ESSE knives are the real deal. In fact, they are so darn good and in such high demand by users on the front lines that people have started trying to counterfeit them. Let’s say up front, if you intend to shop for an ESEE knife on line in particular, buy it from a reputable dealer with established business credentials. Steer clear of generic populous sales sites that individuals use to scam buyers with knock off junk. ESEE does have authorized dealers, too.
The Catalog Profile
Both preppers and survivalists seem to like to know “just the facts, ma’am” when it comes to presenting or reviewing a product of interest. So, let’s cover a little history on this company. ESEE under the direction of president Jeff Randall, has been creating gear and training for survival in some of the most hostile and remote areas on Earth. They have been doing this for some eighteen years.
They build among other things some of the finest, heavy knives in the world that can withstand the most demanding punishment. The company resides in Alabama, but the American-made knives are forged in Idaho Falls, Idaho. You can check them out completely at www.eseeknives.com.
There you will find all sorts of specialized survival gear, kits, ESEE knives, and much more. They also offer a comprehensive survival skills training school for which you can find courses and schedules on their web site. It is all very impressive.
The ESEE-6 knife I have to review was obtained via the local authorized dealer David Graves of Brandon Sporting Arms in Brandon, Mississippi, not as a prop or select loaner direct from the company. They have no idea I have one of their knives and I doubt they care. They stand behind every knife with a lifetime warranty on all 1095 steel blades. If you break it, just return it for a replacement. The warranty is transferable and is warranted no matter how many times the knife has traded hands, no sales receipt required. It is not guaranteed against rust, normal wear and tear, loss or theft.
The No.6 knife has an overall length of 11.75 inches with a cutting edge length of 5.75 inches. The total blade is 6.5 inches in length. The blade width is 1.56 inches making it hefty, strong, and authoritative. The handle end is fixed with a rounded pommel with a lanyard hole. The knife weighs only 12 ounces without the sheath, which by the way is a molded ploy with an optional clip plate that can be installed by the owner with provided attachment hardware.
The 1095 carbon steel with a 55-57 Rc produces a fine blade for multi-task cutting, chopping and blade work. The grip handles are made of Linen Micarta. There are four models of the ESEE-6 based mainly on blade colors, blade edge type such as plain or serrated, sheath color, and handle colors. Other options are available, too. The ESEE-6 retails for around $150 at their network of authorized dealers, but can be found elsewhere if shopped around.
The ESEE sheaths are special as well. The knives are shipped with a fully ambidextrous molded sheath, a clip plate, paracord with cord lock, and hardware, screws, rubber washers and barrel nuts to attach the clip to the sheath. The sheath is made with lashing and cord storage holes, hole spacing for MOLLE locks, and a drainage port. The knife is held in the sheath by friction retention with a thumb grip surface used to withdraw the blade from the sheath.
One additional feature to this knife is the information provided on the knife packing container. The ESEE boxes include survival, navigation, and emergency signaling information printed on the box sleeve. The sleeve information could be cut out, folded, and stored in a bug out bag or out the door bag.
Handling and Use
For me first impressions are lasting and my initial handling of the ESEE-6 was positive. The Micarta handles are a greenish-grey with a fine gripping texture though the surface is slick. Handling with Mechanix gloves would be advisable as you work with the knife. The full tang blade is heavy making the butt end pommel substantial. The knife feels hand fulfilling, stocky, but not overly heavy. The blade thickness and weight is well proportioned throughout.
In my hands it balances very well and swings with authority. The steel is coated with a black, grainy textured finish which adds some rust and stain resistance and extra use durability to the blade. All this sweet talk is flattering, but does the ESEE cut it, pun intended? I took the ESEE to Bug Out Camp this past weekend to wield it in person. I cannot imagine any other knife in this size and weight category performing any better. It chops through saplings with dedication so it would be good on camp establishment work, and such.
I walked out into the thick briar section of woods and though the ESEE-6 is not machete, it hacks right through vines and trash. We have a particularly tough, clingy, green sticker vine in the south and the ESEE waded right through this. Also this is with the factory edge as I did not even attempt to sharpen it further.
Again, the weight and balance of this knife is great. I confirmed that gripping gloves are best with this knife doing tough work as the knife’s handle is smooth without an aggressive texture. For an all round camp knife from cutting meat or foods, and such it would perform very well. Same for rope work, and such.
The snap-in sheath is sturdy, and holds the ESEE knife with authority. I don’t see this knife ever falling out of the sheath. In theory it could be grabbed by woodland vines or such and pull the knife free, but that would be unlikely in my estimation. The ESEE is good to go. Whatever size ESEE you pick, I think you’ll be completely satisfied.
All Photos By Dr. John J. Woods