The Spyderco Karahawk Karambit with the Emerson Wave opening system is a good self-defense tool for every-day carry. The traditional Karambit style blade retains effectiveness in a fight while allowing the knife to be of a relatively small overall size. The Karambit, or “tiger claw” style blade when used in conjunction with Pencak Silat martial arts style movements is devastating to soft tissue despite its diminutive size. In fact, the small size of this knife is one of the characteristics that makes it excellent for carrying regularly. With practice, the Emerson Wave opening system allows the user to open the knife while removing the knife from his/her pocket very quickly and efficiently. The Emerson Wave is a great feature, but like anything else it takes practice. This opening system, along with the traditional Karambit index finger loop delineates this blade to be most effective in a strong side pocket carry. The fit and finish on this knife, like that of most of the Spyderco knives we’ve reviewed, is exemplary. The only major drawback is a design flaw that does not allow this knife to be used in a Silat double strike movement. This is unfortunate because a Karambit is the only knife can cut twice in one strike with this movement. The Karahawk cannot perform this movement due to the excess width at the base of the index finger loop. Please see the pictures below comparing the Spyderco Karahawk Karambit to a Bone Tactical fixed blade Karambit blank with arrows pointing to the area of concern. This however, is not a “deal breaker”, the Spyderco Karahawk Karambit is still an incredibly effective self-defense tool despite being limited to the fixed reverse grip position. Finally, the Karahawk can be a relatively effective less lethal tool when held and used in the closed position it effectively strengthens and hardens closed hand strikes with a similar effect to that of “brass knuckles”.
The blade of the Karahawk features VG-10 steel that is ground to a nearly razor sharp edge. The G10 handle scales are perfectly contoured to fit any size hand and allow for complete control. The pocket clip is expertly designed to be utilized for either left or right handed individuals. It can be drawn in the blink of an eye, nearly as a fast as a fixed blade knife, and put into action just as quickly by an experienced and practiced hand. The team at Bone Tactical has tried everything in our power to cause a failure in this blade, from training in the combat type scenarios it was designed for to being used as a utility knife. K11 has used it for everything from cutting 3/4 inch Amsteel rope to demonstrating knife fighting techniques on pork analogs in said training scenarios. We can honestly say that not only did it perform flawlessly but we're also amazed at its ability to hold an edge after all the abuse we put it through.
Spyderco Karahawk Karambit – Emerson Wave
Test Period: 6 Months
Author: Kilo 11
Opens quickly with practice, small enough to carry daily, very effective self-defense tool.
Finger hole too wide at its base [unable to double strike, see comparison picture], & Edges of finger hole a little sharp.
8 out of 10 Bones.
length overall: 6.50" (165 mm)
blade length: 2.35" (60 mm)
blade steel: VG-10
length closed: 4.50" (114 mm)
cutting edge: 2.05" (52 mm)
weight: 3.8 oz (108 g)
blade thickness: 0.098" (2.5 mm)
handle material: G-10
We chose to bring along this Spyderco Schempp Rock bushcraft style blade to one of our wilderness survival schools (no longer available in the US) to see how it held up against some routine outdoor tasks. We categorize this as a bushcraft knife because of the large, forward-sweeping blade that lends itself well to cutting and chopping. Although this knife is too large to carry as a combat/fighting knife or a defensive weapon in most cases, it would serve those purposes well if one had it on hand. We evaluated the use of this knife for food preparation, clearing brush, chopping wood, creating tinder, hunting, gathering, and for use as a potential weapon in a survival scenario. A few of the unique properties that stood out to us in the testing process were: choice of steel, overall weight, sheath quality, and the overall design of the knife itself.
The Schempp Rock fared well in the woods and would prove handy for the average outdoorsman or outdoors woman. Trekking through dense brush allowed us to see if this knife was decently suited to blazing trails, but the Schempp Rock proved to be too light and small for clearing brush. It worked well for chopping kindling into more appropriately sized pieces for fire building. Up until this point the surprisingly light blade for its size had been a major benefit since it was easier to carry than a traditional large bushcraft blade. Now it was apparent that due to the thin profile and VG-10 construction of the blade it wouldn’t handle chopping as easily as a thicker, more traditional high carbon steel blade. The grip area of the knife was designed extremely well in that it fits the ergonomics of the hand allowing for a very secure purchase. The excellent grip and maneuverability of the light blade allowed for easy tinder shaving and whittling. When we gathered some eggs and cooked them in the coals of the fire, the length and shape of the blade made preparing the eggs easy. When we used the knife to set snares and traps it fared well in cutting small branches and twine necessary for this procedure. It did not lend well to skinning an animal but it worked and was much better than not having a knife. In the case of meat preparation and skinning the knife proved to be a little long and it’s obvious it was not designed for this purpose. Next we fashioned the knife into a spear. This proved difficult because the width and contour of the handle scales. We had to take a convex center section out of a relatively large sapling and affix the knife in place with cordage and some gorilla tape we had on hand. The spear worked and we even used it to kill a copperhead that infiltrated our camp. The copperhead made a nice addition to the eggs and rabbit we had for food that day. The spear also would have worked well for defense against large animals, and could have possibly worked for spear hunting as a last option.
The knife itself is well designed and well built. VG-10 is one of my personal favorite types of steel for use in knives, but this is the first time I’ve tested it strictly as a bushcraft blade. It held an edge relatively well yet also chipped, this makes me suspect the possibility of improper heat treat, unless the blade in this steel type is truly just too thin for bushcraft. Again, the blade is very light for its size. This is good and bad depending how you look at it. It’s excellent when carrying the knife all day, its bad when chopping. The forward-sweeping, kukri like blade is obviously designed for chopping but it lacks the weight of a kukri and the angle of forward projection is also less than that of a kukri. This means it doesn’t chop or slash as well as a kukri but chops better than most other blades in its weight class. The rear upswept portion of the blade on this knife is well suited to more precise tasks like that of creating shavings for tinder as mentioned earlier. The injection-molded, fiberglass-reinforced-nylon handle scales are simple and feel good in the hand, they are a nice compliment to a well-designed grip. The butt or pommel section of the full tang knife is steel and shaped well for hammering objects. There is also a cutout for those who may want to attach a lanyard. The injection molded sheath for this knife is very well made and the retention is nearly perfect. Although I’m a big fan of the Spyderco G-clip as an attachment method it almost seems like an afterthought as an attachment for this large sheath. However, the sheath has plenty of attachment points and the user can choose and easily use a better suited method of attachment. We recommend this knife for anyone who wants a large, multi-use fixed blade knife that is light enough to carry all day.
Lightweight yet large, well made, excellent sheath, multi-use knife.
Lightweight yet large, thin blade profile, slightly uncomfortable to carry using the G-clip.
Seven out of ten bones.
length overall: 12.25 " (311 mm)
blade length: 6.75 " (171 mm)
blade steel: VG-10
length closed: n/a (n/a)
cutting edge: 6 " (152 mm)
weight: 9.1 oz. (257 g)
blade thickness: .125 " (3 mm)
handle material: FRN
The Spyderco Knives ( www.spyderco.com ) Pygmy Warrior. An adaptation of the original warrior knife designed by Randy Wanner, produced by Bob Taylor, and associated with Michael Echanis (all martial artists in their own right). This spyderco version is a reproduction of the REKAT Pygmy Warrior prototype from decades ago. The fit, finish, and materials are all excellent. However, the original design flaws of the Pygmy warrior were also reproduced in this version. That being the handle having too many sharp angles. Mainly the butt/pommel and bolster/thumb rise areas. These sharp edges on the handle make the knife inherently dangerous to the user and in certain situations more difficult to employ, but these are small design flaws that can be easily fixed with a grinder... If you can bear to grind away on a very expensive fixed blade knife ($299.95 MSRP). These angles are also not as dangerous to the user when the knife is being used in a reverse grip, as it was designed to be used per the Korean knife fighting techniques of Hwa Rang Do. Overall, this knife is still a masterpiece in its own right.
The blade is an excellent Japanese VG-10 steel with a cutting edge of approximately four inches and an absolutely ingenious design, although in this case not properly finished. Normally Spyderco knives come sufficiently sharp from the factory, and all of our Spyderco knives have with the exception of this one. Our guys tend to carry two knives, what I'll call a "work" blade, and a "defensive" blade. The work blade is regularly used for common cutting tasks and regularly sharpened. The defensive blade is used only for cutting flesh. Whatever the purpose we only carry knives that are sharp enough to shave with. We had to re-sharpen this one when we got it. The saw pattern on the back of the blade can be used for trapping limbs in a close quarters altercation or cutting rope and other fibrous materials. But its not sharp enough to be used for cutting flesh in a combat role. If you have this blade sharpened by a professional after you receive it, you'll have a hard time finding a fighting knife with a better blade.
The handle of this knife is one the best handles of any combat knives being currently produced based on sureness of grip alone, but sureness of grip once the blade is already in your hand is not the only determining factor of a good knife handle. I am considering this a combat knife based on size (just over nine and a quarter inches), and design. The grip on a combat knife is so important because without a secure grip the user can either cut themselves while stabbing or lose the knife when slashing. Both are potentially fatal mistakes when using a knife in a defensive situation. It comes with four G10 scales to allow the user to adjust the grip width to their own personal preference. We are going to grind out the finger grooves, drill and 550 paracord wrap this one just because the grip as it is now is too busy, with too many crude angles. You want to be able to grab your knife quickly without having to worry about taking the time to make sure each finger is lined up in each individual finger groove (that's why finger cutouts on a modern combat knife are not always the best design idea). If the knife sits in your hand differently every time you grab it, it will be balanced differently, and your accuracy when slashing and stabbing could suffer. The crude handle also makes the knife nearly impossible to comfortably carry concealed, meaning you'll likely not have it when you need it.
The blacked out look is nice and effective at not causing glare or reflecting too much light, but nothing draws more attention than a big black knife... This also has unfortunately not been reconsidered in decades. The knife comes with a nice thermoplastic sheath and I find the Spyderco G clip attachment to be usable. The lock up on the sheath is slightly less than excellent in the model we received but the odd shaped blade makes a perfect lockup with Kydex/Boltaron difficult to produce. Overall this knife is a little rough around the edges (pun intended), but its a genuine remake of the original with some slight improvements and makes for an effective combat/fighting knife. We would recommend this knife to anyone willing to take the time to learn to use it in a reverse grip fighting style (as it was designed to be used) who is looking for a smaller blade than the original Warrior.
6 out of 10 Bones.
Pros: Incredible blade design
Cons: Poor handle design, poor blade construction, price not indicative of value.
Spyderco Knives ( www.spyderco.com ) recently sent us a "Fred Perrin Street Beat" in for review. When I first picked this knife up my initial thoughts were, "this handle is tiny", "I'm gonna cut my fingers off if I have to do any real stabbing with this thing", and "the grip is way too slick"... Well, after carrying this knife and really taking the time to get a feel for it, I discovered my harsh initial impressions were more misinformed and jaded than CNN. First off, I know the designer Fred Perrin personally. The knifemaking community is a small one, and smaller still those who know what they're doing. He is an ex-French commando who knows how to make an elegantly simple and utterly effective blade. This Spyderco collaboration is no exception.
As a fellow martial artist I have grown fond of this variation of the age old Bowie blade type that does two things and does them well... Slashing and stabbing. It doesn't fill the palm or sit well in a choked up grip for carving, shaving, and whittling like a bushcraft knife should. It doesn't have sharp, eye-catching angles, an exotic finish from factory, or custom serrations like you'll find on a lot of new popular new fixed blades hitting the market. This knife has a very specific purpose that it serves it extremely well. A smaller version of Mr. Perrin's full size fighting knife the street Bowie with a blade length of three and a half inches, and a cutting edge of three and a quarter this is close to the smallest "combat effective" blade I will carry. It was designed for concealed carry and covert operations as a back up weapon or a deep cover CQB tool.
There's no sharp edges on the handle or a finger guard because they tend to get stuck on clothing when drawing from concealment. The pommel is rounded and smooth and lends well to a quick palm strike when a little extra leverage is needed to puncture dense objects like bone or Kevlar. VG-10 Japanese steel, properly heat treated as this knife is, has always and will always be one of my favorite non-american blade steels. I was already on board with the steel, and this knife came sharp from the factory as is usual with Spyderco knives. The finger choil is huge, and rightfully so because it and the jimping on the spine are the only thing allowing for a firm purchase. My only complaint is the smooth Micarta scales but I have already ground a "frag pattern" into mine for added traction when "wet". What the handle lacks in grip texture it more than makes up for in sheer beauty and aesthetics. The kydex sheath and Spyderco G clip are great, and I have found a concealed IWB cross draw to take less than a second for full employment with proper training and attire. This knife is perfect for deep cover concealed carry, or as an addition to your concealed carry firearm. It is employable much faster than a folding knife, has no moving parts that can fail, doesn't take up any pocket space, and weighs less than 100 grams! The strong points of this knife are its small size, light weight, concealability, simplicity of design, and ease of use. The only negative I have found is the very smooth Micarta grip, although this does allow for easier carry and faster draw. If you're looking for an EDC (every day carry) fixed blade the search stops here.
Rating: 9 out of 10 Bones.
length overall: 7.188" (183mm)
blade length: 3.5" (89mm)
blade steel: VG-10
cutting edge: 3.25" (83mm
weight: 3.2oz (92g)
blade thickness: .156" (4mm)
handle material: Micarta
The Zero Tolerance 0301 Ranger Green has been the best folding knife we’ve reviewed to date, and has made us an instant fan of this elite branch of Kershaw knives. We’re also fond of “flipper” style knives like this one. A flipper folding knife is a knife with a tab on the back of the blade designed to be depressed with the index finger, thereby extending the blade in conjunction with a flipping motion of the wrist.
There are many methods of opening a folding knife, what makes one better than the next is basically ease of use. In this situation what we’re looking for with ease of use is the least amount of training, dexterity, and fine motor control required to open the knife quickly and efficiently. This knife has the regular thumb stud you see on many "tactical" folders, as well as the flipper tab, either method can be used for opening this knife. We like the flipper because it’s very easy to index and depress, even when the hands are wet or an individual’s fight or flight nervous system response is in full effect. This particular model features their patented SpeedSafe opening system, a spring assist that makes it even easier to open. The heavy blade swings open violently and its strong lockup is both audible and palpable.
The titanium side lock and large pivot shaft with 3/8” hex head nut are some of the most heavy duty components we’ve seen on a folder that still maintains capability as a practical carry knife. This thing is overbuilt, just like we like it. The handle is large, fits very well in the hand, and has plenty of aggressive texturing making for a very secure grip. In fact, the handle scales are 3D machined. One out of titanium and the other out of G10.
The blade is heavy and wide. Blade shape is not necessarily the design of a purpose built stabbing knife but it’s weight, sharpness from factory, clip point angle, and relatively high quality steel (S30V) ensure it will serve this purpose well should the need arise. Construction, fit, finish, and the heat treat that lends proper blade hardness are all spot on. The slight recurvature associated with many Ken Onion blade designs also allow this to be an excellent slasher when manipulated either forward or reverse grip styles. The blade is coated with a Tungsten DLC coating in a tiger stripe pattern to reduce friction and increase blade HRC. It is also non-reflective. We prefer Cerakote over DLC, but we consider it a good finish.
This blade will serve the user well, if necessary, in self-defense situations. The design of this blade also makes it an excellent bushcraft and field knife. It will easily carve, whittle, shave tinder, skin an animal, and even split wood if propelled by a heavy object. It's large and heavy, but can still handle daily mundane cutting tasks if the weight and size don't bother you. The pocket clip is well made, sturdy, durable, works well, and can be mounted in four different configurations. These include left and right handed tip up or tip down pocket carry.
Design, functionality, fit, and finish of this knife are outstanding.
Weight and cost are the only limiting factors of this knife. It’s quite heavy and can only be carried in the pocket of sturdy pants or shorts. It’s also quite expensive.
Rating: We give this knife our highest rating, 10 out of 10 bones.
· Made in the USA
· Assisted opening
· Titanium frame lock
· Quad-mount clip (tip-up/down; left/right)
· Steel: S30V, Tungsten DLC coating, tiger stripe
· Handle: 3D Machined G-10 front, titanium back
· Blade length: 3.75 in. (9.5 cm)
· Closed length: 5.1 in. (13 cm)
· Overall length: 8.6 in. (21.9 cm)
· Weight: 8 oz. (226.8 g)
The ZT 0561 is a knife that prior to Zero Tolerance selling, was only available for a price almost three times as high. Although we can’t say for certain that Rick Hinderer XM-18 knives warrant the extremely high price tag, the beautiful functionality of this design is undeniable.
We must start this review saying that we received this knife from the factory crucially flawed. There is a small retention post on the frame-lock that fits into a female hole in the blade to ensure the blade stays closed while not in use. This is necessary due to the very smooth operation of the KVT ball-bearing system of which this knife is equipped. Either our retention post was too long or the hole in the blade was too deep. The end result was that the blade could not be opened when the knife was clutched tightly in the hand. While this can easily be remedied by loosing ones grip during the opening process we still consider this a major issue. In a situation when an individual would need to use their pocket knife for self-defense, that individuals stress response might not allow them to have to have the extra cognitive ability and fine motor skills needed to employ this knife quickly and effectively. The few extra seconds it could take to get this knife open in this situation could cost the user their life or the life of a loved one. That being said it was easy to recognize the flaw after manipulating the knife for only a few moments, and relatively easy to fix with a Dremel tool. We don’t believe you should have to do that kind of work on a knife that is this expensive.
To continue the review, the grip on this knife is secure and the materials used are light yet effective. The handle is 3D machined G-10 on the front, and strong, lightweight 3D machined titanium on the back. The framelock is titanium with a steel lockbar insert and stabilizer. The opening mechanism is a flipper style with thumb studs on both sides of the blade. See our review on the ZT 0301 for more info on the flipper mechanism. The ball bearing action is very smooth and lightning quick when clean but can easily become gritty if not properly maintained (proper maintenance is important for all edged weapons). The design of the blade, sharpness from factory, and the ELMAX steel itself, and the heat treat of the steel which gives the desired hardness, were irreproachable. At the end of the day this is a "cool" folding knife with a lot of moving parts, and some inherent design flaws. It can't be compared to a solid, trusty fixed-blade knife... but should be mentioned that while this knife features all the hot new industry trends/technology/materials, these same "tacticool" features are what make this knife unreliable.
The blade is proficient in slashing and stabbing, it can also handle a variety of bushcraft tasks. It holds an edge very well and is not particularly prone to corrosion. The deep carry pocket clip was a good idea on paper but a horrible design in practice. It allows the knife to sit so low in the pocket that it is virtually undistinguishable as a knife. The problem is that the clip itself is very weak. It’s prone to getting caught on things, and when it does it gets bent out of shape very easily. It is also nearly impossible to bend it back, again because of the design. The good news is ZT’s customer service has been amazing in this regard and they send out extra clips no questions asked. We hope they design a new one for this knife soon. The clip getting bent bothers us so much we retired this blade to use in a bugout bag. We recommend this knife to anyone who wants a great blade they don’t mind tinkering with, performing regular maintenance on, and possibly replacing the pocket clip a few times a year.
Excellent blade design, high quality material, well designed handle with good grip.
The pocket clip is a terrible design, and the knife itself came from the factory needing work.
Six out of Ten Bones.
Greg Tambone & Bone Tac Cadre