Archive for the 'Survival' Category

27
Feb
08

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]

24
Jan
08

More Kooky Khukuris…

In the comments of the post before last, I was asked by a friend what kind of sword I would pick for personal defense/offense were the world to be suddenly plunged into a post apocalyptic state where firearms no longer worked. My answer?: A Japanese Katana.

However it was a rather incomplete answer. In reality, I would not be limited to 1 weapon, and even if we retained the artificial “no firearms” limitation there would still be quite a number of considerations that would go into how many weapons I would carry and which ones. It is a topic I think worthy of a dedicated post.

However today, I thought I’d talk about one of the specific kinds of knives I might carry around with me for utility and defense purposes. Namely, a Gurkha Khukuri (aka Kukri) . Or a variation thereof:

Alice’s Khukuri

Alice's Kukri
[view full size]

Now the observant movie going folk among you might be asking: “Isn’t that emblem on the blade from “The Umbrella Coporation”?” Indeed it is. And the reason is because this particular Khukuri is a replica of the pair of Khukuri used by Milla Jovovichs character “Alice” from the “Resident Evil: Extinction” movie. In the movie, she worked those Khukuri like there was no tomorrow. I suppose it would be accurate to say she was trying to ensure that there actually was a tomorrow, and being suitably motivated to do so, well, I’m sure you get the picture… 🙂

Interestingly, the Khukuri has made an appearance in other post apocalyptic movies, such as “Cyborg” (one of Jean Claude Van Damme’s characters favorite weapons) and “Waterworld” (Kevin Costners “Mariner” used one to rather terminal effect). Now while the movies are a great (but sometimes unrealistic) showcase for the Khukuris flexibility, there are actually a lot of good real world reasons why a Khukuri would be a great blade to have as part of your arsenal in a post apocalyptic world.

The Khukuri is actually a very flexible and capable weapon design. It is a large knife with a stout spine, that carries all of it’s weight at the top half of a forward canted blade, making it an excellent chopping tool. But the unusually angled top half of the blade still retains a strong, sweeping cutting edge, so it is also a great cutting weapon, though not in the same way that a Katana is. And while thrusting isn’t really it’s forte, it does have enough point to be used for stabbing action. Although some of the more contemporary designs marginalize that particular weakness:

Kukrage (Paul Ehlers)

Paul Ehlers
[view full size]

Notice the sharp point, the knuckle guard, the saw back spine? Most of these features you’d find on your average survival knife. But here they are in Khukuri form. And its all black! Ha! Now this is a Khukuri I’d love to have, come the apocalypse!!

Yet an additional advantage of the Khukuri is it’s packaging. It is actually a fairly compact design, for what it can do. It is shorter and than a machete, but because of it’s stout, top heavy design, can be used like one. And it’s rugged build would make it suitable for the many tasks that you would not want to abuse a Katana blade with. A large bowie knife might also have fit this bill, but, no offense to the bowie purists among you, a Khukuri just feels balanced better to me, and looks a whole lot cooler… 😛

So while it might not be my primary combat blade, it would certainly be a great utility blade. With offensive capabilities. A good all around, general purpose blade. I’d never leave home without it… 😉




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