I've seen quite a few discussions of rescue knives here, but not this one, which seems to be more popular in Europe than the US.
The Eickhorn-Solingen Pocket Rescue Tool is a large folding knife with 3.5" 440C blade and aluminum handles. Features include a glass breaker and a seatbelt cutter in the rear of the handle, both of which are replaceable. The knife uses a relatively normal liner lock, but there's a large button attached to the opposite liner, which protrudes through the handle and allows the user to depress the liner lock from the side of the knife. My example has a black-coated spear point blade with a laser-cut serration section. It seems to sell for about 95 Euro, I would guess it would be $100 or so if found in the US.
This example was imported by RUKO and is marked as such, including having "440C" on the blade, instead of "N695" as on the EU versions.Eickhorn PRT Open
, on FlickrEickhorn PRT Closed L
, on FlickrEickhorn PRT Closed R
, on Flickr
I've owned this Eickhorn-Solingen PRT for almost eight years. It cost about $70 in late '04 when I bought it, and was my first non-junk knife (Aside from SAKs and LMs). I believe it's the VIII model, but the current version has traditional serrations. When I bought this knife, I was very into the import car performance scene, and was a regular at trackdays, drifting events, and spirited drives in mountainous backroads. As such I was the first responder at quite a few wrecks, many in remote areas far from EMS, so this knife appealed to me. This knife has lived in a succession of gloveboxes, and is now in a Condor EDC organized in the center console of my car. I've had several opportunities to test the various features of this knife, both in emergency and test situations.
As you might be able to see from the pictures, one flaw of this knife is that the torx screws holding it together aren't very secure. One is lost to the ages. Fortunately the glass breaker screw next to it makes it relatively redundant, but it's a concern. Overall build quality is decent, but it can't compare to the fit and finish of similarly-priced knives from Benchmade or Spyderco. As far as I've been able to tell, it's a decently strong knife, and has handled anything I've put it through.
The blade pivot is somewhat of an issue. The problem is that it's too integral to the overall construction of the knife, so if left loose enough to flick the blade open, there's a noticeable amount of rattle and play. When tightened it's rock solid, but requires either opening the blade all the way manually, or using a strong wrist snap to swing the blade all the way around. My suspicion is that this knife is really designed as a two-handed knife for European markets and the thumbstud is an afterthought, so it would be expected to have a quite tight blade action. Speaking of the stud, it's a circular knurled disc, which is mounted slightly to the left, so the blade is technically ambidextrous but is biased towards right-handed opening. The knife opens smoothly when clean and lightly oiled with CLP and locks solidly when the pivot screw is tight.
The locking mechanism is pretty cool. The big black button is an extension of the left liner, and pressing it pushes it through the middle of the knife and in turn depresses the lock. It's great with gloves on, or in a high-adrenaline situation. Of note is that you have to press the button, turn the blade slightly, and then let go of the button, or it will obstruct the blade from closing the rest of the way. This is a situation in which Benchmade's Nak-Lok, which is similar in use, is easier to use.
The blade is about 1/8" thick and is covered with a durable black coating. I've stabbed it through thin sheet metal and other stuff in testing and it's held up pretty well. The big problem, though, is that I have been entirely unable to put a decent edge on this knife in all the time I've owned it. I can take a loop of paracord, stick the knife through it, and try to cut it, and it just won't do it. I've tried a variety of sharpening systems and haven't had much luck at all. I need to sit down and try to put a whole new edge on it with my Lansky system and see if I can make any progress. The laser-cut serrations are absolutely awful, in my opinion, and I see why they seem to have abandoned them. They do nothing but catch and stick on any kind of fiberous material that you might try to cut. They can supposedly be sharpened like a normal edge, and perhaps if I can put a good edge on the thing maybe they'll work better, but as-is they're useless.
The window breaker is easily the high point of this knife. I was absolutely stunned the first time I used it, on a late-model Toyota's driver-side window. My hesitant "test tap" on the glass instantly shattered the window cleanly. It's performed well in other tests. With repeated hard "whacks" I was able to punch through the safety glass on a different '80s Japanese car's windshield. The seatbelt cutter seems to be a piece of a standard utility knife ("clicky knife") blade, and is sandwiched between the liner and the scale. I haven't tried it on a jammed seatbelt in a wreck, but on a lose piece of belt held as tightly as I could, it only cut as deeply as the notch and then wouldn't go further, and I couldn't cut paracord or utility cord with it when I tried yesterday. Unfortunately I have to give it a fail as well. The pocket clip is mounted on the pivot screw, so the only option for carrying the knife is tip-down, right handed. It carries reasonably well, though.Pros:
-Tough build quality.
-Functional, easy-to-use lock mechanism.
-Great glass breaker.Cons
-Useless seatbelt cutter.
-Screws are not thread-locked and can back out.
Overall, I can't recommend this knife. The blade might be able to be sharpened better than I've managed, but the steel quality and factory edge put it far behind options from other companies. The window punch works well, but the seatbelt cutter seems to be useless. If this knife was $40, it might be worthwhile, but at the high price it's just not the best option. For an extra $50 or so, the Benchmade Triage looks like a great option, and is probably what I'll replace this tool with.