHead is extremely light, again, from Pinkerton's site:
"The majority of my fixed blades are sized to make it easier to carry througout the day so, you will have it when you need it."
I've found that to be the case. I carried the Meyerco Broadhead as a neck knife, in the pocket with just its sheath, and tried various other options like in cargo shorts and hooded sweatshirt pockets. This design travels very well. Just like the Thumb Drive that Meyerco based on a Pinkerton original design, the BroadHead's sheath is fiberglass reinforced nylon (like Zytel), but Meyerco did a great job of making this material emulate genuine kydex in weight, look and feel. At first glance, if you didn't know these sheaths were FRN, you'd think they were Kydex.
At the heart of the Broadhead package is the one piece AUS-6 stainless knife with an integrated finger hole. It comes in at about 4" overall (only slightly longer when riding in the sheath). The double edge dagger blade is approximately 1 1/4" long. The handle came wrapped with blue paracord, though if you were so inclined, you could easily use almost any material like a tough boot lace, or any other paracord color to re-wrap the handle to your personal taste. I'll stick with the blue, it's a cool color, and sort of psychologically serves to make the knife appear less weaponized if you need to use it in a utility capacity, as opposed to saving it for a personal defense encounter that may never come. That being said though, it is one of those knives just like Pinkerton/Meyerco's Thumb Drive that gives you a bit of extra insurance in a small package. Since I don't make a habit of intentionally putting myself in harm's way, I evaluated the BroadHead from a utilitarian standpoint. I tested the penetration of the smaller Thumb Drive knife on aluminum cans, an old mattress, and waste cardboard. I did the same type of thing with the BroadHead. Being "broad", as the name implies, it's not going to sink hilt deep like other, thinner double edged daggers, but I have a feeling it'd poke just fine if you needed it to! It was surprisingly convenient to use in a daily utility capacity in lieu of a folder which I normally carry daily. The knife excelled at the usual mundane chores like opening mail and FedEx packages. I used it as an impromptu pasta spear to check the tenderness of some tortellini. It came in handy as a pill-splitter for a medication of which I only take half, that's particularly hard to snap in half bare handed. In other words, this inexpensive knife can be whatever you want it to be. The whole package is concealable enough for pretty much any carry style, and it excels as a neck knife. As regular readers know, I'm not a fan of gray bead blasted blade finishes. I sweat profusely and find that bead blasting tends to encourage pre-rust and staining by slightly texturing the blade's surface and sort of opening the steel's "pores". Basically, I have bad luck with bead blasted blades acquiring surface spots sometimes after just a few hours of carry while I'm doing something active. This time I took the precaution of giving the BroadHead a couple of coats of Sentry Solutions' Tuff-Glide, the lubricant/protectant which their famous Tuff-Cloth is soaked in. This time around I've had no trouble with the gray bead blasted blade acquiring little orange surface spots.
A word about the carry sheath; I mentioned it emulates Kydex, the preferred moldable material for modern pistol sheaths and very often custom and factory knives. Kydex is heated and formed to fit over any object to make a form-fitting snap-in style sheath. I don't know what process Meyerco's foreign factory uses to mold the FRN sheath, but there is a tiny amount of side to side play when the knife is snapped into the sheath. The knife fits in either way, and once it's secured by the sheath, it's definitely not going anywhere, but the knife does move back and forth a small amount. This isn't a huge deal, just something that I found noteworthy, that this movement could potentially make a small amount of audible noise when the user is wearing the knife around a neck. I don't think this would be of concern for anybody but trained special operations soldiers in an environment where stealth was a priority. I'm personally not worried about it, as I said, the knife is definitely very secure in its sheath, but there is a tiny amount of space for movement.
Overall, Meyerco's interpretation of the Dirk Pinkerton BroadHead seems fairly accurate to the original, materials aside, and is a solid performer, especially at an MSRP of only $18.00 USD or so. Gotta love those discount sites like Knifeworks.com, out of Louisiana who sell the knife for a few dollars less. There are tons of small, neck knife designs on the market, at fairly affordable prices. This one in particular is fun, unique and priced very low. If you'd rather have an American knife of this type, you can always contact Dirk Pinkerton and get on his waiting list for his $75.00 USD (not bad!) custom version of the Variable BroadHead knife. Dirk's handmade customs are also priced right, you seem to get a lot of knife for your hard earned dough. Due to the reported overall excellence of Pinkerton's custom jobs, there is a wait of about 3 months to be shipped one of his handmade knives. Again, that's the great thing about the time honored tradition of knife factories teaming up with custom makers, a process pioneered by well known companies like Benchmade and Spyderco. If you like the look and concept of a guy's custom piece, but are unwilling to shell out the cash, or if the knife is simply hard to find, you have an alternate option of picking up the factory made version which is mass produced and inexpensive.
Again, for a little necker that can be yours for less than the cost of a movie on dvd, this is a hell of a little defensive package, which can also handle basic utility chores and even fill the role of something like a folding knife you might carry daily. The double edge design packs a bit of versatility, and despite some very mild wobble in the sheath, the knife is held very securely. Once again, Meyerco impresses me with their direct translation of a custom knifemakers piece, at a very inexpensive price point.
Here's a shot of Pinkerton's handmade Variable Broadhead which inspired the Meyerco version: