I occasionally get asked if it’s fun reviewing items and my response is always a big “yes”! It can certainly be a challenge at times when products don’t meet expectations, but luckily there hasn’t been too many instances of that and generally there’s a price bracket to take into consideration. There’s also the time factor which means that somewhere in between running a business and having a family, I need to get out and field test the products. Without the field testing it just wouldn’t be a complete review.
Obviously with these restraints I need to be particular about what I can and can’t review. It’s of no benefit to the manufactourers if I only have the time to do half of the review or if it takes me 6 months to complete it. Keeping this is mind, I was recently asked what products I enjoy reviewing the most and after a few minutes I came to the conclusion that it was definitely knives!
As hunters we use blades as tools but to me they are so much more and every time I receive a knife for review I can’t help but feel like a kid at Christmas. Recently I was sent a Kizlyar Supreme Nikki D2 from the kind people over at Kizlyar and I wasted no time getting it unboxed and field tested.
I like to test products hard before writing a review so I always ask the suppliers what condition they are expecting them back in, just so they’re not surprised if an “accidental” breakage occurs. I’ve reviewed knives for Kizlyar before and when asked this question they informed me to do my best to destroy the knife and then let them know how I did it because they have yet to find a way! I’m sure they weren’t refering to putting an angle grinder through the blade but it was certainly obvious that they stand behind their products.
The Supreme Nikki is marketed as a small all-purpose knife which is pretty much how I would describe it. The total length of the knife is only 20cm and the blade measures up at 9cm which leaves a handle length of 11cm. The blade thickness is 4mm at the widest which helps give the knife its exceptional strength.
The blade is full tang meaning that it extends through the full length of the handle and is an attribute to a well-made knife. The edge has a partial hollow grind with a wide sweep to it. The hollow grind helps make this knife an exceptional slicer and the sweep is there to extend the cutting edge and assist with skinning tasks. The back of the blade has some thumb grips which have been perfectly designed. They provide plenty of grip without being overly aggressive.
The Supreme Nikki that I was sent is made using D2 steel but you can also obtain an AUS8 version at a slightly reduced price. The D2 is hardened to 60-62 HRC which is a few points higher than the AUS8 version. D2 is a carbon steel but it usually gets classed as being semi-stainless due to its higher rust resistance than other carbon steels. Given D2’s extra hardness it’ll hold an edge for a longer period of time but it’s also been said to be a touch on the brittle side. Over the course of this review I put the Nikki through some harder than normal tasks and I’m yet to put any chips in the blade.
The handle on the Nikki is Black/Grey Micarta which has a nice and warm feel to it. Despite its smallish size it actually fit my hand remarkably well. I found that I could move my hand forwards or backwards to help make whatever task I was doing more comfortable. It’s nice to see a knife that not only has a well-designed handle but has the looks to match!
The Nikki Supreme comes with a hand-made leather sheath which I quickly grew attached to. The attention to detail in producing the sheath is excellent with neat seams and precise stitching. The retention strap uses a snap button which helps secure the knife in a safe fashion. I’m not normally a fan of leather sheaths but this one has been done right and the knife would look out of place without it.
There is a lanyard attached to the back of the knife which is made using two pieces of cordage. I found that it flopped around and got in the way a little too much for my liking, although that was only when I was using the knife in a striking manner so it would come down to personal choice as to whether you wanted to remove it. No doubt as soon as you removed it you’d find a need for additional cordage and wish it was still there.
The fit and finish on this knife is fantastic! The metal work on this model Nikki is highly polished and didn’t show any signs of wear until I started using it to split apart some kindling. The handle is completely smooth and in line with the metal so there’s no exposed areas to cause excessive friction. I cannot fault the presentation of this knife at all and even the box that it comes in looks exceptional!
So now that the specifications are out of the way, let’s see how it went during some field usage.
Firstly the Nikki Supreme came razor sharp straight out of the box. I’ve come to expect that of a knife these days but it’s still surprising how many manufactouers are neglecting this important point. Why should anyone who just purchased a brand new knife have to sharpen it before its first use? The Nikki sliced through paper using only its own weight and effortlessly shaves the hairs off your arm. Very impressive!
I then used the Nikki to carve up some feather sticks and fashion some wooden tent pegs. This is where the knife really excelled and I honestly felt like I could carve all day long. Due to the sharpness of the blade it just glided through the wood and produced shavings as thick or as thin as I wanted. The shape of the knife helped make these task an easy and enjoyable experience.
After the wood carving tests I decided to slice up some carboard boxes in an attempt to try and further dull the bade. After I ran out of boxes I returned to the paper cutting test and I found that very little if any or the knifes sharpness had diminished. To be honest, I’ve never reviewed a knife that held its edge as well as this one does.
Lastly I decided to use the Nikki to split some kindling for the fireplace. Batoning is a tough test for a knife and even though the Nikki is definitely on the small side, I was sure that it was more than strong enough to complete the task. During this test I eventually managed to get the blade to show some signs of wear with the mirror polish starting to dull where the wood was contacting it. After several pieces had been split the edge had finally lost its razors edge, although it was still performing the paper cut test adequeatly well. Considering that the knife wasn’t designed for this sort of job I was pleasantly surprised at how it performed.
If you’re on a tight budget (and who isn’t these days) then you’ll be happy to hear that you can obtain the Kizlyar Supreme Nikki D2 for just under $140.00. Consider the build quality and features of this knife and you’ll quickly realise that you’ll have the knife for a lifetime and still be able to pass it on to a younger generation.
Lately I’ve been more of a large blade person but the little Nikki has shown me how versatile and workable these smaller knives really are. Overall, as you can no doubt tell I really enjoyed reviewing this knife. I would have liked to have had the chance to do some butchering and skinning but it’s not so easy to get out after game these days. In my opinion the Nikki would make a fantastic camp/hunting knife for anyone who takes their knives seriously.