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A relative newcomer to the cutlery scene, Famars is a company best known for crafting extremely high end shotguns. In fact, they happen to be the largest high end shotgun manufacturer in the world. Headquartered in Gardone, Italy, Famars has been creating functional works of art for over 50 years now, and build guns that seamlessly fuse innovative technology with old-world craftsmanship. So needless to say when I learned that this ultra high end firearms company was building knives, it got my attention. The Famars Lama Prima Edizione is their first foray into the world of luxury knives, and it is a real privilege to take a closer look at this very unique knife.
Described as the world’s first pinless dual-action automatic knife, the Lama is anything but typical; so in some ways this will depart from my typical knife review. After all, these knives are designed to compliment shotguns that can sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars. But while Famars’ products are the epitome of a luxury good, often featuring precious jewels and gold inlays, everything is built to be used. Their shotguns are most commonly used for hunting birds, and their new line of knives are designed to accompany the guns on such excursions. Of course a sleek folding knife like this would also be quite at home in a suit pocket or display case – functioning as an upscale EDC or simply a collectible.
The Lama I received for examination is not just any Lama, but a Prima Edizione or “Premiere Edition” of the knife. Limited to 500 pieces, the Prima Edizione arrived in a lovely velvet lined wood box, and was accompanied by a signed and sealed certificate of authenticity. Each knife is one of a kind, and is both serialized and categorized within a historical log at the Famars headquarters. I must say I don’t typically spend much time mentioning the packaging materials, but the box is quite nice and provides an excellent spot to store the knife.
General Dimensions and Blade Detail
Moving on to the knife itself, the Lama is slender tool with an overall length of 7-3/4″ (with both blades deployed, 5-1/2″ with one) and 2 2-1/2″ blades. The weight will vary depending on the options you select, but expect a weight in the neighborhood of 2 to 3 ounces. And there are countless options to choose from. The review will attempt to touch on some of those choices, but really the sky is the limit and each knife is custom made to the purchaser’s exact specifications.
Famars allows you to build your knife around a wide variety of blade and tool options. My particular model came with two clip point blades honed to a razor’s edge. The inclusion of two blades was interesting, a departure from most modern folders. According Famars this was done to give the user more options. If you were to use this knife to dress birds in the field and one edge were to dull, then the user could simply switch to the other blade. Additionally, you have the option of selecting from a variety of other tools including scissors, a magnifying glass, or even a divot tool for golf fans.
You also have a wide variety of blade steels to choose from. The Lama is available in 416 layer patterned damascus (with many different patterns to choose from) as well as virtually any stainless steel you desire. Like with every other aspect of the knife the sky is the limit when it comes to steel selection. I found the damascus that my knife came in to be quite good; attractive, razor sharp from the factory, and holding a keen edge after use.
Handle and Ergonomics
The handle of the Lama is quite unique. When examining the exterior there is a distinct absence of any pins or screws holding the handle together. This is part of what gives the Lama it’s designation as the world’s first pinless dual-action automatic knife. The handle fits together thanks to some innovative design work, but more importantly the pinless design creates a wonderful canvas to showcase Famars’ exquisite engravings.
When it comes to the engravings everything is done in-house by hand, and there is no limit to what can be accomplished. Everything from gold leaf to jewels can be integrated into the handle of your knife, and their engravers can carve any motif desired. For those looking to have a knife that matches their shotgun, well, that is now possible. And naturally you get your choice of handle materials as too (including aluminum, steel, and titanium). Famars has also recently begun offering their knives with various exotic wood and animal hide inlays, more options if you somehow felt restrained by their previous selection.
Now, elaborate engravings and a dizzying array of materials is all well and good, but I am a stickler for performance and ergonomics. So I am happy to report that the Lama is just as pleasing to use as it is to look at. I am capable of getting a full grip without any problems and the thumb naturally rests on the spine of the knife. The handles have good thickness and fills the hand, and the “edgeless” design makes melt into your hand. And if you happen to be a fan of slimmer handles, Famars has you covered with their Piccolo model.
Deployment and Lockup
The Lama is a dual action automatic, and with the press of a button the blades spring to life. Both my blades fired fast and hard, and the flash of steel creates quite the conversation piece. Lock-up is solid thanks to a button lock, and the blades are also easy to release once you are done working. One interesting aspect about the knife is the absence of any kind of washers. The Lama is built to extremely tight tolerances so traditional phosphor bronze or teflon washers aren’t required. The fast action makes for a knife that is hard to put down, and with 2 blades at your disposal it is twice as easy to get carried away.
Famas Lama – Final Thoughts
Like something out of a James Bond movie, the Lama blends style and sophistication to create an exclusive tool with a lot of appeal. No doubt fans of the company’s beautiful firearms will also be interested in the Lama, and I can definitely see the allure to having a custom made knife that matches your custom made gun.
I can also see the Lama appealing to collectors of automatic blades and unconventional designs. There is currently nothing else like the Lama on the market, and for that reason alone it’s worth a closer look. Any way you cut it the Lama is a wonderful blend of old world craftsmanship and cutting edge technology, and should appeal to blade aficionados of all persuasions. It was an absolute pleasure to spend some time with this very exotic knife and I highly suggest checking one out if you have the opportunity.
For more information on the Famars Lama visit the knife’s official website at FamarsLama.com.
She’s a beaut!
Wow, looks like some nice work. Just checked out the prices. Considering it is an innovative design (rare these days) it does not seem overly high. Would be a nice piece for just about any collection.
Hey Richard. I’ll be the first to say they aren’t cheap. But when you consider what their shotguns go for it begins to make sense. I agree, they are quite unique and would go nicely in a lot of collections.
Great Review! I have a Prima Edizione and it is by far my favorite knife i own. It is a great knife to carry around and the weight is perfect. Everyone that i show is just amazed of how beautiful the blades are. I also have to say, if you like this knife you should look at the steel version instead of the black. If you dont want to pay for the engravings, i think it is by far the best looking one.
Thanks for stopping by and offering some thoughts on the Prima Edizione. Not many people have this one, and I am glad to hear you enjoy yours. I agree, the steel version looks very nice!