Review: Stand Watch Knives Sentinel By: Mike Humphries

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In today’s review, Mike Humphries takes a close look at the Sentinel from Stand Watch Knives. This beautiful fixed-blade knife will appeal to many readers. It was provided by the company to the writer for review.

For me at least, fixed-blade knives have always had a basic, natural appeal. Sure, I enjoy defensive tools like semi-auto pistols with red dot optics in the latest Kydex carry rig. I totally get the appeal of modernity and the complexity that comes with it. But the innate simplicity of a knife with no folding mechanism to it, but rather a slab of high-quality steel that can hold an edge — with two more slabs of some grippy material stuck to it — is hard to resist.

Stand Watch Knives Sentinel reviews
In this Stand Watch Knives Sentinel review, the author sought a hand-made, fixed-blade knife that looks as good as it performs.

But, as with everything, “simple” is not that simple. When it comes down to it, making a “basic” fixed-blade knife requires a great deal of skill and knowledge to do it well. And if you want to add impressive aesthetics and materials, that takes it up to a whole new level.

It was this mindset that landed me on the website for Stand Watch Knives (SWK) as I was researching hand-made knives. To learn as much as I could about not only SWK’s knives but the company itself, I reached out to them to get a little bit of backstory.

I learned that the founder of SWK is also a full-time police officer and firefighter. “About three years ago, I encountered an unsettling case at work that deeply affected me,” explained the founder, Andrew.

Andrew started making knives as a response to the stress of his work. Andrew had gifted one of these knives to his friend Justin, who later would become part of the SWK team, handling logistics within the company. Justin saw a great opportunity for a business venture.

Stand Watch Knives Sentinel blade
SWK uses S35VN steel for the drop point blade. S35VN steel is considered to be an excellent choice for high-quality knives with excellent edge-holding properties. The cutting edge is 3.6″ long.

“We decided to take a leap of faith. We captured some photos, established a modest presence on social media, and launched a pre-order option for 10 knives. To my amazement, they sold out.” Today, SWK has grown beyond even what Andrew had initially expected. “I’m deeply humbled by its growth,” he said.

Stand Watch Knives focuses on creating high-quality, durable, hand-made products. Andrew explained, “Every Stand Watch Knives blade is meticulously crafted by active first responders at our manufacturing facility in Northern California.”

He went on to explain that what makes Stand Watch Knives stand out from other companies is its “deeply connected” customer base, along with the company’s use of very high-quality materials. Since Andrew is a police officer and firefighter, he argues he can “intimately understand the needs and requirements of fellow first responders, which informs every aspect of the knife design and manufacturing process.”

SWK has a variety of fixed-blade knives from which to choose (as well as a cool hybrid tomahawk/hatchet design), depending on your particular needs and preferences. They also offer multiple colors and designs within knife models, along with optional customization.

As I perused the website, I realized that SWK offers a lot of options and variations, making it hard to choose where to start. But, after some deliberation, I found myself coming back to their Sentinel fixed-blade knife.

Stand Watch Knives Sentinel handle
The reviewed knife has burl wood grips, with added resin composite and G10 liners. They are both effective and attractive.

Described by the company as their “signature blade,” the Sentinel is designed by SWK to “pay tribute to those who serve on all fronts.” The knife’s steel is a tough S35VN, a rust-resistant and rugged steel that can hold an edge very well. Matching the high-quality blade is a handle design that is designed to ensure a solid grip and minimize the risk of losing your hold of the knife while using it in harsh environmental conditions.

The knife features an overall length of 8”, with a cutting-edge length of 3.6”. The beefy blade also has a thickness of 0.187”, and is coated with a Cerakote finish. In addition to the original Sentinel, you can also get variants of it such as the Tiger Stripe, Raindrop Coppermai with Ash, Raindrop Coppermai with Resin, or the Topography Series.

It will likely come as no surprise to you considering the fact these are all hand-made blades that SWK also offers the option of custom knives and variations.

As part of this research project, I realized I was curious about what options a customer might have for a custom variant from SWK. Since I had started a conversation with Andrew when I first reached out to them, I decided to defer to his suggestions and expertise on a project like this. Basically, I was curious what his “vision” for a custom variant of the Sentinel might be.

Stand Watch Knives Sentinel jimping
Stand Watch Knives uses a Cerakote finishing process on the Sentinel’s blade. The spine of the Sentinel has jimping to improve the traction of your thumb when used.

The result was truly impressive, to say the least. Andrew built one up and sent it out to me for review. He decided to leave the core of the Sentinel — the blade — as original, and upgrade the handles. Andrew decided to use burl wood grips like the original, but also added resin composite and G10 liners. The result was grips that were extremely hardy and durable, but also quite beautiful and unique. It was also a nice, subtle customization of a solid knife design.

Beyond the customization, from what I could see from just this knife, I think it’s safe to say that any SWK knife is meticulously created with great skill and attention. The knife felt great in my hand, balanced well, and just seemed extremely well-made.

A company like Stand Watch Knives can help remind us of the importance of craftsmanship and a passion for the product. This customized Sentinel knife from SWK shows that they are a company that “gets it”, and one that understands how important it is to make a quality product. MSRP of the non-customized Sentinel starts at $325 and comes with a Kydex sheath with Tek-Lok. For custom inquiries, email them at info@standwatchknives.com. Otherwise, be sure to visit their site at the link below.