The minute I laid my eyes on the ESEE-6 survival knife and read it specifications, I thought to myself that “this knife looks like one that’ll pack a punch!” And the reaction was further justified when I saw the photographs of a fellow survivalist holding the knife proudly alongside a butchered Crocodile!
The History of ESEE Knives:
Before I deep dive into this detailed ESEE-6 Survival Knife review, I think it’s only fair that I tell you a little bit about the history of this knife and the firm that manufactures it. The ESEE knives are manufactured by the Randall’s Adventure Training Company and have been in existence since 1997. It was started by 2 outdoor enthusiast and experts, 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.
ESEE knives take a long time to come out of production simply because of the fact that the company spends an insane amount of time field testing each new prototype and incorporating user feedback at every level. Only then, does the knife make it to the production stage!
Then comes an even better and exciting part – The finished knife is then tested (again!) in outdoor survival situations and even in the Amazon jungles by users around the world who pass on their feedback which once again gets incorporated in future models. The reason why I’m telling you this story is because it fascinated me the 1st time I heard it and more importantly, it told me that I was buying a knife that has been thoroughly tested by the best professionals in the world in real-life outdoor situations.
Detailed ESEE-6 Knife Review:
With an overall length of 11 ¾’’ and a drop point blade that measures 6 ½’ in length, the ESEE-6 is a true delight to hold in your hands. It’s made using 3/16’, 1095 carbon steel and has a flat ground bevel to match its look. There’s a powdered coating on the blade and you can choose that between textured black or olive drab green powder.
As with most of the top survival knives, the ESEE-6 survival knife too comes with the choice of serrated or non-serrated edges and this full tang knife also comes equipped with handle slabs made from canvas Micarta. It has an exposed pommel and lanyard loop at the end and the one I bought also came equipped with a kydex sheath.
Honestly speaking, I found the ESEE-5 to be a lot better looking than this knife but overall the functionality, design and performance makes this an even better knife. The makers have made the rather unusual choice of making the drop point quite long but it does serve its purpose well and this demonstrated quite evidently in the tasks that the ESEE-6 performs with ease.
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. Additionally, , the long, straight section of the blade’s edge provides the user with a plenty of room to make those long carving strokes and for this reason it also becomes an effective slicing tool.
The blade transitions into a beautiful sweep with the perfect angle at the tip and you’ll realize how easy it is to skin animals with this hunting knife. The ESEE-5 had a small ricasso accompanying it but in the ESEE-6, the manufacturers decided to grind a large choil into the blade for the same purpose. Unusual but still effective!
I personally loved the handle design on this one. The grip is much better and the handle is larger than the one I saw on the ESEE-5 while the canvas Micarta on the handle makes gripping extremely easy and comfortable. It’s impervious to heat, cold, abrasion, impact and most chemicals and is a good durable substance.
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. Additionally, a unique feature that I observed was that the canvas Micarta slabs were 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.
The only minor issue I faced with this survival knife is the fact that instead of stainless steel, the blade is made up of 1095 carbon steel which although a good choice, is subject to corrosion especially during the wet season. The manufacturers have more than made up for it though with a baked on powder coating which essentially protects the entire blade except the edge of your knife.
I always prefer my knives to be in the Rockwell hardness range of around 55-59 and the ESEE-6 is no exception with an HRC rating of 55-57 which is an excellent hardness point for survival knife blades. It’s hard enough to hold and retain its edge and thanks to the powder coating on the blade, the maintenance is reduced to a bare minimum.
To sum up this detailed ESEE-6 survival knife review, I’d give it a solid 9 stars out of 10 because not only is this one of the most dedicated survival knives in the market but because it also has been designed very well.
The 6.5 inch blade is long enough to be used as an effective chopping tool and has just the right amount of weight to it. The flat ground bevel combines brilliantly with the long edge while the excellent sweep makes this the perfect chopping and hunting knife.
The only point where this knife misses out is on the fact that it’s made from ¼’’ steel whereas I would have preferred a 3/16” steel which would have added a little more weight to the knife along with a little strength.