on February 13, 2013
The SP50 may be the best backpacking knife I have ever used. As a backpacker, a blade of this size will be used, primarily, for firewood processing. To that, the SP50 is tops. The SP50 draws a direct comparison to the exceptionally valued Ka-Bar Heavy Bowie. Both have Kraton handles, blades of the same length and blade bellies of the same size. Where the SP50 surpasses the KaBar, is in blade thickness and design. The SP50 has less taper and eliminates the false edge along the top. The result is a blade with more hacking ability [for de-limbing] and better wood splitting. Where the Ka Bar has an overall longer handle, the SP50 actually offers more grip length, as the butt is not nearly as thick.
I like the nylon sheath of Ontario. I appreciate the pocket provided to store fire-kits, multi-tools, fishing kits, sharpeners, flash lights, etc. The sheath holds the knife securely when fastened and allows for easy extraction and return when unfastens. This is a welcome feature when using the knife repeatedly.
The SP50 is the GLOCK of wood processing knives. Simple, form & function...without unnecessary frills-- Just a great knife.
on September 14, 2013
I would not go on record as saying this is a knife. The shape of it would dictate so, but this is a tool. Tough steel, i've had it for a few days now and ive been punishing it with a vengeance. Stuck it in freezer for a few hrs before commencing. Splitting, digging (yes digging), chopping, carving and drawing. All of that before resharpening and oiling the blade. It held up better than any i've had, and believe me, I've had a lot. Its slightly top heavy, not perfectly balanced, but its not a combat knife, its a tool. Takes very deep bites into wood. Easier to throw than expected for something that size and weight and the occasional bounce hurt neither edge, nor handle. Thick spine makes for easy aim for hammering nails, though fully able to hammer with flat as well. Grip excelent for wet/ cold hands better for hot/sweaty hands. Laniyard sucks, but 550 hollow fits perfect. Extra long handle for those of us with large hands gives enough room to slide down for max swing momentum on cutting edge. Sabre grind blade, miracle worker for log splitting. Most logs i put it through split 1/4 way down and a fresh wild plum made it to 1/2. Will try seasoned ash next making a bow. Im impressed, and pleased with this tool. Bulky, but worth it. Replaces almost anything but a small bushwork knife. Havent tried prying planks with it yet, but after everything i've seen it would amaze me if i cant pry open a heavy oak door with this thing. Design not good for makeshift spear. Con : sheath loose fit. Heat up plastic insert and press, then stick in freezer for 45sec. No more problem. Overall, awesome blade, great steel, tool that wont quit, LIFETIME WARRANTY! On something u cant break. Useless, but nice to have assurance.
on June 23, 2013
The Ontario SP50 is a big knife, and I think anybody reading the specs would know that. Having said that, it's really not that heavy. So, let's discuss some specs and initial observations -
- It really kind of depends on where you get your specs. Ontario Knife Store says the blade itself is 8.8" long. Other sites list it as 9" or longer. For all intents and purposes, just figure you have 9 inches of metal sticking out of the kraton handle. It's a full size "big" blade.
- Not enough belly to be considered a bowie style, the SP50 is basically a drop point blade, though that "drop" is not at all steep. It's just enough point to still get sufficient penetration for many purposes, though not optimal in this area. As a chopper, the shape is close to perfection. Also, the full flat grind is perfect for batoning wood.
- Weight is listed as 17 ounces. A touch over a pound is "too much" in the minds of some, but let me tell you - the balance of this thing is quite good. That much 5160 steel (we're talking a spine that is 1/4" thick!) and it's only just over a pound? Not bad at all. Consider that the Marine Raider Bowie is only about a half inch or so longer and in 1095 steel with the same thickness...and it weighs about a third of a pound more.
- Uses: You can process a LOT of wood with this blade and not even need to sharpen it after wards, or at least not much outside of a touch-up. That said, it would make an adequate defense tool against both two and four footed critters. Most two-footed fools will back off at the sight of such a formidable weapon (unless of course they possess a firearm, in which case you are in the WRONG fight). Four footed critters will have to contend with a well-edged blade that has more than adequate reach, chopping/slicing power, and a very strong tip that can penetrate a hide if there is sufficient thrust power behind it.
Definitely a five star knife if you want or need a big knife. Perfect size - bigger than anything in the 7 or 8 inch range, but not so long as to be machete-like. Certainly tougher than any machete you're likely to find or buy.
on March 12, 2012
Check out the videos on YouTube. The handles on the Gen II knives are much more ergonomic to me than the Ontario Rat knives. The sheaths have to much in common.
Others have noted the advantages of this knife most of whom see it as a good for chopping wood and batoning. Since that seems to be all that most people want to use the knife for why waste time arguing it has other uses?
I'll address something else. An old timer when asked why he didn't carry a big knife responded by saying because every time I need it it's back at camp. In his view a sheath knife needed to be compact enough you could wear it on your belt without noticing it or it was all to likely going to be elsewhere when you did need it.
If you buy this knife I believe you will find that the makers of the sheath it comes with have not successfully addressed this issue. Well maybe if you want to wear a military style vest but I haven't seen many campers/hikers doing that.
Several makers of short machete and large knives make sheaths that have the belt loop attached to the sheaths in such a way that the rivet acts as a pivot and these seem to largely solve the problem. You may need to use one hand to pull the sheath forward to get in a car or truck but at least you don't have to undo you belt and take it off. (Unless required by state or national law.) The one that comes with my Condor Hudson bay knife for reasons that are obscure seems to fit the big Gen II to perfection. Yes it is well made and of heavy grade leather. If you're worried about it getting wet use a water repellant on it.
Since the sheath is longer than it needs to be for the Hudson Bay knife they may change the design but for now I consider it to be the best sheath going for the big Gen II. If you can pick one of these sheaths up someway it might be prudent to do so.
on April 4, 2016
After several months of searching for the perfect backcountry knife, and researching possible contenders, I finally ordered the sp50... and I'm glad I did.
Traditionally a Kabar fan, I have the Cutlass as my main chopper, and a classic USN fighting model (7 inch) for defense. I find each of these to be great for their specific purposes, but when hiking or camping in the backcountry no one wants to carry the weight and bulk of 2 knives. For these occaisons, I wanted to find a bowie type knife that would accomplish both purposes - one that is long and heavy enough to chop with, but short, light, and pointed enough to use for defense or hunting.
I almost bought the Kabar BK9, which seems to be very popular and well-liked. However, I was drawn to the OKC Gen II Sec Plus line more and more as I looked around at reviews, videos, and other info. I like that OKC makes all of their knives in the USA (although the Becker line is too), and seemed to get the sense that they are the relative underdog company that might have made an unbeatable line of knives with the Gen II series. As an engineer, I know a little about the physics and science of metalworking, and was impressed by the design and manufacturing process developed specifically for these blades.
Long story short, I got the sp50. The 52 and 53 look great, but are more of a chopping only knife. I went with the 50 over the 51 because of the grind and consequential weight. Both are the same 1/4 inch thick, but the flat grind of the 50 results in a few fewer ounces total weight compared to the sabre grind of the 51 (that is the only difference between the two ). I felt that the weight of the 50 would satisfy my criteria better- heavy enough to chop, but not too slow. Also, the flat grind allows for a bettercutting blade and a better bite when chopping, while the wedge shape of the sabre grind is better for splitting. I think that for my purposes, chopping down a tree for shelter or hacking branches is much more important that batoning wood that is more than a few inches thick (which I personally think is a silly priority for a knife over other things).
I knew I made the right decision right out of the box - this knife is undeniably excellent quality, especially for the price. It isn't a small knife in any sense, but it is balanced so well that it doesn't seem heavy at all in the hand. Also, the sheath may not be beautiful but it's actually pretty decent quality and very functional.. a nice bonus when most good knives, even Kabars, come with awful theaths. Everyone has their own opinion and taste, but I find the knife to be very ergonomic and attractive. Based on my feelings towards this knife, I would now like to get others in this series. As much as I like and respect Kabar, I have a new favorite.
You may want a different model depending on your specific needs, but if you're wondering if the OKC Gen II spec plus line is worth a try, I don't think you'll be disappointed.
on February 16, 2014
many people compare this knife to the Becker BK9. I don't own a BK9, but I do own a BK2, BK7, BK10, and BK17. The Beckers are a bit nicer all around than this Ontario Spec Plus Gen II SP50. The Kraton handle on the SP50 is comfy but not as tuff as the polymer/grivory handle scales of the beckers. The 5160 steel is very nice. Its as good or a bit better than the 1095CV of the Beckers. I just recently did some chopping in 5 degree weather. I was thumpin on some pretty frozen wood. Still sharp and no chipping. The Full flat grind blade is cool. Cuts and slices good like you'd expect a FFG to be. Prepped wood great as well. The finishing of the knife is kinda weak. Lots of tooling marks. Maybe I have a bad example? All of my beckers are flawless.
Overall, Im glad I bought this knife. I will still buy a BK9 someday as I feel the Beckers are finished nicer, and have better handles. But the FFG makes the SP50 worth buying.
Both the SP50 sheath and the becker nylon sheaths are equally lame but they work.
on August 24, 2014
Great knife, unbeatable price. I love the designer from cold steel, no problems flooding the internet about his work having massive chips. The kraton handle has an even more ergonomic shape than his CS pieces. Get in while the prices are cheap, once people realize these gen II, spec plus knives are great they wont be $74.
on April 10, 2014
TThis knife may not be the biggest, but it is the baddest. If you haven't already, watch "sp50 hall of fame survivor" by nutnfancy on you tube. His review led me to purchase the sp50, and I have no regrets dishing out 80 bucks for such a useful tool.
on August 6, 2014
Outstanding! So far I have used it to pry, cut as a knife, hack like a machete and split wood by baton method. I thought I would have to make a leather sheath for it, thinking the one that would come with it would be junk. I was wrong. Using the two secure straps holds this big blade in place, whether, upside down or horizontal, it stays put. Easy to sharpen and after stropping it will shave nicely. The grip of the handle is very comfortable and grippe even with wet hands or muddy handle. It works pretty good as a machete and splits wood very well. Used as a draw-knife is better than any knife I have, except my actual draw-knife. With this knife and my small Mora with me, I have most woodcraft covered. BTW, the pouch on the sheath hold my 6 inch by 2 inch diamond stone perfect, with room left for other things. Very useful blade.
on April 14, 2014
Personally I love this knife but I knew what job I was getting this knife for from the start. This knife can slice or do some fine knifework but due to the size it's not optimal. This knife is meant for heavy chopping and batoning, which it does with flying colors.