Victorinox Swiss Army Pioneer Alox
Nail files are for pansies. Solid piece of kit that can do a bit of scraping or slicing or prying or torquing. It's a Swiss Army Knife after all.
- 2-layer thickness is perfect for pocketability without sacrificing functionality. Built like a tank
- Awl is wonderful
- I'm a pansy and sometimes would like a file
- Blade is predictably off-center to make space for other tools
- Backsprings are a little heavy on mine
I own the Silver Alox version of this Pioneer. I've had it for years and can't even remember why I have it, but I never like to go out without it. It's well-sized for the hand. Turning heavy flatheads, scraping at surfaces, sometimes punching holes, definitely to slice up food, lift caps, and even opening a few cans, rarely but still. It's just neat to have and even neater to have and need. Yep, it's a multitool.
Everything about it feels powerful. The scales, the grip texturing, the weight, that glorious awl. Even the springs! In fact, the springs are so strong that it can be painful to use the nail nicks with broken nails, which brings me to the lack of a nail file.
I get it. People hate these things. But I don't rub my hands on rocks all day, I live in society and those rocks are more proverbial. This is all irrelevant though because I know the 2-layer form would not be possible to preserve without sacrificing something. Personally I'm partial to the Wenger-looking can openers, the ones that double as bottle openers, hint hint.
Anyway the springs are immensely strong, I've had moments in the past where I could not deploy the can opener by hand. The nick for it is just a little more obscured than everything else and the fingernail experiences some pressure if you get my meaning. Sad times. The flip side of this is arguably that the tools do a really good job of staying unfolded.
Another thing to note is the blade isn't centered. Edge down and away, the base of it starts from the right layer and the tip goes off to the left, roughly between the two layers. In short, the blade's edge isn't parallel to the handle. It doesn't affect me, but if you don't like that, then know Victorinox makes a "Swiss Army" that has just 1 tool in 1 layer--the blade--and as funny as that prospect is, the blade is centered. Also, folding knives exist in general that will not have this flaw, but this one has it in order to make space for the fantastic awl which I am blessed by.
Speaking of the awl, it's amazing. It's got a massive surface for deploying so you could use 3 or more fingernails to lift it. That same surface acts as reinforcement which makes this a far cry from a nail file adapted into an awl or the weak flat awl that ships on other Swiss Army tools. I'll be honest, the factory grinds have seen better days; nevertheless, the point of the awl remains fearsome. That perhaps speaks more to how much I've used everything here.
I still love this thing. I would never subject it to muck or grit, but its alox scales suggest it could take it as opposed to plastic scales which can crack and pull off as I've seen. They're riveted to the frame, so I pry as I please. I've dropped it many times and all it has to show for it is a few scuffs and dings. I dust it off and return it to the safety and security of my pocket. It'll last longer than I will, and that says a lot, or maybe a little depending.
I've used it for the things it's meant for. Sometimes I use it to pry. Other times I use it in cars. I've even used the blade on some screws and have bad memories of chipping nicer knives. But this one is going strong and that's awesome.
I carry this one every day. EDC enthusiast for years. I don't live in the backcountry and I'm not a knife expert by any means, but I appreciate a good tool even if I don't need one, and when I do...
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: Bought probably 4? years ago
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Historic Range: $34.99-$51.99