Ray Ennis made his first knife by cold forging it and then filling it to shape from a barn spike. Then, in 1973, he officially became a professional knifesmith when he made his first custom knife from the leaf spring of a vehicle and sold for $10.00.
Today, he has an extensive line of custom quality knives that are produced by his company Entrek USA.
The Entrek 18 Bravo is a general purpose knife that measures 10 5/8” overall and has a 6”, Clip Point, blade with a Saber Grind made from bead blasted, 1/4” thick, 440C, stainless steel with a Rockwell Hardness of 57-58 and handle scales made from black canvas Micarta which are fastened to the full tang with three stainless steel rivets. Plus, it includes a black, Kydex, sheath.
The 18 Bravo is a brand new knife design just recently introduced by Entrek and it was designed and built after a suggestion made by a former commander of the S.E.R.E. Resistance Training Laboratory at Fort Bragg. Also, it was specifically designed to be a general purpose knife that can also be employed as a tactical knife if the need arises but, in my opinion, it also makes and excellent dedicated wilderness survival knife. With a blade length of 6″, it is the perfect compromise between a knife like the Entrek Bison (which has a blade length of 9 ¼”) and the Entrek Companion (which has blade length of 4″) because it is long enough to be a fairly effective chopping tool and yet, it is not so long that it is unwieldy when dressing harvested game animals. In fact, one of my favorite custom hunting knives has a six inch blade.
In addition, the Clip Point is my favorite tip design for general purpose use because it places the tip of the knife close to the center line for greater control when performing precision cutting tasks and also serves well for puncturing and drilling. In addition, the blade features a flat Saber Grind with a reasonably high Primary Bevel Line which allows the knife to be honed to a keen cutting edge and yet, not bind in the cut when it is used for chopping. In addition, although 440 C stainless steel is considered to be a vintage (if not antique) blade steel compared to modern steels such as VG10 and CPM S30V, at one time it was THE blade steel of choice among custom knifesmiths until it was displaced by 154CM and its Japanese equivalent, ATS34 because it is both reasonably tough, holds an edge well, and is highly corrosion resistant due to its elemental alloy composition which consist of 0.95% – 1.2% Carbon and 16% to 18% Chromium with 1% Manganese and 0.75% Molybdenum as it only other alloying elements.
Also, with a spine thickness of ¼” combined with the full tang construction, this knife is fully capable of withstanding the shock generate by using it in conjunction with a baton to split saplings to make an Atlatl or Self Bow for hunting as well as making lathes for weaving baskets for use as fish and bird traps. Furthermore, I like the fact that the handle scales are made from canvas Micarta because it is an extremely tough handle material that is made from multiple layers of canvas linen that has been impregnated with an epoxy resin which is then heated and subjected to extreme pressure to create a finished material that is impervious to water absorption as well as to chipping, cracking, or splitting.
Plus, the shape of the handle on the Entrek 18 Bravo is very ergonomic and it incorporates an integral quillion to prevent the user’s finger from accidently slipping onto the edge of the blade. Also, the handle features a lanyard loop for positive retention when using the knife in situations where losing one’s grip on the knife would result in making it unretrievable.
However, one thing that I do not like about this design is that I feel like the ricasso is too long which places the back of the blade too far from the users hand and consequently, reduces the amount of leverage that can be applied when carving, sharpen stakes, and plunge cutting to make trigger mechanisms for spring traps and deadfalls. Thus, I would prefer for it to have a much shorter ricasso. On the other hand, I do like the use of Kydex for the sheath material because, like the linen the canvas Micarta handle scales, Kydex is an extremely tough material that is highly abrasion resistant and impervious to the abortion of moisture.
Therefore, I have a strong preference for Kydex over nylon and especially over leather as a sheath material for wilderness survival knives.
So, in my opinion, the Entrek 18 Bravo is a fine example of a dedicated wilderness survival knife that is both highly functional and very tough; as are all of the knives in the Entrek line. Our only complaint is that they don’t fit in your pocket, but fortunately there are several high-quality models that do.
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