Sometimes all that is required is a simple blade in a folding knife. All that really needs to be decided on then is how large and how robust. Both of these single layer knives from Victorinox are not only affordable, but also good looking with silver aluminium oxide handles.
Both Swiss Army 1 (model no. 0.8000.26) and Swiss Army 2 (model no. 0.8060.26) are within the Victorinox range of “medium” sized 93mm knives. They come with silver aluminium oxide (Alox) scales as standard though a small range of other colours have occasionally been commissioned. Both are also part of the Pioneer range of knives that Three Points of the Compass will be looking at in greater detail over the coming weeks. The Victorinox Swiss Army 1 and Swiss Army 2 are single layer knives that offer very little in the way of function, which may suit those who either require just a blade they can count on, or wish to pair such a knife with a multi-tool of some description.
Swiss Army 1
This knife has gone by various names over the years and still does in some countries. Also recently known as the Alox Solo, Victorinox renamed this the Swiss Army 1 in some markets, including the UK, in 2017/8. It has silver chequered scales that provide a good grip and are more resistant to scratches and being broken than the standard red cellidor scales found on the majority of Victorinox knives. The scales can wear with time, gaining an attractive patina following extended carry and use.
The Pioneer knives have a long and honourable history and the present day single blade offering is the simplest of all the 93mm ancestors. The blade found on these knives is a little longer and a little thicker than similar single blades found on similar sized non-Pioneer range knives within the Victorinox stable. This has gained the 93mm Pioneer range the ‘sturdy’ moniker from Victorinox. Despite being a folding style knife the blade is capable of quite tough work, though tasks such as batoning are never kind to any type of folding knife. The blade has an overall length of 68mm with a cutting edge of 60mm. The spine is 2.75mm thick which compares favourably against the 2mm thick blades found on the 84mm range. As mentioned, both Swiss Army 1 and Swiss Army 2 are part of Victorinox’s range of 93mm long knives though they have occasionally been incorrectly listed by sellers as 91mm. The Swiss Army 1 is just 8.8mm across the alox scales and 9mm thick across the rivets. It has a maximum width of 23mm across the handle with closed blade and 19mm across the alox scale. The Victorinox Swiss Army 1 weighs 44.8g. which is incredibly lightweight for a medium sized folder with such a usefully sized robust blade
Blades come sharp out of the box and are drop-point, v-ground and made from proprietary Victorinox 1.4110 ‘stainless’ steel alloyed with chromium and molybdenum that resists corrosion well, yet also has a degree of carbon content so hold an edge quite well while still being easily sharpened. While this is suitable for 99% of the tasks any of us use knives for, this is very much middle-of-the-road so if you want a better quality steel you will have to look elsewhere. The blade is non-locking so compliant with current UK knife law. There is quite a bit of ‘belly’ to the knife blade shape and it is pretty much ideal for general tasks such as cutting tape, cordage, cutting veg in the outdoor kitchen, cutting cheese, sausage or simply sitting and slicing thin apple chips.
Swiss Army 2
The Swiss Army 2 is also a single layer knife that by utilising an asymmetric blade profile manages to include another blade opposite that main blade. The same asymmetric blade can be found in the Swiss Army 1 and others in the 93mm Pioneer range and it appears that Victorinox will happily use any blade profile to hand, symmetric or asymmetric, regardless of whether one is required or not and there is no guarantee what you will find fitted to the knife you purchase. In addition to the exact same blade found in the Swiss Army 1, the second blade on the Swiss Army 2 is a handy little hawkbill shaped blade that has gone by the ‘small pruner’ name in the past, hence an alternative name for the Swiss Army 2, being known as the Pioneer Pruner in some markets. Just occasionally, this blade shape is also referred as a hawksbill.
The small hawkbill blade is a really handy little blade for some tasks. While it is certainly useful for a great many horticultural tasks, it is also ideal for cordage and I like to use it for peeling fruit and vegetables. This shape of blade can be a little more difficult to sharpen but is easy enough with practice. Three Points of the Compass has previously looked at the wide range of Victorinox horticultural knives that utilise this blade shape in a dedicated post.
Overall length of the hawkbill blade is 38mm with a cutting edge length of 32mm. In keeping with its smaller size, it is a thinner blade, just 1.75mm across the spine. Overall dimensions of the Swiss Army 2 are exactly the same as the Swiss Army 1: 93mm long, 9mm thick and 23mm across the closed blade and 19mm across the alox scale. At 46.6g it is a fraction heavier than its single blade brother.
There is little to either of these offerings from Victorinox. However it may be that what there is, is precisely what you require. Both are attractive and well priced knives from a reputable manufacturer. I would suggest that if you are thinking of purchasing one of these, there is no point in even considering the Swiss Army 1 as the Swiss Army 2 provides a useful reserve second blade for just an added 1.8g with no lost functionality.
Three Points of the Compass will be looking at some of the most useful two and three layer options from the 93mm Pioneer range and links for those and other knives and multi-tools that may, or may not, be suitable for backpacking, day treks or Every Day Carry are linked here.