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When word started to go around that Schrade was undergoing a revival after a buy-out from Smith & Wesson’s subsidiary Battenfeld Technologies, my optimism ran high. After all, Schrade is a storied brand – with roots dating back to 1904 in New York, the brand had a solid century of history in the US before they declared bankruptcy in 2004 and were bought out by Taylor Brands. After turning the previously storied name into a fairly sad state of affairs, the brand being bought out again in 2016 meant there was potential for some good products to surface again.
When Schrade announced a slew of new products in February of 2022, it included dividing the product line up into three tiers – entry level Delta class knives, upgraded Beta class knives (with nicer handles and better steel like D2), and the top-of-the-line Alpha class knives. These Alpha class knives are all high-end materials and made in the USA, including the dramatic looking Radok folder with its forged carbon handles, aggressive Wharncliffe blade and sculpted clip. After I reviewed the Radok I was left with the impression that it was a knife designed to look good, not necessarily work well. It has a lot of nice materials and features and none of it particularly worked well together, from the iffy build quality to the sometimes painful ergonomics and really terrible pocket clip.
Key Specs: Schrade Truix
I had higher hopes for the Truix, which sits below the Radok in the Alpha line. It’s a lot more conventional – No weird clip, no strange sci-fi blade shape, it’s not as huge and bulky and frankly unattractive as its more expensive brother. Make no mistake, the Truix is a better knife than the Radok, but it’s still not a good one. It is another relatively pricey knife that’s let down by a slew of missed details and quality issues. It gets closer to being good than the Radok, but still not close enough to recommend it.
The Truix is a good bit smaller than the beefy Radok, starting with the blade. Schrade’s website lists it as a 3.5” blade, while BladeHQ says it’s 3.15” with a 3.1” cutting edge. Techniques for measuring a blade differ, but my tape measure says the blade is around 3.25” long with a little less cutting edge length due to the choil. Schrade went with an American Tanto blade shape for the Truix – meaning a defined transition between the primary and secondary (forward) cutting edges, versus a Japanese tanto which is typically a smooth transition. Schrade’s description on their website says the Truix is “…where luxury meets everyday carry.” I don’t know about you, but there’s nothing “Everyday Carry” about a Tanto blade, which is primarily designed to puncture things in a forward motion versus cut or slice things. I won’t say you can’t EDC a tanto blade, but I try to avoid it as the blade shape usually isn’t super useful.
The grind is a very low flat grind, at the widest point measuring about 10mm of primary bevel versus 12mm of flat, so the geometry is very thick. This is exacerbated by the chunky 0.125” blade stock, meaning the deck is stacked against the Truix as a slicer from the word go, without even taking the tanto grind into consideration. On the plus side, steel on the Truix is Crucible CPM-S35VN: the upgraded version of the original CPM-S30V, with some of the Vanadium removed and substituted with Niobium, making the steel easier to grind and sharpen and less prone to chipping and corrosion than its predecessor. S35VN is a good steel, but for some reason Schrade has applied a bead blast finish to it, which is the most porous and open surface finish for a steel – and on my example a spot of rust developed under the serial number etched on the blade, as well as where the lock bar contacts the tang of the blade on the bottom. This isn’t an issue I run into much lately, so I must assume it’s down to the bead blast finish of the blade.
Deployment & Lockup
The Truix, like the Radok, uses caged ball bearings in the pivot along with thumb studs for deployment. It also employs the same Pivot Lock system – a sliding-bar lock a la AXIS Lock, after the functional patent on the design expired – that many other brands have been incorporating into their knives lately. If I don’t have much nice to say about the Truix (or the Radok, for that matter) I can say that the action on this knife is very good.
The detent strength is light – it is a sliding bar lock, after all – but the symmetrical thumb studs are positioned well, and the blade flicks out with a gentle push. The Truix uses an external stop pin anchored to the liners to locate the blade in the open position, and the combination of ball bearings with the Pivot Lock mechanism makes the knife fun to fidget with – the blade easily drops shut under its own weight, and the blade can also be flicked out by pulling the lock back and flicking the wrist. In addition to the fun fidget factor, lockup on the Truix is great – no horizontal or vertical blade play to speak of. I did notice some friction between the contact surface of the lock bar and the blade tang, which could probably be improved by polishing the rounded surface of the tang, although I suspect this would get better gradually with use.
Features, Fit & Finish
We call this section “features, fit & finish” and while it certainly has the former, it needs work on the latter. First, though, the features. The Truix is a pricey knife, and it looks the part: the combination of textured G10 scales and bead blasted stainless bolsters give the knife a unique, complex appearance – it’s a great looking thing, in contrast to the Radok’s unconventional alien looks. Those scales are neat, a two-tone combination of black and grey layers cut away to reveal a wave shaped pattern. The texture is a series of diagonal lines with scalloped edges on the top and bottom, and contoured edges all the way around to make them smooth to the touch. The bolster in the front is matte grey, a nice contrast to the decorative scales that gives the Truix hints of Buck 110.
The pocket clip on the Truix is nice, a stamped steel deep carry clip with a silver bead blast finish and the Schrade brand name and logo etched onto it, with a U-shaped contact point and held to the scales by two horizontally oriented screws. It is configured for right-hand tip up carry only, a strange oversight on an otherwise inherently ambidextrous knife. Construction is fairly complex, with both the bolters and the scales bolted to a separate set of stainless liners via a series of T6 Torx screws – three for the scales plus one for the Bolster. That’s in addition to the pivot screw, which is a T8 with a Torx head on both sides. It’s not keyed to the frame on the female side, so it requires two screwdrivers to adjust or disassemble, which is disappointing. Those liners are located by two barrel-shaped standoffs at the rear which the body screws thread into, between which is a row of jimping along the spine as well as an oval-shaped lanyard hole. There’s a lot of branding on this knife, in addition to the brand and logo on the clip, including the Schrade logo and steel type etched onto one side of the blade, and the serial number and a “Made in USA” logo with the American flag (with another Schrade logo in place of the stars) on the other side.
Here we get to the issues, which are similar to what I ran into with the Radok: this is not a well-built knife. Assembly in the US is supposed to be a selling point, but that brings with it a tacit assumption of quality, and that’s just not present here. Most egregious in terms of fit and finish are the bolsters where they intersect with the scales; the bolster on one side is actually warped and stands proud of the liner visibly. The bolsters also do not line up with the profile of the scales at all, like they were designed by two different teams who figured out what the other was doing too late in the design process to fix it. The inner edges of those bolsters have knicks and imperfections or tooling marks, and the top edge doesn’t line up with the liners either.
The grind on the blade is almost Leatherman-level bad, looking like somebody sneezed when they were putting the edge on the forward grind, not to mention that the line in the primary bevel on one side doesn’t line up with the actual transition from the belly to the forward edge. There’s a noticeable “beard” in the sharpened edge forward of the choil and the grind jumps up and widens above it. It’s just sloppy. Both edges of the spine also show knicks and tooling marks. On the plus side, the blade is nicely centered in between the handles when closed – although this is much less of a challenge with a sliding bar lock as well as caged bearings since there’s nothing putting lateral force on the blade when closed.
The first part of field testing is how a knife carries, since that’s how it spends most of its time. Weighing in at 4oz, the Truix isn’t especially light, nor is it very thin at 0.52” across the handles. But the big issue with carrying this knife isn’t weight or width, it’s the contact patch between the pocket clip and the scales. The clip itself is great, with good geometry for entry into a pocket and a nice, rounded contact point, but the surface of the G10 where the clip touches is so rough that it feels like you’re sandpapering your pocket every time it goes in or comes out. There’s so much friction that getting the knife into your pocket is tricky and getting it out even more so since the deep carry clip leaves very little protruding to grab onto. The plus side of this is that the Truix never slid out of my pocket accidentally, even partially. It is noticeably wide in the pocket, but the flat profile of the spine takes up much less pocket real estate than the Radok, leaving more room for your keys or phone.
Another faux pas is the run of raised jimping along the spine above the lanyard hole, which is literally painful in the pocket when you’re reaching around the knife to grab something else out, and also uncomfortable when you’re using the knife. Knives don’t need jimping here, and they especially don’t need raised jimping that digs into your palm when you’re using the knife – it’s similar to the Radok in the oddly uncomfortable ergonomics for no reason. You could just literally remove the jimping with a Dremel tool, but I don’t know why it’s there in the first place. The Truix provides a forward finger guard with the shape of the bolster, but there’s no thumb ramp or thumb jimping along the blade’s spine where it would actually be helpful.
As far as cutting performance goes, credit to the OEM that Schrade uses because the Truix arrived quite sharp, and it does do well at push-cutting through materials thanks to that Tanto blade profile. It tends to get bound up when slicing through cardboard, and it’s not particularly good at day-to-day tasks like cutting open mail or packages due to the chunky geometry and wide tip. That’s always been the issue I’ve had with Tanto blades as an EDC option; they’re not particularly useful for the type of cutting tasks you run into on a regular basis unless you routinely need to puncture things.
Being a Tanto blade, sharpening is going to be an unnecessary pain, requiring a lot of precision and patience that the factory didn’t even have to begin with, and S35VN is never fun to sharpen without special equipment anyway. Thankfully the Truix uses flow-throw construction because it would be an unpleasant task to disassemble thanks to the complex lock, spinning pivot pin, omega springs, and multi-piece handle/bolster setup.
All these knives available at BladeHQ.
At $199 MSRP and $169 retail price (at time of writing), the Truix is a tough sell for me. That’s a decent chunk of change, and the market for sliding-bar lock knives in this price range has expanded a lot in the last few years.
For ~$145, you can get a full-sized basic version of a Benchmade Griptilian. While the price has certainly gone up over the years, you’re getting a better steel than older versions of the Griptilian – now with CPM-S30V versus the older models with 154CM. That blade measures 3.45” long with an 8.07” overall length, slightly longer than the Truix at 7.5”, but coming in lighter at 3.82 ounces. The blade is available as a flat ground drop point with a thumb stud or a hollow ground sheepsfoot with a thumb hole for the same price, and both versions use Noryl GTX (textured polymer) handles over stainless liners. I’ve always liked the ergonomics of the Griptilian a lot, with its basic palm-swell handle shape and grippy texture as well as the reliable deployment and lock – it’s a modern classic.
The SOG Vision XR LTE Tanto is a good comparison, with its sliding bar lock, thumb stud deployment and ball bearing pivot, and aggressive Tanto blade shape. That blade measures 3.375” long with a high flat grind, made from high performance CTS-XHP steel with a protective coating. SOG’s XR lock is well developed now, with a unique dual spring setup and a cover over the bar that makes it feel more like the switch on an OTF automatic. The LTE version of the Vision XR subtracts mass via the use of carbon fiber liners, bringing the weight down to 3.4 ounces for this 8” long knife. It features textured G10 scales and an ambidextrous deep carry pocket clip. It runs $179 retail.
A newer brand that hasn’t gotten a lot of recognition yet is Acta non Verba (meaning “acts, not words”) which offers the A100 Folder, packed with interesting details. For $139, this full-sized folder (with a 3.5” blade and 8.25” overall) is lightweight at 2.6 ounces, thanks to slim FRN scales. The blade is made from Bohler Elmax steel, a high-end powdered metallurgy steel a step above S35VN. Deployment is via a thumb stud – with a glow in the dark “Lumidot” inside of it – and washers, while lockup is taken care of with a sliding bar lock. The A100 is available in several colors and either Elmax or Magnacut steel, both very modern high-end offerings for the price. Made in the Czech Republic, ANV brings a fresh face to the knife industry and offers good value for money.
The Gerber Sedulo that we reviewed previously runs almost $50 less than the Truix, and does basically everything that matters better. It doesn’t have the complex two-piece scale/bolster combo, with just regular FRN scales over liners, but it’s 3.5” drop point blade is made from stonewashed S30V, and it’s lighter and significantly better made and generally more useful. It’s also easier to service, not requiring the whole knife to be pulled apart to remove the blade and clean the washers which are built into the blade itself – a unique setup.
Finally, a discussion of sliding bar lock knives in this price range isn’t complete without bringing up the Hogue Deka, which offers a 3.25” long clip point blade in premium CPM-20CV steel for only $166. It’s very light at 2.39 ounces thanks to thin G10 handles, and it uses the excellent ABLE lock from Hogue. Deployment is via thumb studs with washers, and the blade has a tall flat grind for excellent slicing geometry. The Deka is available in a variety of colors and upgraded steels as well, but the basic G10/20CV model seems like a fantastic deal, especially consider Hogue’s typical very high quality standards.
Much like the Radok, I really wanted to like the Truix. It’s a cool looking knife, with its dramatic two-tone G10 scales and matte finished bolsters and that tanto blade. But it seems like a knife that was designed by a committee who wrote down a few things that they find “neat” in a knife and then incorporated them all together at random, rather than designing a knife towards some sort of goal or use case. The Truix is certainly EDC sized, but the blade profile and geometry mean it’s not good at EDC tasks. The weight and handle width make it less than ideal for carry, as does the high friction on the clip.
I’m a bit of a perfectionist but the fit and finish of the knife was off-putting, not acceptable for a product in this price range, and more like the stuff Gerber was putting out 10 years ago. If Gerber can make some excellent products like the Sedulo and Savvy around this price range, surely Schrade can too with the century-plus of experience they have. As it stands, while it’s certainly better than the Radok, I can’t recommend the Truix to people shopping at this price point either with all its design and quality flaws.