Established in Maniago (Italy) by Pauletta Gino in 1969, the LionSteel has become the pride of the Made in Italy all over the world, counting among his overseas successes the first prize for "Most Innovative Imported Design 2010" at the Blade Show of 2010, "Most Innovative Imported Design 2012" with T3 produced in collaboration with DPX Gear, and "Best Manufacturing Quality Award 2014" with the TiDust, and "Overall knife of the Year 2014" with a knife made in collaboration with CRKT.
Peculiarities of LionSteel's products is to be able to create distinctive designs which, in their simplicity and essentiality, meets the wishes of more sophisticated fans and that of utilitarian fans which are directed to the use of the knife in the field.
This balance of characteristics between elegance and functionality is difficult to maintain over time, but LionSteel is showing consistency with this design philosophy on most of their products. Credit for this success goes also to Michele Pensato, aka Molletta, an experienced designer (also in metallurgy), who has designed a wide number of knives manufactured by LionSteel, including folding and fixed blade knives.
In the latter category falls the new M5, a full tang utility knife with a satin finish and saber grind blade, 115 mm long and 4,5 mm thick at ricasso. The knife outline achieved by smoothing all the edges of the tang and blade spine, is the aesthetic characteristic that made me immediately appreciatethe M5, bringing to mind the fixed blade knives made with the same similarity by Todd Begg and some other well-known brands.
The steel used is the Sleipner, heat treated to achieve a hardness of 60-61 HRC; this chromium-molybdenum-vanadium alloy produced by Uddeholm, is a variant of the famous AISI D2 steel. The Sleipner is characterized by a certain versatility, with good chipping and wear resistance and best quality in terms of workability and also from a heat treatment stability point of view, but with a lower resistance to corrosion (the chromium content is equal to 7.8%).
The handle is made of G10 scales with a striped 3D texture which is very attractive and which also gives a better socket. The longitudinal conformation of the handle is simple and straightforward, devoid of a finger groove, with a slight curvature towards the bottom of the handle; observing the knife from the spine, however, displays the ergonomic design of the scales that makes the M5 pleasant and comfortable to hold in hand.
The handle is 126 mm long, thus allowing a good average grip for every kind of hand size; the scales are fixed by means of two steel screws (Torx-8), ensuring simplicity and speed of disassembly for maintenance and cleaning of the instrument. At the bottom of the handle there is the lanyard hole, practiced on the uncovered tang.
The Cordura sheath, MOLLE compatible, is simple and functional but at the same time it has been designed with the utmost attention to detail. The materials used are of quality and it is made in an excellent way: seams are reinforced and made to perfection with the terminals soldered to ensure a greater resistance; the snap fastener part that is in contact with the knife handle is protected by a plastic snap cap and the inner part of the Cordura strip that holds the knife is lined in leatherette.
The inner part of sheath, where the blade is housed, is made with a rigid plastic core, fixed to the outer Cordura sheath by means of a hexagonal screw. The retention of the knife is guaranteed by the snap fastener closure that holds the handle. The sheath is also provided with a pocket with Velcro closure, and two plastic rings placed at the ends, fixing elements not provided with MOLLE system.
The M5 is available in four versions: three with satin blade which differ in the scales materials (G10, olive wood or santos wood), and one with stone washed blade and G10 scales; the retail price in Europe is EUR 160.00.
Some qualitative tests were conducted in order to assess the cutting performance and product durability; as it is a utility knife, in addition to our usual cutting test, the knife was used to create tinder to start the fire, to cut a few branches and so on. The cutting capacity proved good, with excellent edge retention (as might be expected from the used steel properties). The tip has a good penetration ability and is very resistent.
Due to its medium size and its overall strength, the M5 is a versatile knife that is useful for many outdoor activities (such as camping, hunting, hiking, and so on). The blade thickness is such as to allow even more hard work, although the size restricts in part the possible uses for heavier operations such as chopping and batoning. The quality / price ratio, with respect to the materials used and the manufacture quality, is strongly in favor.
The design and finishes of this knife show the excellence in manufacturing and quality that has made LionSteel famous all over the world.
Producer: LionSteel - www.lionsteel.it
Designer: Michele Pensato “Molletta”
Type: fixed blade, saber grind
Steel: Sleipner 60-61 HRC
Blade length: 115 mm
Blade thickness: 4.5 mm
Blade width: 33 mm
Total length: 241 mm
Weight: 246 g
Price: € 160.00
Made in Italy
This article has been published on the magazine "Armi&Balistica" n.43