We all start somewhere. Say, my first Schwinn bike was not the best, but at least it wasn’t a scooter. So as an 8-year-old mister I was absolutely OK with that. Years passed, I finished school and bought an old Italian road bike. After graduating I started commuting to work on a brand new Ridley CX bike. In other words, knife-crazed people also have their entry level “Schwinn bikes”. Today we are going to talk about the little brother of the legendary beater knife – Ontario Rat II. Well, yes, I know there are some cheaper blades. Still, most guys with super expensive custom knives once started with Ontario Knife Company blades. Or at least owned them before. Now let’s waste no more time and just get on with the Ontario Rat 2 review.
- Weight: 2.7oz
- Blade length: 3.0″
- Overall length: 8.6″
- Blade thickness: 0.12″
- Steel: AUS-8
- Blade Lock: LinerLock
- Material handle: G10
- Country of origin: Taiwan
- Steel Manufacturer: Japan
- Country provider: United States
Ontario RAT 2 Review
Perhaps, this knife can justly be called legendary. It sounds, of course, is too loud, but it is quite true.
Ontario Rat II is, you guessed it, the smaller version of the Rat model 1. Surprisingly the designers changed almost nothing in terms of handle or blade shape. Everything indicates that the original knife was just shrunk in size and proportions. As a result we got a more compact but still comfy handle with a much smaller blade. Same goes with the belt clip and we’ll get to that later. The knife comes in standard black box with a changed OKC logo on it. Instead of an older triangle version now there is the new “O” engraving on the blade, clip and box. Ontario Rat II is manufactured in Taiwan and has the MSRP of 35$. But, hey, the price goes even lower on Amazon and eBay. Now let’s talk about blade.
Here’s a great video Ontario RAT 2 Review
Ontario Rat II has a 3 inch drop point blade with a full flat grind and satin finish. It is simple and extremely functional. You see, I can praise Benchmade blades for being cool and all that. But, man, when it comes to doing some serious cutting tasks there is literary nothing to beat the classic full flat grind geometry. In fact, it’s easier to name those things I didn’t do with my Rat II blade. Cutting wood, cardboard, rubber and even opening tin cans – can you beat that for the price, Benchmade? Well, duh, Mini Griptilian is for light EDC and is American made. But heck, it still proves the point – an expensive knife is not much better than a cheaper one. Like my grandpa used to say: “A knife is a tool, boy, deal with it.”
When talking about the blade, I can’t miss the steel-grade part. Ontario Rat II utilizes the same steel as its older brother – the Japanese AUS-8. Often compared to 8Cr13MoV this steel grade is known for good edge retention and stain resistance. Although being softer than the above mentioned 8Cr13, AUS-8 is extremely easy to sharpen and maintain. Additionally the HRC here is 55-56. No wonder, they use steel like that for most survival fixed blades and folders. The edge may dull pretty fast, but the functioning potential of this blade will definitely exceed your expectations. Ontario Rat II never failed on me. Not once had I problems with cutting rope or wood with it. The folder travelled with me on winter backpacking and kayaking, through rain and snow. I won’t lie to you – this here is no Victorinox stainless knife. But heck, there were no serious troubles with rust stains. They come and go, now and then. The stains appear – use an india rubber and the blade is shining again. Speaking of the devil. The satin finish on Rat model 2 looks gorgeous. You know how much I love the black coated blades and yada, yada. And OKC actually have Rats with coated blades. But this here small knife looks calm and determined just from the box. I personally wouldn’t mind carrying it inside a jacket on a cocktail party (yes it weighs that little, guys). The belt clip is also black, so anyway it won’t be an eye catcher even clipped to the pocket. However when opened, the blade shape and finish makes it clear for the people standing by: this is a simple knife, no serrations, no tactical stuff, no worries.
The Ontario Rat II handle is made from full stainless steel liners and the FRN plates bolted with torx screws. Texturing is not aggressive, but at the same time grippy. A prominent finger cave, combined with the overall bent shape makes the handle stick to your hand and stay there for good. The choil additionally protect your index finger from slipping on the cutting edge. The handle butt section is wide enough to comfortably curl the slender finger around. That is if you have a small-to-medium size palm. Otherwise, a four-finger grip is enough to safely operate this small EDC blade. Now you might ask: how good can Ontario Rat 2 be? Say, yes, the first Ontario Rat model was a win-win. Big and chunky, it worked excellent. Nevertheless, Spyderco Delica was a remake of Endura. It was a completely new design for a smaller knife. And this here is a scaled version of the original. How come it works? Now calm down and hear this: Ontario Rat model 2 is good and it does the job! Man, I was truly impressed the first time this knife was taken on a trip. Processing wood, feather sticking and food preparation was a great pleasure with my Rat II. That and also precise carving and fire striking. I don’t think we can expect all things mentioned from any other small folder. Well, yes, the knives can do the job, but not on the same comfort level as the Rat II. Now, full steam ahead to the ergonomics part!
Ergonomics (pocket clip, lock and deployment)
Ok, so we’re back with my favorite part of the Ontario Rat II review. I mean, seriously, what else is there to talk about in a knife if not the way it works and operates. Literary the first thing you do with an EDC blade is you open it or stick into your pocket. And that’s when you know what you’ve paid the money for. Man, take it away!
So the belt clip on the Ontario Rat II is same on all the OKC knives. It is black, it has the company’s logo and it works like hell. Not that you would expect anything extraordinary from it. It holds the knife, it’s easy to operate one-handed and that’s about to be it. The clip is gentle with any type of cloth. Simply put – it won’t rip your pockets apart. Thanks again to the not-aggressive FRN handle scales. The paint on the clip (sorry no DLC coating here) is going to wear off, but hey – it is a 30-dollar knife. Anyway, mine looks fine even with chipped paint. At least this way it is obvious the knife works and not just rests on the shelf.
The locking mechanism on the Rat II is liner lock. It is plain and simple. No troubles cleaning debris from it, no problems operating it. You know there are those knives you open up and then wonder how to close them. Ontario Rat II is nothing like that. In fact – it is the first knife I gave to my girlfriend and she managed to open and close it from the word go (she ain’t no knife-head at all). So again – the lock is nothing special here. But it is easy to understand and fix. In case you wonder “why would I like to fix the lock?” just go online and see the list of broken folders photos. The lockup is good. It is going to develop some blade play in time. Tightening the axis screw will fix the problem. So in general I am absolutely ok with how good the lock works.
The deployment is perfect. Yes, as simple as that. Without any assist the blade flies open and locks in place. All thanks to the balanced detent and wisely positioned thumb studs. Good job here again, Ontario, good job. In fact same goes with this blade in general. Jeff Randal created quite a design, which is plain but extremely functional. You can argue the materials, the weight or the down-home looks of Ontario Rat knives. But you can’t beat this monster truck in the wilderness for its price and premiumquality (nuff said).
Ontario Rat model 2 is the knife that is afraid of neither mud nor water. It is not afraid to process wood and food. It is a pocket knife you can take on both backpack journeys and disco parties. It can be a true gentleman’s blade or a lumberjack’s ripper. In a nutshell, Ontario Rat model 2 is a knife you can rely on. After all, isn’t that what we all are looking for in a pocket EDC knife? Good luck, stay sharp and look forward to our new blade reviews.