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
Greg Tambone & Bone Tac Cadre