This time on Steal of the Week we’re going to be checking out the storied line of Kalashnikov folding knives from Böker Plus. The Kalashnikov, or AK-47, has been one of the most popular guns in the world basically since it was introduced to active service in 1948. Its designer, former Soviet tank corpsman Mikhail Kalashnikov, passed away in 2013, but before that he licensed his name to Böker and the Kalashnikov line was born.
The designs draw their inspiration from Kalashnikov’s seminal rifle, sometimes in a subtle way and sometimes in ways that are the complete antithesis of subtle. Models like the 10 and the 15 wear the assault rifle aesthetic on their sleeve by being modeled to resemble rifles themselves.
The models I like best are the ones that take their cues from Kalashnikov in a more indirect way, by borrowing certain design elements but focusing on simplicity and functionality above all. Models like the 42 are almost elegant in their stripped-down appearance. While this knife is called the 42 by Böker, it is a variation of model 74, and bears that marking on the blade. The best thing about this one is the ergonomic handle with structured finger grooves and heavy texture to lend it a certain grip. There’s a deep, bayonet-style pocket clip that makes this knife a really comfortable carry.
The blade is a nice 3.5″ recurve, so it’s going to be great for slicing tasks. In this particular case it’s got a fingernail nick for an easy two-handed open, but this same model is also available with dual thumb studs for single-handed operation. There’s even a version of the 74 with a beautiful damascus blade. Across all these variations, the blade is held in place with a stainless steel liner lock.
My personal favorite from the Kalashnikov line is the 101. This particular version sports a tan zytel handle and plain edge blade, but other versions exist, like a black and green with partial serrations. What I love about this one is the oversized handle that facilitates numerous comfortable grip styles. There’s some jimping present to give your thumb purchase in both the forward and reverse grips. This one also features the bayonet style pocket clip, as well as a hearty glassbreaker tip on the butt.
Blade is deployed using the ambidextrous thumb disc, and the action is really smooth and swift. The 101 has a massive 4″ blade, also with a healthy recurve, made from 440C stainless steel. As with the 74, this one has a stainless steel liner lock to keep the blade in place.
With a whole host of durable, affordable designs, each taking their cues from Mikhail Kalashnikov in a distinct way, the Böker Plus Kalashnikov line is a really solid group of folders. To learn more about all the models available, click here. To see our entire inventory, visit knifecenter.com