It may not be “custom,” but this production knife is right there with the cream of the high-end crop.
If you search online for the best production knife invariably you will stumble on a few choices — a Chris Reeve Sebenza, a Strider SNG, and a Hinderer XM-18. I have experience with all of these and they are indeed fine pieces of cutlery, but they are not as nice, refined, or visually appealing as the Triple Aught Design Production Dauntless. The Dauntless also happens to be the cheapest of the lot.
This is not just a knife — it is an idea. Conceived by the team at Triple Aught Design, the Dauntless is a concept open to interpretation.
The requirements are few — three fullers on the handle, one on the blade, and a generally spearpoint blade shape. From this sparse blueprint, many of the best modern knife makers have produced limited custom runs.
These knives become highly sought after collectibles, many quadrupling in price on the open market (and these are custom knives, starting out at around $500 to $1,000).
For years, fans of the Dauntless had to pray they got lucky and landed one directly from Triple Aught Design.
A few years ago Triple Aught Design released a production version and it was a massive hit. The knife was simply stunning, a production that was such a high fidelity simulacrum of the custom original that even side by side they are hard to tell apart.
The current iteration, the Mk.4, literally rounds over the rough edges of the original. The steel has been upgraded to S35VN.
The over-the-top, deep carry pocket clip is now attached with hidden fasteners, and, most importantly, the handle scales have been contoured. These improvements are layered on what was already one of the best production knives around thanks to a great blade shape, excellent choil, and wonderful thumb studs.
It may not be small enough to hide in a pocket with a smartphone, but if you can handle a medium-size folder, the Dauntless Mk. 4 will not disappoint. It’s the new kid in the upper echelon, but it is as good or better than the old pros that are also up there.
Triple Aught Design – Production Dauntless
Street Price: $350
Blade Length: 3.45 inches
Overall Length: 8 inches
Weight: 3.97 ounces
–Anthony Sculimbrene is a writer, knife junkie, and the founder of EverydayCommentary.com. He writes ‘Select Cuts’ as a weekly column focusing on a single knife and why you should consider buying it.