Review: Perrin Streetbeat

I’ve always liked Spyderco’s fixed blades. They featured sharp edges and the edge geometry has always been geared to slicing as opposed to prying or chopping. As cool as the FRN models were, I and many other wanted to see some higher end fixed blades from Spyderco. The Lum tanto was cool, but not a real user to me. The Streetbeat is –to me- the first high end practical fixed blade from Spyderco. It’s small enough to occasionally carry and use in my urban environment and it’s bound to be the camp knife I’ll reach for this summer.
 
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Blade
The short blade is nice and wide to support that thin and sharp edge. I’ve used the Streetbeat around the house for the past few months. The Streetbeat is an excellent little kitchen knife. I know that’s not a big surprise. The dropped edge and thin edge really come into their own on a cutting board. The jimping on the spine is relatively ‘long’, which is great for finding a grip for your thumb or index finger, even if your hands are wet and gooey.

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Grip
The grip is just about as perfect for a small fixed blade as I can imagine. That big finger cutout keeps my hand where it should be, on the handle and not on the edge. Regardless of whether my hands were wet and slippery from kitchen work. The handle is also rather short. This makes the Streetbeat more comfy to carry on the belt and it makes for a more discreet carry package. Furthermore, that short handle with a round and wide end is perfect for resting in the palm of the hand for certain grips. For when you want to pierce through something tough, for example. On top of all that functional gripping action, the handle looks really pretty. It’s almost a kind of gentleman’s fixed blade. The surface of the Micarta is smooth to the touch, so the Streetbeat is comfortable to use for longer periods of time. I used the Streetbeat for preparing the Christmas dinner with my family, so my Streetbeat saw plenty of food prep action.
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Carry
A few years back I had a passing interest in fixed blades, and when I carried them I preferred the IWB appendix carry. I was inspired by the writings of the late Bob Kasper on that subject. The Streetbeat somehow doesn’t work as well for this. I prefer the Streetbeat as a little belt knife. Just regular vertical carry on the belt behind the hip and the knife is out of the way until I need it.
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Sheath
Sal, I’m sorry to have to say this but the out of the box sheath of the Streetbeat simply isn’t up to par with the rest of the package. I got the opportunity to try out a bunch of different knives and sheaths in the SFO and all of them had a less than perfect fit. The knives all wanted to rattle in their sheaths. The sample I chose in the end worked the best, it was rattle free and had a good tight fit. After a month or so, the sheath wore in a bit and the fit became loose enough to cause a rattle during carry.

I can appreciate how tough it must be to design and make a proper sheath for the Streetbeat. The handle becomes rather narrow at the handle/blade junction; I can imagine that there is very little material for the sheath to hang to, if you want to create a quick draw (with a full grip on the handle) type sheath. Luckily, I was able to obtain this Mike Sastre sheath which works wonderfully. I also wanted a sheath that looked more classy, so it could match that nice looking handle a bit better. That’s why I opted for the carbon fiber pattern concealex.

I don’t think the standard sheath is unsafe, as the retention was still good. It’s just terribly irritating to have this knife rattle in its sheath. I do think that factory sheaths, also from Spyderco, can be perfect and rattle free. The best sheath to date, came with my Moran fixed blades. The Temperance sheath was also really good. The Kumo sheath was OK, but not as nice as the previous ones. I would recommend to get more sheaths designed by the maker of the Moran sheaths. Another point I want to make is, for an expensive and high end fixed blade like the Streetbeat, I’d be more than happy to pay a little extra for a better sheath.

The Streetbeat is a really nice, and nice looking, fixed blade. Once I was happy with the sheath, I finally got to understand a little more about those bushcrafters that extol the virtues of small fixed blades. A knife like the Streetbeat can do more than the average folder, of similar size. It’s just as comfortable and safe to use right or left-handed. It also empties a pocket, where the clipped folder used to be. I really like this size for an EDC fixed blade. The design is excellent for EDC and for all sorts of tasks. It’s a versatile little knife. The downside of fixed blades for EDC is the legal issues involved. Urban carry of fixed blades (even as small as these) is probably frowned upon by the authorities. So for me, the Streetbeat won’t make the carry rotation. That is, until I hit the country side for hiking or camping.
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Overall
I’d like to see more Spyderco fixed blades in this size. I know the ‘Mule’ project is coming up, which is a similar size design, so that takes care of the leaf shape design in a small fixed blade. How about a Streetbeat with a Wharncliffe blade?

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