For 25 years Al Mar has been a leader in tactical knives. The company's tradition of hard-use folding duty/tactical knives continues as Al Mar broadens its line of clip-it style knives. The knife that really caught my eye from the 2004 line was the Nomad. I have to admit this is partly because it strongly resembles the original SERE knife, which first got me interested in tactical knives.
Designed by renowned knife maker Kirk Rexroat, the Nomad is a knife that will make its owner proud. It features a flat ground blade that is hand sharpened to ensure a durable, sharp cutting edge. The knife is also hand finished, allowing it to rival any custom-made knife on the market today.
The Nomad also has striking features. The flat black textured G10 handle sharply contrasts with the highly polished VG-10 stainless steel blade. These materials give the Nomad great durability and an aesthetically pleasing look. While looks may not matter for a duty knife, for those who are knife collectors the Nomad will stand out from the rest of your collection.
But the Nomad not only looks good, it's a performer. The Nomad leaves the factory with a hand-sharpened edge you could shave with. Being made from VG-10 stainless steel, the blade takes and holds a razor-sharp edge through the most arduous tasks. After hard use, I found the blade is easily returned to factory sharpness with a few strokes from a Gatco diamond sharpening stone.
When opened, the Nomad's blade becomes an extension of the handle. That is how well all the parts are fitted. The top of the blade is serrated to give the user a positive thumb position. The underside of the blade is scalloped to act as a finger groove. These two features give the operator a solid grip on the knife and control of the blade when cutting with it.
Al Mar uses a liner lock to ensure the blade is secured when open. This system is nearly impossible to break since the lock is part of the knife's handle. The biggest complaint I have heard about this system over the years is that you can cut your finger or thumb when closing the blade. But the scalloped area opposite the liner lock reduces the chance of clipping one of your digits.
For ease of operation, the Nomad features an ambidextrous thumb stud. The stud is stepped to ensure positive engagement by your thumb or finger when opening the blade. Unlike those on many other smaller sized clip-it knives, this stud is large enough to allow easy manipulation of the blade even when wearing gloves.
Compared to many other manufacturers' clip-it style knives, the Nomad is bantam sized. This means that it will fit comfortably in a pocket and not rub your hip or butt cheek raw after a 12-hour day. The Nomad also fits even small hands comfortably.
Like many of its contemporaries, the Nomad uses G10 composite for the knife's grip panels. G10 is tough, lightweight, and can handle the harsh environment of duty use from the weather, to various chemicals that you can encounter on the streets. Where Al Mar differs from the competition is the texturing of the G10. The company uses a micro checkering that is not abrasive to clothes, yet gives the user a firm grip in wet conditions and when wearing gloves.
Overall, the Al Mar Nomad is a great knife. It carries on the Al Mar tradition of quality knives, built to survive whatever they may be needed for. If you're looking for a hard-use knife, don't overlook the Al Mar Nomad.
Blade Length: 3 inches
Overall Length: 7 inches
Weight: 3.5 ounces
Blade Material: VG-10 stainless
Handle Material: G10-textured
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.