Today I thought I’d talk a little about one of my favorite topics. Knife design. Specifically, knife designs for CQC purposes. In an earlier post, I spoke about one of my favorite classic fighting knife designs, the Fairbairn-Sykes fighting knife. The Fairbairn-Sykes knife is, in my opinion, one of the most versatile fighting knife designs ever developed.
The double edge allows for a very wide variety of grips and many more ways of cutting. The sharp, narrow point also makes it an excellent thrusting weapon, and the narrow 6 inch blade made it capable of deep organ strikes by a skilled combatant. However, as with everything, there are compromises and trade offs, and the FS fighting knife was no exception. The FS knife was made for one thing, and one thing only. Close quarters fighting.
In contrast to the vast majority of combat blades issued at the time, the FS knife was not a combat or survival knife. Compared to most other designs, it was much thinner, much lighter, and as a result much weaker. It’s point was more than enough for thrusting attacks during fights, but would never hold up to the abuse that a “combat” knife like a Ka-Bar, or a bowie, could handle.
And while the vase shaped, tapering, grip of the FS knife, with it’s circular cross section, was lighter, easier to control, and faster than other designs, it did not provide as much grip, and no real feedback about the position of the edges of the blade with respect to the grip. Certainly not show stoppers, since general purpose combat was not really what the FS knife was designed for, BUT… What if?
What if you could forge an FS style blade into something that could be taken into combat? What if you could change the design so that it was just a little more durable, maybe make it a little more suitable for general combat use, without losing all of the great things that makes it an excellent fighting blade? Well, in my humble opinion, I think you’d end up with this knife right here:
This is the Ranger Stealth Kill, by Shiva Ki knives. As you can see, this design has a lot in common with the traditional FS fighting knife. It is double edged, has a small but effective guard, has a vase shaped handle, and a sharp point. But that is where the similarities end.
This knife incorporates some changes to the design that, in my opinion, makes it a good compromise for a combat blade, as opposed to being simply a fighting blade. Lets start with the grip. In contrast to the FS design, the kraton grip on this knife is removable, wider, and flatter, and incorporates grooves, as well as a rounded flat pommel.
These simple design change allow for better control under hard use, and the wider, flattened grip provides much better feedback about what the knife is doing in your hand at any given point. The removable grip allows it to be cleaned or replaced quickly and easily in the field, and the flat pommel allows the knife to be used for hammering. These are all areas in which the original design was relatively deficient. But the changes don’t stop there.
The blade is also larger, at 8.75″ wider, and heavier, though perhaps not as heavy as it looks, since it also appears to be hollow ground, which would allow it to hold a rather wicked edge. And rather than the fairly sharp needle like point on the traditional FS design, this knife sports a spear point, which is considerably stronger, without giving up all that much in penetration power.
The resulting larger, heavier blade, while slower than the original, would be much more flexible as a general combat blade, and it’s added weight and size would make it capable of being used in a number of other roles, hammering, digging, punching through hard objects, light chopping duties etc. that would probably kill most of the knives that follow the original FS knife formula.
And of course, there’s one more thing. I think this knife is sexy. Perhaps not as sexy as some of the others I’ve posted about, but it certainly has a kind of rugged, no nonsense charm that I find intriguing. Now I’ll admit that for pure CQC purposes, a faster, smaller knife would be better. Thinner, lighter, blades are faster, more agile, and easier to control, while heavy knives tend to work against you.
However for a knife that you need to be a between a capable fighter, but not entirely useless as a general purpose combat knife, I think the Ranger stealth Kill is a very, very attractive design compromise. One of these days I will have to make one…