KA-BAR is excited to introduce the much anticipated John Ek Commando Knife Co. product, the Ek Model 4. This updated version of the old jungle fighting knife is made from 1095 Cro-Van steel and features a parkerized double-edged blade measuring in at 6.45" in length. The textured glass-filled nylon handles are deeply milled for grip and are attached with traditional X-head fasteners and it has an S-shaped guard to prevent you from sliding forward onto the blade. The US-made Celcon sheath is a friction fit design with multiple tie-down points and a nylon retaining strap and belt loop. Every component of this knife is proudly made in the USA and this is both a great knife and a great value.
- Blade Length: 16.38 cm
- Blade Thickness: 3.7 mm
- Handle Length: 14.92 cm
- Overall Length: 31.43 cm
- Blade Material: 1095 Cro-Van
- Blade Style: Double-Edged Spear Point
- Blade Grind: Flat
- Blade Finish: Black Parkerized
- Handle Material: Glass-Filled Nylon
- Sheath: Celcon with Nylon Retention Strap
- Made in the USA
- Parallel Import: Yes
Having read online reviews and knowing that KABAR is a mid-range producer at best, I had lowered expectations. However, the unit that I received was below those. The tip - kind of a design feature in a dagger - was squared off by a few millimeters, the blade was tarnished with what looks like oil residue, and the sheath was unusable until heated and reshaped. I have reshaped the blade, which required me to regrind the edge, and reshaped the sheath.The sheath fit is a KABAR problem and you can work around it relatively easily. The tip could be just because of old stock or a batch that got damaged in storage.
It's a bigger knife than you think. It's a mid-range implementation of some of the basic Applegate Fairbairn design principles, just scaled up a lot. Unlike that knife, the FS or the V42, the blade is thick, broad and imposing and carries very much a basic dagger grind. You're not going to be putting an edge on this much more than it already has, and sharpening it is pretty quickly going to bring you to the thicker part of the blade. The handle is notably longer and, all in all, it doesn't have the delicacy of an FS or the modern Hill Knives iteration. I could be imagining it, but that solidity translates into the hand, where it feels less mobile than you expect. Even the Spartan Blades V14, another modern interpretation of this lineage of knives, and a poster child for "brutal piece of steel", feels more nimble. That's probably down to the profile and the shape of the blade, and because the V14 benefits from dedicated attention from a designer, whereas this is a factory product.
The steel is what it is, and at this price point it's fine. The sheath is the sheath and for reasons known to no-one everyone seems to love Kydex. Overall, I'm not sure whether I like it or not. With an undamaged tip and a different sheath? Maybe. Is it worth blowing some money on to see? Sure. Just don't expect miracles.
FYI: Once Martin at The Knife Guy heard about this, he immediately offered to replace or refund, and that's a good thing. Great service provider. I kept it because I had already ground it down, reprofiled, and sanded the coating off. It's already become something I can experiment on without worrying too much about it.