Katz Knives opened its doors in 1991, producing a range of factory knives and cutting tools from Japan, Spain, the USA, and Canada. Katz Knives currently produces and manages styles ranging from folders to tactical and hunting knives and even axes and hatchets.
What stands out about the company is the high-quality fit and finish of their products. Each knife comes in a proprietary XT70 or XT80 stainless steel, which are slightly better than 440C, giving a quality edge and finish with easy sharpening.
Keith Derkatz, founder and president of Katz Knives, is a dedicated hunter and outdoorsman. Putting these skills to use, he designs each knife personally, ensuring proper usage and function.
The knife I tested was the Avenger. Keith told me that this particular design has been adopted by some foreign militaries to be used by elite units. Taking a closer look at this knife, I can see why.
The Avenger is a three-way cross: a boot, diving, and assault knife. The spear-point blade is 4.5 inches and 8.75 inches overall. It weighs in at 6.5 ounces and is made with Katz proprietary XC70 steel.
It is offered in plain and a combination of plain and serrated edges. The handle is made from a Kraton material and checkered for a sure grip. Kraton is an elastic polymer with high temperature resistance. It is far superior to traditional handle textures and scales.
The checkered Kraton material adheres to the skin with little effort. There is no need to have a white-knuckle grip on the knife to ensure it stays in place—a benefit when used for diving in conjunction with the ABS plastic sheath.
What struck me about this knife was its high-quality fit and finish. Being a production knife, it’s assumed there would be a few imperfections. For me, it would have been acceptable to see a handle-to-guard gap of a millimeter, but there was no gap and no thickness variation. The guard itself also fits the blade and ricasso perfectly. It comes with a slightly brushed finish that mutes the glare while sheathed.
The blade came out of the box with a high shine on both sides. The right and left sides are separated by a small fuller. While it initially looked perfect, the edge angle was slightly uneven. This was a bit of a surprise compared to other Katz Knives I’ve handled, which had perfect, even edges. That said, the Avenger is sharper than any other knife I own. The opposing side has a perfectly cut and sharpened serrated edge.
USING THE KNIFE
Being an avid martial artist, I decided to take the blade to the gym and give it a thorough once-over. If this knife needed to be used in a combative or defensive role, I wanted to make sure it handled well. Several people at the gym handled the knife alone. Each person ran a fluid cutting form in the air both blade forward and blade reversed.
Wielding it in a forward grip, we each attempted to hold a Hammer and Saber Grip. With the double edge, it’s feasible but not recommended to use a Modified Saber or Filipino Grip.
Our opinions were all the same—it handled like a Ferrari. With its extremely tight fittings, the blade moved and sliced through the air with little to no effort.
Next we wanted to use it on the offensive, so we slid the Cordura sheath on and undertook some light sparring. While blade defense tactics are based on the skill of the defender, each of us using the Avenger felt more comfortable and adept at taking more offensive risks without feeling we put too much at stake.
The double edge obviously is an advantage when knife fighting, and this knife offers excellent control and manipulation of the blade with little effort. Overall, it’s an easy knife to get accustomed to.
While it handled well, not everything was champagne wishes and caviar dreams. Though a good size, the handle was a bit short for larger hands. Pinkies continually slipped off the butt. Also, after sparring, we noted that with a tight grip, the checkering pattern made our hands sore, after even a short amount of time.
Used as a weapon, the Avenger has the potential to be lethal. The design offers capabilities that a single-edged blade just can’t offer. Used as a tool, this knife makes a great addition for any diver.
With its high-quality fit and finish, compact design, and light weight, the Avenger has become one of my go-to tactical knives.