The ESEE 5 and 6 are two badass knives similar enough to warrant a showdown. Both of them are super high quality blades but differ in a few key areas. The ESEE-5 is an absolute beast of a blade – thick and strong. The ESEE-6 is thinner and lighter making it a solid choice for ultralight survivalists concerned about weight. So, which one is right for you? Let’s crack into it.

The ESEE 5

esse-5-blade

The ESEE-5 is a true brute of a blade. The entire knife weighs a whole pound. This is largely due to the ESEE-5’s 0.25 inch blade. That’s a thickness you don’t see very often. The knife was designed as a straight up survival knife for downed pilots. The idea being if a pilot ever got shot down he would have a knife he could go full Rambo mode with. I have no problems using this blade to chop, slice, dig, pry and a host of other survival tasks you’d need a knife for. This is not a carvers knife or a cute little pocket knife to whip out when you’re unboxing Christmas presents. This is a knife to handle the seriousness of life in the bush.

Because of its nature as a survival knife the ESEE-5 does many things well. It batons wood like an animal. The heavy blade with a sharp carbon steel edge slice through wood like a hot knife through butter. I like this knife. However, my only gripe is with the weight and size of this blade. It is indeed a heavy knife and difficult to handle without large hands. My hands are medium size and getting a good grip is sometimes difficult. It’s not a knife I always carry into the bush. However, there have been many times when I’ve wished I had it on me when other knives just weren’t cutting it.

Pros

  • Absolutely bombproof
  • Well rounded survival blade
  • Glass breaker pommel (you don’t usually see this on knives)
  • Thick blade allows for prying (increased versatility)
  • Sharp edge despite thickness
  • High quality sheath

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Difficult to handle with small hands
  • Not suitable for fine carving or skinning

The ESEE 6

esee-6-review

The ESEE 6 is everything I love about the ESEE 5 but slightly better. For one, the ESEE-6 is much lighter and offers a longer blade. The lightness and length of the ESEE-6 make it much more agile in the bush. I can pick it up and not have to fiddle around with my grip on the handle. Both the blades on the ESEE 5 and 6 are made from 1095 carbon steel but they differ in grinds. The ESEE-5 features a sabre grind while the ESEE-6 features a flat grind. The differences between these two grinds is worthy of post in itself but here’s the short of it – a flat grind is more durable than a sabre grind but a sabre grind is more suited to carving and skinning.

Going back to the ESEE-5 being a survival knife, you can see why it features a grind that promotes strength over all else.

Pros

  • Longer Blade
  • Easy to handle
  • Lighter
  • Flat grind makes skinning and carving easier

Cons

  • Not as bombproof as the ESEE 5

ESEE 5 vs ESEE 6 Specifications

 ESEE-5ESEE-6
Blade typeFixedFixed
Blade length5,25 inches6.5 inches
Total length10.88 inches11.75 inches
Blade thickness0.250.188 inches
Blade material1095 / sabre grind1095 / flat grind
Weight16 oz12 oz
TangFullFull
Handle MaterialMicartaMicarta

Final thoughts

So who wins in this showdown? There isn’t a winner because it comes down to your own personal requirements. I would say go with the ESEE-5 if you need a bombproof knife that’s never going to break on you. If you’re the type of guy that goes balls to the wall with everything, this is your knife. You can still get the blade sharp as hell with a little work and it’s an absolute beast of a knife. The glass breaker pommel is a nice feature I really like – even though it’s unlikely you would ever need to use it. I could see it being used as an excellent self defense weapon as well.

Get the ESEE-6 if you prefer a more agile knife that’s going to have an easier time with carving and skinning. The 6 is still one hell of a knife. The longer blade makes the entire knife much more usable. It feels better in my hands than the 5. Really balanced in comparison to the 5. For that reason alone I recommend the 6 over the 5.

What do you think about these two knives? Drop a comment below before you leave.

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