Victorinox Delemont Evolution Grip S17: The Perfect EDC Swiss Army Knife
For the last four years I have carried a Victorinox Swiss Champ on an almost daily basis. I love almost everything about it. Almost … The problem with the Swiss Champ is that it is pretty big (1.3 inches thick, weighing in at 6.5 oz.). It works great as a belt knife, in a sheath, but it is pretty uncomfortable as a pocket knife.
Recently I was watching one of the several “Which Swiss Army Knife is the best?” videos, on the internet, and learned about the Victorinox Evolution grip S17. This little beauty is part of the Delemont collection: The result of Victorinox acquiring Wenger in 2005.
As many of you know; these two were rival companies.
Victorinox acquired the original contract with the Swiss Army in 1891; with Wenger signing on shortly thereafter.
After purchasing Wenger, Victorinox kept many of Wenger’s patents, and integrated them with their own; creating the Delemont collection. This collection is named after Delemont Switzerland, where these knives are manufactured.
This particular 15 function 84mm Swiss Army Knife has almost all the tools I love, some new tool options I didn’t even know about, and none of the tools I rarely used; making for an almost perfect EDC knife.
About the Knife
The first thing you notice, when looking at the knife, is the scales (grips). The Evolution Grip S17 has the grooves of the Wenger Evolution SAKs, with inlaid rubber texturing. The ergonomics of the finger grooves makes this knife feel at home in your hands, and the texturing makes it slip-resistant. The two-toned (red and black) scales look awesome.
The Victorinox emblem, a cross in a shield which has been used since 1909, is present; but is not the inlaid stainless steel that I like to see in Victorinox knives. The shield, however, still looks very nice and appears to be inlaid white ABS/Cellidor; the same material the scales themselves are made from.
The Top Layer
The Blade: The most important tool on any Swiss Army Knife is the blade. The Evolution Grip S17 uses a locking version of the standard Wenger style penknife blade; which is made of 1.4110 stainless steel. The steel alloy Victorinox uses is 15% chromium, .60% silicon, .52% carbon, .50% molybdenum, and 0.45% manganese. This alloy is supposed to be optimized for corrosion resistance, toughness, and ease of sharpening. By “ease of sharpening” I mean that you can sharpen these blades on pretty much anything. I have personally used the bottom, non-enameled, part of my fiancée’s happy face mug to sharpen my some of my Swiss Army Knives.
The Scissors. Is a Swiss Army Knife really a Swiss Army Knife without scissors? In the case of the Evo Grip S17, Victorinox used the Wenger style serrated/self-sharpening scissors; which utilize an integrated spring system, instead of the thin replaceable spring that is used in the Victorinox-style scissors. The integrated spring is basically a small metal bar that is much more durable than the thin spring Victorinox typically uses in many of its other knives. The serrations make it easier to cut slippery items, such as fishing line. The down-side of the serrations is that the scissors do not produce as neat of a cut as the standard Victorinox scissors.
The Wood Saw. The saw is one of those items that I hardly ever need ... unless I leave my knife at the house. I think everyone reading this probably already knows enough about Swiss Army Knives to know that Victorinox/Wenger makes some of the best multi-tool sized wood saws out there. I use mine maybe once a week; on things such as small branches, saplings, suckers (baby branches), and those annoying bushes that pop up everywhere in your yard, except where you actually want them.
The Can Opener/Small Flat-Tip. The Evolution Grip S17 uses the famed Victorinox can opener; instead of the Wenger style. The Wenger can opener is more of a hawk-bill style, and works by moving it backwards, as you open the can. The Victorinox can opener works by moving it forward, as you open the can, and has a tip that can be used on both small flat-tips and Phillip’s-head screws.
The Large Flat Tip/Bottle Opener/Wire Stripper. The Evo Grip S17 has the Wenger style locking large flat-tip/bottle opener. For the Victorinox-style flat-tip, they make sure that the spring provides a lot of tension to help keep it from closing, while you are using it. Alternatively; the Wenger -style flat tip (as used in this SAK) when placed under direct pressure, slides into the handle a bit. This causes the screwdriver blade to lock in place. The bottle opener…..opens bottles. You knew that already; didn’t you? The flat-tip also has an integrated wire stripper; which is basically a small groove at the base of the screwdriver blade. It only works on thin wire, such as speaker wire, but it DOES work.
The Fingernail File/Cleaner: Last, but not least, the Evolution grip S17 has a fingernail file/cleaner on the opposite end of the main blade; where the small secondary blade is found on many Victorinox knives. Unfortunately, on this model, they used the Wenger-style file. I wish they had used the Victorinox file; like the one found in the Cadet; as the file surface is longer on the Cadet's. That being said; the file still works well on finger nails, and is a useful item to have. On the Swiss Champ I always used the small blade, to save the large one, so I am trying to get used to only having one main blade.
The Bottom Layer
Reamer/Punch/Sewing Awl. The Evolution Grip S17 uses the Victorinox reamer/awl. This, in my opinion, is worlds better than the Wenger awl; which is just a somewhat pointy piece of metal. The Victorinox awl is very sharp, and has a groove along the edge, which makes it ideal for drilling holes in wood, and leather; and for reaming out small holes to make them larger. The awl also has a small hole in it that can be used to make it an emergency sewing needle.
Corkscrew. I rarely ever use the corkscrew as a corkscrew. The Evolution Grip S18 model replaces the corkscrew with a dedicated Phillip’s head screwdriver; for those that would rather have that instead. I chose the S17, because I use the corkscrew for storing my Victorinox micro screwdriver; which is a flat-tipped screwdriver that is small enough for most eyeglasses and battery compartment screws, and has grooves in the handle that allow you to screw it into the corkscrew for safe-keeping.
That is all for the bottom layer. Sorry, there is no “multi-purpose hook” or pin hole that enables you to keep a straight pen in the scales. The lack of the pin hole actually hurts my heart a little, because I used the straight pin in my Swiss Champ all the time; for ingrown hairs around my beard, and blister on my hands from lifting weights.
Toothpick and Tweezers
The Evolution Grip S17 uses the standard Victorinox tweezers and toothpick; with can be accessed from the outside. (On the Wenger models the toothpick and tweezers were on the inside of the scale, and hand to be retrieved using your fingernail.)
For me this knife is almost the perfect EDC knife, and is the one I have been carrying for everyday carry.
The only changes it would need, to be perfect for me, would be:
- Changing the scissor's serrated blades to straight-edged blades for cleaner cuts;
- Using the Victorinox-style file, as found on the Cadet model;
- and adding the hole for the straight pin.