I am not a “knife guy”. I have friends
who get all starry-eyed and giggly like school girls over a
beautiful custom knife. Many custom knife makers create what can
be better described as works of art with an edge than by calling
the product a “knife”. While they use quality steel,
they put more emphasis on beauty than on utility. Many custom
knives never see use. The owner does not want to scratch the
pretty finish. The knife maker might spend hours polishing the
blade to a mirror finish. That is all well and good, if that is
your thing. It is not mine at all.
When I go to a large gun show like the
Wanenmacher’s show in Tulsa, I walk past thousands of custom
knives, only glancing at the table long enough to be sure that
there are no guns lying there among the blades. I use
knives, and carry one everyday. To me, knives are tools, to be
used and abused if necessary, but not to be placed in a position
of greatness like a gun. I love guns. I use knives.
Usually, the knife in my pocket is a
four-inch folder. I like for it to have an easy-open feature for
one-handed use, and a locking blade. I like carbon steel, and
prefer the qualities of a carbon blade to that of stainless.
Stainless is good, but the last stainless knife that I carried
everyday was a Buck Model 110 that I had back in high school.
That thing was hard to sharpen, and hard to keep sharp. I much
preferred the easy sharpening qualities of a good carbon steel
Schrade or Case back then, but I liked the locking blade, so I
carried that Buck until the locking feature was broken.
For my hunting knives (which is a misnomer,
as I do not hunt with the knife, as it is there to go to work
after the hunt is completed), I like a fixed-blade
skinner/cutter like the Cold Steel Carbon V Hunter. Mine has
served me well. Nothing fancy, just a good steel blade with a
I have relayed all the above information to
assure the reader that I am in no way qualified to judge a
custom knife show, and would have no interest at all in doing
so. Usually, custom knife shows are beauty contests for knives,
much like a beauty contest for women. The winner of the Miss
America contest, while easy to look at, probably would not make
the ideal wife. Same thing with a beautiful custom knife. What
is pretty lying upon the mirrored display table might not be the
best tool in the field, and that brings us full-circle to the
fact that a knife is a tool. Much like a hammer, screwdriver,
wrench, or other tool, I like the tool for the job that it does,
and do not desire a long-term spiritual relationship with my
knife. It is there to serve me, do its job, and be handy when
needed. Also, I use a knife as only a knife; to cut something
that I need to cut. For cutting trees, I have three chainsaws
and two axes. I have hammers for hammering, shovels for digging,
and pry bars for prying. I have plenty of tools, but there are
others who do not.
The others who do not have a shed full of
tools at their immediate disposal are those men and women that
we as a nation send to foreign lands to stand in the gap for us
against those who wish to destroy our way of life, our freedom,
and our nation. Those soldiers and Marines are often times left
with nothing at their disposal other than what they can carry
with them through jungles, deserts, mountains, and villages. To
them, their knife has to serve as a weapon, and also as a tool
for digging, prying, beating, chopping, hammering, slicing, and
scratching their way through tough terrain. I talk to a lot of
soldiers. I live about twenty miles from Ft. Campbell, Kentucky,
a great deal of which is in Tennessee. Ft. Campbell is the home
of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). It is also home to
many special operations type soldiers, with units of the 5th
group, 160th, and other sneaky types based there, as well as
many Army Rangers. Often times, these soldiers are dropped by
helicopter in tough terrain, and are left to use whatever they
have available. They tell me that one of the most important
tools they have is their knife. Seldom if ever used as a
fighting tool, it is used constantly as a do-everything hand
tool, having to serve the role of axe, pry bar, hammer, and
shovel just about everyday, and that brings us, thankfully, to
the subject of this piece; Grayman knives.
Mike Grayman got into building knives out of
necessity. He and his friends needed knives that could stand up
to heavy use without breaking. Mike tells me that for the first
four years that he was making knives, they all went to military
or law enforcement folks, and civilian contractors doing
military type work. Today, they are available to everyone, but
military types get priority if supplies are short.
I usually do not review knives, though I get
many requests to do so. I have done maybe three in the almost
ten years that I have been reviewing firearms on Gunblast.com,
out of the 600 or so reviews that I have written. However, I am
impressed by Mike and his knives. He builds his knives to be,
above all else, tough and durable. It doesn’t matter how
pretty a knife is if it breaks in half while you are thousands
of miles from the nearest hardware store, and that knife is the
only tool available. The two knives shown here are both built
out of 1095 carbon steel, a full quarter of an inch thick. This
gives the knives enough heft to be useful for chopping and
slicing, and enough strength for prying and beating. The shorter
knife shown here is called the Suenami, named in honor of
Mike’s wife, Sue. It has a five inch blade which is shaped for
general purpose cutting, with enough belly to make it a good
skinner as well. The nine inch knife shown is the Mega Pounder,
and has the optional saw teeth on the back of the blade to add
to its utility. Both knives carry the full thickness all the way
through to the pommel, which has a lanyard hole. The Mega
Pounder has a flat pommel so that it can be hammered into
something, if the need arises. The Mega Pounder is
well-balanced, and swinging it, it has plenty of heft for a good
follow-through, and can serve well as a machete, in addition to
its obvious utility as a fighting weapon. Both knives wear
durable Micarta handles; smooth on the Suenami and textured on
the Mega Pounder, in what Mike calls their Gator Grip. Both are
easy and comfortable to hold, but I prefer the added texture of
the Gator Grip myself, and it is available on any Grayman knife.
The blades on these two knives are heavy duty
and ground in a double-bevel. The edge is not a high-polish fine
edge as seen on most custom and mass-produced knives, but has a
bit of a coarseness to it. Some folks mistakenly take this for a
crude edge, but it is not. For several years, I sharpened the
knives for a local butcher, and soon found that a coarser edge
cut meat much better than a very fine edge. It has a bit of a
microscopic “tooth” to it, and those miniscule teeth slice
through meat and bone much better than a highly refined edge.
For lack of a better term, these Grayman knives have teeth. For
cutting things that are tough to cut, a coarser edge works best.
For shaving and such silliness, a refined edge is better, but I
never could understand why a man would want to get up every
morning and scrape the hair off his face. If you must shave, use
a different blade for that; but for cutting skin, meat, bone,
wood, paper, cardboard, rope, or anything else, it is best to
have an edge with a bit of tooth to it.
The Grayman knives are coated with GunKote to
protect from corrosion. They also have a Cordura sheath that is
lined with a hard Kydex insert, and the sheath is MOLLE
compatible. It can be worn on a belt, or strapped to a
soldier’s harness or pack.
Grayman knives are made in the USA from US
steel. They have a forever warranty. If it breaks, it will be
replaced or repaired. If you buy one and don’t like it, you
can get a refund.
If you want a highly-polished pearl-handled
beauty of a knife that can double as a make-up mirror, look
elsewhere. If you want a tough, durable cutting tool that will
hold up under the worst conditions, anywhere in the world, have
a close look at a Grayman.
For more information and to place an order,
go to www.graymanknives.com.
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