As I’ve mentioned numerous times in my knife articles, I like big knives. Big knives can accomplish more tasks than smaller knives can. And, in the case of using a fixed blade knife for survival purposes or military applications, I think bigger knives shine! However, keep in mind that, no single knife can accomplish all the tasks you may need a blade for. That’s why I carry several knives, as well as having fixed blade knives with long blades, as well as shorter blades. There is no “do it all” knife – you need several.
If you are looking at a long-term survival situation, or you’re in the military, and need a fixed blade knife that won’t let you down, then take a close look at the Blackhawk Products, Nightedge. The Nightedge was designed by well-known custom knifemaker Allen Elishewitz, who lives in Texas. I reviewed one of Allen’s custom folders some years back for and article in Knives Illustrated magazine. I was greatly impressed by the attention to detail. I’ve also reviewed some of the CRKT knives that they are producing in collaboration with Elishewitz. Again, all winners.
In my opinion, the Blackhawk Nightedge is one of the best fixed blade knives that Allen Elishewitz has designed. We’re looking at a blade length of 5.9″ – although it looks longer and acts like a longer blade. The late Col. Rex Applegate, whom I worked for, for three years and whom I had the pleasure of calling my friend, taught me a lot about knife and gun fighting. Applegate studied use of the knife during WWII along with William Fairbairn. Applegate and Fairbairn concluded that you needed a blade with a length of 6″ in order to reach the vital organs in an enemy soldier. Well, the Nightedge is almost there with its 5.9″ blade – close enough for government work, as they say.
I like stainless steel blades, especially in my part of Oregon, where we get a lot of rain. However, I believe carbon steel blades hold an edge longer than stainless blades do, and carbon steel blades are easier to re-sharpen in my humble opinion. The Nightedge has a blade made out of 1085C high-carbon tool steel – good stuff! And, the blade has a black epoxy finish to help protect it from the elements. It’s also a full-tang blade – the thickness of the blade runs all the way through the handle, so it is very strong! Overall length of the knife is 10.9 inches.
The handle scales on the Nightedge are a thermoplastic rubber with textured panels for a sure grip under any conditions – the knife feels good, real good, in the hand. There is a slightly extended tang with a lanyard hole, should you wish to attach a lanyard. The sheath that is provided with the Nightedge is plastic-lined ballistic Nylon that is foliage green. The sheath can also be attached to a belt as well as web gear or MOLLE gear.
When I received my Nightedge, I noted that the blade wasn’t very sharp. This was puzzling, as I’ve tested a number of Blackhawk blades and all came hair-popping sharp out of the box. I thought I would simply touch-up the blade on a pair of ceramic sticks. Nope, didn’t happen. the edge geometry was all wrong on the blade. A quick e-mail to Laura Burgess who handles the PR for Blackhawk and a number of other companies, brought a quick reply. Blackhawk products wanted the sample back so they could examine the problem. Sure enough, for some reason, some of the Nightedge knives slipped through with the wrong edge grind on it. My sample was returned in short order, with the correct edge grind on it – shaving sharp. Blackhawk Products backs-up all their products, and when a mistake was made, they were fast to correct it – and admit it was a mistake on their part. I like that.
The Nightedge has a partially serrate edge towards the back of the blade, near the handle. Serrations can come in handy under any number of circumstances. However, Allen Elishewitz also provided a secondary edge edge on the top of the blade that is fully serrated for heavy draw cuts. Great idea! The unique grind on the blade also produces a reinforced point for extreme tip strength and penetration. There is also a built-in guard on the blade – where the blade joins the handle…it helps protect your hand from sliding onto the blade. the top guard has friction grooves for a secure grip of your thumb when using the fencing grip for knife fighting.
I used my sample knife for all kinds of tasks around my small homestead. I cut a lot of blackberry vines, and those are super-tough. I did some light chopping – even though this knife wasn’t designed for it – it took care of the task just the same. I could easily cut all the poly rope with the serrated edge, too. If you’ve ever tried to cut poly rope or wet rope – you’ll appreciate a knife with serrations.
Overall, the Nightedge is a great fixed blade knife. It’s perfect for combat, as well as survival purposes. Can it handle all the things you’ll through at it? No, of course not, no knife will. That’s why you need several knives for various tasks, as I mentioned at the onset of this article. I would highly recommend the Blackhawk Products Nightedge to Survivalblog readers, and especially to military personnel. This knife has a full retail of $149.99. That is a good deal on a great knife, designed by a world famous knife designer, and produced at a price point that makes it affordable for many of us. If you were to have Allen Elishewitz custom make this knife for you, you’d probably be looking at a price around $1,000 or more.
Again, as I’ve written before, quality never comes cheap, then again, you want the best gear and equipment you can afford when you’re looking at long-term survival. The Blackhawk collaboration with Elishewitz gives the consumer the opportunity to purchase a great design, at an affordable price. For further information, go to www.blackhawk.com for more information on this knife, and all their great products. – SurvivalBlog Field Gear Editor Pat Cascio