The Browning Black Label Pandemonium fixed blade knife is just one of several Browning Black Label knives have received many favorable reviews for their designs, materials, and practical uses particularly in “tactical” settings. In fact the Browning Pandemonium is one of the Black Label “Tactical Blades” series knives, and we can definitely see the influence of international martial arts expert Jared Wihongi on this one.
Browning has been making knives for several decades now, but it wasn’t until a few years ago they switched gears a little bit and began producing more “tactical” minded knives. Previous knife offerings were the more traditional pocket knife or hunting knife variety, but the Black Label knives are definitely a departure into realm of professional use. Browning took the effort to enlist the expertise and design advise of professional knife fighters and martial artists to ensure their Black Label knives live up to their professional claims. The Black Label Pandemonium has a lot of potential.
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Browning Black Label Pandemonium
Browning’s Black Label knives have been well received and even promoted by international martial arts master Jared Wihongi. In fact, Jared has been involved in the design work on several Black Label knives to ensure their quality and purpose-driven designs meet the needs of serious knife owners. We purchased a Browning Black Label Pandemonium after seeing one at SHOT Show a couple of years ago, and really liking the unique Tanto blade.
The Pandemonium has a 440 Stainless steel blade with a unique Tanto tip and razor edge. I liken the Pandemonium Tanto blade to a mixture of Tanto and Spearpoint tips. The 440 Stainless steel is a decent mid-range steel. This steel has a good resistance to corrosion and comes with a satin finish. The blade is softer than some higher end stainless steels, but this also gives the Pandemonium an easier sharpening blade that will still hold a decent edge fairly well even under heavier work uses. The Pandemonium blade is a part of a full-tang design, which is the strongest and best design for fixed blade knives.
Browning places very nice G10 grip scales on the Pandemonium with a pseudo black wood-grain texture. The G10 grips are very attractive and sturdy, and will also do very well holding up even when exposed to the elements or hard-working conditions. The grip of the Pandemonium is curved on top to fit the natural grip of the human hand. The bottom side has four (4) finger grooves that are wide enough for most hands, while still providing excellent grip resistance. Unlike some fixed blade knives, the Pandemonium’s full-tang grip takes on the exact outline of the G10 grips to ensure the strongest support during even the heaviest of working conditions. The overall balance of the Pandemonium is very nice!
So we’ve talked a lot about the really nice features of the Pandemonium, so I must point out one of the surprising features that can be seen as a negative. Though Browning uses really nice G10 scales on the Pandemonium fixed blade version, I actually found the handles a bit too slick for “tactical” use. It is not like the G10 handles are glass smooth, but they really do lack the rougher texture commonly found on knives used for self-defense and tactical uses. Interestingly, the folding version of the Black Label Pandemonium appears to have the rougher version of the G10 scales one would expect on a fixed blade version that has more limited applications than a folding knife.
- 440 Stainless steel full-tang fixed blade, satin finish
- G10 laminate grip scales, black
- Blade-Tech molded polymer sheath
- Tanto blade type
- Razor edge
- 55-60 Rockwell hardness
- Optional folding version.
There is a serrated thumb notch on the spine of the blade near the grip. This provides the user an even stronger thrusting or cutting grip, and the serrations are squared off to ensure they are not too abrasive to the user’s thumbs. This serrated thumb rest is angle up from the grip to provide the most solid landing for the user’s thumb. Once the serrated thumb rest ends, the blade takes on a gentle roll downward and away from the grip until forming the Tanto/Spearpoint tip.
The Black Label Pandemonium comes with a razor edge that is very sharp right out of the box. I don’t know why I really like the way the Pandemonium takes on a Tanto/Spearpoint tip so much, but I really do. I’ve always had favoring for Tanto blades, but I’ve also always really liked a Spearpoint blade. The Pandemonium is a unique and very nice combination of the two designs. By doing so, Browning has also created a nice point on the bottom edge of the blade that can be used as the edge in slicing or cutting movements, but can be an extra cutting edge for chopping, slicing, or stabbing type motions. The Pandemonium blade design really brings out the best of both Tanto and Spearpoint designs.
- Blade Material: 440 Stainless steel, satin finish
- Grip Material: G10 laminate scales
- Overall Length: 8.625 inches
- Blade Length: 4.25 inches
- Blade Type: Tanto, razor edge
- MSRP: $54.99.
Browning does offer a folding version of the Black Label Pandemonium, and the folder actually has the rougher texture G10 scales we feel should be on the fixed blade version as well. A fixed blade knife is more limited in application, and are typically designed for heavier knife jobs than folding knives. Even “tactical” folding knives, are often quite adept at performing simple folding knife jobs ordinary knives can perform. However, one usually does not whip out a fixed blade knife to simply open a box, cut some string, or scrap off some fraudulent license stickers.
A final great feature of the Browning Black Label Tactical Blades Pandemonium is the selection of the Blade-Tech custom molded polymer belt sheath. This Blade-Tech sheath has adjustment points for different sized belts, and uses a very nice tension retention system to keep the Pandemonium securely in the sheath when not in use. When the user needs the Pandemonium, a slightly moderate amount of force will easily release the Pandemonium from the tension resistance and free the knife for use. I’m a big fan of custom-molded polymer sheaths, for their longevity, adaptability, and superior knife retention for carry. The Blade-Tech sheath also has multiple attachment holes around the edge of the sheath, providing plenty of mounting options for backpacks, or other gear.
Overall we found the Browning Black Label Tactical Blades Pandemonium to be a very nice knife. The steel quality is good, and allows a decent edge to be maintained. If sharpening is necessary, the steel is soft enough to allow the user to accomplish a sharp edge again with relatively easy effort. We have really been impressed with the Tanto/Spearpoint combination to the blade tip. This design combines the two designs very well in an attractive appearance that also provides unique application opportunities.
The G10 scales are both awesome and a little disappointing on the fixed blade Pandemonium. They are awesome in their quality, and unique black, wood-like design. However, their relative lack of rougher grip texture leaves some questions on how well the fixed blade Pandemonium will perform in wet or bloody work conditions. It would have been nicer to see the fixed blade Pandemonium have the rougher-edge G10 scales like the folding Pandemonium. The Blade-Tech custom-molded polymer sheath is excellent, and provides a variety of belt options and carry methods.
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