Look, I’ll be honest. I don’t even carry an OKC RAT II as my go-to EDC knife anymore. I actually switched over to a CJRB Maileah a few months ago and I love that knife. But – there are times when I really miss my old RAT. Good thing the RAT is usually within arm’s reach! (That’s another story).
So let’s talk about the OKC RAT II and whether or not it could be called the best quality pocket knife in the industry. There are so many hundreds (really, it’s thousands) of options that selecting one just doesn’t seem reasonable. But we can try.
So, the OKC RAT II is the smaller version of the RAT I folder. Its dimensions and features are completely identical to the RAT I, just on a smaller scale.
Like the RAT I, the RAT II is available in a wide range of handle materials, blade steels, and colors. The classic RAT II has an AUS8 blade and black GFN scales – but it’s available with carbon fiber scales, with an upgrade D2 blade, and in a rainbow of colors.
But let’s take about what makes the RAT II great, regardless of your configuration.
The ergs on this knife – literally, I could not say enough great things about them. They are not good – they are excellent – and Ontario Knife Company has not forgotten that ergonomics is a merger of both comfort and practicality – and not practicality alone. That’s why ergs are called ergs and not “practicality.”
The RAT II comes with a 4-way reversible pocket clip that allows for tip-up and tip-down carry on both sides of the knife. Deployment is achieved by the ambidextrous thumb studs. Action is silky-smooth, even when new. I can see the bronze washers in my RAT I, but not in the RAT II, so I just assume they are there. Either way, deployment, and lockup are rock-solid. I can actually deploy this knife in my non-dominant hand with little difficulty – doing so in my right is almost instinctual.
Now, about handling. The knife is comfortable and indexes like second nature without the need for thought. The knife is comfortable, secure, and indexes naturally in both the standard and saber grip. There is adequate jimping along the spine for the latter.
In the reverse grip, your thumb naturally falls into a choil produced by a cutout in the scales and liner. It is actually one of the few knives that is not only comfortable in the standard and reverse grips but which has features that are specifically designed for both.
The textured nylon scales are grippy and comfortable – and I can speak from experience, in hands that are both wet and cold. Slipping is not a concern, for me at least.
The knife steel and profile are also amazingly well thought out. AUS8 can be easily resharpened and can hold an edge that is wicked – so it doesn’t matter that edge retention isn’t great. I’ve had no problems with corrosion resistance and I’m pretty tough on my gear, stainless steel blades or not.
It’s a basic drop point (blade length is 3” even) – some would call it a straight back – with plenty of straight edge and a graceful bend for a belly. It has a full flat grind, so binding in almost any material is rarely an issue, and this knife slices naturally and wonderfully.
Comfort is improved by the way the liner and the scales are contoured to meet each other. There are zero hot spots and the knife can be used for pretty hard work without fatigue, pinching, or discomfort.
Now let’s talk about the price point – it’s a bargain no matter where you get it, especially for a black GFN model with an AUS8 blade. For anywhere from $25 to $50, this folding knife is a steal.
If I had to give the knife low marks for anything, I’d ding it for the liner lock and for aesthetics. I was the first to comment – it is a darn ugly knife – but that’s what happens when you care more about function than form. It didn’t stop me from buying five of them, so take that for what it’s worth.
Also, I don’t hate the locking mechanism. OKC’s liner lock is solid and well built, and there’s no play in the blade. It’s just that I’ve personally broken 2 of these things (unfortunately) and the failure point was the blade lock (the blades didn’t chip or break). Everyone knows a frame lock is stronger, and to be fair, I was doing things with these knives that no one should ever do with folding pocket knives, so again, take this with a grain of salt.
Really, if you think about it, then, I have no legitimate complaints about the knife. No one that really needs a knife is going to buy it for aesthetics (I said what I said), and no one has any business doing with a folder what I did with my RATs that caused them to break. Again, I said what I said.
All in all, I can honestly say that it can be called the best quality pocket knife out there (even though there are other great ones). I say that as an outdoorsman that has owned and used around 100 knives in the course of my life.
Consider this my “peer review” of the OKC RAT II, which some might call the best quality pocket knife in the industry.
Where Can I Get This “Best Quality Pocket Knife?”
Whether or not the OKC RAT II ultimately appeals to you (I get it, different tastes and all) if you’re reading this because you need a new EDC champ, visit White Mountain Knives at WhiteMountainKnives.com.
They carry several different iterations of the OKC RAT I and RAT II as well as plenty of other Ontario Knives. Actually, they carry hundreds of brands and have what you need, period. Want a Benchmade Bugout? Want something with a deep carry pocket clip, a clip point blade, and an assisted opening mechanism? Check and check – they have it, you just need to find it.
Also, White Mountain Knives offers excellent prices and free shipping on orders in the U.S., so there’s no reason for you not to bookmark them – they even sell a bunch of cool exclusives. Sooner or later you’ll come around to it – so get yourself a RAT II and keep it in your back pocket!