Maserin Reactor, the “Spetsnaz” folding knife

Maserin Reactor knife
The titanium plate that makes up half of the handle is machined with great precision. As you can see, this is a frame lock.

The Maserin Reactor is a tactical folder with a very special story: its designer is Nicolai Lilin, author of "Siberian Education", a very successful autobiographical novel from which in 2013 the Italian director Gabriele Salvatores made a beautiful movie version where knives have a very important part. But Lilin is not only a writer: he has a deep knowledge of the art and symbolism of Siberian criminal tattooing, as well as of the human soul. He also carries out an appreciated activity as a tattoo artist in Italy and he is very active on social platforms. His association with Coltellerie Maserin dates back to the film's shooting period, when the Maniago company presented the Siberian Knife, a fixed-bladed knife with typically Siberian lines that also recur in Siberian tattooing iconography. The collaboration continued with the Police model, another fixed-bladed knife with a strong personality, and came to the third installment with the Reactor model, the first folding knife bearing the Kolima signature.

The inspiration for this knife, that wants to be a tribute to all the special forces that use edged weapons, comes from an operation carried out by the Russian Spetsnaz in 2010 along the coast of Somalia. A group of Somali terrorists managed to board a Russian tanker taking the crew hostage. An intervention of the Navy special troops was decided, but given the presence of flammable vapors even a single shot fired on board the ship could have caused an explosion. So the Spetsnaz decided to confront the terrorists using only cold steel. The story – with some fictionalization – is told in the movie "22 minutes".

The Maserin Reactor in detail

The Maserin Reactor closed
The Maserin Reactor closed. At the top right you can see the comfortable flipper for one-handed opening. The titanium surface is very nicely crafted.

From a practical point of view, the Maserin Reactor is a generously sized folding knife, strongly characterized by the original blade profile, featuring a lightening fuller on both sides and a flat grind. The blade, which is 110 mm long and 44 mm thick, is made from D2 carbon steel – technically not stainless steel, but still with a high resistance to oxidation. One of the many positive characteristics of D2 steel is that it allows you increase hardness and it's no coincidence that the Reactor blade is hardened with a value of 58/61 HRC. On the left side of the blade we find a laser engraved logo designed by Nicolai himself and dedicated to special forces, as well as the signature "Kolima design" that refers to Lilin's tattoo workshop. On the right side is the manufacturer logo and the clear and unobtrusive indication of the steel used. The blade has a very fine stone-washed finish, almost looking like a satin finish. Surfaces and lines on the blade are quite sharply executed, in particular the double fuller: Maserin brothers' experience at its best. 

The stainless steel backspacer of the Maserin Reactor knife
The stainless steel backspacer protrudes from the tail of the handle forming a glass breaker. The clip is repositionable.

The Reactor opens with a side flipper and remains open thanks to a frame lock system. The handle is made from two different materials: the left side is G10 – in our case black-colored, but it's also available in brown, green or blue – while the right one is made of a single piece of titanium and houses the liner and the reversible stainless steel clip. The stainless steel backspacer extends beyond the back of the handle, forming a sturdy glass breaker.

Light, but certainly not frail

On the Maserin Reactor a good weight reduction job has been done. In addition to the already mentioned blade fullers, there are also some millings on the handles, invisible from the outside. Thanks to this the Reactor weighs only 158 grams, which is not a lot for a knife of this size with a 4mm thick blade. The ribbed finish on the titanium handles, on the other hand, seems to be more geared towards increasing grip than to save weight, and in this regards it achieves its aim, offering a surface that is very pleasant to the touch. The point of contact between the frame and the blade's heel is reinforced with a steel plate fixed by two Allen screws. The only criticism we feel like making at the handle is the somewhat cheap appearance of the black G10 scale. The blade gently opens on ball bearings, and the perfectly shaped and sized flipper is comfortable and intuitive to operate, even with gloves on.

The flat-grinded blade of the Maserin Reactor knife
The flat-grinded blade is made from D2 steel and features a logo designed by Nicolai Lilin, representing the spirit of the Special Forces.

Ultimately, the Maserin Reactor is not the whim of a celebrity: Nicolai Lilin knows a lot about knives, and the result of his design is a knife that's quick to open and handle, thanks to its reasonable weight and excellent balance. Surely that extra millimeter of blade thickness helps to make a difference when it comes to cutting fast and well. It can be an interesting choice for an EDC knife with some extra robustness. Otherwise, the quality of workmanship is typical of the Maserin brothers, i.e. excellent, and the price of around 190 euros is a correct consequence.

Maserin Reactor specs

Maserin -
Model:681 Reactor
Type:Tactical folding knife
Blade Material:
D2 carbon steel , 58/61 HRC
Blade Length:
4.3”/110 mm
Overall Length:9.6"/245 mm
Blade Thickness:
0.157"/4 mm
Stone washed
Blue, brown, black or green G10
Locking System:
Frame lock
Clip:Stainless steel, reversible
Notes:Stainless steel glass fringes
5.57 oz/158 g
About 190 euro (price may vary in your country)
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