LionSteel_M2_1.png

LIONSTEEL

M2


The M2 was developed by LionSteel in collaboration with the Italian combat/survival knife forum MCKF. As much as this is an incredibly stripped-down minimalist design, it is very evidently carrying the LionSteel/Molletta DNA. The big bellied blade and carefully studied curves give it away - as well as the meticulous attention to the details.

The now defunct MCKF forum worked together with LionSteel and Molletta on designing the ideal all-round outdoors cutter. The result is surprisingly effective (for such a democratic design process).

Upon unboxing (and what a box) the knife my first reaction was "wow, it is much smaller than I expected". The perfect proportions make it look like a much bigger blade - no matter, I don't mind a little knife. The M3, by comparison, is almost a little too hefty - with a scaled up blade that seems a tad too beefy at first glance.

The M2 comes with quite simply the nicest sheath there is. Everything is just right - the leather, thickness, color, smell, closure, build quality and design.

You have three choices of handle materials to pick from - olive wood (like this one), cocobolo wood and black G10. The G10 option comes in a more tacti-friendly black cordura sheath.

LionSteel have a way of striking the balance in their designs right between the flavor of the gentleman and that of the utilitarian hunter/survivalist. Neither too precious nor too raw. This is a very tricky thing to achieve consistently, but they do it over and over again.

Being a smaller size, the M2 is pretty nimble for most everyday tasks in the outdoors. The blade is thick enough to be rough-housed, but the flat grind makes for a decent slicer/fiddle-worker.

All these features combined equals a fantastic junior scout knife. It was probably not the intention, but this is the piece to give a teenage eagle scout to celebrate their knife throwing badge. The handles are petite enough that small hands get a great grip - the trademark Molletta front quillon keeps those little fingers from falling off. The blade is just heavy enough to inspire some young scout chopping. There's a lanyard hole (quite small) for extra safety. And finally the sheath is just a masterpiece and would look good on anybody and wear nicely.

Lion Steel Knives was founded in in 1969 in Maniago, Italy by Gino Pauletta and his wife Cesarina. The company continues today under the direction of their sons; Gianni, Daniele and Massimo. The brand Lionsteel was inspired from a lion steel sculpture, handmade by Gino’s grandfather.
— LionSteel official site
 
 Ideal Scout Knife Badge winner

Ideal Scout Knife Badge winner

AESTHETICS

★★★★★

It just looks so effortless, so right. It almost looks too easy, it is as if all the stars aligned on this one. 

The sheath get's top marks. The best word to describe it is "cute". Like the knife itself it just seems like a no-brainer - of course all sheaths should be this nice.

 

ERGONOMICS

★★★★

Probably not ideal for big paws, but for me a perfect but small grip. Just enough to get all digits on it. No hot spots, but no extraordinary effort gone into making it an ergonomic master piece. It is a straight up simple but nice fit. The olive wood is not particularly grippy, but the shape locks in your grip very nicely and feels very secure in my medium sized hands.

Bonus points for great, aggressive jimping on the spine for better control.

 

FIT & FINISH

★★★½

I expect great things from LionSteel - every single knife of theirs that I've handled has been of outstanding quality with no corners cut.

However, the quality controller has had an off day at this office while my knife got the OK. It has some pretty bad chips by the rivets, even visible in the image below, if you look closely. I know wood is pretty unforgiving and organic, but I have a sense that the handles could have been sanded and finished better - the lanyard hole is looking pretty unfinished with lots of chipped wood inside, really in need of a file job. 

None of these issues are more than cosmetic, and lord knows a hard use knife will get dented and messed up - I just expect more from LionSteel. The beautiful sheath helps offset the lacking finish of the scales.

RUGGEDNESS

★★★★½

This knife is built for heavy outdoor use. It is a full tang construction and there is no reason it should fall apart. In a real life 100-year test, micarta might get an advantage which is why I shaved off half a star. I have no reason to believe the olive wood will fail on you, but my scales already started looking a bit worn after slight use.

The D2 steel is a serious, hard use material that holds a great edge. Knowing that LionSteel's designer Molletta was involved, you can rest assured that the steel has been selected and tested very carefully. Only downside is it is very tough to sharpen for layman.

 

USEFULNESS

★★★★★

An ideal every day camping knife. A non-offensive looking sturdy civilian tool that can come in handy any time. Super sharp out of the box, the M2 is great for food prep, light cutting and chopping. The price is very decent, which makes it more likely that you will actually dare use it as the little dependable work horse it was intended to be.

The broad blade and lack of piecing capability might be the only factors taking away from its versatility.

 

FONDLE FACTOR

★★★★

Had I been given this knife when I began as a boy scout instead of the crappy Morakniv Classic Scout 39, I would have fondled it in its sheath every night before going to bed in my uncomfortable, smelly sleeping bag. 


PIVOT SCORE

★★★★½

I'd recommend this knife to anyone in need of a short, dependable and well designed knife for any outdoors use - gardening, camping, hunting, hiking. The price of the M2 is very reasonable for what you get, especially taking the steel type and quality of the leather sheath into consideration.

As I mentioned, this is a perfect knife for smaller hands and a much nicer alternative to many shitty junior scout knives out there. My enthusiasm for great knife design started with my wobbly Mora - imagine what this would have done to me had I had the luck to carry this at a young age.

 

At a glance:

  • Overall Length: 7.68"

  • Blade Length: 3.54"

  • Blade Thickness: 0.16"

  • Blade Material: D2

  • Blade Style: Drop point

  • Blade Finish: Satin

  • Edge Type: Plain

  • Handle Length: 4.14"

  • Handle Material: Olive wood

  • Weight: 5.00 oz.

  • Sheath: Leather w/ belt loop

  • Knife Type: Fixed blade

  • Brand: LionSteel

  • Country of Origin: Italy

  • $115.00

 

More resources:


GOES WELL WITH

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 Review by Sir Batty P.

Review by Sir Batty P.


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