A few years ago Bastien Coves of Bastinelli Knives released the RED, a medium sized tactical utility knife, and everybody loved it. He then reworked it a bit and released the RED V2 this year. I was able to test the knife in the last few months and here are my thoughts on it.
The RED V2 is identical to the first version in most regards. It’s made of N690Co, the handle is made of black G10 and the knife is available in stonewashed and with a DLC coating.
The knife is 22cm long, of which 102mm are blade, the remaining 118mm make up the handle. The first distinctive feature of the knife is that the blade is slightly lowered, about half a centimeter, in comparison to the handle. This makes controlling the knife when cutting with a little more muscle behind it easier, you don’t hit your fingers when cutting on a large surface as easily, and it makes slipping onto the blade virtually impossible.
The knife was designed with input from operators of the French special Police-unit RAID and is meant to be a full-size, utalitarian knife that is easily concealed and doesn’t take up too much space on, for example, a plate carrier. One of the features that make the knife so slick is the handle. It’s as long as one would want it to be on a full-size knife, but it’s very slim due to the way the G10-scales are made. The handle has a diameter of a little more than a centimeter, but the way the scales are rounded still makes for a very comfortable and secure grip. The grip is even improved by the sub-hilt on the RED V2, which isn’t incorporated in the blade or the grip scale themselves, but rather an effect of the slightly lowered blade and a small “thorn” that is supposed to go between index finger and middle finger. The scales are held in place by three Torx-screws that can easily be removed to clean the knife.
The RED V2’s blade is 3.2mm thick, which makes cutting through pretty much everything an easy task. The full flat grind of the knife adds to that. The RED V2 has a tanto-shape with a slight curve towards the point. It also features a long false edge that helps keep the knife’s weight down and adds penetration potential. Where the false edge stops the good, but not sharp jimping immediately starts, which makes working with the knife pretty comfortable
The RED V2 comes with a kydex sheath made out of relatively thin kydex. The edge of the blade sits in the pancake-fold of the sheath, which I have not seen before. It retains the knife safely and allows for a full grip on the knife before drawing the knife. There are several eyelets in the sheath which make adding a TekLok or an IWB-loop easy. Unfortunately, the knife tends to rattle a little bit in the sheath.
Differences between V1 and V2
In this video Bastien Coves explains the differences between the first and second version of the RED. If your French is pretty bad, like mine, here is a list of the changes:
- The thorn on the grip was shortened and rounded slightly, which does not impede its effect on gripping the knife, but allows for other grips on the knife (RGEI or FGEU) when necessary.
- The blade shape is slightly more tanto-esque now. The RED V1 didn’t feature a secondary point, the V2 does.
- The screws don’t stick out of the handle anymore.
- The Bastinelli-logo is a tad smaller.
- The weight was reduced by a little more than 100g, the RED V2 weighs in at 118g without the sheath.
- The false edge is longer.
- There is a limited edition run with partial serrations.
- The RED V2 was produced by Fox Knives in Italy, the V1 was produced by Viper.
- The knife comes in a nice cardboard box.
EDCing the RED V2
I have been carrying the RED V2 almost daily for a few months now. I tend to carry my EDC knives IWB, which is why I chose the coated version of the knife. I also decided I wanted the partial serrations so that I could still cut through something like a seat belt even if I had been using the knife for a few weeks without taking proper care of it.
The knife is very slick and it’s so light that I had to check if it was still there regularly. Carrying it IWB under a t-shirt or dress shirt it’s pretty much invisible, especially since it has no points or edges that might stick out.
All the cutting I ever did with the V2 felt effortless and I have not yet regretted getting it with serrations. Given it’s blade thickness I would not want to use it as a pocket crowbar, but that’s neither something I regularly have to do, nor something I’d want to do to my knifes.
So far I did not have to really sharpen the knife, a few strops on the leather made the knife hair poppingly sharp again all the time.
The coating works pretty well, but I have had small spots of rust every now and then, especially during the warmer months when the knife was drenched in sweat when I took it off every night. The rust was easily removed with a little love and it doesn’t take much time to maintain the knife to keep it rust-free and sharp.
The Bastinelli RED V2 is a great EDC-knife. It cuts through most things with ease, it’s easily carried and concealed even under lighter clothing and it’s a dependable design that can take some hard use. The rust problems are not a big deal to me and do not keep me from using and carrying the knife.
The sheath is fine for EDC, but might have to be replaced after a year or two, since the kydex is rather thin. So far my sheath is still perfectly fine, though.
I’m glad that Bastien Coves makes his great knife designs affordable to many by having them mass produced, and Fox Knives shows that the quality of mass produced knives can still be flawless. The Bastinelli RED V2 gets a clear recommendation from me.
Disclaimer: If a maker or seller of a product provides me with a product free of charge or for a reduced price, I do not feel obliged to provide a positive review of said product. I do my best to provide my readers with my own experiences with and thoughts on everything I review.