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SIMPLE. AGGRESSIVE. EFFECTIVE.

THE OMEGA B1 BLADE

THE RIGHT VIKING TOUGH


SURVIVAL TOOL EMERSON KNIVES BATTLE AXE
EJ SNYDER REVEALS
HIS TOP PICKS HIGH-QUALITY—
POCKET FRIENDLY
BLEND OF KIZER CUTLERY TANGRAM
BLADES, DESIRE PROGRESSION
INSIDE “KNIFE OR DEATH”
WITH BILL GOLDBERG LIGHT DAILY CARRY
AND TU LAM WILMONT KNIVES K25 &
ULTRALIGHT NECKER

WARRIOR’S
EDC BLADES FORMIDO
SPARTAN

BUSHCRAFT URBAN FIRST


knivesillustrated.com
DEC 2018 • VOL. 32, NO. 6 • U.S. $5.99 • DISPLAY UNTIL: 12/11/18

12

0 71658 03124 1
COMFORT RESPONDER
ENGAGED MEDIA INC. BRADFORD KNIVES GUARDIAN 4.5 ZT KNIVES HINDERER FOLDER
AVAILABLE IN BLACK CANVAS LAMINATE - #43177
AND TAN CANVAS LAMINATE - #43176 (SHOWN)

F E AT U R E D H E R O

Harry Bologna is a decorated Navy SEAL, serving 22 years. Losing


both lower legs in Afghanistan in 2015 didn’t dissuade Harry from his
passion for life and the outdoors. His collaboration with Winkler Knives
and Case to build the Recurve Utility No. 6 is just another milestone in
his incredible life story.

CASE, , , CASEXX, TESTED XX, XX, Case 6.5 BoneStag and various other marks used herein are registered trademarks of CaseMark,Inc.
DEC 2018
VOLUME 32, NUMBER 7
WWW.KNIVESILLUSTRATED.COM

COVER STORY
24 FORMIDABLE DAILY COMPANION
The Spartan Blades Formido exemplifies quality craftsmanship and hard use cutlery in this latest EDC offering.
BY JOSHUA SWANAGON

FEATURES 32
32 COMBATIVE CONFIDENCE
The Omega B1 Blade from Omega Protective Concepts is
a no-frills self-defense design by someone who dedicates
his life to making others safe.
BY CHRISTOPHER DONER

38 OLD SCHOOL COMBAT


Calling upon the spirit of the Viking warrior class, the
Emerson Knives Battle Axe draws inspiration from a
timeless design.
BY JOSHUA SWANAGON

46 A BUDGET PRIZE
Kizer Cutlery offers a high-quality design at a pocket
friendly price with its Tangram Progression folder.
BY TIM STETZER
38
52 YOUR BUSHCRAFT FRIEND
Bradford Knives provides a friend you can count on in the
field with its Guardian 4.5 Bushcraft Knife.
BY EJ SNYDER

KNIVES ILLUSTRATED (ISSN 0898-8943) is published 7 times a year, January/February,


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DECEMBER 2018
Volume 32 • Number 7

EDITORIAL
Doug Jeffrey Editorial Director
Joshua Swanagon Editor
Kelly Nomura Executive Managing Editor
Wendy Wilson Managing Editor

DESIGN
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CONTRIBUTORS
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or Death” talk about their time on the show and how to succeed.
BY JOSHUA SWANAGON

COLUMNS 82
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knivesillustrated.com DECEMBER 2018 • KNIVES ILLUSTRATED 5


J-Flex $5.95 each
SCALLOPED
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$89.95 MOLDING K363


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PRODUCTS

MOSAIC
Maker DESIGNS
KYDEX ® Steven Potts
Made in the USA at Jantz Supply.
Each design is meticulously crafted with the
Kydex® is sold in 12” x 12” sheets. All colors
available in .080” thickness. Black & OD Green knifemaker in mind to create a singular style for your
available in .060”, .080” & .093”. knife. Watch for more designs as they are developed
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Maker
Bill Kennedy

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Joe Wheeler

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Each design is available in four combinations of


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Excellent machining
Very fine granulated metal powder for characteristics make it a
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perfect handle for your blade.

PHENOLIC
CAT.# DESCRIPTION WEIGHT PRICE
PS845 1084 Powder Steel 5 lbs 17.95
PS955
PSNI1
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5 lbs
1 lb
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in RESIN Sold in sets of 2 scales,
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Maker

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FROM THE
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Maker
C Fune Knives PO BOX 584
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when working to prevent warping or chipping.
Juma is sold in sets of 2 scales.
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$19.95 per set


Maker
Gary Langley

Northern For more information


Fillet on these products,
Blade shown scan the QR code.
in Damascus Or go to https://goo.gl/BV9KEA
with natural giraffe
bone handle and
decorative torx screws
for fasteners.

NORTHERN
FILLET BLADE

10” length, blade 4 7/8” long x 5/8” wide, .100” thick, 3/16” holes.
CAT.# DESCRIPTION HRC PRICE
1-800-351-8900
J2958 CPM 154 Fillet Blade 59-60 29.95 FOLLOW US ON
JD329 Damascus Fillet Blade 58-60 59.95
LOCKED ON

IT ALL
COMES
DOWN TO
PREPAREDNESS
STORY AND PHOTO BY JOSHUA SWANAGON

I
carry what I need. The Kershaw Concierge
lends itself to a great
EDC option, due to
“WHEN I THINK OF EDC KNIVES, I LIKE
When I think of EDC in general, I try to consider the its affordable pricing,
8Cr13MoV high carbon
TO CONSIDER THE TYPES OF FUNCTIONS
essentials of everyday life and the possibilities that can
arise in any given situation. When I am putting together my
stainless steel, G-10
handle scales and
a 3.25-inch blade –
THEY MIGHT NEED TO PERFORM.”
personal, small EDC day pack, I try to ensure that I have the which is legal in almost
all municipalities.
essentials—water, fire, shelter and essential tools—covered. of a more robust blade for more serious tasks than the blade
on a Swiss Army knife would be accustomed to, but is also
When I think of EDC knives, I like to consider the types of quick and easy to draw in a survival or self-defense situation.
functions they might need to perform. However, I may be Finally, I typically like some kind of fixed-blade knife, for
one of those who goes a little overboard sometimes. In fact, I even heavier duty chores that I wouldn’t want to put a folder
have heard my brother say that I look like Mad Max going into through. As an addition, at times I will have a multi-tool for
Bartertown, pulling out item after item. But I am the type who more expanded options.
would rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have
it. I have found myself in situations in life where I was kicking Something important to point out is to use the knives you
myself for not grabbing something on my way out the door, carry, even if, in your mind, they are dedicated for self-defense.
thinking I wouldn’t need it, and then finding that I did. And I It is easier to convince law enforcement that it is a tool if it
had nobody to blame but myself.
Follow looks like it is used as such on a regular basis. If it is clean and

With that said, I like to consider my knife and edged tool


Knives unused, they will be less likely to believe it is meant as a tool.

selection in the same way I consider any general EDC options:


Illustrated Stay sharp and keep it real. KI
I like to cover my bases. One item you will always find on my Magazine
person is my Swiss Army knife. It is the quintessential pocket
on Instagram:
@KnivesIllustrated-
tool and mine sees a lot of use. I also like to always have a
Magazine
pocket, clip knife. Something I can access easily, that has a bit

8 KNIVES ILLUSTRATED • DECEMBER 2018 knivesillustrated.com


NO COMPROMISE I N TRODUCI N G THE

HK HADRON
OUT THE FRONT

EXCLUSIVELY USA MADE BY

HKKnives.com
E D G E D T O O L S F O R T H E P R O F E S S I O N A L

Hogue Grip_1_2h 1 9/6/2018 11:03:43 PM


GEAR UP

ENHANCED EXCURSION
NEW PRODUCTS TO HELP YOU GET MORE OUT OF YOUR NEXT TRIP
STORY BY JOSHUA SWANAGON, PHOTOS BY MANUFACTURERS

05 03

04

01

02

10 KNIVES ILLUSTRATED • DECEMBER 2018 knivesillustrated.com


01 Amok Equipment 04 CRKT/Snap-on
Draumr 3.0 Camping Hammock Rave XL Knife
I have found that hammock camping is the most comfortable I have ever Having had the opportunity to speak with Ken Onion and hear about his
been in the woods or jungle, but sometimes it can feel a little cramped and days at the Tesoro Refinery, purchasing knives from the Snap-on truck, I
it is hard to lie on my side or stomach. The new Draumr 3.0 Camping Ham- kind of wondered when this would happen. It looks like that time is now.
mock by Amok Equipment has a unique design with all of the comforts of a Ken has gone back to his roots and designed a knife for the very company
hammock combined with the lie-flat comfort of a bed. Its sleep pad sleeve he used to regularly purchase from: Snap-on. Designed for working folk,
allows you to add an extra layer of comfort for three-season camping. The the Rave XL features a tough, glass-reinforced polypropylene handle
side adjustment straps allow you to convert it to a chair while lounging with TPR textured insert to keep it from slipping. With a 1.4116 Stainless
around camp. Steel blade, this knife is made to work.

DETAILS SPECS & FEATURES


Sleep flat on your side, back and stomach Bottle holder and storage pockets Blade material: 1.4116 stainless steel Open length: 6.875 inches
Chair mode: Adjustment straps to turn the Durable and spacious pack-sack Blade length: 2.75 inches Weight: 6.2 ounces
hammock upright like a chair Closed length: 4.125 inches
Integrated bug net with YKK zipper MSRP: $189.95 Handle material: Nylon w/glass filled fibers with MSRP: $72.50
Suspension straps with 10 kN carabiners and tree AmokEquipment.com thermoplastic rubber insert Snapon.com
huggers included Hardness: (HRC) 55–57

02 UCO Gear 05 MSR


Flexible Folding Solar Panel Charger WindBurner Group Stove System
I am not typically one to use electronics while camping. There are On my recent trip to Colorado, three wildfires were happening
times, however, when they can come in handy. What isn’t handy is simultaneously. So, no surprise, a complete burn ban was in effect
when they run out of battery. A lot of great battery backup options throughout the state, and our camping plans were smothered. Though
are out there, but they can be big, heavy and limited by their own not the same as a campfire, a couple lanterns and a small stove system
charge. The UCO Gear Flexible Folding Solar Panel Charger folds down will make your trip a reality in a pinch, even in these kinds of conditions.
to about the size of a wallet and packs a heck of a punch—with the This windproof stove is perfect for any altitude and features a 2.5-liter
ability to charge an iPhone from 0 to 100 percent in approximately sauce pot, perfect for two to four people to share a nice meal. A burn
two hours. ban shouldn’t end a perfectly good outing, and the WindBurner Group
Stove will help make sure that doesn’t happen.
SPECS & FEATURES
Compact and super thin Water-resistant, tear-proof, shock-resistant DETAILS SPECS
Weighs no more than 120 grams (4 ounces) Unfolded: 17.1 x 8.6 x 0.43 inches Windproof performance: 100 percent primary Width: 7.25 in
Smaller than an iPhone 6 when folded Folded: 4.3 x 2.8 x 1.3 inches air combustion, enclosed design and internal Weight: 1 pound, 4 ounces
12 Dow flexible solar cells pressure regulator work together to maintain Length: 7.75 inches
Easy to fold and carry MSRP: $99.99 performance in windy and cold conditions. Height: 6 inches
Gromets for backpack or tent attachment UCOGear.com Packed Weight: 1 pound, 5 ounces
Multiuse: 2.5-liter ceramic-coated nonstick Burn time: (MSR IsoPro) per 227-gram,
sauce pot (serves two to four) features an 8-ounce canister: Appx. 95 minutes
enclosed, heat-capturing ring for simmering Water boiled: (MSR IsoPro) per 227-gram
and cooking versatility. canister: 18 liters
03 5.11 Volume: 2.5 liters
EDC PL 2AAA Pen Light Compact nesting: Rattle-free nesting with
an 8-ounce MSR IsoPro fuel canister (sold MSRP: $199.95
You may have noticed over the years that I tend to include different lighting
separately). MSRGear.com
options in this section. I am not the type who likes to fumble around in the
dark; I like to see what I am doing and avoid unnecessary accidents while Stable: Self-centering pot fits WindBurner
out in the wild. The 5.11 EDC PL 2AAA Pen Light is a great addition to any stoves’ deep lip for increased stability.
EDC due to its compact and portable size coupled with 4 hours 20 minutes
of 105-lumen runtime. This light falls beautifully into the area of just
FEATURES
Radiant burner with boil-to-simmer control
enough light and ample runtime. Pressure regulator for consistent performance
2.5-liter ceramic-coated aluminum nonstick pot
Strainer lid with locking latch
SPECS & FEATURES Folding Talon handle
105 lumens Diameter: 0.66 inch Room to nest optional 8-ounce MSR IsoPro fuel
CREE XP-G3 Beam distance: 26 meters canister (sold separately)
Single mode switch IPX-4 water resistance
Runtime on high: 4 hours, 20 minutes Impact resistance: 2 meters
Battery type: AAA x 2 Removable pocket clip
Machined aerospace grade aluminum
Weight: 2.14 ounces (with batteries) MSRP: $24.99
Length: 5 inches 511Tactical.com

knivesillustrated.com DECEMBER 2018 • KNIVES ILLUSTRATED 11


POINTS OF INTEREST

TRAVEL AS
YOU WILL
THE KNIFE OWNERS’
PROTECTION ACT SEEKS TO
ENABLE LAW-ABIDING KNIFE
OWNERS FREEDOM ACROSS
STATE LINES
BY KNIVES ILLUSTRATED STAFF

K
nife Rights reports that Sen- Senator Roger
Wicker (R-MS),
ator Roger Wicker (R-MS) author of S.3264
(Left), with Doug
has introduced S.3264, the Ritter of Knife
Knife Owners’ Protection
Act of 2018 (KOPA), including repeal
Rights (Right).
PROTECT YOUR KNIFE LAW
of the Federal Switchblade Act. This
RIGHTS BY SHOWING PREEMPTION
is a companion to their House KOPA YOUR SUPPORT STATUTE – IS YOUR
bill, H.R.84, introduced last year. As We encourage you to support this effort to
STATE ONE OF THE 10?
originally conceived and authored by protect knife owners and repeal the outdated Doug Ritter noted that Knife Rights has
Knife Rights in 2010 and first intro- Federal Switchblade Act by contacting your passed its signature Knife Law Preemption
duced in 2013, these revised KOPA members of Congress and asking them to statute in only 10 states. That nullifies any
bills would remove certain restrictions support S.3264, the Knife Owners’ Protection local knife regulations more restrictive than
Act and oppose S.1092, the Interstate state law. Knife Rights passed the nation’s
on interstate trade in switchblade
Transport Act. Knife Rights makes that first Knife Law Preemption bill in Arizona in
(automatic) knives that are legal to easy with their Legislative Action Center at: 2010 and has since passed preemption bills
one degree or another in 44 states, CongressWeb.com/KnifeRights/24 in Alaska, Georgia, Kansas, New Hampshire,
while also protecting the right of knife Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and
owners to travel throughout the U.S. Wisconsin. In these states, once you know the
without fear of prosecution under the state law from the Knife Rights’ LegalBlade
patchwork of myriad state and local app, you know the law throughout that state.
knife laws.
Without preemption, municipalities or
Sen. Wicker said, “I am pleased to DON'T BE “THAT jurisdictions in the state may have knife laws

introduce the Knife Owners’ Protection GUY” IN HANDCUFFS: or regulations more restrictive than state law,
creating a patchwork of laws that can trap
Act. This legislation would provide KNOW THE LOCAL the unwary knife owner. Ritter suggests that
law-abiding knife owners the appropriate KNIFE LAW you check online for the municipal or county
protection when transporting knives criminal codes for that specific municipality
across state lines. It would also repeal the Information on knife laws in the U.S., including or jurisdiction. Some municipalities or
those of a number of cities, can be found on jurisdictions provide a link to their criminal
antiquated Federal Switchblade Act. I
Knife Rights’ LegalBlade app at: LegalBlade. codes on their websites. For others, two likely
look forward to working with my Senate org. However, because there are thousands of sources (try one and then the other, they each
colleagues to advance this sensible policy local knife regulations, it is impossible to list service different jurisdictions) are:
for knife owners.” them all. In most cases, if you want to know https://library.municode.com
local knife restrictions and bans, you will need http://www.amlegal.com/code-library
Knife Rights Chairman Doug Ritter said, to dig them out yourself.
“We are proud to have Senator Wicker These links are now included in Knife Rights’
Ritter said, “In our experience, law LegalBlade App at: LegalBlade.org
leading the KOPA effort in the Senate,
enforcement personnel are generally not a Or, use a search site like Google and search for
a bill that will actually protect traveling reliable source for accurate information on “Municipal Code” or “Criminal Code” and the
knife owners and repeal the archaic and knife laws. You would want to inquire at the name of the municipality or jurisdiction.
useless Federal Switchblade Act. It is office of the District Attorney or equivalent, Another option is the local library which often
clear that Senator Wicker understands for the jurisdiction. Ask them to provide carries the town municipal code. Speak to
the plight of knife owners placed in legal the actual language of the prohibition or the research librarian, who is generally very
restriction. Or, look online.” helpful.
jeopardy by the patchwork of knife laws
they encounter traveling in America.” KI

12 KNIVES ILLUSTRATED • DECEMBER 2018 knivesillustrated.com


The new Flexcut® Hawthorne Knife Collection gives you ultra-sharp, rugged

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FIFTH IN A SERIES

PREPAR
FOR GL
BILL GOLDBERG AND TU LAM TALK ABOUT WHAT IT TAKES TO SUCCEED
IN HISTORY CHANNEL’S NEWEST KNIFE SHOW – “KNIFE OR DEATH”
STORY BY JOSHUA SWANAGON
PHOTOS PROVIDED BY TU LAM

14 KNIVES ILLUSTRATED • DECEMBER 2018 knivesillustrated.com


RE
LORY
knivesillustrated.com DECEMBER 2018 • KNIVES ILLUSTRATED 15
I
t just keeps getting better. Bill Goldberg and Tu
Lam preparing for a
contestant.
“MY KNIFE STYLE IS BASICALLY AN EXTENSION
If you have been following my OF MY PERSONALITY; WHICH IS, I TRY TO SMASH
series on the “Forged in Fire” judges EVERY SINGLE THING IN FRONT OF ME, AND THE
over this past year, it will be obvious
that I am loving the knife-related
BLADE THAT I CARRY IS REMINISCENT OF THAT.”
air time happening over at History – BILL GOLDBERG
Channel. So, last year when “Forged in
Fire: Knife or Death” was announced, I recently had a chance to speak with Bill content and his background, I said yes.
I was almost beside myself with and Tu about their time on “Forged in Fire:
anticipation. A knife show, where Knife or Death” and their thoughts on KI: Have you always had an inter-
the contestants are actually getting what it takes to be successful on the show. est in knives and cutting sports?
out onto a course and showing the BG: No, I have not. But now that I am
world what knife sports are all about? Bill Goldberg involved, I am extremely surprised I
That sounded like my kind of show. KI: How did you get involved wasn’t interested in it in the past. It’s
in “Knife or Death”? a whole different world in and of itself.
Add to that the fact that it is hosted BG: My involvement with “Knife or It’s an exciting world with a lot of varied
by actor, retired NFL defensive tackle, Death” was no different than pretty blades and a lot of varied characters
mixed martial arts color commentator much 90 percent of the casting inquiries that come with those blades [laughs].
and WWE Hall of Famer Bill Gold- that I have had about hosting, except
berg along with retired Green Beret, that it was from a gentleman that KI: Do you have a personal
founder of Ronin Tactics and edged I had seen his work before and was favorite knife style?
weapon specialist Tu Lam—OK, History excited to work with him. This was BG: I do have a personal favorite knife
Channel, now you’re just showing off. just a different project. Because of the style, but it’s not necessarily the most

16 KNIVES ILLUSTRATED • DECEMBER 2018 knivesillustrated.com


strategic to take on, shall we say, “Knife the blade that you are wielding. But
or Death.” My knife style is basically an for the most part, what’s held the
extension of my personality; which is, I try most competitors up this season
to smash every single thing in front of me, has been the ratchet straps.
and the blade that I carry is reminiscent
of that. It’s a destructive blade and my KI: Do you feel that power can sufficiently
technique is not about finesse. Now, when compensate for an inadequate blade?
it would call for finesse, I might consider BG: Again, it depends upon the object
a different blade. But I’m a powerful that you are smashing or cutting. In
guy that wields a powerful blade. certain instances, yes, I think power can
compensate for an inadequate blade. But,
KI: Have you had a chance to play on the where is it in inadequate? Is it not sharp? Is
course yourself? If so, what did you think? it the wrong blade for the obstacle itself? The Ronin War
BG: I have not had a chance to go through There are a lot of things that go into play. Sword
the course myself. I’ve been able to take
on a number of the obstacles individually, KI: As a professional athlete and “Understand, there isn’t one blade
but not the course in its entirety. competitor yourself, how much do that is perfect for this competi-
you feel that heart and determination
tion. After co-hosting on ‘KOD’
KI: What was the best run can help a competitor overcome
Season 1, I had my personal idea
you saw last season? a poorly made blade—in regard
BG: I’d have to go Jason Johnson, in to dullness or poor geometry? of the construction, geometry and
my eyes, because it was the perfect BG: Well it’s very hard to judge how sharpness needed in a blade to excel
blend of speed, anger and violence. heart and determination can make up in this type of competition. I had an
for a poorly constructed blade on the idea, but I needed to find my blade
KI: What do you feel is the hardest course. There’s only so much that heart, maker. So, I decided to go to my
obstacle in the course? determination, strength, power and first blade show hosted in Atlanta.
BG: I can’t answer the hardest obstacle Bill Goldberg and Tu cardio can do for you. Because if you have
Lam on set, finding a
in the course because it depends on moment of zen. an inadequate blade, it doesn’t matter
After talking to a few blade smiths,
I decided to trust the construction
of my blade with a talented
bladesmith named James Helm
from a company named Helm
Forge. I remember him drawing
down my ideas on a small notepad,
and what came out of this drawing
was ‘The Ronin War Sword.’

This long-handle blade was


influenced by the yem Nguyet—a
Vietnamese pole arm. The blade’s
geometry was influenced by the
Korean kyeopdo and Chinese
pudao, while the spine has a
recurve like a Nepalese ram-dao.

The Ronin War Sword was based


on my study of the ‘KOD’ course,
and I designed the geometry of
the blade for hacking, chopping
and slashing—with a spine recurve
to hook free floating objects.”
—Tu Lam

knivesillustrated.com DECEMBER 2018 • KNIVES ILLUSTRATED 17


how good your cardio is, how strong
you are or how much you understand
angles of entry. So, though heart and
determination are an integral part in
formulating the perfect competitor, I
don’t know how much they can actually
make up for an insufficient blade.

KI: What are you watching for specifically


when judging “Knife or Death”?
BG: I’m not really judging “Knife or Death;”
I’m just commenting on it, and what I am
looking for in the ultimate competitor is
the perfect blend of the perfect knife, the
right amount of cardiovascular fitness,
the right amount of speed and power
and most importantly, strategy. Because
depending on your statistics in all of the
things I just mentioned, you have to go
about things in a certain methodical way,
taking every variable into consideration.

KI: What is your favorite memory


of working on “Knife of Death”?
BG: My favorite memory is meeting the
Tu Lam wielding the
Ronin War Sword on
the set of “Forged in
“WE ARE CURRENTLY FILMING SEASON TWO OF
wonderful people and getting to know Fire: Knife or Death.”
‘KOD,’ AND I CAN TELL YOU THIS SEASON IS BIGGER
AND MEANER THAN LAST SEASON.” – TU LAM
them, whether it be the production
crew or the guy sitting right next to
me (Tu Lam)—which is an honor and
for speed while fighting, yet have the
privilege to know more about him, in a high-threat situation. One of the
geometry to hack, chop and build things
each and every episode, and to get courses our company teaches involves
to survive. The Spartan Blades NYX
closer to him—and Travis (Wuertz) a combat form of blade tactics.
has always exemplified that for me.
and our entire production team—an
unbelievable family of people, and that In November of 2017, the History
is a rarity in Hollywood— I’m greatly KI: What is your personal favorite style of Channel’s talent scout reached out to me
appreciative of that more than anything. knife if different from your first answer? regarding the “Knife or Death” TV show.
But it does give you an opportunity to TL: For an everyday carrier, I like The network asked me to look at a few
meet different people, from different the Ronin Tactics Sakura blade. The videos, along with several celebrities
walks of life, that all have one thing geometry works well with a forward and MMA fighters, as host of the show
in common—and that’s the blade. mass to allow the blade to spin faster to see how we interacted. I remember
with a tapered handle and ring. The getting along with Bill Goldberg right
Tu Lam blade sloping lead edge is ideal for away and we quickly became friends.
KI: In your time with the Special Forces slashing and the false edge allows for
you have had a lot of interaction with a dagger point penetration. This blade The first season aired May 2018 and
knives. What style of knife have you is ideal for close-quarters protection. the show did very well throughout the
found to be the most versatile? network. We are currently filming season
TL: The Special Forces Green Beret KI: How did you come to get two of “KOD,” and I can tell you this season
mission requires the A-Teams to not just involved with “Knife or Death”? is bigger and meaner than last season.
operate, but also survive in some of the TL: After I retired from the Special
most extreme conditions in the world. Forces, I started a company called KI: Where do you see people make
While working with foreign military Ronin Tactics, Inc., which specializes in the most mistakes in the course?
and rebel forces, during my time with developing tactical gear, reengineered TL: I look at more than just their blade.
the A-Teams, I have seen many foreign from my time and experience serving I study the competitors. I study their
weapons. Therefore, when I look at a throughout specialized units within story, upbringing, motivations, etc. I find
blade I understand the requirements Special Operations. We also travel the biggest mistake most competitors
needed, based off its geometry, material around the U.S., teaching law abiding make is their inability to adapt and
and sharpness. When picking a combat citizens, military and law enforcement overcome to the changing environments
style blade, it needs to be balanced combat-proven tactics needed to survive the “Knife or Death” course brings. This

18 KNIVES ILLUSTRATED • DECEMBER 2018 knivesillustrated.com


course isn’t just about the blade. It’s
about studying past “KOD” season one
events and preparing for it physically and
mentally while building the skills needed
to effectively gage speed, accuracy,
distance and levels of quickly changing
obstacles found on this course. There
is no one blade that will excel on this
course, so it is critical they know how to
effectively use every part of their blade.

KI: Do you test each test to make


sure it is difficult enough, yet
not unrealistically difficult?
TL: Every obstacle on this course has
been tested several times by the safety
crew or Bill and me. I usually test the more
challenging obstacles that require more
speed and precession. This season we
started filming a segment of the show
called, “TU torial” where I “TU Lam”
demonstrate—play for play—my approach
to defeating the more difficult obstacles.
In this segment, I go over the mindset, Above: Bill Goldberg and discuss the geometry of blade needed to successfully complete these harder obstacles.
Tu Lam on set, preparing
body mechanics and strategy needed to test a course challenge.

to generate explosive force through KI: What is more important? Blade design and edge geometry?
short burst movements. We discuss Or the contestants body mechanics and structure?
speed and angles of entry to the object, TL: I have seen weaker and smaller stature competitors bring a blade with the right
based off the structure, construction geometry to make up for their lack of size or strength. A small person can generate
Below: Bill Goldberg and
and presentation of the object. I also Tu Lam on set. more power on a chop if they have a heavier forward mass, with a tip down recurve. This

knivesillustrated.com DECEMBER 2018 • KNIVES ILLUSTRATED 19


recurve will allow more transfer of power Tu Lam wielding the
Ronin War Sword on
upon impact, which is very much like the set of “Forged in
Fire: Knife or Death.”
the chopping power found on an axe.

I also find that the competitor must know


how to effectively use the geometry
of their blade to their advantage.
During this coming and last season of
“KOD,” I have seen near perfect body
mechanics and power, while using
poor blade geometry and the results
were usually unfavorable—resulting in
either failure to defeat the obstacle or
catastrophic damage to the blade.

KI: What are you watching for specifically


when judging “Knife or Death”?
TL: I usually get a short biography on
each competitor and their blades prior to
their run. My approach to understanding,
or predicting how they would do, starts
with understanding their history. I look at
things that motivate them to compete
in this competition. Some are here to
prove something to themselves and
their families; some fight to empower
others; others have competed at a
chance to win $20,000 so that they
can take the winnings to support their geometry and sharpness. There have minds of the writers and producer of the
child’s medical needs. There are so been a few competitors who have failed show. The crew is very professional, and
many reasons they compete, and as a making “The Cut” and there have been I feel very lucky to get a chance to work
co-host I must try to understand their a few times where safety had to step with them. Before the start of every day
mindset along with what drives them. in to stop the competition due to the I like to talk with our blade expert, Travis
physical safety of some competitors. Wuertz, to get his assessment of every
I also study their current fitness level, weapon that’s competing that day.
training, occupation, etc. Finally, I go into KI: Who do you feel has an advantage
their blade geometry. Once I understand between someone with an aggressive It has also been an extreme honor to
these things, I then go into their ability to attack or a calm focused approach? work with Bill Goldberg. The man is
wield the blade, based off of my analysis TL: I have seen the extremes on this extremely intelligent and understands
of the collected data. What I’ve noticed show. I have seen extremely aggressive that this show is about more than just
as these competitors run through the competitors, all the way to competitors the blade. Every night Bill and I would
course is their mindset, body mechanics that are calmer and more focused. read over each person’s biography, study
and ability to quickly problem solve to As a competitor, they must be calm and debate over our educated analysis
adapt and overcome the situation.
Contact and collective in their approach to the
course. This approach will give them
of how we think they will perform. I
also, enjoy meeting each and every
Bill Goldberg
KI: What is the closest you have clarity, but they still need to be able to competitor. After studying their bio, I feel
Web: BillGoldberg.com
come to stopping a competitor other hit some of these objects with speed there is a personal connection in meeting
Instagram:
than a catastrophic blade failure? and violence. The best competitors and watching each of them perform. I
@Goldberg95
TL: Our blade expert and two-time are the ones who have the situational find myself becoming a fan of the show
“Forged in Fire” champion Travis Wuertz awareness to know when to be and of some of the KOD competitors.
is our safety on the ground. Before any calm and when to be aggressive.
competitor can compete in Knife Fight
(indoor course) and Blade Run (outdoor
Contact KI: What is your favorite memory
Knives Illustrated would like to thank
Bill Goldberg and Tu Lam for taking time
Tu Lam –
course) they must pass a final blade of working on “Knife or Death”? out of their busy shooting schedule to
Ronin Tactics
inspection, performed by Travis. He TL: I would have to say it’s the experience. speak with us. It has been a pleasure
Web: RoninTactics.com
performs this in “The Cut” as he checks The ability to go on the “KOD” set and to get to know you guys and gain a
Instagram:
the blade and then performs a cut study different types of competitors and further understanding of your appre-
@RoninTactics
on a tatami mat, to check the blades their blades. I love seeing the creative ciation and love for blade sports. KI

20 KNIVES ILLUSTRATED • DECEMBER 2018 knivesillustrated.com


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PERSONAL DEFENSE

“PORK
and structure of your preferred
anatomical targets. In Martial Blade
Concepts (MBC), we focus on cutting
the muscles, tendons and peripheral

MAN”
nerves of the forearm/wrist; bicep/
triceps; and the lower quadriceps
just above the knee. To replicate the
resistance of these targets, about 20
years ago I developed a test-cutting
target called “Pork Man.” Although
other knife instructors did cutting
demonstrations on random chunks of
meat, a free-hanging roast is not the
same as a human limb. To make my
target a more accurate representation
of our preferred targets, it needed a
better structure.

To make a Pork Man, start with a 4- to


5-pound boneless pork roast or, even
better, a pork tenderloin. “Butterfly”
the pork by cutting halfway through its
thickness along its entire length. Now,
take a wooden dowel about three-
quarters or seven-eighths-inch thick
and wrap a section near one end of it
QUANTIFYING THE DESTRUCTIVE POWER Above: Pork Man is an
excellent way of sepa-
rating fact from fantasy
with strong twine to help the pork “grip”
the wood. Place the wrapped section of
OF YOUR DEFENSIVE KNIFE when it comes to exotic
knife designs. Want to
know how well a pull the dowel into the cut in the pork and
cut with a karambit
STORY AND PHOTOS BY MICHAEL JANICH really works? tie several lengths of twine around the
meat to secure it to the dowel. Once it

I
f you’re going to trust your life defending yourself against a potentially is firmly tied, wrap about 30 layers of
to a self-defense system or even lethal threat, it also makes your actions kitchen plastic wrap around the pork,
any individual tactic, it needs to look exactly like a felonious knife making sure to let the wrap extend a
make sense. attack—weakening your claim to self- few inches past the meat on both ends.
defense if you do happen to survive. Secure the loose ends of the plastic with
When you execute that technique, twine at each end, and then wrap a few
you should have a crystal-clear If your plan is to thrust into the torso turns of adhesive tape over them.
understanding of exactly what to puncture the descending aorta and
you’re trying to achieve and how the create massive bleeding, you at least If you hold the completed Pork Man
physiological damage you cause will have a specific goal in mind. However, to next to your arm or leg, you’ll see that
actually stop your attacker. If it’s a do that, you need enough blade length the depth of the meat accurately
weapons-based technique—like the to pass through virtually the entire
01: The makings of a
defensive use of a knife—you must depth of your attacker’s torso. That’s Pork Man target, before. 01
also ensure the knife you use is actually fine if you’re carrying a bowie knife, but
capable of fulfilling the needs of that doesn’t translate well to the practical,
technique. legal-to-carry folder you’ll really be
carrying when you’re attacked. A 3-inch
For example, if your preferred technique blade simply doesn’t cause the same
involves thrusting deeply into an damage or reach the same targets as a 02: Building a Pork
Man only takes a few
attacker’s torso, you should know 10-inch blade. minutes and costs a
few dollars, but the
specifically what anatomical target lessons it can teach you 02
you’re trying to affect, why damaging it Relevant Testing about the capability of
your defensive knife are
priceless.
will physically disable him and how long With all this in mind, one of your
you’ll have to wait for that damage to key goals should be to quantify the On The Web
take effect. Blindly stabbing to the torso destructive power of your actual carry Martial Blade Concepts
and hoping for the best is a poor tactic. knife. This is best done on a test target MartialBladeConcepts.com
Even if you are 100 percent justified in that closely replicates the resistance

22 KNIVES ILLUSTRATED • DECEMBER 2018 knivesillustrated.com


03: The finished Pork
03 07 Man. Many layers of
plastic wrap help hold
everything together and
replicate the resistance
No Practice, No Skill
of human skin.
The need for self-defense skills are
04: A 4- to 5-pound
pork tenderloin easily
not magically granted to us when the
replicates the tissue need suddenly arises. And, contrary
depth and overall size
of a human forearm… to popular belief, watching movies
about martial arts, or any other form
05: or bicep/triceps… of fighting, is not going to give you
04 08 the skills you need in a life or death
06: …or the lower
quadriceps muscle at
situation. The only way to obtain the
the front of the thigh. skills neccessary, in a dire situation, is
to train constantly and realistically.
07: For greatest realism,
the Pork Man target is
covered with clothing, Creating tools like Pork Man will
like these denim jeans.
give you a training implement that
08: This type of cut,
will allow you to practice things like
delivered with a Hogue distancing, angling, force, accuracy
folder, would be a defi-
05 nite fight stopper when and speed, while also giving you
translated to the proper
anatomical target.
the opportunity to test out your
defensive knife selection. When you
09: Cut something! train with your knife on Pork Man you
may find that you don’t really like
10: Pork Man testing in the selection you have been carrying
09 progress.
and may find that another knife is a
better choice for your style.

Knowledge is power, training is power


quantified.

professionals with extensive experience


06 10 cutting live human flesh. Every time,
I ask them if they feel it is a viable
means of testing knives and their effect.
Invariably, they agree that the method
is as close as we can get to real tissue.
11: Quantifying the The only things it lacks are the blood
destructive power
of your actual carry pressure and muscular contraction of
knife is a critically
important part of any live tissue—both of which make it even
knife-based approach
to self-defense. easier to cut than dead meat. KI

11

replicates the muscular structure of your and its adjacent nerves, crippling the
limbs. The plastic wrap also accurately limb it powers instantly.
represents the resistance of human skin,
and the various pieces of twine simulate Separating Fact
connective tissues. When covered with from Fantasy
representative layers of old clothing, Used properly, Pork Man is an
it is an excellent means of discovering outstanding method of quantifying
what kind of damage your knife—and what your defensive carry knife will
your preferred technique—will actually actually do to human flesh. It’s therefore
do. With MBC’s cutting-based tactics, a great way of separating fact from
it’s very easy to determine whether fantasy when it comes to the real
your cut achieved disabling results. destructive capacity of specialty knife
If it cut through the clothing and the designs and exotic blade shapes. I’ve
meat deeply enough to hit “bone” (the performed Pork Man demonstrations
wooden dowel), that cut would likely hundreds of times—including in front
have severed the muscle it represents of audiences comprised of medical

knivesillustrated.com DECEMBER 2018 • KNIVES ILLUSTRATED 23


FOR
DAILY COM

24 KNIVES ILLUSTRATED • DECEMBER 2018 knivesillustrated.com


RMIDABLE
MPANION
THE SPARTAN BLADES FORMIDO DOUBLES
DOWN ON SELF-DEFENSE AND EDC
STORY AND PHOTOS BY JOSHUA SWANAGON

knivesillustrated.com DECEMBER 2018 • KNIVES ILLUSTRATED 25


Above: I was able to The company’s latest EDC offering, The Formido features a robust overall
reduce a large ice block
into a bunch of small the Formido, is no different. But, length of 8.75 inches, with a no frills,
chunks of ice using both
the tip and the edge, where many of Spartan’s skeletonized all business design. The 3.875-inch,
with no signs on the
blade. EDC selections are geared almost S35VN Crucible stainless steel blade
exclusively for self-defense, the features a tanto tip, and finishes at an
Formido is designed to handle both oversized choil, which helps to ensure
self-defense and everyday home and that you are able to sharpen the entire
field chores—making for a well- length of the blade, maintaining an
rounded option. even and clean cutting edge from tip
to choil.
The Formido features I have recently been carrying one and
a robust tanto tip,
have been very impressed. The Formido that I received has the

A
perfect for maximum
penetration.
s tough as their ZrN (Zirconium Nitride)— flat dark
namesake. The Design Factor earth—coating, which is extremely
At first glance, the Formido has a very durable and gives the Formido a sheen
When it comes to quality, streamlined form with clean lines and that only enhances the look of this
the name Spartan Blades has a way of well-rounded design cues. already great-looking blade. The ZrN
rising to the top of the list. Perhaps it
is the clean, well thought out designs.
Or maybe it is the fact that the
owners—and general designers—are
retired special forces Green Berets and
design all of their products based on
operational experience. Or it could
simply be that the products are
purpose built for extremely hard use,
and every time you pick one up you can
feel the soul and strength of the great
Spartan warrior class joining you in
that selection. Whatever it is, one thing
is for sure: When you pick up a Spartan
Blade, you will feel the overwhelming Right: I was able to
get some clean cuts
sense of security that you are ready for on a small piece of rug
and reduce it to many
whatever life throws at you. smaller pieces of rug.

26 KNIVES ILLUSTRATED • DECEMBER 2018 knivesillustrated.com


coating provides a smooth, drag-free used in conjunction with the finger
operation during cutting tasks. The notch in the handle this helps to secure Spartan Blades EDC Offerings
Formido can also be purchased in a a solid purchase of the Formido during
black, SpartaCoat—PVD—Tungsten heavy thrusting or stabbing chores. Although it has not placed a whole lot of focus on accessories and
DLC coating that is also very durable The butt of the Formido also features has put its efforts into its incredible line of knives, over the years
and drag free as well. jimping around the bottom corner for
Spartan Blades has come out with a few different offerings for
secure thumb placement during hard
its dedicated fans who want to show their brand loyalty. From
The skeletonized handle is beveled stabbing tasks, along with a lanyard
around the entire extremity and hole—lanyard included—to secure the Spartan beads, coins, patches and chopsticks to hat brim clip-ons,
fits the hand well for comfortable, hand for a slip free grip. shemagh’s and clothing, the Spartan brand has been expanding
extended use. The handle has a small into an ever-growing diverse line of EDC fare.
channel etched into either side with a The Formido comes with your choice
series of reversing triangles for weight of nylon sheath—prefect for belt line Its most recent foray into the field comes in the way of its new
reduction, balance adjustments and carry, vest or pack—or heavy duty Kydex Harsey Pocket Tool. Designed by Bill Harsey, the Pocket Tool is
enhanced grip. If you feel that the sheath with IWB (inside the waistband)
designed for prying, self-defense and getting the cold beverage out
skeletonized handle is just a little too loop. I went with the Kydex sheath for
of a tall bottle. The Harsey Pocket Tool is 4 inches overall, with a
narrow for your hand, the triangles can an EDC option and am very glad I did.
also be used to help secure a paracord The thin profile of the Formido and thickness of 0.25-inch and is constructed of AL64V Titanium.
lanyard for a more palm filling grip. sheath together allow it to virtually
disappear inside your waistband while You can get it in either of two options—the plain version for $75
Just forward of the handle, on the keeping it very accessible. The sheath or the compass engraved anodized version with beautiful bronze
spine, at the top of the ricasso, is also features a series of eyelets for patina finish for $90.
a thumb ramp with some medium mounting other carry options, such as
jimping for enhanced thumb control— molle loks or a Tek-Lok.

“WHEN IT COMES TO QUALITY, THE NAME


SPARTAN BLADES HAS A WAY OF RISING TO THE
TOP OF THE LIST.”

The Formido in
Action
Billed as a self-defense/EDC blade, it
was time to put the Formido through
the paces deserving of its name.

It seems that in this issue “Porkman”


is a recurring theme; although
completely unintentional and
coincidental, it is for good reason.
When discussing a self-defense or
EDC knife, it is good to test it on all
matter that it may come across,
this includes organic medium.

For my testing on Porkman, I delivered


a few quick forward and reverse
slashes, to see how it would do in a
sudden self-defense scenario. The
edge on the Formido is a little more
Left:The tip sank
easily, an inch deep, robust in order to cover a gamut of
into this old seasoned
barn wood. varying chores, so it was not as keen as

knivesillustrated.com DECEMBER 2018 • KNIVES ILLUSTRATED 27


At the ricasso the
would be expected from a dedicated Formido features a
thumb ramp with
self-defense blade, and therefore medium jimping,
did not deliver quite as deep a cut as a finger notch for
additional grip and an
could be expected. However, it was still oversized choil for aid
in sharpening.
able to cut deep enough that I feel it
would have effectively immobilized an
attacker’s limb and thwarted a follow
up attack. I am quite comfortable in its
ability in the self-defense arena.

Next, it was time to test the edge


retention and capabilities, and I
started by reducing a small rug
into a bunch of much smaller rugs.
Rugs can be a bit difficult to cut
sometimes due to the weaving pattern
throughout, which tend to pull out
and tear, resulting in a rough line. The “THE FORMIDO FEATURES A ROBUST OVERALL
Formido however, cut cleanly through
everything and gave me relatively
LENGTH OF 8.75 INCHES, WITH A NO FRILLS, ALL
clean lines on all of the cuts. BUSINESS DESIGN.”
I then moved on to a thick, old cat
litter bucket we had laying around.
The plastic on this bucket is very thick
and solid, so I started by stabbing
into the side of the bucket and the
tanto tip penetrated the heavy-duty
plastic like butter. After stabbing into
the side, I then proceeded to press the
knife downward for some very clean
cuts. I repeated this process until I had
completely opened up the entire side
of the bucket. The blade cut through
the plastic smoothly and cleanly, with
no resistance or drag.

I live in an old farmhouse, and years


ago we had to tear down a barn that
was on the property; this has left me
with a little bit of old, seasoned, very
hard, barn wood. To test the tip of the

SPECS
Blade Material: S35VN
Blade Length: 3.875 inches
Overall Length: 8.75 inches
Blade Thickness: 0.1875 inch
Blade Finish: SpartaCoat—PVD—Tungsten
(flat black) or ZrN (flat dark earth)
Handle Material: None, skeletonized handle
Weight: 4.8 ounces My rapid slashes to
Porkman, my training
MSRP: $215 device, produced cuts
sufficient enough
to immobilize an
attacker’s limb.

28 KNIVES ILLUSTRATED • DECEMBER 2018 knivesillustrated.com


Formido, I drove it about an inch deep
into that old seasoned barn wood
and it penetrated deep into it with no “THE THIN PROFILE OF THE
issues at all. The tip shows a couple,
very small, flat spots on the edge, but
FORMIDO AND SHEATH TOGETHER
it is very hard wood and was kind of ALLOW IT TO VIRTUALLY DISAPPEAR
expected—the tip itself maintained
its point.
INSIDE YOUR WAISTBAND, WHILE
KEEPING IT VERY ACCESSIBLE.”
I then moved on to a Goodyear tire and
proceeded to cut away the sidewall.
I made sure to do it up near the tread

1:1
ACTUAL
SIZE

The Formido has an overall


length of 8.75 inches.

knivesillustrated.com
section, so I could be sure that I was Above: The Formido experience into every design, the Formido demonstrates just why that is such an
cut a large opening
getting some very thick rubber. The in the sidewall of this important quality in a knife.
Goodyear tire with no
Formido did not disappoint and cut resistance.

away a large section of the sidewall Although the blade length is a bit long for EDC in some jurisdictions, the Formido
with no resistance whatsoever. All cuts makes a formidable EDC companion that disappears when you don’t need it—
were clean and fluid. and makes an indelible impression when you do. Make sure to check your local
laws concerning blade length; if the Formido falls within your legal limit you will
I finished up my testing on an ice-block thank yourself for picking one up. If not, then you owe it to yourself to consider
that I created for just this purpose. I adding one to your bug-out bag. Either way, the Formido can make itself an
Right: The Formido
started by stabbing the tip into the moved cleanly integral part of your bladed arsenal. KI
through the thick
ice-block and the tanto tip made plastic sidewalls of
this heavy-duty cat
very quick work of the ice. Once I had litter bucket.
reduced the block to a few good-
sized chunks, I began hacking at the
individual chunks with the edge. The
Formido broke the ice up in rapid
fashion and showed no sign of wear or
damage to the edge or tip.

Comfortable Daily
Use Blade
Spartan Blades has a name for quality
craftsmanship and hard use cutlery,
Contact
and the Formido only exemplifies SPARTAN BLADES
that reputation. The Formido is an (910) 757-0035
extremely comfortable daily use www.SpartanBlades
blade in every way, from use to USA.com
carry. Designed by men who apply

30 KNIVES ILLUSTRATED • DECEMBER 2018 knivesillustrated.com


COMBAT
CONFIDEN
THE OMEGA PROTECTIVE CONCEPTS OMEGA B1
BLADE IS A FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH
STORY AND PHOTOS BY CHRISTOPHER DONER

32 KNIVES ILLUSTRATED • DECEMBER 2018 knivesillustrated.com


TIVE
NCE

S
trong designs come from strong people.

Maury Abreu’s reputation in the combatives


community precedes him. He is a humble family man
and a talented instructor with the heart of a student. I first heard
of Maury back in 2013 when my teacher, Kelly McCann, featured
Maury’s instruction in the training video, “Edged Weapon:
Responses to Violent Knife Attacks” produced by the now
defunct Paladin Press.

We soon connected through social media, as many who share


like-minded interests do, to keep in touch. Eventually we began
to talk via phone as our friendship developed. During the course
of one of our conversations, Maury revealed that he was working
on a new knife design. Knowing his passion for knives and knife
combatives, I was excited to see what he came up with. As
soon as the details were solidified and the order books open, I
purchased the Omega B1 Blade, sold through Maury’s training
company, Omega Protective Concepts.

knivesillustrated.com DECEMBER 2018 • KNIVES ILLUSTRATED 33


The Omega B1 Above: The Omega B1
is suited to both urban As I began to wield the Omega B1, I was keen to notice how comfortable the knife was in
Blade and rural environments.
hand. The contours of the grip between the front quillion and the rear quillion filled my
Maury’s combatives philosophy is hand, sitting perfectly in my palm. The edges of the handle slabs are beveled all the way
reflected in the design of the Omega B1 around, allowing the transition between the full tang blade and handle to be gradual.
Blade. Simple, aggressive and effective are This adds a great deal to the comfort of the knife in hand by reducing any bite felt by the
terms that best describe his approach to end user.
self-defense, and these traits are evident
in his design. The three screws that anchor the handle slabs to the knife are expertly recessed into
the G-10 slabs to prevent any hot spots that might otherwise occur. A 1.875-inch-long
The Omega B1 is made from 0.1875-inch- section of jimping is provided along the spine of the knife where the handle and blade
thick D2 Tool Steel triple tempered to 59-
Right: The beveled
60RC and features a 3.5-inch scimitar style edges of the Omega
B1's handles make for a
blade with an overall length of 7.75 inches comfortable and secure
grip. The orange liners
and a black KG Gun Kote finish; optional on the Omega B1's grip
really pop against the
finishes are available upon request through black handle slabs.
Omega Protective Concepts.

The hollow-main-to-flat-tip grind on


the Omega B1 is beautifully executed
by custom knifemaker James Fornaro
of TUTAR-E Knives. I was particularly
impressed with the overall fit and finish of
his work and his attention to detail.

The Omega B1 has aggressively textured,


4-inch-long G-10 handle slabs, with
orange liners that really pop against the
black handle material. The handle slabs
are held in place with robust screws that
complement the sturdy design and fit my
hand like a glove.

34 KNIVES ILLUSTRATED • DECEMBER 2018 knivesillustrated.com


The screws that
anchor the handle
slabs on the Omega B1
are recessed into the
textured G10 to reduce
The Mission
hot spots and improve
comfort.
In an effort to give back to the community
at large, Maury has made it his mission,
and the mission of Omega Protective
Concepts, to help fight modern-day
slavery by teaming up with King’s
Ransom to free young girls from the
sex-slave industry.

“Every hour of every day, a child is


abducted from their home, their school, or
their neighborhood and sold into the sex
trades,” Maury says. “Ten percent of every
course you attend and every product
you purchase through Omega Protective
Concepts will be donated directly to
annihilating modern-day slavery.”

“King's Ransom Foundation partners


transition. This textured “thumb ride” is For the sheath, Maury went to Jamie with agents across the globe who identify,
sometimes favored by people who prefer Lowe of Titan Concealment. Jamie was track, and rescue children who are being
the saber grip. I found it to be more useful able to take Maury’s ideas and produce a held in the sex trades,” he continues.
when using the knife in a more utilitarian sheath worthy of the Omega B1. Built from “When you donate to this cause, 100
role versus a combative function, as I tend 0.080-inch-thick kydex, the sheath offers percent of your gift goes directly to
to prefer a modified Filipino grip (where 11 eyelet rivets and a unique clip adapter this important work. King's Ransom
the thumb is extended forward along the with three slotted post and washer operational expenses are completely
back of the knife’s spine) for combative mounts, allowing for several mounting funded by the gifts of a generous private
applications. configurations. corporation, so 100 percent of your giving
goes directly to the missions that matter
The clean lines and
expertly crafted grinds
most to you—not fattening the pockets of
on the Omega B1 are
as beautiful as they
those running the organization.”
are deadly.
Maury’s dedication to improving the
world around him is inspiring.

SPECS
Blade Material: D2 tool steel / triple
tempered 59-60RC
Blade Length: 3.5 inches
Handle Length: 4 inches
Overall Length: 7.75 inches
Blade Thickness: 0.1875 inch
Handle Material: Textured G-10 with
orange liners
Blade Grind: Hollow main to flat tip,
helical by hand
Blade Finish: KG Gun Kote / optional
finishes available by request through Maury
Abreu at Omega Protective Concepts
Weight: 8.818 ounces
MSRP: $389

knivesillustrated.com DECEMBER 2018 • KNIVES ILLUSTRATED 35


I spoke briefly with Jamie about the rapid succession. Again, the Omega B1 did
sheath, and he said, “With the Omega B-1 not disappoint, cutting cleanly into the
Blade Sheath, Maury wanted something material.
that would be universally used and
adaptable. We came up with a simple From there I moved on to a 1.75-inch-
design that allows for the blade and thick phone book I saved for just such an
its companion trainer to be used in one occasion. With my phone book in place
sheath. It features adjustable height and I set the Omega B1’s blade on a corner
cant, and the ability to tuck in your shirt, of the book and with one motion and
which I'm sure you know is rarely found in little effort, pressed the blade downward
a sheath.” into the pages and watched as it sunk
smoothly down through the entire thing.
The sheath’s belt clip adapter uses a Luckily, I had had enough forethought to
universal mounting hole pattern which place some cardboard under the phone
means that it can be used with other book or I could have potentially damaged
mounting systems already on the market; the blade on the concrete beneath.
such as Blade-Tech’s Tek-Lok or G-Code’s
RTI Mount. This makes for a very user Omega B1 vs.
friendly combination. Porkman
Any true test of a knife specifically Above: Drawing the Omega B1 from an appendix
Testing the designed for personal defense should
carry configuration.

Omega B1 involve cutting on organic medium.


While the Omega B1 is primarily designed
as a fighting knife, I wanted to conduct I was first introduced to this kind of testing I began by making a simple thrust with
some basic cut tests on common items in 2004 by my friend and teacher Michael the Omega B1. I didn’t use any concerted
such as cardboard, paracord and an old Janich, founder and lead instructor of effort, choosing instead to let the tool do
phone book to establish a baseline, prior Martial Blade Concepts (MBC). To my the work—and work it did. The Omega
to moving on to my favorite—Porkman. knowledge, no one else in the industry had B1 sank all the way to the dowel rod at
I started off with some paracord I had ever tried to actually replicate the details the center of Porkman, clearly indicating
lying around the garage. The Omega B1 and conditions one might encounter when its ability to penetrate to the bone with
cut cleanly through a doubled-up length actually using a knife on another human minimal effort. I then made a forehand
of paracord, no problem, so I added two being. Factors like the size and shape of a slash horizontally across the target,
more for a total of four strands. Again, the target, bone, connective tissue, skin and again with little effort, and the blade cut
Omega B1 performed effortlessly. clothing are all addressed with Porkman. beautifully. It penetrated deep into the
(For more information on constructing pork with no noticeable resistance from
Next up was a section of corrugated Porkman, turn to Michael Janich’s the fabric and plastic wrap, striking the
cardboard. I cut several slices into the “Personal Defense” column on page 22 of “bone” represented by the dowel rod. It
cardboard one right after another in this issue. – Ed) performed equally well on a backhand
The center of the Cloth
Grabber Clip features slash. Finally, I thrust the Omega B1
an indentation that
bites into the fabric into Porkman and applied a downward
of whatever garment
the clip is attached to, pressure cut that created a devastating
while the clip adapter
allows the end user to wound, well over a foot long. Again, it was
adjust the height and
cant of the Omega B1. near effortless and really sobering even to
me, as to the deadly effectiveness of the

Contact Omega B1.

OMEGA PROTECTIVE Quality,


CONCEPTS Craftsmanship,
(973) 706-4366 Sound Ergonomics
OmegaProtective The Omega B1 is an outstanding new
Concepts.com addition to the knife community, designed
by someone who’s dedicated their life

Contact to making others safer. Maury’s passion


for knives and knife combatives is well
TUTAR-E KNIVES represented in the Omega B1. Anyone who
Instagram: appreciates quality, craftsmanship and
@TUTAREKnives sound ergonomics in a handmade knife
should consider owning one. KI

36 KNIVES ILLUSTRATED • DECEMBER 2018 knivesillustrated.com


The Trainer
One final feature of the Omega B1 to practice knife combatives safely. carry options in training that I use in
is the dedicated trainer blade that my every day carry. This sheath affords
is included with any purchase of Having a dedicated trainer that me that option by simply swapping
the knife. The aluminum trainer is replicates the actual knife is out the live blade and inserting the
compatible with the sheath and comes important. You want the trainer you trainer. Not too many knife makers
with a cord wrapped handle. While it practice with to feel as close to the offer this feature, making it more than
is slimmer than the actual Omega B1 live blade as possible. This builds appealing to self-defense minded
and significantly lighter, the trainer familiarity and confidence. I want the customers who want to actively
affords the end user the added ability ability to replicate the exact same train with the tools they carry.

The Omega B1 thrust into the Porkman training


device with little to no effort, stopping on the
dowel rod in the center representing bone.

+ Built for Generations


The Sharpfinger may be our
most iconic design to date but
I was able to cut the Porkman training device to
the “bone” with little resistance. it’s America’s favorite for its Old
Timer® sharpness and durability.
In production for more than 40
years, this is one blade you can
count on for generations.

Deep cuts on organic medium are easy for the


Omega B1.

A strong downward cut by the Omega B1 produced


a devastating wound channel on the Porkman
training device.

knivesillustrated.com DECEMBER 2018 • KNIVES ILLUSTRATED 37


38 KNIVES ILLUSTRATED • DECEMBER 2018 knivesillustrated.com
THE EMERSON KNIVES BATTLE AXE BRINGS THE
LEGEND OF THE VIKING TO BEAR ON MODERN TIME
STORY AND PHOTOS BY JOSHUA SWANAGON

knivesillustrated.com DECEMBER 2018 • KNIVES ILLUSTRATED 39


I
t was a way of life and they
Above: The Battle Axe
easily split some very Modern Meets Ernest felt comfortable in the working
lived it well.
hard, very knotty lilac
wood. Antiquity functionality of this style of haft, having
On first glance it is easy to see that the grown up using them in the north woods
I have had the distinct pleasure of design cues were taken from the Viking of Wisconsin. The belly sweeps nicely
speaking with Ernest Emerson on a few axes of history, but it is even more down from the shoulder to provide a
occasions about his collection of antique specific than that. good purchase while choking up on the
weapons—ranging as far back as the head, while the throat has a beautiful
Neanderthal era—and it is apparent that When designing the Battle Axe, Ernest dovetail that really helps retain the
he has a love of the Vikings and their decided that the perfection of the Battle Axe in hand while swinging
weaponry. Not that it is a stretch to feel original Viking Axe heads needed no hard. Under the handle scales are five
that way, as the Vikings were very adept intervention and opted for a direct channels, cut out to place the weight
at weapon and tool making, considering replication of an original Viking axe head forward, at the belly, for increased action
that their axes were the tools they he had in his collection. With some slight at the head.
depended on for war and farming alike. variations at the poll—to accommodate
for the integral design—and a very minor The haft features aggressively textured
With their recent addition to an already variance at the beard, the Battle Axe “Grip-Tite” G-10 handle scales for
diverse line of edged weaponry—the perfectly mimics the original head. The maximum grip. Although the texturing to
Battle Axe—Emerson Knives has brought 5.2-inch head has a 3.75-inch cutting the handle scales did provide for amazing
old school weaponry to the forefront edge with a 1.75-inch drop to the beard. retention, it did start to wear at the
with a design that harkens back, directly, The full 13.8-inch overall length of the inside of my thumb and create a hot spot
to one of the more prolific warrior classes Battle Axe is constructed of 0.375-inch during testing. I think I personally would
the world has known. thick CPM S7 tool steel and is hardened have opted for a slightly less aggressive
to 57-59 RC. texture in certain areas of the handle.
I recently got the opportunity to give one
a run for the money and see how well it The integral haft is modeled after more The Battle Axe comes with a heavy
held up to the Viking name. modern axe handle designs because duty Kydex sheath, form fit for secure

40 KNIVES ILLUSTRATED • DECEMBER 2018 knivesillustrated.com


Left: Although not retention, with three holes in the
designed for this type
of work, the Battle Axe center of the sheath for personalized
did a very nice job at
creating a feather stick attachment options. There are also
for fire building.
eyelets around the circumference of the
sheath, allowing for multiple options in
configuring your Battle Axe to your rig.

Hacking All
the Way
To say that I was looking forward to
testing the Battle Axe would be a bit
of an understatement. Sometimes you
just need to get out and channel your
inner Viking, and the Battle Axe was the
perfect outlet for just that.

With a complete lack of combat zones


in my little town of 850 people and
considering the fact that combat was
only a part of the typical use a Viking
would put his axe through on a daily
basis—also utilizing his axe for everything
from boat and shelter building to farming
and general camp chores—I felt that
some woods-related tasks had to be a
part of my testing.

I would like to preface this part of the


testing by saying that I have never been
“…ERNEST DECIDED THAT THE PERFECTION OF comfortable with the idea

THE ORIGINAL VIKING AXE HEADS NEEDED NO of throwing my

INTERVENTION AND OPTED FOR A DIRECT


REPLICATION OF AN ORIGINAL
VIKING AXE HEAD HE HAD
IN HIS COLLECTION.”

1:1
ACTUAL The head is 5.2 inches
SIZE wide with a 3.75 inch
cutting edge.

knivesillustrated.com DECEMBER 2018 • KNIVES ILLUSTRATED 41


Up Close with Ernest Emerson
KI: We have spoken about your axe collection before. Do you mind telling us how big it is?
EE: I have about 20 to 24 axes, all the way from Neanderthal through Cro-Magnon to Neolithic and bronze age, iron
age and Viking.

KI: How long have you been collecting historical axes?


EE: It has been over 20 years or more that I have collected a lot of that stuff.

KI: What got you started?


EE: I collect antiquities, which basically started with Roman coins and stuff like that. As I became involved in the
search for Roman coins, I found that there were other items that interested me, like statues, artwork and other
antiquities. Due to my taste for weapons, I became interested in antique weapons, like the shepherd’s sling, Greek Above: You can see the direct design influence
between this original old Viking Axe—that was
arrowheads, Neolithic flaked arrowheads and stone—and then, of course, knives and swords. In my collection, the basis of the design—and the Emerson Knives
Battle Axe.
I have some very unique swords, such as a real Roman Gladius from about A.D. 144—from an area that became
modern Bulgaria—and several medieval swords that are over a thousand years old, with one that is over 2,000 weapon, so I never practiced it or became
years old. Also, in the collection are several Crusader swords from the Levant region. adept at it. So, the following report on
the ability of the Battle Axe as a throwing
weapon is based on a novice approach,
KI: The head of your new Battle Axe was modeled after an old Viking axe head you have in your collection. Where
but it was still really fun.
did the haft design come from? Is it historical in design as well?
EE: In regard to the haft, that came from my experience of growing up in the north woods of Northern Wisconsin I started my testing, throwing the Battle
and using axes from a young age—same period that I got my first Barlow knife. I was always working with my Axe at the end of a large tree that was
father around the farm and became familiar with what was comfortable and efficient for this type of tool. So, it is cut down last year. For my first few
not a historical design, just from experience. throws I was finding that the haft was
hitting but not the head – I am sure that
KI: What did you feel was the most important feature of the Viking Axe that you wanted to make sure to capture those of you that are experienced at this
know exactly why this was happening,
in the Battle Axe?
and I am comfortable admitting that
EE: The most important thing is the balance in the swing and the comfort in the hand. Much like a machete, people
it was most likely user error. But after a
don't understand that taking one in your hand and swinging it a few times is not using a machete; you have to take few more throws and some adjustments
it out and swing it for a couple hours, cutting through jungle. Same with an axe; you use it for an extended period of to my release, I was able to get the
time. That is when you find what is most comfortable. Battle Axe to stick deep into the log
very consistently. Which tells me that
KI: Have you ever had the opportunity to travel to Norway and research the Vikings and their axe? the balance of the Battle Axe is on the
EE: No, I have not. That is on my bucket list, but it has not happened yet. money and was good enough to help
a complete novice get fairly consistent
results. The only issue I had during this
KI: Do you plan to release an instructional video on the Battle Axe into your DVD edged training library? phase of the testing was that a couple of
EE: I am thinking about it. I definitely want to, but it is a matter of time. I am very particular about my training the screws came loose in the handle and
systems, so I want to take my time and make sure that everything is applicable to functional combat. It has to work one was lost.
and has to be something that the average person can walk out the door and use.

SPECS
Blade Material: CPM S7
Blade Length: 3.75 inches
Head Width: 5.2 inches
Overall Length: 13.8 inches
Blade Thickness: 0.375 inch
Blade Finish: Combat Gray Cerakote
Handle Material: Black G-10
Weight: 34 ounces
MSRP: $469.95

42 KNIVES ILLUSTRATED • DECEMBER 2018 knivesillustrated.com


Next, since the Vikings were prolific boat Right: It only took
about 5 minutes to
makers, I decided to start carving out hollow out a 3-inch-
deep, 10-inch-long
a channel in the end of the log to see trench into this log.

how quickly it would hollow it out. I was


actually a little surprised to find that
I had dug out a 10-inch-long channel,
approximately 3 inches deep in just
about 5 minutes. I can easily see how a
small team of Vikings could hollow out
a log for an expedient boat in a short
period of time.

Next, I wanted to put it to work on some


basic camp chores and split up some very
hard, very knotty seasoned lilac wood,
about 5 inches in diameter. The Battle
Axe had no issues splitting each piece
and was easily able to power through
some dense knots.

Although not designed for this type of


use, I continued on the fire prep by choking
up on the shoulder and giving a go at a
feather stick. While it isn’t as clean or
feathery as if it had been done with a
dedicated knife, I was actually a little
surprised at how well it had turned out.

“I WAS ACTUALLY A
LITTLE SURPRISED
TO FIND THAT I HAD
DUG OUT A 10-INCH-
LONG CHANNEL,
APPROXIMATELY 3
INCHES DEEP IN JUST
ABOUT 5 MINUTES.”

After a few throws, I was able to get fairly consis-


tent results while throwing the Battle Axe at this
downed tree.

knivesillustrated.com
By this stage of the testing however,

“AFTER MY TESTING WAS COMPLETE, I


all of the screws had come loose
again and I lost a second one. I
do recommend that you pull all WAS IMPRESSED TO SEE THAT THE EDGE IS
the screws and add some Loctite
thread locker when you receive EXACTLY HOW IT CAME OUT OF THE BOX,
yours, for good measure. STILL JUST AS SHARP AND STILL JUST
To test the edge retention on AS WHOLE—NO CHIPPING, ROLLING OR
the Battle Axe, I broke out an old DEFORMATION OF ANY KIND.”
seasoned piece of very hard barn
wood and proceeded to cut through.
The wood had no effect on the
edge of the Battle Axe, but the
same cannot be said for how well
the wood held up to the abuse.

For my final test I wanted to go


full-on hard core and see what would
happen if the Battle Axe was met
with solid resistance, and I broke
out a heavy-duty ammo can. I’ll be
honest, I kind of expected it to just
dent the ammo can and dull the
axe—nope. With each swing, the
Battle Axe pierced right through
the thick metal like a can opener.

After my testing was complete I


was impressed to see that the edge
is exactly how it came out of the
box, still just as sharp and still just
as whole—no chipping, rolling or
Above: This old,
deformation of any kind. Also, there seasoned barn wood
had zero effect on the
was almost no visible effect to the edge of the Battle Axe.
coating on the blade, aside from a
few minor scuff marks, that never
penetrated down to the steel.

Historical
Accuracy and
Modern Know
How Right: I was able to
open the side of this
ammo can like a can
From the first time I saw the Emerson opener with no effect
Knives Battle Axe I couldn’t wait to to the edge.

get my hands on one and channel my


inner Viking. The execution on this
design beautifully combines historical
accuracy and modern know how for an
axe that is built to make itself at home
on the battlefield or in the backwoods.
Drawing on the combat and survival
skills of the Vikings, the Battle Axe
Contact
gets it right in all the right ways. This EMERSON KNIVES
axe will easily make itself at home on (310) 539-5633
any battle rattle or bug out bag, and it www.EmersonKnives.
has now found its permanent place as com
a part of my truck kit. KI

44 KNIVES ILLUSTRATED • DECEMBER 2018 knivesillustrated.com


Get Bitten

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46 KNIVES ILLUSTRATED • DECEMBER 2018 knivesillustrated.com


GET

KIZER CUTLERY’S TANGRAM PROGRESSION


INCLUDES CUSTOM FEATURES AT COMMON-
MAN PRICES
STORY BY TIM STETZER
PHOTOS BY TIM AND EMILY STETZER

knivesillustrated.com DECEMBER 2018 • KNIVES ILLUSTRATED 47


I
Right: Even a heavy
f you’re a knife guy and aren’t leather garrison belt
familiar with Kizer Cutlery, you was no challenge for
the Progressions razor
should be. edged blade.

I’ll be honest; I was slow at coming to


the table, even though I’d been hearing
the name percolating through the knife
community for a number of years now.
I’d even seen the company’s booth at
the SHOT Show but hadn’t stopped to
investigate. I hate to admit it, but it was
at least in part because it was a Chinese
firm. I know the Chinese can make some
very good knives—I’ve seen contract
Below: The saber grip is
blades from major U.S. companies that quite comfortable with
the Progression, with
are very well done—but I didn’t give much the index finger safely
nestled in the finger
thought to a fully Chinese owned and choil and the thumb the Progression name. It’s a design The Acuto 440 is Japanese steel that’s
resting on the grooved
run operation. That was until I got Kizer’s thumb ramp. that’s gone through many evolutions basically a tweaked 440C with increased
Tangram Progression folder in hand. based upon customer feedback, and it’s Vanadium and slightly more Chromium.

The Progression Contact progressed to the current incarnation in


the Tangram line.
It hardens to 59-60 Rockwell and offers
good edge retention and corrosion
The knife that I had a chance to work KIZER CUTLERY resistance. It’s been around since about
with was a Dirk Pinkerton design called Facebook: The Progression uses a 3.46-inch drop 2000 and sees a lot of use in kitchen
the Progression. The Progression is a Facebook.com/ point blade constructed of Japanese knives, although it has been used in EDC
flipper design that is an evolution of KizerKnivesCN Acuto 440 steel. The blade uses a high knives by other manufacturers as well.
Dirk’s custom fixed blade sgian-dubh Instagram: hollow grind with a false swedge and is
knife. Honestly, how you go from a fixed @KizerCutlery_Inc finished in a discreet matte finish. It has The Progression’s handle is of dark tan
blade sgian-dubh to a folding tactical a grooved thumb ramp and a flipper that G-10, milled with vertical grooves, and
KizerCutlery.com
folder I’m not sure, but that explains acts as a guard when the blade is open. is sculpted with a finger groove for a

“THE ACUTO 440 IS JAPANESE STEEL THAT’S BASICALLY A TWEAKED 440C


WITH INCREASED VANADIUM AND SLIGHTLY MORE CHROMIUM.”

48 KNIVES ILLUSTRATED • DECEMBER 2018 knivesillustrated.com


The Progression uses
a 3.49-inch drop-point secure and comfortable grip. It features
blade with a high,
hollow grind and a a lanyard hole at the rear, which is handy Kizer Cutlery
false swedge. and just big enough for paracord. The
handle slabs are affixed to stainless-steel So, if you’re like me, and haven’t been
liners, and the lock up is through a liner paying attention to Kizer, here are
lock mechanism.
a few things you should know.

When closed, the blade is perfectly


centered in the handle. The Progression’s First off, it is a Chinese company, but it
flipper rides on washers rather than ball isn’t the sort of manufacturer that just
bearings but is smooth and easy to use. does contract work for other companies.
The G-10 handle When you flick the flipper, the blade Kizer has its own designs and works with
of the Progression snaps open and locks up with an audible
features a textured many well-known Western knife makers
finish and vertical click and exhibits no apparent vertical
grooves for a solid and designers—like Dirk Pinkerton, Justin
grip and comes with or horizontal play while open. The liners
a clip positioned for Gingrich, Justin Lundquist, Ray Laconico,
tip-up, righthand have jimping fore and aft on the spine
carry, but it’s Uli Hennicke, Darrel Ralph and many
adjustable for tip-up for improved grip—a nice detail that you
or tip-down carry,
as well as right or often see on more expensive knives. others—to come up with unique designs.
left-hand use.

The Progression uses an open frame It also imports material from Japan and
design for easy cleaning. A skeletonized, the United States and constructs its
low profile carry clip is provided and is knives with top end components, such as
adjustable for right or left hand and tip-
titanium for frames and high-end steels
In addition to the up or tip-down carry; it comes set up for
texturing and grooves like CPM-S35VN on its higher-end models.
on the Tangram’s grip, righthand, tip-up carry.
a finger notch and the Production is done on state-of-the-art
protruding flipper help
keep the user’s hand
The overall length of the knife is 7.91 EDM and CNC machines, and the final
secure and well away
from the blade.
inches open and weighs in at only 4 assembly work is all done by hand.
ounces, via my postal scale. The MSRP of
the Progression is a very reasonable $66, Much of the higher-end knives retail in the
although you’ll find it selling for a fair bit mid-$200s to mid-$300s range, so last
less than that online.
year Kizer came out with a more affordable
line of knives with its Tangram series. The
Progressive Tangrams still use the designs of custom
A 4.5-inch handle
Performance makers and the same manufacturing
houses a nearly Since Kizer was a new brand to me,
3.5-inch, drop-point
and Acuto 440 was new steel for me, I techniques as their more expensive
blade, making the
Progression a solid,
working-sized knife. decided to start with the basics when it brethren, but they use somewhat more
came time to test the Progression. affordable materials. Affordable doesn’t
mean poor quality though, as the
I pulled out some of my standby test
Tangrams still offer solid performance
materials such as an old heavy leather
at a price that most people can afford.
garrison belt, some seat belt material,
climbing rope, cardboard and some dried
wood that I keep around for whittling.
The edge came hair popping sharp and
sliced through the various test materials
A grooved thumb
ramp, and frame very cleanly. It left smooth, clean cuts
jimping provide solid
placement for your on the leather and webbing, and despite
hand when held in a having a plain edge, went through the
saber grip.
rope cleanly as well. I was honestly most
surprised when I put the Progression to
wood. It made nice fine curls when I did
my part, and bit deeply into the dry wood
when I really went to work and started
Opposite: The low- cutting and fabricating a tent stake.
profile clip allows
the Progression to sit
deeply and discreetly
in the user’s pocket. As far as overall handling characteristics,

knivesillustrated.com DECEMBER 2018 • KNIVES ILLUSTRATED 49


the Progression rates pretty high. It sits with the blade opening in the pocket
comfortably in the hand and my index in that position, which I occasionally
finger nestles naturally in the finger groove have with other knives. The clip allows
in the handle. The texture of the G-10, the knife to sit deeply and securely in
coupled with the vertical grooves, provide the pocket but didn’t have so much
a secure grip during use—even when my tension that it was hard to draw the
hands were sweaty—but were not so knife when I needed it. The flat profile of
aggressive as to cause any hot spots. the knife helped with the discrete carry
in the pocket, and it was comfortable
The flipper was easy to operate and whether in my front pocket or clipped
opened the blade smoothly and quickly. to the rear pocket or billy pocket
It’s not assisted and not quite as smooth on my uniform trousers at work.
as a ball bearing system, but I thought it
worked just fine, especially for the value Great All-
of the knife. I did lube the Progression Around EDC
with some Ballistol when I first got it, If you’re like me and had overlooked
Top: The author tested
the Progression’s edge but that was all I needed to do to slick Kizer, it’s probably time to give these
on a variety of test
materials with great things up. knives a look, especially if you were
success.
avoiding them because of their
While opening the knife was easy, I did country of origin. It’s time to set
Above: The handle is
versatile in design and find closing it slightly difficult. The liner aside any preconceptions you might
worked as well in an

SPECS
ice pick grip as it did a is recessed nearly flush with the finger have about Chinese knives, because
saber grip.
groove in the frame and can be a little the production quality on the Kizer’s
difficult to access when closing the blade. rivals the offerings of most Western
Blade Material: JPN Acuto 440 stainless steel I had to mash my thumb into the notch companies. The Tangram line gives
Blade Length: 3.49 inches to make sure I caught the liner so that I you an especially good opportunity to
Overall Length: 7.91 inches could close it. On the plus side, this makes check out their work with its affordable
Handle Material: G-10 it unlikely that I would inadvertently prices. The Dirk Pinkerton Progression,
Locking mechanism: Liner lock unlock the blade during use. It wasn’t a in particular, is a great all-around EDC
Opener: Flipper huge issue, but it was notable. blade at a street price that just about
Weight: 4 ounces anyone can grab without cutting into
MSRP: $66 Top right: The author Although my preference is for right hand, their savings. It’s very well executed
tested the Acuto 440
blade on a variety of tip-down carry, I left the Progression and uses materials that you’d be
materials including old
car seat belts. set up as it shipped. I had no issues happy with at twice the price. KI

50 KNIVES ILLUSTRATED • DECEMBER 2018 knivesillustrated.com


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YOUR
BUSHCRAF
FRIEND
52 KNIVES ILLUSTRATED • DECEMBER 2018 knivesillustrated.com
IN THE BUSH OR FOR EDC, THE BRADFORD
GUARDIAN 4.5 BUSHCRAFT KNIFE BRINGS
DURABLE DEPENDABILITY
STORY & PHOTOS BY EJ SNYDER

FT
knivesillustrated.com DECEMBER 2018 • KNIVES ILLUSTRATED 53
I
don’t know about you, but Above: The Bradford activities are a bit broader in range. So,
Knives Guardian 4.5
an obvious question comes is a good size for a let’s see just how friendly the Bradford
bushcraft companion.
to mind when a company Guardian 4.5 Bushcraft knife is.
describes a knife on its
website in the following way: Getting Into Specs
“Our bushcraft friendly knife.” The knife’s overall length is 9.2 inches,
Right:The Guardian 4.5 and it has a CPM-3V steel blade with
bit into its subject mat-
My question? “Well, just how friendly is ter easily and stripped a full-flat grind and Nimbus (Tumbled
away unessential wood
it?” LOL. like a hungry beaver. DLC) finish.

And then along comes the Bradford The handle is outfitted with natural
Guardian 4.5 Bushcraft knife. When Micarta 3D scales that provide a sure grip
I seriously assess the company’s when things get slippery. The blade has
statement, I take it as it has developed nice thumb jimping on the spine where the
a product that works well with few blade meets the handle with some overlap.
complications, provided the user has Contact
good woodsman skills. Bradford Knives Bradford Knives are made in the Pacific
Northwest, and while relatively new to
(425) 243-9606
Of course, bushcraft skills are rather the knife-making scene, Bradford is well-
BradfordKnives.com
specific, but some of these other versed in machining and has a passion

54 KNIVES ILLUSTRATED • DECEMBER 2018 knivesillustrated.com


for knives that is seen in this finished 55-gallon drum pickle barrels. The point
product. held up nicely and pierced right through. CPM-3V:
I then moved the Guardian 4.5 right The Super Steel?
Sharpness Test down as if I were slicing a loaf of bread.
The knife comes with a very sharp The handle was comfortable and large
There seems to be a lot of debate and
edge right out of the box, and it didn’t enough that it allowed me to apply extra
discussion on the amazing properties of
disappoint. torque.
CPM-3V. Simply put, as long as the heat
To test its capabilities, I started with Needless to say, I easily sliced through treat is done properly, you can expect
some standard edge cutting and slicing rope or cordage. I even cut through a wear resistance about 50 percent better
tests. First, I cut several pieces of heavy-duty towing strap. The Guardian than D-2 with the ability to harden to
cardboard, slicing along the edge and 4.5 has some good bite to it and digs into RC 56-60, and impact resistance greater
then toward the middle of each piece. whatever its cutting very well. Its edge than A-2, D-2, Cru-Wear or CPM-M4. For
Cardboard really can test and wear out held up nicely against all these different
large choppers it is an amazing steel
an edge pretty fast, but the Guardian 4.5 types of materials I used it on.
due to its toughness, while for smaller
took to it with no issues at all.
How Friendly? bushcraft-style knives, it holds an
I also cut through some pieces of leather I recently went on a solo backpacking trip amazing edge—again providing the heat
and rubber tire strips, with no issues or and wanted to keep it basic, so I thought treat is on point.
binding. To check its toughness on some the Bradford Guardian 4.5 would aid in
hard plastic, I tried it out on some old that concept. I also wanted to try the Also, due to its low alloy content, it is
fairly easy to sharpen in a pinch. One thing
“THE GUARDIAN 4.5 HAS SOME GOOD important to note however, is that it is

BITE TO IT AND DIGS INTO WHATEVER ITS not very corrosion resistant, meaning that
you will want to keep your blade oiled up
CUTTING VERY WELL.” when not in use, or you may be stropping
off rust, or having to grind it off on your
Left: I was able to
easily fashion some
feather sticks for use in
sharpening stone in more serious cases.
fire prep in the damp
environment.

Guardian 4.5 on bushcraft tasks to see


just how “Bushcraft Friendly” it truly was.
I decided that it would be the only edged
tool on this trip.

I wanted to secure a walking stick, so I


put the Guardian 4.5 to its first task. I
selected a sapling, which was about 2
inches in diameter at its base, and went
to work. I decided to try some chopping
so I choked back on the knife’s handle
for some leverage. It’s definitely not a
chopper, but it does pack some punch
and bites well into the wood—and fell
the sapling.

I also used a base-notching technique to


take down some saplings, so I could build
a shelter, and it chewed on the wood like
a hungry beaver.

It did a great job quickly carving out


some stakes to secure my tarp against a
windy rainstorm that came in on me. The
Guardian 4.5 bites well into the wood and
does a great job for its size on this task.

knivesillustrated.com DECEMBER 2018 • KNIVES ILLUSTRATED 55


Above: When it came
to working on the
parts of my figure 4

“I FOUND THE
deadfall, the Guardian
4.5 excelled.

HANDLE EXTREMELY
COMFORTABLE, AND
THE GRIP IS GOOD.
MY HAND NEVER
TIRED FROM TASK
TO TASK.”

SPECS
Blade Material: CPM-3V
Blade Length: 4 inches
Overall Length: 9.2 inches
Handle Length: 5 inches
Blade Thickness: 0.180 inch
Blade Finish: Stonewash, Nimbus or Black DLC
Handle Material: Micarta, G-10 or Carbon Fiber
Weight: 6.7 ounces
MSRP: $239 - $399.95
Right: The choil ended
up being perfect for
striking a ferro rod.

56 KNIVES ILLUSTRATED • DECEMBER 2018 knivesillustrated.com


Right: The jimping on
The point of the blade was very good the spine aided in a
solid purchase during
for boring holes in wood, which aided in heavier tasks.

making fire hearth boards well; however,


due to the flatness of the handle, I could
not spin the knife easily between my
hands in a drilling motion to do this task.

To process them down for a fire, I used


the Guardian 4.5 to baton away at some
fallen logs. The blade length is a bit of
a challenge for this task, as there is not
much of a striking area on the spine, but I
was able to manage. I used a strong piece
of limb as a baton and struck the blade’s
spine toward the point, aiding the knife
down as it separated each piece away
from the larger log. I could see relying on
this size knife to handle this task long
term would not be ideal, but if you have
to, it will work.

I was out in some rainy and moist


conditions, so I used the knife to make
some amazing feather sticks to help get
Right: The contouring
the fire going. The Guardian 4.5 took to on the handle was
extremely comfortable
this task really well. In fact, it did this for extended periods of
time and I developed no
with great ease. I had very good control fatigue or hot spots.
sliding the blade down the stick, and the
thumb jimping aided in this.

I used the bow drill fire kit for my first fire


to stay in practice, but I decided to use
a ferro rod afterward. The Guardian 4.5
does have a 90-degree spine, but I was
unable to get it to throw a decent spark. I
did find that the choil worked really well
for getting sparks from my ferro rod. It
saves you from having to use the main
blade for this task.

The Guardian 4.5 had no issues in making


all the proper notches and angles for the
Figure 4 deadfall trap I made.

I also used it to whittle and carve out


some camp tools and other items. I found
it very easy to choke up and pinch the
blade for more finer work tasks, and the
blade’s weight and balance was excellent
for this.

The design is a bit small, in my opinion,


for scraping and planing tasks, but on a
smaller scale I made it work.

As far as cutting through vines, roots


and good old paracord, it had no issues.
I even used it to notch into a water vine

knivesillustrated.com DECEMBER 2018 • KNIVES ILLUSTRATED 57


to get a fresh drink. I later used it to gut It comes with a nice English bridle, dark brown sheath with a plastic liner insert. The
and clean some freshly caught trout for belt loop is good size for fitting most all belts, and the sheath sits nicely with minimal
dinner. It wasn’t designed for this task, bouncing. I did notice after a while, that the knife was starting to fall out of the sheath
but it handled it just fine, so I am positive when I bent over; that was due to the plastic insert. I wasn’t initially sure how I felt
if one needed to process any game, the about it and now I am not a fan. I like a good leather sheath because it usually forms
Guardian 4.5 could take it. around the blade and helps secure it. So, I would say lose the plastic liner so you don’t
lose your knife out there.
I found the handle extremely
comfortable, and the grip is good. My Rely on This
hand never tired from task to task. I Overall, beyond the plastic sheath liner, I was very impressed with the Bradford
have rather large hands and, again, Guardian 4.5 Bushcraft knife and have nothing to complain about. I liked its
it fit surprisingly well in mine. I never Below: The 5-inch capabilities, what it brings to the tasks at hand, its durability, dependability and ease
handle even fit my big
experienced any slippage even when wet. bear paws. of use out of the box with little learning curve. I used it for an extended period of time

58 KNIVES ILLUSTRATED • DECEMBER 2018 knivesillustrated.com


“CARDBOARD REALLY
CAN TEST AND WEAR
OUT AN EDGE PRETTY
FAST, BUT THE
GUARDIAN 4.5 TOOK
TO IT WITH NO ISSUES
AT ALL.”

KI-BG18-Niagra 10/17/17 1:36 PM Page 1

The slight drop at the butt aided in retention


during cutting tasks.

doing task after task on my backpacking


trek, and my hand never got tired or
Domestic Producers of sheet and plate products for the knife industry.
developed any hot spots or blisters. Stainless and tool steel grades, all CPM knife steels plus new:
CPM cruwear, CPM 20-CV and 6/4 titanium sheet, and the
If you’re looking for a bushcraft friendly re-introduction of CPM S60V (CPM 440V).
knife to use in the bush, a hike, camping Quick response. Quality workmanship.
or even as an everyday carry, you can’t go
wrong with the 4.5. I also found it a very
all-around friendly knife, one that every
outdoors person could put to use on their
adventure. Great job on this one, Brad. KI
WE SPECIALIZE IN SERVING YOU
12600 Clarence Center Road Fax: 716-542-5555 1-800-424-0048
Akron, New York 14001-0280 sales@nsm-ny.com 716-542-5552 www.nsm-ny.com

Follow us on

The English bridle, dark brown sheath was


comfortable and had very little bounce on
the belt. www.facebook.com/gunworldmagazine/
instagram: GunWorldMagazine

knivesillustrated.com
URBAN
PERFE
THE ZERO TOLERANCE 0393 TACTICAL FOLDER
IS RUGGED BEYOND BELIEF, DEPENDABLE AND A
WORTHY SELF-DEFENSE COMPANION
STORY BY CLINT THOMPSON, PHOTOS BY CLINT THOMPSON AND MANUFACTURER

60 KNIVES ILLUSTRATED • DECEMBER 2018 knivesillustrated.com


CARRY
ECTION

knivesillustrated.com DECEMBER 2018 • KNIVES ILLUSTRATED 61


A
Above: As a law
long legacy of enforcement officer,
I like to have at my
dependable knives for disposal the finest
quality tools that I can
professional personnel. afford. The ZT0393 high

“ … THE ZT0393 TACTICAL FOLDER WILL NOT


quality complements
the high-quality Sig
Zero Tolerance, or ZT, has been in the Sauer 1911 .45 ACP “We
the People” pistol.
business of making knives since 2006. The FAIL YOU AS YOU GO INTO YOUR SURVIVOR MODE
company is a member of Kai USA Ltd, as is
Kershaw Knives. At first, ZT made combat
WHEN SITUATIONS GO SOUTH.”
knives, but it now focuses on designing and
manufacturing—with warriors in mind—
folding knives in the USA.
Right: One of the
ways I test the edge
retention of any fixed
Many of its most devoted customers are or folding knife is to cut
heavy cardboard. This
law enforcement, military, firefighters and normally effects the
edge of the knife being
first responders—like emergency medical tested. For the amount
of cardboard I cut, this
personnel. Also, many governmental knife did great.
emergency management personnel who go
into the field to face the daunting tasks of
disaster management are packing a Zero
Tolerance blade.

Being in law enforcement and having


spent almost five years in countries where
flying metal is the order of the day, I do
appreciate the well thought out design and
quality of ZT folding knives.

One ZT model that really caught my eye


is the 0393. Renowned knife maker Rick

62 KNIVES ILLUSTRATED • DECEMBER 2018 knivesillustrated.com


SPECS
Left: While I am on
the range practicing
with my NAA Ranger
II, I cut tape, remove
heavy-duty staples,
cut 550 cord and cut
vegetation that gets
into my way. I also trim Blade Material: CPM-20CV stainless steel
some splinters off of
the wood shooting Blade Length: 3.5 inches
frame.
Closed Length: 4.75 inches
Overall Length: 8.25 inches
Blade Thickness: 0.156 inch
Blade Finish: DLC coated & machine satin
finish
Handle Material: Titanium, blue anodized,
with machined G-10 overlay
Handle Thickness: 0.55 inch
Weight: 5 ounces
Frame/Liner: Titanium
Hinderer designed this ZT model. Rick, in the 3.5- to 5.5-inch range. Any folder with
Opener: Flipper
being a man of action as a first responder a longer blade of 5.5 inches would be an
Lock Type: Frame lock
and diver, has used his professional extra-large folder. Many states have laws
experience to produce folding and fixed on carrying knives with restriction for a
Pocket Clip: Steel
blade knives. Because of his professional concealed folding knife of no more than a
Designer: Rick Hinderer
life, his knives are functional and practical. 3 to 4-inch blade. To be safe, always check MSRP: $300
I salute this warrior for his professional your local laws. Just call your local law
service and duty to his community and enforcement as they should be able to give
country. you the current law.

Now, let’s look at this knife. For an EDC in an urban and inner-city
environment, I believe the ZT0393 would
Great for Urban Use be perfect.
The size of this ZT folder falls within the
lower end of a large folder. The blade is 3.5 What’s It Got? Below: To complement
the ZT0393 defensive
qualities, I like to carry
inches long with an overall open length of The ZT0393 is one well-engineered folding a small to medium
handgun such as the
8.25 inches. A large folder, in my mind, falls pocket knife. I would expect nothing less Bond Arms “Old Glory.”

The clean lines and


expertly crafted grinds
on the Omega B1 are
as beautiful as they
are deadly.

knivesillustrated.com DECEMBER 2018 • KNIVES ILLUSTRATED 63


from Zero Tolerance. The 3.5-inch blade is
Why You Should Buy described as harpoon-style, but I like to call
it a more traditional name: clip point. The
Zero Tolerance is one of the finest blade is made of CPM 20CV stainless steel,
manufacturers of folding tactical knives which is a good hard tool type steel that
in the world. Its products are of the finest
resists wear.
materials made by American craftsmen.
In particular, the ZT0393 blade is made of The ZT0393 is light at only 5 ounces, but
CPM-20CV, an excellent choice in stainless it is also strong with its titanium handles.
steel. This stainless steel resists wear When closed, the blade is engaged by the
and under heavy use can hold an edge way of a flipper located on the backside
longer. I found this out during my test and near the axel. Thumb studs on either side
evaluation.
of the blade can also be used to open this
The frame lock on the ZT0393 is very bad boy up. When using the flipper, you
strong, as it is made from titanium. I quickly push inward, and the blade swings
proved this as I drove the blade through out easily, locking into place.
a 0.625-inch wooden board. The KVT
ball-bearings makes the opening of this The one-handed opening of this knife is
folder smooth and flawless. facilitated by the KVT ball-bearings in the
axle. One-hand closing is possible with the
Did You Know…? ZT frame-lock system. The ability to reverse
the pocket clip from right to left is a big
The handle or scales
of the sample ZT0393
are made of blue,
Cutting meat up to cook on the grill was a
snap. This ZT works great trimming new
anodized titanium
Kershaw Knives is a brand of Kai USA plus. When using the pocket clip, the 0393 with machined G-10 growth limbs from trees in our yard and
handle scales. These
Ltd. and a member of the Kai Group. For is designed for tip up carry—my preferred G-10 scales enhance new bamboo shoots away, which randomly
the gripping ability
the last 100 years, Kai has been Japan’s carry method. of the user as well as shoot up on the fringes of the small
giving this knife some
premier blade producer. It is a company classy looks. bamboo forest we have.
with a stellar reputation that fights for Carrying the ZT0393, by the strong pocket
our knife rights. clip, the 0.55-inch thick handle makes After three weeks of use, I decided to give the
Kai-U.S.A. Ltd. Is based in Tualatin, a low profile in jeans or slacks. The G-10 ZT0393 my closest attention and testing.
Oregon, where they produce USA made handle overlays on the titanium frame only First, I took a leftover heavy cardboard box
products. enhances the gripping ability. and cut it into a flat piece. I then started
cutting off one-half to three-quarter-inch
While many, but not all, of Kershaw’s Test and Evaluation strips of this cardboard. I cut cardboard until
quality products are made in the USA,
To test this product, I carried the ZT0393 I was fairly wet with sweat, thanks to the 67
Zero Tolerance knives are made in the
wherever I went for three weeks, including percent humidity we have here in Oklahoma.
USA. While in Iraq, Kershaw and Kai USA
Ltd. supported our troops during the around the house. When I went out into
Christmas holidays. Demonstrating time public, this exceptional tactical folder was I stuck the ZT0393 into a board and went
and again the company’s patriotism and a good match for my Sig .45 ACP “We the into the house to get some water. After
appreciation for our troops. People” handgun. returning, I started to cut up short pieces
of 550 cord. I cut the cord in short pieces
While working around the house, I carried as the birds around my wife’s garden make
Pro Tips this tool to get a good idea of how well it good use of them for nesting. I inspected
would suit the functional tool category. I the cuttings to see if they were clean and
The ZT0393 is a high-quality knife; in
found the size, length and weight suited my found all were clean cuts. If I cut the 550
reality, it is a highly engineered quality
needs. The ZT0393 is light but very strong. cord by holding it in a loop, the cut end was
tool. When I use my ZT0393 folder, I use
it as a tool. This knife can be used as a I commend Rick Hinderer for his excellent clean but the outer layer frayed from the
weapon, which is also a tool. So as in any design. One can see his professional force of the blade moving through. If I laid
tool, one needs to keep their tools clean experience in this knife. the cord on the top of the work bench to cut
and well lubricated. The ZT0393 is no more pieces, the cuttings were clean due to
different. My life seems to be forever shipping no pressure on the outer layer.
and receiving product for review. So, I
The ball-bearing axis will take some
cut many things, from heavy string to I then moved on to test the locking
lubrication from time to time. You could
place this knife in hot soapy water to cardboard. Even though I don’t like to use
my folding knives for prying, I used this
Contact mechanism, my favorite part, as I like to see
the strength of the knife. Taking the ZT0393,
clean out all of the dirt and lint. Good
maintenance of your knife and firearms knife to pry out heavy staples in my target ZERO TOLERANCE a well-used rubber mallet and a five-
can make the difference in them working frame. I punched a hole in a can of beans (800) 325-2891 eighths-inch thick wooden board, I went to
when you need them the most. I was cooking at my last camping trip in zt.kaiusaltd.com work. I laid this board on top of a 3-inch thick
northeast Oklahoma. wooden board for support while I pounded.

64 KNIVES ILLUSTRATED • DECEMBER 2018 knivesillustrated.com


The handle or scales
Taking the rubber mallet in hand, I started of the sample
ZT0393 are made of
to drive this tactical folding knife with very blue G-10. These G-10
hard blows. The blade slipped into the wood scales enhance the
gripping ability of the
surprisingly easy, so I kept on pounding. user as well as giving
this knife some classy
When I could see about 1½ inches of the looks.

blade was driven into the wood, I stopped.


In trying to pick up the target board, I
found the blade had impaled itself into the
3-inch board underneath. I pried upward to
separate the ZT0393 and target board.

Inspecting the point of the ZT0393, I


could see no damage. I started working
this folding knife back and forth, all the
while pulling upward to further torture the
frame-lock system. When I finally freed the
ZT0393 from the target board, I closely
inspected the blade tip. It showed no signs
of use, let alone damage.

To check further, I tested the sharpness by


cutting a piece of 550 cord. The cut cord
was cleanly done. Unlocking the blade
and working it back and forth I found no
damage to the axis. By using the flipper,
I opened and closed the ZT0393 10 to 12
times with zero problems detected.

The left side of the blade of the ZT0393 is the


mirror image of the right. My sample blade
showed perfection on the part of the employee
who did the final grind and polish.

Highly
Recommended
The ZT0393 is a great match for your CCW.
I like to carry this sample when I carry the
NAA Ranger II or my Bond Arms Derringer.
Both firearms are perfect for drawing when
sitting in your vehicle. The ZT0393 is ideal
for urban carry while traversing through
traffic, eating out or walking the mall while
the wife shops.

As I often say, professionally I don’t


recommend going to a gunfight with a
knife, but the ZT0393 tactical folder will

GRIP A LEGEND
THE GOLDEN SPIKE
not fail you as you go into your survivor
mode when situations go south. I can say I
highly recommend this very tough knife. KI

knivesillustrated.com DECEMBER 2018 • KNIVES ILLUSTRATED 65


DYNAMIC
EDC
DUO
VETERAN-PRODUCED
WILMONT KNIVES—
MADE FOR DAILY WEAR
STORY BY TIM STETZER
PHOTOS BY TIM AND EMILY STETZER

66 KNIVES ILLUSTRATED • DECEMBER 2018 knivesillustrated.com


knivesillustrated.com DECEMBER 2018 • KNIVES ILLUSTRATED 67
T
here is strength in solid The K25 Above: The K25 is only
6 inches in overall
steel. The K25 is a mainstay in the Wilmont length, from tip to tail,
and weighs in at just
line, and for good reason. It’s a solid, under 3 ounces with
a 2.75-inch blade of
A good friend and fellow writer well-designed blade that you can take Crucible CRU-WEAR
tool steel, treated to a
has always preferred fixed-blade knives with you anywhere. It will work as a 62 Rockwell Hardness.
It has clean organic
for everyday carry as well as field use, neck knife or for carry on or inside the lines with all of the hard
corners knocked off, to
and he describes folders as “pre-broken belt. It’d also work great strapped to a increase comfort and
eliminate hot spots.
knives.” While I’ll admit, I do normally pack or EDC bag, too.
carry a folder and don’t feel as strongly
about the issue as he does, I have to The K25 is 6 inches in overall length
concede he has a point. A fixed blade is and has a 0.125-inch-thick, 2.75-inch- Right: The K25’s handle
scales are scalloped
never going to have a lock failure and is long blade of CRU-WEAR steel—which G-10 for a blend of
comfort and textured
inherently stronger than a folder. Chris describes as “D2 on steroids.” grip and are secured to
the full tang by a pair of
Crucible says that it “excels in Torx screws.
With that said, I’m not toting a bowie applications that require higher wear
with me everywhere I go, so if I do EDC resistance than D2” and has “greater
a fixed blade it needs to be something toughness than M2 high speed steel.”
manageable. So, let’s call it impressive, especially
for a small EDC blade. It’s hardened to
Wilmont Knives makes a couple of a 62 Rockwell and should provide an
very nice 4-inch-bladed models, but excellent balance of edge retention
the niche that interested me was its and durability. Right: The K25 has a
high hollow grind and
smaller EDC models with blades in the a secondary bevel that
proved quite functional
2- to 3-inch range—as well as some The K25’s blade is a drop-point for EDC tasks.
nifty beer opening EDC gadgets. When design with a tapered false swedge
I approached Chris Williams (owner and a high, hollow grind, and a fine
of Wilmont Knives) with the idea of secondary bevel. CRU-WEAR is not a
an article on some of his EDC blades, stainless steel and will require similar
he hooked me up with two of his neck maintenance as D2, but Chris finishes
knives—the K25 and Ultralight Necker— his blades in a matte black finish that
and a variety of his EDC gadgets. will help somewhat in that department.
Right: The K25’s CRU-
WEAR blade is 0.125-
Let’s take a look at the K25 and The K25 has a three-finger handle of inch thick, and you can
easily see the contours
Ultralight Necker in more detail. scalloped black G-10—also available of the scalloped handle.

68 KNIVES ILLUSTRATED • DECEMBER 2018 knivesillustrated.com


in other handle colors upon request— The scalloped handle is very
affixed by a pair of Torx screws on comfortable and provides a solid grip “…THE NICHE THAT
either handle scale. A thumb ramp
on the blade helps the hand settle
without being rough or having sharp
edges. I’m a fan of the drop-point
INTERESTED ME WERE
in comfortably on the blade and blade style and find that it works quite HIS SMALLER EDC
a lanyard hole, just big enough to
squeeze some paracord through, is
well for just about anything I do. The
edge on the K25 wasn’t hair-popping
MODELS WITH BLADES
placed near the pommel. sharp, but it did extremely well slicing IN THE 2- TO 3-INCH
Chris provides a well molded Kydex
free hanging paper and worked
wonders on daily tasks like cutting
RANGE…”
sheath with the knife that will work as cardboard, packing tape, plastic
a neck sheath or for carry on the belt or strapping material and hard-shell
inside the waistband with the provided plastic packaging. blade that performs well above its
Spyderco G-CLIP. weight class and may well work its way
Though it wasn’t the right time of the on to my duty belt for work soon.
The K25 is an incredibly handy blade. year to test it out, I suspect it would
It’s smaller in overall length than most make a great compact hunting knife as The Ultralight
folders I carry, and in fact only about an well. It works very well in a pinch grip, Necker
inch and half longer than most of them and my index finger falls naturally at While the K25 is a light, handy design,
closed. It only weighs 3.8 ounces in the the tip of the knife when placed on the Chris has another popular model
sheath and 2.9 ounces on its own, so it spine of the blade, allowing for precise available for folks who want to pack
weighs less than many folders, too. controlled butting. It’s a robust little even less with them on an everyday
basis: the Ultralight Necker.

At only 1.3 ounces in weight (2.1


ounces in the provided Kydex
sheath) it weighs in at less than half
the weight of the already light K25.
The Necker is a skeletonized design
made from 0.125-inch-thick CPM
S35VN stainless steel and is devoid
of handle scales—making it very
thin and helping keep the weight
down. The Necker has a 2.25-inch-
long blade and is 5 inches in overall
length, but still manages to squeak
in a three-finger grip.

Left: A pinch grip The Ultralight Necker is heavily


worked well with the
petite K25. skeletonized and features a well-
designed bottle opener as part of its
grip. The edges of the spine and handle
are all rounded for comfort and a trio
of grooves is present along the spine to
add some traction for your thumb. The
S35VN steel blade has a flat grind with
a secondary bevel and is finished with
an attractive matte finish. The Necker
was a little sharper than the K25 and
easily popped hair off of my arm. Like
the K25, the Ultralight ships with a
Kydex sheath, although there is no
G-CLIP with this model as it is primarily
designed as a neck knife.

Left:The K25 provides Chris told me that he sold one of


a solid three-finger grip
and has a comfortable these to a local bartender and the
thumb ramp for use
with a saber grip. idea rapidly spread with bartenders

knivesillustrated.com DECEMBER 2018 • KNIVES ILLUSTRATED 69


Right: The Necker
in his area. I did some thorough uses a skeletonized
S35VN blade that
and extensive testing of the bottle incorporates a handy
opening feature on the Necker and I bottle opener in the
handle.
can see why. It’s an efficient design
and works as well as most dedicated
bottle openers.

The 2.25-inch blade is plenty for


most daily tasks as well. I can see it
being right at home with a bartender
opening boxes, cutting open packages
and other daily duties. It would also do
nicely with impromptu work, cutting
up lemons and limes. Even if you
aren’t interested in the booze related
advantages of the Necker, it would
make an outstanding backing fixed
blade, and it can always open up craft
Right: The Wilmont
sodas for you or the kids as well as it Necker incorporates
a very well-designed
can beer. bottle opener into
the handle which is in
use with professional
Solid, Creative, and bartenders.

All-American EDC
Chris Williams has a great niche in
practical EDC blades and tools that
have a creative flair, without taking
anything away from the functional
aspect of his pieces. You can see the
years of mechanical engineering blend

SPECS
ULTRALIGHT NECKER
Blade Material: Cpm S35VN
Blade Length: 2.25 inches
“[THE K25] IS A SOLID, WELL-DESIGNED BLADE
Overall Length: 5 inches THAT YOU CAN TAKE WITH YOU ANYWHERE.”
Blade Thickness: 0.125 inch
Blade Grind: Skelotonized flat Grind
Sheath: Kydex neck sheath
Weight: 2.3 ounces in sheath
MSRP: $125

SPECS
K25
Blade Material: Crucible CRU-WEAR
Blade Length: 2.75 inches
Overall Length: 6 inches
Blade Thickness: 0.125 inch
Right: Despite its
Blade Grind: Hollow compact size and
feathery weight, the
Handle Material: Black G-10 Ultralight Necker is
a very capable EDC
Sheath: Kydex with G-CLIP blade built with precise
attention to detail and
Weight: 3.8 ounces in sheath top materials. While
extremely light the
MSRP: $225 Necker still feels solid
and sturdy in the hand.

70 KNIVES ILLUSTRATED • DECEMBER 2018 knivesillustrated.com


Chris
Reeve
Knives

One for you.


One for your other half.
Order Sebenza 21 Unique Graphics at chrisreeve.com

KI-BG17-Randall Made Knives 10/25/16 10:32 AM

For the cowboy with class.


Chris Reeves Knives_1_3v 1 8/31/2018 12:24:09 AM

A smaller knife for those dress up occasions.

PURCHASE ONLINE AT
agrussell.com
A. G. Russell™ 3˝ Bolstered Lockback
AGLB-C52BG Bugoora $79.95
AGLB-C52SWB Smooth White Bone $84.95
AGLB-C52BK Black G-10 $74.95
For a free catalog, call 479-878-1644, Dept #Y1218
To order, call 1-800-255-9034.
2900 S. 26th St. - Rogers, AR 72758
© Copyright 2018 A.G. Russell Knives
Right: The slightly
toothy edge of the
K25 easily sliced
through this thick
phone book with very
little effort.

with the practical experience, gained in the SOF community,


that helps maximize function without sacrificing the design
touches that make his pieces interesting and unique. If
Beverage Liberators you’re a fan of fixed blade EDC you owe yourself the time to
check out the Wilmont K25 and Ultralight Necker—as well as
I have to confess that I was first lured into Chris’s table by his wide Chris’s other designs. And if you’re a fan of adult beverages,
you might want to pick up a nifty bottle opening companion
array of beer openers.
piece while you’re there. KI

I like beer. I like gadgets. Chris has some neat gadgets that open
beer, so I was hooked. I just happened to find some great knives A Veteran Owned Business
while I was there, too. Chris sent along a variety of openers
with my test knives, including a trio of knuckleduster style Wilmont Knives was founded 15 years ago by Chris Williams,
a retired U.S. Army veteran who spent 20 years in the SOF
Beerdefenders, a Beeracuda and a Beertop. The Beerdefenders
community. Chris worked for eight years as a mechanical
are slick two-finger models that look good and work even
engineer after retirement before he started knife and tool
better—at opening beer of course. I have a stainless model that’s making full time. Chris’s knifemaking roots go back to his
0.375-inch thick and weighs in at almost 3 ounces, and a pair active Army days though, when he started making knives for
Above: The Formido
cut a large opening in
of black anodized aluminum ones that are 0.25-inch thick
to the and of this
sidewall
himself after he couldn’t find what he wanted locally. Chris
Goodyear tire with no
a feathery 0.6 ounce, which would work great on resistance.
a key chain. does primarily stock removal knives but also forges and makes
his own Damascus and builds and sells knife grinders under the
While these are great conversation pieces, check your local laws
Wilmont Grinders name.
before packing one of these potent openers around town. The
Beerdefenders start at $40 for the aluminum models and go up
Right: If you prefer
for stainless and titanium versions. beer that doesn’t use
twist off tops, the
Ultralight Necker is
an invaluable tool for
If you don’t think your local law enforcement buddies will your EDC kit.

appreciate the Beerdefender, there’s always the Beeracuda


or the Beertop to choose from. The Beeracuda is an anodized
aluminum or titanium stylized fish opener with three hex head
cutouts in the handle. Aluminum is available in silver or black and
titanium can be anodized in blue, bronze, purple, green or straw.
Aluminum Beeracudas go for $40 and titanium models for $100.
The Beertop is a six spoked star with each spoke having a beer
opening end, centered around a central steel ball bearing that
allows the top to spin on the table or bar top. It’s mesmerizing
to watch after a few beers and if you mark one of the spokes it Contact
can be used to randomly point out who’s buying the next round. WILMONT KNIVES
Beertops are made from titanium and can be anodized in blue, WilmontKnives.com
bronze, purple, green or straw and sell for $50. Instagram:
@WilmontGrinders

72 KNIVES ILLUSTRATED • DECEMBER 2018 knivesillustrated.com


STAY INFORMED WITH THE
LATEST FEATURE ARTICLES, PICS, VIDEOS,
TECH NEWS, AND MORE!

ONLINE VISIT US AT
www.gunworld.com
LOOKING SHARP

+ SPECS
KC GRAY CUSTOM
KNIVES
Model: Petrichor
Blade Material: Bacon Damascus - Forged by
Chad Nichols
Blade Length: 4 inches
Overall Length: 9.5 inches
Bolster Material: Marble carbon fiber
Handle Material: Mammoth tooth
Website: www.GrayHandmadeKnives.com

A CLASS OF
YOUR OWN
STYLISH EDC’S THAT STAND OUT
IN ANY CROWD
BY KNIVES ILLUSTRATED STAFF, PHOTOS BY SHARPBYCOOP

F
rom boardroom to barroom, your EDC should be able
to follow you anywhere—and fit in with style.

It is not uncommon to see people with an EDC pocket knife


in just about any environment, but what can be fairly rare is to see
an EDC pocket knife that commands attention. Your EDC is an ex-
tension of your personality, and when you pull out a custom EDC
like the following, people will take notice that you are a no-non-
sense individual who appreciates the finer things in life. KI

74 KNIVES ILLUSTRATED • DECEMBER 2018 knivesillustrated.com


+ SPECS
DARRIEL CASTON/D
ROCKET SQUARED
COLLABORATION
Model: AbOhlone
Blade Material: CS-XHP
Blade Length: 2.75 inches
Overall Length: 6.25 inches
Frame Material: Titanium
Handle Material: Titanium
Website: www.DRocketDesign.com

knivesillustrated.com DECEMBER 2018 • KNIVES ILLUSTRATED 75


+ SPECS
J. DOYLE KNIVES
Model: Dress Locking Folder
Blade Material: W2
Blade Length: 3.125 inches
Overall Length: 4 inches
Bolster Material: Checkered Blackwood
Handle Material: Blackwood with koa inlays
Frame: Titanium
Instagram: @jdoyleknives

76 KNIVES ILLUSTRATED • DECEMBER 2018 knivesillustrated.com


+ SPECS
JEREMY KRAMMES
Model: Helix
Blade Material: Core Damascus
Blade Length: 3.375 inches
Overall Length: 7.625 inches
Bolster Material: Zirconium
Handle Material: Carbon fiber
Frame: Titanium
Website: www.JKKnives.com

knivesillustrated.com DECEMBER 2018 • KNIVES ILLUSTRATED 77


+ SPECS
TURNER KNIFE & TOOL
Model: Merlin
Blade Material: Damasteel Draupner
Blade Length: 3.125 inches
Overall Length: 7.5 inches
Handle Material: Damasteel Draupner
Frame: Titanium
Instagram: @turnerknifetool

78 KNIVES ILLUSTRATED • DECEMBER 2018 knivesillustrated.com


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EDGE OF SURVIVAL

THE MACGYVER FACTOR


WHAT’S HIS CHOICE FOR A SURVIVAL TOOL?
STORY AND PHOTOS BY EJ SNYDER

O
K, he is fictitious. Still, Like the Swiss Army
knife, the multi-tool has
he makes me wonder, enough tools to fulfill
many varied tasks.
and he makes me think.
You know MacGyver,
right? He is the title character
from the TV show of the same
name. He is a scientist who works
as a troubleshooter.

I often wonder what a guy like this


would carry as a survival tool. Sure,
it’s just TV, but he can fix or make just
about anything out of simple chewing
gum. He is the guy, who within
seconds, fastens together a bomb-de-
fusing device using an old rusty butter
knife, a rubber band and a bobby pin including myself, who have used these in the past, so it made perfect sense.
from his pocket … and saves the day
with only a mere second to spare. The first option that came to mind is the good old-fashioned Swiss Army knife.
Why? A regular old pocket knife can be limited. The second option would be a
Again, just what kind of a survival tool multi-tool, whether it be a Leatherman, a Gerber tool or some other version out
would he carry?
Web Time there.
Check out the
Options 1 & 2 author’s official site at Both survival tool options bring a lot to the table, a lot to consider, and are both
I think he would carry one of two sorts EJSnyder.com being used out there by many people to aid in their survival tasks. So, let’s exam-
of tools. I know many survivalists, ine what these survival tools bring to the situation.

80 KNIVES ILLUSTRATED • DECEMBER 2018 knivesillustrated.com


Swiss Army Knife
The Swiss Army knife is a classic choice
for a lot of folks, from Boy Scouts to sol-
diers. The original Swiss Army knife dates
back to 1884, so it has been around.
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trimming their nails. The Swiss Army
Fiddleback Forge ............................... 31
knife, with its ability to fix things, makes
Flexcut Tool Company ..................... 13
life all around better.
Harbor Freight Tools .........................51
Here’s how I see it. If there’s a better tool
for the job, the Swiss Army knife will have Hogue Grips ...........................................9
it as one of its tools. It clearly has served
The multi-tool is comfortable in any environment from
as a proven survival tool over a couple specified jobs to field tasks. Jantz Supply ........................................ 21
centuries now.
needed for the job. It was designed that Jantz Supply ......................................6-7
The Multi-Tool way. It was designed to make things less
Kayne & Son .......................................59
During my Army career, I saw many complicated. It is definitely very new to
soldiers with the multi-tool. I remember the scene and still proving itself. And if Kershaw Knives .................................84
being in a motor pool, looking over our you ask me? It is doing rather well.
vehicles, and needing to do just some Krudo Knives ....................................... 31
basic maintenance. What comes out? And the Answer
The multi-tool pliers to tighten up a I think it’s safe to say that each of these Niagara Specialty Metals ...............59
loose bolt. In other instances, maybe it tools has its place and use in the survival
was the wire cutters to cut away some world and in everyday carry (EDC). For Old Timer .............................................65
tangled barbed wire caught up around sure, many people are using them in that
an axle while out in the field. I remember capacity. I can see the multi-tool being
Randall Made Knives.........................71
using the saw blade to cut down limbs to less confusing or complicated to use than
Schrade ................................................29
camouflage a vehicle. a mega Swiss Army knife, but then again
that mega hardware store may have that Smith & Wesson ................................37
Multi-tools hit the scene around 1983. one very unique tool for the job.
Tim Leatherman made the first as a Spartan Blades USA ........................45
“pocket survival tool,” but it was too big I see both tools having a lot of functional-
for the pocket, so it became a belt carry. ity in and out of the field and in an emer- Spyderco Inc. ......................................45
Some multi-tools are also designed for gency or survival situation. I see them
specific jobs, such as electrical work. both as handy everyday carries (EDC). Tandy Leather Factory..................... 31

Based on my research, most multi-tools So, what would MacGyver carry? I am hon-
TOPS Knives .......................................83
come with at least a dozen tools mini- estly not sure which of these two he would
Uncle Henry ....................................... 43
mum, and I saw several with twice that choose to carry, but it is a good question
many. I know it’s a go-to for a lot of folks I am sure many people ask themselves W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Co. ...........2
these days as it fits easily on the belt and when trying to select a survival tool to carry
has just the necessary number of items when on the edge of survival. KI Wilson Combat................................... 21

knivesillustrated.com DECEMBER 2018 • KNIVES ILLUSTRATED 81


RISING TALENT

OLD COUNTRY
EDC
KJ OF THUNDERHORSE BLADES
MAKES KNIVES IDEAL FOR CAMP, RANCH OR A NIGHT ON THE TOWN
STORY BY JOSHUA SWANAGON | PHOTOS BY KAREN JONES

H DIG
aving grown up in Colorado
and lived in New Mexico
difficult for her to find her niche, but
from what I can tell she has settled
05 True Custom
Though she has a competition legal
for a while, I’ve always in very nicely. Although she is very
throwing knife coming soon with
had a fondness for Native good at promoting others, she finds
a production company, all of KJ’s
American style. When I first saw KJ’s it difficult to promote herself. Once
knives are custom and she loves
work at ThunderHorse Blades, it people see her work, however, that will
reminded me a lot of home. A LITTLE DEEPER not be much of an issue any more.
taking customer requests. But
keep watching her line for more of
Instagram: her own designs and options.
I am drawn to her natural handle @ThunderHorseBlades 03 Inspired
materials, Native American trimmings
and the completely utilitarian
Facebook: Facebook.
com/ThunderHorseBlades
When asked who inspires her, KJ had a
hard time narrowing it down from the
06 Ordering
KJ does her business via Instagram and
designs—especially when it comes to many great talents out there. However,
Facebook. A website is on its way—but
her favorite style to make, the bowie. she does find a favorite in Fine Art Knives
until then, contact her through social
Though I like aesthetically pleasing by Dellana for her functional works of art.
media, email her at sixgunskj@gmail.
knives, I do not collect safe queens, so KJ finds makers who utilize their culture,
com or call 682-777-1193 to purchase
when I see a knife that has “safe queen” heritage and background in their designs
or custom order a knife. Her typical
looks with ranch hand functionality to be inspiring. “I almost know who they
waiting period is a speedy two to six
and build, my attention is piqued. I are by looking at their work,” KJ says.
weeks; now would be a good time
love a great-looking knife, but I have
to get in touch with her before
to be able to use it—and that is where 04 Mediums her books fill up. KI
ThunderHorse Blades comes in. Though her favorite steels evolve
with experience, and she still wants to
01 An Impressive experiment with different types, KJ has
History been loving the high-tech stainless steels
Being raised by a career military father for everything from EDC belt knives to
who loved the Old West, KJ learned chef’s knives, while also having a lean
responsible gun and knife handling towards Damascus. When it comes to
from a young age. This eventually led to handle materials, she likes to keep it
her becoming a Wild West entertainer natural and opts for burl woods,
all over the country, performing tricks turquoise, stone, antler and
such as trick shooting, trick horses, trick bone. She also plans
roping, bull whips and knife throwing— to start making
which led to her becoming inducted her own handle
into the International Knife Throwers
Hall of Fame. While working at the GETTING material and
incorporating
ESEE booth at Blade Show in 2011, she
met Justin Gingrich of Gingrich Tactical
PERSONAL personal items
from the client.
and her knifemaking career began. City: Small town near
Fayetteville, NC
02 The Challenges Education
KJ found the transition to be challenging. Background: High
School, Career
She had no background, and she went
Years Making
from a lifelong career to one that had Knives: 3
no safety net. Coming into a male
dominated industry made it a little

82 KNIVES ILLUSTRATED • DECEMBER 2018 knivesillustrated.com


Like the other knives inspired by the original ZT 0777, the new Bareknuckle

BORN & BUILT is based on the style of our original award-winning design, but this one
offers a slimmed down profile and upgraded materials: Sandvik 14C28N

IN THE USA blade steel, anodized aluminum handles, KVT ball-bearing opening system.
And yes, built right here in our Oregon factory.

kershawknives.com BAREKNUCKLE 7777