TOPS Bucks Lightweight Knife Trend with Operator 7

TOPS has dropped the Operator 7, an overbuilt fixed blade styled after classic American fighting knives. The heavy duty Operator 7 mixes elements of choppers, tactical blades, and camp tools into a single tank-like implement.

The heart of the Operator 7 is its 7-inch drop point blade, made from 1075 steel and sporting a recurve for added bite. The blade thickness comes in at .31 inches, so the Operator 7 can withstand serious use and abuse. According to TOPS’ Craig Powell, the chunky stock fleshes out the knife’s ergonomics, too. “The thick rounded handles are something we’ve been putting on a few of our larger models recently. The chamfered edges on the hand guard are subtle, but help avoid fatigue with long use and especially when stabbing.”

Although inspired by fighting knives, Powell looks at the Operator 7 as a serious contender when it comes to campside chores. “I can see a lot of guys using this as a heavy camp tool.” It may even replace more specialized, non-knife edged tools. “For those that prefer knives to hatchets, this one has the weight to do that job, but can still do some smaller tasks too.” He goes on to explain that the Operator 7 gets a lot of its toughness from its resilient carbon steel blade, rather than an obtuse edge grind. “The high grind helps give it a pretty keen edge considering that the stock thickness is 5/16”.”

TOPS Operator 7

It can be many things for many users, but one thing the 18.9 oz. Operator 7 isn’t is light. TOPS purposefully bucked modern trends of weight-saving builds in favor of going completely over the top while remaining extremely practical. “People love handle, the feel, and the balance. Some people of course aren’t going to be a fan of the weight, but many like feeling the heft when they grab on,” Powell notes. “As far as ‘tactical’ goes, I see this really only working for guys that are door kickers or find themselves in really close contact and don’t need to worry about whether their blade is hidden or not.”

Since the knife was first shown in January, TOPS fans have been chomping at the bit to get their hands on the Operator 7. Powell attributes this to the talent of Leo Espinoza, TOPS CEO and designer of this knife, among many others. “Aesthetically, this knife just is awesome. The handles, the guards, the blood groove, the finish. Everything just looks great on this one.” Espinoza is a hands-on boss, and makes sure that even though his company mainly makes fixed blades, they’re constantly putting out fresh work. “Leo seems to have an unlimited supply of creativity all by himself. “He is not one of those guys that gets stuck doing the same thing over and over with only minor tweaks.”

Knife featured in image: TOPS Operator 7