ESEE 6 Review

Folding knives may be a nearly everybody’s go-to tool for everyday use, but while folding knives are handy and easy to carry, nothing can still stand toe-to-toe with fixed-blade knives when it comes to heavy-duty field work. Whether you’re a hunter, angler, mountaineer, trekker, or a survivalist, a well-made, tactical-grade fixed-blade knife literally offers a better edge when it comes to reliability, durability, endurance, and overall performance. Folding knives aren’t necessarily inferior when it comes to fieldwork or heavy-duty purposes, but because of their easy-carry nature and foldable construction, they are not specifically built to take on as much of a beating as fixed-blade knives, and may sustain irreparable damage if employed in a similar manner to fixed-blade varieties.

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ESEE 6

Rating

Blade

Design

Handle

Performance

Ergonomics

Value for the Money

Because of its superior durability, fixed-blade knives are more preferred by militia and outdoorsmen as go-to tools for every imaginable purpose. But not all heavy-duty performance knives are made the same, and the market (both online and offline) are saturated with low-quality knives that are all flair but no substance.

The ESEE 6 is most definitely not a fancy knife that’s meant only for show. Intended to be a high-performance tactical knife, and designed for survival, bushcraft and military use, the ESEE 6 series was designed by renowned knife makers Jeff Randall and Mike Perrin.

Initially thought of as a mid-range offering that would answer the growing but largely un-answered demand for six to seven-inch, military-grade blades that are intended chiefly for civilian and non-commissioned use, the ESEE 6 is a somewhat simplistic but highly reliable knife that is perfect for all heavy-duty applications and meets the strict specifications and criteria for military-issue blades.

Whether you’re a solider, outdoorsman, hunter, or self-defense enthusiast, if you’re looking for a knife that is all-business, the ESEE 6 series and its respective model variants are definitely for you! While it may not exactly be the knife that tops all knives, it is most definitely a keeper for its price.

Basic Specs

  • Blade Length: 6.50”
  • Blade Material: 1095 Carbon Steel, 55057 Rc.
  • Blade Style: Drop point, full flat-grind blade
  • Handle Material: Micarta Scale polyresin
  • Sheathing: Moulded polymer with clip plate
  • Overall Length: 11.75”
  • Carrying Weight: 12 ounces (blade only) / approx. 12.5 – 13 ounces (sheathed blade)





Blade Overview

The ESEE 6 and all of its variant models are made of 55057 Rc. 1095 Carbon Steel, making them the ideal choice for heavy-duty use. Carbon steel has long been renowned for its capacity to take a beating without bending or breaking, but what it is truly famed for is its capacity to maintain a razor-sharp cutting edge as a very resilient blade with just the right amount of flex and give to prevent the blade from breaking if ever it is employed for things like prying. It has the additional advantage of being resilient enough to resist chipping, even if employed to cut through bone, with the added benefit of being easy enough to sharpen if ever the need for an extra-keen edge is called for. Measuring a total of 6.5 inches, this knife is perfect for military applications and is indispensable for any outdoor activity that calls for a reliable and flawless cutting edge. One downside to the blade is propensity to rust if uncared for. The blade does have a finish, but its laser-cut edge still leaves quite a significant bit of metal readily exposed to possible corrosion; plus, the finish isn’t exactly going to be permanent if the blade is regularly sharped or frequently employed for heavy-duty use. The possibility of rusting can easily be remedied, though. With regular use, proper maintenance, and standard care after each use, the blade should be able to resist rust with ease. The added finish not only does away with the need to build a patina on the blade, but will also increase its rust-proof capability. The blade’s spine is 3/16-inches thick, giving it additional durability, and with its full flat grind, it promises an unbeatable cutting edge that can slice through even the toughest materials with relative ease. The ESEE 6 blade takes stealth and effortless maintenance into consideration as well, having a fully blued-blacked non-reflective coating, making ideal as a perfect military-grade stealth weapon as well as a great outdoors knife that won’t run the risk of startling prospective game or attracting unwanted attention.

The ESEE 6 is an all-expansive range with alternative models, each with their own distinctive styles and accompanying specialities. Although there are approximate twenty or so ESEE 6 models, they typically vary only with respect to their colour scheme and their sheath type. The true variance rests in the blade, with three basic differences: plain-edged blades, semi-serrated blades, and tactical-style blades with a sharpened clip-point. Beyond these major differences, all ESEE 6 blades possess gimping on the spine, which may help to absorb impact when employed as a chopping tool, reinforce the blade spine for better balance, added manoeuvrability, and extra durability, as well as help prevent the blade from being stuck into a ‘vacuum’-like state if ever employed for stabbing, although, all of these possible benefits aside, gimping in its most basic form is typically just there for the sake of aesthetics; and for a very minimalistic blade, this is the only form of aesthetics you’ll ever get. Other than a blued-blackened finishes, the blade also comes in other colour varieties such as matte-grey, ‘venom’ green (more like a fluorescent apple-green hue), and matte slate-black. All finishes, including the default blued-black / jet-black, are powder coated for superior waterproofing and stain-proofing, with the added benefit of a non-stick advantage. Here’s a rundown of the most common ESEE 6 series variants:






Models Overview

ESEE 6P
The ESEE 6P is the ‘default’ model of the ESEE range of knives. Possessed of a plain edge sans any serrations, and featuring a drop-point blade with a laser-cut edge and gimping on the upper quarter of the spine. It has a broad range of available finishes, with colours ranging from jet black, matte black, powder-coated black, steel grey, matte grey, and even fluorescent ‘venom’ green. These finishes can likewise be found in all variants of the ESEE 6 series. This model boasts a full-tang (as do all models), with a moulded and reinforced and removable Micarta scale handle which can complement or match the finish of the blade. The ESEE 6P plain edged default is perfect for any cutting, slicing, chopping, and hacking job, with a blade that is specifically designed to withstand wear and tear and provide only superb results with each use.

ESEE 6S
The ESEE 6S is the slightly ‘upgraded’ version of the plain-edged 6P. While it features pretty much the same traits and aesthetics as the default, it does have a very slight addition to its blade – a serrated edge just a quarter of the way from the tang and the handle (mirrored by the partial gimping on the upper quarter spine of the blade), which terminates into a plain, drop-point style blade. While the ESEE 6P is already a versatile and indispensable tool as is, the addition of serrations make the blade far more ideal for heavy-duty work such as cutting thick cording, to sawing off wood or bone. The whole then terminates into the standard drop-point edge. Like the original ESEE 6P, the 6S and all other variants under the ‘6S’ (for ‘serrated’) range is specifically designed for superior cutting and slicing, with the additional advantage of a partially serrated edge, it, like the 6P default, may have some difficulty when it comes to stabbing and piercing.

ESEE 6P-CP
Where the ESEE 6S lacks in stabbing power, the ESEE 6P-CP delivers. The 6P-CP is a semi-tactical version of the 6P default which features a stylishly bevelled and sharpened clip-point tip. This, combined with the drop-point blade, makes the ESEE 6P-CP the perfect knife for cutting, slicing, and stabbing. Perfect for outdoorsmen, rangers, and hunters, it can likewise function as a perfectly balanced stealth-type self-defense weapon.

ESEE 6P-TG
If you’re looking for the best ESEE 6-series model available, the tactical-grade 6P-TG is the model that you need. Not only does it sport the clip-point tip of the 6P-CP, but it likewise has the quarter-length semi-serrations found on the 6S. This combined with the overall build of that the ESEE range is known for, makes this blade the ultimate go-to tool or weapon for everything from hunting and bush-crafting, to self-defense and combat.

ESEE CM6
The ESEE CM6 is an ESEE variant that breaks away from the standard 6P model. Designed by Terrill Hoffman, it combines the best of the 6P and the CP models, but doing away with the spine gimping and the partial serration, it features a wedge-type sharpened edge and point, which improves the overall penetrative power of the blade and provides a clean, thorough stab-wound thanks to its clean, plain-edged design. Measuring only 5 and 7/8 inches, it may be smaller than all of the other ESEE 6 varieties, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in its lightweight nature. With a similar powder-coated, stealth-oriented jet-black blade and moulded polyresin Micarta handle which features a canvas-like texture and finish that helps to provide a secure and stable grip, it stands as the ideal choice of knife for self-defense purposes and fast, deadly, and efficient combat.






Handle Overview

The ESEE 6 series features a standard ergonomically designed, full-tang handle specifically built to withstand heavy-duty use. It boasts a removable, easy-screw Micarta polyresin scale-finish handle that is near-seamlessly fitted into the tang, with a subtle semi-cutaway rear bolster and quillon, as well as a front bolster and quillon with a slight ‘bill’ curvature that helps to provide a stable, solid grip. It is made from non-slip material, and the slight contouring of the handle’s sides guarantee comfort and manoeuvrability, with the added benefit of a firmer and more solid hold. The Micarta polyresin scale handles can be screwed on and off with relative ease and the help of some tools. Its removable nature allows one the full freedom to customise the handle as they see fit, with materials other than the default, or with cording, as is quite commonplace for tactical knives. The polyresin is also waterproof, shock and impact resistant.

Tang
The ESEE 6 series of knives boasts a full-tang build that tapers off into an organic pommel with a hole that accumulates Para-cord strap or rope of whatever kind of material. Its build is specifically designed to ensure the utmost in durability and function. With a moulded polymer handle that fits and is affixed perfectly into the tang, one is guaranteed fool-proof performance without risk of either the tang snapping or the handle breaking off, making this knife ideal even as a makeshift axe for chopping firewood. It also makes it possible for the blade to be employed as a prying tool if ever the need arises. A singular, seamless organic build from blade to handle ensures uniformity of material, and, subsequently, of the tool’s overall strength – something which cannot be understated in the wild or in the battlefield.

Sheath
All ESEE 6 model blades come with a twinned moulded polymer sheath that either matches or compliments the Micarta polyresin handle’s colour. Just like the handle, the sheathing is waterproof and impact resistant. It likewise features a slight opening at the very bottom, to allow water and moisture to escape, helping to preserve the blade from the possibility of rusting. All standard sheaths are moulded to fit all ESEE 6 blades and ensures a perfectly snug fit and non-slip hold which allows the sheath to be worn or held upside-down with the blade handle literally suspended, without fear of it falling off of its sheath. The entire build is further reinforced by hollow riveting all throughout the edge of the sheath for additional durability and the added benefit of being able to incorporate cording as a means to attach the sheath to one’s person. For folks who dislike cording and are after a more ‘stealthy’ means to carry their knives, the sheath comes with a clip plate that can easily be attached to the hollow riveting reinforcements on the edges of the sheath. The clip plate allows one to attach the knife sheath securely onto a belt, to the waist of one’s pants or skirt, or simply clipped into a pocket or sleeve in a tight pinch.






Ergonomics Overview

When it comes to ergonomics, the ESEE 6 range of knives definitely do not disappoint. For a large six-and-a-half-incher that boasts a full-tang handle, this behemoth is surprisingly balanced for its size and heft. Normally, blades of this size would come with exaggeratedly thick spines that would make them pretty unwieldy, but its ergonomically oriented design makes it hefty enough to be employed for heavy-duty use, but thinned out enough to still allow for fast and precise cuts and slashes.

The blade is a mainstay of this series’ ergonomics. Its drop-point style default design lends itself well to its intended purpose. The spine which provides just the right resistance without compromising its lightweight nature, and all the additional variations that exist outside of the default 6P plain-edged model all add to its overall manoeuvrability and functionality. But in the end, it is the handle that provides the true measure of its overall ergonomics. Moulded from lightweight yet durable Micarta scale polyresin, it is shaped to be able to provide a stable yet comfortable feel during use. Anyone skilled or dextrous enough will find that the ESEE 6 series can be comfortably flipped or turned in one’s fingers with relative ease, testifying to its ergonomic nature. The handle is likewise designed to accommodate all gripping styles, but is most suited for standard hammer-grip, sabre-grip and overhand grip styles, all save the last gripping method are perfectly applicable for bushcrafting needs, with the latter being a specialised combat-oriented grip.






Performance Overview

If you’re looking for a knife with keen edge that can take a beating and will be able to chop, slice, break, saw, and pierce anything nature throws at you, the ESEE 6 series is a perfect choice! Not only is the blade durable enough to be employed for chopping firewood and hacking through bone, it is likewise sharp enough for mode delicate tasks like whittling. With the aid of a hard piece of wood to act like a mallet, it can be employed to chop up thick logs with relative ease. Though it isn’t exactly a skinning knife, it can hold its own if employed for that specific purpose. Overall, the blade is hardy, maintains a cutting edge well, does not easily dull, does not chip or crack, and is resistant to bending.

While it lacks a decent hand guard, it does have a smooth finger choil right below where the bottom part of the handle terminates, (and this is standard fare for all ESEE 6 models) just before the blade (or the partial serrations in some models) begins. Perfectly smoothed, well-shaped, and with a generous cradling curve to prevent dangerous accidental slips this, combined with the spine gimping not only helps improve precision and ease-of-handling, it can also marginally improve the overall force or power one can exert during precise or targeted cuts, and may even prevent the knife from being easily disarmed from one’s person during combat. Used for self-defence or combat purposes, the choil can help to provide more stable and reliable cutting and slicing attacks, as well as improve on the effectiveness of uppercut strikes when employing hammer-grip styles and added balance and control when using the more commonplace (and deadlier) overhand grip.

This knife is a must-have for survivalists, outdoorsmen, hunters, people who serve in the military, martial artists and individuals who want a reliable, sturdy, and near-flawless all-purpose knife with an affordable price.

Pros:

· 6.5” of high-quality steel, optimised for cutting

· Additional features on subsequent model types with specialised capabilities such as sawing (found on the ESEE 6S) and one optimised for piercing and stabbing (found on the ESEE 6P-CP)

· Combination blade that combines all specialised features (exemplified by the ESEE 6P-TG)

· Full-tang handle construction for added durability

· 1095 Carbon Steel, 55057 Rc. optimised to maintain a razor-sharp cutting edge

· Full-blade tempering and hardening for heavy-duty use

· Powder-coated black (default colour) or other colour variants, provides additional water and rust-proofing, adds the element of stealth, provides slick, non-stick, easy-clean finish on blade

· Micarta polyresin non-slip, removable, waterproof, ergonomically designed handle for optimised handling

· Moulded polyresin sheath with metal clip plate for easy carrying

Cons:

· 1095 Carbon Steel is prone to rust if improperly maintained

· Water-and-rust-proofing powder coating is not chip resistant

· Clip plate is not ergonomically designed and can get in the way of a fast and easy draw

· Blade can be too long to effectively count as an ideal ‘stealth’ weapon

· May be a bit too hefty for some users






FAQ

Is the ESEE 6 rust proof?

A: No. The ESEE 6 series is made out of 1095 Carbon Steel, 55057 Rc. which does rust if improperly maintained. The blade body is, however, powder-coated, which provides some degree of rustproofing. You can use dry film rust inhibitors like TUF-CLOTH and TUF-GLIDE to further reduce the possibility of rusting or tarnishing on your blade, especially if you intend to employ it for heavy-duty use.


Does the sheath it comes with have a blade-lock mechanism?

No, it does not. The blade is moulded polymer, with reinforced riveting on the edges. It expressly made to provide a perfectly snug fit for the blade, which prevents accidental slippage.


Do ESEE knives come with a warranty?

Yes, the ESEE 6 series, as well as all authentic ESEE knives have a lifetime warranty. They offer a free replacement warranty for any original ESEE knife that breaks. The lifetime warranty is transferrable and does not require a purchase receipt to be honored, although it does not inclusive of sustained damage from regular wear-and-tear, or improper maintenance. It applies only to original ESEE knives.


Where are ESEE products made?

Nearly all of the ESEE-brand knives and corresponding accessories are made in the United States, in Idaho Falls, Idaho; although some of their select product range is sourced or fabricated in Mexico or Knoxville, Tennessee. All Idaho-made products are created to meet exacting demands for quality and durability by Rowen Manufacturing, while products made outside of Idaho undergo strict quality control so as to maintain the same exacting qualities as found in products made in their headquarters.


What does ‘ESEE’ stand for?

A: ‘ESEE’ is an acronym which stands for ‘Escuela de Supervivencia’ (Spanish for ‘School of Survival), Escape and Evasion (ES-EE), which represents the ESEE company’s aim of producing top-grade survival gear which corresponds to the core teachings of their very own jungle survival school.






Final Thoughts

The ESEE 6 series of knives may not be what very picky individuals would consider ‘top-brass’, and they most certainly are not. They do not compare to top-class custom-made knives that combine the best in aesthetics and functionality with oodles of flash and class to spare, nor do they exactly stand up to military-issued tactical knives that have been sanctioned and approved by the government or the militia. However, what they do deliver is a reliable, dependable, and durable range of knives that can be used for specific purposes and situations, with the aim of providing an all-around knife for all imaginable outdoors and tactical purposes which delivers every imaginable thing you could ever need on a survival knife – a razor-sharp blade, a saw, and a precise and equally sharp stabbing and piercing implement. Compared to most other ‘survival knifes’ advertised out there, the ESEE 6 line isn’t what people would consider ‘over-the-top’ or downright unrealistic in its build or intended function. In fact, for a knife in this specific price-range, it’s already a pretty decent keeper. If you’re looking for a knife to have with you as an everyday-carry-knife or a self-defence weapon, or if you need a trusty tool to bring with you during fishing, camping, or hunting trips, any model from the ESEE 6 series will serve you well.