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This Italian company is famous for its massive and durable knives that are high class products, indisputably, yet they sometimes bear a price tag that might be a tad too heavy for what they are offering. Let us take a look at some of their more or less successful knives.
Pugio – a compact blade
If we look at it as a purely combat weapon, this knife is a good choice for a hidden or a last chance weapon. A 110 mm blade has no finger guard and its Forprene® handle has a shape drawing from Caucasian kinjal knives, with a heel that can be used for hitting. Basically, it is a dagger (Pugio means dagger in Latin), and it is one of the compact models of 2011. A solid kydex holster is great to carry around, but some might find it a bit too big, which kind of nullifies the hidden weapon idea. It usually comes in black, however desert camo version can be bought for a slightly higher price.
Culter Venatorius – Knives of the Hunter Cult
Being a strong military provider, Extrema Ratio neglected the hunters for quite some time. Culter is a field set for the hunters of medium sized game. It consists of the great Venator knife and two smaller, integral knives, with their own leather holsters. The first of the smaller knives is for gutting the animal and working with large joints, the second one for skinning the animal. The great Venator blade is 195 mm long, however, it is quite wide, giving it a wedgy look and a terrifying cutting potential despite the thickness of only 6.3 mm. It has a nice, red tinted coconut tree handle looks beautiful.
You will find some Latin on the side – it reads: “I am the hunting knife, the claw and the fang of my master. My mission is as ancient as the flesh and blood itself.” This is something that is supposed to convince you that this hugely expensive knife is worth it. The box, grindstone with two granulations, an interesting holster made of high-quality, firm skin colored in accordance to the handle all look quite luxurious and expensive. Unfortunately, the sides of the knife blade itself show marks of grinding, as if it was only done half way, and there is no mirror finish. This might have been done on purpose, however, it is not something you would expect on a model of this price range. As far as the handle is concerned, it is connected with a simple brass screw, which is not quite tightened. Venator is an excellent knife, no issues there, however, this attitude might not be everyone’s cup of tea when it is compared with the competition, and even the cheaper models.
Ontos – The powerful one
When the Italian Army approached Extrema Ratio about the knives and equipment for extreme outdoor exposure, they decided to let F.I.S.S.S. (Federation for Extreme Sports, Exploration and Survival) to design it, and the result is the 400 g heavy, strong knife, with a 165 mm blade, 6.3 mm thick) – Ontos. With a triangle-shaped tip it might not seem very attractive, but we found it quite pleasant to the eye. The set also possesses things that will be used in wilderness survival: equipment for fire starting, grinding, signaling, small repairs, trapping, fishing, collecting food and water, and similar activities, in the style of “Survival Kit Flask” of WW2. Again, the price might be an issue here, as the quality does not reflect it quite as it should.
Selvans – An improved knife
Danielle Del Canto, head instructor at F.I.S.S.S. has modified the already accepted military model, and that is how Selvans came to be – named after the ancient Etruscan forest deity. The difference is noticeable in the extended and reshaped handle, which allows for an easier use of the knife as a light axe. The blade was shortened by 10 mm, widened, and the fake sharp tip was removed, as well as the superfluous ribbed part. The knife is now 310 mm long. Just before the handle, Selvans got an opening to pull the rope through, preventing knife loss in full swing and close to water. The mass of the knife increased to 450 g, while retaining the triangle-shape at the tip. Supposedly, it is a matter for the designer to decide whether to include or not, however, this solution might have been somewhat better.
The follow-up equipment suffered significant changes in comparison with the military version as well. There is now a diamond grinder, tinder-box, Brunton compass, Proton micro-LED light, hand chain saw, signal whistle and some rope. A great combination of useful tools. The knife is a much better received package by the users than the Ontos, due mostly to getting high-quality for a solid price.
A word for the end
Massive and durable, Extrema Ratio knives do lose a bit on the performance side, which would not matter if only their prices were not as high. They claim that none of their models is made in China, which can only partially justify them. They are a big time producer for the Italian military and with such contracts they really do not have to pay attention to the needs of the individual buyers, which is a shame, as they do have a lot to offer, and safeguard their reputation and exclusivity.
Images by Extrema Ratio: www.extremaratioknivesdivision.eu