If you are looking for a new fixed blade knife, I don’t think you can be disappointed with an ESEE, and with a wide range of available sizes and features, there is probably one suited to any purpose a knife can serve. The ESEE transferable, no questions asked lifetime warranty on its carbon steel knives is legendary. Check out their web site for more information.
Every knife is available with a few variations:
- Color. Choices include OD green, tan, black, and Venom Green (ESEE’s high-visibility option — great for rescue knives).
- Blade style. Plain edge or serrated. Plus, the 6 is available as a tactical knife with a sharpened swedge — this is the ESEE-CM6.
- Pommel style. On some models, pommels can be configured as rounded or glass-breaker.
- Coating. Some models are offered uncoated, but because they are made with 1095 carbon steel, a coating reduces the risk of rusting and pitting.
- Handle scales. Handles are available in paper, linen, or canvas micarta, or in G10. Micarta has the advantage of remaining grippy, almost tacky, even when wet, and even when wet with blood. G10 is a resin-impregnated glass fabric that is particularly tough and stable to temperature and moisture. Handles are easily replaceable.
- Metal. Your choices are 1095 carbon steel or stainless, but not all models are offered in stainless.
You can also purchase a Blade-Tech Tek Lok, which allows you to mount the knife horizontally on your belt, instead of vertically. The Izula 2, ESEE 3, and ESEE 4 are good candidates, but the 5 and 6 get too bulky and heavy, and tend to twist the belt. If you really like a horizontal mount for the 5 or 6, you can still have it; just rig the tip of the sheath with a lanyard to tie it to the belt. That way the sheath is attached at two points and will not twist the belt as much. Of course, a heavy-duty belt will twist less than a lighter, thinner one.
Watch the video below for an overview of these ESEE knives:
ESEE Izula 2. Good for smaller hands, but useful for anyone as an everyday carry knife. The large hole is designed for use with a carabiner so you can hang it on a vest or backpack strap. This is also the best choice for carving because the finger choil is behind the front quillon, which protects your finger from the blade. The Izula 2 is slightly thicker than the 3, which gives it a little more weight and balances out the handle for a little thicker grip.
ESEE 3. This is my everyday carry fixed blade. It is wonderful.
ESEE 4. Same handle profile as the 3, but with a longer, thicker blade.
ESEE 5. The 5 was designed for downed fighter pilots. It is massive and robust, with a saber-ground blade that is thicker and tougher than any others in the lineup. All the others are flat-ground, which makes them easier to sharpen, but the 5 emphasizes strength. That makes it a better chopper, and while no manufacturer recommends using the knife as a prying tool, if you are a downed fighter pilot and need to pry your way out of the wreckage, it’s better to do it with this knife than any of the others. Or you might use the glass breaker pommel to bust out — your choice.
ESEE 6. The largest knife in the lineup is actually considerably lighter than the 5, which makes it an attractive choice for hikers, campers, and adventurers. It is a very good balance of weight, size, and features. The flat grind on a tall blade that is thinner than the 5 (but still very tough) means that it forms an acute angle at the cutting edge, so it’s easy to get it razor sharp.
There are more expensive knives in the market. Every Busse, for example, is a unique hand crafted piece of work. Fisher knives are some of the most elaborate knives in the world, and run into the thousands of dollars. ESEEs tend to be more uniform, and the high production rates are reflected in lower unit prices, but the quality of design and manufacture make them an excellent value, and quite affordable.