Mosquito Tactical "Puppy": modern sodbuster, curious details.

I need to start with some context, because I end this review by telling you not to buy this knife. There, now that's spoiled, we can get on with the context.

I like sodbuster pattern knives in a general kind of way, but I've never found one that I liked enough to put down money.

I like Titanium scales. Or, you know, Aluminum that's masquerading as Titanium. China doesn't have the AISI, and the two materials are similar enough that it's probably impossible to spot a bait-and-switch without otherwise identical examples to compare.

I like minimal designs. Antoine de Saint-Exupery had the right idea, and these guys did a good job of following it.

This knife subverts nearly everything I usually look for, but it's such a faithful update of the sodbuster that I don't miss those features, because they would turn it into something else, and I don't want that.

It comes with a few extras. I can think of uses for the coin, and the pivot washers are a thoughtful addition. The cleaning cloth is big enough to use at least one side for photos. The giant logo? It's China: I don't understand some of the decisions.

Speaking of decisions, there's this trademark.

The English Internet is built up of layer upon layer of cultural references, and it must be absolutely impossible for people in countries that don't fully participate in it. So, I can understand how some version of “doge” made it into a knife logo.

Is it really M390? We may never know for sure. It's not a big deal to me, I'm the guy who collects CRKT knives, so you know steel choice is not high on my list.

Now, I'm a knuckle dragger, so full flat grind blades aren't my thing. But I'm okay with it this time.

No pocket clip, either. Sodbuster = no clip = good on this knife.

I like flipper knives (knife flippers, not so much), because they're easy to open, without the obnoxious spring that you have to pre-load on the closing. I also like that they don't need a thumb stud. This is one of the places where a lot of manufacturers stumble. They come up with a perfectly good knife, then slap on whatever thumb stud they have the most of in the parts bin, and the result looks like an obvious afterthought. The fact that about half of them don't work quite right probably has more to do with the fact that my hands are smaller than the average.

The usual way to open a front flipper is to use your thumb to start the blade, and then inertia takes over. Some dexterous souls will give the knife a bit of a "flick" to assist in overcoming the spring action of the lock.

My location on this particular ergonmic bell curve is also the reason why front flippers don't work for me. By the time I get my thumb out in front of the blade properly, I've had to give up too much grip on the knife.

The nail nick works fine for me, and it should be there.

I'm not sure where the blue accents come from. Kizer does this, and I see it in other places. It may have come from the folks who started their careers by copying the Sebenza, and if so, it's interesting to see it in other places: those guys over there do it, we should, too.

Personally, I would like to see this backspacer in bronze. It would be impossible to match the frame colors exactly, and the blue is subtle enough that I don't mind it.

The scales are flat, but the titanium (?) is slightly rough on it's own, so the knife actually feels more like a nicely buffed micarta, rather than smooth metal.

The chamfering extends around the perimeter, and it's a nice feature. The nicer feature is this scalloping on the lock bar. It's great for traction, and it's a subtle detail. Good work on this one, fellas

Yes, there is engraving on the inside of the scale. It's a series of patent numbers, and a small line drawing of a stylized dog, and a... poop emoji....

They were gracious enough to put it on the inside, so I can pretend I don't see it. It's not enough to ruin the knife for me, and I have a working relationship with a local machine shop.

I preach about jimping. A lot of knives have it, and it's mostly worthless, mostly by being poorly placed. Everybody seems to think that you should have it at the pivot, when the reason for having it at all, is to increase the surface area of the blade which can come in contact with your finger, and this extra amount of traction is better used when you need to do detail work, up here by the point.

This jimping is very good. The extra inch or so up near the point is placed where you want it to be, and it's very shallow, with nicely broken corners, so it doesn't get in my way. I don't like jimping, so the less impact it has on either the aesthetics or the ergonomics, the better for me.

And now, we come to the edge, where there is a problem. It's plenty sharp, don't worry, and the bevel looks to be about 30 degrees per side. That's pretty much what you find on factory knives.

Do you see it?

How about now?

Yep, the apprentice needs to work on his dwell time, when he's putting on the secondary bevels.

As I said at the beginning, I don't recommend this knife. At least, not at the $150 American that they're charging. It's nothing glaring, it's simply the accumulation of curious features. I can fix the things I don't like, but for people who want a knife that's ready to go, out of the box, there is too much that needs fine tuning. I really like the idea of a modern rendition of a sodbuster, but Mosquito Tactical needed to let it stand on the strength of a timeless design, rather than trying to make it individual by putting their own cheeky (obnoxious) trademark details on it.