Skallywag Tactical Aculeus A2—Keen Insights

Recently, I discovered Skallywag Tactical, which is a veteran-owned and operated company that markets knives and offers training in their use. They were kind enough to send me a few of their knives to review (and I’m never one to turn down cutlery!).

The thing that first struck me about this company was the speed with which they replied; it was shockingly and refreshingly fast! These guys take the time to answer customer questions fully and quickly, and it’s abundantly apparent that they value their customers a lot! In talking with them, we found that we had many similarities in our backgrounds, and I felt as though I’d known these guys for 20 years (again, very refreshing).

The Aculeus fits in well in the tactical arena!
The Aculeus fits in well in the tactical arena!

The first of the knives that I’ll be reviewing is the Aculeus. Curious about the name “Aculeus”, I looked up its meaning and discovered that it is, basically, an insect stinger. Given the nature of this knife, I’d have to say that this is an apt description of this particular piece of cutlery.

The blade is constructed of D2 steel, which has long been known to have a fairly high hardness level on the RC scale. Eventually, it was surpassed by the latest, greatest, “super-steels” that so many people nowadays are clamoring for like Wile E. Coyote seeks out the latest Acme catalog. But alas, fear not — D2 is still a great steel, just as it has been for these past decades. It still holds an edge pretty nicely.

The hollow ground blade cuts every medium well and the choil in front of the guard allows the user to choke up for precise cutting.
The hollow ground blade cuts every medium well and the choil in front of the guard allows the user to choke up for precise cutting.

Although D2 is not a stainless steel, the black coating on the blade should serve to prevent any rust from making an appearance. That said, it wouldn’t hurt to give the edge a coating of rust preventative, since it’s exposed.

Blade length is 3.5 inches long, which is a really great blade length for a general-purpose knife. It’s not huge but is large enough to accomplish a wide variety of tasks. As well, the knife feels lively in the hand, giving the user the feeling that the knife wants to get to work, begging to be used.

Skallywag Tactical is a very responsive company with high quality products, owned and operated by veterans.
Skallywag Tactical is a very responsive company with high-quality products, owned and operated by veterans.

The balance is good, which contributes to that lively feel I mentioned. A nice touch is the fact that they added a choil so the user can choke up on the blade, allowing for more control during fine-cutting tasks. And speaking of cutting, this knife does a great job of it! I cut a good amount of cardboard and it came through like a champ. It also works nicely on plastic and wood, and I’ve no doubt it would do a nice job of skinning a deer or other game.

The grip feels outstanding in the hand! The G-10 is very grippy with a good texture.
The grip feels outstanding in the hand! The G-10 is very grippy with a good texture.

Skallywag used a blade shape that I’d describe as a clip point, though it does not have a swedge. The blade is 5/32-inch thick, so this is not a thin, fragile blade; rather, it’s on the thicker side, which gives it considerable strength. Yes, this knife will definitely pry without the user worrying about snapping it in half. Now before you send hate mail about using knives for prying, allow me to elaborate that I don’t use my knives as pry tools as a rule.

On the other hand, life is less than perfect, and at times, we’re forced to go with what we’ve got at the time. So yeah, in dire circumstances, we might engage in the blasphemous activity of prying with a knife. This one is up to the task. Even the tip is fairly robust and not likely to break.

The overall length of the knife is 8 5/8 inches and it weighs .35 pounds. While not heavy, this knife has a solid feel to it, contributing to the user’s confidence. It appears to be hollow-ground.

The sheath is well made and sturdy with a clip that allows IWB carry.
The sheath is well made and sturdy with a clip that allows IWB carry.

This is a full tang knife, and the pommel tapers into a sort of point, which could be used as a striking implement. The handle is comprised of two slabs of G-10 held on by bolts and is very sturdy. There are small squares cut into the G-10, which enhance the grip. Incidentally, the knife feels really nice both in saber grip and reverse grip, and it’s evident that much thought went into the creation of this handle. What’s more, it fits a wide variety of hand sizes.

Some uses that this knife will excel at are law enforcement and/or military tactical use, general utility, hunting, and defense. It’s just an all-around great blade!

A closeup of the clip, which is held in place by two screws.
A closeup of the clip, which is held in place by two screws.

Every great knife needs a solid sheath, and Skallywag came through on this front. The sheath is constructed from thick Kydex, held together by rivets that provide two holes in the event the user wants to lash the affair to a pack. The clip is also a marvel, as it allows inside the waistband carry, installing easily and allowing quick removal, too. The clip, being attached by two screws, is easily reversible.

The Aculeus fits well on an Eagle chest rig.
The Aculeus fits well on an Eagle chest rig.

At the time of this writing, the Aculeus is available for $140, which is a particularly good value, given the quality that the consumer receives. Check out Skallywag, they have a nice lineup of knives, you won’t regret it!

Jim Davis served in the PA Dept. of Corrections for 16 ½ years as a corrections officer in the State Correctional Institute at Graterford and later at SCI Phoenix. He served on the Corrections Emergency Response Team (CERT), several of those years as a sniper, and also the Fire Emergency Response Team (FERT). For 25 years, he was a professional instructor, teaching topics including Defensive Tactics, Riot Control and Tactical Operations, Immediate Responder, and cognitive programs as an adjunct instructor at the DOC Training Academy. He was then promoted to the title of corrections counselor, where he ran a caseload and facilitated cognitive therapy classes to inmates. His total service time was close to 29 years. He was involved in many violent encounters on duty, including incidents of fatalities.

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