READY FOR THE WILDS
Knives Illustrated|December 2020
THE SLYSTEEL SURVIVAL KUKRI IS MORE THAN JUST A BIG KNIFE
MIKE SEARSON
If there was ever a knife design that transcends time, it would have to be the Nepalese Kukri made famous by the Ghurka Regiments from Nepal and India. These blades are known for their ability as heavy duty choppers in the field and have a rich history as military weapons.

Slysteel of Idaho Falls, Idaho, has added its own rendition of the kukri to its lineup. It’s not meant to be a 100% homage or reproduction. The company is offering a unique take on this classic design. This is a true survival knife system in every sense of the word, and if you know how to use it to its potential, you can thrive as opposed to just survive with this blade at your side.

KUKRI HISTORY

Although the Western world became acquainted with the kukri a little over 200 years ago through the East India Trading Company, the Nepalese have used them for thousands of years. It is believed that the kukri evolved from a sickle or scythe, and the fact that they are still in use in modern times means that there are a lot of things right with the design.

When we think of the kukri, most of us think of Ghurka warriors carrying these knives into battle as weapons. But the kukri is more versatile than you might think at first glance, which explains its widespread use in Nepal’s farms and homes. The Nepalese use the kukri for a wide range of purposes: building, clearing, chopping firewood, digging, and food processing.

SLYSTEEL’S SURVIVAL KUKRI

If you are looking for a boomerangtype blade shape, buffalo horn handles, and steel that looks like it was hammered out of a car bumper, this is not the kukri you want. Slysteel’s Survival Kukri is inspired by the traditional design, but it takes the kukri in a much more survival-oriented direction.

In addition to the use of modern materials such as Micarta for the handle and 1095 for the blade steel, Slysteel shifted from the stick tang of the traditional design to a full tang for added strength.

The Survival Kukri has a unique spine design, which combines a ground square edge and a tumbled finish edge. The square spine edge allows for Ferro-rod striking and for working materials to create pliable cordage and more. The tumbled finish of the forward half of the blade provides for batoning with less damage to your baton than the square edge.

The top of the blade has a flat spot so you can use the Survival Kukri as a draw blade. The belly of the Survival Kukri blade is centered, so it can be used effectively to strip bark or make shafts for spears and arrows. This is the optimal strike point of the blade and makes it as effective as an axe. The tumbled finish of the forward half of the blade spine allows for a more comfortable grip.

Speaking of the grip, the profile of the handles makes this a comfortable blade to swing all day if you’re chopping wood. Like all of Slysteel’s designs, every element of the Survival Kukri is ambidextrous, including the spindle divot. The pommel is designed for retention. The forward finger choil allows the user to choke up right next to the blade for fine detail work when cutting, and the tip of the blade is located directly beneath the handle for drilling a friction board divot.

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