In a previous post we looked at an out-of-left-field hand blade by Tom Anderson, another killer blade designer, called Critical Mass. Well, I found yet another revision of this freaky blade type, looking for all the world like it belonged on the set of Mad Max…

Critical Mass II - Tom Anderson

Critical Mass II - Tom Anderson

Now this weapon is a bitter sweet comeback to me, because although it appears to me to be an improvement on the original Critical Mass design in many areas, it also takes a step backwards in a few others others.

For instance, on the original Critical Mass, the handle was placed fairly far forward, and had a “hood” that extended far enough back that it rested on the users forearm. Though this design left your actual hand exposed, it allowed for a great deal of control of the weapon. On this weapon, although the hand is pretty much covered, it pretty much stops there. You have much less leverage, and therefore less control.

And then there is the mounting point for that front blade on Critical Mass II. I’ve never understood why you would make a fairly wide blade, and then weaken it at the attachment point by narrowing it just before the hilt. Again the first version did not suffer any such weaknesses.

An Ornamental Katar

An Ornamental Katar

Of course I would be remiss not to mention that the basic weapon design does appear to have at least superficial similarities to a perhaps much more practical weapon, called the Katar. The Katar is a punch-blade style weapon of Indian decent. Some of them have mechanically actuated split blades, also called “Scissor Katars”, and yet another variety called the “Hooded Katar” have a shield over the back of the hand. Given also that it would probably be a lighter and faster weapon, I would probably prefer to use a split-blade hooded Katar if given a choice, over either Critical Mass weapon.

Video Game Scissors Katar

Video Game Scissors Katar

Nonetheless Critical Mass II does have a lot of strong points. Literally. It is simpler and the blades are much more effectively placed than in the first. It is probably also lighter and faster than the first. It provides much better hand protection, though it could have benefit from an extended hood for both forearm protection and extra support and control.

But given the sweet lines of those, oh-so-beautiful black blades, the menacing spikes on the guard, and the overall no nonsense look of the piece, I’d say it’s a winner. I dare you to disagree. I dare ya. I double dog dare ya. I triple dog dare ya… Yeah… Whatever.

Critical Mass by Tom Anderson – [The Collectors Edge]