Review: Orion K2 Caper


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conw
March 29, 2009, 12:46 PM
http://www.orionknives.com/images/k2w_tigereyemaple.jpg

I ordered that knife around Christmas as a present to myself. I am something of a perfectionist when it comes to gadgets sometimes, though, and commenced grinding the edge to a much more acute angle. Then I lost my diamond stones somewhere and it stayed in the freezer (literally) until yesterday. That's when I finished grinding a secondary edge on it and did a few tests, then thought it'd be a good idea to at least throw up the pros and cons.

First, let me say that overall the knife reminds me of Kel-Tec products: best-in-class specs and performance, with some caveats, at a great price.

Scales: (mine) Tiger eye maple, also available in phenolic, G-10, paracord, antler/bone, and other woods
Steel: CPM-154
Weight: 61g!
Sheath material: Kydex or leather, buyer's choice
Blade length: 3" I think, Mfr says 3.5 but they must be measuring the spine.
Width: .125"
OAL: 6.75"
RC 58/60

Pros:
+ 61g. My Sodbuster Jr is 55g for Chrissakes.
+ Excellent corrosion resistance, pretty shiny
+ Beautiful wood, nicely fitted
+ Feels VERY light and fast in the hand
+ Leather sheath is top-quality and allows for carry with a big gun belt type belt
+ With the double grind it's a great slicer and push cutter, making it very versatile
+ Great service from company*
+ Not tacticool but could serve EDC tactical type duty
+ 3" or so blade IMO is perfect size, with comfy handle

Cons:
- Kydex sheath straight-up sucks IMO. It left scratches on the blade and didn't work with my good belts. Back to the drawing room there Orion.
- Could feel quite unusual depending what you're used to. Maybe learning curve.
- Needed some finishing work out of the box. There were some machining marks and the bevels were a bit uneven. Most probably wouldn't notice or worry about this though.
- Jimping for the thumb would be a HUGE improvement both for orienting the hand to draw the blade and for casual push cuts.
- Does not work well with lanyards.
- Different examples in their pics appear to have different features but this isn't listed - *slightly* different handguards, lanyard hole vs no lanyard hole, etc. If you are set on one of those features, specify it in your order.
- Initial sharpening literally took 5-6 hours. In retrospect it prob would have been worth it to get a pro to do it for $20-30 but I don't mind; I got to know the knife and it makes me appreciate my carbon steel knives more :)
- Cool logo fades easily under polish, not totally gone or terrible looking but a deeper etching would have been nice.

* The company cut me an amazing deal to match a distributor's rate on the Tiger Eye Maple. The distributor was out of TEM knives and the mfr charged me way under MSRP listed. They also included the kydex in my order then when I decided I didn't like it they changed it out for the (vastly superior) leather.

Recommendation: If you're a perfectionist who loves messing with knives, get it. For $55-80 you can't beat it. If you're a perfectionist who doesn't want to spend several hours finishing it, steer clear or pay someone else to do it. It would still be a great deal for $20-30 more!

If you are looking for the best deal out there on a CPM 154 blade, and want to just give it a solid test run, consider the G10 or even paracord wrapped "backpacker model." They are absolute steals and I don't know how the company does it.

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conw
March 29, 2009, 12:52 PM
Just a final thought, I think it makes a perfect carry combo with my sodbuster jr. They complement each other well: both sharp, but the soddie is easier to resharpen and can take work that I don't wanna use an $80 knife for.

TimboKhan
March 29, 2009, 02:19 PM
In terms of everyday/tacticool carry, that knife shares some similarities with the Spyderco Street Beat, or at least enough where street carry makes sense to me. Not my cup of tea, but it makes sense.

Nice job on the review.

conw
March 29, 2009, 06:35 PM
TK, funny you mention that. I was looking at the SB just before writing this review and almost mentioned how similar it is, but have never handled a SB - the pics do look similar enough though. Seems like the Perrin Street Beat is basically a slightly heftier knife with a very similar blade profile. When you say not your cup of tea are you talking about this type of fixed blade in general or what?

TimboKhan
March 29, 2009, 07:05 PM
Fixed blade carry in general. I don't see anything wrong with it, it just isn't something I would do is all. Mainly, that is because I work in an office environment and carrying a fixed blade would be more of a pain than it would be worth. If I still had an outside gig, I would probably be more inclined to carry a fixed blade in addition to a folder. Specific to my tastes, I think I would choose one of those CRKT Razels, and more specifically the ringed version. I think those things are uber-cool.

conw
March 29, 2009, 07:19 PM
I'd actually prefer a clip-in pocket holster; anyone know where to get one? Just the thing for you maybe, Timbo.

conw
March 30, 2009, 10:38 PM
One-time bump...just in case someone missed it :)

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