Product Review: Spartan Blades - Akribis Folding Knife

--Reviewed by Jon Cinipe on

I’m a gun nut, but not really a knife guy. I usually carry a Spyderco that I don’t feel too bad about breaking or losing, or whatever free folder I pull out of a box from the Army. That doesn’t mean I don’t recognize or appreciate nice knives, but generally when it’s time to drop the coin on one I go buy another gun. I took a big step last week in actually buying myself a nice folder. I have a couple of Chris Reeve Sebenzas I received as gifts, a SAR folder from some friends, a couple Horrigan fighters, and some nice Winkler fixed blades and hatchets. All of those were gifts, trades, hand-me-downs, something like that. I met the Spartan Blades guys a couple of years ago at the local machine shop, and was immediately impressed with their work. Both of the owners are retired Special Forces soldiers and do a lot of work to support the Green Beret Foundation. They bring a unique perspective on the application of their products that shows in every design they put out. Spartan Blades opened its doors in Aberdeen, NC in 2008, and they still have the sales numbers of every month in the shop on a white board. Like they said, that first year was quite an experience as they started to establish themselves. When I asked Curtis if he still had the first knife they made for Spartan, he looked around and said “Oh, never mind. We sold it, we were hurting back then.” By 2010, they had been awarded the “Collaboration of the Year” at the prestigious International Blade Show for their first project with famed knife maker Bill Harsey. In just four years, the line has grown to over 15 advertised knives with a worldwide network of distributors, military contracts, and retail partners. In addition, Spartan has collaborated with knife makers such as Bill Harsey, who I mentioned earlier, and Kim Breed, another former Special Forces soldier. If you’re known by the company you keep, Spartan Blades is doing quite well.

The Akribis is their first production folder. The name is Greek for “sharp and precise,” and the name fits. Like all Spartan Blades products since day 1, the Akribis is hand-fitted and assembled in their workshop in NC. Despite the steady and rapid increase in demand for their knives, each one gets the same treatment for production, assembly, and quality control to this day. Each 3.5” S35VN blade is cryogenically treated and rides on ceramic bushings; each titanium liner is beautifully machined to be devoid of any sharp edges or imperfections. The buyer has the option of G10 or carbon fiber for the handles and a SpartaCoat black or meteorite grey blade. Even the pocket clip shows their attention to detail, with an arrow like those of the Special Forces branch insignia cut into it. Spartan also licensed the Hinderer device from knife maker Rick Hinderer to further stabilize the locking bar. No detail skipped, no corners cut. The Akribis was designed from the floor up to be a do-everything folder. It easily accommodates the utility desired by military or law enforcement users while not looking out of place in everyday wear or even business attire. I can’t think of a feature I would add, personally. The Akribis is large enough for tough chores but is not too big for everyday carry. It also shows up sharp, as the band-aid on my finger reminds me. If it ever gets used to the point that you need it re-sharpened, Spartan Blades offers a lifetime sharpening service.

I waited almost two years from the first time I heard a rumor of the Spartan folder until I had one in hand. I can now say it was worth the wait, and the money. At a retail price of $445, the Akribis isn’t exactly inexpensive but for the work and materials that go into them it’s a reasonable price in my book. Buy once, cry once. You stop crying when you open the box, I promise.