ESEE knives are popular amongst Loadout Room writers. From the SERE instructor to our editor, ESEE knives receive a lot of praise and for a good reason. I have owned an ESEE 6 for years, but I only recently got my hands on the ESEE-3 MIL, and it certainly does not disappoint. The ESEE-3 MIL may be the smallest out of the ESEE lineup, but its a versatile knife tailored to meet the needs of military personnel, law enforcement, and bushcrafters alike.


  • Overall Length: 8.31″
  • Cutting Edge Length: 3.38″
  • Overall Blade Length: 3.88″
  • Maximum Thickness: .125″
  • 1095 Carbon Steel, 55 – 57 Rc.
  • Weight: 5.2 Ounces (Knife Only)
  • Weight: 9.3 Ounces (Knife w/ Sheath)
  • Molded Sheet & Clip Plate

All ESEE-3MIL configurations include a black MOLLE Back, molded sheath, clip plate and sharpened glass breaker pommel. (ESEE Knives)

My thoughts and review

Superior heat treatment process

Knife experts know that Rowen Manufacturing uses a superior heat treatment process that makes ESEE Knives some of the best outdoors knives in the world. For those of you who are unfamiliar, heat treatment for knives is the process of altering the properties in the steel by putting it through extreme temperatures. You can have two knives of the same exact steel, but depending on the heat treatment applied, one can immensely outperform the other. The heat treatment process will determine how hard and tough your knifeis as well as how well it can hold its edge. For this reason, heat treatment processes are proprietary and therefore a manufacturer’s reputation is monumental to its success. Rowen Manufacturing and ESEE Knives have a prestige that is well-deserved and never fails to disappoint.

For those of you more interested in learning about the heat treatment process, you can check out this 15-minute video for an expert illustration.


The ESEE-3 MIL’s size is probably the most important factor to consider. I can’t offer any general reassurances on the matter, but I can say that I find the knife to be a convenient size and weight. The handle feels small in the hand, but it isn’t so small that you can’t achieve a strong grip on the knife.  The blade’s choil and aggressive jimping along the spine help tremendously with controlling the knife. I find that the ESEE-3 MIL’s size adds to its versatility rather than being a drawback. In certain environments, carrying a smaller fixed blade may be preferable to avoid appearing too menacing. For those of you who want a concealable knife, the ESEE-3 MIL is a practical size to do so. The biggest appeal of this knife is that you can always have it on you without having to worry about additional weight, bulkiness, or discomfort.

ESEE Knives | ESEE-3 MIL: Practical and fully capable

Blade steel

1095 steel isn’t something you would see in an EDC folder, but it is popular for bushcraft and survival knives for a reason. 1095 is a high carbon steel, it is designed to hold up to the abuse that you can expect to put it through in a survival situation. In addition to being an ideal steel, Rowen Manufacturing’s heat treatment brings out the best of the steel. The ESEE-3 MIL is going to be a knife that sharpens well, but still holds its edge, and doesn’t break on you when you need it most. The one downside for all of its perks is that it isn’t corrosion-resistant. ESEE Knives require continued maintenance, but the upkeep is minimal. A word of advice, if you plan to use your ESEE knife to prepare food, ensure that you are using a non-toxic oil or lubricant when maintaining it.