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Author Topic: Want to make a knife for the US Army?  (Read 2417 times)
Crafty_Dog
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« on: May 03, 2006, 08:30:21 AM »

Woof All:



Marc,
Here's the basics on the knife project.  I just spoke with the combatives group, and it looks like at least five of them would jump all over the chance to own one of these right now for anything close to $300 or less.  My guess is there'd be a whole lot more than that, but out of a class of forty people, I got five to say yes on the spot.  Considering we work with roughly 500 troops a month in Combatives, and roughly another 500 in all the other areas, my guess is this would be a pretty strong seller.  Especially if I strap a couple of them on the legs of some our instructors...

At any rate, the basic introduction to the project and my proposal to the makers follows.  Let me know where you post it so I can follow along.  And thanks as always for the assist.  (By the way - if it works out, I'll buy you serial number 0001!)

Mike

Introduction:
My name is Michael Brewer.  I am currently serving as a US Army Reserve soldier, and in my civilian life, I am a combat tactics instructor for all branches of service.  Specifically, my job is to train Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Airmen deploying to the Middle East in support of the Global War on Terror.  My areas of specialty are weapons and small unit tactics, including all manner of US small arms, squad-based urban warfare, convoy live fire training, combatives (US Army Hand to Hand Fighting), and just about anything else that relates to the fighting end of being a US servicemember.  Over the past year, I've conducted hundreds of AAR's with troops both deploying and returning from theater.  I've probed to find any information I could find both as an instructor and as a soldier that might improve our troops' odds of winning each and every fight.  Obviously, a lot of this information is not appropriate to share publicly, but a lot of it can only be addressed by civilians who support our troops.  I'm writing this introduction about just such a topic.

Much has been made over the past several decades about edged weapons, both as fighting implements and as tools for soldiers in the field.  As most soldiers have told me time and again, the staggering majority of the designs currently available have missed big.  Knives tend to be "one-trick ponies" in the words of a recently retired Master Sergeant.  "They either cut or they stab, but never both.  If they're cutting knives, my Joes will bust the tips off 'em nine times out of ten.  If they're stabbing knives, they don't do us any good as cutting tools because a double edged dagger is no good at all for utility purposes.  Even the ones that find some kind of balance are too thin to deal with any kind of hard work, let alone the kind of rigors common to our guys in the field.  Folding knives snap right at the pivot, and the bayonets we're issued are so soft you can't even put a good edge on them, let alone keep it there."  

My father is an accomplished knifemaker who has crafted some amazing pieces for me over the years.  He's built several damascus blades that have withstood abuses unlike anything a knife is meant for.  One of them literally cut a  mobile home in half over the course of a work day.  Regrettably, he is in semi-retirement due to a shoulder injury and a lack of a forge.  That's why I am putting this information out to the public.  Working with these soldiers, I have compiled their suggestions into a design that most feel would not only suit their needs today, but would account for most of the foreseeable needs of the future.  I would like to find a knifemaker that is willing to build a prototype knife according to these suggestions.  This would be a custom knife, and would not be a government contract by any means.  However, it is a knife designed by and for servicemen and women, and would very likely be popular across the full spectrum.  What's more, because the knifemaker who accepts would be going to some degree of personal expense and effort on a project not of their own design - based on faith and the suggrestions of others, as it were - I would be willing to give the design rights to the knifemaker in exchange for a pair of prototypes.  I'd want to conduct some of the most severe tests ever conducted on a knife, document them, and present them to the chain of command that I work for in both civilian and military sectors.  I'd forward all requests to the knifemaker for orders and modifications.  In other words, you make the knife according to specs and provide me with a pair of prototypes, and I'll test it, evaluate it, write up a report, and pass it along to the market group that suggested it in the first place - and I'll hand you the rights to the design itself free and clear.

What do you get out of it?  At best, an inside track on what could be one of the more popular military knives today, and someone else handles a good chunk of your marketing for free.  At worst, you get a few orders from the soldiers that "created" the design and you recover your investment, and you still have the rights to the design free and clear.  What do I get out of it?  I get what I believe will be one of the most practical and functional fighting and utility knives available, and I get to give my soldiers the opportunity to carry into battle with them a tool that I would unhesitatingly bet my own life on.  I think it's definitely a good proposition all around.  

If anyone is interested in undertaking the project, please feel free to contact me directly at odysseyresearch@adelphia.net, or call 719.494.6501.  Thank you all for your consideration, and I look forward to speaking with you soon.

---------

and this on US Army stationary:



AFZC-PAO                                                                                                       2 May 2006




MEMORANDUM FOR RECORD



SUBJECT: Soldier Knife Project


 

Mr. Brewer,

 

 

1.  SPC Courtney E. Pace, PAO, 2BCT, 2ID

 

2. The PAO just received the research package you compiled regarding the ?Soldier Knife? design. Our office would be extremely interested in giving the project some publicity, especially since this is a civilian project based on military feedback.

 

3. The unit got back from Iraq in August of 2005, and several members of the unit have said that your knife design would definitely solve many of the issues they encountered with their currently issued gear.

 

4. The PAO would be interested in covering the project, including interviews with you and whatever knife maker agrees to take on the design and building of the knife.

 

5. We will also cover the ?torture testing? you and others will put the knife through using military related scenarios. This aspect will appeal to readers as it proves the usefulness and detailed thinking that went into the design.

 






COURTNEY E. PACE

SPC, USA

2BCT, 2ID PAO
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2006, 04:56:06 PM »

Marc,
Regarding the PAO and their offer of coverage on the project, I got some specifics from them.  They're willing to do a series of pieces, not just one.  They'd like to put together an article on how this design came about, and profile the knifemaker who's building it.  This would be a great way for a new knifemaker to break into the mainstream, or for an established maker to gain a foothold on the military market.  I've been assured that whomever the maker is that we end up going with, they'll come out smelling like a rose.  The PAO person doing the reporting is a Combatives Instructor that attends the stick and knife fighting course I teach, so she's really willing to play this up.  She'll do an interview with the maker and profile that person as an "appetizer" of sorts.  Then, she's talking about doing a follow-up piece on the process of making and testing this blade.  This piece will be a longer segment, with interviews with the maker and the testers (us, ideally), along with results from what I hope will be the toughest, most demanding, and most scenario-specific knife tests ever run.  The photos of the tests will run with the article.  In the finale, she'll close it all up with a segment on how people can order the blade.  She says that she intends to interview several soldiers who were a part of the suggestion/design process and see what they think of the finished product.  She doesn't know if she can swing it yet, but she's mentioned approaching her chain of command for the money to purchase some of the first blades to "gift" to the soldiers she interviews (who are returning to Iraq in October).  That way, they can see their ideas for better equipment come to life and then carry thier own improvements into battle on their next tour.  Of course, this opens the door to a "returning from battle" piece highlighting the real-world performance of the blade in war.  That means that this publicity run will last over a year and a half, and it will mark the first time in history that a knife has been covered from the "Suggestion box" through the making and testing phase, and then all the way through its baptism of fire by the same folks who had the original idea to begin with.  Stands to not only be a terriffic story, but also one hell of a money maker for the knife maker we decide to go with.  A full year and a half ad-campaign, orders and endorsements from the military (without the hassle of trying to go through the mil-contract red tape, no less), and an open door to the tactical knife world on the civilian side of things with all the credentials to back up the fact that this is the most comprehensively researched and tested design of this generation.

All in all, not a bad package.  As for the testing, the complete list of tests I had in mind are:
1. Emergency Extraction from a HMMWV using the scabbard wrench we design, from the normal riding position.  The soldier will literally remove the door of the up-armored HMMWV using our knife.
2. Penetration tests using meat covered by a Level 3 body armor panel and a trauma plate
3. Tip strength tests on animal bone (skulls, hips, and scapulae) as well as wood.  One of these will include hammering the knife into a tree and using it as a stepladder for a soldier in full battle rattle (total weight, 300+ pounds).
4. I want to chip a hole in a cinder block with the tip to simulate opening up a wall for a firing position.
5. We're going to cut our way out of an airframe and a HMMWV.  Failing that, I have a junkyard willing to get us a mobile home.  I intend to bisect this mobile home using the knife we've designed.  Cutting a house in half is markedly more impressive than, say, an ammo can.  What's more, I think we can do it.
6. I'm going to dig two fighting positions to standard, and then test the sharpness of the blade by making 1000 cuts through parachute cord without sharpening in between the two events.
7. I will punch some holes in several different helmets (steel and other materials) containing coconuts to show real-world penetration against an "armored head."
8. We'll pry open a locked door using the flat of the blade against the jamb.  Regular door, constructed to the current building code here in CO.  Think in terms of a hasty entry by a team that's thrown together and has no crowbars or other entry tools and is under fire from outside.
9. Ideally, I'd also like to see if we can hack through something like a bike-lock cable using the back edge.  Failing that, I suppose we could substitute a couple hundred reps through the steel pallet straps used to pack large items.  They're thin, but after a hundred reps, we'd have a good idea of durability.
10. Finally, I'm going to clear a 100 meter circle of woods (saplings, mostly) to simulate clearing a landing zone for a Blackhawk helicopter.  This will be done against the clock, and it will be just me and one other person.  For the record, our time will be an important indicator of how easy the tool makes the job, and how well it holds an edge.

With these ten tests under our belts, I think it's reasonable to say we've tested the knife and the design using some of the more extreme (but reality based) scenarios ever used.  It certainly shows what our knife will do under battle conditions a lot better than, say, chopping up ropes or hacking 2X4's.  What's more, in many cases, we'll have research on what it does to tissue (as opposed to wood).  If it gets through the body armor but not the meat behind it - back to the drawing board.  If it punches a hole in the helmet but not the coconut, back to the drawing board.  In other words, the soldiers who might have to depend on this thing with their lives will be able to see exactly and precisely what it is capable of, and it should give them all the confidence in the world.  All that, plus print coverage by the Army?  Chances are, it will catch the attention of several important people.

Anyway, I hope this information helps.  Please let me know if you have someone you'd feel comfortable recommending for the project.
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arzh
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« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2006, 02:32:41 PM »

look on the Dan Certo website
an similar action was done

http://www.relentlessknives.com/support.html

cheers jerome
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Dog Greg Brown
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« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2006, 06:16:24 AM »

Sounds like something to look into. If I can't get him what he wants I can put him in touch with someone who can.

Greg
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Zooligan
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« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2007, 07:53:31 AM »

Anyone know the status and/or results of this project?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2007, 08:57:12 AM »

As far as I know, its dead in the water-- a key player is busy doing other things for our country.
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