In a field of general purpose pocket knives, the Smith and Wesson stands out for its specialized nature. In addition to a beefy hybrid straight and serrated blade, the Extreme Ops elegantly includes a webbing/seatbelt cutter and a steel punch for bashing through glass. Our testing team did not include anyone working in professional urban rescue, but it is easy for all of us to envision the need for a tool like this. "Civilian" users will do better to look elsewhere for a knife for routine use.
Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops Review
Cons: Bulky and heavy
Manufacturer: Smith & Wesson
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Smith and Wesson Extreme Ops is a large pocket knife with two specialized rescue tools built in. Our testers found the extra features to be nicely integrated, but largely unnecessary for the vast majority of users.
Blade and Edge Integrity
The blade of the Extreme Ops knife is thick and durable. In heavy use, this blade will not let the user down. Out-of-the-box, the edge was one of the least sharp in our test. Even when brand new, the blade could not cut a tomato. However, the straight section of the blade is easily user-sharpened. If the user maintains the factory-spec steep edge angle, the edge will be sufficiently sharp yet withstand rough use on abrasive materials. Just like the CRKT Mount Shasta, the hybrid blade design leaves the user the option of easily sharpening the straight section while reserving the serrated portion for tougher cutting tasks like rope or carpet. The "tanto" shaped blade gives a unique look and makes for a marginal increase in strength. The small and separate blade inside the v-shaped seatbelt cutter is sharp enough for the application. Note that it cannot be sharpened by the user. If you will truly rely on the seatbelt cutter, save that blade for emergency use only.
The Smith and Wesson Extreme Ops full-size form factor fills a clenched fist nicely. In extended usage the handle offers no issues. The handle is slightly thinner, and therefore less rounded, than both Benchmade knives. The similarly sized Benchmade Griptilian 551 is a tenth of an inch thicker with a more rounded, more comfortable handle. Even the significantly smaller Editors' Choice winner Benchmade Mini-Barrage 585 has a slightly thicker handle that sits more comfortable in a working hand. The Extreme Ops opens easily with one hand, from either side. The pocket clip is situated such that a slight, though noticeable, repositioning of the knife is required in order to thumb the blade open with the right hand. If carried in a left pants pocket, even more manipulation is required to open the blade. The simple liner lock fixes the blade in place and allows eventually intuitive two-handed closure. We would like to see a "tactical" knife like this in assisted opening style. Note that the seatbelt cutter is not very easy or intuitive to use. If you own this knife and expect to use the seatbelt cutter in an emergency situation, practice on some old webbing in order to get a feel for how it will work for you.
Smith and Wesson brings over 150 years of American firearm manufacturing expertise to the Extreme Ops knife. Gun manufacturing requires precise design cues and tight tolerances. The knife we tested reveals this attention to detail. All parts are bolted together with user-serviceable fasteners. The main blade hinge is tight, but offers little to no resistance upon opening of the blade.
Like Benchmade's Griptillian knife and the Victorinox SwissChamp Swiss Army Knife the Extreme Ops is pretty sizable for every day carry in pocket or purse. However, in this case, if you require the additional and specialized tools of the Extreme Ops, it will be easy to justify the additional bulk and weight. In fact, the glass breaker tool only benefits from the greater mass of the entire tool.
As mentioned above, the two rescue features included with the Extreme Ops knife will be key for some users. The glass basher and the webbing cutter are efficiently and gracefully integrated into the shape and design of the Extreme Ops knife. The webbing cutter could be a little sharper in order to cut with greater ease, but it serves the purpose. Especially if the user can practice a little bit with it.
Police officers, firefighters, and paramedics in certain situations will find the Extreme Ops knife useful. It is also easy to imagine that professional drivers in extreme environments (Think "Ice Road Truckers"…) may justify carrying one of these in their pockets.
If you need the features of this knife, we can endorse the value of the Smith and Wesson Extreme Ops. Smith and Wesson clearly manufactures with pride in quality and sells this knife at a very affordable price.
The Smith and Wesson is a specialized tool intended for every day carry by a very select demographic of people. A user may only use the specialized extra features once in his or her life, but in that one instance will justify carrying the tool for years prior and afterwards.
— Jediah Porter