Useful in a nearly infinite number of scenarios, a safe, solid but lightweight blade is the one thing that should be a part of everyone’s pack. The FDX 302 is just such a blade.
The FDX 302 is a compact folding knife where the blade folds into the handle itself. Featuring a new double lock safety feature, the knife utilizes the traditional frame lock system, where the handle of the knife is used to lock the blade in place, but it also incorporates a new push switch lock that slides a backup lock in place to ensure the frame lock doesn’t slip. It’s built from high quality 7Cr17 stainless steel to both add strength and to promote corrosion resistance. An included clip allows the knife to be easily and securely attached to the rim of a pocket or onto the straps of a pack. The blade itself comes in at 3 inches in length with an overall length of 7.5 inches. It weighs just 4 oz, should be available this month and will retail about $24.
What I liked
The double lock works wonderfully, eliminating the risk that the blade might slip free while twisting or really digging in with the knife. This can be an issue with many blades, as only a thin flexible sliver of steel locks the blade in place. Using the double lock is a simple matter of sliding the secondary lock up with the thumb or index finger to engage the safety. This ensures a much safer operation than most traditional frame locks knives provide. The lock slides into place as easily as it slides out, practically effortlessly, and it has a satisfying click to announce it’s in place as well. The standalone frame lock works well on its own, but it’s nice to have an extra layer of security, especially if you’re heavily using the knife and putting stress or torque on the blade. The blade also clicks in place when it’s closed, preventing it from accidentally opening in a pocket or pack.
The blade is sharp enough to get the job done, but not so sharp that the edge is going to dull and break down quickly. This is actually more important on the trail, as many blades that are overly sharpened simply wear down before the project is finished. Working through rope, wood and food while cooking has always been painless and enjoyable, with the blade providing smooth consistent cuts thanks to the sharp non-serrated edge.
Using the blade feels great, with plenty of attention being put towards the ergonomics of the handle. Two indentions in the handle allow for the index and pinky finger to delve deeper into the frame, while the middle and ring finger sit higher. This produces a gradient that improves traction and keeps the blade from slipping vertically. A few ridges which are shaped into the frame lock extend out far enough to reach the index finger, producing just a little extra friction to prevent the knife from twisting out from the hand. Overall, it feels great to use.
It’s sturdy, and built well all around. Despite the lightweight and hollowed frame construction, it still feels like it’s built to last with no twisting or contorting when bearing down on the blade from an angle. Everything on the knife is steel, including the mounts and screws. So far, there is little wear to the blade and absolutely no damage to the finished handle. I’m pretty impressed, especially for the price.
Speaking of the price, it only retails for about 24 bucks. That’s a great deal on a quality, lightweight blade.
What I didn’t like
Despite using this blade for a bit over a month now, I can’t seem to find much to complain about. It’s sturdy, sharp, and has held up wonderfully. Perhaps the weight could be slightly improved, but otherwise it’s quite exceptional.
The FDX 302 is a solid, reliable knife. Safety features are always appreciated, especially on a device that’s designed to cut. The two step double lock feature is a simple tweak to the standard formula that makes one wonder why all knives aren’t equipped with it, and the lightweight yet perfectly functional build comes together to make a knife that’s good for every situation. It’s just long enough to be useful without being bulky and in the way. Factor in the exceptionally low price, and the FDX 302 is an exceptional value and one that’s not likely to leave my pack anytime soon.
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For more information on Coast and their exceptional line of blades, check out https://coastportland.com/knives/
I wanted to send a special thanks out to Coast for their support and for providing this excellent piece of equipment to review. We couldn’t do this without their help. Thank you so much! Our full disclosure can be found on the about me/contact page.