Monday, April 2, 2018

Smith & Wesson SWHRT9B Review

I will sometimes purchase several different kinds of tools over a period of time in an attempt to find exactly what I want... or at least that's the excuse I give for why I have so many knives.

I purchased the Smith & Wesson H.R.T. in an attempt to find a good fixed-blade carry knife. My experience with S&W's knife offerings has been that they make products that are a good value for the price. It cost $15.99 on Amazon with Prime shipping at the time of publication, which I felt would be a good value if the knife worked well for my intended uses.

The Pros
  • It has a solid build quality. I carried this around on a daily basis for over a month, and it looks almost factory fresh. 
  • The sheath is thick black leather, tight around the blade, and has not notably scuffed nor has the clip shown any notable wear. 
  • The stitching is even and appears to be well done, and none of it has come loose, despite me getting the knife wet several times. 
  • The blade itself seems to be well made, with an even grind for the edge. 
  • It seems to hold an edge well. It has cut through wood, plastic, nylon, paper, and a number of other materials, and seems not to have any issues. The coating on the blade is still intact, and does look good. 
  • I have not sharpened it yet, so I don’t know how easy it is to sharpen. 
  • The handle is well designed and grips well even when my hand is wet or covered in oil. It is grooved, and has a hole in the end that you could string something through. 
  • It makes a surprisingly good throwing knife. I am certain that this voids the warranty, but it is light, the balance is decent, and it sticks in the log that I use as a target.

The Cons
  • The sheath is solid, but the retention mechanism (a snap) is difficult to work with. It takes much longer than it should to put away and secure the knife, and is a pain in the rear if you are in a hurry. 
  • The hole at the end of the handle is too small to fit paracord, even though it looks like it should. I spent half an hour trying, with no success. 
  • The clip does not retain as well as I would wish. It seems to do okay if you have it on the outside of your belt, but it does not hold well if you try to use it as a boot knife, or wear it inside the waist band, or if you put it on a retaining strap on a pack. In short, it seems to do very poorly when you need it to really hold, and I don’t feel like I could trust that clip in an emergency. If someone from Smith and Wesson is reading this, that clip alone would keep me from purchasing this knife if I had known about it before hand. 
  • I really don't know what to do with it: 
    • It doesn’t work well as a general utility knife because it's not large enough to be comfortable for me as a fixed blade. 
    • It isn’t large enough to make a comfortable combat knife, either. 
    • Nor does it work well as a boot knife. This is mainly because of the clip, but also because it digs into me. 
    • Rather ironically, it doesn’t conceal well on me either. For whatever reason, it prints quite badly, and jabs into me more than similar knives.

I would not recommend this knife as a general carry knife. With a custom sheath, this knife would be fantastic for its price, but as nice as the blade itself is, I don’t want to pay more for the sheath than I did the knife.

In all, it's too big to carry, too small to use effectively, and doesn't retain well. If you want a fixed blade for your bug out bag, it seems like it would be acceptable, but expect to keep it in the bag instead of on your belt.

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