I thought I'd share my first impressions and a few pictures of my latest acquisition... The Strider SA-L.
I have had a bit of a love affair with the ergonomics of Strider folders for some time: The triangular handle shape, pronounced finger choil and jimping provide a very secure grip and a great level of control over the blade.
In my opinion, however, their SMF folder lacks cutting edge for its size and since I prefer smaller blades for pocket carry and anything larger would usually end up in my backpack when I am out hunting or camping I don't really need a knife that size to be a folding knife.
Enter the Strider SA-L!
What a beast! Like most of the Strider offerings this is one solid and seriously overbuilt knife. You will probably want to look for something a bit more delicate for regular kitchen duty, but the .19 in thick S30V blade stock instills confidence that you won't easily bend or break this baby when subjecting it to heavy use.
With an overall length of 8 in and weighing in at 6.6 oz without sheath the SA-L is quite compact and won't take up too much space / add too much weight. It features a very adequate 3 5/8 in cutting edge. In comparison, the cutting edge on a standard 9 in long SMF is only 3 1/8 in.
Like their folders, the ergonomics of the SA-L are great – The signature jimping and the very pronounced finger choil provide a secure grip in various positions. I ordered the frag grip version exclusive to MonkeyEdge and the G10 handle scales are nice and grippy without being too sharp. The blade is nicely balanced around the choil.
Overall built quality seems very good to me. Fit and finish are of a good standard - There are a few minor imperfections in the blade surface around the tip, but nothing that would affect looks or function.
On balance, I have only had two gripes...
Tiger stripes... This is obviously not a flaw, but a matter of personal preference. I don't particularly like them and since my application is purely civilian I prefer to keep things a bit more low profile. Various runs of the SA-L have been available without the stripes, but I didn't have the patience to wait and ordered away knowing that I would have the blade blasted and stonewashed after receipt. It came out rather nicely...
The stock kydex sheath is rather roughly finished (at the bottom in the picture below). Since I absolutely love the sheath on my Matt Caldwell #2-3, I sent the SA-L out to Mashed Cat Outfitters to have a new sheath made and it exceeds everything I had hoped for. The guys at Mashed Cat Outfitters were a pleasure to deal with, turned my order around in record time and now I can easily draw my SA-L and it slides back into position with a re-assuring “click” when re-inserted into the sheath.
A few comparison shots with my other fixed knives...
NB: I am aware of the controversy around the brand. In the interest of keeping this thread open... Let's not go there!