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                 M1i A.C.E. Test Report (When “It” Hits the Fan)
                                              By: Major Ian Humphrey 2007
     The second in a series of Relentless Knives’ M1 integral guard knives
reports, the M1i A.C.E. (Air Crew Egress) is designed to get you out of
truly bad situations.  This knife has been a popular seller and for obvious reasons.  The design has all the benefits of the integral
guard series of knives, plus some truly wicked looking serrations and cord
cutter.  The ACE also features two finger cutouts on the handle for better
gripping, and a different, more utility, blade shape than the Interceptor
model.  The knife is ¼” thick and this particular model I tested came in D2
steel.  This is not Dan’s preferred steel, and he suggests if you are going
to spend the money for D2 steel to go ahead and order S30V high performance
stainless steel instead.  Like the M1i Interceptor model, I was able to put
the ACE through an extended test and evaluation period.

The tests
     The ACE performed very well on both the initial paper and cardboard
ccutting tests.  The D2 steel and fine blade geometry made cutting thin,
clean cuts in both mediums look easy.  The ACE also performed very well on
both dry and wet wood.  The finger cutout on the coil allows the user to
“choke up” on the blade for fine work, and in no time flat I had a nice pile
of sharpened stakes and fuzz sticks in different types of wood.  The double
finger cutouts on the handle and the hawk beak tang allowed for fast,
efficient snap cuts that quickly severed limbs and brush.  The flat area on
top of the blade made a handy striking area for a baton which allowed the
ACE to effectively chop through large saplings.  The blade also cleanly cut
through “non standard” objects like engine hoses and climbing rope as well
as the more traditional nylon and 550 cord.  The cord cutter on top of the
knife was handy for cutting single strands of 550 cord (most effectively by
“scrapping” instead of “sawing”) and striping insulation off of copper
wires.  The serrations are designed to cut rope and cord, but I found them
to be the most useful in cutting dry and green wood.  The serrations made
quick work in notching poles and sawing through limbs.  For another
“extreme” test, I took the ACE on another hike in the woods and found an old
abandoned car in the woods (you have to love NY!).  The ACE easily
penetrated the steel side panel of the car and the serrations were able to
saw through the steel.  Throughout all of these tests the blade was not
damaged (although the bead blasted finish did show some marring).

The Sheath
 I carried the ACE in various sheaths, but it spent the most time in the
specially designed magazine/knife sheath pouch combination that Dan designed
and Spec Ops built.  This combination pouch combines a two magazine utility
pouch with a kydex liner to fit different sized knives.  This pouch is MOLLE
compatible and can also be comfortably worn on the belt.  One of the best
features of this new combination pouch is the ability to carry a large
amount of items in your knife sheath.  You no longer have to deal with the
tiny, practically useless utility pouches found on some sheaths.  Another
great feature of this pouch is the space saving it provides a Soldier on
their MOLLE equipment.  You no longer need to have space on your vest for
both ammo pouches and a knife sheath.

Dislikes

     There are very few dislikes for this knife.  More rounded handles would
aid in chopping comfort and other “hard use” jobs.  The serrations could
also use some tweaking to make them better rope cutters.  Dan suggested
touching up the sharpened areas inside the serrations, which did help. 
While the D2 steel performed very well, I would also prefer S30V steel for
this knife.  One of the best advantages of the stainless steel is the ease
in which it cleans up.  After my extended, hard use testing, the D2 steel
was stained and the finish was marred.  While there was no rust on the
knife, the S30V steel would have cleaned up a lot easier and kept the knife
looking like new.  While I really don’t care how my knives look, the piece
of mind of easy field maintenance is a real plus.

Conclusions

     The M1i ACE is a tough, no frills hard use knife that is designed to
perform in adverse conditions.  Of all of the M1i knives, this is my
favorite design.  It feels solid in the hand and built to last.  If you are
looking for a full sized combat ready knife to get you out of trouble once
“it” hits the fan, then the ACE is your knife.

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