Saturday, November 14, 2015

Review: Ganzo G719 "Switchblade"

When I was 16, my neighbor traded me a switchblade for a ride to his girlfriend's house. It was made in Mexico from obviously shoddy materials. It fell apart just from a few days playing with it. Living in southern California, my friends and I of course occasionally bought more cheap switchblades and stilettos when we would vacation across the border.

Years later, I stopped paying attention to these types of knives because the novelty factor wasn't worth paying $300-$400 for a real one. But then, Ganzo started making switchblades, and I was intrigued. They have a pretty good reputation as one of the few good Chinese manufacturers of pocket knives. So it was a no-brainer to buy a Ganzo G719 from a shady seller for 17 bucks I think it was. I also notice they have them on Amazon, usually with a pretty good markup. But as of this writing, it's only about 5 bucks more to have it with Prime. Me, I usually go with the cheapest price and don't mind waiting.

Ganzo G719 "Switchblade" Product View 1



Product Description


This is a spring-loaded, automatic pocket knife "switchblade" made in China with their version of 440C steel. It features a black (you can get OD green) G10 inlay on the presentation side. With a stonewashed finish, deep carry clip (also stonewashed) and a slender shape, I would consider this a "gentleman's switchblade" if there is such a thing.

Ganzo G719 "Switchblade" With Nitecore MT26

Official Specs

Specifications

General
Brand: GANZO
Type: Multitools
For: Home use, Adventure, Hiking, Camping, Climbing, Daily Use
Lock Type: Spring Lock
Blade Edge Type: Fine
Blade Material: Stainless steel
Material Detail: Blade: 440C stainless steel
Feature: Spring locking, Porcket size, With hanging hook
Specification
Blade Length: 8.5 cm / 3.35 inches
Blade Width : 2.0 cm / 0.79 inches
Unfold Length: 20.0 cm / 7.87 inches
Fold Length: 11.5 cm / 4.53 inches
Color: Multi-Color
Dimension and Weight
Product weight : 0.145 kg
Package weight : 0.181 kg
Product size (L x W x H) : 11.5 x 2.5 x 1.5 cm / 4.52 x 0.98 x 0.59 inches
Package size (L x W x H) : 13.5 x 6.0 x 3.8 cm / 5.31 x 2.36 x 1.49 inches
Package Contents
Package contents: 1 x GANZO G719-B Springy Foldable Knife
From Top: Spyderco Manix 2 LW, Ganzo G719, Ganzo G707
From Top: Spyderco Manix 2 LW, Ganzo G719, Ganzo G707

Initial Impressions


My review sample bears no resemblance to the cheap crap I used to buy as a young adult. This looks like a solid, well built knife. The blade deploys quickly and smoothly with a solid lockup. The button felt a little gritty out of the box, though. Not enough to make me want to mess with it, but gritty enough that it's something I noticed. Also, the black G10 is well done but doesn't look high end like the orange G704 I have.

Decent edge, good machining, and extra points for the good job they did stone-washing the whole thing. Overall, this knife gave me a very good first impression.

Ganzo G719 "Switchblade" - Product View 2

Ganzo G719 "Switchblade" - Product View 3

Ganzo G719 "Switchblade" - Product View 4

Ganzo G719 "Switchblade" - Product View 6

Ganzo G719 "Switchblade" - Product View 7


Build Quality


Overall, good. The G10 inlay looks good, but not really high end, but the bolsters look great. Every bit of the steel is stonewashed, and like my other Ganzo samples, the machining is fantastic overall. The clip is even good quality. But, like most of the knives in my collection, they gave no love to the case or clip screws. The pivot screw is OK, the others, not so much.

Fit and Finish


Overall, very good. The screws look cheap, and there's a couple spots where it looks a little rough around the edges. I also deduct points for the less than ideal, slightly gritty feel of the button out of the box.

Everything else is spot on, and most knife enthusiasts should appreciate Ganzo's attention to detail on this model. An untrained eye would have a hard time telling this apart from an expensive USA model without holding them side by side.

It hits all the fit and finish marks: perfect centering on the blade, smooth deployment, and the stone-washed clip has one of the best finishes I've seen on a knife under $100.

Blade


The blade is made of the Chinese version 440C stainless steel, and features a hollow ground, drop point blade, swedged on top "sabre grind" style. A very common and useful shape for a pocket knife.

It's stone-washed, good thickness, good grind, decent edge--they got it right. The edge could be better but it's at least beveled correctly, nice and uniform along the entire blade. Where a budget company like Ganzo is very good at making and machining the blade, they still struggle with the edge, and it's always hit-and-miss getting a good edge. As you can see in the photos below, the tip is perfectly ground. Someone I handed it to drew blood just from testing the tip to see how sharp it was. Pssst: it's sharp.

Ganzo G719 "Switchblade" - Blade View 1

Ganzo G719 "Switchblade" - Blade View 2


Handle


A solid slab of steel on the clip side and a thinner stainless steel frame on the other side with inlayed G10 and steel bolsters--it's a good looking knife. There are a few notches carved out of the slab on the clip side, and the clip itself contributes to the decent grip, which is better than it looks like it would be. I'm not sure how good the grip would be without the clip, but I don't intend to take the clip off.

Ganzo G719 "Switchblade" - Handle View


Clip


The G719 features a tip-up, right-handed deep carry clip out of the box. The clip can be removed, but is not otherwise configurable: sorry lefties and tip-down enthusiasts.

It is very well executed. It's build well, it looks good, and it's not too tight or too loose. Most companies have a hard time getting clips right, or they neglect them entirely. I have expensive USA made knives with clips inferior to this one.

Attention manufacturers: More clips done like this one pretty please.

Ganzo G19 "Switchblade" - Clip 1

Ganzo G19 "Switchblade" - Clip 2


Deployment / Lockup


Other than a slightly gritty feel on the button which has mostly gone away, my G719 deploys very smoothly. The mechanism fires pretty hard, and it locks up nice and solid. In fact, it fires so hard that there's a little bit of recoil.

I tested the lock with probably 40-50 pounds of force, which is more than it will ever see with EDC duty. It certainly gives me enough confidence to use this unknown lock on a budget switchblade. Man, budget has come a long way.

Ganzo G719 "Switchblade" - Lockup View 1

Ganzo G719 "Switchblade" - Lockup View 2

Usability


People these days are touchy about seeing any pocket knife these days. So I only carry this one selectively an use it situationally.

Having said that, this is a decent EDC. The blade geometry is good for most every day tasks, and any one handed opener makes life easier. What's funny though, is that it can't really be closed one-handed, which is not as vital but still nice. So, for EDC, any switchblade is going to lose a few points for that.

Overall, though, this is a very usable EDC if I'm wearing Jeans or shorts with a belt, because this thing is a little on the heavy side. But all that steel gives me a confident feeling. The G10 on the presentation side, and the notching on the clip side give it a decent grip.

The gritty feel of the deployment has mostly gone away, and it has a nice feel now that the lock is broken in. I may still oil it.

Ganzo G719 "Switchblade" - In Hand 1Ganzo G719 "Switchblade" - In Hand 2

Ganzo G719 "Switchblade" - In Hand 3

Ganzo G719 "Switchblade" - In Hand 4


Weights & Measures


It's a little heavier than I like for EDC, but some people like a beefier knife.

Ganzo G719 "Switchblade" - On Scale

Ganzo G719 "Switchblade" -  Next to Ruler


Conclusions


Good materials, design and execution, at a budget price: There's not much to find fault with. Ganzo is in no danger of putting Benchmade out of business, but this is still a solid knife at any price point, and fun to play with. Yeah, some people never really grow up.

This is a series tool, and definitely nowhere near the flimsy switchblades they would sell to the tourists like us just over the border.



1 comment:

  1. I just ordered one of these. It sounds as if this will be a "budget workhorse" which is exactly why I am purchasing it.

    From the foregoing review, It looks as if I made a sound purchase.

    ReplyDelete