I’m of the opinion that no knife collection is complete without a solid “outdoorsman”type blade. Before we can dive into the review of the OKC RAT Model II. I want to briefly discuss the criteria that make an ideal blade for the outdoors, whether it be in your hunting gear, tackle box, pocket or pack. Note, these criteria pertain to a general purpose knife for basic tasks while in the outdoors and not a survival knife. Which would be by definition be a fixed blade that is sturdy enough to split wood and complete other survival tasks.
The ideal outdoorsman’s knife is light, and does not add much bulk. The knife should fold with a sturdy locking mechanism, and the handle should provide some degree of anti-slip protection. This will generally preclude a pinned wooden handle and some types of nylon. When I am looking for a blade for my outdoor adventures I generally look for a G10 or similar handle that provides a firm grip. What’s great about some nylon handles is that they can be stippled to provide even greater grip at the expense of pocket “hitching.”
Now that we have defined the “ideal” blade for the outdoors let’s take a look at the OKC RAT Model II.
The Model II uses an AUS8 stainless steel blade that in my case has stayed bright and has not dulled as quickly as my other AUS8 blades. For those who are unfamiliar with AUS8 steel; AUS8 is a relatively common stainless blade steel. The benefits of AUS8 include superior corrosion resistance and the potential to be sharpened to a razor edge relatively easily. The trade-off is that AUS8 tends to dull quickly. In 8 weeks of EDC with the Model II I had to sharpen the blade 5 times to maintain an acceptable edge.
In all edge and point testing (wood, nylon, meat, vegetables, and cordage) I found the performance to be on par with other AUS8 blades that I have tried. The point strength was excellent in all point tests and there was no noticeable damage to the blade. With this being said, after using the blade to prepare a meal, it did require a sharpening to return to an acceptable edge. This is a serious gap in the blade’s performance as a knife for the outdoors should not dull easily in food preparation.
The Model II’s fitment in the G10 handle is surprising at this price point. There is no play in the blade whatsoever when folded, or extended. The blade studs are placed fairly well and serve their function. However, with no assisted open I would have liked to see angled blade studs like some of the Kershaw models available. Like all knives with studs for assisted opening some practice will serve you well, as will breaking in the mechanism. You may choose to lubricate the mechanism to speed the opening of the blade, I elected not to do this as I was carrying the Model II in pocket for the duration of the testing period. However, these points regarding the opening speed of the Model II are minor complaints when we consider the proposed philosophy of use for this blade by OKC. The Model II is designed as an outdoorsman’s blade so to compare it to self defense or EDC type blades is not justified.
The pocket clip is easily adjusted, and provides excellent pocket placement. The G10 handled is drilled for a lanyard if you prefer, and provides an excellent grip surface. I conducted two wet hand tests with the Model II. The first using dish soap to emulate blood, and the second using straight water to emulate a fishing, camping or hunting application. The G10 handle performed well in both cases. While the dish soap test was not as sure as a para cord or some of the other no slip handles on the market, at this price point I found it more than acceptable and felt confident that I would be able to use the Model II in an emergency situation.
To conclude, I like this blade. You get an awful lot of knife for very little investment. The low price means that it is easy to stow the Model II in a pack, fishing vest, tackle box, bunker bag etc. and simply “forget about it.” You will have a reliable knife when you need it. Would the Model II, be my go-to EDC? The short answer would be no, the blade dulls too quickly and the lack of assisted open means that it may be too slow in an emergency situation. However, the OKC RAT Model II does exactly what it is designed to do, and for that reason this blade is: GUNSLINGER APPROVED.
Categories: Reviews & Releases