TOPS Breaks into Pikal Genre with the Unzipper

TOPS, most well-known for their hard use and outdoors fixed blade designs, is trying something new with a recent release. Meet the Unzipper, the company’s first ever knife made explicitly for a pikal grip.

If you’re unfamiliar, “pikal” is a term used to describe a knife grip in which the knife is held upside down, with the edge facing inwards towards the user. It’s a grip optimized for close quarters combat and self-defense, and, while many knives can be utilized in this fashion, the sub-genre of blades designed specifically for pikal is much smaller; in the TOPS lineup, they can be counted on one finger.

But even though TOPS is moving into new territory with the Unzipper, they looked to some of their existing models in the outdoors genre for inspiration. The Unzipper’s blade shape is modeled after the woodcraft drop point seen on the Scandi Woodsman and Lioness knives. But keeping the pikal application in mind, TOPS reversed the actual edge, putting it where the spine would be on the Unzipper’s predecessors – in a way, turning what used to be a drop point into an aggressive wharnie or hawkbill.

Like the blade, the Unzipper’s handle is designed for the pikal grip. The lines are tame, with the most pronounced feature being a steep finger guard – a desirable feature in unconventional, high-stress applications. The full tang handle is covered by tread-textured, black G-10 scales; sharp jimping on the spine and the handle provide supplemental grip and indexing. On its own, the Unzipper weighs 3.8 oz. and comes with a black Kydex sheath that aims to be subtle and compact.

The Unzipper is the latest knife from the mind of Leo Espinoza, CEO of TOPS; it’s also the first new release since the sad news of company founder Mike Fuller’s passing last month.

Knife in Featured Image: TOPS Unzipper