Review from MacHete (bladeforums.com member)
I already own a ROSarms Companion2, which I have found to be an attractive knife in a handy size and shape, and at a great price. I was excited to get a chance to handle another ROSarms model (or two) in this passaround. I was not disappointed.
A lot of what I will say echoes J.Mattson's comments- beginning with fit & finish and quality-to-cost ratio. Both are very good. I really like the handles on most of ROSarm's knives, and I particularly like the birch nodule, as seen on the passaround Messer2 here:
I like the use of micarta as butt and guard material for both aesthetic and even somewhat ergonomic reasons- it keeps the knife handle "warm".
I still have reservations about stainless because of past disappointments, but I am willing to give these russian beauties a chance to redeem the reputation. Sharpening the stuff still sets my teeth on edge, though. Maybe I just need to get used to it.
The Messer2 is a classic hunter design, and I have always favored a drop point for these knives. I wish I could have tried this out on one of our resident whitetails, (it is the perfect size and pattern, IMO) but they aren't in season yet. Although it's a little big for the task, I would have been willing to try it out on squirrel, but I've been working 10+ hour days, six nights a week for the last few weeks, so opportunities to bag some "test subjects" were slim to none. I'm afraid the closest simulation for the Messer2's intended use I could actually do was cut up some "stew" ingredients to toss in with the missing freshly-bagged squirrel.
By conducting my simulation indoors and with a cutting board, I actually made it harder on myself as the knife's guard got in the way slicing. In the field, my cutting board would have been a log, or I would cut the veggies "KP" style right into the pot. Either method would reduce or eliminate the guard's getting in the way. Apart from that insignificant issue, the knife is very comfy and, as J.Mattson showed above, offers a good variety of grip options.
Overall, I would say the Messer2 is well-designed, well-made and well-priced.
Next up is the Federal Super:
Described as a "Military style fighting knife"-
the Federal Super is the standard Federal model enhanced with a 45mm longer blade (almost 1 3/4") and aluminum rather than micarta mountings. It is an impressive thing to hold and to behold. The fit and finish are great, as I now expect from ROSarms, and the asking price for this big a chunk of steel is also very good. As for the design, I just don't know.
I will say up front that flags go up every time I see something described as a "fighting knife". I am no expert, and I could not begin to participate in the endless discussion of what features the "pure" fighter would have. But, I am confident in my view that most knives marketed as "fighters" are actually "combat/utility" knives, and that the better knives among these emphasize the "utility" aspects.
Although I have never liked them as a matter of taste, a saw back on a blade can be useful, I suppose. However the saw on the Federal Super does not come sharpened. The teeth are actually blunted to the point that they resemble a fish scaler. I tried to get edge-on pics but they didn't turn out. You can tell a little bit from J.Mattson's pictures what I am talking about. Another point against saw-backs, is that I have heard many stories of them working against a soldier in combat, as enemies tend to view combatants captured while carrying them as particularly bloodthirsty and sadistic.
Doubts about the saw aside, the Federal Super has the look of a solid combat knife to this unskilled layman's eyes. It has the Bowie profile and a strong, sure hilt. But I realize that, becuase I am very familiar with the use of hunting knives, I am very comfortable evaluating one without actually using it for hunting- I cannot offer a qualified opinion of a fighting knife without actually using it for fighting.
Afterwards, I felt kinda bad about the whole thing, so I took the knife home and used it to make some soup for the biker dude while he is recovering:
The longer blade actually allowed the Federal Super to outperform the Messer2 in the kitchen!
Thanks for the opportunity to play with these knives for a little while, and special thanks to my friend Warren Shamblin- a very nice guy and a real good sport. He would never give anyone a reason to pull a knife on him- not that it would do much good, as he holds a light heavyweight title and a state weightlifting record.