Lionsteel is an Italian knife company, and I seem to have a soft spot for Italian cutty/stabby things. One of my favorite swords is Italian, and I’m a big fan of the Italian Extrema Ratio company.
Lionsteel came to my attention via Blade Show. The company has made great showings there, and I keep track of that show. Hopefully I’ll be able to start attending soon. The SR-11 actually won the award for the overall show in 2010, and since I own most Blade Show winning knives already, I figured I’d give it a shot.
I’m glad I did.
Word on the street is that the knife’s Uddeholm Sleipner steel is similar to D2, and this has been my experience, but I personally like Sleipner more. It seems a bit easier to sharpen, and the edge retention seems a bit better, but I’ll admit I haven’t done any actual testing.
Sleipner is one of 8% Chrome, Molybdenum carbides tool steel group. Steels from this group have higher toughness and wear resistance than regular tool steels like D2. It’s a premium steel, but I’d consider it middle of the pack. For carbon steels, Maxamet, Cru-wear, M4 etc are still preferable in my opinion.
It gets the job done, though.
The titanium handle is ergonomic, and I ended up liking the weird, downward facing guard more than I thought I would. It actually never gets in the way of regular use, and is quite attractive when the blade is deployed.
The 3.625″ blade is right in my sweet spot for an EDC knife, and I have found the grind to be really sweet for cutting, but affording a good amount of strength too. Again, I didn’t exactly test this by levering paint cans, etc, but after one handles hundreds of knives, one develops a sense for these sorts of things.
The handle is made of titanium, and I think it’s fairly well down. Ergonomic, and comfortable in the hand, I could cut with this thing all day.
People who like smaller EDC knives should probably stay away from this guy, though. The knife is large, larger than a Benchmade Griptilian, and I know that’s a no-go for a lot of blade enthusiasts. The overall length while deployed is 8.25″.
The clip is comfortable, and has a nice little carbide window breaker on it.
Overall, I am super happy with this knife and impressed with Lionsteel. The only think I’m not wild about is the price. At about $350, give or take a little, I think it’s a little overpriced for what you get. Compared to a Spyderco Para 2 or Manix 2 with premium steel for $100 less, I’m not sure it stacks up, value-wise. Most of that increase in price is probably because the titanium handle is integral (all made of one piece, which requires very complex, precision machining), but most users are not going to care about this, I don’t think.
However, I do recommend this knife for someone who wants a heavy duty knife that will last a long time, deploy smoothly, and be tough as nails. Just don’t forget to care for the steel properly–remember, it’s not stainless.