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Last Updated: August 12, 2019
I haven’t reviewed many mid-tech knives. This is because I find a lot of them to be expensive and boring. Many follow the standard formula of slab sided titanium handles with a stainless steel blade.
In theory, mid-techs can be a great way for a custom knife maker to get their designs into more hands, have more control over production, and keep more of the profit then collaborating with a production knife company. But at an average price of $400, and thanks to advances in small-batch manufacturing, this has become a crowded segment of the market. After the novelty of this genre wore off I came to the conclusion that I can’t justify purchasing most of these knives.
That said, there are some super inventive mid tech knives out there. Knives that offer the enthusiast something more special than a production knife, but at a fraction of the price of a custom. That was the original promise of a mid-tech knife, even if the semantics of what a “mid-tech” is remains unclear. I consider a mid-tech to be not a custom knife, and not a mass production knife. It’s sort of a bridge between the two. You can peel apart the onion further, but arguing the definition beyond that point seems unnecessary to me.
The Grant and Gavin Hawk M.U.D.D. is one of those inventive mid-tech knives. I have been intrigued by the design since Zero Tolerance released now discontinued the 0500, and have been tempted by that knife on the forums several times. More recently, Grant and Gavin Hawk developed a mid-tech line, and the M.U.D.D. was on their list. I found it impossible to resist the allure of this amped up rendering of the 0500.
MUDD stands for Multi-Utility-Dirt-Defiant. This knife is sealed with a rubber boot around the lock release button and polyurethane seals around the pivot. The end result is a knife that is resistant to dirt and grime. In addition to the unique concept, the MUDD is designed differently. This isn’t another titanium framelock flipper in S35VN. The MUDD is unique and detailed. To me this seems less like an effort to cash in on the mid-tech craze, and more an opportunity to produce something special on a larger scale. I think that’s something worth exploring.
General Dimensions and Blade Details
The MUDD has an overall length of 7.75″, a 3.25″ blade, and weighs 4.88 ounces. The MUDD is made in the USA. It’s worth noting that this knife is almost 3/4″ thick. It’s almost twice as thick as my Para 2. This thickness is due to the “Hawk Lock” and the overbuilt nature of the knife. So it won’t win any lightweight EDC awards. Still, you can carry the MUDD if you want to, especially if overbuilt knives are your thing. I mostly purchased mine as a collectible and for the novelty of the knife. In that sense it doesn’t disappoint, but if I expected this to replace a Dragonfly II then I would be disappointed.
The blade is a modified drop point, but to leave it at that would be an injustice. There is a lot of intricate machining here. The ricasso features a series of stepped grooves lending a futuristic look to the blade. The grind is of the deep hollow variety, and there is a crisply applied swedge running along most of the spine. The “G&G Hawk” logo and “MUDD” moniker have both been engraved on the blade. A dark stonewashed finish round things out, although black Cerakoted versions are also available.
G&G Hawk went with Elmax for the blade steel. Elmax remains a high end offering from Bohler Uddeholme. I liken Elmax to steels like CTS-XHP and S35VN: good all around blade steel that is reasonably easy to sharpen and holds a good edge. This blade is about 3.5mm thick, but gets thin behind the edge thanks to the deep hollow grind. I found the MUDD to be a capable slicer. It came with a perfectly symmetrical beautifully ground edge and made quick work of cardboard and rope. I’ve had no issues with rust or corrosion and have been able to maintain my edge with routine stropping.
Handle, Ergonomics, and Pocket Clip
The handle of the MUDD is complicated. I am sure a ton of engineering went into this, but the end result appears effortless. There is a single stand off near the pommel. Two carbon fiber scales sandwich beefy titanium liners. The carbon fiber scales are 3-D contoured and the perimeter of the scale steps down to meet the titanium handle for further effect. The edges of the titanium are all chamferred. My particular knife has come with blue / purple anodization that contrasts with the raw stonewashed blade, pivot, and standoff. The fit and finish is outstanding.
The MUDD doesn’t look like a particularly comfortable knife. It’s an odd assortment of boxy lines and gentle curves. Despite all that the knife feels natural in my hand. The finger groove lines up with my index finger, my thumb naturally finds the thumb ramp and oversized thumb studs, and my pinky lines up with the last step down of the handle. There is plenty of room, and you can even choke up on the round “anti-choil” (my own term to define the round segment by the pivot). It’s atypical, but it works.
The pocket clip is among the most inventive clips I have come across. It’s 2 pieces of milled titanium. The portion serving as the spring is quite strong. There is a sizable tab for your thumb, and you need to depress this to lift the tip of the clip so you can make room for your pocket. It takes a little getting used to, and isn’t a design that I would want to see replacing my go-to EDC knives, but it’s different and it works. I think it is a great touch for this particular design, but practically speaking I don’t view it as an improvement over your standard clip.
As far as carry is concerned, this is a thick and relatively heavy knife. You definitely feel it in the pocket. That said, I think you get something interesting and unique for the extra bulk. Not every knife can carry like a Dragonfly II. Again, I don’t fault the MUDD for trying something new. The novelty is what makes it worth investigating. If you are seriously considering the MUDD, then you already have a raft of daily carry blades. This is for the collector that wants something different.
Deployment and Lockup
The MUDD features 2 oversized knurled thumb studs. They are easy to access. The pivot of this knife is on bearings and the action is smooth and effortless. The detent is pretty good. The blade flicks out easily with your thumb, and if I hold the MUDD by the tail I can shake the blade out with a snap, but it takes a strong flick of the wrist.
For our locking mechanism we have the Hawk Lock. This is manipulated by a button on the side of the handle that you slide back to release the lock. A simple way to explain the mechanics of the lock, is that there are a couple stop pins set into the blade, and a spring loaded pin holds the blade in the open and closed position. You manipulate the pin with the button, sliding it back to allow the blade to travel, in the same way you pull back on an axis lock.
As an aside, here is a shot of the MUDD next to my Para 2 for a size comparison:
I like the look and feel of the oversize decorative pivot. It requires a special tool to disassemble this knife, something I typically don’t care for, but I don’t mind it on this unique piece. This is because I don’t anticipate disassembling my MUDD any time soon. While that sort of attitude may dilute the hard use, dirt defiant spirit of the knife, that’s the reality of owning a $500 knife when you already have dozens of well worn inexpensive knives to do your dirty work. At least I’m being honest about it.
For those who are curious I found a good YouTube video on the disassembly. This can give you a better appreciation for how the MUDD is built and how the Hawk Lock functions.
G&G Hawk MUDD Review – Final Thoughts
The MUDD is one of a kind. It’s anything but your typical formula of slab sided titanium framelock flipper. That alone made it worth exploring. In practice, this is a superbly constructed knife. I suspect the Hawks were heavily involved in the production and finishing given how polished the final product feels. For $475+ you would expect that.
And $475 is a lot of money to spend on a knife. One critique is that I would have enjoyed learning more about how they made this knife prior to my purchase. How it’s manufactured, the level of hand work involved, etc. The quality is apparent to the point of being eerie. I assume a lot of work went into this, and I’d like to peek behind the curtain to better appreciate the process. On the other hand, maybe I don’t want to know exactly how the sausage was made. It’s an odd critique, but the knife is so well made that I can’t help wonder, “How did they do it?”
Lets quickly evaluate the knife on a more practical level. Where the design clearly falls short for me is in the thickness. This isn’t my idea of an EDC knife. It’s big, bulky, and impractical. Again, I don’t mind that as I didn’t buy it for daily carry, but I think it’s worth reiterating. The pocket clip is also not as practical as your standard spring clip. But every knife reviewed can’t be the Delica 4.
Regardless of my criticisms, the Hawks appear to be having no problems moving the MUDD. It’s sold out on their website, and sold out on BladeHQ and other online retailers. Holding the knife in my hand I can understand why. It’s solid and unique.
So if you are in the market for something overbuilt and different, perhaps with some dirt-defying capabilities, then the Grant and Gavin Hawk M.U.D.D. hits the mark.
G&G Hawk M.U.D.D. – From $475.00