Welcome to the ESEE 4 review. Thinking about grabbing yourself an ESEE knife? The ESEE 4 is a solid option and boasts a number of features that make this blade a very competent companion in the bush. As always, I take every knife I review out into the bush for a proper pounding – this is the only way to gauge the true effectiveness of a survival knife. Let’s crack straight into the specs.
|Blade Length||4.5 inches|
|Total Length||9.0 inches|
|Blade Thickness||0.188 inches|
|Blade Material||1095 steel / Plain edge / Drop point|
The ESEE 4 blade
The blade itself measures in at 4.5 inches. The material in question is the infamous 1095 carbon steel common to ESEE knives. The blade came razor sharp straight out of the box. Carbon steel is well known for taking a wicked edge but requires more maintenance. Carbon steel is more prone to rust than stainless steel and must be cleaned and maintained to prevent damage to the blade. It sounds as if carbon steel is delicate but that couldn’t be further from the truth. You’ll know what I’m talking about when you go to slice into a nice summer sausage – I’m talking razor sharp.
The ESEE 4 handle
ESEE uses a micarta handle on the ESEE 4. This stuff is durable and feels good in hand. I found I could easily grip the ESEE 4. Having medium sized hands the handle feels perfect. One thing I didn’t like about the ESEE5 was the monstrous size of the handle. It was hard to get a grip which made it hard to use the blade. The handle on the 4 is perfect and I wouldn’t change a thing.
What good is a knife if it only looks cool? When I take I knife into the bush I need to perform a variety of tasks. Wood needs to be batoned, game needs to be skinned, wood needs to be carved etc. If a knife can’t live up to these tasks then you need a better knife. I put the ESEE 4 through a brutal regiment of testing. I went full mad man mode on this thing, doing my best to inflict as much damage as possible to the blade. I only use the knife in this way for reviews. Obviously you would not stress a knife out this much on a day to day basis.
Let’s crack straight into the stress test.
Making feathersticks – making feather sticks is a great way to test a blades sharpness. If a blade has a decent edge it will smooth alongside the wood and create beautiful feather sticks for fire making. The ESEE 4 performed well in this test. Running the blade alongside a piece of dry wood yielded very fine wood shavings. It took little pressure on my part to produce these shavings. This is a big win for the ESEE 4.
Batoning wood – my favorite part of any knife review. I came down over the top of the spine with brutal power. I must have looked like a mad man to anybody watching. It chopped straight through even the hardest wood and always came back for more punishment. I was worn out quickly far before the blade gave any signs of slowing down. I will say that it isn’t the best for batonng wood. Because of the shorter and thinner blade it won’t baton as well as, let’s say, the ESEE 5 or the ESEE 6. It comes down to basic physics. A longer thicker blade will simply baton better than a shorter thinner one. With that said, batoning wood with the ESEE 4 can be done – and done quite well.
The ESEE 4 is a great blade. I can see this blade being a great knife for smaller tasks like feather sticks, carving, and skinning small game. I wouldn’t call this the ultimate survival knife. It’s a competent knife with a sharp as hell edge. Really, what more could you possibly want in a knife? I think the ESEE 4 stacks up well in the bush and you’d be doing yourself a huge favor by snatching one up as soon as possible. It will serve you well as a constant companion in the bush.