THE SLYSTEEL SURVIVAL KUKRI IS MORE THAN JUST A BIG KNIFE
If there was ever a knife design that transcends time, it would have to be the Nepalese Kukri made famous by the Ghurka Regiments from Nepal and India. These blades are known for their ability as heavy duty choppers in the field and have a rich history as military weapons.
Slysteel of Idaho Falls, Idaho, has added its own rendition of the kukri to its lineup. It’s not meant to be a 100% homage or reproduction. The company is offering a unique take on this classic design.
This is a true survival knife system in every sense of the word, and if you know how to use it to its potential, you can thrive as opposed to just survive with this blade at your side.
Although the Western world became acquainted with the kukri a little over 200 years ago through the East India Trading Company, the Nepalese have used them for thousands of years.
It is believed that the kukri evolved from a sickle or scythe. The fact that they are still in use in modern times means that there are a lot of things right with the design.
When we think of the kukri, most of us think of Ghurka warriors carrying these knives into battle as weapons.
But the kukri is more versatile than you might think at first glance, which explains its widespread use in Nepal’s farms and homes.
The Nepalese use the kukri for a wide range of purposes: building, clearing, chopping firewood, digging, and food processing.
SLYSTEEL’S SURVIVAL KUKRI
If you are looking for a boomerang-type blade shape, buffalo horn handles, and steel that looks like it was hammered out of a car bumper, this is not the kukri you want.
Slysteel’s Survival Kukri is inspired by the traditional design, but it takes the kukri in a much more survival-oriented direction.
In addition to the use of modern materials such as Micarta for the handle and 1095 for the blade steel, Slysteel shifted from the stick tang of the traditional design to a full tang for added strength.
The Survival Kukri has a unique spine design, which combines a ground square edge and a tumbled finish edge. The square spine edge allows for Ferro-rod striking and for working materials to create pliable cordage and more.
The tumbled finish of the forward half of the blade provides for batoning with less damage to your baton than the square edge.
The top of the blade has a flat spot so you can use the Survival Kukri as a draw blade. The belly of the Survival Kukri blade is centered, so it can be used effectively to strip bark or make shafts for spears and arrows.
This is the optimal strike point of the blade and makes it as effective as an axe. The tumbled finish of the forward half of the blade spine allows for a more comfortable grip.
Speaking of the grip, the profile of the handles makes this a comfortable blade to swing all day if you’re chopping wood. Like all of Slysteel’s designs, every element of the Survival Kukri is ambidextrous, including the spindle divot. The pommel is designed for retention.
The forward finger choil allows the user to choke up right next to the blade for fine detail work when cutting. And the tip of the blade is located directly beneath the handle for drilling a friction board divot.
The thick Micarta handle material allows for a deeper spindle divot designed to simplify bow and spindle fire starting. The centered divot in the palm area provides maximum control. The tip of my middle finger was naturally drawn to it.
Slysteel went ahead and incorporated a variety of purposeful holes in the blade to add lanyards or a wrist thong or, in the case of one hole near the spine, to act as a bullet puller.
This could come in handy for a lost hunter who may need to build a fire to signal or survive a cold night. He may also need the powder to help get it started, especially if he doesn’t know how to use a friction board or lost his Zippo.
Most kukri knives are known by the notch, which we have been told is everything from a religious symbol to a stop point so the Gurkha knows where to stop sharpening or stropping the blade.
Slysteel does not grind a traditional notch at the end of the blade, but rather they added one that is quite usable on the top. It works like the Ferro-rod striking choil from their popular Skeletek Bushcraft knife.
I asked Slysteel’s owner and one of the designers of the Survival Kukri, Oliver Hannan, about his take on the design:
“The Survival Kukri is big enough to power through loads of splitting and chopping on the trail and small enough to stuff into a survival kit,” Hannan said. “It’s nimble enough to filet a fish lakeside and agile enough to handle fine feather sticking. The Survival Kukri improves on the original, offering more functionality and usability than the kukris of centuries past.”
Every inch of this tool is the result of thoughtful design and consultation with real knife users. From the start, the design team was committed to creating a tool so versatile and so powerful that a seasoned survivalist could theoretically set off with nothing more than their kukri and their own mental and physical skill sets.
At the time of this writing, the Slysteel Survival Kukri was entering production and the first batch of pre-orders will include a free Slysteel Final Option Blade. The pairing of these two knives represents an extremely great value to anyone who gets a set.
Slysteel’s knives are carefully and meticulously designed and engineered by Oliver Hannan and his son Christopher. The knives are actually produced by TOPS Knives on behalf of Slysteel.
TOPS Knives is known for its tough, no-nonsense approach to knife making and the final product is a blade that would survive the apocalypse.
There are two sheath options: nylon or Kydex. I reviewed the nylon version that is MOLLE compatible and has an acrylic insert. This is an extremely versatile ambidextrous sheath that offers a huge variety of mounting options.
The large number of attachment points externally allows the user to add additional pouches and other gear to create a self-contained survival system.
I see this as more of a knife to mount on a pack and other small essentials mounted to the sheath.
Should the pack become a burden, the user can shift the Survival Kukri and its sheath with the attached gear to the belt.
Additional pouches or sheaths can be attached through a number of methods including MOLLE and ALICE clips, Ulti Clips, TEK-LoKs, and even screws and the existing grommets for Kydex sheath attachments.
There is even a MAGPUL QD sling attachment that allows you to insert a QD swivel to transform your rifle sling into a baldric for over the shoulder carry if you so desire.
A TRUE SURVIVAL SYSTEM
The features packed into the Slysteel Survival Kukri truly make this more than just another Big Ass Knife (BAK). Many previous knives offered as survival knives were simply just that. Their size and weight allowed them to be used as machetes or even kukris in a limited fashion.
The amount of thought that went into the Survival Kukri is unprecedented from the point of view as a pure off-the-grid survival tool.
It may not have a hollow handle to store questionable survival gear, such as fishhooks, sinkers, matches, or iodine tablets (of course if you want items like this in your kit, you can store them on the sheath).
There may not be screwdriver heads formed into the hilt where they are pretty much unusable and again, a screwdriver set in a pouch can be lashed to the nylon sheath.
The locations of practical woodsman features for starting a fire, pulling a bullet, or using the knife as a draw blade make this invaluable for a single piece of gear that can perform multiple functions and do them all well.
If you ever get selected to appear on Naked and Afraid or Survivor and can only take one thing with you to endure all the trials that get thrown at you, this is what you want. KI
SLYSTEEL’S FINAL OPTION BLADE
The Final Option Blade’s compact size makes it easily concealable in the palm and features neck and belt sheath carry options.
The blade has everyday carry versatility and has excellent retention and comfort, not commonly found in other designs of similar size.
In a reverse grip, the knife is so secure that it can puncture the wall of an American-made ammo can safely and comfortably. As the smallest knife in Slysteel’s line, it makes a perfect pairing with the Survival Kukri.
FIRE-STARTING WITH THE SURVIVAL KUKRI
Every hunter and outdoorsman know how cold it can get in the wilderness. This especially at night and how essential it is to build a fire in many cases.
The Survival Kukri incorporates a number of features that allow the user the methods of producing a fire. This is based on what material is available and the user’s knowledge and ability.
Before you go venturing into the wild, take a look at some methods of fire starting and see if you can duplicate them with what you have.
Very few of them will beat a Bic lighter or a Zippo in your pocket, though.
Slysteel Survival Kukri
Knife Type: Fixed blade
Overall Length: 16″
Blade Length: 9 7/8″
Thickness of Blade: 3/16 / .190″
Blade Steel: 1095
Hardness: RC 56-58
Weight: 30 oz
Designers: Oliver and Christopher Hannan, Slysteel
Origin: Idaho, USA
Heat Treatment: Differential; blade edge and spine
Blade Finish: Black Cerakote
Handle Material: Tan black canvas Micarta with red liners
Blade Grind: Flat