When choosing a reliable and high-performing knife, the options seem endless. Among the sea of choices, the Ontario Knife Company (OKC) has established itself as a reputable manufacturer renowned for producing top-quality blades. In this article, we delve into the Ontario Knife Company RBS-7 Knife, examining its design, functionality, and performance. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a survivalist, or simply a knife aficionado, join us as we explore the features, benefits, and potential drawbacks of the RBS-7 Knife, shedding light on its place in the world of cutlery and equipping you with valuable insights for your next knife purchase.
Ontario Knife Company
Ontario Knife Company is a time-tested yet venerable and well-known knife company founded in Naples, New York, in 1889 by William B. Ensworth, Charles Albert Brace, and William Maudsley, who derived the name of the company from Ontario County, where Naples is.
Their early knives were hand-manufactured on a water-powered grindstone and sold tinker-style from a pushcart throughout the neighboring countryside. Due to its face-to-face relationship with its customers, OKC has built its reputation and heritage of uncompromising craftsmanship, quality materials and components, and a steadfast commitment to its workforce.
In addition, all Ranger series knives were designed by knife smith Justin Gingrich who served ten years on active duty in such honored units as the 3rd Ranger Battalion, the 20th Special Forces Group, and the Ranger Training Brigade.
Gingrich is also a Police Academy graduate who served in Iraq with a civilian security firm in 2005 in addition to instructing private security contractors, U.S. soldiers, State Department employees, and civilians in the art of patrolling, demolitions, shooting, and Close Quarters Battle techniques.
Accordingly, the Ontario Ranger “Bush Series” of knives is a prime example of Ontario Knife Company’s continuing commitment to excellence in knife design and manufacturing quality. The RBS-7 Knife in particular offers the user everything he needs in a dedicated survival knife and nothing he doesn’t.
Ontario Knife Company Rewards
The Ontario Knife Company is known to be an award-winning cutlery with 130+ years of experience. This company is focused and determined to create quality knives. Their hard work ethic is noted by being awarded “Field & Stream Magazine’s “Best of the Best” award. This award is one of the most prestigious accolades in the outdoor gear industry. Each year, expert field testers at Field & Stream evaluate hundreds of the best new outdoor products, narrowing them down to the most outstanding equipment across several categories. With the conclusion of this exhaustive testing, the Ontario Knife Company®’s Blackbird SK-5™, designed by survivalist Paul Scheiter, was awarded “Best of the Best” in the knife category for 2011.”
The OKC RBS-7 Knife Features:
The OKC RBS-7 survival knife features an 8”, flat ground, clip point blade made from 3/16” 1095 high carbon, non-stainless steel with a gray powder coat finish to help prevent corrosion. It also features full tang construction with black canvas Micarta (also known as Rucarta) handle slabs and an exposed pommel with a lanyard loop, and a MOLLE-compatible nylon/Kydex sheath.
Upon viewing this knife, three features that immediately stand out to us are the 8” clip point blade, the flat grind, and the large canvas Micarta handle slabs (a common feature in many everyday carry options).
The reason that these three features immediately catch my attention is that when I am in the field, I find that an 8” blade is the perfect length for a dedicated survival knife because it’s long enough to perform light chopping jobs well, and yet it is also very controllable.
I find that I can also use it for carving, slicing, and removing the hide from the harvested game without the feeling that it is too long. In addition, while the flat grind on the blade is not as strong as a saber grind, it is stronger than a hollow grind. For that, it is the perfect compromise between a tough edge and a sharp edge, provided that the knife incorporates the correct steel for the intended purpose.
The canvas Micarta (as opposed to linen Micarta) is one of the toughest knife handle materials known to me. Since it is made from numerous layers of resin-impregnated cotton canvas that have been heated and then pressed under extreme pressure, one can trust it to
- providing a very positive grip when wet
- be completely impervious to immersion in water
- be efficient in absorbing moisture
- be resistant to chipping, cracking, and splitting
Altogether, these characteristics make the handle design on the RBS-7 Knife very ergonomic and large enough to completely fill a man-sized hand. The “hook” at the back of the handle prevents the knife from slipping out of the user’s hand when chopping with the knife.
Furthermore, although I do have a distinct preference for stainless steel in a survival knife, I have to admit that 1095 (designated ten series alloy steel with a 95% Carbon content) is perhaps the toughest steel in existence today. Plus, with a 95% Carbon content, it can be made quite hard to aid in edge retention.
In addition, as I have mentioned previously in some of my other articles, I feel like the Clip Point blade is the single most useful tip profile available since it places the tip out of the way when skinning the game while providing the user with an extremely sharp tip that can be used as an awl when needed.
Also, since 1/8” steel is too thin and 1/4” steel is too thick, the choice to construct the knife from 3/16” steel is a very enlightened one because it is thick enough to make a very strong blade and yet is thin enough to allow for a very sharp edge (especially when combined with a flat grind).
Lastly, the MOLLE-compatible nylon/Kydex sheath is an excellent accessory for this knife since both nylon and Kydex are extremely tough materials that will not absorb moisture and are, therefore, impervious to rot.
A con about this knife is the large coil ground into the edge of the blade immediately in front of the ricasso. While I am aware that this feature is designed to allow the user to place their index finger into the groove for greater control over the blade, I personally have never found this feature useful and the fact that it places the back of the edge farther from the hilt, thus decreasing the amount of leverage that can be brought to bear on the edge when using the knife to carve, is disconcerting to me.
Another con to consider is the weight for EDC: While the weight of the RBS-7 Knife is advantageous for heavier tasks, it may be slightly heavier for those seeking a dedicated everyday carry (EDC) knife. Individuals prioritizing lightweight and discreet EDC options might find the RBS-7 Knife less suitable for their needs.
Performance & Functionality
When it comes to cutting ability, the RBS-7 Knife excels in various tasks. Its versatile blade shape strikes a balance between slicing, chopping, and precision work. Whether you’re preparing firewood, playing a field dressing game, or tackling campsite chores, the RBS-7 Knife is designed to handle it with ease. The choice of high-quality steel contributes to its exceptional cutting performance, providing a reliable and long-lasting edge.
Durability is a hallmark of the RBS-7 Knife. Constructed with rugged materials, it is built to withstand the rigors of outdoor adventures and frequent use. The combination of stainless steel blade and robust handle materials ensures longevity, while the knife’s sturdy construction enables it to handle demanding tasks without compromising performance.
Furthermore, the RBS-7 Knife offers a good balance between size and weight, making it suitable for both everyday carry and heavier cutting tasks. Its moderate dimensions make it manageable for various outdoor activities while still providing enough blade length for effective cutting power.
The OKC RBS-7 Knife has been well-loved by customers over the years. Here are several 5-star reviews from customers that have implemented this knife into their real-world experiences:
- “I ordered this knife and had it shipped to my APO. I used it for nine months of my tour and was completely satisfied with it. The knife held its edge well and did everything I needed it to. I pried off door locks, cut cordage, batoned fired wood, opened crates of ammo, etc.. Never found anything I couldn’t do with it that I would use a knife for. Even the ANA soldiers wanted it. Now it is a part of my camping kit until the next deployment.”
- “Keeping it simple -Amazingly sharp out of the box -Great steel -Firm grip fits hands well (even my 2XL hands) -Amazing balance -A little bit heavy, but an amazing knife. I would say it is perfect for outdoor tasks and survival kits (if it is a good weight for your specific kit).”
- “Beautiful knife with comfortable and safe grip. The quality of blade steel is excellent. Would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a large hunting knife.”
- “Awesome knife, but as always, the sheath is terrible. That’s not saying to steer away from this blade because you will be missing out. Razor sharp out of the box, and a very well-balanced knife.”
Consequently, it is obvious to me that the designer of this knife (Justin Gingrich) has considerable experience in the field of outdoor survival, unlike so many other designers who create and market so-called survival knives which are particularly ill-suited to the job.
Therefore, for those of you looking for an inexpensive, no-frills, tough-as-nails survival knife, I can honestly and wholeheartedly recommend the Ontario Knife Company Ranger Bush Series RBS-7 Knife.
The Ontario Knife Company RBS-7 Knife emerges as a commendable choice for those seeking a reliable, versatile, and well-crafted blade. With its robust construction, ergonomic design, and impressive cutting performance, it caters to the needs of outdoor enthusiasts, survivalists, and knife aficionados alike. While it’s always essential to consider personal preferences and specific use cases, the RBS-7 Knife demonstrates the Ontario Knife Company’s commitment to quality and their ability to produce a tool that withstands the tests of time and demanding tasks.
In your search for a dependable and versatile knife, the Ontario Knife Company RBS-7 Knife deserves careful consideration. Its thoughtful design, durable construction, and proven performance make it a worthy companion for your outdoor adventures and everyday cutting needs.
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