Hard-Use EDC

Diving deep on the Tactical Trout

Spartan Blades has a well-earned reputation for practical designs and flawless execution. Bill Harsey, Jr. is a truly legendary knife designer, with countless accolades under his belt. Put the two of them together and you’re guaranteed to get an amazing knife as a result.

The Harsey Tactical Trout, often just called the Harsey TT, is a mid-sized knife that’s designed for hard use, no matter where you take it. It is intended to be an all-purpose knife, but with a distinctly tactical lean.

It has a 4.5-inch spear point blade that features a flat ground main bevel. Along the top there’s a slight taper as well, which makes for a very strong, yet needle-sharp, point. The CPM S45VN blade has been treated with a PVD coating that protects against corrosion and also provides a bit of a buffer against scratches and such.

The blade is 3/16-inch thick, giving it plenty of strength but not turning it into a sharpened crowbar. As would be expected, this is a full-tang knife. It terminates in an angled skull crusher sort of pommel. For those of us who don’t typically get involved in activities where causing massive injuries to someone’s head is ideal, it can also be used to smash open acorns and other nuts.

The Harsey TT handle is really what makes this knife all sorts of awesome, though. It is contoured linen Micarta and the shape of it just melts into your hand. There are no sharp edges or rough areas that could cause hot spots during extended use. The integral guard protects your hand from sliding up onto the blade, which is something I truly like to see in a knife. Due to a boneheaded move when I was a teenager, I know all too well how it feels to have fingers sliding up against a knife’s sharp edge.

The balance point is right about where the first finger groove is behind the guard. This isn’t a lightweight knife, but it isn’t a boat anchor, either. It tips the scales at 0.46-pound, or 7.36 ounces. The weight lends solidity to the knife, letting you know that this isn’t cheaply made nor too delicate for real work.

The Harsey TT has clean lines and an almost utilitarian look. No fancy bells and whistles, just a razor-sharp edge, a robust build, and quality components. It is deceptively simple in design, and it just plain works.

It comes with a nylon sheath that has a Kydex insert. It is also available with a full Kydex sheath. I’ll be honest, I’m not overly fond of the nylon sheath. It adds a bit of bulk to the overall package and I’d prefer something a little more streamlined. That said, the stock sheath is well made and is quite durable. It has a snap to keep the knife secure, which is always a bit reassuring. However, I’ll probably be seeking out a custom leather sheath at some point soon. Or, I’ll hit up my friends at Delta Sheath and see what stock models they have that might work. I’ll admit that I’m something of a traditionalist and will always prefer a leather sheath for my knives.


As with most of the knives I review, I carried the knife off and on for a period of time, using it for the standard sorts of knife chores most people see in their typical day-to-day, like breaking down boxes and maybe some minor food prep. The basic idea is to get familiar with the knife, using in a variety of situations and developing a feel for it.

One thing that stands out is just how comfortable the knife is to use. The handle is incredibly ergonomic, something I noticed right away the first time I picked it up. Whether you’re holding it in a standard grip or flipped over into an icepick grip, there’s just no discomfort or awkwardness.

In putting the knife through some more quantitative, formal testing, I found it worked amazingly well with everything from sisal rope and paracord to leather scraps and, of course, corrugated cardboard. It held a great edge throughout and even after extended use, was able to shave paper. Just as importantly, the knife remained comfortable, no matter how it was held or what it was cutting.

The blade is a little thick for detail work, such as slicing up vegetables for dinner. It does okay, but it isn’t ideal in that sort of role. Then again, nobody would look at the TT and mistake it for a kitchen knife.

This isn’t what I’d consider a “white collar” knife. By that, I mean it isn’t something you’d probably carry on the daily if you work in an office type of environment. Heck, in many places doing so would probably result in a visit to HR, if we’re being honest. However, outside that sort of workplace, the TT would be perfectly fine.

All in all, I would recommend the Harsey TT to anyone who’s seeking a robust, solidly built fixed blade knife that’s suitable for field work as well as defense.

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1 comment

  • Norm Morris

    I’ve had several Harsey designed knives and they’re all first quality. This seemed familiar, especially the black version and I looked it up. It reminds me a lot of the 5″ discontinued ZT 0160, but with better steel, and micarta instead of G10. That knife is Sandvik 14C28N, and except for the top thumb ramp the handles are similar. I was able to get a 0160 for cheap on closeout and it’s an excellent knife and also very comfortable, but the blade on this might be slightly more utilitarian and I like the length. The ZT is .17″ thick compared to this .1875 and close in weight at 1 oz. more.

    By the way, the black PVD coated knife shown in the rotating pics here is marked S35VN, not S45VN. (?) I assume that’s an older pic, but both steels work great for me; I have Sebenza’s in both and can’t tell the difference. Thanks for the first look!

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