Sunday, August 3, 2014

Review: MTECH MT-20-30 [Fixed Blade Knife]

There are no shortage of tiny fixed blade knives on the market to choose from. Often called just "neck knives," these products are supposed to be smaller versions of larger knives, which are easier to carry or conceal, and much lighter. For someone into EDC type gear, there's a lot to like with some of these smaller fixed blades. I purchased this MTECH MT-20-30 as part of a larger order to see if I could find a decent EDC fixed blade.

MTECH MT-20-30 Fixed Blade Knife: Product Link
MTECH MT-20-30 Fixed Blade Knife: Product Link

Product Description


This is a small fixed blade "neck" knife with a 2 inch blade, presumably made of 400 stainless. It's a full tang design with tan G10 scales and generous jimping on the top of the blade and bottom of the handle. The blade has a stonewashed black coating. The knife comes with a kydex sheath and a neck chain. Most people are surprised to see how small this thing is, and it almost looks like a toy at first glance. But this is a real knife, albeit a smaller fixed blade than most folks are used to seeing.

Official Specs (From Amazon)

  • 4.75" INCHES OVERALL
  • 2" DROP POINT BLADE
  • 2.8MM THICKNESS STONE WASHED BLADE
  • TAN COLOR G10 HANDLE
MTECH MT-20-30 Fixed Blade Knife With Pelican 1910 1xAAA Flashlight and Smith & Wesson Tactical Pen
Shown with Pelican 1xAAA flashlight and Smith & Wesson tactical pen
MTECH MT-20-30 Fixed Blade Knife: Product View 1

MTECH MT-20-30 Fixed Blade Knife: Product View 2

MTECH MT-20-30 Fixed Blade Knife: Product View 3

MTECH MT-20-30 Fixed Blade Knife: Product View 4

MTECH MT-20-30 Fixed Blade Knife: Product View 5MTECH MT-20-30 Fixed Blade Knife: Product View 6

MTECH MT-20-30 Fixed Blade Knife: Product View 7

MTECH MT-20-30 Fixed Blade Knife: Product View 8MTECH MT-20-30 Fixed Blade Knife: Product View 9MTECH MT-20-30 Fixed Blade Knife: Product View 10
 MTECH MT-20-30 Fixed Blade Knife: Product View 11MTECH MT-20-30 Fixed Blade Knife: Product View 12





Initial Impressions


Yep, it's small. Think of a small pocket knife opened--that's about the size. Unlike some of the other knives I ordered with this one, me and the MT-20-30 hit it off from the get go. It gives me a good 3-finger grip on the handle even with my large-ish hands. The Jimping is cut well and has a great feel. There's also jimping on the bottom back of the handle, which is a nice touch. Scales are well cut and have a good, grippy feel to them. I love the stone washed look. It doesn't do anything functional, but hey, if you got it, flaunt it.

This little knife gave me a great overall first impression, due to its design, quality of construction and good fit and finish. If I paid $70 or $80 then this would be just another review. But I paid $9, so I remain impressed.

The second this came out of the box, the wife was trying to get her grubby mitts on it. Normally if she sees something she likes pass through my blog, I just let her keep it. Too bad, because I've been infatuated with it as well. As a collector who buys lots of knives, I don't normally get too excited by yet-another-knife. But a couple lately have really given me a great first impression, and this is one of them.

Build Quality


My MT-20-30 is a well built knife. It's made in China from an unspecified steel type, so it's expected that this knife is made of a softer steel than one of its made in USA counterparts. But that's fine by me. While Chinese steel isn't very good for screwdrivers, it's fine for knives.

Everything about my review sample seems well designed and executed. The stonewashed blade has a nice effect, and the G10 handles look like they come from a higher end knife. Same with the kydex sheath. It looks like it was hand made here in the USA.

Fit and Finish


Overall, good. A couple of the screws which hold the G10 scales on look mangled, as if they were put on by an angry child with a dull screwdriver.

Other than a couple scratched-up and possibly damaged screws, the rest of the review sample hits most of the marks: good grind, good cut scales, good cut jimping, well fitting sheath. I can't emphasize the sheath fit enough. A knife with a loose sheath isn't safe. Mine has a fit that I would expect on a higher end knife.

The jimping is cut well, and looks like a higher end knife the way it's cut and polished. Many people would be surprised to see a Chinese factory cranking out knives with a finish this good, but a few of the bigger ones like SanRenMu have been doing that for a few years now.

To see the difference between this MT-20-30 and a higher end knife for me requires looking at some of the zoomed in photos. Zoomed in, you can see some roughness in the way the G10 material was cut and a couple imperfections in the jimping. If the screws weren't so awful, this could probably pass for a higher end knife.

Blade


The full tang blade on the MT-20-30 has a typical geometry you would normally find on an EDC / camping / hunting knife: hollow grind with a swedged drop point. Hey, why change a good thing. The blade gives me the impression that I could pound the knife into concrete if I wanted to, which of course I couldn't do with some of my favorite EDC knives like the Dragonfly. But the reality is that with a budge knife, the heat treatment on budget knives like this are very hit and miss, and I haven't stressed this one too hard yet.

Overall I am impressed by how the blade is machined and treated. The stone wash gives it a nice look, though I'm not sure what it actually does for the knife functionally. Mine came with an edge that was a step up from a dull blade. The other MTech knife I bought with this order was dull as well. But just like the other knife, there are no screw-ups in the the grind, which often accompanies a cheap knife with a dull blade. So at least it can be sharpened correctly.


MTECH MT-20-30 Fixed Blade Knife: Blade View 1MTECH MT-20-30 Fixed Blade Knife: Blade View 2


Handle


The tan G10 scales on mine are well done-- definitely above average for what I would expect on a knife in the 10 dollar range. They are cut well and textured, giving the handle a nice,  solid, 3 finger grip for me.

The full tang design features part of the butt of the blade sticking out the other end of the knife, forming a pommel suitable for attaching a lanyard. Which also means that you actually could pound this knife into something if you needed to.

Coupled with the excellent jimping top and bottom, the G10 scales give the knife a great feel for not having a full grip on it. Not quite as good as my Dragonfly, but much better than the Gnome.


MTECH MT-20-30 Fixed Blade Knife: Handle View 1

MTECH MT-20-30 Fixed Blade Knife: Handle View 2MTECH MT-20-30 Fixed Blade Knife: Handle View 3

MTECH MT-20-30 Fixed Blade Knife: Handle View 4


Sheath


The kydex sheath on my review sample is well done. The kydex is a little on the thin side but it's also very light. Most importantly, mine has a near perfect fit. There's not much to be said about this sheath other than it's simple and effective.

MTECH MT-20-30 Fixed Blade Knife: Closeup Of Sheath

Usability


These tiny fixed blades can be awkward to carry. Too small for your belt, it's pretty much either wear it around your neck or take the chain off and just carry the whole thing in your pocket like I do. But the funny thing is that at 2 ounces, it's very light in my pocket, and the shape is even decent for jeans or cargo pants. Which is fine, because around the house, or wearing shorts, I'll usually have something small like my Victorinox Executive in my pocket.

MTECH MT-20-30 Fixed Blade Knife: In Hand 1

MTECH MT-20-30 Fixed Blade Knife: In Hand 2

Conclusions


This is one of those products that turns out to be a gem. It's hard to find these gems. Since I do a lot of research and buy my review samples with my own money, there aren't many products which I review that I out-and-out dislike. And conversely, there aren't many that really float my boat, either. So it's very gratifying to find one of these gems, like the MT-20-30.

Gallery

MTECH MT-20-30 Fixed Blade Knife: In Box 1

MTECH MT-20-30 Fixed Blade Knife: In Box 2

MTECH MT-20-30 Fixed Blade Knife: In Box 3


MTECH MT-20-30 Fixed Blade Knife: On Chain

MTECH MT-20-30 Fixed Blade Knife: Next To Ruler

MTECH MT-20-30 Fixed Blade Knife: On Scale
Only 2 ounces with sheath!




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