The first time you see a knife designed by Lance Abernathy, owner of Sniper Blade Works, it’s sure to command your attention. His first production knife, the new SOF Chopper, is a perfect example. The 15.25-inch fixed blade is designed to serve as a serious splitting tool for outdoor-minded individuals.
“It was identical to one of ours.”
The SOF Chopper started as a custom design. But Abernathy, frustrated that it was too expensive to be a viable option for most everyday users, searched for a company that could produce it in large volumes. “I wanted to get this blade into as many hands as possible,” he says. “So, we went to Condor Tool & Knife to handle the production.” Soon after, they sent back a prototype that was so good he mistook it for his own custom being shipped back to him. “The heat treat, the micarta handle, everything, it was just identical to one of ours.”
One of Sniper Blade Works’ hallmarks is a uniquely curved ‘pistol grip’ handle design. “When people see our handles they don’t think it’s going to be ergonomic, but really it’s designed around the shape of the hand, compared to most knife handles that are straight,” says Abernathy. The bend in the handle allows the thumb to stretch forward to guide the tool, with the web of the palm resting on the handle’s pronounced ‘hump.’ This shape takes stress off of the hand and wrist, making for a comfortable cutting tool.
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“I’ve always loved designing.”
Following a 13-year career in Law Enforcement, Abernathy switched gears and has been running Sniper Blade Works from his Missouri-based shop since 2009. As a cop, he worked as a patrolman, SWAT Team Leader, and also served on various task forces with adjoining agencies. Abernathy is a long-time knife collector, which combined with his tactical experience led to designing and eventually making knives he thought would make an impact in the tactical folder world. “I’ve always loved designing, and once Jody Muller of Muller Forge started showing me how to make them things just really took off.”
“It’s great to get those knives in their hands”
Sniper Blade Works is still known best for their custom folders. But Abernathy is excited to work on more production projects. “I get the same satisfaction because it still goes to paper, to design, then finally to fruition. We can deliver high quality knives to customers who normally can’t spend $700 on a custom, and it’s great to get those knives in their hands.”
Knife featured in image: Sniper Blade Works SOF Chopper