The first good machete I ever owned was an Ontario 6145. I have many fond memories of stomping through the forest as a teeneger hacking away at everything in my path like some kind of gangly adolescent Jason, and I owe them all to the fine folks at Ontario Knife Company.
Ontario has produced some of the U.S. military’s most iconic machetes, bayonets, and survival knives, so it’s safe to assume they make decent stuff. Even though the 6145 can be found for a mere $20 on Amazon, it is still made in the USA and is still a very high quality product.
Finding a high quality American made product at an affordable price always gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling in my guts, and if you get one of these machetes I guarantee your innards will feel the same way.
If any of you commies out there need more convincing then keep reading for the full review; patriots can simply click here to get one now.
The 6145’s 18″ Latin-style blade is simple and no-frills, which is good because frills belong on lady dresses and not machetes.
A heavy black powder coating serves the dual purpose of protecting the blade from corrosion and making it look incredibly sexy.
The blade is made of 1095 carbon steel, ideal for machetes due to its toughness and edge retention. Some sources indicate that rust can be a problem with 1095 steel, but I’ve never had any issues. I should note that I live in Colorado, which is generally very dry. Wetter climates might require occasionally cleaning and oiling.
The factory grind is good but admittedly not quite as hot as some other brands, with the tip being notably rougher than the rest of the blade. I point this out for the sake of thoroughness, but in practical terms I don’t think 6145’s slightly imperfect grind matters one bit. Ontario machetes are tools designed for real world use. A perfect grind would just increase the cost without adding any utility.
It’s sharp enough to use right out of the box is perfect for small trees and woody bushes. If you want the 6145 to be shaving-sharp it’ll take a little work.
This is one of the only full tang machetes I’ve reviewed so far. A full tang means that the blade is one long piece that extends all the way through the handle and the two side pieces of the handle being attached to the sides of the blade.
Full tang construction is generally considered stronger than other tang types, but the advent of modern epoxies and manufacturing techniques means there are many excellent machetes available that don’t have a full tang.
The 6145’s handle is made of a heavy duty molded plastic which is attached to the blade with heavy rivets. The handle is more comfortable than it looks, but it’s very square and fat. I have fairly large hands so I do OK with it, but users with smaller hands might find the handle overly beefy.
The giant handle seems to be one of the only complaints about this machete. While I’ll admit that I prefer the handle on my Condor Eco Survivor, I’ve used an Ontario for long stretches of intense chopping and haven’t had much of a problem. Still, a rounder handle would be ideal. Somebody more industrious than me could easily modify it with some basic tools or build a new one all together.
I wrapped the handle on my old 6120 with cloth tape years ago and that made it was much more comfortable and easy to grip. Some machete enthusiasts recommend tennis racquet grip tape. This is a more pricey option and I haven’t personally tried it, but I bet it would look good and feel quite sensuous in the and.
One of the only major differences between my old Ontario and the new one is the material used for the handle. The newer Ontario uses a heavy plastic material and the older machete uses a hard composite, probably Bakelite.
The newer handle material feels durable and tough. It’s also a slightly less hard so I think it does a better job absorbing shock than previous handle material while also being less prone to chipping and cracking.
On my 20-year-old machete I did notice that some of the rivets rattled slightly after years of use. Wrapping the handle with tape fixed the problem. I’m also guessing the rivets could also be pounded snug again with a ball peen hammer.
Other Ontario Models
While the 18″ 6145 is probably Ontario’s most popular machete, they make a few interesting variations that are worth mentioning.
The Ontario I’ve owned the longest is their 6120 model, which is identical to the 6145 except for the sawback blade. I purchased it to replace a 6145 I accidentally left in the woods after a camping trip involving one too many Keystone Lights.
The sawback on the 6120’s blade is really sharp and surprisingly functional. I’ve used it to saw off numerous tree limbs for firewood and am always pleasantly pleased at how well it actually works. It isn’t as effective a traditional hand saw, but it gets the job done and is often easier (albeit less fun) than hacking through a branch with the blade’s front edge.
Their CT5 22″ machete is four inches longer than the 6145. My friend owned this model, and while it was a little unwieldy for many tasks it felt like a full-on sword and was a blast to use in short bursts.
The CT1 (model 8295) is a shorter 12″ version of the 6145. I’m sure many of you are asking yourselves, “Why would I ever want less machete?” which is a very valid question. Here are a few good reasons: A short blade is lighter, easier to control, and small enough to stash under your pillow.
Ontario also offer a number of models with a D-shaped handguard, which I’d imagine are pretty popular in the underground machete dueling scene.
As far as I know, Ontario only makes two sheath styles for this machete. The black nylon sheath is basic but seems to be a popular and affordable sheathing solution, although I haven’t personally used it. The hard plastic sheath seems sturdy but has received very mixed reviews, with many customers complaining that it holds the blade to tightly and mars the surface.
From what I can tell, both sheaths are made in China.
I’ve had a Ontario machete since before I could drive, and after two decades of abuse I still grab it every time I go camping.
Ontario machetes aren’t perfect, but they are incredibly good for the money. For just $20, you get a machete that is cheap enough you don’t have to worry about it yet so good you’ll want to use it all the time. In a market saturated with flashy imported junk, I can’t recommend the 6145 highly enough.
If you’re interested in purchasing this machete, please consider doing so by clicking this Amazon link. It won’t cost you a penny and it’ll help support me, your friendly neighborhood maniac!
|Blade Length||18" / 45.7 cm|
|Blade Thickness||.12" (about 1/8") / 3 mm|
|Weight||1.31 lbs / 594 g|
|Weight w/ Sheath||N/A|
|Country of Origin||USA|