The original Gator features a sheepsfoot style blade with a thumb hole for deployment, along with front and rear flipper tabs. Vosteed has made some incredible changes to the blade, and it makes an great knife even better. The sheepsfoot blade is now replaced by a wharncliffe style blade, and the thumb hole replaced by optional thumb studs.
The Gator is a behemoth and comes in with a total length of 9.09 inches, a blade that's 3.74 inches and 1.57 inches thick. With a knife this size you certainly want a handle that's comfortable and offers a great deal of control. With a handle that's a little over five inches in length, you've got plenty of real estate grab onto. The handle follows the shape of my hand nicely and it's beveled in all the right places. I'm able to get all four fingers on the handle and control feels very natural. The index groove combined with the small swell near my ring finger really lock my hand into place. The thing that surprised me the most is the frag pattern Micarta. I was almost certain this pattern would chew up my hands and pockets, but it's far from the truth. The Micarta is not as textured as G10 can be sometimes and the frag pattern gives you just the right amount of grip. It's not overly aggressive and it's surprisingly comfortable.
The new Wharncliffe blade style is really an eye catcher, and I've had many people ask me what knife it is. The pronounced nose, or should I say, snout of this creature is reminiscent of some older designs I've seen but feels very fresh. The blade is .138 inches thick, plenty robust for whatever tasks you want to put it though. The blade steel is Sandvik 14C28N, this budget super steel out ranks a lot of older steels such as S30V, and it's a great choice for this style of knife. I love that the thumb studs are optional, if someone wanted to keep the Gator a flipper and keep the look clean they can. I personally wanted another deployment method besides a flipper so I opted to add the studs.
I can't speak enough about the cutting power and edge from the factory. I put a lot of knives to the test and I've yet to see one go through boxes like this one. I use my knives for a sorts of things, but use them on boxes the most due to occupation. There's no shortage of them, and because of all the junk and fibers in them they make a great test medium.
Rounding out the package I always like to touch on the carry method, aka the clip. Vosteed pays attention and make an incredible pocket clip. They have just the right around of height and flare at the end to slide easily over pockets. With a knife as big as the Gator it was important to make an adjustment to the clip. This clip is everything we're used to with the brand but is a little thicker and wider to keep the knife secure. Thankfully it's still low profile enough that when really gripping the handle you don't feel it in your palm.
Even though I like a slightly smaller blade than this, the Gator is absolutely incredible and a joy to carry and use. A knife with a drop or clip point might be better for everyday tasks, but for work and utility it's hard to beat the Gator.