CONUS and OCONUS Carry: ESEE Izula and Extrema Ratio Fulcrum C

JohnBender

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Dec 6, 2016
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Ohio
Hello All,

First, I would like to say that I have zero affiliation with ESEE or Extrema Ratio. I was talking with a buddy about EDC carry knives, and I was griping about how Ohio does not really allow me to carry my all time favorite knife - The Izula - because it is a fixed blade, though a small one. I figured this forum would be a good place to offer it as an EDC option that won't break the bank but performs like it would need a mortgage to pay for.

I purchased an ESEE Izula 2 about 2 or 3 years ago because I was home on leave in the New York City area, and their knife laws are strange. Essentially, I needed something that was not a "gravity knife" and was 3 inches or less in blade length. A few friends of mine had ESEE's and loved them, so I figured why not - it fit the criteria of a simple carry knife and it was about 70 bucks.

Fast forward, and I have to say it is one of, if not the favorite in my ridiculous collection. I am beyond impressed with how well this knife has held up under the abuse I have put it through. Everything from digging to chopping to opening half-inch thick card board shipping boxes like it was printer paper. I originally intended to keep it as a stateside EDC, but as soon as I got my hands on it and watched how well it performed for damn near any task, I knew this was one that was going with me everywhere. I have yet to give it a real sharpening, yet just now it cut through a thick cardboard box like it was a razor blade. The one thing I am not in love with is their molded sheath. The audible set and release of the knife in place is great, but the loop is either totally useless, or I am too dumb to use it the right way. Possibly both.

Knife laws around the country are strange, and I know that carrying a legal knife can be tricky, so I wanted to offer this as a personal favorite because, for me, it is beyond reliable, it is small ( and thus can be argued it is not intended as a weapon), and because of the ergonomics and material, it punches far, far above it's weight class. When I go to a state that does not allow fixed blades to be carried, I switch over to my Extrema Ratio M1a1 because that is a "multi-tool" and I like their blades material / edge retention. You can pick an Izula 2 with the detachable handles for about 70 bucks, or a Skeleton Paracord-yourself Izula 1 for about 50 from Amazon. Amazon.com : ESEE OD Izula Knife with Sheath, Black : Fixed Blade Camping Knives : Sports & Outdoors

Picture below for reference. I included a quarter for size reference for civilians, and a beer bottle for size reference for Vets/Military. :thumbsup:

Speaking of Extrema Ratio, I know many people either do not know of them or are put off by their price and crazy styling. I was not in love with them at first, but I found myself in possession of a Fulcrum C. It's a thick beast, much like what no girlfriend has ever said about my Johnson, and it quickly took the place of my smaller Ka-Bar on my tactical belt when I was still in. I have hacked off the tops of Chef Boy-R-Dee (the master) cans with ease, and once we hammered it into a tree and stood on it, because we needed a step up to attach a rope to an out of reach branch. Didn't even scratch the coating or dull the edge. I'm sure there are others that do just as good if not better of a job, but I have been beyond impressed with this knife as well. It's a hefty knife, and I would trust it to rip a man in half if need be. These are similarly priced to Strider Knives, and I know that those are beloved, but perhaps because of the reputation of them being so highly regarded, I would feel guilty hammering a Strider into a tree.

For reference, I own numerous Benchmades, ESEE, Gerbers, Kabars, Extrema Ratios, Wegner, Leathermans, CRKTs, SpyderCos, SOGs, and just about everything else. I have yet to own a Strider, but if I ever rejoin I may trade some of my lesser used knives for one.
 

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JohnBender

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Good-looking knife, I've only regularly used Gerbers and Leathermans.

I was frustrated with Gerbers. I purchased a Gerber Guardian from the PX on Camp Lejeune back in the day, and within a week it could not cut 550 cord. I sharpened it, and within two weeks it couldn't cut 550 cord again. Up until then, I was very loyal but it put such a bad taste in my mouth that I switched to CRKT's, which I still love.
 

x SF med

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In knives, you get what you pay for. There are some good inexpensive knives out there- ZT, Gerber, CRKT, Boker... and some great, not inexpensive knives - Spartan, Chris Reeve, Kit Carson, Ken Brock, Les George, ad infinitum... You just have to balance your needs, wants and budget and be prepared to bend or break one of them.

As to the Gerber that would not hold an edge - how were you sharpening it? You can ask others on the board here, blades that seem unsharpenable or won't hold an edge, may just need the proper edge put on them for the tasks the knife will perform... It sounds like you put a beating on the edge of your blades, so you may require more frequent sharpening.... there are a few threads here on sharpening, and knives themselves, use the search function and find them... you might be pleasantly surprised.

Oh, btw... the Guardian dagger is not a true working knife, it's got a single purpose as a backup - and it's not cutting 550 cord. - from the Gerber site for both the dagger and the tanto:
This professional fixed blade knife is built for self defense. Featuring a non-reflective black blade coating, this agile knife is stealth. The compact design and double edge blade make it extremely versatile, an adjustable tension sheath can be individually customized.
Right tool, right job.... get a good folder for tasks like you described and leave the backup dagger for it's true purpose.
 
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J.S.

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Nov 12, 2015
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I was frustrated with Gerbers. I purchased a Gerber Guardian from the PX on Camp Lejeune back in the day, and within a week it could not cut 550 cord. I sharpened it, and within two weeks it couldn't cut 550 cord again. Up until then, I was very loyal but it put such a bad taste in my mouth that I switched to CRKT's, which I still love.

I understand that. I've only used my Gerber on camping/fishing trips and it's gotten the job done, I obviously can't speak for it in any military application.
 

JohnBender

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In knives, you get what you pay for... There are some good inexpensive knives out there- ZT, Gerber, CRKT, Boker... and some great, not inexpensive knives - Spartan, Chris Reeve, Kit Carson, Ken Brock, Les George, ad infinitum... You just have to balance your needs, wants and budget and be prepared to bend or break one of them.

As to the Gerber that would not hold an edge - how were you sharpening it? You can ask others on the board here, blades that seem unsharpenable or won't hold an edge, may just need the proper edge put on them for the tasks the knife will perform... It sounds like you put a beating on the edge of your blades, so you may require more frequent sharpening.... there are a few threads here on sharpening, and knives themselves, use the search function and find them... you might be pleasantly surprised.

Oh, btw... the Guardian dagger is not a true working knife, it's got a single purpose as a backup - and it's not cutting 550 cord. - from the Gerber site for both the dagger and the tanto:
This professional fixed blade knife is built for self defense. Featuring a non-reflective black blade coating, this agile knife is stealth. The compact design and double edge blade make it extremely versatile, an adjustable tension sheath can be individually customized.
Right tool, right job.... get a good folder for tasks like you described and leave the backup dagger for it's true purpose.

SF Med,

You're absolutely right. I follow the rule - You get what you pay for. Balancing my needs led me to have a knife for every situation - yet most of them ended up falling by the wayside.

As for sharpening, I am by no means adept in this category. I know, I know, man skills and what not. I actually had one of my boots sharpen it, because he was damn good at it and LOVED sharpening knives and tweaking gear to his sister-fucking back-woods specifications. I disguised my intentions as "helping him learn" but we all knew I just sucked at it, and it was a joke. I do remember him asking if I wanted a Killin' Edge or a Workin' Edge. I said working, so I probably did not help my cause.

But in the end, I think you are spot on that my expectation of the role that knife would play was WAY off the mark. This is user error, not company error and though I knew it was a boot knife designed to be slide between ribs, not knots, I ignored that fact. That being said, to have an edge lose the ability to cut paracord that quickly still wanes my desire to use it as a back up SDK. The ability to push into someone was retained, but a double edge blade should still be able to slash, and I swear the paracord would not even be frayed. I retired it quickly, and I ended up carrying my giant CRKT as a folder and my ESEE or Fulcrum C as my fixed blade mutli-purpose.

I understand that. I've only used my Gerber on camping/fishing trips and it's gotten the job done, I obviously can't speak for it in any military application.

I totally understand, and that was not a rail against non-military use by any means. Gear in general is highly personal and subjective - if it works for you, and you like it then there is not a person in the world that can tell you otherwise. I let my history with that company color my response and that is my failing.
 

Diamondback 2/2

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I'm pretty well exclusive on Kershaw now, they hold an edge like no other. But they do break with any type of prying type stuff. However, for $10 you can send it back and have a new blade put on it. For the price point, they blow Gerber, CRKT and the like out of the water. SOG makes pretty good inexpensive blade, but I'd edge Kershaw out over SOG.

That Izula looks like it's worth a try, I'll keep in in mind when I need to replace my EDC fix blade. Currently for a fix blade I'm carrying a KBAR TDI LE, it's okay, a gift, but it's seen no real use othe than just carry.
 

JohnBender

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I'm pretty well exclusive on Kershaw now, they hold an edge like no other. But they do break with any type of prying type stuff. However, for $10 you can send it back and have a new blade put on it. For the price point, they blow Gerber, CRKT and the like out of the water. SOG makes pretty good inexpensive blade, but I'd edge Kershaw out over SOG.

That Izula looks like it's worth a try, I'll keep in in mind when I need to replace my EDC fix blade. Currently for a fix blade I'm carrying a KBAR TDI LE, it's okay, a gift, but it's seen no real use othe than just carry.

Kershaw was just one of those companies that eluded my massive knife buying budget for no particular reason. I have never heard anything but praise for them. I know they have quite a few autos that are attractive in many ways to me, I may pick one up eventually. I like that they have that 10 dollar replacement policy, I did not know that. That's another thing I liked about Benchmade too - the springs in my Infidel OTF wore out over time, and I know I can just send it back and have them replace it good as new.
 

x SF med

the Troll
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Kershaw was just one of those companies that eluded my massive knife buying budget for no particular reason. I have never heard anything but praise for them. I know they have quite a few autos that are attractive in many ways to me, I may pick one up eventually. I like that they have that 10 dollar replacement policy, I did not know that. That's another thing I liked about Benchmade too - the springs in my Infidel OTF wore out over time, and I know I can just send it back and have them replace it good as new.

My only problem with Kershaw is the issues they created with Ken Onion... he's now designing for other people... although Kershaw did keep the Hinderer and Carson designs on the table...
 

104TN

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Someone should start a, "Let's see that blade" thread. I have a feeling a few of y'all have some nice collections.
 
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