Review of the Brous Blades T4 Tactical Knife
To be honest, I had pretty much given up on high-end knives and haven’t really even done much knife buying since selling all my Hinderer knives, and my Strider. For the last year, I’ve almost exclusively carried a Zero Tolerance 0550, along with a Spyerco Sage 2 and Sage 3. These knives, while perfectly suitable for the purposes I used them, weren’t really as nice as the knives I sold. In particular, I missed have a “flipper” tactical folder thanks to their ease of deployment with either hand.
I’ve been hearing quite a bit in the last year about knife maker Jason Brous and his company Brous Blades. Jason is a young knife maker, but has made a big impact on the industry with his tactical folding and fixed blades. It wasn’t until however he released the T4 that he really caught my attention. It represents a new collaboration for Jason Brous – this time with Jason Moriel-Riboloff from Tanium Design. In short, the T4 appeared to be exactly what I was looking for – a high quality tactical folder with a greater than 3.5″ blade that was actually attractive to my eye. That last part is a real kicker – lots of companies are making high quality tactical flipper’s right now. Take the recently released Spyderco Brad Southard for example – a perfectly serviceable knife that meets most of my requirements (OK, it’s a tad shorter in blade length than I’d like). But I don’t begin to like the aesthetic characteristics of the knife – the handle shape, blade shape, or the color. And, it’s a production quality knife….one that carries a $399.95 MSRP. Which brings us back to the T4 – a very attractive semi-custom tactical flipper with a 4″ blade made from D2 blade steel and priced at just $259.00. Here’s a photo which shows what you get with the T4 – fairly standard mid-tech box/packaging and a very nice laminated certificate of authenticity with a “born on” date:
Some may wondering what a “semi-custom” knife is? I was initially confused on this point as well, so I filled out the email web form on the Brous Blades website to send an email, and within a few short minutes got an answer back directly from the man himself – Jason Brous. In knife world parlance, the term “production knife” generally refers to a mass produced knife model which incorporates a high degree of automation in the manufacturing process and never really is touched by the designer. On the opposite end of that spectrum we have the “custom knife” which is almost entirely hand made and hand assembled – to a customer’s specifications in some cases. Production knives are produced in high numbers and relatively low-cost. The opposite (low numbers, high cost) is true of customs. The middle ground between these two extremes is termed “mid-tech.” Jason prefers the term “semi-custom” to mid-tech (and quite frankly I do as well) but the terms are synonymous. The factors which distinguish a mid-tech (or semi-custom) from a production knife usually center around the hand finishing and assembly of the mass produced components. Making a knife in this way allows a knife making to make his product “special” while at the same time producing them in greater numbers to satisfy demand. In the case of Brous Blades and the T4, because Jason hand finishes every blade and assembles every knife by hand, he considers them to be semi-custom/mid-tech knives. Here’s a couple of photos of the T4:
When my T4 arrived, I was blown away – it’s as nice (if not nicer) than any other mid-tech knife I’ve ever handled. The T4 is a fairly simply design – G10 handle scales with stainless steel liners (milled out to save weight) with a liner lock. The milling on the G10 handles is exceptionally good, and they fit together perfectly with no gaps. The G10 texture and pattern strikes a wonderful balance between providing good traction/grip, and being aesthetically pleasing. The T4 also features a back spacer between the handle scales which adds to the aesthetic appeal:
Affixed to the backside of the knife is a custom signed pocket clip whose shape follows the curvature of the G10 scales. It’s a well designed pocket clip, and positioned well to maximize “deep carry.” It’s a darn tight pocket clip however, and does require some extra effort to get the clip over your pants pocket. I’m hoping it will loosen with use. Additionally, it’s a single position (tip up, right hand carry) pocket clip.
That brings me to the knife blade – an absolute thing of beauty. Not the lack of branding on the blade, which I really appreciate:
This 4″ knife blade is made from D2 steel which quite honestly isn’t my favorite knife steel. D2 has less stain resistance (considered “semi-stainless”) than other blade steel formulations which are commonly used and in my limited experience with it, I’ve found D2 difficult to sharpen. That said, D2 has been used in a LOT of knives and some really do appreciate the way it takes and holds an edge. I asked Jason Brous why he seems to use D2 almost exclusively on his knives and he responded that’s he’s master the has mastered the heat treatment of D2 steel. He is however going to be offering some S30v knives in the near future (you read it here first! ) and I’d love to see a T4 in S30v. Until then, I’m hoping Brous Blades D2 can change my mind about the steel – it’s important to know that not all blade steel is the same – the same steel type can vary significantly by manufacturer and their processes. The blade shape and grind on the T4 are both absolutely fantastic and looks quite menacing. A satin finished blade is my absolute favorite, though it will more readily show wear than a stone washed finish. I don’t actually plan to do a lot of cutting with the T4 – for me, it’s going to be a defensive weapon I’ll carry opposite my strong/gun side on weekends, evenings, other other times I’m dressed more casually. It’s also going to be a nifty show piece that I show to buddies to make them jealous of my cool knife.
In addition to this photo review, I’ve prepared a video supplement on the Brous Blades T4:
I highly and enthusiastically recommend you check out the Brous Blades T4. This initial run only has 500 examples which I’m sure will disappear quickly so get it while you can!
John B. Holbrook, II
John B. Holbrook, II is a freelance writer, photographer, and author of ThruMyLens.org, as well as LuxuryTyme.com and TheSeamasterReferencePage.com. *All text and images contained in this web site are the original work of the author, John B. Holbrook, II and are copyright protected. Use of any of the information or images without the permission of the author is prohibited.