ESEE 6 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.
Well its going to be really hard not to keep mentioning the Ontario RAT-7 in this review, but most of you know that ESEE was founded by a couple of guys (Mike Perrin and Jeff Randall) who helped develop some Ontario knives (amongst other endeavours) and this is basically an Ontario RAT-7 but made with more attention to detail and quality. The ESEE 6 is slightly shorter and has a different sheath, and they put a little more time and effort into the handle scales but for the small price increase over the RAT-7, these changes add up to a whole pile of ‘worth it’. And lets not forget their guarantee.
This has a plastic hard sheath, which if I’m honest, is disappointing as it’s not kydex like some of the other ESEE models, but it helps make this much more affordable despite it being one of the largest blades they make. It holds the blade using two small dimples inside the sheath and the belt clip can be mounted in a few different positions to suit your style. It does rattle a fair bit, and I’m sure after a decade of use it wont hold the blade anymore, but it does its job. I personally like this sheath although I do find the belt clip a little annoying and as it doesn’t stand up to what I feel this blade really deserves, it will probably be getting a custom sheath at some point. It should also be noted that you can get a molle back for the sheath, and I would suggest you get this over the metal clip and there’s also an optional pouch to go on the front if you wish. But get the molle back. Immediately.
With the handle I am going to have to mention the RAT-7 again as if you held them side by side are identical in shape and size but, it is such a joy to hold over its counterpart. It has much more rounded edges that really fit and feel great in the hand. The grey scales and black tang are separated by red liners and there is an exposed portion of the tang for a lanyard hole, and I guess a striking/pry point. There is a finger choil on the blade and jimping on the spine which really give you a great hold for fine wood work. The handle really is the most important difference between the ESEE 6 and RAT-7 that makes the price worth while. The different sheath and better powder coating are irrelevant in my opinion, but the feel of this handle is undeniably better and alone is worth the extra cost.
The blade has a full flat grind with a drop point and black powder coating which really complements the handles scales. Beyond this though the aesthetics are nothing compared to its function. This is one of those knives I would use for a survival blade as it does fit in the length of what I look for, and really is worth having as a standard blade in your daily excursions. It is long enough to baton some pretty thick chunks of wood for a fire, or fell some large saplings to make shelter. There is enough weight that you can just chop away but really its all thanks to the very sharp and strong edge you get. I used this as my main blade for several weeks and it only had a couple of scrapes on my stone once during that time to keep it in top form. It would be a shame to ruin the coating, but you can remove a portion from the spine for using with flint and this is actually done quite a lot by owners of these blades. Beside this, after all of the use I have put it through, there is barely a noticeable difference in the coating. I have kept it stupidly clean as any time I see a mark I think ‘NOOOOO, where’s my cloth?’, but really it makes no difference as its tougher than nails. I’ve put it through some heavy tasks like batoning for a couple of fires over a few different outings, and prepared more than a sack full of kindling with it. I haven’t tried chopping through trees for any shelter as there’s a sever lack of woodland in the UK and if I done this with every knife I review, I would quickly start ruining some of my favourite spots. It has gone through plenty of dead wood though which is much harder than living wood and the edge has held up perfectly (but you can’t expect anything except a great blade from ESEE to be fair).
Overall I’m very happy with this knife and how it performs. I have wanted one of these for a really long time now. It’s not quite the top of my list, but definitely top 10 and it’s really nice to finally have one. I am disappointed with the plastic sheath, but it does function and there’s not much else you can expect. As a comparison to its Rat-7 rival and as a solo blade it is well worth the money. This isn’t my first ESEE but it is my favourite although, I dare say when the time finally comes that I get my hands on a JUNGLAS, it will be replaced in my heart.
You know you can trust an ESEE knife when you need it the most and this blade is no exception. If you are looking for a good survival blade that will last a lifetime then look now further, it has been found.