It’s a sunny 75-degrees at our training facility.  I can hear the sound of the breaking waves in the background, clearly reminding me of the punishment and further initiation into the brotherhood that we can expect to welcome with open arms and big smile on our faces as the instructors assist Mother Nature and King Neptune with lessons of commitment and sacrifice to our brothers and the mission at hand. Although not a single one of us is anxiously awaiting and excited about the idea of being cold, wet and sandy all day and into the night,  we have “voluntarily” chosen this path of life in which to venture down.  This is not a job, but a lifestyle that takes 110% commitment and comes first above all else in life.  That includes family and self.  We are here for our brothers in arms, and country, regardless of what we are tasked with doing at any particular minute, hour or day during this extremely dangerous, adrenaline-filled rush of a journey.

When each man finally makes it to his TEAM, he will be, not only tested and assessed on a daily basis but also sent to multiple advance schools of learning for his tradecraft.  Each and every one of these schools or training evolutions involves gear that needs to be inspected, repaired, tested and evaluated constantly.  Be it Land Warfare gear, dive gear or personal choice gear.

One of those personal choice gear items that are very opinionated and biased from one man to another would be the knife.  Every man has their own personal preference of knife style and blade design, but it ultimately comes down to the metal the blade is made of and how easy or difficult it is to keep sharp and have at the ready.  Keeping the blade sharp can be an extreme pain in the ass, especially if you have never been taught the proper way or spent endless hours in honing your knife sharpening abilities.

There are many different stones and kits out there to choose from.  Some are light and great for field touch-ups.  Others are bulky and require a video and instructions on how to use them.  The Lansky knife sharpening kit is right in the middle.

I had a Lansky kit going through my military training.  If it had not been for this knife, I probably would have gotten wet sandy while doing multiple different exercises that were left to the instructor’s imagination.  That is a catch-22 though because sometimes you can sharpen your knife too good (if there is such a level of sharpness) and it still puts you in the dreaded punishment category.

Every Monday, we have an inspection.  The things that are inspected include your room, uniform, and gear.  Everything has to be ready for action at all times.  This is something that the instructors constantly push because you never know when you will get that call.  One of the items that were at the top of the list was our knife. It is used for timed ocean swims, dives, land warfare training, etc.  I would spend countless hours trying to use just a stone which I had no previous experience with and completely clueless about blade angle and consistency.  I finally went out to one of the local knife shops and explained my situation to the man behind the counter.

He suggested the Lansky Knife Sharpening 5-stone kit.

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He said it has easy to follow instructions and several different stones and an angle and stone guide for which stone to use and what angle that you should use based on what you need it for.  What the hell did I have to lose?  My knife couldn’t be any duller than it already was.  With so many different sharpening stones, there is no way that I could go wrong at this point!  The stones range from super coarse to super fine (perfect for the unsuspecting instructor).

The Lansky Sharpening System story from a Navy SEAL

I brought it back to the barracks and went to work on this poor bastard of a knife.  After an hour of patiently following the instructions and knowing that I would get it right, I was able to shave the hair off of my arm.  SUCCESS!  I am glad that I didn’t actually cut myself, which is not the same that I can say for someone else.

Monday came around and I was on top of the world with confidence from a job well done.  Everything was spot on.  Room floor was so shiny; it looked like you would fall in and have to swim out.  Our racks (beds) met their marks and passed with flying colors.  Lockers, drawers, bathroom, and window would receive eyebrow-raising approval.

The dreaded moment came as one of my roommates sounded off “Attention on Deck!”  We snapped to while he represented our room to the instructors.  They would walk through looking for everything and anything.  If they found “any” sand, dust, dirt or something that they just didn’t much approve of, you were toast.  It only took 3 hits and it was off to say good morning to King Neptune.

The instructor, after several anxious filled minutes, picked my knife up for inspection.  I watched closely as he flipped it and turned it, looking for anything that didn’t belong on the knife.  I was hoping that he would try shaving his arm, but he went for the thumb test instead.

“DROP!”  Seaman Smith, who sharpened your knife?!

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“I did instructor Corona!”

“Don’t lie to me, Smith! Did you bring it on town?”

“Negative Instructor Corona, I used my Lansky kit to sharpen it.”

“That’s a sharp knife, Smith!  Good job and hit the surf for cutting me!”

“HOOYAH Instructor Corona!”

This was one of only a few times in training that I was excited about going and getting wet and sandy. I had sharpened my knife so well that the inattentive instructor, thinking it would barely pass, pressed down too hard and wound up getting more than he bargained for.  He cut himself and was absolutely stunned.

The Lansky kit is a very effective knife sharpening kit for knives ranging from kitchen and household knives to combat-ready knives.  It comes with everything that you would need for sharpening your knife, including their knife blade clamp.  This clamp has holes at specific degree positions.

  • 17-degree angle is for filet knives and razor blades.
  • 20-degree angle is for kitchen cutlery and slicing knives.
  • 25-degree angle is for hunting and outdoor knives that require a durable but sharp edge.
  • 30-degree angle is for heavy-duty use, like cardboard, carpets, etc.

The Lansky Sharpening System story from a Navy SEAL

It comes with very detailed instructions that are very specific on how to set the knife in the clamp and use the stones to sharpen the knife.  You can buy other accessories for the Lansky aside from your kit, such as a mount or a leather honing device for straightening the blade. I myself have never used one, so I can’t tell you how well it does or does not work.

A couple of other things you need to know about this kit.  I would consider this specific Lansky Kit more of an admin “out of the field” knife sharpening kit.  I say this because it is somewhat bulky and takes a minute or two of set up preparation before you can start with the knife sharpening process.  When first using this kit, I would recommend starting slowly and get the sharpening technique smooth and consistent.  You will most likely play around with how you hold the knife or clamp to sharpen the knife.

When I use this Lansky kit, I held the knife by its handle to sharpen it (as seen below).

The Lansky Sharpening System story from a Navy SEAL

The other option is to hold it by the clamp.  I tried this as well but found that the knife itself would move and loosen when I sharpened it.

I do enjoy the Lansky Controlled Angle Sharpening System. It takes most of the guess-work and blade angle consistency out of the equation.  I would say if you use this kit as instructed, you have a probability of 95% in getting your blade super sharp.

You can also use the stones by themselves if you are a savvy knife sharpener (Just a thought).  This is an awesome system and I would recommend it to anyone that loves their knives sharp but does not know how to use a stone or sharpening stick.


-Mad Max