I recently discovered the company Lone Wolf Knives while walking the seemingly endless aisles of the 2004 Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show. The knife that really caught my eye was the Butch Vallotton-designed Val-Matic. What sets it apart from other knives is its double-action opening.
Let me explain a double-action knife. Most knives-be they auto opening, assisted open, or manual opening-only function one way. But the Val-Matic from Lone Wolf Knives can be opened automatically or manually. Amazingly, this dual opening function doesn't add bulk or compromise the knife's quality and function.
What the double action does is help the knife to maintain a stealthy, low profile. There are situations where whipping out your favorite auto-opening knife can cause an eyebrow or two to raise and take notice. For these situations, manually open the Val-Matic like any other liner-lock style knife. When the blade is needed in a flash, use the auto-open function.
There are no switches, releases, catches, or locks visible on the knife. So how does the Val-Matic auto opener work? Lone Wolf Knives has hidden the release in plain sight, built into the grip panel opposite the pocket-clip side of the knife. There is a cutout for the thumb at the stud. At this cutout, to operate the auto-open function, push the grip panel to the rear of the knife. Opening the knife requires a distinct effort. This is to ensure the blade doesn't accidentally open. Don't think it will just flick open when you touch the grip panel. When the blade is released, it will open with purpose, so hold on to it.
Once the knife is open, simply close it like any liner-lock knife by pushing the lock into the knife's frame. To close the knife when used in auto-open mode, a bit of force is needed. This resets the opening spring.
To ensure that the Val-Matic stays put in your hand, the handle is made of textured G-10. This is a virtually indestructible material that is resistant to most chemicals, repels water, and dissipates heat fairly quickly. All in all, G-10 is a practically perfect material to use for knife handles.
Rugged construction G-10 grip panels are secured with rivets and screws. They are all stainless steel to resist corrosion in harsh conditions. The pocket clip is made from titanium for light weight and durability.
The blade is made from CPM-S30V high-carbon stainless steel and is bead blasted for a flat, non-reflective look. Because it is stainless, the blade is very corrosion resistant. At the same time, the high-carbon content allows the blade to be sharpened and to hold an edge.
I can tell you that the Val-Matic's blade has endured some of the harshest treatment that a knife can be subjected to: working in a warehouse. I used it to open boxes of ammo, firearms, and gear. I cut dozens of cardboard boxes into pieces for disposal and tackled the fiber packing tape that had come on the boxes. After the Val-Matic's adventures in shipping, it could still shave paper. That makes it a pretty good blade in my opinion.
If you are in the market for a serious knife, check out the knives from Lone Wolf. They are serious tools for those who go in harm's way. The Val-Matic is up to whatever task you use a knife for during your duty day.
Lone Wolf Knives
Blade Length: 3.6 inches
Overall Length: 8.25 inches
Weight: 5.5 ounces
Blade Material: CPM-S30V High-Carbon Stainless Steel
Handle Material: G10
Scott Smith is a disabled veteran who served as an active duty Army MP and in the U.S. Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard as a security policeman.