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Survival Knife

   Knife Test or Evaluation
by: Capt Ian Humphrey

M2 Talon

Big Things Can Come in Small Packages!

by: Capt Ian Humphrey

Test Report on the M2 Talon: Big things can come in small packages!

    Daniel M. Certo of Marshall, NC has come up with some very creative new models for 2005.  Fans of the Relentless Knives line will instantly recognize the classic blade shapes and basic designs, but this year Daniel has really improved an already impressive line of knives.  After six months of trying to win a Relentless Knife on EBay, I decided to use the “buy it know” option when I saw the M2 Talon up for bid.  Daniel shipped my new knife immediately after he received payment through Pay Pal, and I received the knife a few days latter. 

First impressions
    First impressions are key, and Relentless Knives always make a lasting impression on anyone who has purchased or handled one of these fine custom knives.  My initial thoughts when I first handled my Talon were that this is one impressive knife!  The overall shape of the blade and large “shark tooth” serrations lend a very imposing feel to the knife…something a would be attacker would think twice about before trying to approach you.  The overall design and weight of the knife give the impression that it is built to last a lifetime…and all Relentless Knives come with a lifetime guarantee to back this statement!  The knife also has several nice custom touches that enhance the overall quality of the design.  The smooth canvas micarta handles have red spacers between them and the steel.  The Relentless Knives trademark is acid etched into the side of the knife, and the maker hand engraved his name and date along the bottom of the handle (I was always told to never trust a knife maker who doesn’t sign their work!).  The M2 Talon also has incredible balance in the hand, with a center of balance right at the notch for your pointer finger.  This notch, and the one above for the thumb, guarantee proper hand placement when holding the knife, and prevents the hand from accidentally moving forward onto the cutting edge (especially important when doing heavy cutting or stabbing motions).
    The first thing I always do with a new knife is what I call the paper test.  This test consists of a normal piece of computer printer paper that I try to cut into strips using the knife.  This simple test will quickly give the owner an idea of how sharp the blade is and how good or bad the blade geometries are by observing how cleanly the blade cuts through the paper.  I will also use just the point of the knife to puncture the paper and then cut down along the page.  The M2 Talon did very well in this test.  The relatively short blade cut short, clean cuts along the paper, while the point easily penetrated the paper and continued to cut clean lines.  Next I used the Talon to cut military parachute cord (550 cord).  This heavy duty nylon cord contains seven individual strands inside the main cord for added strength.  Again, the M2 Talon was able to cleanly cut through a single strand of the 550 cord.  When I tried to cut multiple stands of the cord, the knife was not able to cut through the pieces.  This is probably due to the small size of the knife and the inability to use the weight of the blade to aid in cutting.  Next I used the blade to cut through reinforced cardboard boxes.  The blade geometry allowed the Talon to continue to produce clean cuts, even through this tough material.   I then moved into the woods to test the Talon on different outdoor tasks that the average outdoorsman and Soldier could face on a daily basis.  I began by cutting through a live sapling branch.  The Talon had a hard time trying to cut through the sapling due to its small size and lack of heavy blade.  I was able to cut/hack my way through the branch which enabled me to use the knife to make aiming stakes, tent stakes, fuzz sticks, etc. with the branch.  In all of the cutting areas, the M2 Talon did extremely well.  The blade easily cut through the branch and quickly made several sharpened stakes as well as effective fuzz sticks for fire starting.  I also tested the Talon on a hard wood branch that had been lying on the ground for some time.  The Talon had no problem shaving this hard wood.  I also wanted to test how well the point would hold up to some abuse and drove the Talon into several tree trunks.  The Talon stuck well into the wood, with no identifiable damage to the point (again a good testament to the quality of Daniel’s designs).  I also tried some slashing cuts into the trunks to test how the knife would perform in a close quarters combat mode.  In all of the stabling and slashing tests I used the basic saber grip as well as the reverse grip to test how the handle felt and if my hand would slip.  In every instance my hand stayed safely behind the blade and felt comfortable around the handles.  I also tested the smooth canvas micarta handles by gripping the knife with a wet hand.  The canvas micarta did a good job with securing my grip and no real slippage occurred (although rough finish canvas micarta would grip better).  I ended the cutting portion of my tests with another paper cutting exam.  The Talon cut just as easily through the paper as it did before the tests.  The RC hardness and blade steel did an excellent job with maintaining a sharp edge despite cutting several tough materials. 

     My M2 Talon came with a well made kydex sheath—my preferred sheath material for hard use knifes.  The thick kydex sheath came with a steel belt clip and various lashing points to secure the sheath to web belts, backpacks, etc. (Daniel even includes enough 550 cord with the sheath to easily secure it to gear, or tie the knife to a pole for a makeshift spear).  The most surprising feature I noticed with the knife and sheath combo is how comfortable the Talon is to wear.  I have found that most high ride sheath combinations have the knife handle digging into your side and making it uncomfortable to wear without a t-shirt between yourself and the handle.  In the Talon’s case, I have never experienced this problem, and have often forgotten that I was even wearing the knife (even while sitting down or under web gear!).  The knife also carried close to the body and does not expose itself when you are wearing a t-shirt over the knife (good for concealed carry options).  
    It can be argued that nothing is perfect, and there are some areas that could be improved on the Talon.  My biggest disappointment came from the shark tooth serrations along the top portion of the blade.  These serrations are meant to cut a variety of materials, and by looking at them you would think they could tear through just about anything.  Once I started to test this theory, I came to realize that a steeper angle would be more effective.  I have already mentioned this problem to Daniel and he said that he would rework the serrations.  As already mentioned, I would also prefer a rough finish canvas micarta handle instead of the smooth finish.  While the smooth finish looks better, the rough finish would improve the knifes grip with wet hands (I find my hands sweat during hard labor and/or stressful situations…which is not a good time to loose your grip on the knife!).  I would also prefer a TekLok fastener for the sheath instead of the belt clip.  This would allow easy attachment on and off of web gear and large belts without having to use the 550 cord or zip ties to secure the sheath (the current belt clip is too small to fit on a military web belt). 

    Since this review was written, my Talon was sent back to the maker to have the serrations altered and to test a new carry system.  When I received the knife back, I was happy to see that the modified serrations cut better than the original ones.  While the overall design for the serrations are to rip and tear an assailant, the current design also allows the user to roughly cut through wood, as well as cut individual strands of 550 cord, etc.  The new sheath design is still under construction, but should allow the user various carrying options from clips, TekLok fasteners, to removeable pouches for carrying various items. 

Last impressions
    The overall quality, design, and cutting ability of the M2 Talon are outstanding.  This is a great knife for the price for anyone who needs an easy to carry knife that can be quickly deployed in order to handle a variety of cutting tasks.  With a lifetime guarantee and quality craftsmanship, you are sure to have this knife for whatever Relentless pursuit you may face.

M2 Talon M4 Trailhound M1 Mini
click for more tests

Thanks Capt . Humphrey

Ian found the grind angle on the M2 Talons
serrations needed to be a bit steeper.
Normally you might not  find this type of info on the makers web site.

But, my goal is to make the best knife possible without reserve. The  adjustment took a few minutes,  the knife 's design has been changed and YOU  benefit.


Ian's tests and reviews  are the result of allot of hard work on his part. The results
 give You a bit of in site on the knife, and help me to offer you products worthy of the name RELENTLESS KNIVES


Take it with you on your next adventure. It's built to withstand extreme conditions, and waiting to become your faithful companion.

Thanks for Your interest

Dan Certo

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