Sunday, July 3, 2011

John Greco MST Knife Review

This will be an attempt at a brief review of the John Greco MST Survival/Tactical Knife. Here are the specs:

Blade Description; 8670 high carbon steel by .200" thick, OAL 10-1/2",
Blade Length 5"
Handle: Black Micarta with SS fittings
Sheath: Black leather with snap around belt loop

The maker was described below at a knife show by poster "Stainz" in a knife forum I am a member of:

"A slight man, with lots of grey hair, he will talk to you... appreciative of good company, I suppose, because of his self described austere cabin life in Kentucky. I like John - and look forward to our talks".

John frequents knife shows and has somewhat of a following on the forums.
You can't help but like John Greco. All the correspondence I had with this fine man during the purchase process started with: "Hope you are having a great day."

When I communicated with John he said that MST stands for "Mid Sized Tactical". He describes the grinds as flat but they do have some saber/compound characteristics to them as they are not full height flat ground. I heard about these knives by accident from a guy I have bought Scrapyard Knives from. He had one listed and it caught my eye.

To me this knife is somewhat of a hybrid, bridging that gap between tactical and bushcraft perfectly. The wonderful website "Zknives" describes 8670 steel as a "War Steel" first concieved to conserve alloy during WWII. I had never heard of 8670 Steel so it got me interested. My research later pointed toward this steel as basically being "L6 Lite" as it mimics L6 but lacks some of it's alloys. Nickel was higher than in many knife steels I've used and this combined with lower carbon around (.75)translated directly into the knife being very,very tough. Heat treat was oustanding. Edge holding after a tough day in the field was very respectable.

see Alloy Level Chart Below from Znives:

The knife is very thick for it's size coming in at 1/5 of an inch, so I had a high comfort level batoning it and beating it into things during the field test. Batoning on Pin Oak Firewood was no problem for the MST. It just blasted through anything. There were no deformations on the blade after batoning, so making fuzz sticks afterward was not a problem.

Alloy Level was good as my Firesteel threw all nature and color of beautiful sparks off the jimping at the spine.........

The only place I could track manufacture of 8670 was to Germany. Germany is very picky about it's steel making process so the presence of high and stable alloy made sense.

Jimping on the spine was adequate, but I am going to have to extend the jimping down the spine an inch or so, as the jimping is too short and too close to the handle. The Micarta Scales were getting scorched by the firesteel. Not a dealbreaker really for me, but over time it will cause embrittlement in the scale. They do however provide good "Choke Up" traction for camp work just as they are, which was most likely the intent.

Overall I am very impressed with the MST. John has put a great deal of thought and outdoor experience into the design, balance, type of steel, thickness, size, grinds, and features of this knife. Stainless Steel Hardware is a nice plus to work with. I have yet to remove the scales and cord wrap it, but most likely will at some point as John has well thought out placement of a hole at the ricasso and and a glassbreaker style tip to facilitate cord wrapping, spear use, or whatever you can think up. John runs an Ebay Summer Customer Appreciation Sale that I lucked into. I think he closes up shop and travels some during the summer, so this clears out his stock. I lucked into my MST for around $60.00 bucks, but they frequently sell for well North of that at shows and on forums. Communication from the maker was outstanding , and he sent a hand written thank you note with the knife, saying to call anytime with questions or concerns. The knives can be purchased at any time on John's Website where he has an impressive line of his other designs including Bowies and Folders in 8670, some in mirror finish!
The MST sells for $125.00 on the website, and includes a nice, full welt leather sheath! Wow!

I have read on the forums that John's Folders are basically bomb proof and I intend to get one and review it here before the summer sale ends. If it's built anything like this MST my great grand kids will still be carrying it one day. Thanks John for the great knife and you have made me customer.

Daddy, your knife reviews are silly...Let's go to the woods now!