Knives are to men what purses are to ladies. We have dozens of them, they are all nearly functionally identical, yet we keep buying more of them and cannot justify the reasoning. I wish I could explain it better than that, but I can’t. (And in one fell swoop, I just outlined the entire knife industry’s marketing plan—there isn’t one. Knives sell themselves and sometimes for no reason other than “it looks cool.”) Some might argue that is the allure of the Bear-Ops line. However, if you look closely you’ll see why each one fits a unique need or set of needs. That is certainly the case of the Bear Swipe IV A-400 folder, and I was lucky enough to spend a few weeks with one.
As previously mentioned the Bear Swipe IV hails from the Bear-Ops line which is geared towards tactical-minded folk. These knives are designed for those looking to supplement their carry rig with a defensive knife that can also be used for everyday tasks. The Swipe IV is built with a clip-point blade that tapers a false edge down towards the true edge, giving it a triangular structure. This point-within-a-point construction yields exceptional strength, making it equally adequate for poking as it is for cutting. The blade is deployed by a traditional spring-assist mechanism that forcefully snaps it open with just a little bit of influence on either thumb stud. A slight flick of the wrist goes a long way, making it effortless to open with even your weak hand. Couple those qualities with a reversible belt clip and the Swipe IV is fully ambidextrous.
The blade is only half of the story with a folder. The other half is the handle design, and these vary greatly from knife to knife. The Swipe IV features a lanyard loop allowing you to attach a cord to it to help keep it in your hand or to attach it to other gear (or other gear to it). The star of the show is the G-10 side panels, which are a handsome two-tone olive-drab green and matte black. This material is exceptional at retaining its form, particularly after being subjected to continual heat and humidity. It also holds texture very well and is one of the least likely materials to slip while you’re wielding anything clad in it. Also aiding your grip during use is jimping on the backstrap of the frame, blade, and even the release, upon which my index finger landed squarely.
My testing involved a 3-mile jog to ensure that it wouldn’t open under vigorous use, although describing my exercise routine as “vigorous” is an understatement these days. The knife stayed securely clipped to my sweatpants and didn’t exhibit even the slightest sign of opening. The tip-up design is inherently safer than a tip-down design, as it would likely just rip open your pocket instead of stabbing you in the gut. I also found that this orientation was more natural when whipping it out, making it easier and faster to open in an emergency. For close to a month I used it to cut open boxes, section rope, clean my fingernails, and all of the other basics. At the end of the trial, the blade was as sharp as when I first got it and didn’t loosen up from its mounting hardware. The same could be said about the rest of the parts that make up this knife.
By the end of the evaluation, I determined that this is indeed a terrific tool for anybody who’s looking for a quality knife to keep by their side. It’s also perfect for somebody who wants to buy a blade and isn’t sure how to pick out something built for a specific purpose. By that metric, it also makes it a great knife to add to any collection “just because.” If that’s not enough to satisfy your old lady, you can always point to that pile of deteriorating leather in the closet and remind her that nobody ever stopped a rapist with a Louis Vuitton. Bearandsoncutlery.com