I have a confession to make. And I hope my man card is not in jeopardy.
YES, I can back a boat down a boat ramp with ease, and YES I hunt solo and pack out my own elk, hell I even built my own shelving in my garage last year. Having said all that, here goes..
I am not a knife guy.
There, I said it.
Never have been, I don't know how it happened, but I completely missed out on having an appreciation for knives. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE a sharp knife, and I can appreciate the difference between a sharp blade and a dull blade. But I think the problem stems from the mystery surrounding getting a blade sharp, I mean really sharp. I can put an edge on a dull blade, but for some reason the ability to get a knife really sharp has always alluded me. I have done the research and bought the right tools.. (I think) But it never seems to happen for me. I don’t know,I guess that if I am really honest with myself maybe I’m just lazy.
You can imagine how happy I was when the disposable blade knives appeared on the market a few years ago. I didn't just get one, I bought THREE. My first one was a black one. After trying to find the damn thing in the dark while field dressing a buck, I realized that I needed the brightest one I could find. Then I got all the different sizes and shapes of blades that they offered. I was pretty happy.
Another season passed and I noticed that I was breaking a lot of blades. Which led to me trying to remove them with bloody fingers, which then led to me having to bring a small set of pliers to the field with me. Oh and finding out that not all blades worked with all the different handles, that was frustrating. Not a perfect solution, but I was happy to have a razor sharp blade with me. The ability to swap the blade out for a new one when it got dull was nice too, even if it could be a life threatening chore.
In the summer of 2013 I had picked up a swing blade from Outdoor Edge after watching a buddy skin his buck with relative ease. The swing blade had a concave shaped blade that was perfect for skinning and gutting cleanly. The idea is that you slip the blade under the skin and the knife cut up from under the skin, leaving the hair attached to the skin and rarely cutting any hair at all. No more messy hair in your meat. This would also allow the blade to hold its edge longer.
Then Outdoor Edge came out with another great product. The Razor-Blaze, improving the replaceable blade design that I already loved. And then they married the new replaceable blade with the skinning/gutting blade to make the Razor Pro. So...why is this replaceable blade system better than the original?
1 size replaceable blade for all knives. Simple enough.
Larger, more heavy duty blade that keeps its edge longer. Also did you know that you can re-sharpen these blades?
The blade holder runs the length of the blade ensuring stability and strength. (i have yet to break one)
The blade is removed by the push of a button. no need for pliers in the field!
And my favorite feature is a replacement blade that comes in a protective hard plastic sheath that protects your fingers when swapping the blade.
Is there anything not so great? well..
The Razor Blaze and the Razor Pro both come with a nylon Mossy Oak Sheath to hold your knife on your belt. I leave mine at home and carry the knife in my kill kit or my Exo Mountain Gear Pack lid. The sheath is functional its just not a great design in my opinion.
Weight. The Razor Blaze is a bit heavy at 3.7 oz, and the Razor Pro is 5.5 oz. (both weights are knife only with a blade installed)
We did see a new product called the Onyx at the ATA Show this year, that we will be carrying soon, weighing just over 2 oz. It will sell for about $25.
I know that a lot of hunters are very loyal to their knives brand, and I get that. Do yourself a favor though and take a look at this design. It's stronger, but more importantly safer than the other replaceable blade knives. And we all want to make it out of the backcountry will all of our fingers and toes attached, right?
One last thing...
The only other comment I wanted to make was that the concave blade included on the Razor Pro can be a real chore to sharpen. Elk hide is tough, and after skinning my first elk, it needed a new edge. Trying to sharpen that blade was nearly impossible for me. However Outdoor Edge now offers the Sharp X. It’s only $11 and I use mine all the time. It makes it super easy to get a great edge on any knife blade, including the skinning/gutting blade.