Protech Godfather: An Old School (Inspired) Auto | Keen Insights

Any halfway serious fan of automatic knives knows the Protech name. The company is dedicated to the art and craft of automatics—mostly side-opening, button-activated designs. And the Protech Godfather is a badass blade.

Open, the Godfather is 9 inches. The size feels perfect. If you want something smaller, they make a knife called the Godson that is shorter.
Open, the Godfather is 9.6 inches. The size feels perfect. If you want something smaller, they make a knife called the Godson that is shorter.

Protech occupies a space at the top of what I’d consider to be the production class, though they do make some of their knives with design variants that could put them up in the custom category. The Protech Godfather, for example, comes in a very basic, entry-level design that is all about functionality (like the one pictured here). The same design, tricked out, ranges up into the much-higher price range (like $9,000+/-).

The Godfather has a coffin-shaped handle.
The Godfather has a coffin-shaped handle.

How much money do you want to spend on a switchblade? Looks like you can spend about as much as you want. As I’m not one to buy knives I can’t (or can’t afford to) use, my budget is much more practical. The review knife I’m working with is at the bottom of the Protech scale and cost me somewhere in the neighborhood of $200—though that (like everything else) seems to be a thing of the past.

The low end, today, has an MSRP of $280.

The clip is steel and holds the knife in a tip-up position.
The clip is steel and holds the knife in a tip-up position.

Godfather Specs

  • Weight 4 oz
  • Overall Length 9.6″
  • Blade Length 4″
  • Blade Thickness 0.125″
  • Finish Blasted
  • Blade Material 154cm
  • Blade Style Spear Point
  • Edge Type Plain
  • Handle Length 5.6″
  • Handle Thickness 0.45″
  • Material 6061-T6 Aluminum
  • Handle Inlay None
  • Handle Color Black
  • User Right Hand
  • Pocket Clip Tip-Up
  • Knife Type Automatic
  • Opener Push Button Auto
The Godfather's blade is pointy and thin.
The Godfather’s blade is pointy and thin.

The Godfather’s Fit and Finish

Even though I might qualify this as an entry-level Godfather, the knife is still on the elegant end of what I tend to carry. I’m not much for suits. If I dress up, it means might boots aren’t scuffed and my shirt has been ironed and I might be wearing a Stetson and carrying a Colt with a nice shine. And on those occasions, I tend to carry a nice knife.

This close, you can see the grind lines on the blade clearly
This close, you can see the grind lines clearly and how neatly the grinds are executed.

The Protech Godfather has seen its share of pocket time. The 4″ blade can be intimidating, so I don’t flash it around much. But it makes a statement when it is deployed in polite company.

The thing is pointy. The stiletto blade has a false edge down most of its length. While it isn’t a symmetrical dagger shape, it is evocative of old Italian stiletto blade shapes and is meant for poking holes.

Inside the handle, the very thin contact surface of the lock is visible.
Inside the handle, the very thin contact surface of the lock is visible.

The handle is aluminum and finished in a bead blast, then anodized black. As this model has an aluminum handle, it is prone to scratching with use. Let’s call it character.

The edges are milled cleanly. The blade snap is superb and strong enough to shift the knife in your hand if you’re not holding on tight. And the design of the blade doesn’t require a liner lock or lock-back. The same button that deploys the blade releases the blade from its lock pin.

The notch that indexes the stop bar.
The notch that indexes the stop bar.

There’s absolutely no play in the blade. The center line is clean on both the open blade and the closed blade, and the attention to geometric symmetry plays out nicely in the gentle curves of the handle and the long, sloping arc of the open handle and blade.

In short, everything you might want mechanically in the action functions flawlessly, and that precision craftsmanship is mirrored in the clean lines, well-executed finish, and tight tolerances of the entire design.

The choil at the end of the blade is deep and echoes the pivot and lock button.
The choil at the end of the blade is deep and echoes the pivot and lock button.

What it Isn’t

Protech makes some workhorse automatics. If I were looking for a serious EDC auto, and the price wasn’t a factor, I’d have one. As is, the Godfather lacks some of the tactile ergonomics and jimping that might help keep the knife stable in a hard fight, or when your hands are wet.

The Godfather is made from 154CM, a high carbon stainless steel. The edge retention is solid, but the blade has kept its shine nicely.
The Godfather is made from 154CM, a high carbon stainless steel. The edge retention is solid, but the blade has kept its shine nicely.

I’m not saying that this knife is delicate. Hardly. But this type of knife—back to the earliest fixed blade stilettos coming out of Europe—was meant to be lithe and thin. They were designed to punch armor, slip in between plates, and defeat the protective technologies that were effective at stopping swords.

This is the 5.7×28 of the knife world. It is fast and thin by design. It isn’t meant for gutting a deer or prying open paint cans or any of the other random crap I tend to do with my knives on occasion.

The Godfather feels both light and exceptionally solid--a pairing that isn't easy to pull off.
The Godfather feels both light and exceptionally solid—a pairing that isn’t easy to pull off.

What the Godfather Is

While the Godfather rides in my pocket when I get all gussied up, it has a more permanent home on my desk. This is a knife that is fun to open and close. The speed and torque created with the push of a button make you want to close it up fast and do it again.

The back of the Godfather's handle is open. Keep your spare change in the other pocket. With a blade grind this thin, a penny can do damage to the edge.
The back of the Godfather’s handle is open. Keep your spare change in the other pocket. With a blade grind this thin, a penny can do damage to the edge.

That’s not to say it’s a toy. It is this same exact feature that makes the Godfather an effective defensive tool. The profile of the knife is thin. The pocket clip allows for deep carry and ready accessibility. While it may lack some of the heft found even in other Protech builds, the Godfather is a formidable tool for self-defense.

The Protech Godfather, and all of Protech’s knives, are also made in the US—if you’re one of the few who still consider California to be part of the club. The factory is just outside of L.A. Ironic, as a lot of those knives aren’t CA friendly.

There's one point, seen here, at the back of the blade that is harder to keep clean. It tends to pick up lint.
There’s one point, seen here, at the back of the blade that is harder to keep clean. It tends to pick up lint.

But we know there are still a lot of good Americans who, due to circumstances beyond their control, are subject to draconian laws and regulations. Hell, here in Fort Smith, Arkansas, where I live, this 4″ blade could get me hot water. While the law isn’t enforced with any serious regularity, we’re not supposed to pocket anything over 3″.

Dress it up?

If you want something fancy, Protech has you covered. You can get a Godfather with a coated blade, satin blade, a serrated blade…, with handle inlays or bolsters, or just about anything you want, so long as you have the budget.

The blade sits proud of the handle near the pivot, but even there it is very slight.
The blade sits proud of the handle near the pivot, but even there it is very slight.

For me, this is enough. Even at the bottom end of the spectrum, this is one of the best, tightest, fastest, knives I own.

 

David Higginbotham is a writer and editor who specializes in everyday carry. David is a former backcountry guide in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and Boundary Waters Canoe Area who was a college professor for 20 years. He ultimately left behind the academy for a more practical profession in the firearms industry and was (among other editorial positions) the Managing Editor for a nascent Mag Life blog. In that Higginbotham helped establish The Maglife's tone and secure its early success. Though he went on to an even more practical firearms industry profession still, he continues to contribute articles and op-eds as time and life allow.

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