Saturday, August 24, 2013

Boker Plus Compliance Review

It’s been a while since I reviewed any cutlery here, too long in fact. So It’s time to get back into the swing of things.
I picked up the Boker Compliance late last year (2012) simply because, I wanted a new knife. Life in NYC has been a bit harsh for knife owners the last couple of years. The NYPD seems to have arbitrarily reduced the acceptable length of knife blades, and one hand openers are now a definite no-no.
Talk about a bunch of party poopers.
Anyway, I decided to see what was out there for an old knife-nut like myself that I could carry around and not have to worry about making it easy to get picked up. Accordingly I did some web-surfing, checking out what have become my ‘Big Three’ sources for cutlery these days. In no particular order they are, Boker, Buck, and CRKT. As I checked out pricing, specs, features, and availability I came across the Compliance.


Overall Length: 5.87"
Blade Length: 2.37"
Blade Material: 440C (Stainless)
Lock: Frame Lock
Closed Length: 3.50"
Handle Material: G10 and Stainless Steel
Liner(s): Stainless Steel
Clip: Stainless Steel
Weight: 3.00 oz.
Country of Origin: China

The Boker Plus line are knives that all have that little ‘something extra’ Better handle materials, better steel (please don’t start in with me about your favorite overpriced uber-steel), etc. It’s also where Boker puts all of Chad Los Banos’s designs, and the Compliance is one of them.

Straight from the box, this knife was about as sharp as you could ever ask it to be. As I’ve mentioned before in numerous other reviews and forum posts, I like 440C steel. This steel, along with AUS8 is one of my all time favorites. The G10 scale (not scales as in plural, I’ll get to that in a while) has a nice rough checkering that provides a good grip. The fit and finish are excellent, and the frame lock is solid and reliable.

Now the blade configuration is a little odd, a little tough to describe. The closest thing I can think of to describe it is something that anybody who has ever done any black powder shooting most likely knows about. It simply reminds me of what we used to call a patch knife. With an upward curving spine, and a steep, straight drop to the upward sweeping edge, the blade comes to what can only be described as a reinforced, almost needle like point. It’s the kind of thing that is very useful for punching through leather or heavy canvas.

I know this because I tried it, and got excellent results. Cardboard, carpet, etc, none of them put up much resistance against the point geometry of this blade.

The edge was excellent at everything from trimming newspaper articles, to cutting rope (sorry, I don’t have any 1" thick manilla to hack through like all those Cold Steel advertisements), an assortment of kitchen chores or other regular day to day uses that real people put their knives to.
It did everything I asked it to, and held it’s edge with no problem.

The handle on this knife, like the blade shape, is a little hard to describe. Kind of oblong shaped, for lack of a better word to use. As I mentioned above, it only has one scale, located on the side opposite from the side of the frame that has the lock and the pocket clip. A design that is typical these days for frame lock knives. The pocket clip is definitely never going to let you lose the knife. To be honest, and I hate to complain about this, but the pocket clip is actually a little too good. It’s something I’ve noticed on all the Boker Plus CLB designs. This thing is stiff and tight.

On a pair of jeans, ie: thick denim, it can be difficult to get it out of your pocket. Now on the Compliance, with the clip mounted directly to the exposed steel frame, it’s really not too bad. The smooth steel allows it to come out smoothly until you have to get it past the seam along the top of the pocket. On several other models though, where the clip is mounted to a side with checkered G10, it can be a bit of a problem. When combined with the checkering on the G10 it can start to cause excessive wear on the top of your jeans pocket, so removing the clip and doing a little creative bending should probably be on the agenda.

Now as the name implies, Compliance, this basic design concept behind this knife is to make it “compliant” with laws in those locales where the term ‘NPE” (non permissive environment) is the rule. The sub 3" blade, with no one-hand opening device is pretty much a good bet for those places where the local constabulary tend to cast a hairy eyeball on knives that exceed the local ‘social constrictions’. In other words, this particular piece of cutlery is pretty innocuous.

From a self defense standpoint, essentially any knife can be used, some are simply better designed than others. As far as the Compliance goes, I have to say it wouldn’t be my first choice. It’s a good general purpose blade, but I personally didn’t feel that the handle shape and the way that it met the blade would provide me the sort of grip that would make me comfortable in a “questionable” situation.

However, this is still a top notch design form Chad Los Banos, and would make an excellent everyday carry knife for utility purposes in areas where you don’t want to run afoul of local legalities.

Also in the spirit of full disclosure, I have since given the Compliance to a friend of mine. That is mostly because I decided to replace it with the Boker Plus XS, another CLB design.

But that review is for another day!

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