Bear OPS AC-700 Bold Action VII Automatic Folding Knife
The Bear OPS AC-700 strengths lie in its outstanding deployment mechanism and design effectively bridging the gap between EDC and tactical/defensive carry.
Bear & Son Cutlery is a relatively new name to the PTR Pros, but Ken Griffey is no stranger to the world of knife making. He’s been making knives since 1971 and started Bear & Son in 1991 in Jacksonville, Alabama where they still operate today. They make a variety of knives with an eye on affordability and quality. Today’s review is the Bear OPS AC-700 Bold Action VII Automatic.
The Bear OPS line focuses on Operational Precision for Superior Tactical Knives. So the AC-700 is tactical/defensive at heart, but the size makes it a great candidate for general EDC use. We know you love products that carry the Made in the USA tag, so let’s take a closer look at what this automatic folder has in store.
Blade Materials and Design
The hottest topic on virtually every knife is the blade material. The Bear OPS AC-700 uses Sandvik’s 14C28N, a steel we’ve seen Kershaw use in the past. Many consider this a mid-grade steel with near premium performance. Of course, a lot of that depends on how you use it. It gets solid marks for ease of sharpening along with corrosion resistance and can take a razor sharp edge. The tradeoff is the edge retention isn’t as high as the premium steels, though it is among the best in mid grades.
The blade features a drop point design for good piercing characteristics with a reasonable belly for slicing. It’s 3-3/16 inches long, so if you’re in an area with knife restrictions, it may be too long, regardless of deployment mechanism.
Nodding to its tactical nature, the blade carries a black coating with only the edge grind offering the potential of light reflection. A 3/4-inch section of jimping on the base of the spine is the only traditional jimping you’ll find on this model.
Handle Material and Design
The handle on the Bear OPS AC-700 is made from aircraft aluminum. Textured sides work with the blade spine jimping to offer a really secure grip for an all metal handle.
Each of my automatic tactical knives are pretty substantial in size – they have a palm-filling grip and blades well over an inch high. What’s different about this model is that the size is much closer to a typical EDC. For guys that don’t want to switch knives between defensive and EDC carry, it’s a really nice balance, particularly since the grip is solid for this size.
The Bear OPS AC-770 features one of the best automatic deployment mechanisms I’ve used. Some manufacturers pass on the smooth action since the auto mechanism does all the work on the blade. That’s just not the case here with an incredibly smooth and fast deployment.
Just below the deployment button is a safety slide that locks the blade closed or open. As always, red is dead and that’s your unlock position.
As about the only negative on this knife’s build, there’s a slight amount of blade play in the open position. It’s not enough to be a deal-breaker and doesn’t affect the function, though.
Getting the pocket clip right on any knife is a tough task. It needs to hold well without holding too tight and it needs to be substantial enough so it doesn’t bend out too easily. The clip on the AC-700 holds very tight – too tight in my opinion. If you’re the kind of user that carries the same knife in every situation, you might want to think twice before clipping in onto your khakis or dress pants. Even on my jeans, this clip is wearing out the seam quicker than most.
On the positive side of things, the clip is also very strong and is unlikely to bend out if you bump against a wall or table.
The clip is reversible. Switching sides for left-hand users doesn’t leave it in the way of the deployment button, though you have to carry tip up.
The Bottom Line
The Bear OPS AC-700 Bold Action VII Automatic Folding Knife combines an upper mid-grade Sandvik 14C28N steel and aluminum handle that offers a secure grip. Though its design is clearly along tactical/defensive lines, its smaller size makes it perfect for EDC carry for a one-size-fits-most kind of feel.
The automatic deployment mechanism is simply outstanding in its speed and smooth operation. Though there is a little bit of blade play, the design, deployment, and size are such great strengths for users that want to have a truly tactical EDC without feeling oversized that it’s hardly a deal-breaker.
MSRP is $150, though you’ll find online prices under the $100 mark. That can hurt your wallet a little for a blade steel that’s not premium, but like it is with most automatic knives, there’s a premium on the mechanism. At the online price, it’s just about right for the combination of materials.
With automatic deployment and a 3-3/16-inch blade, check your local knife laws to be sure whether you can own or carry the Bear OPS AC-700.
Bear OPS AC-700 Bold Action VII Automatic Folding Knife Key Features
- Automatic Opening
- Safety Lock
- Aluminum Handle
- Sandvik 14C28N Stainless Steel Blade
- Reversible Pocket Clip (Tip Up Only)
- Made in the USA
Bear OPS AC-700 Bold Action VII Automatic Folding Knife Specifications
- Model: Bear & Son AC-700-AIBK-B
- Blade Material: Sandvik 14c28n Stainless Steel
- Blade Style: Drop Point
- Closed Length: 4-1/2 inches
- Open Length: 7-7/8 inches
- Blade Length: 3-3/16 inches
- Handle Material: Aluminum
- Locking Mechanism: Push Button Automatic
- Pocket Clip: Left/Right Reversible, Tip Up
- Weight: 4.1 oz
- Country of Origin: USA
- MSRP: $150.00