Karambits are such interesting knives. From their history to their tiger claw inspired design. These knives have also been weapons, not just tools, but actual weapons. The Emerson Karambit is a sleek, and deadly knife that takes an ancient design and improves it significantly. It’s made from 154 CM steel that’s renowned for its strength and it’s ease of sharpening. 154 CM is a fantastic steel if you want a solid all around knife blade.

The Emerson Karambit | A traditional combat knife

Like a Razor

Emerson includes this little card with their knives that says, “These knives are extremely sharp…” and warns about stabbing yourself. They aren’t joking, the Emerson Karambit is a sharp knife. The first thing I really cut with it was a Summer tradition in our house, a watermelon. Not a tough target, but I cut the thing in half and the blade glided, and I mean glided, through the watermelon. I imagine this is as close to a light saber I am going to get.

The Emerson Karambit | A traditional combat knife
Going Up!

After that I went searching for things to cut. I took it against rope, 550 cord and have cut down every cardboard box I had lying around. It cut piles and piles of cardboard without issue. I hung cardboard in layers against a pole in my barn. This gave me the opportunity to slash and tear and use the weapon as it was designed.

The Emerson Karambit | A traditional combat knife
Slicing Across

If cardboard was an Axis country in World War 2 it’d be Italy, because it didn’t stand a chance. The curvature of the blade encourages you to apply that little extra force by bending your wrist in the direction of your target. The grip aids in this and allows you to do it with a traditional straight grip, or an ice pick grip. This little extra movement really bites into the board.

The Emerson Karambit | A traditional combat knife

The Emerson Karambit - First Look

Read Next: The Emerson Karambit - First Look

Also as a weapon, it’s designed to tear through flesh, but that’s a bit illegal… However, it chewed through chicken for fajitas without issue.

The Emerson Karambit | A traditional combat knife
Look How Clean the Cuts are

The Grip

The Emerson Karambit | A traditional combat knife
Nice and Thin

This is a full tang knife with a minimalist grip. The small grip panels are comfortable and textured. The overall thin profile is what helps make the knife so easy to conceal. Yes, it’s a big knife, but it’s easy to carry concealed. The included polymer sheath and Tek Lok Panel ensures it can be carried on any belt, and at almost any angle.

The Emerson Karambit | A traditional combat knife

Downsides of the Emerson Karambit

The only downside I found isn’t unique to the Emerson Karambit, but the Karambit design in general. I have issues sharpening the edge efficiently. I’ll get it sharp with a stone, but it’s not going to be as fast and smooth as a straight blade would be. I have to focus a bit more and really pay attention to my stroke count.

The Emerson Karambit | A traditional combat knife

Overall the Emerson Karambit is a well-made, knife that mixes a little new with a little old. The knife is sharp, lightweight, and easy to carry. The Emerson Karambit is a solid design, and Emerson has hit another home run.