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 happen to notice the photographs of the fellow holding the knife butchering a crocodile (alligator?) with it and suddenly, the Crocodile Dundee quote seemed particularly appropriate!
FYI, ESEE survival knives are produced by Randall’s Adventure Training which was established in 1997 by Jeff Randall and Mike Perrin as an outdoor survival training agency providing global training, gear, and logistical solutions to military and law enforcement agencies as well as civilians in remote environments.
Unlike many knife companies, ESEE does not release a new knife simply because it looks good on paper. Instead, they personally field test each new prototype before it makes it to the production stage. Then, based upon feedback, they tweak the final design and the knife is placed into production.
After that, the finished knife is field tested again stateside and during jungle survival outings in the Peruvian Amazon as well as by numerous users around the world who submit feedback on their experiences with ESEE knives. So, when you buy an ESEE knife, you know that you are getting a knife that is specifically designed by experienced experts in outdoor survival. Such is the case with the ESSE-6 which is specifically designed to be a dedicated outdoor survival knife.
Consequently, the ESEE-6 survival knife features an 11 3/4″ inch overall length with a gorgeous drop point blade shape measuring 6 1/2″ in length and is 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, blades are available with your choice of serrated or non-serrated edges. In addition, this knife also features a very 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 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 performs many tasks well.
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. In addition, the long, straight, section of the blade’s edge provides the user with a 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 good compromise between a hard steel and a tough steel, it’s not a 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 and 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.
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 miniscule ricasso at the back of the edge instead of the large choil.