Story and Photos by Joshua Swanagon
Form, fit and function are hallmarks of a great blade – but being a complete bad ass can put a knife into a category of its own.
I first met David Laninga, Owner of MI-TAC tactical store here in Michigan, a little over a year ago, at a bushcraft gathering we do in the upper part of lower Michigan, called the Michigan Bushcraft Spring Gathering. As with many of my conversations, it didn’t take long before David and I were talking knives and he let me know about a knife he designed – in collaboration with Dave Wenger, of Wenger Blades – called the Greyside. The more he told me about it, the more I was intrigued.
After hearing more about David’s experience, and some of the reasons behind the design (not to mention the fact that he was having it made by Wenger Blades), I was already sold. But it was after I started working with the Greyside, and putting it through the paces, that I realized that everyone needs to know about this knife.
I’m not going to blow smoke here and tell you that it is the most beautiful specimen to hit my desk, or that it is a head turner to anyone other than true knife users. What I will tell you is that it is very well thought out, very comfortable and built to be used and used hard.
The Wenger Greyside comes in at an overall length of 8.5 inches and is constructed of 0.1875-inch-thick 80CrV2 high carbon steel. The combination of the 80CrV2 and an amazing heat treat gives the Greyside a very impressive edge retention that I will get into later.
I can only classify the profile of the 3.75-inch blade as a drop point; although the drop is so subtle that it is almost undistinguishable to the naked eye. Although the lack of more drop keeps the tip from centering nicely with the handle, it does add some aggressiveness to the point without having to lengthen the blade; which I thought was a perfectly acceptable trade-off.
The full flat grind on the blade gives the Greyside a very keen edge and makes it an amazing slicer. With the lack of an overt shoulder, from the primary to secondary bevel, there is almost no resistance during any kind of slicing tasks.
The Greyside features Custom Grey Micarta handle scales with red liners – made in Michigan and exclusive to MI-TAC knives only – as the interface between man and steel. Although not listed as such, the scales look to be a burlap Micarta and are very grippy in the hand. The scales are held in place by two hollow copper rivets – adding to the aesthetics – that should only look better over time. At the butt is a lanyard hole, lined with carbon fiber tubing, just big enough to fit a 550 lanyard easily.
The handle features two finger wells – one for the index finger and one for the pinky – which makes this knife very quick and easy to index, as well as making it very comfortable, while locking it into the hand. Just forward of the front finger well – at the ricasso – is a nice drop, providing just enough guard to keep the hand from sliding down the blade.
At the spine, just forward of the grip, is a small thumb ramp with some fairly aggressive jimping for added retention. The butt is angled beautifully, with some light jimping, for placing your thumb comfortably while in reverse grip – providing additional strength to any forceful stabbing related chores.
The Greyside comes standard with a custom grey Kydex pancake style sheath, with Discreat Carry Concepts IWB belt clip. I found the sheath to be a little loose and could have used one more rivet on each side, just a little higher up. I would not recommend wearing this sheath upside down on your rig, or as a neck knife. However, in IWB carry, I think this sheath will do just fine.
If you are looking to go a little more old school, and like leather sheaths (like myself), you can purchase the optional, very well made, Sagewood Gear leather belt sheath for an additional fee – one I feel is well worth it.
As anybody who has read any of my articles over the years can tell you, when I see a tactical knife, I put it to the test – no quarter.
To start I figured I would go easy and test the slashing capabilities of the Greyside, using a testing method developed by my friend Michael Janich, of Martial Blade Concepts, called Porkman. For Porkman, you take a half inch dowel, a roast, some twine, Saran Wrap and denim and put them together to mimic an arm or leg, for testing a knife’s ability to be used effectively in self-defense or combat.
The Greyside not only blew right through Porkman, but I was having so much fun that I got a little carried away and completely eviscerated my Porkman. When I was finished, I almost couldn’t hold it together well enough for the photo.
After Porkman I moved on to a bit of a tougher test and batoned some old seasoned lilac wood I have laying around – which is very knotty and twisty. The Greyside slid right through every piece and created a sizeable pile of kindling. No effect to the edge whatsoever.
Moving on, I cut a large hole into an old truck tire I had on hand, followed by a second cut to bisect the resulting piece. This test has been known to cause some edge deformation in some very nice, well crafted knives. However, that was not the case with the Greyside – it slid through the tire like butter and the edge was just as it was when I first got it.
Well, that all just meant that I needed to step it up a bit – so I broke out an old ammo can. Holding the Greyside in reverse grip (the thumb ramp at the butt was perfect here) I delivered eight piercing blows to the side of the ammo can. The tip penetrated the can easily with every blow. After close inspection of the blade, again I found no evidence of any kind of deformation to the edge or tip; the only slight damage I found was some marring of the finish.
After these tests I performed a couple edge tests, to see if there were any issues that I could not see with the naked eye. First, I cut up a heavy-duty nylon military gun belt (which is tough material to get through) and the Greyside sliced through with no issues. Next, I did my rope press cut test – where I take a half inch climbing rope and try to press the knife through, without any slicing motion – and it cut the rope into many small chunks very cleanly. Finally, I took a page out of a phone book and was able to produce some very clean cuts – although there was minor drag at the onset.
The heat treat on this knife is exemplary.
After using this knife and putting it through some rigorous testing I am completely impressed with most everything about it.
The Greyside has proven itself to be a complete beast and stood up to whatever I threw at it. To say that it is a deceptive powerhouse is a bit of an understatement. When I first got it in hand, I liked the look and ergonomics of it, but had no idea it would perform the way it did. Being a Wenger Blade, I anticipated it performing admirably, but the ease with which it handled each task almost caught me off guard.
If you are in need of a knife that can follow you through hell and back, without even breaking a sweat, the Greyside is for you. I cannot recommend this knife enough.
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Blade Material: 80CrV2Blade Length: 3.75 inchesOverall Length: 8.5 inchesBlade Thickness: 0.1875 inchBlade Finish: Caswell Finish (Dark Flat Grey)Weight: 5.2 ouncesHandle Material: Custom Grey Micarta, Made in Michigan for MI-TAC Blades onlyLiners: Blood RedGrind: FlatSheath: Urban Grey Kydex w/Discreet Carry Concepts IWB Clip – Leather Sheath optional for extra costMSRP: $335.00
Wenger Blades(616) 366-1401www.WengerBlades.com
Joshua Swanagon has studied survival in both urban and wilderness environments in Colorado and Michigan for most of his life, while also adding experience in harsher terrains abroad. He utilizes his experience and years of diverse martial arts and combatives training and real world application as a self-defense/combatives instructor, published freelance writer and Field Editor for various magazines in the fields of knives, survival, self-defense and tactical subject matters. Joshua also brings with him his years of experience as Editor of, and Subject Matter Expert for, Knives Illustrated Magazine.
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