If you have read any of our previous knife reviews, you know that we have a serious affliction for sharp and pointy objects. This review is different from the others as it was a learning experience as well. I will elaborate more on this in a few, so stay tuned.
Ravencrest Tactical are new players on the block in the knife industry. The team at Ravencrest Tactical is making some serious waves in the knife world and we had the opportunity to find out what all the hub bub was about. We got our hands on the Jackal Alpha Out-The-Front knife. Moving forward in this review, the term out-the-front will be referred to as OTF. Little did I know this would be the start of an interesting journey.
The Jackal is packaged in a very nice box with the Ravencrest Tactical logo and web address on it. But what is really cool that the Jackal was tucked neatly in a quality nylon sheath that has Ravencrest’s name embroidered on it. It would definitely come in handy for those who would rather wear their knife on their belt rather than in their pocket. Don’t but if you are like me and like your knife in your pocket, the Jackal does have a wide and sturdy pocket clip that allows for deep carry.
We know many of our readers are knife enthusiasts. While some folks may be serious collectors and others may depend on knives as tools, we know that many can appreciate fine design and craftsmanship either way. The Jackal Alpha is a sleek machine. The smooth, but grippy handle feels very natural in the hand. Weighing in at 12.34 oz., although the Jackal is not the lightest OTF knife out there, it still feels solid and well balanced in the hand. The 3.5 inch, 440c stainless steel blade is scary sharp and impressive. The glass breaker on the end is solid and looks like it will break glass without hesitation. Overall, the Jackal looks like it can dish out some business and come back for more. I know you are itching to hear how this knife works.
When I pushed the button (firing trigger), the blade shot out of the handle at light speed. Not only was it fast, but it had some serious torque to it. Since the Jackal is a double action model, you can pull back on the button and the blade retracts. Very useful, and of course the cool factor is there! I was able to deploy and retract the blade very quickly and not once did the mechanism hang up. This took me by surprise as I was under the impression that there was some sort of break-in period for the action to work in this manner. Apparently I was mistaken as the Jackal’s action was solid, but as smooth as silk. I was eager to see how this machine worked in the real world.
If you have been around knives for any amount of time, you have probably touched, fondled, or even heard of out-the-front automatic knives. For some of us, these knives are a mystery. Until this review, I was one of those people who OTFs were a mystery to. This in turn was the reason why I said this review became a learning experience for me. One of my first concerns was not the operation of an OTF knife, but the legalities of carrying one. The team at Ravencrest are one step ahead of that and they have placed information on their website regarding which states allow legal carry and ownership of automatic knives. You can find the information here. I had questions regarding legalities and so I reached out to the staff at Ravencrest. They were professional and very knowledgable on what you could and could not do with these knives. They even explained that their knives are in compliance with the new automatic knife law initiated in July 2012, because of the safety mechanism their OTFs have. This should make the end user feel more confident.
I felt the Jackal needed a thorough evaluation, so what better place than out in the woods? So we assembled the team and headed to the mountains. I had my pack on my back and the Jackal in my pocket. While sitting around the campsite near a cool little waterfall, we passed the Jackal to each team member and no one had problems with the operation. The sharp blade was able to cut thick brush for the campfire and still remained sharp enough to cut some fruit that I had stashed in my backpack.
One test I wanted to conduct was how the blade held up to pressure forced upon it in a thrusting motion. I thrusted the Jackal into a tree and the blade didn’t budge. When I removed the Jackal from the tree, it did not have any adverse effect on the blade’s ability to retract or fire. Now I wouldn’t recommend doing this often, but it did pass the test flawlessly. The only only concern I had during the physical testing was the mechanism making noise inside of the handle while I was cutting something. While this had no effect on the blade’s performance, it took some getting used to. It was nice having the ability to retract the blade and just stick the knife in my pocket. I didn’t have to worry about re-sheathing a fixed blade, or having to make sure the blade was completely closed like on a folding knife.
So what do we think of the Jackal Alpha after all? Here are our Pro and Cons:
- Solid mechanism and operation
- Attention to detail and quality construction
- A lot of knife for the money. You won’t have to go broke to own one.
- Outstanding warranty and customer service
- This knife is heavy. Maybe Ravencrest will offer this model with lighter materials in the future.
- Noise from the internals while using it, but this is a trait of most OTF knives.
- Must be careful where you carry or own one. Some states’ laws are vague in regards to these knives.
In conclusion, the Jackal is an outstanding knife all around. Not only did it perform flawlessly, it had the “wow” factor with every tester who handled it. Ravencrest Tactical offers excellent warranty and customer support on their products. This is what will set them apart from others. With an MSRP of $149.00 the Jackal should be a first choice when considering an OTF knife. While many OTF knives on the market are in the $200.00 to $400.00 range, you can get a lot of knife for less money with the Jackal. Our hats are off to the Ravencrest Team for bringing quality and affordability together.
Stay safe and stay sharp!