There’s a new TOPS arriving today, and it’s a cool one. This is the Modern Gladius, which quite obviously lives up to its name, translating the historic short sword into a comparatively compact cutting tool for today’s users.
The gladius profile is famous enough that it might even be recognized by people who aren’t interested in knife/sword history (poor souls!). Standard issue for Roman footsoldiers, the traditional gladius blade measured two to three feet long, with a straight, double edged profile and an elongated, aggressive tip. The symmetrical blade was paired to a symmetrical handle, with a stubby guard and straight grip that often ended with a bulbous pommel.
Virtually all the signature elements of the ancient weapon are referenced here in the Modern Gladius. Its blade shape mimics the original, albeit in a much smaller size category as this is a knife, not a sword. There’s also a noticeable taper to the main edges as they move out towards the tip. Both blade flats are embellished with a pair of diagonally fullers, and the entire thing has the usual thick TOPS powder coat on top to keep the 1095 carbon steel rust-free. At this size, the gladius blade seems calibrated for self-defense, but also comes across as a good choice for an unconventional yet capable outdoors tool – a suggestion that seems reinforced by the fact that the sheath comes with a dangler carry option.
The handle too is faithful to the OG gladius, but with a mild taper that mimics the one seen on the blade. The scales are the thick Micarta slabs that TOPS prefers, with red liners underneath the 3/16″ full tang sandwiched between them. The Modern Gladius even references the extra large pommel on the historical gladius, with a karambit style ring on the back end. The aforementioned sheath is made from Kydex.
The TOPS Modern Gladius is out now. TOPS has said they expect this one to go quick directly from their website, but it will be arriving with dealers in the near future so don’t fret if you miss out on this first batch.
Knife in Featured Image: TOPS Modern Gladius
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