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61 of 62 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some useful details...
First off, let me say that the product descriptions and images for the RAT-3 family of knives on Amazon are somewhat ambiguous and misleading. To clarify, as far as I am aware, all RAT-3 knives have identical "green" micarta handles and black coated blades. I call it "green", because to my eye the pre-weathered and slightly shaggy micarta is lighter and closer to beige...
Published 23 months ago by guitarchon

versus
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I would spend the extra few $20 or so for an Esee
The makers of ESEE designed this knife, and Ontario retains the rights to it. However, the ESEE 3 is an updated version of this knife with a better shape, better heat treatment, a better handle/pommel, and a lifetime guarantee. I was hoping there wouldn't be much of difference so I could save a few bucks, so I went to a local store to compare after agonizing over my...
Published 13 months ago by Tandy


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61 of 62 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some useful details..., September 21, 2012
By 
guitarchon (California, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Ontario 8630 RAT-3 Knife (Sports)
First off, let me say that the product descriptions and images for the RAT-3 family of knives on Amazon are somewhat ambiguous and misleading. To clarify, as far as I am aware, all RAT-3 knives have identical "green" micarta handles and black coated blades. I call it "green", because to my eye the pre-weathered and slightly shaggy micarta is lighter and closer to beige or tan than olive drab. Of course that's the nature of micarta, so your mileage may vary...

With that out of the way, note the differences between the four available RAT-3 models:

8630 - Plain blade, black sheath
8631 - Serrated blade, black sheath
8632 - Plain blade, green sheath
8633 - Serrated blade, green sheath

The Amazon descriptions seem unreliable or confused (I think some interpret the jimping on the back of the blade as serrations...I believe all models have the jimping), so I recommend taking the images with a grain of salt and focusing on the model number to predict what you are likely to get.

Some additional thoughts. For my size-large meatpaws, the knife is a bit small in-hand, but the grip is still fairly secure and comfortable, particularly with a thumb on the aggressively jimped spine. The finger choil just behind the blade allows an even better full-hand grip, but is a bit undersized, small, and shallow. The result is that with an aggressive grip, the tapered back portion of the blade digs into your index finger more than I would like. If you have bigger hands than mine, you could actually cut your finger using the choil if you are not very careful. So, given the small handle size, I recommend making yourself a decently beefy paracord lanyard to give a little more real-estate for hanging onto the knife. Unfortunately, the lanyard hole itself is a bit small for feeding a loop of standard 550 cord through. If you use "gutted" paracord, you should be able to get it to work, but it's still a tight fit. Also, while the full tang is slightly exposed at the butt end of the knife, it is unlikely that you could use it for hammering unless you have very small hands.

My model is 8632 - plain blade with green sheath. The sheath is nice enough, but seems a little chintzy compared to some Kydex sheaths I have. It does come with a detachable plastic belt clip which appears to be reasonably secure but is positioned a bit too low to keep the handle from flopping around. There is also a TekLok included with the knife (a nice bonus given that they appear to run ~$12 by themselves), but I haven't played with it yet. The sheath has good positive retention of the blade even for inverted carry, but the whole package seems a bit bulky to wear it as a neck knife, as some suggest. The green sheath is a slightly lighter shade than OD, but not as light as foliage green.

The blade itself is 1/8" thick and has a nice full flat grind from spine to blade -- very much a mini survival knife. I doubt you'd want to baton or chop down trees with it, but overall the RAT-3 is a sturdy, maneuverable knife that should be more than adequate for most light camping tasks or general utility use.
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42 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Knife Design, Poor Quality Control, August 29, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Ontario 8630 RAT-3 Knife (Sports)
I've waited 8 months before writing this review because I wanted to really test this knife out first. The good news: This is a great knife. The design is well though out and it does tasks amazingly well for a knife of this size. The RAT line from Ontario was originally designed by Randall's Adventure and Training (the same people that make ESEE knives now), and the craft of this blade really shows its roots. A really well balanced and solid blade, a great handle, and a great sheath. A truly great knife needs those 3 things.

You might have noticed that both Ontario and ESEE both make Rat3 and Esee3 which look remarkably similar. In the split between the two companies Ontario retained the rights to keep using the RAT name and make the same knife. So what's the difference between the two? Esee redesigned the RAT 3 slightly after the split. They use a thinner piece of metal, added a glass breaker pommel, have a different coating, have much higher Quality Control tolerances, and give you a no questions asked lifetime warranty.

I chose the Ontario RAT 3 over the ESEE because I wanted the slightly thicker blade and the price was quite a bit cheaper, The glass breaker pommel and the coating wasn't a big draw for me, and the lifetime warranty while awesome didn't compensate for the price difference. I have ZERO concerns about this knife not lasting. It is a solid piece of 1095 steel with great handles and a sheath that is really really good. You can't go wrong with either knife but this one being almost 50% cheaper is just an amazing deal.

So why only 4 stars? The blade edge on mine was not only dull, it was sharpened uneven and didn't even come to a good point. It wasn't simply a matter of sharpening the blade. I had to entirely reprofile the knife edge. I don't care if this is a "good deal" or not on a knife. If I'm spending 70$+ I expect the edge to at least be sharpened correctly. Maybe not shaving sharp, but not so bad that I have to reprofile the entire thing.

I could go into details about how well this knife performs in the field after I fixed the blade but there's no need. The things you need to know are, this is a very well designed knife that is going to last you for years and have no problem handling any reasonable task you ask of it. I suggest adding a pig tail wrap through the back loop so you can get an even better grip and give yourself a loop to pull it out of the sheath. Just be aware that you might have to reprofile the blade edge because of bad QA.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Knife, February 29, 2012
This review is from: Ontario 8630 RAT-3 Knife (Sports)
I purchased the Rat 3 for use as a fixed blade chore knife around my small farm, and to use on day hikes in the North Georgia Mountains. For these purposes, I am not dissapointed. It is a tough knife! There are some minor issues and/or considerations.Ontario Rat 3, Canvas Linen Micarta Handle, 1095 Plain Blade, Sheath OK8630Ontario Knife Company Rat 3 Knife with Canvas Micarta Handle, 1095 Plain Blade, and OD SheathOntario Rat 3, Canvas Linen Micarta Handle, 1095 Plain Blade, Sheath OK8630Ontario Knife Company Rat 3 Knife with Canvas Micarta Handle, 1095 Plain Blade, and OD Sheath (Note: I linked my review to multiple vendor locations on Amazon. My knife is not serrated.) Firstly, the sheath rides high on the belt when using either the belt/boot clip or the tek-lok. This is good when on the tractor, in the truck, etc. But drawing the knife is a little awkward for me. When wearing a back pack, the knife can get in the way if worn on the belt. Of course, the tek-lok affords multiple attachment options; it can be secured anywhere about your person or on your equipment. I used the tek-lok in the horizontal position on my belt, carried on my off side (reaction side), and this worked out to be a good carry option. Secondly, the two screws to the tek-lok backed out while I was wearing the knife, and it began to slip from my belt. As I grabbed for the knife, I broke the tek-lok safety clip (not the main clips). This was largely user error, because I did not use any thread locker on the screws. A dab of loctite or even some of my wife's nail polish would have prevented this. I briefed the QC manager at Ontario, and suggested that they emphasize the use of thread locker on the tek-lok information card that is enclosed with the knife. I spoke to real people, that provide real customer service, and I was impressed. In summary, this is a good knife, at a good price point, that will provide long service. It is a value product!
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I would spend the extra few $20 or so for an Esee, July 24, 2013
By 
Tandy (Bay Area, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Ontario 8630 RAT-3 Knife (Sports)
The makers of ESEE designed this knife, and Ontario retains the rights to it. However, the ESEE 3 is an updated version of this knife with a better shape, better heat treatment, a better handle/pommel, and a lifetime guarantee. I was hoping there wouldn't be much of difference so I could save a few bucks, so I went to a local store to compare after agonizing over my purchase and heavy internet research for several days. Full disclosure: I didn't end up buying the Ontario RAT, and ended up getting some freebies with the ESEE by buying 2, one of which I will probably sell or give as a gift (or just keep?).

The differences I noticed myself (apart from research) are differences in quality control. The ESEE just looks and feels more carefully made, there's an individual serial number on the pommel and the coating is impossibly even. In the store it also just comes razor sharp--I could shave with this thing. I couldn't say any of those for the RAT, unfortunately, even though they are apparently made of at least mostly the same materials.

Ultimately, I figure if I'm spending this much on a knife anyway, what is another $20 or so? The plan is to keep this for life and devise it beyond that. ESEE's guarantee isn't buyer specific--it's for the life of the company. No questions asked, no need for proof of purchase, no explanation for how you managed to bend it onto itself required. Can't really argue with that. At the very least, I would recommend you look at both before making a purchase either way based on your own preference and judgment.

FYI: some more unsolicited advice, but both these knives were heavier than I expected. I don't have a lot of experience with serious "survival" type bushcraft knives, but I was shocked at how substantial these things felt. For that reason, if you're going to carry it on your person, I think the Molle sheath attachment (as opposed to just clips) is pretty convenient. Not strictly necessary though.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finds its' way on me often!, December 6, 2012
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Ontario 8630 RAT-3 Knife (Sports)
I chose this over the ESEE-3, that I was originally going to buy: because of the fact that this blade is thicker (this will be a small survival tool, not a delicate little pretty thing) that will likely help me accomplish tasks.

In fact it has many times already.

It doesn't get razor sharp, but that's to be expected with such a thick blade, it really is. It's not overly thick by any means - in fact I often times wonder why it looks so small :-). But either way, nice rugged knife for a much better price (than the ESEE-3, considering). The fact that this comes with a BladeTech Tek-Lok clip is icing on the cake, the lock alone sells for $12 online. And that clip by the way, deserves 5 stars all in its' own. I have the clip & knife temporarily installed on my backpack (BUGout kit, just in case.. :-P)

Buy it. You won't regret it. This 8630 is the non-serrated, make sure you're buying the proper one.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great knife, but one issue, December 6, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Ontario 8630 RAT-3 Knife (Sports)
When i received the knife in the mail, one of the first things i noticed was the edge wasn't completely finished. For whatever reason the tip wasn't fully sharpened, about an 1/8 inch didn't look like it had been touched to sharpen it at all. Having said that, that was the only possible thing i found wrong and i'm sure that isn't going to apply to every RAT 3. I love this knife for its handle and toughness. Just disappointed by the worksmanship.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Knife, August 5, 2011
This review is from: Ontario 8630 RAT-3 Knife (Sports)
This is an amazing little knife fits great in my hand I have the one with molle locks and carry it on my vest in Afghanistan. Extremely versatile and very rugged I expect it to last a lifetime. This one from Get Gear Store at $69.95 is an amazing price I got mine for $120 wish I'd know about them before I got mine.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a great litle knife!, January 4, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Ontario 8630 RAT-3 Knife (Sports)
I have always been a fan of Ontario's quality and this baby did not disappoint. I like the plastic click lock sheath that it comes with as well.

It is very high quality and makes a great small backup knife or small survival tool.

This is not a huge knife and is not intended to be. Just a high quality small knife that you can depend on.

Very happy with my purchase.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Well-Made Product, September 10, 2013
By 
Big D "Big D" (So. Cal. United States) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Ontario 8630 RAT-3 Knife (Sports)
I looked for a compact carbon-steel full-tang American-made knife and this knife was the final contender. This knife has a good balance and a well-shaped and precisely-fitted molded fiberglass handle that fits comfortably in my big hand. The edge arrived sharp. The black powder coat finish on the blade has held up well. The sheath is made of a two-piece hard molded plastic. The two halves are riveted together. The sheath holds the knife snugly with a "click" when it is fully inserted, but the knife can still be pulled without any undue effort.

The sheath also includes a TekLok universal plastic clip that can be mounted to the sheath in various positions via provided bolts. The plastic cam that locks the clip clasp closed (not really necessary) broke the first time I closed it. Fortunately, crazy glue did a fine repair job. The only reason I didn't give five stars is that the mounting holes on the clip and the sheath rivet holes (that you use to attach the clip) don't adequately line up. This means that you only have two attaching points for the clip, instead of four. It is thus plausible that the clip could break off if pried from the sheath hard enough. Otherwise, the sheath and knife are snugly and comfortably attached to my belt all day long.

One other comment: Under the Amazon description, there is a "closed length" of 4.03 inches. This is obviously an error because this is not a folding knife. The overall length is 7.8 inches and the blade length (from the handle) is 3.8 inches.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great lightweight knife, March 23, 2013
By 
A. Holt (Franklin, TN United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Ontario 8630 RAT-3 Knife (Sports)
This knife is an amazing deal. A Full tang knife with a kydex sheathing system. I was really surprised how similar it is to the ESEE 3 but $40 less. I did notice that the blade grind was asymmetrical out of the box but besides that, the knife is perfect.
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Ontario 8630 RAT-3 Knife
Ontario 8630 RAT-3 Knife by Ontario Knife
$127.99 $70.95
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