Ontario RAT-1 Vs. Steel Will Cutjack. Budget D2 Knives Duke it Out at KnifeCenter.com


Hey, everyone. David C. Andersen here coming at you from
the KnifeCenter, and today we’re pitting two of the best inexpensive D2 steel pocket
knives against each other. It’s the Ontario RAT 1 versus the Steel
Will Cutjack. Let’s do this. While the base RAT model 1 features AUS-8
stainless, it’s also available with the semi-stainless D2 tool steel, and it’s in
that configuration that is clearly in the sights of the newcomer: the Steel Will Cutjack,
which also uses D2. D2 has been storming the entry level segment
of pocket knives, bringing a lot of edge retention to the table without breaking the bank, and
both of these knives are priced right around $40 right now. Certainly a cheap price, but they don’t
feel cheap. Both of these knives feature very similar
blade shapes, and the factory edges on each come shaving sharp. We get a drop point profile, and roughly the
same amount of sharpened edge as well. We get three and a quarter inch with the Ontario,
versus three and an eighth on the Steel Will; only a slight little bit less. It’s certainly plenty enough for most day
to day tasks, and you could even get away with using these in tactical roles, and the
shape and geometry even lend itself well to hunters, hikers and campers thanks to the
broad belly near the tip. Both of these knives see a flat grind, full
flat on the Ontario and a high flat grind on the Cutjack with a full length swedge along
the spine to make it even more efficient. Both of these blades are right around one
eighth of an inch thick, and the Cutjack is ever so slightly slimmer when we put it on
a micrometer. Combine that with the edge geometry, and it
makes them very precise and efficient slicers. To take advantage of that precision, the Cutjack
features a large finger choil ahead of the finger tab so that you can choke up behind
the blade and control it even better. The RAT 1 lacks a finger choil per se, but
the design that features this wide recasso and front of the handle still provides enough
flat spot for choking up, much the same way as you would with a choil. Both of these knives feature bronze washers
in the pivot for very smooth action. The Cutjack uses a flipper to open very smoothly. It’s not quite as crisp as a good bearing
setup, but it’s still very satisfying. Instead of a flipper, the RAT uses dual thumb
studs for opening, and if you build up a little bit of pressure with your thumb, you can even
flick it open, and it’s going to be just as fast as the Cutjack. Between these two that are right in front
of me, the RAT is even faster, but it isn’t quite as automatic to use that motion, so
you’re going to have a little bit of a tradeoff there. The handles on both of these knives feature
synthetic scales, nylon on the Ontario and FRN on the Steel Will, and there are several
color options available for each. We’ve got black, blue and OD green for the
Cutjack, and the RAT 1 offers even more, including black, olive drab, coyote brown, orange, desert
tan, and even more than that. Both of these handles offer a four finger
grip for me, but the RAT 1 does have a hair more reach, good for the bigger hands out
there, and, of course, both have that index finger spot to choke up on for even more room. Both knives also have a liner lock to secure
the blade, and both is fairly easy to operate. When we start to dive a little bit deeper
into these handles, that’s where the characters of these knives tend to diverge a little bit. The dual full liners on the RAT 1 are solid
pieces; they’re not skeletonized. It adds a bit of strength to the design, and
a little bit of weight, but not a crazy amount. It’s still easily pocketable, but with a
little extra girth compared to the Cutjack, the RAT 1’s a little bit more comfortable
under heavy strain. It makes it the better choice, I think, if
you’re going to take one of these knives camping. The Cutjack is a little bit lighter, and a
little bit slimmer. It features dual nested liners that have been
skeletonized, keeping the weight down. It takes up less room in the pocket overall. Not only does it lie flatter, but it isn’t
quite as long as the RAT 1 when it’s folded up either. Again, both are easily pocketable, though. The Ontario has a four position pocket clip,
meaning you can carry it tip up or tip down on either side. The Steel Will’s clip is only a two position
design, but it is reversible, and holds the knife tip up, again on either side. As far as how these scales are put together,
we have open backed construction on the Ontario, which makes it very easy to keep clean. The Steel Will is similar, mostly open backed,
but it does have a small backspacer near the rear of the handle, that also incorporates
the lanyard hole. As for other variants of these knives, there
are a number of other options if neither of these two do it for you. Of course, the RAT 1 does have the stainless
steel option with AUS8 for even less money. The Cutjack also has a stainless option, but
it’s decidedly more premium. It’s a full on upgrade with M390 steel,
in addition to G10 scales and a ball bearing pivot. You can’t get the RAT with a G10 handle,
but you can get them in carbon fiber. And while none have a ball bearing pivot,
There are assisted opening versions of the RAT to speed things up. If these knives are a little bit too big for
you, both of them feature a smaller counterpart as well. The Cutjack Mini and the RAT 2 feature three
inch blades for a smaller package overall. As two of the most solid budget folding knives
out there today, you really can’t go wrong with the Ontario RAT 1 or the Steel Will Cutjack. Let us know which one you would choose in
the comments, and in the meantime, to get your hands on one, you can click the link
in the description to head over to KnifeCenter.com.

33 thoughts on “Ontario RAT-1 Vs. Steel Will Cutjack. Budget D2 Knives Duke it Out at KnifeCenter.com

  1. I chose the cutjack it's shaveing sharp plus the knife is light weight and it's a flipped just a tad smaller easier to use and fires fast on a moments notice I wish I had one of those knives my birthday was on Aug 25 I have not had money to buy any new knives Meijer had some new one buy not much special although I do like the field craft knife from the tops knife company the fin wolf from cold steel I really like the Emerson commander knife I haven't been successful on finding one and then theirs the tanto recon one knife the non serrated version. Those knives I can't get my hands on any be cause I don't have money for it but since my birthday was on Aug 25 I think being able to get and keep 3 of those knives as a gift would be very much appreciated I appreciate the knives I buy or get

  2. R2-D2 all day! Awesome naff. The Cut Jack and the ESEE zancudo? Both seem awesome as well, tho I haven't yet tried them. The R2-D2 is just so great, I keep my "better" knives for other occasions, but my RAT is my every day, all day knife.

  3. When I first got into knives I remember buying the hk enigma with aus8 and paying like 60-70 bucks. Now all these d2 blades are under 50. It’s a nice time for knives.

  4. Both are good knives, and you can't go wrong with either, but I lean more towards the Rat. I own both, but the Rat gets more pocket time. I like the thumb stud deployment, good action, and very ergonomic, and I think a little better fit in the pocket. To each their own though, both are great knives.

  5. Have the RAT2 in CF…fantastic EDC… Waiting on the RAT1 CF (1st choice) or another color – w/ assist opening in D2. I can't find this RAT1 version anywhere yet, but still hopeful.

  6. I purchased the Rat1 with D2 and liked it so much got the Rat2 in Aus8 because I wanted a better carry option. I will keep the Cutjack and Citjack mini on the list. Thanks for great reviews!

  7. I bought a Cutjack first and then a Rat 1. I gave the Rat to my son and bought more Steel Will knives. It’s not even close. Cutjack all day, every day.

  8. I love my rat 1s I own a few of them in d2 and AUS8 carry them over my spyderco but haven't tried steel will yet gonna have to buy one and compare for myself

  9. Got the Rat1 and Rat2 in D2. Don't have the Cutjack. But I like the Steel Will Modus so much that I got 3 of them – D2, M390, and the mini.

  10. RAT-1'S design with D2 is just spot on. Very solid & nice handle for us guys with XL & up hands. Love the RAT for edc up here in the north woods.

  11. Both are very good, but I would say that Rat 1 has a better construction, although because of the characteristics and the price the Cutjack is better, I am in a dilemma and I don't know which one I should buy. Does anyone know if there is a difference in the performance of the blade even though the two are D2 steel?

  12. I had the rat 1 in d2 , loved it. It had a sharp spine would spark a fire rod great, and the blade was so easy to hone. I laid it down somewhere outside, can't find it. Would recommend to anyone, having said that I'm about to order the cutjack just to try something different.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *