Pro-Tech Runt 5 Wharncliffe

The coolest and most impractical knife the knife community have convinced themselves is good.

When this knife was released, it was a runaway success. A tiny automatic knife, legal in most places, with superior steel — what’s not to love? The price retails under $200 as well — these knives are not hard to get, but often out of stock at the same time. I picked this one up second-hand to see what the hype was all about.

It’s a very good knife, but somewhat impractical, less than ideal, and the type of knife you get when you don’t use a knife as much as you photograph/video/reel/snap/tok your knives. Yeah, it’s a social media star — but it’s a solid knife, so it’s hard to hate on that too much.

Materials and Specs

As I mentioned, this is a push-button automatic knife — that same push button is also the locking mechanism. Pro-Tech says this is California legal, which means it’s a butter knife here in Texas. The blade is CPM MagnaCut (the best shit out there) with a length of 1.96″ (this is why it is legal in many places). This model is shaped like a Wharncliffe blade, and it has a nice roll across the blade, making it a gem to use for slicing tasks. When open, the overall length is a scant 5.12″ at 2.08oz. That weight might be a surprise and is bulked up by the thick blade steel (0.11″) and thick aluminum scales on the handle (0.48″).

The scales are matte looking and matte feeling. They offer a pleasant and sure grip, which you need, given the force of the opening mechanism. Everything about this knife is blocky looking and feeling, so it’s like a rectangular aluminum block in your hands and pocket, but at the same time, the build quality and finishing leave nothing to complain about.

Use & Carry

I was surprised by the size of this knife when I got it; it was smaller and chunkier than I had expected. It also looks visually stout because of the flat surfaces on the handles. Most knives have more curvatures to their scales and more roundness, but the Runt is essentially flat with texture. What’s odd is that the knife is quite comfortable in hand. The 3.25″ handle is enough for me to have a secure three-finger grip.

The first thing, second, third, fourth, and on thing you do with an automatic is press that button to fire the blade out. I damn near dropped it the first time I did this. The blade comes out with such a force that the handle has kickback from the kinetic energy — it’s both happy-making and mildly concerning should the button be depressed accidentally.

The most significant side effect of this is the sound. It’s like a loud snap of the fingers when the blade deploys and locks up. The only way to discretely open this knife is with two hands and some care. This is one of the reasons I know that many people buying this knife are not people who use their knife around others. You do a slow thumb roll to open a blade quietly when using it around others; this makes things nearly silent and less aggressive.

Even with a sub-2″ blade and a not-very-pointy Wharncliffe shape, this blade opens aggressively. People turn their heads when they hear it. And this alone makes it almost untenable for most people to carry. Is the opening good and satisfying? Yes. But it’s also quite loud, and you cannot easily escape that.

The blade shape, though, and the steel is the real gem. Please give me that in a non-automatic knife, and we have something to write about. It slices open boxes like a champ, with the subtle curvature helping to keep the knife from uncontrollably plunging into the slice. And it slices up the boxes after you get your goods out quite adeptly.

The first thing I did have to do was add some cordage for a lanyard on the handle. There are two reasons: it’s a safety tether should the blade fling out of my hand when opening, and it’s the only way I can get the damned thing unclipped from my pocket or pocket organizer. The scale has such a good texture and is so matte in finish that it seems to really cling to things when clipped in place. It’s nice to know you won’t lose the knife, but getting to the knife quickly/easily isn’t enjoyable. Add the nice pocket clip that keeps the knife buried deep, and you need that lanyard to help tug the knife out of there.

It’s not all bad here; there’s a time and place for this. I found a leak in our attic ceiling and had to crawl into the crawl space to place a few buckets. As part of that process, I secured the buckets with some paracord and needed to cut the cordage. Having an automatic knife in hand was fantastic, as I could keep my balance while I deployed the blade. But on the other hand, I also found it annoying to close as it’s not possible to do so single-handedly. It’s a real mixed bag.

I was also worried about the pocket size on this, but that’s been a non-issue for me, and I suspect it’s not likely to bother most people interested in this knife. Lastly, it looks pretty cool, and it’s hard to understate that.

Overall

I have nothing against this knife, but it’s not much more than a novelty that makes for great pictures online — because when you take an image of it, you don’t hear the head-turning snap of the blade opening. You see a cute, overbuilt, and great-looking knife.

That is to say, while this knife is exceptionally well-built, it’s impractical to use and carry in almost all situations. The only times you need an opening that fast outside of using this as a weapon are negated by how slow it is to close the blade back up.

And for those reasons, I do not recommend this knife as a practical EDC. It is fun though.

Buy here, $165

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