The Bark River Knives STS8 Tactical Knife Review

Bark River Knives (formerly known as Bark River Knife & Tool) is located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and is a family owned business operated by veteran knifesmith Mike Stewart who employs a group of highly skilled bladesmiths to create some of the finest production knives on the market today.

For more information on Bark River Knives from one of my previous articles please click here. Also, I strongly urge you to visit the BRK web site and view their fantastic selection of knives for yourself!

The BRK STS8 is the largest on BRK’s tactical knives and it features a an overall length of 13 7/8” with a 8 1/2”, Straight Spine, blade with a Flat Grind made from 9/32” thick, 154CM stainless steel hardened to 58 Rockwell. In addition, it features full tang construction with a very ergonomic handle design and handle scales made from your choice of several different handle materials ranging from several different colors of Micarta to natural materials such as bone, horn, and antler. Plus, the knife is supplied with a molded Kydex sheath.

While not a revolutionary design, the BRK STS8 is a very useful design and, although it is listed in the Search & Rescue category on the BRK web site, the description of this knife states that it was meant to be used as a tactical knife. However, in my opinion, it would also make a wonderful dedicated wilderness survival knife due to its 8 ½”, straight spined, blade, its full tang construction, and its considerable heft of 16 ounces. In addition, the high, Flat Grind creates a very sharp cutting edge that is an excellent compromise between a Saber Grind and a Hollow Grind and the minuscule ricasso provides the user with excellent leverage when carving or plunge cutting to sharpen stakes and create trigger mechanisms for spring snares and deadfalls.

Also, the Straight Spine blade shape is an excellent compromise between a Drop Point and a Trailing Point because it places the point of the blade fairly close to the center line and yet, still provides enough belly to be an effective tool for dressing game animals if you are thinking of using this blade as a hunting knife.

In addition, the relatively long blade combined with the relatively heavy weight and heavy duty construction makes it an excellent tool for chopping and splitting saplings to construct a survival shelter, making an Atlatl or Self Bow for hunting, or making lathes for weaving baskets for fish and bird traps. Plus, unlike the majority of BRK knives, the STS8 is constructed from 154CM stainless steel which contains 1.05% Carbon, 14% Chromium, 4.0 % Molybdenum, and 0.5% Manganese and thus, it is highly corrosion resistant and reasonably tough and the high degree of Carbon combined with the high degree of Molybdenum greatly increases the hardness of the steel. Furthermore, during forging, Mo and Cr combine to form hard, double-carbide, bonds which help improve both the abrasion and corrosion resistance of the steel.

Thus, 154CM takes and hold a very keen edge; although it is much more difficult to sharpen than non-stainless tool steels. In addition, although I happen to prefer the knife with black linen Micarta handle scales as picture on the BRK web site, as with all BRK knives, the STS8 is available with your choice of handle materials ranging from exotic hardwoods to stag antler and jigged bone. Plus, the handle scales are designed in such a way that they allow the full tang to protrude from the rear of the handle to form an integral lanyard loop for positive retention when using the knife in situations where dropping it would result in the making the knife unretrievable. Last, the molded Kydex sheath provides very positive retention of the knife while being impervious to the absorption of moisture.

Consequently, in my opinion, the BRK STS8 is yet another example of an excellent wilderness survival knife design from the bladesmiths at BRK. Plus, like their many other designs, the STS8 is both thoughtfully designed to fill a specific purpose and meticulously crafted to withstand the rigors of an extended stay in the wilderness.

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