Some of the best knives in the world are made at Via Cristans, 1 33085 Maniago, in the Province of Pordenone of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, in the North East of Italy, by a company called Euro Knives Italia S.r.l., which was is a subsidiary of the world renowned FOX Coltellerie, established by Oreste Frati in 1977. Euro Knives Italia was founded in 2008 to not only produce Fox knives but to produce knives for other manufacturers and build custom knives. The Spyderco Volpe — which means fox in Italian — was made there, hence the name. They also make knives for Mil-Tac and SOG among others.
But when it comes to fixed blade military knives, there is only one Italian company that you think of — Extrema Ratio — who were set up in 1997 and have earned a reputation for producing the best combat knives in the world. Nearly every Italian special force and anti-terrorist unit has their own model of Extrema Ratio knife, and the Italian military have the best knives in NATO. Extrema Ratio also make knives for other countries special force units, and they’re privately purchased by soldiers all over the world, which is why they cost so bloody much. The highly regarded ER Fulcrum cost $437.
The reason I’m mentioning this — no I didn’t forget what knife I was reviewing — is because the Fox Predator I is a very similar knife of equal quality that only costs $210. The ER Fulcrum, which is also a modern tanto blade, made out of N690Co has a 180 mm (7 1/8″) long and 6,3 mm (1/4″) thick blade, whereas the blade on the Fox Predator I is 180 mm (7 1/8″) long and 6 mm (0.23″) thick. The 0.3mm ain’t going to make that much of a difference when you’re sticking it in someone.
Now some people might think that’s a still a lot to shell out on a combat knife. But $210 really ain’t a lot to pay for a combat knife made by FKMD (Fox Knives Military Division) with a 180 mm long and 6 mm N690Co (HRC 58-60) blade and Forprene handle. Cobalt vanadium stainless steel N690Co is made by Böhler, an Austrian steel manufacturer, who probably produce the best quality rolled sheets and plates in the world. This is a new steel and it’s more widely available in Italy and Germany than it is in the USA, which is why it’s not often used by American knife manufacturers, but it’s a better steel for combat knives than ATS 34, 440C, VG-1, VG-10, 154CM, AUS -10 or S30V. It doesn’t retain an edge quite as well as S30V but it’s just as resistant to corrosion, even tougher, takes a finer edge and is a hell of a lot easier to sharpen. The Brigada de Operaciones Especiales “Lautaro” (Chilean Special forces) knew what they were doing when they chose this as their official combat knife.