TOPS is joining in the fresh release fun with its first new for 2024 model, which hit the shelves this week. This is the Shadow Hunter, a remaster of a long-dormant TOPS model, with a refined design informed by more than a decade of additional manufacturing experience.
If you delve far back into the annals of knife history, scrounging for old YouTube reviews or still-active Sold Out pages, you can catch a glimpse of the original Shadow Hunter, now over 10 years old and long vanished from the primary market. Like most TOPS releases (especially at that time) it was a fixed blade with a combination outdoors/hunting use profile, spiced up with TOPS’s usual hard use/tactical flair. All of the core TOPS tenets were in full display on that knife but, in the intervening years, the company has broadened its range, refined its techniques, and generally increased its knife making prowess, so it’s exciting to see them return to an old design with new eyes rather than just re-release it as it was.
So: at the core of the 2024 Shadow Hunter you have a 4.5 inches clip point blade, with the clip seeing some extra embellishment thanks to the harpoon swedge reinforcing it. The Shadow Hunter’s blade is clearly rugged, like all good outdoors profiles, but, (again, like all good outdoors knives) it doesn’t sacrifice finesse, with some obvious fine use chops as well. The 2024 Shadow Hunter is made from the same steel as its predecessor, 1095, a steel with perhaps the longest track record of any recipe, stainless or non-, still in regular circulation.
The new Shadow Hunter’s handle is a bit narrower than the original’s, more elongated, with the jimping moved off the handle spine and onto the back of the blade spine proper. “Narrower” here is very much a relative term, as TOPS has given this one a pair of full-sized, contoured Micarta scales that will fill the hand and help absorb shock in high impact work. A coyote brown Kydex sheath is included, but evidently the Camp Creek Fire Edition sheath will also accept this knife.
The 2024 Shadow Hunter is available now.
Knife in Featured Image: TOPS Shadow Hunter
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