Ontario RAT 2 is an EDC destined for budget-minded knife users. Surprisingly, it has high popularity not even experienced by some of the high-end pocket knives.
Before you give this simple folding knife a try, read our full review below to discover its performance in ergonomics, cutting performance, build quality, finishing, price, and whether it’s worth your money.
Ontario RAT 2 at a glance
The key specs for Ontario Rat2 are:
Rat II comes in a modified drop point style blade which is perfect for a utilitarian knife for field tasks like field dressing, skinning game, making feather sticks, etc.
It also has a thin full flat grind that boosts its slicing ability and enables it to easily go through various media for a cleaning cutting job. The full flat ground also means easy sharpening in the field.
The blade forms a sturdy, fine tip—though not as sharp as a clip point—which you can employ for various piercing/stabbing tasks without worrying about breaking it.
The blade measures 3.0" which is a step down from its predecessor’s (RAT I) 3.5" blade. Reduced blade size means reduced overall size (it measures 7" compared to its big brother’s massive 8.5" length).
With such a compact and moderate size, this is a great EDC for use in urban settings or white color job duties where you don’t want to scare people with those massive EDC blades.
The EDC knife comes equipped with the Japanese AUS-8, budget-friendly stainless steel. The blade is ultra-sharp right out of the box. But you can re-profile and polish it to suit your heart desires.
It also offers great edge retention if you use it for daily cutting tasks…but don’t expect it to hold the edge as good as the high-end steels. The steel has a fair amount of toughness to it and is easy to sharpen. AUS 8 blade won’t chip easily and can serve you for longer.
Keep in mind that Ontario also offers this knife in D2 steel variation, the Ontario Rat II D2 Black. For beginners, D2 is a tool steel that’s harder to sharpen than aus-8 but offers excellent edge retention, so you don’t have to sharpen it often.
The D2 variant comes at the same price as the aus-8 model and would be a more ideal choice if you plan to use your knife more frequently and for harder cutting tasks.
Handle material and ergonomics
The pocket-friendly folding knife features durable Nylon 6 handle material with sufficient scales to offer you an adequate grip. It has a natural feel in your small or medium-sized hands.
However, users with massive hands might not enjoy that natural feel due to the knife’s small handle. If you’re one such user, we suggest getting the RAT I, the bigger brother to this knife as it shares the same quality and features as this compact model.
Also, if you’re used to a larger EDC knife and you decide to get this, then it might some time to get used to it before it starts feeling natural in your hands. This is not a deal-breaker, though.
Don’t forget that this knife comes with some jimping to offers you a perfect grasp of the knife, despite it being compact. On top of this, it comes with a small finger groove for your index finger to complete that overall natural feel in your hands.
Thumb studs work magic when it comes to smoothly and quickly deploy RAT II’s blade.
The blade flies open in super-fast action, you’d think it comes with assisted opening…or someone applied a drop of gun oil, grease, or an ounce of lubricant without your knowledge!
One-handed opening is also possible for this knife. You can open it easily and quickly with just a flip of the thumb. Though one-handed opening may take a while to master, when you finally get the hang of the thumb stud, it becomes fun to open your knife.
The pivot comes fitted with phosphor bronze washers with Teflon spacers to facilitate ultra-smooth opening action.
Don’t forget, the thumb studs are equivalent on both sides of this EDC knife to make it easy to deploy for lefties as well.
The knife features a solid liner lock mechanism, which means quite something for a knife in its price range.
When you open your knife, the blades lock into position with a satisfying clip and the lockup feels rock-solid steady in place.
No side to side wiggle or up and down motion when the lockup is on.
Zero chances of the blade closing up on your fingers. This is fantastic for a knife at its price range!
The knife features a 4-way pocket clip, which lets you carry your knife in all 4 positions: tip-up, tip-down, left, and right sides. This makes it friendly for leftie users.
The clip feels secure and tight in your pocket and won't easily fall out unless you take it out yourself. Although the knife rides a great depth in your pocket, it’s not deep carry.
It slides in and out of your pockets easily and you’ll never have any issues with it tearing your pocket edges.
The clip is black coated, so it offers you discreet carry.
Fit and finish
The entire knife is superbly crafted with extremely close tolerance. The blade comes well centered and locks up solid with zero blade play in all directions.
And if you don’t like this knife in black handle color, don’t hate it yet. Ontario produces the knife in a variety of colors ranging from.
The blade comes razor-sharp out of the box. What’s more, the blade comes in a satin or black finish, further ensuring you can choose a finish that looks more appealing to you.
Ontario RAT II field test
As a compact EDC knife, Ontario RAT II will hold up well for your daily cutting tasks like opening mails, making a sandwich, cutting veggies, opening packages, and so forth.
Small as it is, this knife will also hold up well to batoning and splitting twigs up to 3 inches. Its locking system will remain solid and blade and will display no movements for medium-hard tasks.
For hard tasks like batoning through thicker wood, this knife will also perform well but its Aus-8 blade will dull fast! This is expected of the steel since it doesn’t hold an edge for long, and loses it even faster when used on hard media.
If you want to take your RAT 2 through hard use, make sure you go with the D2 blade option because it has great wear resistance (long edge holding ability) and will take a lot of abuse, unlike Aus-8 which goes down fast!
Ontario RAT II is best suited for what it was initially designed for—utility tasks. Given how compact this knife is, you should think again about using it for some tough field use.
Ontario Rat II pros and cons:
Ontario RAT II alternatives
If for whatever reason you don’t think RAT II is a good knife for you or want similar blades that you can compare to it, we’ve got a few inexpensive Ontario RAT II EDC knife alternatives for you below.
Ontario RAT I is the big brother to Ontario RAT 2. As you can easily tell, Rat II was designed as a smaller version of Rat I. The two pocket knives have a ton of similarities as they come from the same manufacturer. And despite their size differences, they feature the same price point and design.
Both Ontario EDCs come equipped with aus-8 stainless steel blade and ergonomically designed Nylon 6 handles which are perfect for right and left-handed users. Both feature thumb studs for quick and smooth one-handed deployment.
The same 4-way pocket clip is found in both knives, making them suitable everyday carry knives for both righties and lefties.
However, due to the smaller size of RAT 2, it’s is more suitable for users with small to medium-sized hands. It is also more suitable for urban settings where big blades can be intimidating.
RAT 1 is a perfect choice if you have bigger hands and don’t mind having a larger EDC knife. RAT I will be more suitable for tactical applications than its small brother RAT II.
2. ESEE Zancudo
This is also a top competitor to RAT II and that’s for a good reason. Both knives are designed by the same man, Jeff Randal, who went straight to creating the Esee Zancudo after breaking up with Ontario.
RAT 2 and Zancudo feature nearly the same sizing and fall in the same price range. Both knives come with a 3-inch drop point blade with full flat-grind and they are powered by the same AUS-8 blade steel. The two knives come razor-sharp out of the box.
One area where the pocket knives differ is that Esee’s model features a frame lock which is rated as stronger and more reliable than the RAT’s liner lock. Another notable difference is the stone finish in Esee Zancudo as opposed to the satin finish in Ontario RAT II.
While RAT II offers you 4 mounting options, Zanzudo pocket clip only tip-up and down for righties only—lefties, stay away from Zancudo. The handle in Ontario knife feels more natural in your hand and is aesthetically pleasing compared to the Esee Zancudo model.
Zancudo is also heavier and suffers inconsistent quality control, making RAT II the winner between the two knives.
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Overall RAT 2 is a great knife for the money. The quality and performance surpass the price point, making it a great investment for folks on a budget.
Its ergonomics are great, deployment feels like a dream, and lockup is quite solid. The fit and finish is unbelievably good for the price. Its Aus-8 blade will meet pretty much all your daily cutting needs while lasting longer than most knives in its price range.
With its compact moderate size, this is a great EDC for urban settings where you don’t want to scare people with those large EDC blades
If you’re a knife collector looking for a new knife that’s easy on your wallet to add to your collection, we recommend RAT II.
If you’re looking for a good quality knife with an affordable price point for your everyday carry needs, get this RAT II.
If you can’t think of a better gift for a knife lover in your life, get them this Ontario RAT II EDC knife!