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Steel Will power! Steel Will knives hit the door running.

Some folks get into the cutlery industry by sticking a toe in the water, then two, then three. Not Steel Will Knives. They jumped in feet first, surfaced, and made a beeline for the buoy. The launch of Steel Will, however, was not a blind stab in the dark. "Sport Manufacturing Group (SMG) was founded in 2010," Director of Business Development Boris Shekhman informs Handgunner. "Although we started our company as a producer of high quality replica airguns, we've always been knife guys and have had a passion for sporting and tactical knives. In early 2012 we hired some really talented knife designers and support staff to join our team and Steel Will Knives was born."

Once the decision was made to take the leap into the cutlery market, Boris and company jumped in with a passion. "The thought of producing our own designs without compromises and bringing exciting knives to the market was the original inspiration behind Steel Will. Although this was the primary goal for us, we now get equally inspired and excited at the thought of raising the bar on new Steel Will models," notes Shekhman who is responsible for managing all facets of day-to-day operations as well as business planning, marketing, sales and logistics. "Fortunately, we have great staff to make my job very manageable!"

One key to launching a full line of law enforcement, tactical/survival and sporting knives was the Steel Will team's global approach to production. "Our headquarters is in New York City but we have manufacturing done in a number of countries," Boris states. "Steel Will knives are made in Italy, the US, Taiwan, and China. We're very careful in choosing manufacturing partners and typically seek out factories which are an ideal fit for a particular knife design in terms of capabilities, materials, and quality of work."

Launching Steel Will Knives required patience, but it turned out to be a winning strategy in the long run. When the line was launched there was a mind-boggling selection sure to dazzle any knife user. "We never wanted to be a knife company with a narrow focus." Shekhman advises. "As a matter of fact, we held back on launching our brand for several years until we had a well-rounded knife offering. We design sporting knives, tactical knives and everyday utility knives. Whether it's for a soldier, a backpacker or a collector, we'd like to have something special for every demographic buyer and design knives that excel at the tasks for which they were created."

Flush With Steel

One look at the Steel Will website will dazzle even the terminally jaded knife user. I counted 14 separate knife models with over 50 variations when combined. The majority are fixed-blades, but there are plenty of the folding types to choose from.

"The three most popular models in our line are quite different knives," Boris lends. "The first is the Gekko 1500 folder. This beautiful Italian-made knife has been very well received by the market. Customers love its design, quality and attention to detail--including the rounding of the spine, the unique design of the drop-point blade and the shape and feel of the Micarta handle. We continue to hear the knife displays excellent ergonomics and feels great in the hand. Equally important, this knife is an extremely capable outdoor folder and an excellent performer." (Read a review of the Gekko in the Knives column entitled "Lizardly Enlightenment" in the October 2015 issue of GUNS, our sister publication.

"The second popular model is the Censor 1330," Shekhman continues. "Designed as an EDC self-defense knife, it is an excellent everyday utility knife. Customers love the design of the pistol-grip handle, which allows for a quick draw and excellent lock-in. These two factors are crucial in a last-ditch self-defense weapon. The AUS-8 blade lends itself very well to most utility tasks and the overall package is lightweight and discreet. At $59.99 MRSP, this knife is an excellent value."

"The third most popular model is the Cager--both the 1410 model with drop point blade and 1420 model with Tanto blade," says Boris. "Although this model was recently released, it's been selling well and we've received excellent feedback from customers and dealers. The compact but stout design makes it ideal for everyday carry yet capable at tackling heavy-duty tasks. The knife feels great in the hand and the overall design is extremely functional, yet beautiful."

Heavy Metal

Adding more diversity to the Steel Will knife line is a wide range of steels--both stainless and high carbon--to choose from. According to Boris, "Our diverse catalog of knives has a wide assortment of steel offerings. We currently manufacture knives with N690Co, D2, 1095, AUS-8, K110, and 9cr19Mov steels. In 2016 we will be presenting new folders featuring S35VN as well as other powdered super steels and premium handle materials.

"Our current lineup includes proven and reliable handle materials like G10, Micarta, plus injection molded TPE and TPR. We choose handle materials we think works best for a particular model. Ergonomics and function are critical to our designs. We believe a knife should be beautiful yet extremely functional and practical. This principle guides our design process."

Future Willpower

With every bit of the enthusiasm on which the company burst on the scene, Boris and the Steel Will gang are looking forward to adding more knives to the company stable--with gusto. "Our customer is the soldier, the garage box cutter, the fisherman, the hunter, the knife collector, the police officer, the backpacker, or anyone who appreciates knives or simply needs a well-designed knife to get the job done. There will always be a need for fresh, innovative knives.

"In 2016 and beyond we will continue to challenge ourselves and raise the bar on our designs. We are always listening to our customers and want to expand on what works well. I'm really excited for the future of Steel Will knives. Although we are a young brand, we are ambitious and eager to expand our catalog with thoughtfully-designed outdoor, tactical and utility knives."

If their brief but successful history is any indication, Steel Will should become a household name in the not too distant future.

For more info: www.americanhandgunner. com/index, Ph: (877) 969-0909
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Author:Covert, Pat
Publication:American Handgunner
Date:May 1, 2016
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