A bit earlier this week I received the ESEE-4 made by Randall’s adventure and training out of Alabama. The ESEE-4 is a fixed blade knife with a 4-inch blade, and the blade itself is made from 1095 carbon steel. The ESEE-4 is a full tang and feature two grip panels. The first time I pulled the knife out of the box I was impressed by the heft of the thing. At 7.7 ounces this little knife is a fat bottom girl. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s immediately apparent the ESEE-4 is made for hard work. This isn’t a toss around camp knife, but a knife that is designed to be used heavily.
First and foremost the grip is nice and thick. The grip panels are made from the always popular canvas micarta material. The grips are nice and thick, with a rounded profile on each side. When you are planning to use a knife for hard work, actual rough stuff, the grip width is important. A thin grip is going to wear on the hand quickly, forcing cramps and fatigue to set in. In the hand, the knife is superbly comfortable, and if you’ve never felt canvas micarta grips you don’t realize how awesome the material is. Canvas micarta grips are designed to last significantly longer than wood or standard plastics and rubbers. The material is soft in the hand but stippled for extra grip. It doesn’t feel rough and stippled, but run your thumb over the material and you’ll see how the grip material naturally grips skin.
The blade is .125 inches thick, which makes it strong and durable. You also have plenty of room on the back of the blade to rest your thumb for extra leverage when cutting heavy. The blade is coated with a rough blade finish that clings to the blade to protect it from rust and reduce glare. 1095 carbon is an excellent choice for a survival or outdoor’s knife because it is designed for hard use and capable of being extremely strong. The only downside is the material can and will rust and stain. Randall’s does give the knives a strong finish, but you should always ensure the blade is cleaned and oiled.
The knife also comes with an excellent leather sheath. It’s a hard, strong leather that covers and protects the entire blade. There is no active retention device like a thong or snap. The holster works off passive retention, but trust me when I say it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. This holster keeps the knife firmly in place regardless of any jumping, bumping, falling or climbing. It’s difficult for me to pull the blade out of the sheath, so retention isn’t an issue. The hard black leather holster has ESEE carved firmly into it. The holster itself is pretty attractive, though, and retain a simple, but classic appearance.
Overall the knife appears to be well built, simple, and comfortable to use. As a survival tool, it appears to be top notch. The next task will be to toss it into the wilderness and see how it fairs. I only wish it was hunting season and I can test it as a skinner. However, I have a few things in mind that I think will give me a better idea at what this blade can do. I have to mention the knife comes in a pragmatic box, which has the backed covered in awesome survival instructions, tricks, and tips. It also comes with two wallet sized cards with similar tips and tricks. Lastly, Randall covers the knife with a no questions asked warranty that is fully transferable between any and all owners. The only thing they don’t cover is rust, and if this rusts it’s your fault anyway.
Overall Length: 9.0″
Blade Length: 4.5″
Blade Thickness: 3/16″
Ambidextrous Molded Sheath with MOLLE Back
Weight: 7.4 oz.
Photos by author