Pros: Handle Material, Overall Quality, Weight, Sheath, Lock Ease of Use, Lock Type
A Timeless Classic
I got my first Al Mar back at the San Diego Swap Meet in 1982. It was a SERE and I paid a lot for it back then but I've still got it and I still use it and it's still as tight on lockup as ever and as looks as finely finished, green linen Micarta scales and all, as the day I bought it. I've got a couple of other old ones too, and people are always trying to buy them from me but I've held onto them not so much from nostalgia (I'm notorious/famous for giving away knives I like to students and family and friends) but because they have that certain ineffable quality that just says "heirloom". More modern, tactical knives are usually of more interest to me, and those with an Asian flavor all the more so on account of my martial arts career, but there is something about these older Al Mar designs that strikes a chord with me. If you like vintage watches and admire old Porsches and the simple lines of an Alden Schooner, you're going to love these knives. Quality, pure and simple, from the burnish lines on the stainless bolster to the fit and grain of the wood, these knives were, and remain, all about pride in the execution. This particular model, the big Eagle Talon, is my favorite. I can't say why, as it is not as full and secure in the hand as the SERE, nor is the long thin blade quite as robust. It's too long for easy pocket carry (although it's fairly thin) and if you do carry it in a pocket it may slide out, as mine has done, because it is smooth and there is no clip. I've decided, finally, to let it sit on my desk in the place of a fixed-blade piece I used to have there. Right under my computer screen it is always in view and the cocobolo scales match the wood on a couple of my other desk items and it's always handy for opening letters and boxes and to meet the demand of the odd chore. What a lovely piece.