Retention knives and quick deployment back up blades seem to be all the rage lately. As they should be. Think about it, whats the point of pulling out a knife if you can easily drop it when you need it most. Similarly, what’s the point of carrying that massive KaBar is you take a year and a day to draw it from your sheath and get it into action. This is the space where the KaBar TDI tried to garner some ground.
All of this being said, we’ve reviewed plenty of knives made for quick deployment and retention in mind. Like the HR1, Picolomako, Kalinou, and others – this one has a retention ring, but is much easier and familiar to use to shooters.
It’s got the same grip angle and biomechanics as you would use when drawing a pistol. From the movement needed to clear your clothing, get a good purchase, draw, and literally punch into a target; it’s all the same muscle memory as drawing a weapon from concealment. Very cool, right?
Both the NCO and Lowvz are fine weapons, but the Lowvz has a bit more craftsmanship, and this is a bit more expensive – but not by much. As you can see in the picture to the left, the Lowvz (right) has more aggressive checkering, and a parkerized type blade finish. The NCO seems to be a little bit more on the mass produced side, and it is, being made in Taiwan.
That being said, the quality of the knife is still fine, but if you’re a blade geek, I might go the more expensive, Italian-made route.
Both models come with both impact/training knives, as well as a knife, and sheath. The sheaths are good, with decent clips (they do seem a bit flimsy but have done nothing but work for me), and are customizable with regard to clip placement, and IWB/OWB carry – although IWB carry seems to be the best way. Both knives have AUS8 steel, which in my experience is strong and holds an edge well.
Overall, it’s a well thought out knife. It hinges on familiar bio-mechanics, conceals well, and reduces the incidence and likelihood of accidental stabbing and self harm for the same familiar bio-mechanical principles. Personally, I like the G10 handled, Italian made, more expensive Lowvz model, but both with serve as fine backup and quick deploy knives.
Pros, what we like: Familiar bio-mechanics, easily concealed, quick deploy, and lower likelihood of accidental stabbings. Sharp blade that is ready for action quickly. Also, if you are familiar with carrying a pistol, but not a knife wielder by any stretch, this is a good middle ground.
Cons, what we don’t like: The craftsmanship on the NCO leaves a bit to be desired, but the Lowvz is great.