Issue 53 Unusual Suspects: The Stuff of Nightmares Mike Searson Join the Conversation Rather than focus on a particular blade profile, I decided to take a look at some nightmarish knives. These blades deserve that name in more ways than one. Some of them sweep upward, some drop down, a few of different grinds and angles, and of course, there are serrations. While they may not look like a classic Bob Loveless drop-point, and to some they’re garish or look like what’s referred to as a Klingon or Fantasy Knife, each one of these blades was designed with a real-world purpose. Every one of them is combat-oriented. The nightmare moniker has another meaning for the maker. These knives are a nightmare to grind. In one case, the maker had one somewhat get away from him on the belt and it resulted in an injury that almost ended his career as a knife maker before he fully took off. Love them, hate them, or treat them indifferently, these knives have a style all their own. While they may not be what you want for an urban hike or an extended camping trip, they can be a real comfort when you shift from condition yellow to condition red. Emerson SPECWAR Knives Rhino/SSDS OAL: 4.48 inchesBLADE LENGTH: 1.6 inchesBLADE MATERIAL: 154 CMWEIGHT: 1.6 ouncesMSRP: $4,000URL: emersonknives.com The Rhino was designed for a SEAL Team as a folding throat cutter. The design proved to be a little too radical for the Navy’s top officers, and the knife was inherently dangerous to the operators who carried them. Hence, a pinhole was placed in the handle to secure the blade in a closed position with a paperclip or grenade pin. Emerson severely injured himself grinding one over 20 years ago, so they’re few and far between. The redesign of this blade gave us the Emerson Commander. This is a custom piece, and when Emerson offers one for sale at a lottery, they command $4,000. Secondary market prices are many times higher. PROS + The blade is made from 154 CM; this has been the standard for tactical folders since their inception.+ Few knives are as sharp as this one.+ This knife is a legitimate piece of military, Naval SPECWAR, and knife-making history. CONS – As cool as it is, this isn’t really a practical EDC blade due to the double-edged curved blade and the legal ramifications of using one in self-defense.– The price of $4,000 and up puts it out of the price range of most collectors. Mick Strider Custom Knives MSC NM CC SnG OAL: 5.5 inchesBLADE LENGTH: 2.5 inchesBLADE MATERIAL: S30VWEIGHT: 7 ouncesMSRP: $1,200URL: mickstridercustomknives.com A titanium frame lock with a G10 scale that incorporated a back spacer, the knife seemed to fit everyone’s pocket. Over the years, little tweaks appeared here and there. One day, Mick Strider decided to make it slimmer for concealed carry and almost from the beginning he offered his nightmare grind (NM). As foreboding as it looks, the nightmare is in grinding those compound edges in perfect symmetry. The end result is a wicked-looking blade that’s still capable of a large variety of tasks, from opening boxes to dressing out a deer. PROS + The blade steel is S30V, which is tough and versatile.+ A titanium frame lock, coupled with a Hinderer Lock Bar Stabilizer (LBS), makes for an extremely strong locking mechanism.+ This is a custom folding blade with a very reasonable price, considering the features incorporated. CONS – The lanyard hole is open, and the lanyard can come in contact with the blade to the point of shearing off that nice piece of gutted paracord you tied so deftly.– The sheath is a pocket type to ride like a folding EDC knife. Another option for belt carry would be nice. Jerry Hossom Mighty Mike OAL: 8.25 inchesBLADE LENGTH: 3.5 inchesBLADE MATERIAL: CTS-XHPWEIGHT: 6.2 ouncesMSRP: $500URL: www.hossom.com Jerry Hossom is a custom knife maker from Georgia who has made numerous factory collaborations throughout the industry and makes some of the most elegant yet deadly designs in the world. The Mighty Mike is a small fixed blade he designed for a friend who was former Army Special Forces turned CIA who needed a discrete blade for carry on the streets of Kabul, Afghanistan. PROS + The blade is made from CTS-XHP, making it rust resistant, and it has an easily maintainable edge.+ The Micarta handles are perfectly contoured to feel great in the hand.+ The grind on this one is almost poetic in its beauty. CONS – The knife doesn’t come with a sheath. Luckily, our friends at LAG Tactical were happy to make us one from a carbon-fiber patterned piece of Kydex. Spyderco Civilian OAL: 9.188 inchesBLADE LENGTH: 5.188 inchesBLADE MATERIAL: VG-10WEIGHT: 4.75 ouncesMSRP: $320URL: spyderco.com About 25 years ago, Spyderco was contacted by a specialized branch of U.S. federal law enforcement about making a knife for deep-cover agents. Most had no formal training in self-defense tactics, but could pull a blade to protect themselves from a life-threatening situation. As most Spyderco models had occupational names at the time, it was christened “Civilian” to sound innocuous. It has a patented reverse “S” blade that’s intended to be used like an oversized claw. The tip is ground to an ultra-thin profile. Deeply curved and full at the belly, the VG-10 ground blade excels in slicing and slashing, and is available fully serrated. Because of its specialized features, it’s not intended for general utility or everyday use. PROS + As a user of this design since its inception, it carries extremely well in the pocket or the waistband.+ The G-10 handles are super comfortable.+ Its traditional lock-back mechanism exudes strength. CONS – The tip on this knife may break off if you use it in self-defense.– As we mentioned, it’s a bit too specialized to be mistaken for anything but a self-defense blade. TOPS Knives HKT (Hunter Killer Tracker) OAL: 9.5 inchesBLADE LENGTH: 4 inchesBLADE MATERIAL: 1095WEIGHT: 7.9 ouncesMSRP: $185URL: www.topsknives.com Colin Despins designed the HKT with TOPS Knives as the Official Knife of Mobius Training Solutions. MTS teaches numerous courses, including Combat/Tactical Man Tracking led by Clent Schoonover, director of the MTS Advanced Tactics Division. Despins set out to design a knife that would both excel in hand-to-hand combat and be suitable for fieldcraft. HKT is an acronym for Hunter Killer Tracker. The acronym is borrowed from the military acronym for Hunter Killer Teams. This knife is loaded with advanced cutting and combat features that legit Southeast Asian martial arts practitioners will love. PROS + The blade steel is 1095 — great for sharpness, toughness, and edge retention+ The spine of the blade hosts a scalloped cutting edge, known as a trisula, that’s used in a tricky yet effective technique in Pentchak Silat.+ The blade is very sharp. CONS – This knife needs a lanyard hole.– The only thing about this blade that could’ve been improved is the coating. CRKT Du Hoc OAL: 9.63 inchesBLADE LENGTH: 5.1 inchesBLADE MATERIAL: SK-5WEIGHT: 9.3 ouncesMSRP: $135URL: www.crkt.com CRKT brought this super-sized Karambit to market with two of their top resources, Austin McGlaun and Ryan Johnson’s team at RMJ Forge. Named for the battle where Austin’s uncle was awarded the Silver Star, the Du Hoc is part of CRKT’s Forged By War series in which a portion of the proceeds of the sales benefit veteran’s groups. This monster of a knife takes the Karambit to a whole new level. You may not grab it to slice an apple, but it’d definitely do the job for you in spades. PROS + This blade is all business, from front to rear.+ The front of the curve is semi-sharp and can be honed additionally for a truly stabby Karambit.+ SK-5 steel holds a great edge and is easily maintainable. This is a great all-around working steel. CONS – The size of this one makes it difficult to carry concealed. This is better off mounted to a plate carrier.– Although it’s well balanced, the weight will take some getting used to for even the most diehard Karambit users. MORE OF THE UNUSUAL SUSPECTS AND OTHER KNIVES Balisong KnivesKnives with Glass BreakersSpikesNon-Ferrous BladesWharncliffe BladesHistorical Asian SwordsDamascus BladesExotic KnivesRescue KnivesTanto KnivesPush DaggersParacord Wrapped KnivesAffordable BladesAssisted Opening KnivesDaggersKnives without Points Explore RECOILweb:Preview - Vortex SPARC IIBrownells Releases Retro-Inspired Rifle LineUF Pro: Gen 2 Monsoon JacketSuicide Squad - Looks Good So Far! NEXT STEP: Download Your Free Target Pack from RECOILFor years, RECOIL magazine has treated its readers to a full-size (sometimes full color!) shooting target tucked into each big issue. Now we've compiled over 50 of our most popular targets into this one digital PDF download. From handgun drills to AR-15 practice, these 50+ targets have you covered. Print off as many as you like (ammo not included). Get your pack of 50 Print-at-Home targets when you subscribe to the RECOIL email newsletter. 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