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Fox-Citadel Deimos Tactical Folders

Deimos means “dread,” something to be feared. In Greek mythology, Deimos is the son of Ares (force) and Aphrodite (beauty). The two versions of these tactical folders—the blacked-out Deimos Black and the exotic, wooden Deimos Classic—clearly show this mixed heritage. The two Deimos folders share exactly the same overall design, and differ only in the blade finish and grip panel material.

The Deimos tactical folders are the result of a joint effort between Fox and Citadel. These full-size folders are made in Italy by Coltellerie Fox Oreste Frati (Fox Knives), founded by Oreste Frati in 1977. Fox Cutlery is in the Italian city of Maniago, near Venice.

Located on the northern border of Italy near the southern border of Austria, this whole area is known for metal crafting, dating back to the Middle Ages. By the 1700s, with plenty of nearby iron ore and wood, this area was full of workshops producing agricultural and butchering tools, but also finely crafted knives. The skill of the artisan blacksmiths gave Maniago its name as the “city of the knives” and a world reputation for cutlery as well respected as Toledo, Spain.
In 2005, Fox introduced the FKMD (Fox Knives Military Division) brand of military and police knives. FKMD is a supplier of fixed and folding knives to the armed forces of several NATO countries. Fox knives are a known commodity among knife enthusiasts in the United States. For example, Fox makes the Wilson Tactical’s Delta Wave Spec Ops folders. Fox knives are the real deal, not just another imported blade.
The designers of the Deimos knives are Gabriele Frati, the manager of Fox’s Military Division (FKMD), and Christophe Hiriart, who runs the work shop at Citadel. This new knife is a modified version of Citadel’s folding Kukri.

Citadel is a French company operating in Cambodia, established in 1997 by French ex-patriot Dominique Eluere. Most Citadel knives are made in Cambodia using only Old World knifemaking methods, including a charcoal-fired forge. However, these Deimos tactical folders are made in Italy using the most modern knifemaking machines and heat-treating processes—and high quality Austrian steel.

Austrian Cobalt Steel

The Deimos knives use Bohler N690Co blade steel. Let’s put this high-end, European stainless steel in perspective. The 440-C alloy was the standard for the best blades for literally decades, and it is still a reasonable choice. It sharpens easily and is extremely corrosion resistant.

The N690Co stainless steel is a European-made upgrade to 440-C stainless steel. N690Co has the same amount of carbon, chromium and molybdenum as 440-C. To make N690Co from 440-C, the foundry adds vanadium and cobalt. Vanadium controls the grain structure during heat-treat, allowing a harder edge from a high carbon stainless steel with less brittleness. Cobalt adds hardness and edge retention to the blade alloy.

N690Co is also called Austrian Cobalt Steel and Cobalt Stainless Steel, thus the “Co” added to the N690 designation. N690 has been well received by European military forces. Benchmade is one American knife maker that uses N690. The Remington Tactical-series blades also use N690Co.

THIS is a Knife

Tactical-minded officers like big tactical folders. This was confirmed by the first Field Test conducted by Tactical Response

magazine years ago—the best tactical folder under $180. A total of 14 tactical officers evaluated eight different folders on the dual roles of patrol knife and SWAT knife. The winner was the largest and heaviest of the submitted knives, the longest and widest blade, and the biggest handle. The verdict from tactical officers comes straight from Crocodile Dundee: If you need a knife, you need a KNIFE.

The Deimos folder uses a hefty, 4.5-inch long blade. This makes for a big, tactical-class knife. The blade uses a taper ground edge starting from a 0.160-inch blank—very thick for any folder. Most knives marketed to law enforcement use 0.115- to 0.125-inch blade blanks. It is uncommon to find police knives with 0.148-inch thick blades. A tactical folder using a 0.160-inch-thick steel blade is rare. Of course, durability in field use starts with the thickness of the blade. The blade is also 1.25 inches wide. In law enforcement use, a wider blade is better than a narrower blade in virtually all regards.

The Deimos folders use a drop point tip design. This convex slope makes for a wider and thicker (thus stronger) point than a clip point, which has a concave slope to the point. The drop point is the best overall design for police use. The drop point can get into places a blade blank thick Tanto point simply will not fit. On the side of the blade, the word “Deimos” is laser-etched using Greek letters: Delta, Epsilon, Iota, Mu, Omicron, Sigma—nice touch.

To serrate or not to serrate? That is the question. And the answer is heavily debated. As a rule, the hardcore, purist bladesmiths prefer a straight edge over a partially serrated blade. As such, the two Deimos folders are available with a straight edge. On the other hand, serrations cut many of the rough, coarse and tough materials encountered in law enforcement better than a straight edge. Perhaps in the future a partially serrated blade will be an option on the Deimos Black.

Dual-Task Patrol-SWAT

The handle on the Deimos is long—about 5.5 inches. This makes for a bigger-than-normal patrol knife, but an outstanding dual-task patrol-SWAT knife. Even officers with large hands can get a good, full, solid grip on the Deimos. As a result, the large handle gives you plenty of leverage. The palm swell (handle profile) is moderate, as is the perfectly placed index finger groove.

Both Deimos knives have blade jimping (teeth) exactly where it is needed for the maximum grip: for the thumb along the blade back, and for the index finger behind the forward quillon. The pronounced quillon (cross-guard) for the index finger is yet another safety feature on these serious duty folders.

Oversized Thumbhole

The Deimos blade can be opened two ways. One is with an oversized, teardrop-shaped thumbhole. The thumbhole is perfectly placed for a constant radius rotation from fully closed to fully open. The thumbhole is perfect for opening while wearing gloves. The other method is with the index finger tab. When closed, the index finger quillon protrudes well above the back of the grip panels. With a quick finger pull on the tang tab followed by a wrist flick, the blade locks fully open.

The two production knives we tested opened as smoothly, and with as much contol, as the best German and American folders. With both knives, the liner-lock easily slid under the ramped blade tang to fully lock.

Liner-lock, Secondary Lock

The Deimos folders use a liner-lock to hold the blade open. This is by far the most common lock design, but it has some drawbacks. Under aggressive, twisting use, the finger pressure can engage the liner-lock leaf spring and unlock the knife. However, Fox-Citadel has taken two excellent design steps to prevent this.

First, the grip panel closest to the right hand has only a shallow relief—just barely enough to expose the liner-lock serrated surface. While the opposite grip panel is deeply relieved, to allow easy access to unlock the blade, the shallow grip panel actually protects the liner-lock leaf spring.

Even more significantly, the Deimos folders use a Lake-Walker-style secondary lock. Located ergonomically next to the thumb rest, the knurled sliding lever is easy to engage and disengage in a one-hand opening. When pushed forward, a wedge of steel slides behind the liner-lock leaf spring, holding it in contact with the blade tang.

Once engaged, the knife simply cannot unlock. It becomes as much of a fixed blade as any folding knife can. The secondary lock is smooth and easy to operate. In terms of ultimate strength, the Deimos knives use a 0.062-inch-thick liner material for the leaf spring to engage the blade tang—thicker than most.

The Deimos folders have something absolutely required on any police knife—an ambidextrous pocket clip. Left side pocket, right side pocket, on the body armor carrier under the duty shirt, clipped to the load bearing vest, whatever. The Deimos can be clip-mounted in the best carried position. The clip is well designed and holds the big knife securely.

Deimos Classic Tactical Knife

The Classic version uses a bright polish finish on the stainless blade and liners and bright chrome fasteners and pocket clip. Most importantly, the Classic uses exotic Ziricote wood. Yes, the name Ziricote sounds like a marketing name for cheap plastic used as fake wood grain in the trim of imported cars. Nothing could be further from the truth!

Ziricote is the common name for exotic trees found in Central and South America—some of the most drop-dead gorgeous wood in the world. The tan, cream and brown wood is heavily marbled with thick black swirls. It is used in high-end furniture and custom-made acoustic guitar backs.

However, the handle texture of the polished, custom wood used in the Deimos Classic grips is just too smooth for serious police work, even with the 10 offset grooves machined in the handles. This Aphrodite folder is a show piece. It definitely falls into the “too pretty to use” category.

Deimos Black Tactical Knife

The Black version is, in fact, all blacked out. The blade and liners are black powder-coated, and the pocket clip and hardware are likewise matte-black. The grip panels on the Black version are black Micarta®.

Micarta is a laminate of canvas and epoxy. G10 is a laminate of fiberglass and epoxy. Both materials are virtually indestructible and impervious to water, blood and chemicals. G10 typically has a rougher texture and no “grain” pattern. Micarta is a bit smoother and has a pronounced black and gray layer pattern. These Micarta handles with the heavy, offset grooves work just fine for this Ares police knife.

On the Job

The Deimos Black was carried on a number of building entry training days. When setting up a house for SWAT training, many tasks call for a heavy-duty knife: cutting holes in paneling, cutting paracord to hang targets, cutting clothes to wrap around mannequins, prying windows open, engaging and forcing the deadlatch on a closed door, prying stuck doors open, cutting carpet and padding, cutting window screens, breaking partially loose glass panes, cutting brush, prying jammed utility boxes open, cutting electrical wires and heavy cables and the occasional removal of slotted and Phillips screws.

The Deimos Black did it all. It was nice to have a “real” knife for some of these jobs. The Deimos folders have an MSRP of $199. They are available online from Dep Dep in France, which ships to the American and European market, and Citadel in Cambodia, which ships worldwide. Our test knives arrived promptly from France. The Citadel Deimos may also soon be available through Blue Ridge Knives, the stateside knife mega-distributor.

Published in Tactical Response, Jan/Feb 2011

Rating : 9.0

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