Bear & Son Cutlery Offers Up Two New EDC Folders

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778SR Sideliner

Bear & Son’s Mini Rancor IX and 778SR Sideliner come in at the right price for EDC performance.

Look at the calendar and it’s apparent the year is dwindling down to its final days. Yet, there are some knifemakers still as busy as ever, squeezing new models into the final days of 2023. Among these is Bear & Son Cutlery.

Earlier this month, the Jacksonville, Ala., manufacturer unveiled two new folders, each with the trappings of solid EDC options. The OPS Mini Rancor IX and 778SR Sideliner are both designed to provide everyday, at-hand performance. However, the knives go about offering this up in slightly different ways.

OPS Mini Rancor IX

Bear & Son Mini Rancor IX
Mini Rancor IX

No bigger than a minute, the drop point flipper is the smallest option in Bear & Son’s growing Rancor line. While its predecessors weren’t gargantuan by any stretch of the imagination, the Mini Rancor IX is sized much more practically for a day-to-day option and for lighter duty.

Bear outfits the knife with a 2.5-inch blade, for a package that measures in at a very nimble and usable 6 inches in overall length when deployed. The manufacturer opted for D2 stainless steel—a high carbon, high chromium alloy—a common option for higher-end production knives. The steel gives the blade excellent edge retention and wear resistance, plus the ability to easily get touched up when resharpening is required. Giving the stainless steel an extra layer of corrosion and stain resistance, Bear & Son applies a black finish.

The handle of the knife is Zytel—a thermoplastic from the nylon family—with jimping along the spine and along the lower front. Further enhancing the hold of the knife, Bear textures the grip with significant milling, which in the sand-colored handle gives it a dynamic look. The ergonomics appear comfortable and the tapered profile of the handle should give the user a supreme purchase on the knife.

Rounding the knife off is a slide lock—similar to an axis—with offers strong lockup, as well as a fast and safe ability to put the blade away. Also, with familiarity, the lock can also make deployment lightning fast. Adding to getting the blade into action are ambidextrous thumb studs and a kicker. The knife boasts a stainless steel insert to provide backbone and it comes outfitted with a deep carry, tip-up pocket clip.

Bear OPS Mini Rancor IX Specs:
Model Number: MC-900-DS7-B
Blade Material: D2 Tool Steel
Handle Material: Tan Zytel
Rockwell: 58-60
Closed Length: 3.62 inches
Locking Type: Slide Lock
Open Length: 6 inches
Edge Length: 2.30 inches
Weight: 1.60 ounces
Extras: Thumb Studs, pocket clip, stainless steel inserts, Lifetime Warranty
Origin: Jacksonville, Alabama
MSRP: $91

778SR Sideliner

A slightly larger option, the 778SR Sideliner nevertheless offers up a fairly tidy package for those looking for a budget knife. Catching the eye right off is the high-polished 3.25-inch, 440 stainless steel blade with a drop point profile. A quick note on the steel choice, it is softer than many other alloys but does—in general—provide a balanced package of edge retention and corrosion resistance. The tip comes to a very fine point, not only making it dexterous on fine-cutting jobs but also making it great at puncturing. Adding to its cutting prowess are aggressive serrations at the hind of the edge and terminating before the belly.

Again, Bear & Son opts for Zytel for the handle and gives it a pebble finish with some milling down the midline. Given its long and tapered shape, the thermoplastic should provide a comfortable grip and fit most hands fairly well. In its core, the liner lock has a stainless-steel liner, giving the knife a measure of overall ruggedness. Rounding out the package are both thumb studs and a kicker for deployment.

778SR Specs:
Model Number: 778SR
Blade Material: 440 Stainless Steel
Blade Shape: Drop Point
Handle Material: Black Zytel
Lock Type: Linerlock
Overall Length: 7-1/4 in.
Edge Length: 3-1/4 in.
Weight: 2.9 ounces
Extras: Stainless Steel Pocketknife, Thumb Studs, Torx Screws, Lifetime Warranty
Origin: Jacksonville, Alabama
MSRP: $45

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