Let me start by saying that my impression of Fallkniven began before I ever even owned one. A little while back, I reached out to Fallkniven, among other bushcraft knife manufacturers. I was surprised to have found what looks like a list of every employee’s direct email proudly displayed on their website. I sent them an email introducing myself and BushcraftKnifeGuide.com and suggested that if they would like any of their products tested and reviewed on BushcraftKnifeGuide.com, send them to me and I would be happy to do so. Less than 24 hours later, I received a response from the founder and owner of Fallkniven, Peter Hjortberger. He informed me that they had visited BushcraftKnifeGuide.com, found it very informative and intend to send me an F1, S1, A1 and DC4 for review and my personal use. What great customer service. Incredibly generous, for which I am greatly appreciative. Many thanks to Mr. Hjortberger and the people at Fallkniven for the great customer service, contribution to the knife and bushcraft community and for the evidently, great products.
That being said, although I appreciate Fallkniven’s gesture, I have no loyalty to the Fallkniven brand or company and promise to always give my honest and unbiased opinion on this and every product I discuss.
Fast forward shipping processingtime (they came from Sweden) and a little time for me to get a feel for the knife and here we are. Me, in front of my computer, holding a knife. But, not just any knife, The Fallkniven F1 Pilot Survival knife.
According to Mr. Hjortberger’s email, the F1 is officially used by elite soldiers all over the world and is tested and approved by the US Navy and US Marine Corp and is included in the NATO catalog.
I have played with this knife, but I have, by no means, put it through its paces. These are my first impressions of the knife:
At first glance, it has everything a knife should have; a sharp, well ground blade and edge atop a full tang and an ergonomic, grippy handle with a guard, lanyard hole and pommel.
The F1’s handle is no frills until you grab it, and realize how well thought out it is. The seemingly moisture and impact proof Thermorun handle is a rubbery material that is neither gummy nor hard. It’s ergonomics, guard and checkering assure a positive grip, even when wet. The Lanyard hole is low enough to not interfere with your grip but high enough not to interfere with use of the pommel. It is well proportioned to the blade and would fit most hands well. Although, some people with very wide hands might find they develop hot spots towards the pommel when performing pull cuts.
The Blade is made of VG-10 Steel with a hardness of 59 HRC, Laminated by 420j (420j/VG-10/420j) and perfectly ground to a convex edge. The soft, stain resistant and tough outer 420j laminate steel should make the blade tough and corrosion resistant while the hard, still corrosion resistant VG-10 should take an excellent, corrosion resistant edge and keep it Fallkniven is so concerned with the strength of their blades that they have established a blade strength test of which they provide the details and results on their website. According to Mr. Hjortberger the F1’s convex edge is meant to offer a great combination of edge strength and wood cutting and carving abilities. It is perfectly ground and polished and was shaving sharp out of the box. The spine of the blade is plenty thick, is sharp enough to work well with a ferrocerium rod and tapers nicely towards the tip.
According to Fallkniven and by the looks of the F1 (it’s high, off-center tip and convex grind) I would classify it as a Survival/Bushcraft Knife as opposed to a traditional Ray Mears or Horace Kephart styled Bushcraft Knife. In fact, I believe the F1 was originally manufactured for and distributed to Swedish Air Force Pilots as a survival tool, hence the name F1 Pilot Survival knife. However, I have kept it in the Bushcraft Knife category because it is so widely used and accepted as a bushcraft knife.
The Fallkniven, F1 Pilot Survival knife is beauty in Simplicity. It seemingly provides everything you would want in a bushcraft knife without any excess. The materials and design are top notch. The knife is well proportioned and well balanced. The fit and finish is… well… If I hadn’t gotten it for free, I would have exchanged it for another one. My F1 arrived with very prominent tool marks high up by and perpendicular to the spine, running the length of the blade. Deeper marks just above the convex edge pose a greater concern, or at least an eye soar. Unfortunately, the tool marks do not show up well in photo, so I couldn’t show the marks.
If this were a less corrosion resistant blade, I would be concerned that the tool marks would act as a nucleation point for rust. But, because 420j and VG-10 are so corrosion resistant, I am not too worried. I only found the tool marks in this one of the three Fallkniven knives I received, so I assume it is an isolated incident. Perhaps because this knife was gifted from the manufacturer as a test knife, a “cosmetic factory second” was sent. Either way, the imperfection shouldn’t affect the knife’s overall functionality and I am very happy with the knife.