note: first appeared October 2015
There are times when you know you have a quality knife in your hands. The ESEE-3 is one of those knives…there is absolutely no doubt about it.
I previously reviewed the ESEE-6 (8/4/2019) and found it to be an amazing knife. The ESEE-3 is no less a knife, it is amazing. You pick up the knife and it immediately “feels” right in your hand. The balance is perfect, the handle is sized right, it just fits.
The 1095 carbon steel is amazingly hard and maintains an edge really well. And just as importantly it takes an edge just as easily. I use a diamond stone and found it to be really easy to touch up a razor sharp edge to the knife. The blade is a full-tang and has a zero tolerance in mating with the handle material. It is matched perfectly to the handle.
Let me backtrack for just a minute. The mission for this knife was compact survival knife that could be easily carried in my “Go Bag”. I wanted a knife that could handle the rigors of a survival situation. And finally, I wanted a self-defense knife that could be easily concealed but yet effective in providing close-in self-defense.
The knife truly excels in being a survival knife, easily concealed, and obviously completely capable of withstanding the rough environment of survival. During testing I pounded on my ESEE knife to split wood. The outcome was just fine!
However, admittedly it is a little weak in the area of self-defense. Ironically, the same traits that make it a great survival knife also limit it from excelling as a self-defense knife. It takes a lot of pressure to push that knife blade directly into meat. Slashing/cutting into meat is not a problem.
Let me touch on a few technical specifications first…
- Overall Length: 8.31″ (Standard Model)
- Overall Length: 8.19″ (Modified Pommel)
- Cutting Edge Length: 3.38″
- Overall Blade Length: 3.88″
- Maximum Thickness: .125″
- 1095 Carbon Steel, 55 – 57 Rc.
- Weight: 5.2 Ounces (Knife Only)
- Weight: 9.3 Ounces (Knife w/ Sheath)
- Sheath: Molded
There are different models to the ESEE-3…
- ESEE-3P (Plain Edge, Black Blade)
- ESEE-3S (Partially Serrated, Black Blade)
- ESEE-3PM (Plain Edge, Black Blade, Rounded Pommel)
- ESEE-3SM (Partially Serrated, Black Blade, Rounded Pommel)
Let me make this perfectly clear…BUY THE KNIFE !
OK, that being cleared up let me address the survival vs. defense comment earlier. To qualify as a great survival knife you want a thick, heavy, sturdy blade. A self-defense knife warrants a razor sharp edged knife that can also penetrate easily. That style blade not be compatible with survival demands.
However, the ESEE-3 does perform adequately when employed as a self-defense knife other than easy penetration into meat. While it might not penetrate as well as a RAT Headhunter, it will get the job done. But the overwhelming quality of its survival traits dwarf any self-defense limitations.
Now here is a bonus…my wife loves her ESEE-3!
When we were looking for our camping/survival knives she liked my ESEE-6 but felt it was too large and too heavy for her. She wanted something more “lady-like” to use. Well OK then! If my wife wants a knife, she gets a knife!
Yup, I am a blessed man!
This is near a perfect piece of gear/equipment as you are going to find in the prepper world. They are not expensive compared to other quality knives. But then again, what is your family’s life worth?
That means spend the money and get this quality knife, you will be glad you did!
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