Review from Lava_lamp

July 07, 2016

Review from Lava_lamp

ROSarms Messer-1 Review

I received a ROSarms Messer-1 (along with a Federal Super) last weekend through the pass-around here and wanted to share some thoughts.

Rosarms Messer-I

 "Messer" simply means "knife" in German and this 7 1/2 inch knife looks and feels ready for just about any task a hunting, camping, fishing, or working knife might perform. ROSarms also produces a slighter larger version -- the Messer-2 -- with an eight inch blade. Visually, the Messer-1 takes some design cues from Mora knives from Sweden, but improves on the design. The fit and finish, however, is nicer than any Mora I've handled. It's a sturdier design, too, with a wider and thicker blade (1 1/4 x 1/8 inches) and a fuller, more ergonomic handle. 


The handle is made from a natural birch nodule set off with stacked birch bark inserts. The bolsters and guard are crafted from brown Micarta. When in use, the guard is effective in protecting your fingers. Overall, the handle looks terrific and feels great in the hand. It's really a joy to hold - cool and smooth, yet grippy. The very nice lanyard you see in the photos doesn't come with the Messer -- it was tied by Hillbillenigma's young daughter, who earns a little money from her craft. You can get your own here:

Rosarms Messer-I


The 3 1/4 inch full-tang drop-point blade is well finished with a nice profile and an attractively-etched logo representing its origins in Zlatoust, Russia. According to the company's website (, the polished blade is hand made from 110x82 steel. 110x82 is apparently a Russian-made steel that compares to BG-42. The hollow grind is unlike any other knife I've seen and gives a modern look to an otherwise traditional style design. It's a nice blend.


The brown leather sheath has been the subject of some discussion amongst the previous reviewers, but I can't complain. I think it is relatively well-made and superior to the nylon or Kydex sheaths sometimes packaged with a knife in this price range (under 0.) Sometimes, you get no sheath at all. As to the Messer sheath, the construction and stitching is very nice and up to the level of the knife it fits, but the leather is a bit "corky" and un-refined. The stud closure seems antiquated but kept the knife securely in place.

Rosarms Messer-1Rosarms Messer-1 sheath

Size & Weight

The Messer-1 is remarkably light for its size. Here's a size comparison with an Olsen Hunter, a ROSarms Federal Super (reviewed by me here), and a Becker Tac-Tool from Camillus. The Messer-1 is 9.5 inches long in the sheath, the Olsen is 11 inches long in the sheath, the Federal Super is nearly 13 inches long in the sheath, and the Becker Tac-Tool reaches 13.5 inches in the sheath.

Rosarms Messer compare to other models

Rosarms Messer compare to others

On the scale, the Messer-1 is weighs only 3.8 ounces without the sheath and 5.6 ounces in the sheath. By comparison, the Olsen weighs 8.5 without the sheath and 12.3 ounces in the sheath, the Federal Super weighs 9.8 ounces without the sheath and 13.7 in the sheath, and the Becker Tac-Tool 1 lb 2 ounces plus another 5 ounces for the Kydex sheath.

I tend to prefer folders over fixed blades for weight reasons, but this knife actually weighs less than my Strider SMF (6.0 oz.) and my Spyderco Military (4.5 oz.) For those of you who like neck knives for their light weight, the Messer-1 deserves a look. It is too bulky for a neck knife, but its weight makes a strong argument for use as an EDC.

Rosarms Messer-1 and folders

In Use

When I put it to use, I found that the Messer-1 is a slicer. I used it to open up a few cases of water and Gatorade and it cut through the thick plastic wrap easily, with a light "zipping" sound. I also cut up some chicken and realized that it could easily replace one of my kitchen knives -- though the blade was a touch short for most kitchen tasks. Although it is relatively short, the leaf-shaped blade provides lots of "belly" and more cutting edge than would be found in a clip point or Bowie. (Spyderco fans know what I'm talking about here.) 

As shown in the photos below, the clever blade grind leaves a relatively thick 1/8 inch spine for strength and a thin edge for optimal slicing. It is shown here with a 1/4 inch thick Becker Tac-Tool. Note how the edge bevel is considerably thinner on the Messer-1.

Thickens of the Rosarms Messer-1

I also took it outside for some light chopping and made some fuzz sticks. The Messer-1 is a sturdy knife, but a little too small and light to be a great chopper. It cuts well, though, and made short work of the fuzz sticks. It would be a great camping companion, but I'd want a hatchet or chopper as well.

Rosarms Messer-I

Rosarms Messer-1 in use


Overall, I was very pleased with the Messer-1 and would have liked to keep it. Not having had any experience with ROSarms, I didn't know what to expect and was pleasantly surprised by the excellent fit and finish. I also like the blend of traditional and modern in the design and in the materials used. It is a tool-first kind of design, a great-slicer, and light enough that you would always have it when you need it.

The only Messer-1 available through right now is one gilded with 24k gold depicting a hunting scene. The MSRP is 0. The slightly larger Messer-2 with an undecorated blade and stacked leather handle sells for .50. At that price, it's a steal. You can order through the website or through World Knives:

ROSarms also sponsors a discussion forum in the manufacturers section of BladeForums here:

My thanks to ROSarms and Hillbillenigma for making this knife available to me for a short time.

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