Issue 43 Unusual Suspects: Spikes Patrick Vuong If you’ve ever studied (or just watched an online video of) a traditional martial art that has swords and knives, you’ve probably seen a barrage of slashes, draw cuts, and twirling techniques. But many of those moves require years of discipline and practice to perfect. That’s why most thugs opt for a shiv they can shove repeated into their victim’s guts — it takes no training, just violence of action, to end someone’s life that way. But prisoners and gangsters aren’t the only ones who can benefit from a shiv. That’s why we’re taking a pointed look at spikes in this edition of The Unusual Suspects. These tools have no cutting edge, no spring-assisted opening, and no fancy locking mechanisms. Instead, they have just one purpose: put a deep hole into something or someone quickly. Sure, these picks could bust up a pile of ice so you can enjoy your favorite drink on the rocks. But they could also make excellent self-defense tools if feces ever hit the fan. Make: Kopis Designs Model: El Valiente Micropick OAL: 6.25 inches Spike Length: 4.5 inches Spike Material: High carbon steel Weight: 1.2 ounces MSRP: $100 URL: kopisdesigns.com 411: This Kopis model weighs next to nothing at 1.2 ounces and is compact at 6.25 inches long. This also makes it easy to conceal and quite convenient to carry daily in its included slim Kydex sheath. The business end comes to a mean point and is acid-washed and hand-sharpened, giving it a two-tone finish. It’s quick to deploy thanks to its bulbous Micarta handle, which features a reimagined version of the El Valiente image from Loteria, a game similar to Bingo that’s popular in Mexico. Made in the USA. Pros – The stellar Micropick will pierce through almost anything you aim it at with ease. – Top quality materials and workmanship – It fits tightly into the sheath yet can be drawn in a flash. – The handle’s badass artwork — a collaboration between Kopis and Ed Calderon of Ed’s Manifesto, who have teamed up recently to create some other custom weapons. Cons – The spike’s high carbon steel will need maintenance to prevent corrosion, especially after attacking a bag of ice … or what have you. – The roughly 1.5-inch handle doesn’t offer much room for your fingers. Make: Half Face Blades Model: Pneumo Spike OAL: 7.5 inches Spike Length: 3.5 inches Spike Material: S35VN stainless steel Weight: 1.2 ounces MSRP: $125 URL: halffaceblades.com 411: As a former Navy SEAL, Half Face Blades founder Andrew Arrabito knows a thing or two about deadly tools. So, no surprise that the Pneumo Spike is both aesthetically pleasing and downright lethal. Its spike is actually hexagonal with all of its edges converging to a deadly point that’s so fine you could use it (carefully) as a toothpick before perforating someone’s lungs. On the backend, the skeletonized handle is cord-wrapped for increased traction. Made in the USA. Pros – Incredibly sharp tip – Gorgeous form meets fatal function. – All-around slender package makes it easy to carry open or concealed on the daily. – Superior craftsmanship and manufacturing – This spike’s premium S35VN steel is superhuman strong and fights off corrosion like a vampire slayer at a bloodsuckers’ convention. Cons – The handle is quite skinny, especially for folks with big paws. – Our sample’s Kydex sheath came with a 1-inch clip, too small for our belts so we had to find this a home on one of our packs. Make: Ontario Knife Co. Model: 1001 Ice Pick OAL: 8 inches Spike Length: 4.25 inches Spike Material: 1095 carbon steel Weight: 1.4 ounces MSRP: $7.50 URL: ontarioknife.com 411: As a throwback to the days before automated ice cube dispensers, this ice pick features a 1095 carbon steel spike attached to a hardwood handle and secured with brass compression rivets. The handle is stamped with the Old Hickory logo, signifying that it comes from Ontario’s lineup of kitchen cutlery that dates back to 1924. Oddly enough, both the packaging and website listing says the Ice Pick is 8.25 inches long when our multiple measurements have it at 8 inches. Made in the USA. Pros – Most affordable of the bunch – The tip has no problems punching through pork and cardboard and does a fine job chipping away ice chunks. – Handle’s flat bottom makes it easier to cap it with our thumb when holding it in reverse grip. Cons – Conversely, the old-school squarish handle creates hotspots on our palm after repeated use. – The spike’s 1095 carbon steel will need to be regularly maintained to prevent rusting. – Since it’s meant for the kitchen or the bar, there’s no sheath or alternative carry method. Make: Crawford Knives, LLC Model: Push Pick OAL: 8.25 inches Spike Length: 3.5 inches Spike Material: 440C stainless steel Weight: 4 ounces MSRP: $100 URL: crawfordknives.com 411: While it might not look like it at first glance, the innovative Push Pick is actually a multitool — it’s an ice pick, a push dagger, a glass-breaker, and a Kubaton all in one. How’s this possible? The aluminum handle is hallow with two threaded holes, one on top and the other in the middle. Thread the spike tip up on top and you have the ice pick. Thread it in the middle and you have a push dagger. Thread it tip down into the handle and it becomes both a Kubaton and a glass-breaker. Made in the USA. Pros – Brilliant outside-the-box design – 440C stainless steel spike can do some serious puncturing while also being strong, durable, and stain resistant. – The stout aluminum handle is comfortable in hand and heavily knurled for an assured grip. – There’s a lanyard hole so you can attach a keyring or cord to it. Cons – On the flipside, the handle is about a half-inch too short for it to be an effective Kubaton and is more of a fist-load weapon in the “closed” position. – No convenient carry option for those who want a quick-deploy spike for self-defense purposes. Make: Bastinelli Knives Model: Ice Scream OAL: 8.66 inches Spike Length: 4.33 inches Spike Material: 420C stainless steel Weight: 3.5 ounces MSRP: $140 URL: bastinelliknives.com 411: If we were ice and saw this thing coming at us, we’d scream, too. Every aspect of the Ice Scream is designed perfectly for one purpose: stabbing — be it into frozen water or someone trying to do you harm. The thick spike is robust and crazy sharp at the tip. The aluminum handle is comfy in either forward or reverse grip, with groves for traction and a subtly flared bolster to prevent your fingers from slipping onto the spike. It comes with a Kydex sheath with 2-inch belt clip. Spike made in Italy. Pros – Feels great in hand regardless if you’re using a hammer grip or, well, an ice pick grip. – The spike is long, strong, sharp and deadly. – Fits into the Kydex sheath perfectly – Superb design and production quality Cons – Being one of the bigger picks of this buyer’s guide, it’s less discreet to carry than the most of the others. Make: Shomer-Tec, Inc. Model: Titanium Ice Pick OAL: 9.25 inches Spike Length: 5.25 inches Spike Material: Titanium Weight: 1.68 ounces MSRP: $39 URL: shomer-tec.com 411: The name says it all. This ice pick is made of titanium, making it a lightweight tool that’s tremendously strong. It’ll also never rust, so you can smash ice all day long and never have to worry about corrosion. It’s not only the longest pick of those we tested, it also has the thickest spike, making it ideal for rescuing people trapped in a frozen lake or defending yourself against, say, a woolly mammoth. Made in the USA, it’s milled from a solid 0.394-inch rod of 6AL4V titanium. Pros – Titanium is a premium metal because of its strength-to-weight ratio and rustproof-ness. – Long spike can do plenty of damage to anything you put it to. – Surprisingly affordable price – Scalloped handle helps with the “grippiness.” Cons – Unless we hold it in reverse grip with our thumb capping the flat end of the handle, it’s a bit too narrow of a handle for ballistic impacts. – No sheath or convenient carry options. 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