REVIEW – Some knives are just inherently cooler than others. For me, it doesn’t get much cooler than an automatic OTF (out-the-front) knife. There’s something about flicking a switch and having a razor-sharp blade spring forward that makes me feel like a secret agent, or a notorious hitman named John Wick for that matter. The John Wick movies have made OTF knives more popular recently after showcasing a few different Microtech OTF knives in the series. The Tekto Skar is an OTF knife that closely resembles the Microtech Combat Troodon used in John Wick 2, albeit at less than half the price. For $199 the Tekto Skar may look like a knife worthy of John Wick, but poor construction, a dull blade, and a tendency to fall apart makes it a poor substitute for the real thing.
What is it?
The Tekto Skar is a double-action OTF automatic knife with a 3.75″ Tanto tipped blade that has both straight and serrated edges. A double-action knife can be deployed by pushing a button on the handle and automatically retracts its blade when the button is pushed again. With a single-action knife, the blade also deploys and locks in place with a button push but is retracted manually.
The Tekto Skar ships with its carry case inside a cool-looking black box emblazoned with the Tekto split skull logo.
What’s in the box?
- Tekto Skar
- Carry case
- User manual
- Blade length: 3.75” (95mm)
- Blade material: D2 Steel
- Blade hardness: 58 HRC
- Blade type: Double-edge Tanto with straight and serrated sides
- Handle length: 4.90″ (124mm)
- Handle material: Aluminum
- Weight: 0.28lbs (161g)
- Locking mechanism: Button lock
- Pocket clip type: Removable Deep-carry clip
- Pommel: Removable glass breaker
Before I get too far into my review of the Skar it’s important to mention that OTF and automatic knives are not legal in every state. There are exceptions for military, law enforcement, and first responders though. Plenty of websites will help you determine the legality in your state and Tekto provides a link for this on their site as well.
Design and features
The Tekto Skar definitely gets a lot of points for looking cool. The all-black heavily textured aluminum handle not only provides a great grip but also looks incredibly tough.
Even though the Skar’s handle is quite blocky, it has good ergonomics and feels natural to hold. When holding the Skar your thumb naturally rests on the switch for deploying the blade.
A strong push forward on the lower part of the switch will deploy the Tanto-tipped blade. It takes a bit of effort to push the switch, but this is by design to prevent the knife from deploying accidentally.
By pulling back on the top of the switch with the same amount of effort the blade will retract back into the handle.
The blade of the Tekto Skar is made from D2 steel which is a high-carbon, high-chromium steel. This type of steel is quite strong and is often used in tools and knives. The Skar is rated at a hardness of 58 HRC. Knives at this hardness hold their edge longer but are also harder to sharpen.
The Skar’s blade has serrations on one end and a straight edge on the other, Down the center of the blade there’s a deep channel with seven small holes.
Unfortunately, my Tekto Skar arrived fairly dull, barely able to cut paper. I also found a lot of imperfections and striations along the blade edges which are the result of poor manufacturing.
The handle of the Skar is held together by six T7 Torx screws. These screws keep the operating switch, springs, and blade safely in place while using the Skar. Unless of course, the screws undo themselves after about a week of use, and the switch, spring mechanism, and blade pop out and fly all over your kitchen as mine did. This was as surprising as it was disappointing. Up until that point, despite the dull blade, the Skar had been performing adequately. After reassembling the knife, I continued my testing but with a greater degree of caution.
As I found out, the Skar’s switch sits sandwiched between the two halves of the handle and slides up and down the small channel at the front of the knife.
The switch is knurled a bit on both sides which makes it easier to operate with one hand.
The pommel of the Skar is a small glass-breaker that has holes in it for a lanyard. The attached pocket clip also has a small lanyard hole.
The pocket clip is pretty stiff and it took a while for it to loosen up a bit. The clip has the Tekto name and skull logo on it.
The Skar also ships with a small black nylon carry case with a Velcro flap.
There’s a large belt loop on the back of the case as well as a small tab at the top.
The Skar fits fine in the carry case and carrying it in this manner is a great alternative to using the pocket clip.
One gripe I do have is that the Tekto logo on the carry case is both slightly blurry and off-center. It might not seem like that big of a deal, but when you’re paying $199 for a knife, it’s the little things that matter.
There isn’t any setup required with the Skar, but since the pocket clip is removable you can opt to take it off or switch it to the other side of the knife simply by unscrewing the glass-breaker pommel.
I found more evidence of the poor construction of the Skar after removing the pocket clip and seeing how the clip marred the handle’s finish without the knife ever having been used.
Automatic knives also require some basic maintenance and the Skar is no exception. Tekto provides general guidance on how to disassemble and oil their automatic knives here. Basically, you deploy the knife against a hard surface so it doesn’t completely open; remove the six screws in the handle; remove, clean, and oil the components; and then reassemble the knife. Since my Skar decided to disassemble itself, I went ahead and oiled the mechanism and reassembled it with quite a bit of effort. The maintenance instructions on Tekto’s website were written in 2017 and apparently apply to every one of their OTF knives, so they weren’t very much help.
Despite coming apart in my hands, I continued using the Tekto Skar for about a month as my everyday carry. Even with the dull blade, the Skar worked well for package opening, rope cutting, and fending off legions of paid assassins intent on collecting the bounty placed on my head by the high table. The Skar’s OK performance was mainly due to its serrated edge, which works well even when slightly dull, and the fact that the assassins were imaginary as a result of me watching John Wick movies one too many times.
One odd thing about opening and closing the Skar was that there’s this loud and distinct “spring” sound that detracts from its coolness a bit. You can clearly hear it in my video demonstration of the knife’s operation. The blade does open and close quickly with a good amount of force even with the annoying sound.
The Skar had what I’d consider a critical failure during my testing which is unacceptable for a knife at this price point. There’s no way I would depend on this knife for anything more than opening packages or mail and even then, I’d need to sharpen it before putting it to use.
What I like
- Cool looking
- Good balance and heft
What needs to be improved
- Blade arrived dull
- Wiggle in blade after deployment
- Overall construction is poor for the high price
The Tekto Skar would be a great buy at around $50, but for $199 there is no way to justify the poor construction, dull blade, and design flaws. Since a lot of law enforcement officers and first responders depend on OTF knives in life and death situations I wouldn’t take a risk on the Tekto Skar when there are much more dependable knives on the market. For about $100 more than the Skar, you can buy the excellent Microtech Ultratech OTF, which John Wick actually used in the first movie. You can also find the comparable Microtech UTX-70 OTF for about $245. Additionally, the $199 price tag is much too high for picking up the Skar just for the coolness factor especially when you run the risk of the knife falling apart in your hands as mine did.