Since 1997, outdoor enthusiasts and survivalists Jeff Randall and Mike Perrin have been providing training in the art of jungle survival, gear, and logistics to law enforcement and military units as well as civilians. Under Randall’s Adventure Training Company, the two men quickly realized that the equipment they were training with—specifically, the machetes—were thin and too flexible.
They contracted a couple of companies to produce knives for them, and after 2007, they decided to design and make their own. ESEE was born.
Randall and Perrin noticed that a lot of knives look great on paper but have a tough time holding up in real-world situations. Because of this, new products aren’t churned out on a monthly basis.
Not only do they personally test each prototype but they also have a cadre of uses that test and abuse each model before submitting feedback. The knives are improved, redesigned, and issues rectified.
This way, any knife that leaves ESEE’s doors, doesn’t just look cool on paper and function in theory, but is purposely designed to take whatever it is that’s thrown its way.
The ESEE-6 line of knives comes in a variety of configurations (serrated, non-serrated and clip-point versions with sharpened swedge), but the most useful is the 6 ½-inch drop-point blade. It is powder-coated (either black or olive drab) with a slight texture to give it a sense of rugged appearance and to protect the blade face.
The 3/16-inch thick blade is made from 1095 carbon steel and has a flat ground bevel, and the long, curving drop-point allows for more control over finer cuts over the entire span of the blade. It is a sin that this blade is not stainless, so make sure to mind the exposed parts, especially in the rainy season.
Its full tang runs the length of the Micarta canvas removable grips, while the exposed pommel means that it can be used as a hammer or you can use a hammer on it. The hole in the pommel is perfect for a lanyard. The grips are thick, impervious to heat, cold, abrasion, impact, and chemicals.
The slight taper toward the pommel was designed by someone who has knowledge of human anatomy, as it fits superbly in the palm. The finger guard is sturdy and deep enough to stop the momentum created during stabs, while the jimping and choil are both well defined, allowing for the user to choke up on the blade when making fine cuts.
The friction sheath is molded plastic, but it should have been kydex like most other knives in its class. The belt clip is steel, and there is a scalloped thumb ramp to push off of when pulling out the knife. Holes all around the edges of the sheath are for a variety of paracord lashings, but comes with one at the end to secure to your leg. As well, it can be switched to either side of the body and note the drainage hole on the bottom.
Overall, the 12-inch knife feels all of its 12 ounces but does so without feeling heavy or tiring after use. It is well balanced and allows for a well-controlled experience when using it for something as violent as batoning firewood or something as fine as shaving kindling.
Manufacturer: ESEE Knives
Overall Length: 11 ¾ inches
Blade Length: 6 ½ inches
Blade Width: 1 ½ inches
Blade Thickness: 3/16 inches
Handle Thickness: 11/16 inches
Handle Material: Micarta
Weight: 12 ounces
Blade Material: 1095 carbon steel
Rockwell Hardness: 55-57
Editor’s Note: A version of this article first appeared in the January 2015 print issue of American Survival Guide Magazine.