The Ontario RAT 6 will tackle an entire turkey.
It’s been a while since I reviewed a big, dumb knife. “Lightweight” was the name of the game this past summer, with the Mora Kansbol as my primary hiking companion.
But my pack weight tends to go up as the temperatures begin to drop, so I began searching for a new, heavy-duty knife to carry in the frozen woods. When the Ontario RAT 6 ($230) struck my eye, it was love at first sight.
If you’re a blade nerd, chances are you know Ontario Knife Co. Ontario’s line of RAT folders are a favorite among value-minded shoppers. Its fixed-blade counterparts, according to the company’s site, “have proven themselves to be some of the most field ready knives you can add to your collection.”
Ontario continues this tradition with the new RAT 6. “Measuring in at 5.5 in blade length with a deep finger choil, RAT standard micarta handle scales, full S35VN steel tang construction, this knife has the capabilities of a large chopper and detail knife in one due to its vast blade length sweeping into a piercing tip,” the brand’s marketing boasts.
Still, $230 seems a bit pricey for a chunk of steel. But so confident was Ontario that the brand offered a loaner for review, betting that the knife would win me over. Can this RAT put its money where its mouth is? I headed to the woods (and the kitchen) to find out.
In short: The Ontario RAT 6 is a pitch-perfect fixed blade. Its excellent grind, durable edge, and comfortable handle blend to create a paragon of hard-use confidence. The sheath is likewise excellent, and its firestarting capabilities proved to be a surprise. Depending on where you shop, the RAT 6 is a screaming deal.
Ontario RAT 6 Folder Knife: Review
- Blade length: 5.5 in.
- Overall length: 12.1 in.
- Blade thickness: 3/16 in.
- Blade steel: S35VN
- Handle material: Micarta
- Weight (w/o sheath): 11.92 oz.
- Sheath: Nylon
Let’s Talk About the Sheath
We’ll get to the knife in a minute, but there’s another aspect I’d like to discuss first: The RAT 6’s sheath. While some manufacturers are content to slap together some Kydex or leather and call it a day, Ontario has done good work here.
The OKC-branded sheath rides low on the belt, and its nylon is rugged and well-stitched. I especially enjoyed the snaps, which are surprisingly easy to open and refasten with a single hand. There are MOLLE attachment points on the back as well, if you’re into that sort of thing.
The knife itself is immediately impressive. At just over a foot long, this large chunk of S35VN came sharp and ready to go. The Micarta handle is wide and comfortable, with a nice hook toward the back that helps keep your palm in place.
The tip is somewhat fine, but I wouldn’t exactly call it delicate. There’s enough width there for drilling or piercing, but if you’re planning to carve through a car door, well, you get what you deserve.
OKC RAT 6 Tested
Speaking of testing, the RAT’s first task upon arrival didn’t involve smashing or batoning. Instead, it went to the kitchen for an entirely different sort of carving.
That’s right — I broke down a whole turkey. And when the meat was removed and I discovered that the carcass was too large for my stock pot, the RAT 6 proved to be the perfect tool for chopping through the spine.
After this, onions and carrots didn’t stand a chance. You won’t get thin slices with a blade like this, but it’s great for a simple, rough dice.
With its strong outdoor pedigree, I figured the RAT 6 for a wood-splitting champ. Medium to small-size logs (even frozen ones) parted with ease, and the edge remained true throughout use.
But, with its slightly rounded shoulders, I didn’t think the knife would be able to throw sparks. I was wrong.
While not as aggressive as a 90-degree spine, the RAT 6 is more than capable of creating ignition.
At just over 12 inches and barely a hair under 12 ounces (11.92, on my scale), the RAT 6 is just large enough for light chopping. But if you’re planning to fell an entire tree with this blade, expect to be at it for a while.
There’s a lanyard hole at the back of the handle, if you want to add a bit of leverage or reach. In my testing, however, the handle was solid and secure.
Ontario RAT 6 Knife: Conclusion
Normally, I’d include a section listing the knife’s struggles. But I’ll be honest, there’s nothing I don’t like about the RAT 6.
The price, perhaps, is a bit high, but you’re getting more than a foot of knife with S35VN steel, plus an outstanding sheath to go with it. And if you shop at a place like Blade HQ, the price is significantly less than buying from the source.
However you get your hands on this RAT, I think you’ll like what Ontario has come up with. Will it thinly slice an onion? No, but that kind of task lies decidedly outside its use case.
For what it is, the Ontario RAT 6 is more or less perfect — an easy-riding, wood-splitting, turkey-carving, all-around beast of a survival knife.
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