ESEE 4 HM Review
This is so important that it needs to be said before anything-else in this review. ESEE have a LIFETIME warranty on their knives that is 100% guaranteed against any break or damage without question. That is the quality and assurance they provide with their blades and I dare say you wont find another company that would stand behind their products like ESEE do. It doesn’t matter how many times its been traded or sold, in the highly unlikely event of it breaking for any reason what-so-ever, you are guaranteed an exact replacement of the blade. Who can argue with that? Only an idiot, and as ESEE say ‘We would rather idiots not buy our knives’. I really like these guys.
So this is the ESEE 4 HM aka ‘THE MICARTA SAUSAGE’. Ok, so it’s not known as the micarta sausage to anyone but myself, although I hope the name sticks because it’s a really accurate description given the handle. The knife is a very strange amalgamation of two knives which ESEE themselves describe as ‘the famous ESEE-4 blade design married to a traditional handle’. Now I don’t know what compelled them to do this and I’m really not a fan, but I can see what they were going for and I like their reasoning behind it. It’s a small combat/survival style blade that they have perfected and then combined with a simple, but good, handle to be used as a bushcraft or EDC knife. So with that in mind I treated it as a bushcraft blade and compared it to some of the others I’ve handled in the past.
The sheath is a very simple leather bushcraft sheath. It has ESEE embossed in large letters on the front to let admirers know you carry a tool of good quality, but besides this is very much like any other leather drop sheath you find on this style of knife. It holds the blade very well and gives you good access to the handle. It doesn’t have contrasting stitching, which is a bit of a shame, but it’s not like you buy this knife to look good. It’s just function over fashion with this in every aspect.
Well I hadn’t made friction fire in a while so I decided to make myself up a new fire kit, to see if I could feel like a real bushcrafter again, and it’s a good way to test this little knife. I found a chunk of hazel and started making myself a fireboard. I quickly turned my plan into a night of making shavings, for no real reason, and ended with several tins full of tinder material that’s paper-thin. I don’t know why I shaved that chunk of wood down to nothingness, but it just happens sometimes when you get in the zone. Needless to say I wont be needing any more tinder for the majority of my summer, but I did annoy my partner when she say how much mess there was in our living room the next day.
I was slightly concerned by the round micarta handle on this knife, but really I shouldn’t have been. If you would prefer a normal handle you can always choose a standard ESEE 4, but I must have spent a couple of hours making wood shavings while watching TV and didn’t notice any discomfort or rolling in the hand. I don’t think it suits the blade, in terms of style, but at the same time it doesn’t present any problems while wielding it. I think designed as it is, it’s probably better than I give it credit for. It tapers in behind the blade giving you a nice place to choke up, but you can really hold the handle in any position and find it comfortable.
The blade, as stated previously, is the design from the ESEE 4. So it’s just over 4 inches in length, made out of 1095 carbon steel and it has a flat grind blade with a black powder coating. I’ve used this one and the ESEE 6 for a while now and this coating is very durable. Combined with the sausage handle it makes for a very useful bushcraft knife. I think I would prefer the ESEE 3 over this as the smaller blade with this handle would be a nicer combination, but that’s for me and other’s may prefer the longer blade.
I’ve used this knife for anything from processing kindling to opening my watch to replace the battery. It’s comfortable to hold, sharp out of the box and easy to maintain thanks to the powder coat. It really is a fantastic EDC blade, and I wish I could carry it permanently (the UK doesn’t allow knives in public places). There are times when I carry up to 10 knives for testing, but when I reach for a general blade I almost always go for this one. It’s another really good knife by ESEE and one that should last a very long time.