irst and foremost, Tops Knives are designed to be TOOLS and are built using the extensive knowledge and REAL LIFE experiences of 12 Operators with backgrounds in the military, law enforcement, outdoor professions and the martial arts. Consequently, TOPS knives are specifically designed to be mission criticaltools for extreme assignments.
Therefore, the Tops MACHETE .170 is designed to be a scaled down version of the Tops MACHETE .230. The .170 has an over-all length of 17 ¼ inches and it features a Bolo style blade that measures 10” made from 1/8” thick, 1095 high carbon non-stainless steel that has a Rockwell of 56-58.
In addition, it also features an Ash Grey finish linen Micarta handle slabs and a ballistic nylon sheath.
As I mentioned in a previous article on the Fox Knives USA Panga XL, two classes of outdoor survival knives I have not yet reviewed are “pangas” and “machetes.”
Yet, for hundreds of years people living in various tropical countries have developed and used various types of distinctive, regional-style, Machetes designed specifically for the particular type of vegetation found in their environs.
In addition, these multi-use tools have long been considered a necessary everyday tool for the native people living there. Thus, they are often considered prize possessions by their owners. The machete, for example, is such a versatile multi-use tool that can be used to cut through rain forest and undergrowth, build shelters and houses, harvest crops and it doubles as a camp knife for many household chores.
Consequently, due to numerous requests from clients to produce a light, fast and practical, general use blade in conjunction with an enlarged, comfortable, working handle, well-known designer, outdoorsman, and writer, Joe “Shangoman” Flowers, collaborated with TOPS shop manager, Leo “The Lion” Espinoza to design a new machete to meet their customer’s requests.
Thus, after much deliberation, they finally came to an agreement on both design and practical field ability. And the was born.
Now, by very popular request, they have created the MACHETE .170 which is a smaller version of the .230 with virtually the same capabilities and the same handle but, with a 10” inch blade instead. Vigorous testing in a wide variety of terrains has proven the TOPS MACHETE .170’s superior field performance.
Also, TOPS has designed a custom-built, ballistic nylon sheath with a separate (flap and buckle closure) accessory pocket designed to hold an array of small tools such as whetstone, a firestick, a compass, etc.
Therefore, regardless of whether you are an outdoor survivalist, a camper or an avid explorer, the MACHETE .170 will be a powerful and useful companion for you. In addition, 1095 is an excellent choice of blade steels for a knife of this type because it contains 0.90%-1.03% carbon and 0.30%-0.50% manganese only and thus it is a very tough steel.
However, it does require a coating of some sort to prevent corrosion. Also, it features a very ergonomic, hand-filling, handle made from black linen Micarta which is every bit as tough as the 1095 blade steel. Last, the choice to make the sheath out of ballistic nylon means that it will not absorb or hold moisture and, if the sheath is immersed in water, it will dry VERY quickly and will not rot.
The Tops MACHETE .170 is an excellent lightweight version of a full-sized machete. And in fact, it reminds me of my Blackjack Panga which is a modern rendition of an African Bushman’s knife and was originally described by Blackjack as being “a high-speed razor” due to its thin cross section and medium length blade.
Thus, the Tops MACHETE .170 would make an excellent companion to a smaller, dedicated, outdoor survival knife or a large hunting knife.