Fallkniven F1 First Impression
Being focused on urban survival I’m always looking for that cross over product which has proven itself in outdoor survival and is also applicable in a urban, downtown city survival scenario. The Fallkniven F1 (here on Amazon) is such a product. It has proven itself to many a woodsman already and it has the characteristics I’m looking for in a urban survival knife. So I couldn’t resist any longer and bought me one, let me share my first impressions with you.
First the stone cold facts on the Fallkniven F1:
Total length: 210 mm (8.3″)
Blade length: 97 mm (3.8″)
Blade thickness: 4.5 mm (0.18″), tapered
Tang: Broad, protruding
Weight (knife): 150 g (6oz)
Steel: Lam. VG10
Blade hardness: 59 HRC
Sheath: Zytel sheath
My very first reaction when picking up the postal package over at my neighbor’s place was a surprised ‘Dang, that thing weighs nothing!’. Because it really doesn’t. I know, you can read the weight, it’s 60z, or 150 grams. But holding a knife of the size and thickness of the Fallkniven F1 and than not registering any real weight to it is weird the first time around.
I like that though. In urban everyday carry weight is an important consideration when picking a knife. In my article about my Everyday Carry Knife Philosophy I’m talking about the considerations that go into picking an EDC folder. The overarching idea however is the same for non folding urban survival knifes. For short: you must be able to keep them out of side, unnoticed and not intimidating for when you do have to whip it out. Not an easy feat when you also want it to be good enough to save your life when push comes to shove.
The less a knife weighs, the easier it is to carry that knife without it sagging your cloth (cause that’s what weight does to your cloth, it makes them sag). An added bonus here is that the sheath of the Fallkniven F1 is very ergonomic and makes taking it with you in a pocket quite comfortable.
Holding the Fallkniven F1 in your hand is an absolute delight. I was afraid the handle would be to thin or not full enough for my rather big hands, but nothing is further from the truth. It’s shaped perfectly. The weight of the knife is situated right behind the guard, which makes wielding the knife ever so easy. You’ll barely notice you’re holding it at all. And my thumb? Well, my thumb is resting naturally on the thick spine. In all honesty, I’ve never held a knife before that feels so perfect and so well balanced. This is truly a well designed knife.
I do have one thing I don’t particularly like about the handle though. It’s the Thermorun the handle is made of. It feels plasticy, it’s rather hard. I would have preferred a handle made of Krey-Ex, which is next to impervious to the elements also incredibly comfortable. But hey, I can live with the Thermorun.
If you’re like me you want your knife to have a butt or pommel. And yes you’ve guessed it, the Fallkniven F1 has one. It is a full tang knife so what the designers did is make the Thermorun handle slightly shorter than the tang itself, thus sticking out it’s butt. It’s not impressive looking, but it will help you grind tough leaves or things like bark (medicinal value) or even break glass windows. Be careful though, you don’t want to bleed to death because of a stupid misjudgment on your part. You’re best of throwing a brick through that window. It’s safer, faster and easier. Just saying.
You can get the Fallkniven F1 with one of two kinds of sheath. The one I’ve got came with the Zytel sheath, the other option is a full leather one. Although the leather sheath is reported to be of high quality and people owning one seem to be happy with it, I myself don’t like leather. My main reasons for that are that in general leather doesn’t go well with moist. Whenever you holster your knife wet, are out and about in wet weather or simply move around using a kayak a leather sheath will get wet and not dry up. That is not good for a knife as it will stain or rust the blade and mold or mildew can develop over time (health risk).
Zytel doesn’t have these problems. It dries faster and easier, plus (most) Zytel sheaths have a drain hole at the bottom. It is also forgiving to abuse like bumping into rock you sit down on and such. It retains it’s shape well, doesn’t bend and is light weight and in freezing temperatures Zytel doesn’t become brittle like Kydex does. I was very happy to see that the sheath was made to fit so snug around the knife, without the wide, flat area around it like most other sheaths have. When it comes to keeping this knife unnoticed by your co-workers and colleagues when carrying it on you these are some important features.
The sheath has three features that are worth mentioning. One is the way the knife is being held into the sheath. For that Fallkniven added a small (what I call) knife lock on the side of the sheath, see the left image below. It’s flexible so when you slide in the knife it is pushed up a bit by the front quillon and then locks into place when the knife is fully in the sheath. A nice way of locking in the knife. One problem though, it’s rather weak. The force exerted by that little lock isn’t enough to keep the knife in the sheath when you hold it upside down and shake it. Now in real life you probably won’t hang upside down much, let alone while shaking, but I can image a tree branche pushing it out of the sheath when forcing myself through thick undergrowth for example. The lesson here I think is to always use the high crossover strap. When you use that I don’t see the knife ever falling out.
The second feature is a small protrusion or thumb rest on the side. This is for pushing up against with your thumb to make one handed use possible. I tried it many different ways and it works like a charm. No downside there.
The third feature of the sheath are two holes on the bottom of it. They’re big enough to run some paracord through to lash it to your leg. I don’t think any of you would actually want to do that in real life though, as it sits pretty high up your leg. Lashing it to your leg is more of an inconvenient punishment to other vital body parts then it’ll help with comfort. But it’s up to you.
Razor sharp, incredibly hard, virtually indestructible and of the highest quality. If you can, check out this youtube video where someone is batoning the crap out of this blade using an axe. In the end the axe shows signs of wear, not the knife! Incredible.
The Fallkniven F1 gets its strength from incredibly tough, laminated steel. The cutting edge is made of VG10, a very particular type of very hard (59 HRC) stainless steel. This then is sandwiched between an outer layer of 420J2 steel which is slightly softer and gives some flexibility to the blade. Together these metals make an awesome knife.
One thing you’ll immediately notice is how nice and thick the blade is, 4.5 mm or 0.18″. Not the thickest blade out there, but for its overall size it makes for a strong workable blade. The spine or back of the blade has a sharp 90 degree angle to it which makes the entire back a great striker for making fire using a fire steel.
The edge of the blade comes super sharp out of the box. I shaved my left arm using it and I’m sure I can take of my beard without trouble. I can truthfully say that this is the sharpest I’ve ever had a knife come out of the box.
To give you an idea of the size and thickness of the Fallkniven F1 I’ve compared it to some other knives. Right here you see it side by side with (from top to bottom) the Coldsteel SRK, Bear Grylls ultimate survival knife and the Bear Grylls paracord knife. I own several Bear Grylls paracord knives, great knives to have around. The picture to the right is to show the difference in blade thickness.
There’s a reason why the F1 is approved by the Naval Air Warfare Center as survival knife for U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine air crews and by the Swedish as the official survival knife for Swedish Air Force pilots. It is simply a superb knife.
Next to the impressive quality of the knife I like it because it is the perfect survival knife to take with you in your slingback or backpack. It even fits nicely into my Baggallini urban everyday carry bag. Having looked at it from every possibly angle I can safely say that from now on the Fallkniven F1 will be part of my EDC gear.
The price for this knife is right now $119.99 on Amazon, down from $195,95. Worth every penny if you ask me.