TOPS Celebrates 20th Anniversary Early with Rerelease of Steel Eagle

TOPS is bringing out an updated version of its first-ever model, the Steel Eagle. The rerelease comes just ahead of the company’s 20th anniversary in 2018.

The Steel Eagle is a burly, durable tactical knife that channels the TOPS Knives founding spirit. “The idea was to make hardcore tools that could stand up to what a guy in the military might put them through,” explains TOPS’ Craig Powell. “Because of that, the only thing that made sense was to make them full tang, thick, and strong.”

Even twenty years on the Steel Eagle is an overbuilt, tank of a fixed blade. It sports a 7.63-inch blade made from full quarter-inch thick stock and weighs more than 18 oz. in hand. Users have a choice between a tanto or a “hunter’s point” blade shape, suited to either tactical or utility applications.

TOPS Knives Steel Eagle

Today’s consumers might take the TOPS’ massive catalog and steady output for granted, but back in 1998 things were different. “All of our knives and handles were ground completely by hand,” Powell says. “They were basically being made the way many custom knife makers make theirs today.” The first 25 Steel Eagles were tested by soldiers on active duty. “Once the input was received, any changes that were necessary were made and the next batch became the Steel Eagle as we know it today,” Powell tells us.

TOPS Knives Steel Eagle

Small tweaks were all that was needed to bring the Steel Eagle design into the 21st century, with no major update to the model necessary. Thicker, rounder scales, different hardware, and the new Acid Rain Finish fill out the list of changes. Back in the day, a 107E model, with the hunter’s point blade and the spine saw teeth removed, was also available. TOPS has confirmed that particular variant will make a return at some point too.

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The Steel Eagle is the second classic TOPS model given new life in 2017, following the Wind Runner rerelease earlier this month. Powell says that befitting its origin as a hard-use tool, the new Steel Eagle is not a limited run or collector’s item. “As good as these look, I think they’re priced for users,” he says. “Most will be getting these to use.”

Knife featured in image: TOPS Knives Steel Eagle 107D