Dawson Ranger Knife Review

The Dawson Ranger is named after one of America’s elite fighting forces, the Army Ranger, who are known for the toughness and versatility.  I had the opportunity to put this knife through the paces and would have to say that it definitely lived up to its namesake.The Ranger is a beautiful 9 7/8″ knife made from 1/4″ 5160 spring steel and finished off with a tough Cerakote™ finish and micarta handles.  The knife I received from John Roy at Dawson Knives came fairly sharp out of the box, not quite as sharp as I personally like, but I’m pretty anal and very few knives, if any, pass MY sharpness standards right out of the box.  I remedied that very quickly with my Wicked Edge™sharpening system.  I put a nice, razor-sharp mirrored edge (22°) on the Ranger, which proved to be just what it needed.  The Ranger went through Level IIIA Kevlar like butter.

Before I get to far into the knife’s performance, I should probably talk about the sheath system that comes with the Ranger.  Dawson’s Kydex sheath system comes with two attachment options.  The first is a belt-loop attachment that is equipped with a snap closure.  The belt loop can be mounted in either a vertical or horizontal configuration.  The second is Dawson’s unique Kydex MOLLE attachment, which allows the user to mount the sheath in either a blade up or blade down configuration.  Dawson’s sheath system also has a unique locking mechanism that is integrated with the knife handle.  This provides for a secure fit, as the user must manually disengage the lock by pressing the outer lip of the Kydex outward.

After polishing up the edge and performing a couple basic cutting tests I headed out to put the Ranger through some hard-use testing.  I started off by cutting through a 2″ piece of fresh mesquite which came from the tree that used to be in my front yard before one of Tucson’s famous monsoon rains and combined with heavy winds blew it out of the ground.  With only a 5″ blade, it took a couple of minutes to chop through the wood, but the Range made it through none-the-less and showed little wear on the edge.  I then did a little batoning on another section of wood (the blade was holding up better than my forearm) and split the piece that I had previously cut.

I then went on to do some war post training with the Ranger.   A large eight-foot tree stump provided the ideal war post to get in some good cutting and stabbing. The Ranger is so well balanced that I could not resist the urge to do some throwing against such a prime target as that tree stump.  Not only did the Ranger perform extremely well, but it quickly became my favorite throwing knife.

I stumbled upon a piece of cinder block after finishing up my work on the tree stump and decided to see how the pommel would hold up to some abuse.  I gave the block a couple of trial hits to see how my grip would hold up and then smashed through it on the third hit. 

The Dawson Ranger performed extremely well and proved to be one tough knife.  As evidenced by the photos here, the only noticeable stress on the knife is some wear on the Cerakote finish.  The blade was dulled a bit, as should be expected, but still remained sharp enough to penetrate Level III-A soft armor and burrow deep into the log underneath.  The Ranger is a true testament of the quality materials and production methods that go into Dawson’s knives.  You can watch the full video review below.

Dawson Knives is a three-generation family-owned company based out of Prescott Valley, Arizona.  All of their knives are hand made right here in the good old USA.  Best of all, every one of their knives come with a life-time guarantee.  They will periodically refurbish your Dawson knife for nothing more than the cost of shipping.  If they can’t repair a damaged knife, they will replace it for a nominal fee.  Not too many knife makers offer that kind of guarantee. 

The Ranger can be purchased directly from Dawson Knives at www.dawsonknives.com for $395.00.  Click here to go directly to the Ranger at the Dawson Store.  Be sure to follow Dawson on Instagram and Like them on Facebook.

Photo Credits: Chad McBroom

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