Gear Review: Mantis Knives MK-4 Vuja De

Like myself, our readers are always on the hunt for something new and innovative. With companies consistantly introducing new products to stimulate the economy, it is hard to keep up with what is out there in gear land. But when is the last time you saw something that made you do a double-take? It has been a while for me, but our friends at iSurvival Gear introduced us to a knife they carry that definitely made me do a double-take when I saw it.

We were introduced to the Mantis Knives model MK-4 “Vuja De”. When I first saw a picture of the Vuja De, I was excited to see the marriage of two legendary knives, the Karambit and the Balisong (aka Butterfly or Batangas knife). Mantis took two legendary (and very effective) knife designs and combined them into a modern production knife. Prior to this knife’s introduction, the only options to own a bali-karambit were through custom knife makers. I know a number of our readers would not spend over $1,000 for one of these knives.

Mantis Knives Vuja De I am an avid karambit and balisong practitioner. I love them both and use them regularly. So when the Vuja De arrived, I couldn’t wait to open the box to see what this hybrid looked like in person. My first impression was this knife was sharp (no pun intended), as the design was  well thought out. The black G-10 handles were a nice standout for the knife. The two inch, hawkbill blade is very sharp and has precision grinds from the belly to the tip. The spine has great no-slip grip file work that is very clean. The handles are held together nicely with torn screws that are a welcomed addition to any quality knife.

The folks at Mantis even gave thought to allowing the pocket clip to have an ambidextrous mounting option onVujaDe3 the Vuja De. So that was a very cool feature for those who would like to use it for everyday carry. The only thing that I didn’t like was the pocket clip was very narrow. I would prefer a little more surface area on it for pocket carry. So once I was done thumbing this thing around, I began to check out the push button which releases the cylinder lock. I depressed it and this allowed the knife’s handle to release and flip to meet the other handle. This motion was really neat as the lock flips around to engage the lock on the other handle. The folks at Mantis definitely did some homework in order to make this happen.

At first I was unsure how to use the Deja Vu as a traditional butterfly, but when I saw how the lock would engage the opposite handle, I figured it out very quickly. Like with anything new, you have to practice in order to perfect it. Once I was able to figure out the opening, I began to explore the knife a little more by using it as I would one of my regular carry Karambits. So this called for a field test, and away we went!

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The Vuja De is smaller than what I am used to, so this took me some time to get acquainted with it. Even though I love to work and train with edged weapons, I am a huge proponent for safety. So before you get down to business with the Vuja De, get comfortable with the different grips and the use of the release button. As I said earlier, the blade is very sharp and it can cause some serious problems if you were to accidentally cut yourself. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

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The knife weighs in at a whopping 3.4 ounces and with a 7″ overall length, I was able to carry it quite comfortably. I decided to try a quick deployment of it out of my pocket and I was impressed at how fast it was able to open at the ready when I flipped it. Mind you, it will take some practice to get this right, but when you do, it is as quick as an automatic knife. I am always leery of any push button mechanism, especially when it may come to needing it for a self defense situation. I was very impressed with how solid the action was. It allowed for both opening and closing (not fully closed), and it did not lose its integrity over the numerous times I flipped it out.

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The pivot points of the handles were surprisingly smooth for this knife. I would expect this on a $200.00 balisong, not a production knife. This is something Mantis should be very proud of. When the Vuja De is closed or locked in either position, it is solid. There is NO play on either handle. This was something that really took me by surprise because if any of you have used balisongs in the past, you know there will be some play in the handles.

For my final test, I decided to drop it a few times and see what would shake loose or if the locking mechanism would give way. After about a dozen drops from waist high, on the hard floor and driveway, the Vuja De withstood it all. Not once did the locking mechanism fail or the handles get any play in them. So this tester had a smile from ear to ear.

So what do I think of this knife? If you like karambits or balisongs or just like to carry a dependable knife, give the Vuja De a good look. This was my first experience with anything from Mantis Knives and I am impressed with their quality and design. The Vuja De’s MSRP is $79.99, so for a company to offer a knife of this quality in the sub $100.00 range is  unheard of these days. If you are looking to add the Vuja De to your collection, you can get yours from the great folks at iSurvival Gear. Don’t forget to tell them that we sent you!

Stay safe and stay sharp!

-SP

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