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Ontario Knife Company RAT II Review

The fully customizable pocket clip makes it a good choice for the consumer who doesn't know their pocket clip carry preferences
Ontario Knife Company RAT II
Photo: Ontario Knife Company
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Price:  $48 List | $37.98 at Amazon
Pros:  Simple, reliable, sturdy
Cons:  Low profile handle, heavier than other options, blade rust/tarnish
Manufacturer:   Ontario Knife
By Jediah Porter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 13, 2021
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61
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 20
  • Blade and Edge Integrity - 30% 7
  • Ergonomics - 20% 6
  • Portability - 20% 7
  • Construction Quality - 20% 7
  • Other Features - 10% 0

Our Verdict

Ontario Knife Company (based in New York State's Ontario County), with their RAT II pocket knife, has produced a reliable, simple, modern pocket knife in a proven design and configuration. The materials are good enough, but nothing special (our tester blade shows some unexplained blade tarnish/staining). The construction has held up to our rigorous testing. The best attribute of this knife is its four possible pocket clip configurations. If you don't yet know how you like to carry a pocket knife (or know you like to carry it in a less-popular orientation), the ability to move the clip around is rare and sets this knife apart.

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Awards  Editors' Choice Award   Editors' Choice Award 
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Star Rating
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Pros Simple, reliable, sturdyIncredible blade quality, assisted open, perfect combination of compactness/functionalityGreat blade, classy wooden handleTop-of-the-line materials, tight construction, great bladeLight, simple, well-made, full size blade, full-function
Cons Low profile handle, heavier than other options, blade rust/tarnishPricey, blade lock mechanism not intuitiveExpensive, no assisted opening functionSuper expensive, small handle profileExpensive, low profile handle, flexy plastic construction
Bottom Line The fully customizable pocket clip makes it a good choice for the consumer who doesn't know their pocket clip carry preferencesImmaculately constructed knife in a form-factor that is easy to carry and large enough for virtually every taskThis is one of the best knives we have ever tested with a wooden handleA high-end pocket knife that is readily available at proven retailers; we only wish the handle were a little bulkier for heavy usageFor a full-function, full-size pocket knife, this is as light as it gets, and is the premier option for all sorts of human-powered adventures
Rating Categories Ontario Knife Company RAT II Benchmade Mini-Barrage 585 Benchmade 15031-2 North Fork 0450 Sinkevich Carbon Fiber Benchmade 535 Bugout
Blade And Edge Integrity (30%)
7
9
9
9
8
Ergonomics (20%)
6
8
8
7
7
Portability (20%)
7
7
7
6
8
Construction Quality (20%)
7
9
9
9
8
Other Features (10%)
0
0
0
0
0
Specs Ontario Knife... Benchmade... Benchmade 15031-2... 0450 Sinkevich... Benchmade 535 Bugout
Weight (ounces) 2.8 oz 3.4 oz 3.2 oz 2.4 oz 1.9 oz
Blade Style Drop point, straight Drop point, straight Drop point, straight Drop point, straight Drop point, straight
Blade locks closed? No Yes Yes No No
Opening Style Ambidextrous thumb stud Assisted, ambidextrous thumb stud Ambidextrous thumb-stud Back of knife finger tab Ambidextrous thumb stud
Lock Mechanism Liner lock Proprietary (Axis) Proprietary (Axis) Frame lock Proprietary (Axis)
Carry Style, in addition to loose in pocket Pocket clip and lanyard hole Pocket Clip and lanyard hole Pocket Clip Pocket clip and lanyard hole Pocket clip and lanyard hole
Blade Material AUS-8 Stainless Steel 154CM stainless steel S30V stainless steel S35vn stainless steel S30V stainless steel
Handle Material Nylon 6 Plastic Stabilized wood Carbon fiber Grivory
Blade Length (inches) 2.7 in 2.8 in 2.9 in 3.2 in 3.0 in
Closed Length (inches) 4.0 in 4.0 in 3.9 in 4.1 in 4.2 in
Overall Length 7.0 in 6.9 in 6.9 in 7.4 in 7.4 in
Thickness (w/o pocket clip) (inches) .4 in .6 in .5 in .4 in .4 in
Other Features or Functions None None None 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.

Performance Comparison



Clean, simple design in a modern, proven configuration. The RAT II...
Clean, simple design in a modern, proven configuration. The RAT II is all around reliable.
Photo: Jediah Porter

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.

OKC's Taiwan-made blade is modern in shape and materials and pretty...
OKC's Taiwan-made blade is modern in shape and materials and pretty average in size for a daily pocket knife.
Photo: Jediah Porter

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 pictured blemishes on the OKC RAT II blade have become a...
The pictured blemishes on the OKC RAT II blade have become a permanent addition to our tested piece.
Photo: Jediah Porter

Ergonomics


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.

You can see the three holes, on the left end of the knife, for...
You can see the three holes, on the left end of the knife, for moving the pocket clip. The opposite, unpictured side of the knife has two more sets of holes, for a total of four clip mounting positions.
Photo: Jediah Porter

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.

Portability


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.

The configurable pocket clip, in action.
The configurable pocket clip, in action.
Photo: Jediah Porter

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.

Construction Quality


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.

The spring-steel "liner lock" of the OKC RAT II slides in place as...
The spring-steel "liner lock" of the OKC RAT II slides in place as you open the blade and stays locked until you force it to the side to close.
Photo: Jediah Porter

Other Features


There are no other features on the Ontario Knife Company RAT II. Few general-purpose pocket knives have other features. That's ok.

Value


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.

Conclusion


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