Review: ANV M311 Spelter

Contributor Sébastian shares his thoughts on this offering from Acta Non Verba (Action Not Words) – a modern, all-rounder knife.

ANV… Acta Non Verba… Action Not Words… the worst start ever for a written review isn’t it?

The Czech company was created in 2018 by 3 shareholders and, shame on me, I only came across them some months ago when browsing on Instagram. At first I was quite fascinated by the quality of the product staging (please check out @anvknives)…

Then the M311 Spelter caught my eye. Designed in collaboration with military operators and security members, the 275mm overall length knife is no marketing gizmo but a tool designed for action, not words.

A good tool must be effective and pleasing to use, and this is exactly what the M311 Spelter is. The handle design is simply near perfection. You can see its design was also inspired by legendary knife maker Bill Harsey’s work, in my humble opinion he is the best (knife related) source of inspiration ever!

In hand and compared with a true Harsey design of knife, my Spartan Blade Difensa, the differences are quite noticeable though. The 3D machined micarta scales with a very fine fuller type texture are thicker, with a bigger belly and they don’t flush the tang of the knife.

As the 120mm blade is a little bit too short for chopping tasks, ANV added 2 grooves at the bottom of each scale to favor the 3 fingers grip. This type of grip, secured by the paracord lanyard, allows the user to increase the knife’s inertia and the chopping abilities of this medium sized knife.

The top of the scales has been lightly carved to create a thumb rest when using the knife for chest cuts movements, or when you need to hold your knife with the blade perpendicular to your palm.

In hand the user can count on three large size jimping areas to secure the grip even further. The first one is located at the thumb rise, the two others are located on each side of the butt.

I have to confess, I am sceptical about the utility of these two jimping sections unless you’re using your knife Catherine Tramell style (if you know, you know!).

The M311’s handle and ergonomics are great but how about the blade? Well, to be concise, it’s near perfection minus a point or two.

ANV went for swedish Elmax steel with a flat grind and we won’t complain. The knife was razor sharp out of the box and thanks to its mastered heat treatment, the edge retention was very impressive.

During the last 2 months, the knife has been involved in multiple tasks such as cutting, batoning wood, cutting cardboard, ropes, plastic material etc. Of course, in the food prep field, the M311 cannot perform as well due to the 5mm thickness of the blade.

The blade also features a quillon as well as a groove on the top to rest your thumb on when using the large finger choil.

Last feature, the top circular swedge creates a sharp edge to scrape material or a firesteel. The point of the knife reminds very strong because the swedge doesn’t start at the tip. This is a bit of a plus compared to my Spartan Blades Difensa and it’s a thinner and pointy tip.

The model kindly lent to me for the review features the ANV Camo DLC pattern: a black DLC coating with a clearer stripes pattern with the brand’s logo.

Talking about DLC treatment, I had a bad experience without my knowledge. I took the knife with me during our summer vacation in Brittany. I used the knife more often than I would imagine and one day we were at a deserted beach, I decided to take the knife out for some pictures.

Family priorities obliged, and I forgot to rinse the knife after contact with salt water. 4 hours later, I found rust spots on the blade. This unfortunate experience is a reminder: take care of your knife – especially in a salty water environment, whether the blade is coated or not!

The Czech knife comes with a very nicely made pancake style kydex sheath, here shown in coyote color.

The sheath comes with a few feet of paracord wrapping (which is always handy), a large drainage hole, a velcro closure system with a velcro belt loop extender. In order to avoid the knife from inclining, a bungee cord was added to the velcro belt to hold the knife tight. The retention is perfect and I haven’t noticed any rattle.

Now I’m about to wrap the knife up and send it back to Czech Republic, I have to say I was blown away by the build quality and design of the M311 Spelter.

According to my personal tastes and use, I wish the blade was just an inch longer to increase its chopping abilities. If you’re in the market for a modern, high-end all-rounder knife, the Spelter is a serious knife to consider.

Last but not least, this model is available in 4 different blade finishes, three handle and sheath colors! Do the math, one can choose between 36 different combinations so there is definitely a M311 for you!

The DLC models don’t come cheap at €351 euros, and up to €371 euros for the terrific topographic pattern. The good news is the new N690 stonewash iteration is only €220 euros!!! If you’re still not convinced by the M311 Spelter, please check ANV’s website, the line is very impressive for such a young company. 

Many thanks to ANV lending me this terrific knife for the review.

By Sébastien Wachbar

Contributor, more posts.