Every once in a while, there is a collaboration in the outdoor world that just makes sense. Think of your favorite camouflage company wrapping your favorite rifle. Think of two of your favorite outdoor personalities out and about on a wild hunting or fishing trip. Think, in this case, of your favorite survival company working with one of the top names in the knife industry, Montana Knife Company. Warning, what you are about to read is incredibly biased. You are going to read a lot of self-back patting and self-affirmation here. After all, I’m not only the author of this blog, I’m one of the guys behind the design of the new Montana Knife Company Fieldcraft Knife. Hopefully, you’ll agree some of it is justified as we’re pretty proud of what we created.
When It All Began
In the middle of the summer of 2021, Fieldcraft Survival’s very own Mike Glover sent me a text message saying I have a meeting with Josh Smith to design a custom knife for the company. To the layman, Josh is just another knifemaker but to a knife nerd like me, I knew I’d be meeting and working with a man who became a Journeyman Bladesmith at the age of 15 and a Master Smith at the age of 19. Josh’s work was not foreign to me. Mike knew I was the right one to work with Josh given my background in the knife community. While not a knife maker by trade, I designed multiple best-selling knives for various companies over the years and reviewed many more in dozens upon dozens of magazine articles printed over the past decade. I’m a staple at BLADE Show and have been a knife tester doing R&D for various companies since 2005. Josh came by our Heber City office and the two of us sat down with a pencil and pad. We discussed what features we like in knives based on our collective backgrounds and we created a design for a true EDC blade to compliment one’s self-defense or survival lineup. Josh started MKC to create knives people could truly depend on and eventually pass down. Fieldcraft Survival was created to train good Americans and have them pass on skills to their loved ones and community. As I said, this collaboration was one that just made sense.
It wasn’t more than a few weeks until Josh sent me the real life (heat-treated and sharpened) blade from our early sketches. That is the benefit of working with a real knifemaker and not a large company. Josh is able to make exactly what he sketched up by hand whereas a large company wouldn’t necessarily have the time or resources to do that without a full-scale production. On the hand, the prototype felt alive. Josh nailed where I wanted the balance of the blade (further back on the handle since it was not a chopper) and the thickness of the handle scales was on point for a compact but the hand-filling blade. Josh made the knife to my desired specs and he made a knife that does knife works well. So many knife companies are designing their blades to do 12 different functions but none very well. This prototype was designed to be a great blade and it is. I made a couple of modifications to the prototype including the jimping on the spine of the blade toward the butt. Modifications at this stage are not uncommon and both Josh and I agree we want to make sure the final product is exactly what we both believe is the best version from the prototype process. It was a sad day when I had to send the prototype back but I was supremely confident in what we were on the verge of creating.
Design and Function
As previously mentioned, this knife is designed to be an EDC blade. It can be carried inside the hand warmer pocket of most pants with just the very end of the handle exposed. It can be carried on either side of the body for utility or defense. It is small enough to be carried every day but also large enough to be a real tool that can be used harder than the folding knife in your pocket. The steel is 154cm, a proven workhorse, and the design is heavily inspired by spearpoint blades I used from various makers in the bushcraft realm. The knife also has bird and trout vibes and those familiar with the MKC line will see clear similarities in the handle design and construction like other knives from Josh’s company. Both Josh and I know there are only so many blade shapes and patterns possible. Rather than attempting to create something new, we wanted to provide a blade design that works well for many different applications and construction that would hold up to actual use. We wanted this knife to be at home on riversides and mountainsides in the hands of men and women who would use it to process fish and game into family-size portions. We also wanted this knife to be something held in the hand with confidence if your life depended on it for defense. True to many knives from cultures around the world, what works well in the field can work well for fighting.
You don’t need to dig too deep to discover the frenzy that is a Montana Knife Company drop. Hundreds of knives sell out in a matter of minutes. That is not an exaggeration. When you pair the loyal following of Josh’s clients with the students and followers of Fieldcraft Survival, you will no doubt have knives sell out faster than ever before. We know this won’t be the last run of this collaborative design. All it is going to take is holding the knife and you’ll understand its intent. You will want one. You can wait if you want but realize Josh has other knives to build and we have more people to train. If you truly want one of these, you have to be very quick at the switch. I told you at the onset of this blog it would be very biased and I know it has been. I won’t be alone in my desire for one of the production models and I’ll eat my shoe if I’m wrong about the rate at which they sell out. If you’re looking for a great knife for EDC, know others will be looking too! This one will check many boxes and make you very happy.
Postscript: If you think this knife is cool and you have to have one, just wait until you see the second one we sketched up and prototyped. Did I just give that secret away? As we mention in our survival classes, remember where you find one you may find two.