|The Back Bite hanging out with my Lanyard Zone pewter glow skull.|
The martial skills based designer's knife brags about its hi-tech materials, & exaggerated indestructibility, & why You, the awestruck knife fan, should pay your hard earned money for it. What I mean by "martial skills based" is, the knife designer that has a primary professional background in military tactics, martial arts or close quarters combat etc, but who is not necessarily a knife-maker him or herself.
You know them, you see them all over the web, some are legit, some are lesser known, and many are just blowing smoke up your ass-hatch. All BARK, big talk, but no proof of effectiveness or actual credentials.
If you're just now hearing about a fellow named Colin Despins, know that you'll continue to see his work in the tactical gear & knife industry for a long time to come. Despins is somebody I would definitely consider a martial-skills based knife designer. Colin Despins has studied martial arts his entire life, & is a devoted knife collector, & end-user in his own right. He has extensive experience in professional Close Protection/Bodyguard work, as well as real-world experience in competitive intelligence, (aka: "****" edited per request). Despins' work in these intense fields has taken him all over, but he has spent a significant amount of time in Israel, where he had the opportunity to work in a number of fields. Despins is personable, honest & armed with a great sense of humor. Throughout various email/FB message conversations I found Despins to be incredibly straight forward both verbally, and also in typed text. He's done a lot of cool stuff, both in his professional life, and personal life, but does not come off as somebody who feels the need to brag or talk about himself. Have I become acquainted with the rare martial skill-set knife designer who can certainly walk the walk? I think so!
Colin has trained in a ton of different martial arts disciplines, but there is one that changed his life, and his way of looking at, & thinking about combat & personal defense forever. Russian Martial Art. Hard to explain, difficult to teach & obtuse in its approach to all aspects of training. Russian Martial Art could be described as a holistic combat system encompassing aspects of mind, body & soul working together to transform the practitioner's body into an adaptable combat chameleon, ready to engage any challenger, & switch gears on the fly while thinking, fighting, & moving creatively. Despins was first exposed to Russian Martial Art through a chance encounter at the gym, with a man who would eventually become his mentor, trainer & friend.
|Despins demonstrating the alternative, sabre grip with his Back Bite. Photo courtesy of Tops knives, Idaho, USA|
|The Back Bite with my newest "bright" item, the awesome Surefire G2X Tactical LED light, a formidable pair of tools indeed!|
|Tops outfits Colin's menacing knife with a very secure Kydex sheath.|
Here's just a quick excerpt: "Why do you find the Russian System more effective than, for instance, karate in real combat practice?"
"The Russian System is more mobile. You can be ready instantly. There are no forms or patterns that you have to prepare yourself with. In the Russian System I learned how to move, and not so much the actual techniques. Techniques are learned step by step, by way of certain patterns, and then it becomes a style. The Russian System focuses more on how to move."
|the engraving on the "flat" side of the blade.|
|a close view of what some have called the "unsharpened chisel" blunt force portion of the Back Bite blade|
|the Back Bite, ready for action in my fat hand.|
|"Spec-Ops trust Tops", Aaron trusts Tops as well! Seriously, this is a really unique piece of well made combat steel.|
|the heavy-duty spring steel clip integrated into the sheath design is rotatable 360 degrees!|
O/A Length: 8 1/2"
Top Blade Length: 3"
Bottom Blade Length: 1"
Steel: 1095 High Carbon Steel RC (Rockwell-Scale Hardness Rating) 56-58
Handle: Black Linen Micarta
Blade Color: Black Traction Coating
Weight w/o Sheath: 5.5oz
Weight w/ Sheath: 7oz
Designed by: C. Despins
|a shiny close-up of the sharp concave strike face|
None of my friends or family ever noticed the edged demon riding on my hip, even when my jacket rode up a few times or I twisted & my shirt became pulled up over the sheath. I guess it's just a matter of, in some cases, being hidden in plain sight! Whether the knife was hidden under a t-shirt, a light jacket, a hooded sweatshirt or windbreaker, the knife didn't "print", or (show its shape through clothing) very much, if at all! Like nearly all Kydex-sheathed fixed blades, all it takes to unleash this little devil is a firm grasp of the handle, and a short push against the top of the sheath with your thumb. I was able to deploy the knife with my dominant hand, as well as my weak hand, very easily from a number of different locations & positions. I wore the knife at all manner of angles on both sides & had no problems freeing the knife for potential use, very quickly.
|the Kydex sheath locks the knife in with a solid "click"! Audible feedback is something I value when inserting a knife into its safe place! This is a great sheath system.|
|Tops likes to use micarta for its durability, grip performance, and solid good looks.|
|here you can see the thin red spacers give the knife a bit more visual "pop!"|
|the Back Bite's flat logo side, with the knife resting atop my Para-cord Guy OD Survival Bracelet http://www.theparacordguy.com/|
|Next Level, seriously dudes...look at that!|