There’s a new hybrid that’s hit the streets of California and it’s a model that’s sure to be popular well beyond the borders of just that state. I’m not talking cars, though—I’m talking about the Half-Breed from Pro-Tech Knives. The Half-Breed is a hybrid that uses the 1.95-inch-long blade of Pro-Tech’s Sprint and mates it to the 4.1-inch handle of their Newport auto. Why a sub-2-inch blade? Well, as odd as it may seem, automatic knives are legal in California, even if nothing else is! The catch is that it’s only automatics with blades less than 2 inches in length. This has created an interesting niche market for companies such as Pro-Tech. As I found out when I reviewed their Sprint auto a while back, these little autos actually make for great every-day carry pieces no matter where you live.
“While the knife certainly isn’t an offensive tool, the razor-sharp edge and fierce point would certainly do the job if pressed into service as a defensive weapon.”
The Half-Breed’s blade is exactly the same as the Sprint and is constructed of S35NV stainless steel at a Rockwell hardness of 60. My example has a stonewashed finish, although a black, diamond-like coating (DLC) is available as well. It features a drop point with a false swedge on the spine and comes to a very precise point. The factory edge is superb, as I’ve come to expect from all of the Pro-Techs I’ve handled. The Newport handle is about an inch longer than the Sprint’s and is just big enough for me to get all four fingers on comfortably. Construction is of aluminum with either a basic matte-black finish like my review sample or a silver anodized finish with inlays such as carbon fiber. A matte-black pocket clip is attached, which allows the knife to be carried tip up. Overall length of the Half-Breed open is 6.13 inches and the weight is only 2 ounces. A firing button, located on the right scale of the knife, is used to open the blade. Like the Sprint, the blade opens with authority when you engage it. Also like the Sprint, the Half-Breed does not possess a manual safety, but the button is recessed enough that inadvertent opening is unlikely, and I never experienced an issue with the Half-Breed or the Sprint when I’ve carried them. Priced as tested is $170 whereas models with handle inlays and the DLC-coated blades will run slightly more at around $210.
The Half-Breed is a joy to carry. Its thin profile (it’s only 0.39 inches thick) and feathery weight make it disappear in your pocket. The deep-carry pocket clip keeps it discrete, too. The clip provides plenty of tension to keep the knife secure, but still allows the Half-Breed to slide easily out of the pocket when needed. Couple that with the handy auto opening and you have a knife that’s there in the blink of an eye when you need it. I really liked the combination of the long handle and short blade. That configuration, along with Pro-Tech’s excellent factory edge and the thin 0.10-inch-thick blade, allow the Half-Breed to handle and perform like a scalpel. As I found out with the Sprint, 2 inches of blade really is plenty for most everyday tasks. It worked great for opening boxes, packages, tape and cord, and in fact was actually handier than the longer folders I typically carry.
I had mentioned when reviewing the Sprint that, while the knife certainly isn’t an offensive tool, the razor-sharp edge and fierce point would certainly do the job if pressed into service as a defensive weapon. That holds true for the Half-Breed as well and then some. The longer handle on the Half-Breed gives you a lot more to hold on to and provides a more secure grip than the more compact Sprint handle. That translates into better weapon retention and more force that you can put into your slashes and thrusts. Even a short blade can cause some serious damage—just look at all the cases involving box cutters and utility knives. Let’s face it, most folks don’t want to be cut with anything, let alone the wicked fang of the Half-Breed. Pro-Tech’s idea of combining the California-legal blade of the Sprint with the full-sized handle of the Newport was simple genius in my opinion. Just because you’re limited in blade length doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice a full-sized grip. It isn’t something we’ve seen much in folders, but I think the execution of the Half-Breed and its subsequent utility has shown the validity of the idea. It’s a concept born out of compliance with a rather arbitrary set of rules, but it’s resulted in an extremely handy tool that even folks outside of California are sure to appreciate.