Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Extrema Ratio Shrapnel and Nemesis Knife Review

Extrema Ratio Shrapnel and Faida/Nemesis Knife Review

Per my Extrema Ratio Ontos and Selvans survival knives review, I am a fan of Extrema Ratio knives.  A big fan, in fact and I believe they are the finest high durability fighting, back up and survival knives made. To round out my knife collection and potentially find a few new survival knives, I picked up the Extrema Ratio Shrapnel fixed blade back up knife and the Faida/Nemesis larger folding knife.

As noted in my previous article, the company not only makes beefy well designed knives, but also adds features and style not found on other knives which make them easy to use and and delivers a lot of pride of ownership. A bit futuresk, yes, however once these unique handles and knives are in hand, you really appreciate the out of the box thinking of the Extrema Ratio design team.

The focus of the Shrapnel is designed primarily as a backup knife however as I found it a particularly good little 4.3” bladed survival knife.  The Nemesis is a very large folder which can take the place of a mid-sized fixed blade defensive knife and features an unusually large 4.5” blade for a folding knife plus some extra features.

The knives share a .24-.25” thick Austrian N690 (58HRC) cobalt vanadium stainless steel blade, and feature the indent grip enhancing handles however this is where the similarity stops.

The both knives arrived arm-hair shaving sharp and remained so through testing just like my other Extrema Ratio knives, which is something I would expect from any knife with a steel similar to the VG-10.  

The Shrapnel is not a slim, tiny, and light knife as you see with the BlackHawk/MOD Razorback, but a heavy duty hard use full tang knife with a full sized handle.  This puts ths knife squarely in between a defensive knife and one which is strong enough to be used as an all purpose survival knife.  

By contrast the BlackHawk Razorback does not have the best ergonomics for camping and bushcraft chores, however even though the blade on the Shrapnel is thick, the blade geometry and grind is deep enough to produce a knife with good balance a function.  What the Shrapnel does lack is a blade heavy feel, however this handle heavy feel is exactly what you do want in a fast handling defensive knife and is preferable to the purpose of this knife.  

Extrema Ratio has also added course jimping partially on the back of the handle which help with a thrusting grip where the thumb rests perfectly at that point.  The Fornprene handle delivers a very ergonomic feel for both gloved and bare hands. For more controlled detail cutting the index finger can be placed in front of the finger guard which I found particularly useful during some bushcraft activities.  

Tipping the butt of the knife is the full tang extended out to form a glass breaker and defensive pommel with lanyard hole.  The protrusion is unobtrusive, but works very well.

Although an inside the waistband rig could be a great custom accessory, the Shrapnel is designed as a high-ride belt mounted sheath which can be easily concealed with a cover garment. 
The sheath itself is a kydex type material which locks in the Extrema Ratio Shrapnel and is fully ambidextrous for left or right handers without having to remount the BladeTech like belt lock device.  I found this a very handy feature as I would move the knife easily over to my weak side when I carry a firearm. The belt lock also features a belt tensioner and additional locking mechanism to assure the belt lock does not come open even in the most harsh conditions. 

Recently I was told the Nemesis will now be renamed the Faida. The 
Faida/Nemesis delivers mid-sized fixed blade durability in a folding knife. It is without a doubt the biggest beefiest folding knife you can buy, that is unless you opt for one of the even larger Extrema Ratio folding knives.  The blade is a whopping 4.53” long and .24” thick and when open is reach extending 10.24” long. 
If the very expensive N690 blade was not premium enough, Extrema uses .20” billet Anticorodal for the handles which is a Swiss aluminum alloy composed of magnesium, silicon, and aluminum which has a tensile strength of 20 tons per square inch.  Although the Nemesis features a very beefy lock-back style lock, the lock can also be locked in open or closed position to assure either accidental opening or to make the Nemesis effectively a fixed blade.

Faida/Nemesis features the same rough partial jimping on the back of the blade as the Shrapnel and the Extrema Ratio handle contour which is extremely comfortable to use in a variety of grips.  The butt of the knife also features a blunt point for glass breaking and defensive striking abilities as well as a lanyard hole. Extrema did the right thing and made the pocket clip ambidextrous for left or right tip-up carry and the wider clip supports the weight of the knife and only exposes about 1” out of the pocket to facilitate drawing even with gloves.

Recently I added a Roundboy wood fired outdoor pizza oven to my home prepardness and seem to be chopping a fair amount of wood and splitting kindling these days.  To test out the locking mechanism I actually used the 
Faida/Nemesis to split some smaller logs and spit up some kindling with a battoning technique and it was rock solid just a any other fixed blade knife would be.

The blade contours on each knife are consistent and edge grind is perfect with very minor casting seams on the Forprene handle.  The N690 steel is a cobalt based stainless steel similar in performance to the expensive VG-10. N690 is quite resistant to rust or corrosion, however Extrema Ratio finished both the Shrapnel blade in a unspecified burnished black finish which appears to be carbo-nitride or oxide of some sort. The Nemesis has the same finish, but with a patterned desert camo theme. Whatever it is, the finish on the blades was consistent, durable, and cleaned up well.

Earlier, I picked up my Ontos and Selvans from who provided great customer service and very fast shipping and the best prices I could find and I used them again to pick up these knives..  Extreme Knives is the largest retailer and importer of Extrema Ratio knives in the US and seems to have every knife available in inventory and was certainly fast shipping.  

The Shrapnel is a very rugged defensive back-up knife.  It is outstanding belt mounted self-defense knife and, as I found out, a great general purpose survival knife as well. With the right custom Kydex sheath it would also be a good full sized concealed carry knife as well however some jurisdictions may prohibit you from doing so, even if you have a concealed carry license, while other will simply specify the blade be less than a certain length.

Before purchasing the 
Faida/Nemesis, again you may want to check your local government requirements as what classifies as a folding knife; some require the blade to be less than a certain length if carried on your person.  If you are able to legally carry this knife, then it provides huge advantages to the users with very high durability which should take anything you can dish out, longer reach and a devastating blade design which was very effective in my typical test of breaking down a couple whole chickens.  It is a monster of a folding knife and has me thinking that this may be the best option for a super light knife option for a Get Home bag instead of carrying multiple knives.

To date I have tested four knives from Extrema Ratio and although I am a very picky guy when it comes to blades, they have continued to impress with every knife. Sure they are expensive, however the knife is the most essential and basic of survival gear and I believe you should always buy the best knife available when your life may depend on it.

WEIGHT: g 200 - 7.05 oz.
BLADE LENGTH: mm 110 - 4.33”
TOTAL LENGTH: mm 210 - 8.27”
MSRP: $344

WEIGHT: g 225 - 7.94 oz
BLADE LENGTH: mm 115 - 4.53”
TOTAL LENGTH: mm 260 - 10.24”

MSRP: $649

Extrema Ratio Knives

Xtreme Knives


Dark Sider said...

The black finish (I think it's called coating) is zirconium nitride.

Dark Sider said...

Good review ! I also collect knives and I own a Fulcrum C from E.R(also a backup knife like the shrapnel). It is an outstanding knife of the highest build quality. It is very very solid, so tough that it really seems indestructible. I prefer the tanto shape of the Fulcrum C because it has greater penetration power. But, I do agree, that du to serration on the first half of the blade, the Fulcrum C is harder to sharpen than the Shrapnel.
I really like your review on the Ontos and Selvans too. You convinced me to go for a Selvans.
Finally I would like to say that there's another sheath in Cordura for the Shrapnel that is optional. This sheath holds the Kydex one inside of it. When you have this dual sheath, it looks like the Fulcrum K9 one.
Keep on going with good reviews.

Dark Sider said...

Good review. I totally agree. I just bought a Fulcrum C from E.R and it is an outstanding knife of the highest build quality. I also liked your review on the Ontos and Selvans. I'll surely go for a Selvans the next time. I collect knives too. Before the Fulcrum C, I bought a FKMD Stealth in drop point style. According to me, E.R built quality, finish quality, and material quality is the best.