Ontario RAT 1: Updated

I’ve heard a lot of guys talking about how solid and good the Ontario RAT 1 and RAT 2 knives are.  They get the general nod of approval for bringing a good working liner locking folder to the table at a good value.  Off the Cuff, I want to agree.  It has a 3.6″ blade which is good… And the blade features a good drop point shape with a workable belly and a nice flat grind.  The handle is big enough to get a good grip on and it should feel good in the hand…  But the GFN material leaves it feeling slick. “Glass Filled Nylon” just isn’t a good choice for knife scales.  Luckily, there is a version that features G10 scales.
The blade steel is AUS8 .  Now, here’s the thing.  I fucking can’t stand AUS8.  Yes, you can put a wicked sharp edge on it… But it dulls faster than my patience with Liberals.   Sure, it’s easy to sharpen… which is good.  Because you are going to be doing a lot of it.  With a proper heat treat, AUS8 can be serviceable.  But in my opinion, it’s best for above average sized fixed bladed Field and Bushcraft knives for those guys that sit around campfires all night with nothing better to do than chew straw and sharpen their knives while listening to banjo music and waiting for tourists to float down the river.  I’m not judging.  If that’s you, then enjoy your AUS8 blade.
Luckily there is a version that features D2 steel.   I like D2.  And luckily the versions that have D2 blade steel, also have the G10 knife scales.  So that’s certainly the one to get.  Or should you?
The value on even the upgraded version is still very very good.  In fact, it’s excellent.  But the question is, would you want it?  Let’s look at the rest of the RAT 1 design.
The knife comes with the clip configured in Tip Down fashion.  This is just blatantly wrong and should have been taken as a bad omen.  The knife also features Thumb Studs on the bald to facilitate opening.  And the knife uses a Liner Lock.  Seriously, this knife is like a nostalgic trip to 1995 SWAT Magazine.
But then again… 1995 was a good year.   Windows 95 came out, as did the movie TOY STORY… Those were heady times my friends.  So let’s look at the good points on this knife.  The liners are full length under the grip scales, with six anchoring screws, making this one solid folding knife.  And the Lock portion of the liner engages the blade fully, making it quite strong as far as Liner Locks go, and there’s no need for any bullshit secondary lock like CRKT likes to use to completely ruin a knife.   (Note:  If your Lock needs a Lock, then your Lock Sucks.)
The blade pivots on brass bushings, making it quite smooth, and should prove to be reliably smooth for a very long time.  The pocket clip can move to any of the four corners, allowing you to carry it any way you like, Mr Pretty Mouth.
Overall, though I have a lot of fun taking the piss out of the RAT 1, I have to admit it’s a damn fine folding knife for a hard working knife not afraid of rough use.  In the firearms community, you would call this a Truck Gun.  I guess in the blade community, maybe this is more of a Folding Bushcraft Knife.  You won’t be afraid to baton wood with it… Chop, Hack, or even dare I say, Loan it to a Friend.   I’d splurge the extra few bucks to the D2/G10 version if I was going to buy another RAT 1.  And I just might.  Because, yeah… I like it.
Alright… Alright… I see you, RAT.  Okay…
Check this out.  Today at work I helped the Parts Department clean up all the boxes from the last couple days of incoming freight.  Parts needs three people back there… today they had one.  So I pitched in.  It was a legit mountain of boxes.  Too much for the dumpster we have, so I had to process them down.  Luckily I wore the RAT 1 knife today because I sure as hell put it to the test.    I spent most of the afternoon slashing cardboard.  Knocked it down and got all that mess into the bin so the truck can collect it in the morning.   I cut a LOT of cardboard.  The blade, when I was done, looked horrible.
I hit it with some cleaner and a microfiber cloth… and the blade looks like new.  The edge is what impressed me the most.  It still feels as sharp as it did when I started.   Sharp, no marring, no blemishes, no abrasion streaks… Not even kidding.  The knife blade looks brand spanking new, and still feels like it.  The Paper Test?  Yup.  Shaves paper like it did when it was brand new out of the package.
I think I will get a RAT 2… in D2 and with G10… Yeah.  I’m that impressed.

5 thoughts on “Ontario RAT 1: Updated”

  1. Good knives – maybe even great knives in the D2/G 10 configuration. Tip up – tip down, doesn’t matter to a cardboard box. Tactical considerations? – pick something that makes you grin but when it comes to working knives Ontario has been doing it right for decades.

  2. I have been carrying my Rat 1-A, aus-8 for about two months now. I really hate the lock, with the way the assisted opening function works it is unnecessary at best. I like the steel, the slimness, blade shape and the grind. I don’t think I would recommend it. The price is too high for what you get.

    1. I have grown really Meh about the RAT. The size and shape are all fine… everything about the knife is fine. It just doesn’t get me excited.
      The D2 might be more compelling. I can see why some dude love it. I think it matches the price and what you get just fine… if you love it.
      I might get the D2 version for myself, but I’m going to give away this RAT.

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