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Knife review - Ontario RAT II

Discussion in 'Knives' started by DCBman, Dec 29, 2021.

  1. DCBman

    DCBman Loaded Pockets

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    This is a review of the Ontario RAT II knife

    [​IMG]

    I was looking for an alternate EDC knife, something cost effective and that I could use to carry around and not worry about. The Ontario RAT II looked like it would fit the bill. I'd always wanted to get an Ontario knife and I've liked the other RAT models (fixed blades) so I pulled the trigger and ordered this one.

    Summary - Sadly, I'm disappointed.

    Rather than go into a bunch of details about the process leading up to this purchase, I think I'll just jump right into the "Pro's and Con's".

    Pro's
    - The blade is the right length, albeit a bit short.
    - I like that the scales are drilled to reverse the clip to tip up (it ships tip down...BOO!)
    - It's light, which is what I wanted.
    (unfortunately, that's about it)

    Con's
    - First impression when opening it up was "cheap knife" (like Knife Show on QVC kinda cheap).
    - Blade looked like they sharpened the dang thing on a bench grinder and just sent it out.
    - Scales feel cheap and plastic-ey.
    - Opening is not easy. It's smooth and quick once you get it started, but starting it is hard.
    - Balance is not very good (feels all blade and no handle).
    - When the knife opens and locks it makes a loud, hollow, "POP" sound. (not quiet at all).
    - Edge was so ragged I literally had to run it over my ceramic hone to even look at it!
    - It's way sharp now, but no thanks to Randall's (shame on them for that!).
    - Oh, and the top edges of the blade are practically sharper than the blade itself!! Don't ever stick you hand in your pocket with this thing. (Probably great on a fire steel though, but not something you want on a EDC/pocket knife).

    I could go on, but I think you get the idea. Sure, I didn't expect it to be a competitor to my Benchmade Mini-Grips (at 5x-6x the price), but I thought the Randall's were better than this.

    Honestly, I'm really actually disappointed in this knife. I expected more from RAT. If I didn't know better, I'd say it was a "kids knife" (really).

    A while back my Father-In-Law bought me a Box-o-Knives from the 'Knife Show' on TV. Crappiest knives ever, but they serve a purpose. We probably lose about 10 knives a year out feeding the livestock, so cheap knives fit the bill for cutting open bales, and ranch work (in the dark and snow storms), etc. After I looked over the RAT II tonight and played with it a bit...I just wound up throwing it in the drawer with the rest of the Knife Show Box-o-Knives.

    What a bummer! :(
     
    Last edited by DCBman, Dec 29, 2021
    #1 DCBman, Dec 29, 2021
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2021
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  2. rlewpolar

    rlewpolar Loaded Pockets

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    Thanks for the honest review. Was looking at these for a while now and going to pass. Think I’ll stick to my Spydercos


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
     
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  3. DCBman

    DCBman Loaded Pockets

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    This knife is probably the polar opposite of a Spyderco knife!

    I hate to say it, but it is.
     
  4. Wishoot

    Wishoot Loaded Pockets

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    Interesting. I bought my Rat II a couple of years ago. I agree it's not top of the line, but it's a quality low-cost option.

    Mine came sharp out of the box and retains it's edge quite well. It certainly has a cheaper feel than more expense knives, but what would you expect from something that's 1/3rd the cost? For the $19 I paid, it was well worth it IMO
     
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  5. ox71

    ox71 Loaded Pockets

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    You could do a lot worse for the price

    .
     
  6. DCBman

    DCBman Loaded Pockets

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    I paid a hair less than 2x that amount ($ 36), and I shopped around too. So yeah, I kind of expected more from a nearly $40 dollar knife. If it would have cost $10 I probably wouldn't have written the OP and just chalked it up to experience, but for what I paid I'm going to comment on it.
     
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  7. DCBman

    DCBman Loaded Pockets

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    Forgive me, but I'm not going to attempt finding out how.

    ;):)
     
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  8. colin.p

    colin.p Loaded Pockets

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    I think the RAT's have been greatly overshadowed by the current offerings from the Chinese. When I first bought my RAT 2 (several years ago) it was one of the most recommended "entry level" knives and I found it on par with similar constructed knives, such as Buck's Vantage Select knives. However, with slightly more expensive knives from the likes of Civivi, Artesan, Best tech etc. the poor old OKC knives have lost their attraction and luster.

    But, it all comes down to what are you expecting for less than 50 bucks?
     
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  9. Wishoot

    Wishoot Loaded Pockets

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    I agree. For $40 I'd expect a bit more from this knife too.

    Prices are crazy on knives (and everything else) now.
     
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  10. DCBman

    DCBman Loaded Pockets

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    @colin.p - I completely agree on the Civivi knives. For the money, that's one heck of a knife...and I try to avoid Chinese stuff too. I recently picked up a Civivi Elementum and that knife makes the RAT II look like it was made in a Jr. High Shop class. I was really impressed. Very well done knife, and in D2 steel no less. (and about the same price as the RAT II also).
     
  11. EZDog

    EZDog EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    I have a couple of Rat 1 or just Rat I guess and was never able to see and hold a Rat2 and so I never bought one.

    My Rat are really great though and I have used them a lot as work knives that I am not worried about killing but they just get resharpened and put back to work.

    I converted a Cargo Trailer into a Camper a few years ago and almost exclusively used the RAT in that project a lot of which was sawing down 1" and 2" Foam Boards on cement floors and on plywood which would dull the blade pretty quickly but then it was easy to resharpen and get back to it.

    I hd read good things about the Rat before getting them and mine have been pretty great really.

    I wonder if anything has changed to make them less than what I am used to from one?
     
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  12. xevious

    xevious Loaded Pockets

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    When the Rat I & II first came out, they were really good value. I think that's why Nick Shabazz has been so fixated on them, often introducing them for comparison to other knives he reviews. He felt they established a worthy benchmark. But frankly, at this point, I think they're "long in the tooth." Other brands have raised the bar. The Rat... is floundering. Some of the shortcomings can be overcome with upgrades. There's a whole cottage industry around Rat I & II upgrades now. But why spend $200 to get your Rat to meet your specifications when the same money could go to a fine Spyderco for the same price? I tell you, the Spyderco will certainly hold its value much better than the Rat! Thanks for this confirmation review. :smile_coffee:
     
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  13. ox71

    ox71 Loaded Pockets

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    The same reason a person would buy a Harley and change thousands of dollars in parts to make it custom to them.
    The same reason a person would buy something they like the look of and spend money gradually modifying because they have other bills to pay.
    I don't know why anyone would buy XXXX item when YYYY item is available for a bit more has got to be snobbery and smugness personified.

    It's the same way in watch forums, now that the chinese manufacturing machine has dialed in what consumers want, anything without sapphire glass, 200m water resistance, solid link and end link bracelets with a milled clasp is no longer worthy.

    The rat2 is an affordable knife, it has faults but it is still a good value.
    Some people buy $200+ slipjoint knives when they can instead buy a $40 victorinox with more function...why ask why?
     
    #13 ox71, Jan 10, 2022
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2022
  14. DCBman

    DCBman Loaded Pockets

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    Well, the best I can say is this...I paid $35.70 for the RAT II. I've tried to give my honest impression and opinion of what I got for the amount that I paid. And, as a person who has probably hundreds of knives, and a person who really appreciates knives, I feel like I can make an objective assessment.

    In the couple weeks since I made the OP, and more time with the knife, I still feel the same way. I have, however, distilled my issues down into a smaller set of concerns. My two main issues are:

    a.) It's LOUD on opening. If you want the whole room to know you just got your knife out, this is the knife for you. No real fix for this that I can see, after examining it carefully.

    b.) The spine of the blade is as sharp as some knives. Yes, I could file it down, but I don't like removing material off of a knife blade unless it's for sharpening (and this would fall into the 'de-sharpening' category).

    The other issue I have is it is kind of hard to get started opening. I have strong fingers, but there's no flipping this knife open. I imagine disassembling the knife might fix this (maybe), but why should I have to do this to a brand new knife? The spring (liner lock) is also very tight. Anyway, I didn't list this as a primary concern.

    I'm honestly trying to be objective, and I guess I just expected more from Ontario. Maybe I'm off-base, but that's my opinion.
     
    #14 DCBman, Jan 10, 2022
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2022
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  15. ox71

    ox71 Loaded Pockets

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    I don't think those concerns are off base, my reaction is to some of the other complaints and comparisons.

    .
     
  16. EZDog

    EZDog EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    Its funny but I am just expressing that I like the ones that I have and the features that you just said annoy you are some of my favorite reasons for liking the ones that I have!?

    I honestly wondered if they might be just making them differently than way back when I got mine and still I do wonder but at the same time we each value the features a knife offers in our own way.

    Different Strokes as they say.

     
  17. DCBman

    DCBman Loaded Pockets

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    @EZDog - Very well.

    Enjoy!
     
  18. colin.p

    colin.p Loaded Pockets

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    The points you mentioned are certainly noticeable (at least for me). The issue with loud openings has been a pet peeve of mine. However, I will cut the RAT 2 some slack as it is a "cheap" (price-wise) knife and some corners had to be done to get the price point as low as possible. OKC could have used g10 scales and VG10 steel and charged $150 for it.

    Now on the issue of loud openings, I have several knives that are very noisy such as my Spyderco's and Cold Steel but they were considerably more expensive than 40 bucks or so.
     
  19. xevious

    xevious Loaded Pockets

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    Wow. I smell gasoline in the air. Amazing how one can misconstrue and run off on a vicious attack pattern.
    The Rat II does some things very well for the price. But at this price point, I think you can do better. Just my opinion. Of course, if one is taken with the Rat II design and wants to find some way to justify owning it, power to them. Maybe a little refinishing of parts. A little extra lube. But out of the box, one would expect more for the going prices. That's all.
     
  20. EZDog

    EZDog EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    Huh?
     
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