Al Mar Knives introduced their new Earth Brown, International Orange, and Blue Eagle Heavy Duty folding knives at SHOT Show 2013. I have watched the Eagle evolve since the early 1980’s, before thumbstuds and pocket clips came along. The original AMK Eagle was a “protection” knife–thin for ease of carry and serving up a 4″ blade, which many believed was the minimum for a defensive folder. Back then, it was quietly said that operatives of “alphabet agencies” favored the Eagle folder as a secondary.
The Eagle Heavy Duty is an “up-armored” version of the Al Mar’s venerable canvas Micarta/AUS-8 Eagle Ultralight. The new HD models have full length 400 series stainless steel liners under the textured ‘glass scales, a departure from the smooth Micarta-only handles of its predecessor.
The Eagle HD has Al Mar’s front lock and reversible tip-up pocket clip. The black handled model has an AUS-8 blade (HRC 57-59). An new Earth Brown Eagle HD features a high performance ZDP-189 powdered stainless steel blade (HRC 64-65). Both blades wear dual thumbstuds and the AMK Talon grind, which features an unsharpened false edge.
The changes to toughen up the Eagle Heavy Duty add only an ounce compared to the Ultralight, bringing the HD to 3 ozs. While photographing the new ZDP-189 Eagles, I was able to handle and compare them to an Eagle Ultralight. The new Eagle HD’s feel more…serious. The Ultralights have just a bit of lateral flex because of the canvas Micarta. The stoic G-10 and steel liners in an HD echo the hardness of the knife’s intended purpose.
The new ZDP-189 Talon blade is also available on International Orange and Blue G-10 handled Eagles HD’s. These are exclusive offerings from the Cutlery Shoppe (which I can personally recommend for good service and prices). The Al Mar rep told me the MSRP for the ZDP-189 Eagle HD knives would be $299.99. The black Eagle HD in AUS-8 lists for $199.99.
The new construction standards of the Eagle Heavy Duty are in line with those of the AMK SERE folders. This latest iteration of the Eagle really delivers on its promises of martial prowess and portability.