Aitor Jungle King II

(This article has a lot of pictures in it, give it time to load. If some of the pictures don't show up, as always, place the cursor on the area, right click your mouse and then choose "show picture.")

I remember it was a really chilly, overcast and blustery day. A nasty autumn day that would chill you to the bone if you were stuck outside for a long period of time.

And I loved it.

I was about 15 years old and made a habit out of staying outside for long periods of time in weather like this and some that was a lot worse. I had just returned from Good 'Ole Clyde's Sportshop, a place where my Dad did business for many years and I had a box that it took me a long time to save up for. That box had a new Aitor Jungle King II knife and kit inside of it.

I would probably never have to use a lot of the stuff included in the kit unless something really bad happened but I was somewhat determined to see what I could do out in the woods with this thing.

I did light fires with the flint rod. Obviously, it works. It's not a Blast-Match or other firestarter, it's a flint rod and as such, it fits into the Survival Capsule and it's minimalist but it works like a charm.

The slingshot and other features will be discussed in-depth later on in the article as well.

There is something I would like to point out before going any further.

I used this knife to clean small game and fish. I used the blade to cut poles to make a shelter. I used the edge and the saw a lot. It never failed. I don't really know what people expect of a "survival knife." I think a lot of people are either abusing their tools or they just want bragging rights about some "unbreakable" knife they own.

I actually used the knife for just about everything that you would use a knife for in a survival situation. I don't know what many people are planning on doing with their knives.

Make no mistake, I love Chris Reeve hollow-handled survival knives and I think they are the best knives of their type. However, for an "extra" survival knife and kit, the Aitor Jungle King II and the Brewer Explorer are hard to beat.

This article should not be taken alone. A lot of my thoughts on the Aitor Jungle King II are to be found in the Marto-Brewer Explorer/Explora Survival Knife Article where I examine that knife's features step by step. Many of the comments on that knife apply directly to the Aitor Jungle King II as well.

In this article, I am going to do side by side physical comparisons between the older JKII and the newer JKII and examine changes to them as well as the two Aitor "Accessory" tools/knives, the JK Skinner I and Skinner II.

A pleasant surprise

When I first examined a 1980s vintage Marto-Brewer Explorer/Explora survival knife, I was quite surprised to see the edge on it. It was razor sharp right out of the box. The reason I was surprised about this is, the Aitor JK II that I had in the mid-1980s was not dull, but it was definitely not razor sharp either. Forget about hair-popping sharp, nevermind hair-shaving sharp…

The Aitor that I had, out of the box, it would scrape hair and that was about it. You had to spend some serious time sharpening it, even when brand new. This of course changed the steep final edge and made a "hybrid" out of it. I mention this because both of these knives seem to go together.

The knife you see below started out life as a black-bladed Aitor Jungle King II from the 1980s. The prior owner removed the black coating. Perhaps I will polish it up one day to finish the job. I don't know if the prior owner sharpened it but I suspect he did because it is sharper than mine was out of the box.

The final grind that creates the edge was very steep on the old JKII that I had. Sure, you could clean a fish, small game, or a deer, you could cut rope with it and all of the things required of this type of knife. But it was not "effortless." You see, if you use a very sharp knife, the tasks become easier. This is a simple truism of knives that many people forget. Not so with a dull knife and certainly not so with a knife that has a final grind that is too steep.

As an interesting sidenote, a razor sharp knife is definitely something to be respected. Over the years I have heard people say that they don't want a sharp knife because they might cut themselves even worse with it. This is simply not so unless you're really careless and clumsy. You see, when the knife is razor sharp, the knife does all of the work and you simply guide the knife. When the knife is dull, you have to exert more power and pressure and you are more prone to slip and have an accident. It's a fact.

Here is a newer version of the Aitor JK II. I think it is from the 1990s.

A Comparison: The Buck Knives Buckmaster

The Buckmaster I had, for example, was sharper than the JKII I had at the time. Aitors and Brewers have good saws… But the sawteeth were absolutely, positively useless on the Buckmaster. They are there for show and that's it.

A "roughing" saw? I don't think so.

A "worthless" saw? You bet.

As heavy as a boat anchor and too expensive for a doorstop, the Buckmaster remains a favorite of knife collectors and there is nothing wrong with that - as long as they don't believe the nonsense about the knife or think it's something special because it's not. I'm stunned at the prices they bring. For knives in excellent to mint condition, they go in the three hundred-dollar range - absolutely amazing.

The Buckmaster could be something special if Buck cleaned up the design and re-issued it. Lose the screw-in "grapnel hooks." Design a better saw for the top or leave the saw off altogether. Use a steel like S30V and thin the blade a tad bit to make the knife lighter, thin the guard just a bit…lose the extra piece of steel for lanyard attachment and reconfigure the end cap and drill a hole through it for a lanyard.

Get a great company like Silva to design a compass for the butt cap and have the ability to remove the compass so you could actually hammer with the butt cap without destroying the compass. Use the "Survival Capsule" concept that Brewer and Aitor used and provide that with the knife. It could be an excellent project, you could also drop two inches off of the blade… Dropping the weight via careful trimming and perhaps one or two inches off of the blade would be great.

Like I said, I once owned a Buckmaster, I was not a big fan of it but I also have to point out that it was the subject of a "hit piece" and one was deliberately destroyed for a magazine article.

Just like another survival knife, an excellent knife, from Robert Parrish that was destroyed in the same manner and written up in a magazine article.

Some of us do remember…

I would love to help design a survival knife from Buck, I think we could come up with something that was simply excellent. Buck is capable of some fantastic work; I have been a fan of their knives basically for all of my life. The Buckmaster had a lot of promise but I think in the attempt to overbuild it and make it incredibly strong they went a bit overboard. I have a very strong feeling that the limitations they faced back in the 1980s could easily be overcome today.

I carried my Buckmaster one long day in August many years ago up a treacherous mountain in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. There was not one step where I forgot I had that Buckmaster on my right side. There was not one section of climbing up that mountain and in places, grabbing exposed tree roots to pull myself up, where I forgot I had that knife. It felt like I was carrying a five-pound maul on my belt.

Continuing on…it's an article about Aitor Knives after all…

The 1990s - Vintage Aitor JKII has a different grind and it is shaving-sharp, just the way I like my knives. Perhaps customers and/or dealers complained to Aitor over the years and they did things differently, i.e., they actually started sharpening their knives very well.

So, both of these Aitor JKIIs are just as sharp as the Marto-Brewer Explorer I now have. I am pleased. Both of these knives are sharp enough to be relied on when it matters most.

Cleaning game with either of these knives would be a breeze.

What changed? - Sheath, Inserts, etc.

Well, they changed the sheath a little bit so they could wrap nylon line around it and it would actually stay in place. The nylon line is a slightly smaller diameter than what the 1980s vintage Aitor JKII was supplied with, wrapped around that sheath. On the original, you just wrapped the nylon cord around it and tucked the ends. This one has built-in holes in the sheath that protrude so you can guide the line around the body of the sheath, a nice touch too.

That extra line can be a real lifesaver. You can also wrap snare wire; a lot of it, over that and then some duct tape if you wish. Even better than that would be a wrap of Gaffer's tape.

You could also wrap braided fishing line, not monofilament, around the sheath and possibly the handle of the knife. Much better for fishing than monofilament line.

The metal insert that contained the slingshot bands and harpoon blade is gone. This metal insert also had a polished, brighter area with an aiming hole so the insert could be used as a signal mirror. Was it as good as something like a StarFlash mirror? No way, but it would do in a pinch for sure. Leroy Thompson mentioned in his excellent book on Survival and Fighting Knives that you could use the metal insert on the JKII in the construction of some types of animal traps. I have never tried that and I think when you start making really complicated animal traps it's probably time wasted. Keep it simple.

Here is the metal insert partially in the sheath.

Here is the view down into the mouth of the sheath.

The new insert is plastic with built in "channels" for the slingshot bands to be stored in, which is, once again, a nice touch. At the bottom of the insert on one side we find a polished piece of metal with a hole through the center which can serve as a signal mirror. The newer insert also has International Ground to Air Signals on it.

This newer, plastic insert also desperately attempts to retain the JK Skinner accessory knife (which replaces the trusty old Aitor "Harpoon" blade from the 1980s which I am quite fond of…) but it rattles around a tiny bit which is a minor nuisance and nothing to worry about.

On the old metallic insert, the slingshot bands were folded and the harpoon accessory blade was carefully compressed against the mass of folded surgical tubing. Then you sort of pushed it up under one of the overhangs of metal on the insert and let it go easy and the surgical tubing would hold the accessory blade in place by pressing against it and pushing it into the metal of the insert.

The Compass

Gone is the dry-compass of the older Aitors, the newer Aitor JK II's are sporting a liquid-filled compass inside the buttcap. A dry-compass is a bit more erratic, but they calm down if it's a half-decent compass and the old dry model was pretty good. A bit flighty and shaky but just as accurate as every other good quality button-sized compass I have owned or examined.

The older model compass is on the left and the newer model is on the right.

I like to call button-type compasses and all other compasses like them a - "Thataway Compass." You look at a landmark, better if you have a map as well, but you take a peek and you let the compass settle down and you say, "I'm going Thataway." It's not accurate enough to call in artillery or to do anything remotely resembling that; it's not for surveying. It's an emergency tool and contrary to what many might lead you to believe, they are proven in the real world as long as you understand the inherent deficiencies involved with them and compensate accordingly.

The Slingshot

Caution!

If you value your eyes you will now do two things. One, wear eye protection when shooting any slingshot but especially this hybrid slingshot attached to the sheath of the Aitor JKII. Two, you will hold the bands perfectly straight so they are lined up perfectly with the termination points of the slingshot's yoke. Failure to do so may result in a cracked cheekbone, busted teeth, a badly damaged eye… Serious injury. Be very careful with this slingshot.

Back when I was a teenager, I sent a .45-70 Government JSP bullet (just the bullet, not the whole cartridge, of course…) through the slingshot and it hit the bottom of the sheath between the arms of the yoke where they join the sheath… Through some miracle, I did not lose an eyeball; it glanced off of my head. (No jokes please…)

Keep the bands straight, I am the cautionary tale. I got away with it and didn't injure myself badly.

Fifty-caliber lead balls are my preferred ammunition in a slingshot. You can buy some of them and then duct tape them to the back of the sheath for a rainy day, so to speak…

Lead balls give a bit more power on-target, killing power when it comes to small game, but the steel ball bearings of the same size, approximately .50 caliber, well, they travel faster and they're lighter to carry around… And when push comes to shove a squirrel or a rabbit is not going to be able to tell the difference between the two when you bean them with one of these projectiles.

White marbles are great ammunition for slingshots, sort of like tracers for slingshots.

The slingshot "feature" on the Aitor knives is not for the faint of heart. It is not for the clumsy or careless or the hapless boob who does not take things seriously. Take it from someone who was careless one time with it and learned the lesson.

One of these things has the capability to hurt you incredibly bad at a time when you don't need to be hurt at all, i.e., when you're lost and possibly injured in the first place.

What that means is, you have to spend some quality time with this rig and you have to be careful and after you get the hang of it, you'll be good to go and safe. But don't think you are going to pick one of these up and get excellent results right off the bat, it doesn't work that way.

Obviously, you extend the forks of the slingshot and lock them into place on the sheath. The forks stay in the stored position as well as the open position through a pressure fit.

As stated above, you must keep the bands perfectly straight, there is little room for error and if you mess up you will be rewarded with a knot on your head or worse - words to the wise, practice with your gear. You shouldn't assume that you can reliably start a fire under adverse conditions with a flint and steel - you should practice! The same holds true for this slingshot rig.

It will work; it will send a smallish projectile out at an amazing speed, real killing power when you are talking about small game. The polyamide sheath is not, in any way whatsoever, an optimal platform for a slingshot/catapult. If I told you anything different, I'd be lying to you - this thing is not as easy to shoot as a common (and much preferred) Wristrocket type of slingshot.

Anyone that has used a Wristrocket slingshot to hunt with should be really impressed with them on small game, they really do work and they don't cripple game - they usually kill it outright. This (Aitor) sheath does not have the wrist brace of the dedicated slingshot and that combined with the rather narrow forks make for a more involved learning process. But it is good enough to be included on the knife!

Another thing you might want to consider when using this slingshot is the fact that the slingshot forks on the end of the sheath are of a smaller diameter than "standard" slingshot forks on Marksman and other brand Wristrocket type slingshots. Now, if you have ever caught the speeding end of a slipped side of surgical tubing into your face, or your eye, as I have, well…it's not pleasant.

Those smaller diameter forks mean you can get the bands on and off more easily. But sometimes a band can slip on a regular size slingshot so what do you think happens with this thing at times?

That's right, you guessed it, they can slip off a bit easier, so you must be careful about that as well.

More on the Sheath

Like the Marto-Brewer Explorer/Explora Survival Knife, there is a sharpening stone placed on the back of the sheath for the Aitor JK II. It works, the sheath serves as a nice handle for holding the stone but I'd still rather carry an EZE-Lap or similar device.

Again, you could have a small EZE-LAP Pen-sized sharpener attached to the sheath, taped to it or…those handy Ranger Bands come up again!

Are you getting tired of hearing about the similarities of the Aitor JK II and the Brewer? Well, here!

The belt hanger, well, it's great! It's very secure and you don't have to undo your belt to take your knife and sheath off. Works like a charm.

And here is the leg tie-down, guess what other knife system Made in Spain had this feature?

You can detach the leg tie down by twisting the two pieces of plastic apart, yet they are secure. It's great!


The Survival Capsule - The Innards

The goodies, right? What about the goodies?

On internet forums, thousands of words have been written about this very topic. Just what do you put into the hollow handle of your favorite survival blade?

I got my hands on two Aitor Jungle King IIs, remember? One of the capsules suffered a terrible collision with reality. If you don't pay attention to your gear, meaning flint and magnesium firestarters, they can deteriorate and leave you with quite the mess. I had to open one of the capsules in the kitchen sink.

The other capsule was in much better shape when I opened it.

Here are the items salvaged and cleaned up. Why are there three of the smaller (sewing kit) capsules? One of them is from my original from the 80s, along with the original harpoon accessory blade and a flint - I kept these three things for all of these years.

Well…we have an interesting small assortment of things in the capsule that stores inside the hollow handle.

Flint Rod

The most important thing in there is the small flint rod. I used mine many, many times to light fires under field conditions. Some were pleasant and sometimes the weather and available tinder, kindling and larger fuel was not so pleasant. I carry quite a bit of compressed cotton balls (cotton wool for you Brits out there…) and carried some in the other side of the included Survival Capsule. If you give me half of a cottonball and a good "flint and steel," I can light a fire after a few minutes of gathering tinder, kindling and larger pieces of wood (fuel) and if the weather is bad, well, it is a little bit harder to do. If the tinder and kindling in the area is soaked, it's harder to do. That's why you have to practice, you can't carry a can of gasoline around on your person so you're going to have to make a proper fire under harsh conditions if you want some real survival skills.

Scalpel Blade

Continuing on with Survival Capsule contents - there was a scalpel blade, which could come in quite handy if you had to remove a really bad splinter, etc. It has other uses as well; some of which are flirting with disaster like lancing infected areas and whatnot. But the capability to do many things with a single scalpel blade is there and it has a value in small survival kits. If you go hiking, camping or hunting with me, don't even ask me to start cutting on a Rattlesnake bite area with the scalpel blade.

Sawyer Extractors have their place, after all.

Band-Aids

There were a couple/three band-aids, I think you would be better off putting a couple of 3M brand Steri-Strips in there because you don't really "need" a band-aid when you get busted up but you might need to close a wound. There are two primary reasons to close a wound using sutures - one is to close the wound so it stops hemorrhaging so badly and two - cosmetic. Now, the Marto-Brewer Explora/Explorer went another way and you had a single surgical suture pack in the Survival Capsule included with that knife and kit.

Rambo movies aside, you don't want to have to be in the position where you have to suture yourself. I'm sure there are some people out there that could do it if they had to but I think it's a lot more realistic to simply have 3M Steri-Strips and be done with it. They are excellent additions to a hollow handled knife's kit or to a "Survival Tin" like the ones from Penrith and BCB, etc.

Pencil

A pencil, a very small pencil. Think of the possibilities, you could take a small piece of paper and leave someone a note:

"Hopelessly lost, going in circles, close to death, have beaned myself in the head with my own slingshot - please help."

To me, this pencil is emergency tinder when everything else is soaked. If you wish to take the John "Lofty" Wiseman route and make/take notes about edible plants you have found, etc., I think that's a good idea and that's why you see the waterproof "Survival Aide Memoire" paper in the Penrith and BCB Survival Tins. Barring that, the pencil is tinder when push comes to shove. If you wish to include a piece of "Rite in the Rain" paper and a 3M Steri-Strip instead of the hopeless band-aids in the capsule, then the pencil has some merit.

The lonely and very tiny pencil leaves one with the feeling that you might want to have some paper on hand and maybe, just maybe, they will name a mountain pass after you in Colorado…if you leave someone an interesting story in the wake of your untimely demise.

The older pencils Aitor included were blue and the newer ones are red, by the way - in case that matters to you, favorite colors and all.

Safety Pins

A couple of very, very small safety pins were included. They're just adorable, so cute really. A lot of people don't understand stuff like safety pins and sewing kits. When you ripped your jacket three hours ago when you slid down the last hill and you're muddy, wet and cold and freezing your ass off, a couple of safety pins can make you a lot more comfortable. They can close the ripped flap of jacket so the wind doesn't cut through so much. Wind has a way of making you colder and more miserable. So, yes, the safety pins have their place and...

Sewing Kit

The small sewing kit is really cool in these knives. A very small diameter plastic tube with lid holds sewing needles and heavy-duty thread. Very simple, direct and to the point. Add another needle or two in there and wind some more thread around them, do whatever you have to do but get a bit more in there!

Tweezers

The old Aitor JKII Survival Capsule did not have tweezers, the newer ones do. An excellent pair of tweezers? No, not really, but they'll do in a pinch, pardon the pun. Use them for splinters; try not to use them on ticks unless you absolutely have to. Ticks breathe out of their rear end when they get their head buried in you. So, when you squeeze them you're pushing all of their nastiness into the wound they have created by latching onto you - so try not to smash or squeeze them. Even if that doesn't happen, you can get a nasty infection if the tick is forcibly pulled from the bite, leaving a piece of the tick's face in under your skin is not a good thing at all.

Fishing Kit

That leaves us with the minimalist "fishing kit." Very minimal, a good portion of monofilament line, a couple fishing hooks and a couple of splitshot lead sinkers and that's it.

Fishing, "hunting with a hook" as Ted Nugent refers to it.

On the newer JKII, they placed an unwrapped scalpel blade in with lead sinkers. Not a real good idea if you ask me. But, you can't have everything. In the Marto-Brewer Explorer Survival Capsule, the scalpel blade was in foil packaging and I assume, sterile. Not so with the Aitor JKII.

Change it yourself and include better fishing gear anyway. Some "flies" and a couple insect lures would be a good addition.

As I said in the Marto-Brewer Explorer article, braided fishing line is ALWAYS better than monofilament which is a perfect pain in the ass to deal with unless it is on a fishing reel - and sometimes it's still a mess.

A Spear?

One of the reasons the knife was supplied with the extra cordage wrapped around the sheath was to turn the knife into a spearhead. You know, placing the knife on the end of a stick to spear game with. I think I covered using a hollow handled survival knife as a spearhead in-depth in the Marto-Brewer article so there is no need to go over it again. I would like for you to go read that article as well but to spoil the surprise, I don't think you should use these knives as spearheads. Primarly because the shaft is going to be too thin and easily broken, not because I believe the knife will fail.

Just for the record, the Aitor JKII has a guard on it that has a hole on each side so you can more securely attach it to a stick to make a spear out of it. The Marto-Brewer Explorer did not even have these attachment points for securing the blade to the stick. I explained how to do it in the Brewer Article.

Accessory Knives: Harpoons and Skinners


From top to bottom:

Skinner I

Skinner II

Harpoon Blade - later model before the change to the Skinner II blade.

Harpoon Blade - older, 1980s model.

The gut hook on the Skinner I and II accessory knives act like the barb on the "harpoon" accessory blade. Other tools include a shackle wrench, straight screwdriver, can opener and bottle opener.

The gut hook will make quick work of…gutting! If you want to eat it, you gotta clean it! Killing and cleaning game is a messy business, that's reality.

"Chicken nuggets don't die any easier than baby fur seals." - Ted Nugent

The Skinner I and II are a study in ergonomics, to say the least. They're great little knives.

The JK Skinner I is NOT included with the Aitor Jungle King II System, I picked one up cheap and it's a great knife to carry with the JK II. It is supplied with a simple nylon belt sheath.

The "harpoon" blades are no longer offered with the JKII and have been replaced with the JK Skinner II blade. I believe the JK Skinner I blade is supplied with the much larger Aitor Jungle King I Survival Knife.

Harpoon & Spearhead

You can rig the harpoon blade to a stick in true harpoon fashion or use it as a spearhead. The difference? Read on...

Find a suitable sapling, cut it and then slot the end of the shaft, basically by splitting it or sawing a notch in the end about two inches deep. The saw on the Aitor is too wide to do this although a Swiss Army Knife or Leatherman saw would perform the task well. Using the knife, notch the pole a few inches down. Tie one end of the nylon cord to the harpoon blade and the other end to the notched area on the pole. Make sure your knots are secure.

Place the bottle opener end of the harpoon blade into the slot cut into the end of the stick. It should fit snugly and be approximately two inches into the shaft and the harpoon blade will stick directly out of the end of the spear shaft..

When you thrust into the fish, the harpoon will either stay lodged into the end of the shaft/pole (and into the fish) or it will pull free from the pole and still stick into the fish. The harpoon will then still be attached to the pole by the nylon cord if the harpoon blade pulls free of the shaft.

If you do not want the harpoon blade to pull free, simply use a small hoseclamp around the slotted area with the blade in the slot and tighten it down. You could also use cordage to lash it but for this rig - the hoseclamp is the way to go.

Attaching it like a spearhead means lashing it and I never had much luck with it that way. When I used eye screws or small hoseclamps, I had excellent results.

You can also "shave" the end of the spearshaft which leaves a flat surface for the harpoon blade to be secured against. This also creates a ledge for the bottle opener end of the harpoon blade to rest against. Then secure it with eye screws or hoseclamps.

Using small hoseclamps; this is an absolutely rock-solid way of securing this blade to a spear shaft. You tighten it down and it won't move. This will also work with the Skinner Blades but you have to have a slightly larger hoseclamp. You can secure the Skinners with eye screws as well. As a matter of fact, it would probably be a good idea to attach the nylon cord anyway. That way if the end of the shaft breaks, you can still retrieve your Skinner or Harpoon.

If you have read my other articles on various things I put into survival kits you will know I am a big believer in cheating. Carry small eye screws, small hose clamps, finishing nails - all sorts of little, indispensable things that can really come in handy during an emergency. With these two methods, you no longer need the cord and you don't have to fight with the rig at all, it works perfectly. Or, you can use the harpoon method with cordage where the harpoon is inserted into the end of the stick, your choice.

Another thing you might want to consider is to attach a small LED flashlight to the spear shaft. In Barry Davies SAS Survival Manual, he refers to this as a "Balala" light. It attracts the fish and they are staring up at the spear. A hose clamp makes the attachment a breeze. The light can be a small single "AA" cell Inova X-1 or CMG light.

Leroy Thompson mentioned something else in his book. That of using the Aitor harpoon blade for "Spring & Spear" traps for animals. It would work, of course, but I'm just adding it into the mix so I don't leave anything out that you might find interesting.

Leroy Thompson's book on Survival and Fighting Knives is excellent. I found it late in life. I purchased my first copy about two years ago and I'm very happy with it. It's a bit dated as most of the stuff he is talking about is no longer produced but for the fan of old gear, it's an excellent book. It's also filled with quite a few great ideas.

Tips on Spearing

Puns abound!

For those that have never bowfished or used a spear, the fish will appear larger and closer to the surface than it really is. Most people who spear or bowfish for the first time overshoot the fish, the spear or arrow goes over the fish. The fish is actually lower than it appears to be.

If you are in a boat or are otherwise directly over the fish, the fish will appear larger than it really is and closer to the surface but you will be dead-on if you aim well but you might miss because of depth perception, i.e., you think the fish is closer to the surface.

When you are in the water and the fish is out in front of you or if you are on a riverbank, etc., everything changes and you should lower your point of aim.

Closing

Here is a picture of the schematic on the back of the box. This box is from the middle to late 1990s or early 2000s as it has the Skinner II accessory knife on the back. Interesting and self-explanatory.

And, finally, the one thing I forgot about after I had went and numbered all of the pictures for this article. No one is perfect, certainly not me.

On the newer Aitor Jungle King IIs, they placed a spring inside the handle to make the Survival Capsule almost spring out into your hand. Was this really necessary? No, not really. If heat, for example, made the plastic capsule swell, the spring is not powerful enough to force the capsule out of the knife's hollow handle. But it does point to the people at Aitor caring about what they make. It shows some thought and they deserve some credit for that.

In the picture below you see the hollow handle open and resting on the butt cap, inside you can see a brighter piece of metal. That is actually a spring similar to the type used in flashlights.


I would like to say one last thing. I believe the handle on these knives are non-magnetic stainless steel, for obvious reasons. The blade is attached to the handle by a steel roll pin and I think it is also epoxied in place but I am not so sure about that.

What I want to say to close this out is this: I know a lot of people who think this knife and other knives like it are junk. It is true that a lot of hollow handled survival knives are total garbage. This is not one of them. Like many of you, I think the whole "Delta Force Survival Knife" advertising is disgusting, misleading and totally dishonest - these sellers are bottom feeders and should be sentenced to flea markets where they belong. I also know the whole "Rambo Survival Knife Craze" irks people. Survival Knives got a really bad rap in the 1980s because of the influx of really trashy knives that had inferior steel and equally inferior heat-treating, they were garbage. The Aitor JK II and Marto-Brewer Explorer/Explora were the shining examples of what a production survival knife could be.

Make a mental note, the Randall Model 18 hollow handle survival knife was not destroyed as the Robert Parrish Survivor (and the Buck Buckmaster) was because the clientele that read those particular magazines would have screamed bloody murder had Randall Knives been attacked in that manner. Therein lies the truth, you can break anything. Wow, what an accomplishment, that's something to really be proud of.

Some people would point to the steel roll pin that holds the blade to the hollow handle and laugh at it. But they'll go to a knife show and watch guys demonstrating test cutting with a katana and the only thing keeping that blade from launching like a deadly missile at the audience is a bamboo peg.

Think about that for a moment. If this article gets discussed in those circles, they're going to scoff, they're going to come up with one, two or a dozen reasons why this is flawed logic.

Where do the Aitor Jungle King II and the Marto-Brewer Explorer shine? As an extra piece of insurance in your backpack, in the trunk of your car, some SUVs have storage areas, sometimes for tire-changing tools, under the rear bench seats - see if you can find a place for one of them there. Some have storage in the cargo area either under the cargo area or in semi-concealed panels on the side.

You can break anything. If I were going to really start chopping and hacking with wild abandon, I'd use a Chris Reeve, Becker or an American Tomahawk V-TAC for that. For a fine spare when the chips are down and it's down to the wire, these knives will work if you know what you're doing. If you don't know what you're doing, the toughest knife in the world won't save you anyway.

Copyright 2006 Don Rearic

Back to Main Index