ESEE-6 Knife Analysis and Review
When I first viewed the ESEE-6 Survival Knife on the ESEE web site and read the specifications, my reaction was “Now that’s a knife!”
Then, I happened to notice the photographs of the fellow holding the knife and butchering a crocodile (alligator?) with it. Suddenly, the Crocodile Dundee quote seemed particularly appropriate.
ESEE Company Overview
FYI, ESEE survival knives are produced by Randall’s Adventure Training. The company was established in 1997 by Jeff Randall and Mike Perrin as an outdoor survival training agency. They provide global training, gear, and logistical solutions to military, law enforcement agencies, and civilians in remote environments.
Unlike many knife companies, ESEE does not release a new knife simply because it looks good on paper. Instead, they field test each new prototype before it makes it to the production stage. Then, based upon feedback, they tweak the final design and they place the knife into production.
After that, they field-test the finished knife again stateside and on jungle survival outings in the Peruvian Amazon. Numerous users around the world also submit feedback on their experiences with ESEE knives. So, when you buy a knife from the company, you know that you are getting quality. You’re getting a knife that’s put to the test by the best survival experts. The same goes for the ESSE-6 survival knife.
ESEE-6 Knife Overview
The ESEE-6 survival knife features an 11 3/4″ overall length with a gorgeous drop point blade shape measuring 6 1/2″ in length.
It’s constructed using 3/16″, 1095, high carbon, steel hardened to 55-57 Rockwell with a high, flat ground, bevel, and your choice of a textured black or olive drab green powder coat finish.
Also, you can choose from a variety of blades with serrated or non-serrated edges. In addition, this knife also has an extremely ergonomic, full-tang, grip shape with handle slabs made from canvas Micarta (Rucarta) with an exposed pommel and a lanyard loop on the end and it includes a Kydex sheath w/clip plate.
In my opinion, this is a very beautiful, functional, and well-designed survival knife. Although it’s not quite as pretty as the ESEE-5. While it is unusual to see a knife with a Drop Point blade this long, the Drop Point is actually a very useful general purpose blade shape since it can handle many tasks.
Thus, the designers of the ESEE-6 chose wisely when designing this knife because every line of this knife focuses specifically on its intended purpose as an outdoor survival tool.
For instance, the drop point blade shape is one of my favorites because the tip of the blade is situated out of the way when skinning game so you can see exactly what you are doing and thus, you have the greatest amount of control over the knife which is very important when you need to preserve the hides intact for later use.
ESEE-6 Knife Against Other Models
In addition, the long, straight, section of the blade’s edge provides the user with plenty of room to make those long carving strokes. And it is also long enough to be an effective slicing tool.
Yet, it transitions into a beautiful sweep with the perfect angle near the tip for skinning game. However, I am not entirely certain why the designer decided to grind such a large choil into the blade instead of incorporating the small ricasso used on the ESEE-5.
Turning our attention to the handle, it too is very nearly perfectly shaped and is a little larger than the grip on the ESEE-5. Also, the choice of canvas Micarta (Rucarta) is both an obvious one and a good one since canvas Micarta provides an excellent gripping surface and it is impervious to heat, cold, abrasion, impact, and most chemicals. Thus, the handle slabs will easily last as long as the knife blade and probably longer.
Also, the shape of the grip is obviously designed with knowledge of the anatomy of the human hand in mind since it incorporates a slight reverse taper with a noticeable downward curve at the end which causes it to very closely follow the dimensions of the user’s hand. In addition, the canvas Micarta slabs are affixed to the full tang in three different places for a secure fit and the tang extends out of the back of the Micarta slabs to form an exposed pommel with a lanyard loop.
Last, while 1095 high carbon steel is both a good choice and a common choice of steel for outdoor knives intended for hard use because it is a good compromise between a hard type of steel and a tough type of steel, it’s not stainless steel and thus, it is subject to corrosion. Consequently, the ESEE-6’s blade is coated with a baked-on powder coat in your choice of black or olive drab green which prevents corrosion on all but the edge of the knife.
Also, the Rockwell hardness of 55-57 is an excellent hardness point for this steel and for survival knives in general because it is hard enough to hold an edge, and yet, it is not so hard that it is brittle. So, while I would prefer it if the blade on this knife were made from a stainless steel such as AUS-8, the powder coating does reduce maintenance to a minimum.
However, that doesn’t mean the ESEE-6 Knife isn’t good. On the contrary, I still think that it’s worth it when considering the price. As for reliability, it looks like a sturdy blade with a great handle. It’s highly unlikely it will break when used properly. And even so, you can easily get replacement parts.
Warnings about the ESEE-6 Survival Knife
On the official product page of the ESEE-6 Knife, you will find a warning. It’s important to take this into account to not have unpleasant surprises down the line.
The warning goes as follows: “This product can expose you to chemicals including Sulfur, Nickel, Chromium, Vanadium, and Lead”. Furthermore, the warning reads as follows: these substances “are known to the State of California to cause cancer”.
The knife can also contain traces of “Sulfur, Nickel, Chromium, Lead and Iodine, which are known to the State of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm.” In short, it is a good idea to handle the knife with care.
I don’t necessarily need to tell you this, but a fair warning could always come in use. After all, even without such substances, cutting yourself isn’t pleasant. Also, keep in mind that all Black Oxide finished knives have a copper/selenium cold process.
ESEE-6 Knife Sheaths
You’ll find a variety of sheaths made specifically for the ESEE-6. As of the time of writing, you can currently find 5 types of sheaths for it.
- Molded Sheaths
- Clip Plates
- MOLLE Back
- Accessory Pouches
- MOLLE Back and Pouch Combos
As you can tell, there’s quite a lot of variety to choose from. Each type of sheath comes in varying colors.
Consequently, in addition to the ESEE-6 survival knife being one of the prettiest dedicated survival knives I have seen yet, I also believe that it is both an excellent and functional design since the 6 ½” blade provides enough length and weight to be an effective light chopping tool and the flat ground bevel combined with the long, straight, edge and the excellent sweep make it an excellent compromise between a hunting knife and a dedicated “chopper”.
However, I would be happier with this knife as a survival tool if it were made from 1/4″ steel instead of 3/16″ steel to provide a little more weight and a little more strength and I would prefer to see a minuscule ricasso at the back of the edge instead of the large choil. In any case, the pros far outweigh the cons. The ESEE-6 Survival Knife is an outstanding addition to any prepper’s toolkit.
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