If you’ve ever been to SHOT Show, you know that the TOPS b
If you’ve ever been to SHOT Show, you know that the TOPS booth is one of those must-see stops, with an absolute avalanche of prototypes on display for ogling and handling. It doesn’t look like the skipped SHOT stopped TOPS from coming back this year with a bang, showcasing 19 new knives.
We weren’t able to be there in person this year, but here’s our breakdown of everything TOPS showed off. Remember, these are prototypes, which means that details, materials, and releases are all TBD and subject to change.
Silent Hero 4
The Silent Hero 4 looks like a smaller version of the original Silent Hero, a knife designed by Anton du Plessis for use in South Africa. The first Silent Hero had a 6.38-inch blade; if we had to guess we’d say this one scales things down to, oh, about 4 inches.
TOPS has several knives with “Creek” in the name and, while the Sheep Creek doesn’t read like a direct sequel to any of them, it does share an outdoor bent with those blads. Its name also nods to the beefy sheepsfoot blade, of course – not a common shape for outdoors knives, but it definitely looks capable.
This one probably doesn’t need a lot of explanation. Personally we’d recommend it as a brush for your head or beard hair, rather than raking up leaves or the like in your backyard.
Spirit Hunter X3
Another line expansion, the Spirit Hunter X3 builds off the pattern established by the original Spirit Hunter. It has the same carefully designed handle, big finger choil, and aggressive recurve blade.
On display alongside the Sheep Creek’s sheepsfoot is this angular wharnie fixed blade. But whereas the former seemed more outdoors-centric, this one has a much more tactical aura to it.
Muley Skinner & Muley Saw
The Muley knives are a pair of hardworking outdoors blades, each geared for (and named after) a different job. That being said, the Skinner has more general appeal with that stainless steel drop point blade, while the Saw, obviously, has more limited applications.
Tiny and tactical, the Papa Delta has a finger ring and skeletonized, scaleless construction to keep it svelte and lightweight. At least in this prototype, it has only a single edge despite the dagger-style blade.
Another outdoors knife, the Field Dog’s bulbous clip blade looks like it would make a capable hunting knife as well as readily chew through chores at camp. The layered handle design also helps it stand out.
The Woodcraft is proof you can make a knife with a simple purpose (see the name), but make it look distinct. There’s something reminiscent of Eastern blades in that hourglass handle, and the bellied-out clip blade makes a major impression.
This unnamed prototype reminds us of some of TOPS’s very first designs, with its hardcore military look. The huge fuller compliments the burly clip blade, and the thick handle is both comfortable and tough.
One of the most eye-catching TOPS prototypes this year is the Mag 888. The wide blade and exaggerated finger guard bring to mind another TOPS beast, the Tidal Force. The fullers, divots, and crenelations on top give the Mag 888 a serious battleship vibe.
This Gladius has made the rounds before, and it’s not an easy one to forget. It takes the symmetrical style of the classic Roman war sword and shrinks it down into something that’s easier to carry out in the wilds.
New Camp Creek Model
A sequel to or expansion for the Camp Creek, this new version keeps the same blade shape but widens it out a bit. The handle profile is also redesigned, and is much simpler overall.
Another nameless knife, the #15 has a bowed shape from tip to tail. The dagger style grind on its blade looks intimidating, especially when paired with the black blade coating and monochrome scales.
The Steel Eagle is a venerable model in the TOPS catalog, with many different variations and spin-offs – and four more are on the way. These smaller, stouter Steel Eagles come in either drop or tanto blades, with or without spine sawteeth.
Knife in Featured Image: TOPS Knives Gladius (Prototype)