World Beater Blades- Real-World Experience.
There is no substitute for experience.” Nowhere is this truism more critical to the welfare of our nation than in the fight against the evil forces the world dishes out. In the case of ESEE Knives they’ve walked the walk, from taking down drug lords in the jungles of Peru to fighting enemy soldiers in the hot sands of the Middle East. While testing and expert experience are a given among most knife manufacturers, very few can match the hard earned pedigree from which ESEE Knives were borne.
Jeff Randall — survivalist, adventurist, instructor and entrepreneur — and longtime business partner Mike Perrin are the brains and sweat behind TransEquatorial Solutions, Inc., the parent company to ESEE Knives and Randall’s Adventure and Training. Jeff tells Handgunner, “Randall’s Adventure & Training was started in 1997 as a jungle survival school for individuals, pilots and military personnel needing specific terrain/environment training. During that period we signed a contract with the Peruvian military to run our students through their special operations jungle survival course. After that contract ended we continued with our school using Peruvian Special Forces and American instructors teaching jungle survival. The gear line and ESEE knives was born from that experience, training and activities.
“During that time we have trained and worked with some of the top military and law enforcement teams in South America,” continues Randall, “including the Jungla Air Assault Commandos of Colombia. We’ve been involved in a little bit of everything from blowing up cocaine hydrochloride labs in FARC-controlled territory in Colombia, to training Latin American police and military with special teams from the United States. We also provide gear and training to teams and individuals in the United States. Much of our gear is being used to fight the War on Drugs both stateside and below the border, as well as military units around the globe. We have also provided logistical support and organization for film crews from Discovery and the Travel Channels.”
Randall’s venture into designing hard use cutlery predates the ESEE name. Several years prior he was the inspiration behind the RAT Cutlery brand produced by Ontario Knife Company. “When we changed our name from RAT Cutlery to ESEE,” says Jeff, “it was done to avoid confusion between the Ontario Knife Company RAT line of knives, which we designed. Ontario continues to produce a line of knives that we endorse and work with them on.”
As to how the company got its name he explains, “ESEE is an acronym that describes what our training company was built around. The ES in ESEE stands for Escuela de Supervivencia (school of survival) and the EE stands for Escape and Evasion, which we teach to select groups of students on some of our jungle courses.”
Made In The USA
Randall’s years of experience operating in harsh, unforgiving environments have given him a no-nonsense approach to designing cutlery. For knife steel Randall didn’t turn to the laboratory gurus who rush to bring the latest blend of stainless steel to market. These uber-steels serve a good purpose in driving the technology end of the cutlery industry, but they add a lot of expense to the cost of a knife and most cannot be sharpened in the field without special diamond or ceramic sharpeners. Lose your exotic sharpener in the field and you’re stuck with a very expensive pot-stirrer.
When Randall formed the company he was hell bent on manufacturing his ESEE designs in the USA, and to do so he teamed up with Rowen Manufacturing of Idaho. ESEE knives utilize tried and proven 1095 steel, a non-stainless high carbon alloy that’s been around over 100 years. According to Jeff, “Carbon steels have been slicing, cooking, chopping and killing around the globe for eons. It works, it holds a great edge and takes an extremely good heat treat, thus providing flexibility when tempered properly, and Rowen is probably the best in the business at heat treating 1095.
Sure, it will rust, but in the real world rust doesn’t keep it from doing what it’s designed to do. Exotic steel for the common user knife is simply not needed in the field. If you don’t believe that then travel to a Third World country where living by an edge is a daily affair and not a Walter Mitty lifestyle. Most every knife used by these professionals in the jungles and other remote locales is made from carbon steel. Simply put, it works without the extra costs associated with bells and whistles.”
Randall eschews chi-chi styling for straightforward, common sense design geared more for effectiveness than winning beauty pageants. His customers — many of whom are armed forces — are serious users who sing ESEE’s praises on high from the backwoods to battlefields. No matter whether you like your knife large or small or somewhere inbetween, there’s something for everyone in the company’s line. You’ll notice all ESEE knives have versatile drop point blades for versatility and all are flat ground for a hard working, durable edge. Micarta is the standard handle material, with G10 substituted in certain cases. All knives are serially numbered at the factory and come with versatile Kydex sheaths.
The mega-sized 16.5″ ESEE Junglas lies somewhere between a Bowie camp knife and a machete with the cahones to serve as either. The Junglas (pronounced “hoon-glas”) is named after the Columbian Airmobile Interdiction Jungla Program, formed by the British SAS in 1989 as an elite, special forces-style drug fighting team. While most of us will probably never experience the jungle wilds, the Junglas will serve you well as a shelter builder, bush whacker, food preparer for large groups and butcherer of large game.
ESEE’s main line is a series of drop points ranging from 6″ down to 3″. The cult favorite is the ESEE-5, a nice handful of drop point with quarter-inch thick blade steel, nicely sculpted Micarta handles and a glass-breaker on the butt serving double duty as a wicked skull cracker. The smaller ESEE-4 and 3 models can perform a myriad of roles from everyday carry to light field chores and serious skinning. If you want more blade, the ESSE-6 obliges with an increase in blade length and slightly thinner blade steel than the 5. Blades can be had in basic black, OD green, desert tan or a zombie-killing bright venom green.
If light, concealed carry is your bag ESEE’s neck knives will fill the bill. The hugely popular Izula — 6.25″ overall with a 2.88″ blade — is skeletonized for light weight with a large hole at the base where you can add a neck cord, lanyard, or small carabineer for optional carry. A handled version, the Izula II, is also available, and ESEE also offers a survival kit especially made for the series. A scant 5.13″ in length, the Candiru neck knife is the smallest in the company’s lineup. Both knives can serve self-defense duty as well as utilitarian chores such as light food prep and skinning.
Beyond The Call
ESEE is serious about their knives and their customers. “Our customers like the simplicity and usability of our knives,” Jeff relates. “They also appreciate the fact the owners of the company are interactive with them via forums, phone, email and trade shows and have a genuine caring for every end-user in the field. Not to mention we have a ‘no questions asked’ replacement warranty that is transferable and never needs a sales receipt.”
Sounds like a winning formula to us! ESEE sells through dealers only, so call, e-mail, or visit their website.
By Pat Covert
Photos By Chuck Pittman
For more info: (256) 613-0372, www.americanhandgunner.com/esee-knives