Collaborations between custom knife makers and large companies have been increasing over the last decade. These collaborations have done a great job of introducing to the public the kinds of designs that are popular amongst custom knife makers and collectors at a more reasonable price. Hallmark Cutlery and custom knife maker Sean Kendrick have teamed up to produce the Bad Blood line of knives.
The Partisan Nano is a smaller mass produced variant of Sean’s larger fixed blade custom knife. Sean Kendrick’s custom knives, as well as his offerings through Hallmark Cutlery, fall under the description of a tactical knife. The definition of what constitutes a tactical is varied and often debated. For many people the word tactical implies “military” or “fighting” style of knife and while they can certainly be used for the that purpose, the focus of this article is to evaluate the Partisan Nano’s utility as a general purpose tool.
The Partisan Nano is manufactured from 8 ¾” inches of 8cr14 stainless steel with a clip point blade measuring 3 7/8”. Hallmark indicates that the Nano has a saber grind on its blade. I asked for input from two other Woods Monkey writers to examine the knife and we all felt that the Nano’s blade was actually a hollow grind. The spine of the knife has a beveled swage from the tip to its midpoint. At the mid point there is a slight depression in the spine that is ideal for the thumb when using the knife for fine work. Where the spine of the blade meets the handle there is some grooved file work that provides another base for resting the thumb while using the knife. The blade’s edge terminates in choil that creates a partial quillon to protect the hand from sliding onto the blade. The entire knife weighs in at 7.6 ounces.
The Nano’s handle is made from textured black matte G10 that includes red liners that provide a nice contrasting color between the satin finish of the blade and the black scales. The base of the handle includes a lanyard hole that will accept a Para-cord or leather lanyard. To round out the package, the Partisan Nano comes with an injection molded plastic sheath that was manufactured to look and feel like Kydex. The knife is well secured in the sheath due to the way it fits around the forefinger grooves of the knife handle. I ran up and down my steps several times with it clipped to my belt and the knife or sheath never felt unsecure. The knife can also be secured to backpack and is compact enough to fit into a cargo pocket or jacket. The sheath’s clip is adjustable by way of three screws and can be configured to user preference. This is a nice touch as it can be customized for either left or right hand use which you don’t often get when using a leather or Condura sheaths included on most mass produced knives.
Before I took the Partisan Nano outside I wanted to try it out for some fairly mundane tasks around the house. It cuts through cardboard boxes, plastic bottles and nylon rope with minimal effort. I always keep a pile of scrap leather around the house and I was able to cut straps of leather with minimal effort. The contour of the blade and handle was comfortable to use regardless of the task. Based on these indoor tests, I think that the Partisan Nano can be used for food preparation in a camp kitchen or camping trip.
Once outside, I collected up some branches from the overgrown alley from behind my house. The Nano proved quite capable of stripping the bark and leaves from the branches to create sticks to use for burning marshmallows and hot dogs over a fire. The Nano’s blade worked great to create shavings to use as kindling and the grooved section of the spine worked quite well to get sparks from a fire steel to create a campfire. I have an old hardened walk stick that I no longer use for hiking. I used the Partisan Nano to carve a notch into it surface similar to what would required to make a tent stake. While using the Nano for typical field tasks I felt that the handle design and feel was very comfortable. After completing all the tests I tried to shave the hair off my arm with Nano but was unable. The blade did not have any notable gouges or marks and just needs a little fine honing.
Overall this is a great looking knife. The shape of the knife is aesthetically pleasing without looking gaudy. The sheath compliments the design of the knife and creates a perfectly functional and utilitarian tool. After using this knife over the last three weeks I felt like the Partisan Nano had a similar feel to my CRKT Crawford fixed blade knife which I have taken on almost every hiking and camping trip I have been on in the last ten years. The Nano reminds me of that knife a great deal albeit with a little more fit and finish compared to the Crawford knife. Hallmark’s production of the Partisan Nano is excellent and it feels and looks like some of the custom knives I have handled in the last couple of years. All in all it makes a greats utility knife for most tasks.
In the process of researching this knife I spent some time looking at Sean’s custom knives online. I have not had the chance to handle his custom work personally. His work is certainly exceptional looking and according to some of my associates who have handled his custom knives they are well worth the money. For folks who aren’t into custom knife collecting or wouldn’t think of taking a custom knife into the field to get abused I recommend checking out Hallmark’s Bad Blood line.
Hallmark’s website has the Bad Blood Partisan Nano listed with an M.S.R.P for $64.00. A quick search of Internet knife retailers will have the Nano for a bit less. I would not hesitate paying $64.00 dollars for this knife and consider it a good value for the money. Considering the popularity of custom knife makers collaborating with large production companies the Bad Blood Partisan will fit well into the toolbox, collection, or survival kit. It is well made and durable and a worthy entry into a crowded market. I think it is a great knife and I hope you will too.
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