GRN means “glass reinforced nylon” and it’s just that. Glass fibres are injected into nylon to improve the specifics of standard nylon.

While nylon alone is already a good choice for components like knife handles, GRN is even a way better choice in most places. Nylon is resistant to impact, chemically inert, resistent to temperatures and abrasion. All these specifics are enhanced by adding glass fibre.

In contrast to other materials like carbon fibre or G10 the fibres are not aligned in a certain direction. They are mixed into the nylon and lie in every direction possible. This helps with improving the strength in every direction. Some other materials have very different resistancy against impact or tearing depending on the direction of the force.

GRN handles are usually very smooth to the touch. Some even are a bit glossy or a have a certain shimmer. This combined with the low weight of glass reinforced nylon gives some people the wrong impression that GRN is mere cheap “plastic” that breaks easily. While it’s hard to distinguish cheap materials from GRN by just looking at it rest assured that this material is way tougher than it looks or feels.

The special look makes GRN perfect for two kinds of knife:

  • Either pure “users” that put function over aesthetics. GRN actually is not as expensive as many other materials used for handles. And if you’re just interested in its performance, GRN is a great choice
  • Technically looking, very “sleek” EDC knives

How certain manufacturers use GRN

ANV makes some of their folders with a choice of different materials for handles. And many are available with GRN as one option. They improve the material by giving a single piece more than one finish. This treatment gives more interesting and sophisticated looks than plain GRN.

Some producers use different names for their own mixture of glass reinforced nylon. Others names that can mean specific brands of GRN are Zytel or FRN (fibre reinforced nylon).