Today we’re reviewing a real beast of a knife – the Reate Fallout 2.0. We have always wanted to get our hands on a Rick Barrett custom knife. The Fallout flipper from Rick Barrett is one of his most popular and well-beloved models. Certainly, for us it is the very model knife we wanted from Rick. Though we have never had the privilege to get this custom, we are incredibly pleased to have the next best thing. The Reate Rick Barrett Fallout 2.0 flipper is the production version knife that has for long been a favorite among custom knife enthusiasts.
Reate manufacturing efforts that provide next-level manufacturing practices to make the knife every bit the most usable version of a Fallout we might ever see.
Key Specs: Reate Fallout 2.0
It is somewhat remarkable that the Reate Rick Barrett Fallout 2.0 presents such a large look, yet feels and is actually a mid-sized flipper folder. Further, Reate has created a replica that is both incredibly similar looking to the original flipper folder, as it is remarkably functional. Larger overbuilt knives have been less popular in recent years, in favor of smaller more pocket friendly models. However, the Reate Fallout 2.0 takes an overbuilt knife from Rick and makes it lighter and more pocket friendly.
True, we still looked at it for the first time and said to ourselves that this knife may take some time to visually get used to… it is reasonably thick, and provides a wide 3.6 inch blade. Whether you may love or hate the design, it is impressively light. We will talk more on the in-hand feel and experience, but it is impressive how such a bruiting looking knife has rather normal size and weight specifications.
As fans of the custom knife, the Reate Fallout 2.0 looks remarkably similar to the original. So similar that I would frankly be worried for Rick’s ability to reasonably sell his custom models over this productionized version. The Reate sports a stonewashed 6AL4V titanium handle scales with heavily bored out pockets to lighten the weight. The style and design of the knife is heavily influenced by the milled waved line pattern on both sides of the knife scales. The upper part of the scales do not have this milled wave line pattern, which actually creates a faux-bolster style look that makes the knife a bit more visually appealing and unique. The knife is impressive looking, though our version is designed to be one tone, and may not appeal to all.
It’s fair to say the main attraction for this knife is certainly the blade itself. It does not disappoint. Sporting a slight recurve, the 3.6″ blade has a compound grind and stonewashed finish. CTS-204P is Carpenter’s equivalent of Crucible’s CPM-20CV and Bohler’s M390 which has been growing in popularity and firmly planted in the upper echelon of today’s knife steels. It excels at wear resistance and edge retention, with decent corrosion resistance but noticeably difficult to sharpen.
What you may not immediately appreciate, however, is that Reate works wonders to bring out the best in this steel. Typically, manufacturers will create the edge using a grinding belt running at high speed. This creates a high temperature, especially on the blade’s edge which can burn and even cause unintentional tempering or annealing. That’s bad news for a blade, impacting its overall durability. Reate goes the extra mile to avoid this situation by introducing a cooling process which controls the temperate of the blade during grinding. This ensures no compromise of the blade’s hardness and durability. It’s an example of what sets apart the best from the rest in a saturated market of countless new knifemakers.
Feel in Hand
At 3.6 inches with about 3.5 inches of usable cutting edge, the knife actually feels bigger in hand, and appears even larger still. The knife also felt strangely light in hand. Extremely strong and sturdy, but light when compared to the way the Fallout 2.0 looks, which is to say very tank-like. At 6.4 oz. the knife is not a particularly lightweight folder, but we could easily see how this knife could have been over 9 oz. if measures to mill out the titanium were not made. This is very important because the knife in hand now feels extremely well weighted. Further it makes the knife usable as an EDC option. 6 oz. is a reasonable weight to carry in pocket, and in fact the feel in the pocket is just fine if you are wearing standard pants and not lightweight shorts.
As for the ergonomics, all we can say is YES. We love the feel in hand. Nothing can substitute for a properly sized ergonomically full-sized handle scale. The Fallout 2.0 sits in the hand in such a way that the grip in hand can be strong and still very comfortable. The milled scales allow excellent traction allowing for a positive grip with almost no slip.
The flipper is classic Reate. It ranks among the best flippers Reate has made. It uses the same type of flipper shape with good jimping on the flipper itself. Ceramic ball bearings used for the pivot seem to be the same as are used on other flipper models. The difference with the Fallout 2.0 is that the blade itself is rather hefty, and as a result allows the blade to really take on a life of its own. The sheer weight allows the knife to open smoothly, and close incredibly effortlessly once the lock bar interface has been disengaged. It is a flipper knife that truly allows for an almost effortless usage, will extremely limited learning curve if you have never used a flipper before.
It is also worth noting that although the titanium scales have the milled scalloped pattern, it isn’t sharp in any way. The Fallout 2.0 is rounded off on all edges. Even the titanium back spacer which is a rather large piece of matching stonewashed 6AL4V fits very well, and allows the knife the proper weight balance to even out the blade in the front of the knife. We felt that this knife would be a great user from the moment we saw it, largely in part because it felt so good in hand, and had such a nice weight balance.
Real World testing
Unlike some other recent Reate knives we have tested, the Fallout 2.0 was not very hard tested. It is somewhat ironic as this seems to be a very hard use capable folder. Even still, the reason the Reate Fallout was not heavily tested had much to do with the use cases we had available to us at the time.
We carried the Reate Fallout 2.0 for about a week, and though we can say that we enjoyed the experience, we prefer the smaller and lighter EDC options in recent months – this is primarily a function of timing, as we are in the middle of the summer months, and lighter clothing and shorts are getting worn more often. On that note, the pocket clip is very similar to the more traditional style 3D sculpted titanium clip that we saw on some original Reate designs, such as the Horizon A, and C. It has the same shape, and slide cutouts that have made it usable in the past. We like the clip, though not a deep carry, still sits low in pocket, with about a half inch sticking out. We like it, though we must confess some of Reate’s most recent offerings have worked better for us.
For the tasks, we performed with the knife, we cut down some small boxes, and used it as the go to EDC for the week, but nothing special. It is safe to say that the recurve blade with the very well performed machined compound ground is spot on perfect. It looks great, and it performs even better. We would not want to be the ones sharpening the CTS-204P steel with all this cool recurve awesomeness going on, but we sure as anything like to cut with it.
The blade is reasonably thick at 0.157″, but thanks to the grind it performed very well as a cardboard cutter. The knife was very sharp and the recurve helped pull the cardboard closer into the blade for processing. We cut down about 4 boxes. Since we had only a few boxes, and the knife was so comfortable in hand, and also offered great grip, we skipped wearing gloves during our test. We can say that the knife stayed comfortable in use, and at about 3.6 inches of blade, it is a great size for the task.
The Reate Fallout 2.0 seems to have the chops for a real hard use flipper folding knife that can put up with abuse and hard cutting action. However, because the blade is not very long, we personally would not consider it a defensive weapon. We prefer blades of 3.75 inch at the minimum length when considering a defensive carry blade option. However, as a suburban commando ready to take on anything a modern urban setting can through at you, this knife is about as beefy a choice as you need.
At the end of our carry, the Reate Fallout 2.0 maintained the sharp edge it had when we got it. No rolls or issues seen on the blade at all… in fact, the thing looked brand spanking new. It was very impressive.
All these knives available at BladeHQ.If you are interested in the Reate Rick Barrett Fallout 2.0 which sells for about 400 dollars at most resellers, you might also consider the following knives as comparisons:
Zero Tolerance Les George 0920 (BladeHQ) – Perspective is an interesting thing. About 3 years ago we looked at ZT knives and thought they were on the high price scale for production blades. Fast forward three years later and it seems the ZT line appears to provide value alternatives to more costly competitors. Take this ZT 0920 based on the Harpy custom by Les George. It has a 3.9 inch CPM-20CV stonewashed blade steel, and 3D machined titanium handle scales. This knife uses the well-received KVT ball bearing system to ensure great flipping action, and is made in the USA. For those who want a big folder, with a blade that has lots of reach, this modified clip point blade offers a true fighter style folding flipper option. At about 240 smackers, it is a damn near steal given the materials used, and the amount of material you are getting. It is also impressively milled and offers a weight of only 5.4 oz. It is arguably not as special as the Fallout 2.0, but if you are in the market for a defensive carry, the 0920 is an interesting consideration.
Custom Knife Factory Michael Gavac (Gavko) Spinner Flipper (BladeHQ) – This knife is really interesting. A smaller custom knife maker, Michael Gavac, often referred to as Gavko made a name for himself on Youtube several years back. Over recent years he has put forth some nice custom folders and has had a few collaborations that have been very well received. Most recently, Custom Knife Factory has joined a venture to produce a mid-tech production style folder. The CKF Spinner has a 3.54 inch blade, about the same size as the Fallout 2.0, and offers M390 blade steel. At about 4.2 ounces, this tanto style blade sits in a package that is pretty reasonably weighted. Milled titanium handles and PVD stonewashed two-tone blade make for a unique look. For those who like to be different, this 400 dollar option is pricey, but also rather exclusive.
At around 400 dollars, the Reate Rick Barrett Fallout 2.0 can either represent an excellent deal, or a lofty priced production folder. The question is which category you fall into. We know how wonderful and expensive, and exclusive the Rick Barrett fallout custom is, and given that knowledge see a great value in this knife given the wonderful execution and similarity to the original.
We also know that previous efforts to create a Fallout mid-tech in recent years from other collaborations with Rick Barrett were bad, with so called mid-tech models that were poorly produced, and had very poor-quality consistency. Others have literally tried and failed to produce a worthy productionized version of the Fallout. At about 400 dollars the Reate Fallout 2.0 is perhaps one of the crowning achievements Reate has made. Producing this knife, and making it feel and look like a Rick Barrett fallout, all the while making it pocketable and extremely high quality is a testament to the production ability of Reate Knives.
- Ergonomics, very well made, striking design, smooth flip
- Recurve presents sharpening challenges