REVIEW – Southern Grind BAD MONKEY Folding Modified Tanto Serrated-Cerakote Knife

We love sharp things here at PREP and any outdoorsman worth his salt will appreciate a good blade. So when we get a chance to play with something new it’s like Christmas. The opinion jury is always out on knives and their use in daily operations and it’s even more divided out in the woods. We found something new and decided to put it through some paces here in the deeper South.

BAD MONKEY Folding Modified Tanto Serrated-Cerakote in Armor Black

BAD MONKEY Folding Modified Tanto Serrated-Cerakote in Armor Black

As with many things, there will be those of you that are steadfast in your beliefs and expectations of certain products but let’s keep an open mind. Folding knives. There are as many designs as there are hands to hold them it seems. We have our preferences here at the school but are always eager to try new ideas for in and out of the wood line. Allow me to state that folders are great tools but will not replace a quality full tang bushcraft knife when your life is on the line in the bush. If you are planning to snuggle up with Mother Nature for the night be sure to put all of your gear to the test before you go. She has a nasty habit of turning her back on you real quick.

We grabbed this new blade from Zac Brown’s Southern Grind after we saw it at the 2013 Living Ready/Blade Show in Atlanta. This is the BAD MONKEY Folding Modified Tanto Serrated-Cerakote in Armor Black.

The knife features:

  • Carbon fiber handle, twill weave, textured with a matte finish

  • 3 screw pocket clip

  • Titanium lock and liner

  • 14C-28N Steel blade with a conventional V-grind and half serrated edge

  • Tanto design with a hardness of RC 59-61

  • Blade is finished with Cerakote in armor black

  • Overall length is 9.125”

  • Blade length is 3.875”

  • Weighs in at 4.97 oz.

The knife also sports the Emerson Wave feature, which allows it to open as it is drawn for smooth and quick deployment when desired.  The knife also shipped with a nice insulated leather can koozie, leather key ring and black paracord bracelet.

We have processes here at the school to test certain equipment and the Bad Monkey had to run the bases to be qualified for duty.

 So what was tested?

  • Design, grip, blade security, locking mechanism:
    • Fits a big hand well, is on the larger size but thin enough to wear comfortably
    • Textured carbon fiber scales grip the hands in wet conditions well
    • Ambidextrous thumb studs are nicely placed and shouldn’t wear through pants pocket
    • Gorilla gripping the handle doesn’t dislodge the liner lock accidentally like some liner lock knives
    • Blade is solidly in place, no play whatsoever
    • Locking mechanism is firm and tapered for extended life
    • Pocket clip is shorter than usual but works well while allowing Wave feature to work unencumbered
    • Blade floats comfortably in liner with no chafing on finish
    • Smooth, almost imperceptible opening of blade
    • Unlocks and folds with ease
    • We abused it with a Spine Hammer test repeatedly, the blade and lock stood firm.

(All sequence photos were taken with a burst mode camera demonstrating live action)

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  • The Wave feature and ease of opening:
    • Very smooth opening by thumb stud
    • Lightning fast wrist snap opening capability (see our VIDEO0002)
    • Blade locks open firm and with confidence
    • Wave feature takes some getting used to because knife just wants to deploy for action every time you take it out of the pocket.


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  • Testing the edge:
    • We whittled some hardwood into several fire feathers then went to the 1800# tensile strength mule tape. Both serrated and non-serrated edges performed factory fresh and fast on the very fibrous webbing after grinding through the hard dry wood.
    • The blade still cuts tomatoes like a ninja
    • The Tanto version we have also has another edge of about .25” in length on the spine at the tip, which has almost another tip ground in and it is like a scalpel.

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  • Finally we tested the blade for quickness of use under a test called draw, deploy, use and return.
    • This test was done in a utility mode and a defensive mode.
    • The Bad Monkey deployed like lightning in a good grip position, performed its task and pocketed easily.

We found that this blade demands serious respect. When I say it’s sharp I mean really sharp. It only takes a light brush on the blade to donate some blood.

The Emerson Wave feature was new to us and as such the little scalpel tooth on the Tanto version has to date bit me 5 times upon deployment. I don’t feel this would be a problem on the other Southern Grind blade styles, it’s only because the Tanto has the spine grind that when deployed will nick any fingers in line with the unfolding blade.  This happens so fast you don’t even realize it happened until you are leaking which is a testament to the effectiveness of the grind on this bad boy.

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In our defensive deployment test we found that the spine grind made penetration of our test dummy all that much quicker than other blades as it cuts in reverse and is easy on the wrist upon skin entry. The Wave does act differently between loose tactical pants and tighter jeans pockets so some care is to be used when taking it out of your pocket if you don’t want to open the knife.

In summary we love the knife. It is sleek and serious.  A well done! goes out to Southern Grind for creating a precision folder that is also made in America. We look forward to more from them soon.  Until then, we’ll use the Bad Monkey for all kinds of testing, like fresh rum drinks. Hey it’s for survival!


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