I see a lot of people spending a lot of money on features they either don’t need or that don’t make sense when it comes to survival knives. There are quite a few survival knife manufacturers out there. In the following video, take some time to touch on some of the survival knives that I have used or seen used in hard use environments for extended periods of time. As always, the video merely serves as a primer. Figure out what you need and what your price point is and go from there.
There are some serious benefits to ringed edged weapons; some are obvious while others are less so. I suppose the benefit that stands out to me first and foremost is the added retention. The ring gives the end-user the ability to retain the knife if their hand is open for whatever reason. This allows the user to grab things with the knife-wielding hand but also to strike. The first situation I can think of here is using the knife to create space during a close quarters encounter so that a pistol may be drawn while maintaining control of the knife until it can safely be re-sheathed.
The ring gives the end-user an excellent point of physical purchase when employing or drawing the weapon from concealment. With a simple slip of a finger, the user can securely pull the blade from its sheath. This also gives the user a consistent reference point on the grip; the hand more or less goes to the same place every time the knife is employed. This negates the risk of an improper grip which may cause the user to cut themselves or lose control of the knife. Being able to draw the knife through the ring alone, makes the knife cater to deep concealment exceptionally well given that only the rings needs to be exposed to achieve a positive extraction by the user.
The ring also often provides an excellent surface for use as an impact weapon. The ring can give the user’s strikes a much-needed boost during a violent confrontation. This also has the added benefit of a less than lethal option although I usually won’t advocate such a course of action unless you have no other choice due to it not being a sure-fire method of disabling the immediate threat.
The detriments of ringed knives are limited but also rather serious. While the ring offers incredible retention, this also makes it hard to drop in a hurry should the knife become seriously irrelevant to the situation. If the knife is employed incorrectly, the knife can be used against the user via the ring. Injuries such as a finger being broken or even worse, being degloved, are risks that are inherent to the design. If the blade gets immobilized by or in the threat during use, these kinds of injuries may potentially occur. The benefits far outweigh the detriments, in my opinion — but it is still extremely important to acknowledge them and compensate accordingly.
Ringed knives are pretty awesome, and I like them a lot. They have their drawbacks, as do all weapons. The big thing for me when selecting a ringed knife is being able to use it as intended, through the ring, or utilizing it more conventionally with a traditional forward/reverse grip; this is a size issue. There are smaller variants available, but I view those as tertiary blades rather than as a primary or secondary due to their limited use. Above all, select something that works for you and your lifestyle and train with it routinely; always seek to further your knowledge and skill at arms regardless of the tool. Knives are like firearms and to be good at using them you need to practice drawing and striking with them regularly. Competence is far more dangerous than a sharp edge.
Featured image courtesy of the author.
This article was written by Kurt T
I remember saving up to buy this beautiful $350 Microtech SOCOM Elite automatic/switchblade back around 2001-2002.
One night I was waiting for a friend to meet me in his parking lot at his apt building, super sketchy neighborhood. I saw a crazy looking dude walking through the parking lot, so I pulled it out and had it in my hand…just in case.
When he was walking near me, he stopped…looked both ways, back at me and then charged me. I sidestepped and brought this knife up in between us and went to push the button. My thumb was slightly out of alignment as I pushed the button down, just off enough that It never opened.
Back in the day when you wanted a hardcore knife for field use there was only one place to look, Randall Made Knives. Founded by Bo Randall who made his first knife in 1937 and founded the company in 1938 in Orlando Florida, Randall knives have been the go-to knife or soldiers, sailors, Marines, huntsman, and adventurers. Geared towards hunters and sportsman originally, that changed when America entered World War II when the demand from servicemen for a strong knife to go to war with skyrocketed. Many famous service men and other persons carried Randall Made Knives to include Lieutenant General James M. Gavin, Captain and future United States President Ronald Reagan, General William Westmoreland, U2 Pilot Francis Gary Powers, and the first astronauts carried Randall Made Knives on their journeys into space.
I recall reading stories about Green Berets (Army Special Forces) in Vietnam in Soldier of Fortune magazine back in the early 1980s and it was said that the way to identify a Green Beret was by the Rolex on their wrist and the Randall knife on their belt. I’ve owned a few Randall Made Knives since the mid 80’s the first was the classic Model 14 Attack.
My current Randall Made Knife is a Model 15 Airman. The standard features of the Model 15 are as follows from the Randall website:
- BLADE LENGTH: 5.5″
- BLADE STOCK: 1/4″
- HANDLE SHAPE: Single Finger Grip, Border Patrol, Finger Grips
- HANDLE MATERIAL: Micarta
- HILT STYLE: Brass Double
- WEIGHT: 10 oz.
The Model 15 could be considered the little brother of the Model 14 with the blade being two inches shorter. The Model 15 was designed as an alternative for aircrews to the standard issue aircrew survival knife. The shorter blade made it easier to get in and out of aircraft and less likely to get snagged on things.
My Model 15 is the stainless steel version with the Border Patrol grip. It is a solid knife with a full tang that is made to be used and abused in the harshest environments. I haven’t field test this one yet, but I have designated it as my go-to sheath knife for my future outdoor adventures. I like the 5.5” blade for the same reasons it was designed for less to catch on when getting in and out of vehicles or watercraft, or moving through the woods.
The sheath is well made and of the same design that has been used for decades by the Randall company. I plan on treating mine with Sno-seal so that it’s water resistant and lasts longer. The sheath comes with a pocket containing a sharpening stone; I’ve used stones in the past but will probably use a diamond hone when the time comes to sharpen it. I’m considering having a Kydex or some type of hard shell sheath made for it if I can find a good source.
Randall knives generally retail in the $500.00 plus price range, are available in stainless steel or tool steel (the tool steel modes are generally a bit lower in price); waits can be long to obtain one but in my opinion, they are worth the wait. There are dealers that have the knives on hand for immediate purchase if you check of the Randall website you can find information about locating one. If you’re ever in the Orlando, Florida area stop by the shop and check out the museum, there are tons of older models on display as well as photos of Randall are being carried around the world.
Art Dorst is the owner of A. Dorst Consulting & Training Services and is a Senior Consultant for LaSorsa & Associates. He served in the U.S. Navy and Army National Guard, and is a retired municipal Police Officer, NRA Instructor, and is currently a security provider/trainer.
Edged Weapons. There is a ton of content on the internet regarding the use of edged weapons and the many different designs of edged weapons. So much so that those that are not as knowledgeable are taking what amateurs are saying as gospel. I’m not saying I’m an expert, but I have a few guys in the industry that I follow online, ask questions when I don’t know something and have trained with. If you’re truly seeking to learn the use of edged weapons in a combative situation, then you need to seek reputable instruction and instructors. One of those dudes in the industry that knows his stuff is James Williams. Take a look at the following two videos as James drops some knowledge on edged weapons.
The CRKT Hissatsu is one of James Williams signature designs. Although it’s not a fixed blade, it’s got a pretty rock solid operation. Check it out!
Featured image courtesy of James Williams Facebook page
As elite Special Operation shock troops, the US Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment is constantly on (or behind) the front line of battle. Their gear is required to be as tough as the men themselves. After leaving the service having finished my 5th deployment, I still hold my equipment to the same high standard: as if my life and the lives of the Ranger’s next to me depended on it.
One blade that has impressed me greatly is the Morakniv Tactical. These Swedes know their steel, having been making blades under one company name or another for more than 100 years. If it’s cutting you want, trust these descendants of the Vikings to deliver.