Ontario Knife Company RAT II Review
Cons: Low profile handle, heavier than other options, blade rust/tarnish
Manufacturer: Ontario Knife
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Ontario Knife Company RAT II
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|Pros||Simple, reliable, sturdy||Beautifully constructed, assisted open, good value||Compact carry, familiar blade, bottle opener||Sharp looking and cutting, good materials, inexpensive||Serrated blade portion, carabiner carry option, lightweight, good blade steel|
|Cons||Low profile handle, heavier than other options, blade rust/tarnish||Slender handle makes it hard to apply even pressure, thin blade is fragile||Small handle, not available with Leatherman's best blade steel||Less-than-ideal pocket clip orientation, sharp stowed edges wear clothing||Rudimentary construction, primitive lockback|
|Bottom Line||The fully customizable pocket clip makes it a good choice for the consumer who doesn't know their pocket clip carry preferences||A slender, svelte pocket knife with great materials and a reasonable value||A compact, lightweight, affordable pocket knife with a handle that is a little too small for robust tasks||A budget knife that leads its price range in performance and downright impressive quality||The best knife we have tested for rock, ice, and alpine climbing|
|Rating Categories||Ontario Knife Compa...||Kershaw Leek||Leatherman Skeletoo...||Sanrenmu 7010||Petzl Spatha|
|Blade and Edge Integrity (30%)|
|Construction Quality (20%)|
|Other Features (10%)|
|Specs||Ontario Knife Compa...||Kershaw Leek||Leatherman Skeletoo...||Sanrenmu 7010||Petzl Spatha|
|Weight||2.8 oz||3.1 oz||1.3 oz||3.2 oz||1.5 oz|
|Blade Length||2.7 in||2.9 in||2.3 in||2.7 in||2.7 in|
|Blade Material||AUS-8 Stainless Steel||Sandvik 14C28N stainless steel||420HC stainless steel||8Cr13MoV stainless steel||Sandvik 12C27 stainless steel|
|Handle Material||Nylon 6||410 stainless steel||Steel||Stainless Steel||Nylon|
|Blade Style||Drop point, straight||Drop point, straight||Drop point, straight||Straight||Drop Point, hybrid straight/serrated|
|Blade locks closed?||No||Yes||No||No||No|
|Opening Style||Ambidextrous thumb stud||Assisted, ambidextrous thumb stud. And back-of-knife finger tab.||Thumb hole||Ambidextrous Thumb stud||Ambidextrous thumb hole, ridged traction ring|
|Lock Mechanism||Liner lock||Frame lock||Liner lock||Frame lock||Lock back|
|Carry Style, in addition to loose in pocket||Pocket clip and lanyard hole||Pocket Clip and lanyard hole||Pocket clip and lanyard hole||Pocket Clip and lanyard hole||Carabiner hole|
|Closed Length||4.0 in||4.0 in||3.4 in||3.7 in||4.2 in|
|Overall Length||7.0 in||7.0 in||5.9 in||6.5 in||7.0 in|
|Thickness (w/o pocket clip)||0.4 in||0.3 in||0.3 in||0.4 in||0.5 in|
|Other Features or Functions||None||None||Bottle opener||None||None|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Ontario Knife Company RAT II is a basic, mid-priced, solidly-performing knife. Let us first make some notes on branding and such. "Ontario Knife Company" is often abbreviated, even by the company itself, as "OKC." The "RAT" reference is an abbreviation also. OKC brands this in conjunction with "Randall's Adventure Training". Randall's Adventure Training is a survival school in Alabama. The RAT II is a scaled-down version of the original folding OKC RAT. There are many other OKC RAT knives. The RAT II, as tested here, is what we have found is best for day-to-day use and human-powered outdoor use.
Blade and Edge Integrity
The AUS-8 stainless steel of the tested OKC RAT II is solid, reliable steel. We've tested it in other circumstances and found it to hold an edge about like other mid to high-end materials. There are certainly better steels, but you have to spend quite a bit more to make that step up.
We found that the blade on our tester shows some oxidation/staining. We can't attribute it to any specific usage, nor can we get it off. It doesn't yet affect performance, but it is an aesthetic issue that we don't expect in a product of this price point.
The RAT II folding pocket knife is very simple, relative to the competition. This is a good thing. The handle is basically symmetrical (aside from the pocket clip) and the plastic scales are smooth where it matters and lightly textured otherwise. You open the RAT II with the thumb of either hand, via an ambidextrous thumb stud. The pocket clip can be mounted in any of four different places (tip up/down and left/right). Especially if you are relatively new to daily carry of a pocket knife, this comprehensive set of carrying options will help you really learn how you like your knife positioned.
We wish the handle scales were both a tiny bit bulkier and more rounded. Our test team finds that a slightly bulkier and more rounded knife is better in extended and heavy usage. Of course, a bulkier knife is also less portable.
You can carry your OKC RAT II in any of four different pocket clip configurations, loose in your pocket, or strung with cordage of some sort through the lanyard hole. Most will carry it pocket clipped. In that place and style, the pocket clip is very tight in a good way and, as mentioned above, configurable for you to try many different options.
On our scale the knife weighs 2.8 ounces and, when folded up, measures 4.0 x 0.4 inches. This is fairly typical for a day-to-day pocket knife. You can cut that weight nearly in half, for human-powered adventures, with a different choice. Lighter options compromise on sturdiness or cost, as compared to the RAT II.
Aside from the above-noted blade surface staining, we had no issues with the construction of the OKC RAT II. We are glad to see the completely open frame design. The RAT II is easy to clean when necessary. We like that all the fasteners are bolts instead of rivets. Theoretically, this knife is user-serviceable. Note, though, that disassembling, servicing, and reassembling small, mechanical equipment like a pocket knife is more complicated than it might first appear.
There are no other features on the Ontario Knife Company RAT II. Few general-purpose pocket knives have other features. That's ok.
For the design and construction quality, the price is a wee bit high. You can readily find competitors at the same or lower price that are, arguably, a little better overall. The difference isn't dramatic. If you find a deal on this OKC knife you could readily consider it a value item. If you seek absolute value at retail, this isn't where we'd send you first.
The Ontario Knife Company RAT II is as basic as modern pocket knives get. This is good. Basic is reliable and proven. Our testing backs this up. We have a few minor complaints, but can recommend this product, especially if you find a discounted price on it.
— Jediah Porter
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