Story by Dwayne Unger, Photos by Dwayne Unger and Taryn Allander
Founded in 1884, by Karl Elsener, Victorinox has paved the way with some of the most innovative folding knife designs ever created and has long been a staple name in the outdoor knife industry.
Well known for their multi-functional line of Swiss Army knives, it was never a question of if, but rather when, they would start producing fixed blade knives for today’s outdoor enthusiasts.
If you’ve been waiting for this day, the wait is finally over! Introducing the Victorinox Outdoor Master Mic L and Outdoor Master Mic S.
While unboxing them, I wasn’t the least bit surprised at the craftsmanship that went into these 2 blades. The fit and finish are exactly what you would expect and are both worthy of the Victorinox name.
Let’s begin by looking at some of the specs.
Outdoor Master Mic L
The Outdoor Master Mic L (Large) is Victorinox’s full sized knife, weighing in at 7.8 ounces. With an overall length of 8.7 inches and 4-inch blade, this is a great size for bushcrafters, campers, hunters and hikers looking for a robust, full sized blade.
The full tang blade measures 1.3 inches high and a robust 4 mm thick. The plain edge has a slight drop point design with a Scandi grind, micro bevel and some jimping on the spine.
Outdoor Master Mic S
The Outdoor Master Mic S (Small) is significantly smaller, weighing in at 3.8 ounces, with an overall length of 6.1 inches.
The drop point Scandi ground blade measures in with a 2.9-inch cutting edge, that stands .8 inches high and 2.5 mm thick. The smaller handle fit 3 of my fingers comfortably with no uncomfortable hot spots.
Common attributes to both knives are the black and blue Micarta handles with red liners, stainless pins and rear lanyard tube. The Micarta scales were nice and smooth, with no raised or rough hot spots to be concerned about.
Both knives are full tang and constructed of 1.4116 stainless steel. Unfortunately, it is not noted, and I was unable to get a direct answer on the exact Rockwell hardness of the blades. While not quite hair popping sharp, the Scandi edges felt sharp enough to handle most tasks out of the box. With the included fire steel (Mic L version only) I expected the spine to be a bit sharper, but it felt sharp enough to throw some sparks.
Both knives are housed in a Tek-Lok compatible Kydex sheath (with the sheath for the Mic L featuring a ferro rod loop, to hold the included fire steel or any after-market 5/16-inch steel), and of course are backed by the Victorinox Lifetime guarantee.
Both Kydex sheaths offered a good snug fit – with the Mic L’s sheath also offering adjustability on the retention. The Mic L utilizes a rigid webbing belt loop, large enough to fit any belt I could possibly think of, and the Mic S sheath has some cordage run through; that can be used as a belt sheath or neck carry.
Enough with the specs, let’s get down to business. After receiving the two knives I couldn’t wait to get them out for some real field testing. With the Mic L on my belt and the Mic S in my cargo pocket I ventured out to discover what these blades were capable of.
I started out by grabbing some sticks, to check the edge sharpness and geometry by making feather sticks. Immediately, I could feel the edge geometry was good on both, and the blades were sharp enough to perform the task fairly easily. I think a little additional time, honing the edge, would make them both perform a little better.
Personally, I prefer a slightly shallower angle on a scandi grind, with a zero secondary bevel, but that’s my personal preference. That said, both knives feathered well, even the Mic S for as small as it was.
With feathers made, it only seemed fitting to test out the sharpness of the spine and I took the included ferro rod out of the Mic L’s sheath. I had to work a little harder than I have with other knives – with truly sharpened spines – but eventually the sparks were flying well enough to ignite the bundle of feather sticks I had just made.
A nearby Cedar tree also proved worthy for testing the sharpness of the spine and I quickly shaved off some outer bark for another tinder bundle. This time I tested the fire steel with the Mic S and had slightly better results.
Feathering sticks is one thing, but I wanted to know how these would carve. A nice piece of green Poplar seemed perfect for whittling a quick spoon. Using the Mic L, I roughed out the profile with ease and used the Mic S for some of the finer work. It wasn’t the prettiest spoon I’ve ever carved, but the combination of the two blades handled the task with ease.
I know I’m about to ruffle some feathers here, I’m sure, but you really can’t do bushcraft without batoning. I know, I know, that’s what axes are for and these are scandi blades – everyone knows you can’t baton a scandi blade. Well I can, and I did!
The Outdoor Master Mic L was called to the plate and I found some perfect pieces to beat it through. The thick 4 mm stock gave me the confidence that I wouldn’t do any real damage to the blade, and I knew the Micarta handles would hold up to the impact. After beating through several pieces, and quite a few knots, the edge only had one little spot where any damage could be seen – but it was hardly visible and would get worked out easily.
In my opinion, nothing beats carving a try stick with a new knife. Try sticks really give you a good idea of how the blade is going to perform; doing the various tasks we require of a knife as outdoorsmen.
While carving the variety of reductions and notches I could feel that the handle design on the Mic L was a little narrow and moved in my hand quite a bit, and I found myself readjusting my grip often. That said, the blade carved nicely, and handle designs are very personal. I just prefer a slightly thicker design. For some of the finer cuts, I pulled out the Mic S and enjoyed using it, even with the smaller 3 finger handle.
Bottom line, to quote a well-known TV personality, “They will cut”.
I believe it is impossible to truly review a knife with only a few hours of use. Only after many long trips and hours in the hand can I give a full complete review. That said, my initial impressions on these knives are positive and I look forward to more field time with them.
The edge on the Outdoor Master Mic L did take slight damage, while batoning through knotty wood, but it held up well enough to carve a nice try stick; and with very little work on the stones it was back to perfect cutting condition.
The Outdoor Master Mic S, despite its small size, was very pleasant to use and will make a great secondary knife to carry. But it is robust enough to use as a primary blade, if size and weight are a concern and you don’t anticipate large cutting tasks.
Any of the negatives from my initial testing were more personal preference and had nothing to do with the craftsmanship of either knife, or their accompanying sheaths.
The knives performed beautifully, held up well and sharpened back up with little trouble. Everything you would want from an outdoors knife and expect from Victorinox. A Dynamic Duo well executed by Victorinox. K&G
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OUTDOOR MASTER MIC LBlade Material: 1.4116 StainlessBlade Length: 4 inchesOverall Length: 8.7 inchesBlade Thickness: 4mm Blade Height: 1.3 inchWeight: 7.8 ouncesBlade Style: Drop PointGrind Type: ScandiHandle Material: Bland and Blue MicartaSheath: Kydex – Tek-Lok compatible with included Fire Steel Loop Extras: 3 x 5/16-inch Fire Steel includedMSRP: $199.99
OUTDOOR MASTER MIC SBlade Material: 1.4116 Stainless Blade Length: 2.9 inchesOverall Length: 6.1 inchesBlade Thickness: 2.5mmBlade Height: .8 inchWeight: 3.8 ouncesBlade Style: Drop PointGrind Type: ScandiHandle Material: Bland and Blue MicartaSheath: Kydex – Tek-Lok compatibleMSRP: $119.99
Victorinox Mic L Mic SAmazon Mic L Mic S
Dwayne Unger is the owner/operator of Dwayne Unger Outdoors, an associate instructor with Estela Wilderness Education and online instructor for the Old World Alliance. Dwayne is also the 2018 Bladesports World Champion and winner of History Channel’s Forged in Fire: Knife or Death (S1,E4). Dwayne is a part time custom knife maker and has been published by several online and print magazines. Dwayne can be found on Facebook, Dwayne Unger and Dwayne Unger Outdoors and on Instagram @dwayneungeroutdoors.com
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