(Article originally published on Breach Bang Clear)

Monday Night Knife Fights: Emerson’s Purpose Driven Knife, the Rhino
Mike the Mook

After building a number of custom tactical knives for the US Navy SEAL teams in the 1980s and 1990s, the Department of the Navy turned to Ernest Emerson to develop a specific knife for what most people imagine when they think of military knives: sentry elimination.

MNKF: Emerson’s Purpose Driven Knife, the Rhino

We think this was mostly a product of top Navy brass watching too many movies movies or reading too many Mack Bolan pulp novels when they were in the Naval Academy. If such a task is needed by a military unit, 95% of the time the top choice is a suppressed firearm. For the remaining 5% it is the fighting knife.

Personally, I would rather use a framing hammer, but that’s another story for another time.

The problem with textbook sentry elimination is in the execution. Military manuals and misguided martial arts instructors taught the classic method of drawing the blade across the throat while driving a knee in the back. This might work well in a movie or in a classroom with compliant students, but in reality it means the operator must struggle with the target who’s fighting for his life. It also means drawing the blade toward oneself with an over compensation of strength, which has caused serious injury or death to some attackers (as well as their intended target).

The solution was to design a knife to go into the base or rear of the neck, and for the SEAL to push it forward and away from himself.


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