The ESSE 3. A short chode style blade with mighty power in the hands of a true survivalist. The ESEE 3 catches a lot of flack for having a shorter blade. Does this mean the ESEE 3 can’t be used as a full fledged survival knife? Let’s crack straight into the review and discover the true power of the ESEE 3.


Blade TypeFixed
Blade Length3.88 inches
Total Length8.19 inches
Blade Thickness0.125 inches
Blade Material1095 steel / Plain edge / Drop point
Weight5.2 oz
Sheath IncludedYes

The blade


The ESEE 3 once again sticks with ESEE’s tried and true blade material – 1095 carbon steel. This steel is extremely sharp. You’re not gonna have any problems slicing through seat belts, making feather sticks, or cutting cordage. Super sharp. One of the sharper knives on the ESEE line of knives. This is partly due to the blades thinner profile. A thinner blade means a sharper edge. Definitely sharp as hell compared to the ESEE 5 – which is sharp but nowhere near the sharpness of the ESEE 3.

The handle


Again, we’re talking about the standard Micarta handle you see on all the ESEE knives. Rock solid handle. It’s got a nice little choil indentation to really get a solid handle on the blade. This knife was made for carving and skinning. The handle feels very natural in hand. Well balanced.


This is the part where I take the blade out into the wilderness for a proper pounding. I put each knife through a rigorous set of tests out in the bush. If a knife doesn’t survive I leave it at home where it collects dust forever. I’m excited to report the ESEE 3 did quite well on all the tests except wood batoning.

Making feather sticks – This blade is extremely sharp. It took very little pressure on my end to make feather sticks from hard wood. All you need to do is angle the blade and simply smooth your way down the wood. Watching the wood simply curl over and feather is one of life’s greatest pleasures.

Making feather sticks with the ESEE 3 is a breeze

Making feather sticks with the ESEE 3 is a breeze

Batoning wood – batoning wood is one of my all time favorite things to do around camp. There is something so satisfying about coming down hard over the spine of your knife, and watching a piece of wood split right down the path of the blade. Can the ESEE 3 baton wood? The answer is yes, you can. But it’s not going to be easy and you’re limited to only batoning smaller pieces. The shortness of the blade on the ESEE 3 doesn’t make this the greatest knife to baton wood with. It’s much better suited to carving, wood working, skinning, and cutting.

Final thoughts

It’s a true pleasure working with this knife. Much more so than with the big and bulky ESEE-5. If you’re looking for a true to form survival knife in a smaller profile, this is your blade. Sharp as a razor and very easy to handle and maneuver. Oh yeah, I really enjoy the modified glass breaker pommel on this blade. You could easily bust through a window shield or defend yourself if you had to. That’s going to do some serious damage to anything it comes into contact with.

Do your belt a favor and pick this knife up today. It even comes with a sheath!

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