Previous Post
Next Post

Folding knives are convenient, and what most of us carry as EDC blades, but sometimes it’s nice to have a good fixed blade around for more serious purposes. A good friend and mentor always described a folding knife as being pre-broken, in that it’s already in multiple pieces and we’re relying on the lock to hold it together during use.

A fixed blade knife with a full tang is all one piece, and inherently stronger. This is especially beneficial in a knife intended for heavy camp use or self-defense. That’s one reason you don’t see too many folding survival knives or military combat knives.

If you’re looking for a tough fixed blade, no list is going to be complete without something from TOPS Knives. TOPS makes their knives in Ucon, Iaho and they’ve been at it since 1998. They have over 25 years experience making tough fixed blade tools designed by military, law enforcement, and outdoors experts.

One of their more recent designs, albeit one with history that’s over 2,000 years old, is the Modern Gladius. The Modern Gladius takes its design cues and name from the ancient Roman sword of the same name. The Roman Gladius served as the standard issue sidearm of the Roman Republic and Empire for 600 years and has gone on to inspire many later swords and knives for centuries.

Th Modern Gladius is about 11½ inches overall so it’s definitely a knife, not a sword like it’s namesake. It’s big enough to be a serious defense tool, but not so big as to be a burden to carry. It has Micarta scales which give it a solid, secure grip, and uses red liners for a pop of color.

The Gladius’ blade is 6 inches long and 0.190” thick, and made from 1095 high carbon steel with a black, non-reflective coating. The double-edged blade has the angular tip of the late Pompeii Gladius, which makes it great for stabs and thrusts. A double fuller helps lighten the blade and make it more nimble in the hand.

The Modern Gladius comes with a black Kydex sheath and has a removable leather dangler for belt carry. The large D ring could be used to clip or lash the sheath to your pack or armor as well. If you need even more carry options, the rivet spacing on the sheath makes it Tek-Lok compatible.

The Modern Gladius feels good in the hand. Its Micarta grip gives a solid purchase whether with bare hands or when wearing gloves, and is long enough for most any hand. The combination of textured Micarta and an integral cross-guard keep you hand off of the blade during hard stabs and thrusts. And make no mistake, the MG excels at thrusts and stabs.

I didn’t get into any knife fights when I was working with this TOPS pig-sticker but I tried it out on stacked cardboard, both bare and covered in layers of denim or leather. That needle tip makes for impressive penetration. It also did well for crosswise cuts on the cardboard targets.

The ring pommel seems mainly for aesthetics, but it’s a great point for securing a lanyard if you want one. Weight with the Kydex sheath is only a touch over 14 ounces so you’ll find the TOPS Gladius a little easier to pack around than the original Roman Legion-issued models.

If you like the idea of a rugged modern combat dagger, but one that traces its lineage back a couple of thousand years, then the TOPS Modern Gladius is well worth checking out.


Blade Length: 6.50″
Cutting Edge: 6.00″
Handle Length: 4.88″
Overall Length: 11.38″
Blade Material: 1095 Carbon Steel
Blade Thickness: 0.190″
Blade Hardness: 56-58HRC
Blade Style: Double Edge Dagger
Blade Finish: Black Traction Coat
Handle Material: Tan Canvas Micarta
Sheath Material: Kydex with Dangler
Weight: 8.30 oz.
Weight with Sheath: 14.30 oz.
Made in the USA
MSRP: $245.00

Previous Post
Next Post


    • I fully agree. This is an insult to all things Gladius. The fullers do not deserve the name and are just a design accent, not anything remotely useful.The length is way too short. Even if you do not get to the usual 17-20″ for a gladius, at least make it have a 10-12″ blade.

    • “linguistically, within latin, the word also came to mean ‘sword,’ regardless of the type used.”
      not a sword.

    • That’s my thought too. $245 is a low end gun price to me, not a knife price. ☺️. I guess I’ll stick with my $30 Glock fixed blade, my sub $20 Mora, and $25 Ontario Rat 1.

      My Christmas all! Glory to God in the highest! That King has come!

  1. Well, I guest it’s not AI because typos and iffy grammer are things large language get right. Congrats to Tim for keeping it real, lol. Down vote on the Palestinian shamog though.

  2. They make good knives, always from thick, thick, thick steel compared to everyone else.

    They’re good stuff. Pricey but worth it. The only drawback is the sheaths, which are mostly kinda shoddy considering the knife that’s in them.

    “The ring pommel seems mainly for aesthetics…”

    $20 says I can change your mind on that with a reverse icepick grip and backfist shot to your forearm [or anywhere else on you] with that pommel… It’s not a skull crusher, but it’s mean enough to fuck your whole day up in one shot.

    • I was going to say something similar about the pommel. It would surely get your attention faster than the but of the Mora knife I normally carry in the boonies.

    • And put that lanyard on it. I’ll hardly own a knife without a lanyard. Bought two new Randall’s a week ago. Both have lanyards.

      • Depends on you preferred use. This knife’s an odd one to me. The handle says utility while the blade says weapon. TOPS sells it as a tactical knife, though I think they have some far better long standing choices in that section.

        Lanyards on a knife you actually intend to use as a weapon are just silly. On a field knife they make sense but, personally, I never use them. I’d rather a sheath with better retention. Just my preference.

        • strych, I spend a lot of time on or around water. Trying to put together a combo ocean duck hunt followed by inshore fishing after the first. I put a lanyard on everything. My “boat gun” is a 19X with a lanyard. The Surefire in the butt pack with it has a lanyard, etc.

    • I thought a hole in the handle was for putting a string and then winging it around in circles.
      two knives tied together and you have num chucks, ” “Why do they call him fingers?”

    • Please describe the reverse icepick grip, is that blade up instead of down in your palm?

      • I’m guessing the pointy is held in the up position. As if in someone were to grab your wrist the blade would help prevent that.
        I don’t know?
        BTW – when I was locked up I befriended a guy who’s copalias was “Ice Pick George” .
        He was a nice guy, liked flowers, butterfly’s, n sht. He never talked much about ice picks.
        For some reason though being in close proximity to him I always felt a stabbing pain in my ear.
        I really miss the Nuthouse, it was a fun place to be.
        I tried adding Protons to my UniverseEndingPerpetualFussionNeutrinoBlomb to get more power but the neutrinos vaporized the protons. I’m working with some powerful sht here man, one fck up and I might end the universe.

  3. Looks somewhat functional, but I’ll stick with my ESEE knives. Can’t beat em for the money.

      • Sencillo is a good little knife.
        I have a 3 and a 5, both with the double edge, which I don’t think they make anymore. And a handful of their arrowheads in my BOB. Just absolutely solid. Happy I got em when I did. Prices are up, up, up. Like everything else.

  4. The S. F. grip is impossible due to a few missing features.

    The S. F. grip is forward, with the index finger forward of the pommel. the blade should be smooth there so cutting of the index finger is impossible.

    The thumb is against the pommel to allow thrust, and assist in control of the blade.

    Now the blade can be used both as an attack, and as defense tool.

    Just my two cents worth.

    • With that handle and the double quillons I think they tried to split the difference with a utility knife.

    • The pommel is at the other end–in this case it is the ring. You are referring to the cross-guard or quillons. Although very secure, gripping the sword in ancient times resulted in many three fingered Greeks. In latter times, they put a ring in front of the cross-guard to protect that so-exposed digit.

  5. If you want a GP field knife this ain’t it. Much better off with a Bowie blade in the 5-7″ range. If you only want to stab something, well…

  6. Good looking knife.
    But I agree with others. I think it needs a wider cross guards. The handle looks like it could be beefier. Rather have a solid, flat pommel than the ‘ring.’ Sometimes you need to pound something like a tent stake, dont have a hammer and a rock is not round. I also like a partially serrated edge on my knives. The Kydex sheath looks cheap for such a knife.

    I have a few KA-BARs that do the same job. My KA-BAR D2 Extreme is a great knife and if you select the right one, has a great sheath that can hold a small folder, or a whet stone.
    I have a few KA-BAR Beckers that are really good too. The Becker Combat Bowie is a beast! It too comes with a sheath that can hold a small folder.

  7. LOL, I had a Boker Fairbairn Applegate on my rig for years. Never used it once. Later I put new scales on it and a new sheath and sold it as like new, because it was useless as a regular knife.

  8. A knife needs to be a multiuse tool. The double edge and blade geometry of this thing…make it good for only one thing.

Comments are closed.