Back in 1999, the Randall’s Adventure & Training group started work on designing a knife that would be named after a late 1990s counterdrug operation in South America. Involving numerous international agencies, including U.S. Special Operations Forces, the operation was named “Operation Laser Strike.” The original Laser Strike, manufactured in 2000 by TOPS Knives, was a fire-based knife kit complete with a ferrocium rod fixed to the sheath. There was a divot on the left side of the scales for a spindle when using a bow and drill. According to ESEE, the raised surface on the handle was harder than the blade, thus the handle could be used as a striker for true flint and steel. The late, great custom knifemaker, Rob Simonich, is credited with being the guru behind this sort of differentially heat-treating process. Well over a decade later, ESEE Knives has produced the new long-awaited Laser Strike made by Rowen Manufacturing.
The blade steel is the heart of a good knife. ESEE kept their tried and true 1095 high carbon steel with a 55-57 Rc for the Laser Strike, and rightly so, it has been a mainstay for about a century of knifemaking.
The author using a technique usually done with a machete or large blade. It gives back some control that may be lacking from a near 5-inch long bladed knife and makes it easier to use all parts of the blade, especially towards the tip. REZA ALLAH-BAKHSHI PHOTOS
The blade has a spear-point design and looks like a modern Russell Green River styled knife with a cutting edge 4.75 inches long. Overall knife length is 10 inches. The entire knife is coated with a black textured powder coat. The spine is a burly 3/16 inches thick giving the knife alone a weight of about 9.5 ounces. Natural colored canvas Micarta scales fastened by Chicago screws round out the package, although my prototype for this article featured hex screws. The new Chicago screws should be considered an upgrade for their ease of use and utilitarian appearance.
Uniquely different from the original Laser Strike design, the canvas Micarta scales can easily be removed to reveal a hollow chamber with a small ferrocium fire starter and two tinder tabs. ESEE provides a washer fixed to the sheath, which is ideal for removing the scales, but a flat head screwdriver on any multi-tool or Swiss Army Knife will also work. The ambidextrous sheath is made from black Kydex and has the handle removal washer attached to it.