Guns and Gear

TOPS Sheep Creek and Stroup GP2: Reliable EDC Blades Review

TOPS Knives, a tactical/outdoors knife maker from Idaho, has produced fixed-blade knives for law enforcement and military personnel for over two decades. Founder Mike Fuller and a group of Vietnam War veterans created TOPS Knives. The intent was to address issues with the knives they were given during the war. This culminated in hard use knives like the Sheep Creek.

The TOPS Knives Wharncliffe Sheep Creek

Since its establishment in December 1998, the company has remained devoted to producing only high-caliber knives made in the USA. Additionally, TOPS Knives supports the veteran community through charitable donations.

At the 2021 Blade Show, an intriguing knife named the Sheep Creek (popularly known as Dilly Dilly) caught my attention. Dylan Waters, one of TOPS’ employees, designed this excellent knife that won TOPS’ 5th employee design contest.

The unique Sheep’s Foot or Wharncliffe blade shape of the knife is 8 inches overall. The 3.75-inch blade length (0.190″ thick) and 3.25-inch cutting edge make it perfect for everyday carry (EDC) and camping. Its flat grind blade makes it an excellent choice for light Bushcraft, food preparation, and camp chores.

The 154CM Stainless Steel blade can take on the harshest elements and withstand them with ease. In addition, it’s compact enough to take on everyday carry adventures, weighing 7.1 oz., and fits snugly into your gear.

The Sheep Creek knife derives its name from a popular camping spot in Idaho’s Caribou-Targhee National Forest. Dylan holds this area close to his heart, as it was his favorite spot for camping and fishing during childhood. The knife is a tribute to the memories made in this beautiful location and future ones.

For the handle, experience a truly unique look and feel with the new “Rough Terrain” distressed finish, featuring green and tan micarta scales—unmatched in style. Each knife is one-of-a-kind, promising no two are the same.

Experience a unique look and feel with the new Rough Terrain handle, with green and tan micarta scales. Each knife is one-of-a-kind with a distinctive, distressed finish.

For easy accessibility, the knife comes with a beta loop clip, and users can store it in an OD Green Kydex sheath. With its versatile design, Sheep Creek is a valuable addition to your gear for camping and daily adventures.

The TOPS Sheep Creek comes with a kydex sheath designed for scout carry. The author opted for a cross-draw setup instead. There was a nice place to push off with the thumb to quickly deploy the blade.

Versatility Afield

The Sheep Creek is a utility blade that offers dual functionality as an everyday carry (EDC) tool and a woods kitchen knife. Likewise, the ergonomic handle features a distinct humpback shape to position the cutting edge beneath the knife’s centerline. This makes it an ideal tool for food prep.

The topographical sculpting on the Micarta scales provides excellent traction and a comfortable grip. Additionally, the jimped and concave tip of the Sheep Creek blade comes in handy for push-cutting.

A desirable trait in an EDC knife is the ability to prepare food. The TOPS Sheep Creek excelled in this regard, operating like a mini cleaver allowing for knuckle clearance and smoothly slicing like a box cutter.

The TOPS Sheep Creek in Action

The Sheep Creek was the stoutest of the duo, as expected. Its nearly 3/16-inch thick blade efficiently split wood like nobody’s business. I resorted to using a heavy baton to accomplish this feat. It was a task that required some vigorous pounding on the handle and spine. So, it’s not the best idea to try this at home, kids!

The TOPS Sheep Creek thickness proved valuable in batoning hardwood for firewood. Its sturdiness made it effortless to split wood.

The TOPS Knives Sheep Creek showed its versatility and strength while cutting utility materials. Slicing through cardboard, cords, puncturing cans, and slicing hard plastic proved to be quite the stealthy cutter. The wharncliffe blade makes it perfect for the job, with the tip cutting like a box cutter.

Greenwood and cardboard are two materials that tend to wear out knife blades quickly. However, the 154CM remained sharp and did not falter during testing. Even at the end of the testing, the edge remained so sharp that it could cleanly shave hair.

The utility gauntlet was no challenge for the TOPS Sheep Creek. It made quick work of leather, electrical cords, plastics, tow strap, and a tin can.

Stroup Knives

Founded in 2017 by veteran Chris Stroup and his family, Stroup Knives specializes in creating high-quality survival and combat knives for every situation. From everyday carry (EDC) to tactical use, each knife is crafted with precision and attention to detail. Thus ensuring that it will last when you need it most.

And with a commitment to affordability, Stroup Knives makes it possible for everyone to access the best survival tools. Trust Stroup Knives to provide the only knife you’ll need when the going gets tough.

The Stroup GP2 is a sleek, 7.75-inch American-made masterpiece with a 3.5-inch high carbon steel blade, OD G10 handle, and Kydex sheath. The perfect fusion of durability, precision, and style.

Fort Bragg

Meet Chris Stroup, a former communications specialist in the US Army with 11 years of experience. Throughout his career, Chris maintained communication networks on the base. He built tactical networks on vehicles, providing personal communication devices and ensuring clear information flow during operations.

He served in prestigious units such as the 25th Infantry Division, 4th Battalion 160th SOAR (Abn), and a Special Missions Unit at Fort Bragg, gaining invaluable combat experience. Unfortunately, Chris was medically discharged due to severe knee injuries. Still, he took the skills he learned in the Army and successfully transferred them to running his business.

Chris said, “The most important skills I learned are how to make a plan and that there is always a solution. Stroup works hard to support our community by hiring Veterans and law enforcement officers. We provide them a purpose after service, something they can be proud to be a part of.”

The Stroup Knives GP2

Introducing the all-new Stroup Knives GP2 general-purpose EDC knife. This handy knife is the perfect tool for law enforcement, military, and outdoors people, designed to tackle your daily improvised needs.

Measuring 7.75 inches overall with a 3.5-inch blade constructed from 1095 high-carbon steel, the GP2 is robust and durable. Yet, it is lightweight enough to comfortably travel with you wherever you go.

The textured G10 scales are available in flat dark earth (FDE) and OD green. They add another layer of functionality by boosting grip when your hands are cold or wet. This ensures you always retain complete control over your actions. The acid-etched and stone-washed blade surface adds an extra aesthetic appeal to the GP2.

The OD green G10 scales aren't just for show. With their textured surfaces, they enhance grip in wet or cold situations. So you stay in control and ready for whatever comes next.

What sets it apart from other blades is its slim design. This allows it to easily fit onto a belt via a black kydex sheath with a Blade-Tech Tek-Lok. As a result, you can carry it around all day without issue.

Plus, thanks to its versatile size and capability, this multipurpose knife can handle everything. That includes everything from slicing various foods in camp to crafting spears for fishing or whittling kindling for your subsequent fire.

Whether you need something reliable for everyday tasks, something special for outdoor adventures, or jobs that weigh heavily on the tactical side, the Stroup Knives GP2 has you covered!

The textured spine is designed to provide a comfortable grip for various hand positions.

Hard Use GP2

As someone who values comfort and blade performance, I like to create something with every opportunity. One of my go-to options is the Figure 4 deadfall trap. I baton the stop cuts and make the 45-degree angles to streamline the process. This was practical compared to the next challenge.

The figure-four is the author's preferred method to test knives, as it reveals details about their comfort and edge geometry. By utilizing this technique, one can gain insights into the nuances that define a great blade.

The GP2 was plunged into an ammo canister and leveraged for good measure. The tip and edge are stressed to the max during this mission.

Stroup and Tops Knives offer dependable blades for when you need them most!

The Stroup GP2 endured harsh conditions, being plunged into an ammo canister before being beaten a few inches in with a baton. The edge was unharmed.

For more information, please visit TOPSKnives.com and StroupKnives.com.

SPECS:

TOPS Sheep Creek

Overall Length 8.13 inches
Blade Length 3.75 inches
Cutting Edge 3.25 inches
Blade Thickness 0.190 inches
Blade Steel 154CM RC 58-60 Cryo Treated
Blade Finish Rough Terrain
Handle Material Tan Canvas/Green Canvas Micarta
Knife Weight 7.1 ounces
Weight w/ Sheath 9.9 ounces
Sheath OD Green Kydex
Designer Dylan Waters
Country of Origin Made in the USA
MSRP $270

Stroup GP2

Overall Length 7.75 inches
Blade Length 3.5 inches
Cutting Edge 3.25 inches
Blade Thickness 0.125 inches
Blade Steel 1095 High Carbon Steel
Blade Finish Stone-washed/Acid-etched
Handle Material FDE/OD G10
Knife Weight 4.5 ounces
Weight w/ Sheath 7 ounces
Sheath OD Green Kydex w/Tek-Lok
Country of Origin Made in the USA
MSRP $219
For a dependable knife in a crisis, you can rely on the Stroup GP2 & TOPS Sheep Creek EDC (on the right). These robust knives will never let you down!

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