Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Esee Knives (formerly R.A.T. Cutlery) DPX H•E•S•T / F

Esee knives, Jeff Randall's company, formerly known as R.A.T. Cutlery, indicates that their folding DPX HEST knife will finally be available shortly. The original fixed blade HEST, and the new folder, are both designed in collaboration with extreme journalist Robert Young Pelton, author of "Licensed to Kill", and The World's Most Dangerous places.

Pelton is a great writer, and frequently bears witness to violent world conflicts like civil wars, riots and governmental transitions, all while remaining objective and reporting the facts without bias. Robert Young Pelton has spent his adult life traveling the globe in the most violent and hostile areas worldwide. Needless to say, the man knows a thing or two about basic survival tools, and the features that make up a useful knife, built for the real world. The fixed HEST has gotten very positive reviews all across knife communities online, and I hope to get ahold of one soon for a full review. Esee Knives changed their name from R.A.T. (Randall's Adventure Training) in order to better reflect their South American survival training school programs.

From their site:

"Jeff Randall and Mike Perrin of Randall’s Adventure & Training announced Monday, February 1st that they would officially be changing the name of their cutlery division from RAT Cutlery Company to ESEE KNIVES. Randall and Perrin made this decision due to confusion in the industry with other companies who market knives under similar names.
The new name (ESEE) comes from Randall and Perrin’s vast experience teaching survival courses to military, law enforcement and civilians in the jungles of South America. ESEE is an acronym for Escuela de Supervivencia (School of Survival), Escape and Evasion."

Esee's Knives are designed based on real world survival use, and they are used & tested extensively in the rugged jungles of South America.

Here's the lowdown on the HEST Folder, straight from their site:

"Introducing the ESEE DPx H•E•S•T /F (Hostile Environment Survival Tool / Folding)

For the first time the brutal, rugged feel and performance of the DPx H•E•S•T fixed blade has been engineered into a hard use frame lock folder. The D2 Tool Steel folder comes with a Titanium alloy frame, patented RotoBlock adjustment, removable glass breaker (with replacement smooth-head screw), hex-bit driver in handle/frame, and collectible stainless steel “Mr. DP” adjustment/multi tool. After a global search the firm of Lion Steel was selected to manufacture this knife based on their long heritage of quality, award winning folders. The DPx H•E•S•T folder is the collaboration of Robert Young Pelton (World’s Most Dangerous Places fame) and ESEE Knives. The DPx H•E•S•T Folder is based on Pelton's hard time in dangerous places, ESEE's commitment to customer satisfaction and Lion Steel's mastery of manufacturing quality and tolerances. The DPx H•E•S•T Folder is designed and made for hard use in hostile conditions with the ESEE lifetime warranty.

MSRP: $ 252.31



Right-hand and left-hand models
D2 Tool Steel Blade
Titanium alloy frame lock
Patented Lion Steel Rotoblock
G10 handle scale
Removable glass breaker (comes with replacement smooth head screw)
Hex-bit driver in handle
Stainless steel “Mr. DP” Skull Tool adjustment wrench / multi-tool for adjusting RotoBlock, pivot and glass breaker removal
Standard Paper Boxing with DPx Graphics


Handle thickness (without clip): .541”
Blade thickness (Max): .187”
Overall length (opened / without glass breaker): 7.625”
Closed length (without glass breaker): 4.38”
Handle Grip Area: 3.80”
Cutting Edge length: 3.10”
Titanium frame thickness: .140”
G10 thickness: .140”
Weight: not determined at this time"

I'm pretty excited, Esee/RAT have a long history of brutally capable knives ready for anything. They're built by a small operation called Rowen Manufacturing, in the USA. I own the original RAT Izula neck survival knife, and it's one of my favorite pieces of gear...ever. The upcoming HEST Folder is an exception to Esee's long history with manufacturing partner Rowen Mfg. It will be made in Italy by Lion Steel, a company that also has a reputation for manufacturing hard use, high quality folding knives for other brands. I'm assuming the decision was based on Rowen having limited capabilities, after all RAT/Esee have always done fixed blade knives until recently. A folding version of the venerable Izula knife is forthcoming as well, probably in the 1st quarter of next year. It's safe to say that Esee's fixed blades will continue to be made by Rowen, while any future folding knives will be produced by Lion Steel.
The Izula in various colors:

Looks like the HEST folder is a Ti framelock with a G10 slab on the front, and D2 tool steel for the blade, popularized by veteran custom maker Bob Dozier over the years. D2 is hard as hell (can't remember the Rockwell rating) and takes a beating. I own a ltd. ed. Benchmade AFCK Axis lock, in D2 bladesteel, and I used it hard, with rarely a need for even a touchup sharpening. I'm guessing this new Dpx HEST folder will be pretty much bomb-proof, as RAT/Esee don't release their products for sale until they're certain of the quality and durability gleaned from hard use testing. I'm of the opinion that Esee Knives are dollar for dollar probably the best American Made hard use tools around today. They've gained a huge following without advertising to the tactical "me too" 'Mall Ninja' crowd, based simply on making reasonably priced knives which have proven time and again that they can take whatever abuse your adventure can dish out.

I would LOVE to get my hands on one of these for T & E, and to give you guys a full review, and more info on what the folding HEST is all about. We may just have to wait a few months to handle one in person. Maybe I'll contact Jeff Randall himself and see if he'd be willing to loan us an early incarnation, simply for publicity purposes, and to help further get the world out when the knife is released.

A shot of the original fixed blade HEST knife, from Esee/RAT's website:

The HEST Folder promises to be rugged and adventure-worthy, I'm sure:


CTone said...

Funny, I just got an Izula in the mail yesterday and have it hanging from my neck right now. Cool little knife that feels lie it will take a beating.

I appreciate ESEE not pushing the "covert secret operator" angle on their products. I love Microtech, but that's the angle they went with, and it's pretty silly. ESEE is all facts, and using their no nonsense survival pedigree is marketing genius. I'm going to be ordering an RC-5 soon.

Aaron said...

Totally, Jeff Randall, Mike Perrin & company seem like honest businessmen. And I love reading Pelton's stuff. I think part of the RAT>Esee name change was also to distance themselves from Ontario cutlery's former RAT/Randall designs, before RAT/Esee officially existed. Rumor had it that Ontario KC screwed Jeff Randall over and some sort of legal battle ensued....web rumors, bah! But yeah, The Izula is a tough bastard, I'm still thinking about picking up those micarta handle slabs...but I like the 'Zula for its thin profile, it doesn't scream "Hey! Hey Everybody! There's a knife under my shirt!"