REVIEW – An EDC kit needs a knife, and some of us just can’t utilize a full-sized knife on a daily basis. That’s where the Bastion Braza Mini D2 CLEAVER folding knife comes in. This little giant is small but very functionally packed with just about every essential feature you’d want in a small EDC folding knife, plus it looks cool. Let’s check it out! Gadget on!
What is it?
The Braza Mini D2 CLEAVER is a variant of its Braza Bro EDC Folding Knife. It is a small, pocket-sized folding knife with flipper deployment, a frame lock, pocket clip, and a cleaver-style blade and is available in two different color schemes, each with their own blade materials.
- Non-Black Version = D2 tool steel blade
- Black Version = S35VN blade
- Ceramic ball bearing pivot
- Titanium-coated stainless steel frame and pocket clip
- Stainless steel Torx fasteners
- Flipper for fast deployment
- Ergonomically-contoured grip
- Keychain/lanyard hole
- Ultra strong frame lock
- Weight = 1.48 oz (41.9 g)
- Length closed = 2.75 in (70.0 mm)
- Overall length open = 4.77 in (121.3 mm)
- Blade length = 2.12 in (53.9 mm)
- Width = 0.93 in (23.5 mm)
- Location of manufacture = China
What’s in the box?
Inside the box were the items shown above and listed below:
- Braza Mini D2 CLEAVER folding knife
- Standard keychain-sized split ring
- Smaller split ring
Design and features
The Braza Mini D2 CLEAVER was one of those items that immediately felt and looked high-quality right out of its box. It actually looked and felt even more impressive than I expected from the pics on the Braza site. Its Titanium-coated stainless steel frame looks and feels very solid. I was excited to try the Braza Mini D2 CLEAVER out and immediately began playing around with it. I was impressed with its small but functional pocket clip, a feature that I was especially happy that it had, because I like to keep my EDC ready for quick access in my pants pocket.
The Braza Mini D2 CLEAVER is not only small in a footprint (length and width sense), it is also quite slim (in a thickness sense), as seen in the images above and below. I especially liked this as well, as it cuts down on the knife’s bulkiness, which helps make this a much more effective EDC knife for me.
The Braza Mini D2 CLEAVER utilizes tiny stainless steel Torx head screws to secure its frame together, as seen above. While Torx drivers are not exactly easy to find, they are available, and if you had to disassemble the Braza Mini D2 CLEAVER, it could probably be done relatively easily with the correct driver tip. Additionally, Braza Mini D2 CLEAVER includes a small loop built directly into its frame, that can be used to attach either of the split rings include with it, as well as 550 paracord or other items that can be used to attach and secure Braza Mini D2 CLEAVER to a keychain or other item.
As mentioned further above, the Braza Mini D2 CLEAVER has a small but very solid and functional “deep carry” pocket clip, which helps it sit low in your pocket. It is also secured with a small Torx screw, so the clip could be removed if desired, though the clip is such a low-profile shape and size that I can’t see a reason to do so.
In the image above the Braza Mini D2 CLEAVER’s frame lock mechanism can be seen. Like most folding knives today, the frame lock is a feature that “locks out” the blade into a fixed position, thereby effectively turning it into a fixed blade knife and preventing the bland from closing accidentally. The frame lock is disengaged by pressing it slightly outward, allowing the blade to be folded back into the frame. The frame lock is built directly into the frame and works by flexing at a thinner portion of the frame and popping into place when the blade is fully opened. The frame lock is disengaged by pressing outward on it slightly, allowing the blade to pivot past the blade lock.
Braza Mini D2 CLEAVER’s blade is quite complex in its feature set. For starters, it is made from heat-treated D2 steel with a stonewashed finish before its edge is ground. D2 is a type of tool steel, which means that its properties allow tooling to be made from it that will cut other types of steel, which means that it is very hard and resistant to wear and use and will hold an edge. The blade’s tip a bit like a cross between a cleaver and a razor blade. Its Wharncliffe-style blade has an almost straight edge for carving or slicing and its tip is a bit like a sharp hobby knife. Along the back of the blade is Harpoon Style Blade Spine that can act as a spot for the thumb or forefinger, giving more precise control when cutting. I found the Braza Mini D2 CLEAVER’s blade to cut quite well for most everyday applications, such as opening boxes or letters, cutting loose threads and slicing fruit or other food at my desk at work.
Additionally, the back of the Braza Mini D2 CLEAVER’s blade includes three spine jimping grooves, as seen above, which are a spot that the thumb or forefinger can further utilize to improve grip and control when cutting.
Before we get into functionality, let’s check out the Braza Mini D2 CLEAVER’s size. As seen above, it really is a small knife; it is probably as large in the open black position as many other folding knives are in the open position. However, I think that its small size is actually a strength in Braza Mini D2 CLEAVER’s case.
Although I sometimes carrying a bit larger knife in EDC kit, it is often not practical for me, mainly because of where I work and what I do (enginerd desk jockey).
The Braza Mini D2 CLEAVER, however, is darn near perfect for me because of its small size. If I want to toss it into the bottom of my pants pocket, no probs. If I want to clip it to the edge of my pocket using its AMBI “deep carry” pocket clip, not a big deal, because the location of its clip allows the knife to ride low in my pocket without attracting unwanted attention.
I measured the Braza Mini D2 CLEAVER to be just shy of 3 inches in length while closed. That’s a pretty small knife.I measured the total, fully-opened length of the Braza Mini D2 CLEAVER to be just under 5 inches in length.
Next, let’s talk about the flipper-style deployment of the Braza Mini D2 CLEAVER. Again, like many cutting edge knives today (pun very much intended), the Braza Mini D2 CLEAVER includes a one-handed, rapid deployment feature, in this case, a “flipper.” The Braza Mini D2 CLEAVER’s flipper utilizes a small nub attached to the backside of the blade that protrudes through the frame when the blade is closed. The user places their finger, typically the index finger, on this nub and rapidly flicks the nub downward into the frame, which deploys the black rapidly in a flipping motion. That’s it—no spring, no assist, and not an automatic blade, so it is a manual and generally much safer deployment operation than other knives. The image above and next three below demonstrate this from starting to fully deployed position.
The flipping deployment can take a bit of practice to master, but due to Braza Mini D2 CLEAVER’s solid yet smooth Ceramic Ball Bearing Pivot, it generally doesn’t take long and you are flip-deploying like a pro. In fact, my 15-year-old son, who has little experience with flipper-deploying knives, correctly and fully did it on the first try.
Once the blade has been fully deployed and frame locked, Braza Mini D2 CLEAVER can be held quite securely and comfortably due to its contoured grip which includes a choil or indentation, for the index finger, and your next three fingers fit along the grip’s contour securely. The flipper nub becomes a finger guard for your index finger. And finally, the three spine jumping notches provide a perfect spot for your thumb to sit and give it extra grip and control.
As mentioned above, the Braza Mini D2 CLEAVER is a newer variant of the original Bastion Braza D2 Steel Blade Mini Bro. Above, the newer Bastion Mini D2 CLEAVER is on the top and the Bastion Braza D2 Steel Blade Mini Bro is on the bottom. The frames are nearly identical.
A subtle but important difference between the Braza Mini D2 CLEAVER and the Bastion Braza D2 Steel Blade Mini Bro is a subtle but effective update to the pocket clip design. The Braza Mini D2 CLEAVER (above, top) curls around on itself at its attachment point to the frame, while the Bastion Braza D2 Steel Blade Mini Bro (above, bottom) clip’s attachment flattens out and away from the clip at its attachment point.
The photo above shows the Braza Mini D2 CLEAVER is on the left and the Braza D2 Steel Blade Mini Bro is on the right. This photo illustrates the improvement to the CLEAVER’s pocket clip which allows it to sit deeper in your pocket than with the Mini Bro.
The only other real difference between the CLEAVER (above left) and the Mini Bro (above right) is that the CLEAVER has a tiny Basion logo etched into the outer edge of the frame, while the Mini Bro has the Bastion logo on the blade as seen in some of the other pics.
However, the real difference between the CLEAVER (above top) and Mini Bro (above bottom) is the shape of the blade, with the CLEAVER having an almost flat blade with an almost hobby-knife tip and the Mini Bro having a more curve blade with a much sharper tip.
Bastion actually makes two styles of their Braza Mini CLEAVER, the standard version (above, at top), which has a very classic folding knife appearance, and the all-black version (above, at bottom), which has a very ninja/black-ops appearance.
The standard version and all-black version are virtually identical except for their color schemes and their blade materials, with the standard version having a D2 tool steel blade, as described above, and the all-black version having an S35VN stainless steel blade, which is an even more high-performance steel for knife blade applications (thus the increased price of the all-black version).
What I like
- Superior quality of materials and construction
- Very well thought-through design incorporates many features of full-sized knives into a very small package
- Perfect size for those of us who can’t practically or effectively EDC a larger knife
- The entire knife feels very solid and the flip-deploy action is quite satisfying
What needs to be improved
As with the Braza Mini Bro knife that I previously reviewed, I really like the Braza Mini D2 CLEAVER. Both versions have a very solid look and feel and are made from high-quality materials, as well as its flip-deploying action and frame locking mechanism, all of which are features that are more frequently seen in larger knives. However, because of its compactness, it is a great size for EDC fans like me who can’t practically carry a larger knife in their daily kit, and its improved deep-carry pocket clip is a bonus. For its price, the Braza Mini D2 CLEAVER is worth a look for anyone looking for a small but high-quality and feature-rich folding knife. And although the all-black version is $30 higher in price, you might find that price premium totally worth it for its all-black “ninja”-style look.