The next release from TOPS is arriving tomorrow, just in time for Cinco de Mayo. Called El Pionero, it’s a collaboration design with Ed Calderon that takes one of the world’s most common cutting tools and puts a new spin on it.

Calderon wears many different hats, but in the knife world he’s best-known for his Elvia knife design. A hawkbill knife, the Elvia has seen multiple renditions by custom partners and more recently, various production incarnations, including a folder version from Emerson and the L-Via mid-tech, made in collaboration with Kopis Designs. The Elvia’s hawkbill blade shape has an explicit tactical element to it, but is also intended for more mundane applications including everyday carry and, believe it or not, food prep.

The spine side finger notch is a Calderon signature

The culinary angle is interesting in relation to El Pionero, too, because the explicit inspiration for its thin, 3.38-inch drop point blade was in fact the paring knife, which TOPS points out is one of the most common knives around, appearing in different incarnations all over the world. Here, rendered in TOPS-standard 1095, the paring blade shape contributes to a multirole carry, equally adept at culinary, practical, and tactical things.

A key element Calderon carried directly from the Elvia to El Pionero is the finger notch on the handle. This feature helps the user to index their hand, even when they aren’t looking at the knife, so they can be sure the edge is facing the right way no matter what. The handle profile is straight and simple otherwise, with a full tang construction covered by thick tan canvas Micarta scales. El Pionero comes with a Kydex sheath and weighs just 2.9 oz. on its own (4.1 oz. in the sheath).

El Pionero will be available tomorrow, May 5th.

Knife in Featured Image: TOPS El Pionero

The information provided by (the “Site”) is for general recreational purposes only. The views and opinions expressed on the Site are those of the author or those quoted and do not necessarily reflect the views of any entities they represent. All information on the Site is provided in good faith, however, we make no representation or warranty of any kind, express or implied, regarding the accuracy, adequacy, validity, reliability, availability, or completeness of the information on the Site. Under no circumstance shall we have any liability to you for any loss or damage as the result of the use of the Site or reliance on any information provided. Your use of the Site and your reliance on any information on the Site is solely at your own risk.

Read the full article here


Comments are closed.