If it’s black it must be tactical. That is a statement I’ve heard too often and it has lost its humor over time. However, I’m often asked what exactly makes a tactical knife different from other knives. There isn’t a clear-cut answer and I normally try to show an example of the genre as I explain the attributes of a tactical knife. This was the case when a good friend came by for a visit and asked about the knives I had sitting on my desk. As I spoke of quality, strength and utility, I was showing him the Grayman knives I had for review.
The knives were variations of a model that has been a mainstay for Grayman Knives, the West Nile Warrior. Mike, the owner of Grayman Knives and his products are not strangers to the pages of Tactical Knives magazine. Tim Stetzer did an outstanding review of Mike and his Pemburu and Suenami models in the May 2010 issue. Tim made the point that Grayman knives are built to be used and used hard. The three size variations I had in my office were designed for the same purpose.
The 7-1/2-inch Warrior was one of Mike’s first patterns and has always been the most popular model. It is this popularity that has prompted the addition of two other sizes to the product line. The knives remind me of Goldilocks and the three bears. There is the original knife with a 7-1/2-inch blade, the medium model with a 5-1/2-inch blade and the small model with a 3-1/2-inch blade. It depends on your task as to which one is “just right.”
Everything else about these knives is pure tactical and meant for the business of hard work. All three are fashioned from 1/4-inch-thick 1095 High Carbon steel. The 1095 steel should be able to withstand hard use yet still lend itself to field sharpening. Since this is not a stainless steel, a black GunKote finish is applied to protect the steel. Don‘t forget that this does not protect the ground edge and a little oil will go a long way in preventing stains or rust. They are bevel, or chisel, ground knives and feature a pronounced recurve reminiscent of a Bolo pattern. The full tangs on the knives are covered with textured G10 scales held in place with sockethead screws. The customer can also order the handle scales in Micarta.
The two larger knives feature extended butts to allow for pounding without damaging the handle scales. The scales on the smaller knife give complete coverage. Another option for this model is the choice of ordering the knife with or without saw teeth along the top spine of the blade. A finger groove in the choil area is standard on the two larger knives. You never know when you just may want to choke up for a bit of delicate cutting. A black leather sheath was sent with the small knife and tan nylon sheaths for the other two. The nylon sheath is Kydex lined and MOLLE compatible.
I had just photographed the knives prior to my friend Benny coming by the office and I felt perfectly at ease asking if he would like to try them out. When I explained that they were designed for some hard use and babying them was not a requirement, I saw a smile creep across his face. If you test knives as much as I do, you tend to forget how much fun it can be. We looked over the three knives and agreed that the smaller knife would find more use on day-to-day chores. However, it just wouldn’t be as much fun to test so we grabbed the two larger knives and headed for the door.
If it’s black it must be tactical. That is a statement I’ve heard too often…
by Michael Janich / Jan 1, 2011