A “Tactical Ring” does not a Kunai make…

A couple of days ago I ran across an interesting fighting knife:

Black Ronin Kunai Style Fighting Knife

Black Ronin Kunai Style fighting knife
[view full size]

Now you all know I have a thing for Japanese weapons. And the idea of a “Kunai” style fighting knife is an interesting one. Contemporary kunai designs are, in fact, very close in aesthetic to the original Shangai knife upon which the infamous Fairbairn-Sykes fighting knife is based. The Shangai knife had a short, pointy blade with a somewhat wide base. Kunai were similar except with a really wide blade. They also lacked sharp edges, but they weren’t really intended to be knives to begin with, so edges were unnecessary.

However, while it all sounds good in theory, traditional kunai design is not really fighting knife material. Seriously. The kunai evolved from a garden trowel. A workable weapon? Yes. Ultimate fighting knife material? Meh. Not so much, imho. Which is probably why this knife here has some rather interesting weaknesses.

Like for instance, the blade profile. Kunai have wide bases and sharp points. good for parrying, and thrusting. Not so good for slashing. The FS knife design solves that be having a relatively narrow blade across it’s length as well as a sharp point. This knife has… Errm… a belly? Yeah. Right. Good for slashing (and skinning unwary prey…) Not so good for thrusting. Even with that cool fake rear edge. Or the admittedly cool curve to the black cord wrapped grip. Or the spine cut outs that don’t look like they are particularly useful…

And then there’s that humongous ring. Yes, yes, we get it. It’s a “Tactical”, “Kunai style” ring. Looky here ppl. The kunai was a garden trowel. It’s primary feature was a leaf like blade shape. Not a ring. Seriously. In fact, some kunai didn’t even have a ring because the ring was a little more work to make. Honestly. How many garden trowels do you see today with huge rings like that? Eh? Pfft…

Now I think the folks that are marketing this thing were probably more interested in trying to squeeze as many cool Japanese terms as possible into the name, rather than actually duplicate any kind of specific functionality (Black Ronin Kunai? What is this supposed to be the weapon of a rogue samurai turned ninja? LOL… whut? Helloooo!! No…)

But by and large, while the design might work (in a pinch) for fighting duty, personally, I’d probably use this as a camp knife first… I’m just saying…

Black Ronin Kunai Style Fighting Knife – [True Swords]

5 Responses to “A “Tactical Ring” does not a Kunai make…”

  1. 1 Hostorybuff1788
    May 1, 2008 at 5:54 pm

    And there you have it, no one cares whatsoever of the opinion of a guy who knows as much as a book can tell you. Thanks for telling me something I have already read. Go back in time and then criticize knife designs by comparison to innovation.

  2. May 1, 2008 at 8:36 pm


    Is your post actually intended to have a point? My posts are merely an expression of what I’ve learned about knives and knife design, based primarily on my personal experience with them. With a little humor thrown in. It is by no means intended to be an exhaustive study of them.

    If you actually have some additional insight, or a productive comment, by all means please enlighten me. I love to learn new things. But from my perspective this weapon is a contemporary hybrid. It has no history. It is purely the construct of some one else’s head, and therefore does not have any historical background that I can go back and reference for innovative accuracy.

    It looks to me more like a marketing gimmick than anything else. Hence the derisive comments. If you happen to know something I don’t, please share. Telling me that I’m telling you something you already know kinda doesn’t help much… 😛

  3. 3 Niccolo
    May 2, 2008 at 4:23 am

    I honestly love the irony inherent in Hostory’s small comment there. Delicious, delicious irony.

    Personally, I think the knife is quite nice – probably utterly useless, but quite nice. Though the ring kinda ruins the whole look of it…

  4. May 2, 2008 at 2:57 pm

    LOL Yes… Quite ironic indeed. :}

    To be fair, the knife isn’t entirely useless. It has some nice features, but IMHO it’s still all just hype an no truly innovative unique or remarkable substance. Anyone with a different or opposing perspective should feel free to contribute their thoughts, but personally I think the whole blade industry’s obsession with “tactical” rings, Kunai, ninja weapons in general sometimes gets a little ludicrous.

    I mean seriously. Creating a Ninja weapon as part of a Black “Ronin” weapon set? Do they even realize what a Ronin is? Ronin had very little in common with ninjas, so even the idea of a black ronin ninja weapon is culturally paradoxical. Now there’s some real history there, for anyone who is really interested in a historical perspective to look up…

  5. 5 Ysidro
    December 31, 2008 at 12:08 am

    Those “cut-outs” are for the thumb. Ostensibly they would give greater point control.

    Why you’d want that with this hideous thing, I have no idea. Still, check out the scottish skean dhiu for more of that kind of thing in a real knife.

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