DPX Gear are proving popular here at GnZ. The last time I went to Wales for a shoot (rifle and photo varieties) I handed round some knives and other kit for the guys to look at. The DPX knives were particuarly popular, especially the HEAT. It is a knife that offers a juxtaposition of concepts. The blade has a very thick spine yet length is short. The build feels incredibly beefy yet overall weight stays relatively low. It has rapidly become one of my all time favourites.
You may remember we tested the DPX Gear HEST (Hostile Environment Survival Tool). The HEAT (Hostile Environment At Hand Tool) is the little brother. DPX Gear aimed the HEAT at professionals who liked the features of the HEST but required a smaller knife to use while on duty.
The HEAT is produced in collaboration with famous Italian knife manufacturer Lionsteel (as is the HEST).
The HEAT shares the same excellent opening mechanism as the HEST. The blade has a notch in the spine which catches on the pocket edge. As you pull the knife from your pocket the blade flips out. For those of you who have used Emersons with a “Wave opening” this will feel pretty familiar. Just like the HEST the notch also serves as a bottle opener and does so very well.
The notch on the spine of the blade can be seen here. Also notice the glass breaker which secures the pocket clip.
The knife looks very rugged and you expect it to be heavy when you pick it up. It is suprisingly light weighing in at 4.15oz. The lightweight is possible due to the frame being made of Titanium. The frame lock works well although it was a little stiff at first. After a day or so the knife loosened up well and the opening and lock felt very smooth. The single thick G10 scale is not lined which also helps minimise the weight. The HEAT does not have a rotolock feature as seen with the HEST. To be honest I am glad. I never use Rotolock and sometimes I flick it on by accident which is mildly irritating if your getting the knife in and out of the pocket multiple times.
The clip is great and allows very deep carry. It releases the pocket smoothly and does not shred trousers. The knife comes with a glassbreaker tip which can be replaced with a supplied screw head. I have actually used the breaker at work when disposing of glass and it was very effective. Bear in mind I was wearing kevlar PPE kit so do not just go smashing glass for fun as cuts to the hands and arms from shards are an obvious risk.
I love the blade on this knife. It is just 2.375″ long but has a spine which is 0.18″ thick. It gives you a very sturdy blade which offers good control due to the short leverage. The blade is flat ground and came very sharp out of the box. The blade steel is Niolox which is a German stainless steel. Niolox has a fine grain and can hold a very sharp edge. I have stropped it a couple of times which quickly returned the edge to paper slicingly sharp.
The blade has a black coating on this model which so far has been tough and looks good. The sharp fine edge runs in complete contrast to the thick spine and deep stubby belly.
I have used the HEAT at work and out on woods trips/day hikes. It has performed very well. It excels in the urban environment and makes short work of breaking down packaging materials. It cuts through fibrous materials and webbing without trouble. Of course the short blade has some limitations. Chopping wood is not something you would use the HEAT for primarily.
I find the HEAT very comfortable to carry due to the svelte weight. The blade deploys with great speed allowing fast one handed operation which I require at work (often I only have one free hand). I continue to use both the HEAT and HEST on a regular basis because of the that.
A knife of this spec is never going to be cheap. The weight saving and ruggidity require materials which cost more than the standard fare. The HEAT will cost you around 200 in GBP or USD.
The HEAT is a superb option for those who require a short powerful blade which will not let them down. If you work in an environment which requires a light non obtrusive blade in urban settings then it is ideally suited. In the U.S.A it will appeal to staff in law enforcement and emergency services particuarly.
Another superb and innovative design from DPX. I am sure we will see more in the next few months.