Winkler Knives II, the tactical arm of Winkler Knives, is fueled by years of work from Master Bladesmith Daniel Winkler. Arguably, fans will associate more with his tactical products, but has created a great introspective on the heritage of the brands. From humble beginnings making a few traditional tomahawks and muzzleloaders, Winkler’s skill and craftsmanship have progressed to outfitting both heirloom and museum quality pieces, as well as functional tools for special operations and SOF operators. Scroll down to read the Soldier Systems article on the full history of Winkler Knives.

Winkler’s journey began in Boone, North Carolina, where he developed an interest in shooting Black Powder guns, as well as crafting the accessories — shooting pouches, powder horns and knives — associated with the practice. He started selling forged knives and other items at various Black Powder events across the Eastern United States. As he continued to make knives, tomahawks, and muzzle-loading guns on a part-time basis, Winkler became a member of the American Mountain Men and the Backwoodsmen, where he learned survival skills and acquired vital knifemaking knowledge which would serve him well throughout his career in the industry.

In 1988, Winkler became a full-time bladesmith. Alongside his partner, Karen Shook, Winkler began to build Winkler Knives’ customer base by selling quality knives, tomahawks and sheaths with Native American designs. In 1992, the company produced a number of knives and axes used in the film “Last of the Mohicans,” which helped raise awareness of the business. It also served as an important stepping stone to the next phase of Winkler Knives.

Word of mouth began to spread within the SOF community about the quality of Winkler Knives’ work in “Last of the Mohicans.” As a result, the company began making making a special series of knives and axes to be used for a variety of tactical applications. The new line — dubbed Winkler Knives II — became wildly popular with SOF teams, and the company started receiving orders for Department of Defense contracts, full unit purchases and a large number of sales to individuals. Winkler Knives II continues the tradition of quality the company prides itself on. As a result, all knives within the Winkler Knives II line are based on designs generated for the United States military.

To read the full article on the complete history of Winkler Knives, head over to Soldier Systems.

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