The word “tactical” can have a broad meaning, but normally when we talk about a “tactical knife,” we’re referring to a blade that might have self-defense as one of its purposes or capabilities. As civilians going about our daily lives, we often choose a folder or small fixed blade that conceals well for that role.

Obviously, those in military or special law enforcement units might want a somewhat larger defensive tool. We ordinary folks too might choose a larger blade when concealability isn’t an issue, such as when we’re in more remote regions.

The Case Winkler Skinner is a perfect fixed-blade knife for all-around outdoor use because, while it easily can handle typical hunting and camp chores, unlike many hunting and camp knives, this knife adds true defensive capability to its repertoire.

The knife is part of the American Hero Knife Series, a collaboration between W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery and Winkler Knives. For this particular knife design, master bladesmith Daniel Winkler teamed with Kevin Holland, a retired U.S. Army Special Operator and Navy SEAL.

The knife isn’t designated Skinner because that’s its function. Skinner was a nickname given to Holland when he went through the Navy Seal selection process.

The knife is part of the American Hero Knife Series, a collaboration between W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery and Winkler Knives.

The Case Winkler Skinner is 9.93 inches overall with a 5.2-inch blade, a plain edge, and a full, flat grind. It’s very sharp right out of the box. It’s designated as a trailing point, although its configuration looks to be a straight-back design. This shape gives the knife excellent penetrating properties unequaled by drop-point field knives, and better tip strength than most clip-point blades.

The steel is 80CrV2, a high carbon, chrome-vanadium workhorse steel that provides for a rugged blade that holds an edge yet is easy to sharpen. The blade has a low-profile Caswell black oxide finish. This is a full-tang knife, but the tang is skeletonized under the handle scales to shave some weight and to contribute to the knife’s excellent balance. The knife is nimble in the hand and quick to recover; there’s no impression that you’re clumsily swinging an axe.

Mine came with textured Multi-Camo G10 scales that provide a seriously secure grip. It’s also available with either black walnut or smooth black canvas laminate grips. The sheath is smooth black leather with suede lining.

Sandwiched between those layers is a Kydex insert that ensures the sheath will keep its shape and won’t flatten when you need to stow the knife. Another excellent feature is that the belt loop is reversible for right- or left-side carry.

I’ve had a chance to work with this knife for some time now and it’s proven to be superb in all aspects. In wild places, you can be confronted by unsavory ruffians and toothy critters. If I need to defend myself against a violent mental case or a rabid animal, I want a knife that’s capable of more than whittling a spoon. The Case Winkler Skinner is that knife.


Case Winkler Skinner

Overall Length: 9.63 inches
Blade Length: 5.2 inches
Material of Blade: 80CrV2
Handle Material: G10
Sheath Material: Leather with Kydex insert
Weight: 6.7 ounces

Origin: USA
MSRP: $346.99 


Editor’s Note:

A version of this article first appeared in the Jan/Feb 2022 print issue of Knives Illustrated.