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Auteur Sujet: ESEE 4P MB - Knife - [TEST DM]  (Lu 28383 fois)

10 avril 2011 à 11:47:28
Lu 28383 fois


MOLLE back

Fiche Fabricant : ESEE -
Fiche fournisseur : OPS EQUIPEMENT -

Maker's caracteristics

  • Name : ESEE-4P-MB (MB = MOLLE back option)
  • Steel : carbon steel 1095
  • Hardness : 57 Rc
  • Handle : Micarta
  • Finishing touches : plain edge, black sandy coating
  • Made in the United States
  • Price : 149 euros at OPS Equipement
  • Warranty : life long, without condition (*)
  • Weight of the knife alone : 200 gr
  • Weight of sheath made in kydex (without paracord) : 50 gr
  • Weight of the MOLLE locks with the necessary kit of screw : 35 gr
  • Weight of the MOLLE back (option) with the necessary kit of screw : 75 gr
  • Total length : 22,6 cm
  • Lengh of the handle : 11 cm
  • Length of the blade: 11,6 cm
  • Length of the cuting edge : 10,3 cm
  • Width of the handle: 3,1 cm
  • Width of the hilt : 3,3 cm
  • Width of the blade : 3,1 cm
  • Thickness of the handle : 1,4 cm
  • Thickness of the blade (at the widest : near the hilt) : 4,5 mm
  • Kit of screw : 4mm nock on the head of the screw (screwed with the end R2 of a Leatherman

Test maker

Guillaume, 19 years old, student.
My hobbies : survival trainings, canoing, climbing, mountain biking, hiking (from 1 day to 2 weeks long all your round), bushcraft, etc.

What the use of such a knife ?

To my mind, it's not necessary to have a big camp knife to be abble to do the necessary work on a camp or even to survive.
So, the pair average size fixe bladed knife (10-15cm blade) plus folding saw the best ratio weight/size/adaptability.
If ever I need more consequent cuting tool, I take a small axe which will be much more efficient than a big camp and this for the same weight.

Most of my knives are part of this category (except my machettes which have a particular function), the ESEE-4 perfectly fits this category too.
Well, I'm not accounting for taste, I just giving my opinion.


The ESEE-4P-MB is delivered with its ambidextrous sheath (with paracord on it and its cordlock) with 2 « MOLLE locks » and 1 « MOLLE back » in option, all with the necessary kit of screw, a complete instruction leaflet (the drawings are explicit) and a small card which sums up some survival notions (very short but good informations with no common place idea).

The knife itself (category number at the end of the handle).
Please notice the hilt and nock on the blade, as well as a clear end for the batoning and a hole to pass the paracord :

Compared to a « Mora Lindbloms knivar sweden force » :

The MOLLE back (seen from the back) :

With a velcro fastening, certainly to hold the knife an small belts :

The MOLLE locks and all the kit of screws :

They are several types of screws : the bid ones with a flat head (for the MOLLE locks), the big ones with a round head (for the MOLLE back) and the small ones (for the kydex alone) :


The instruction leaflet (seen from the back : what is of interest to us) :

The card. I tested it for you, it is nor solid, nor waterproof...
If the aim was to get a « last chance memento » to put into a survival kit, it is not strong enough (as far as only the material is concerned).

Recto and Verso : (click on the picture to zoom)


I think it is first important to note that ESEE is conscious that a knife of such a size cannot be carried around the neck (see instruction leaflet). Therefore, they largely supply the necessary items to fixe the knife in any configuration.
That is really a positive point which lacks to a lot of knives, I think.
I, who used to dislike the kydex because of that, have changed my mind a little.

a) The sheath

The important point, thanks to the kydex and to the various possibilities to fixe it, the sheath is completely ambidextrous. Some will enjoy it ;).

The sheath has a hole at the end of the sheath in order to make the water flow easily.
But I hope it will also avoid the oxydation of the knife in its sheath in case a long storage (it is the case, see below) :

I was a bit worried by a kind of ticking when I carried the knife and I thought it was too loose in the sheath. Indeed...

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I thus tried to correct this problem. The answer can be found in the instruction leaflet : « if looser knife retention is desired remove screw from Hole # 2 ».

But it is the contrary I wish  and there is no screw in this hole originally but in the hole just below. So, I decided to put one !

But when I tried the screws of the kit, they were all too large :

So I had to take a nut which was already on the sheath (but it was hard to remove and turned out to be far smaller than the other ones) :

Then I was able to put a screw in a hole number 2 and the knife wasn't loose any more but the ticking remained .

Nevertheless, you have to be careful not to tighten the screw too much or you will have problems to take the knife out.

b) The « MOLLE lock »

This carrying system has the advantage of not taking too much room and to be very light.
On the other hand, I'm not convinced it can stay in position. Indeed...

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There, we can notice that if only branch catches the sheath, everything tears apart.
And even if you just walk with the knife carried this way, the molle locks tend to open themselves...
So I decided to use the molle back to carry it.

c) The « MOLLE back »

According to me, it is excellent : we can choose either to secure the knife completely (especially with the handle down) or just put it into the kydex sheath when we need to take the knife out every 10 seconds :up:

A picture is worth a thousand words...

Completely secured carrying. I swear the knife cannot fall :

Mid-carrying, the one I always use when I carry the knife :

Finally, when you are working, you just have to put the ESEE-4 in the kydex and to tie the velcro on themselves : the knife is held enough, it doesn't hang on the ground and it is quickly accessible.

To end it, the MOLLE back allows the ESEE-4 to be fixe on almost everything, thanks to the fixing parts « MOLLE ». An option which sould please soldiers and should soon be useful to me ;)

d) The « paracord » carrying

Well, I don't know if it exists elsewhere but I found this idea was great !

For a very light weight (kydex + paracord), we get what to fix the knife in a convenient way as well in the horizontal as the vertical.

I thought the cord-lock would not resist until I tried to force on taking the knife out :up:

For me, this system is really the best for a survival kit, whenever the size and the weight are of importance without cuting the knife efficiency.

In fact, that's the way I carry the knife, in my survival kit.



Before going on, I wanted to see the finishing of the ESEE-4 just out of the factory.


Little cuting test, make your own opignion :

Cut straight, the water didn't splash every where ! The knife was still shaving after that...


After these convincing pre-tests, let's see what this knife has to offer...

a) Cuting

The weight and the size of the knife (light and not bulky) allows us to take it each time we go out.
Moreover this two characteristics are in no way a drawback when working is concerned.
Indeed, an adapted holding...

You can really cut wood up : here is a chopping test, in less than a minute (with oak which was not really dry, I admit but nonetheless) :

You can also work very precisely, the notch on the blade as well as the stripes on back of the blade allowing a very good holding very near the cutting edge :

I didn't know the Micarta and I thought it would be slippery when wet but it isn't at all.

b) Batoning

I know some people don't really like batoning but what follows is a good example of its utility :D

During a survival training, the staff had to light the collective fire but the wood was of bad quality (decomposed  pine wood) and very wet : we had to do some batoning and to blow for 30 minutes to prevent the fire from fading out. And we had used loads of fire lighters... So yes, batoning is sometimes necessary :

Some side stress ? ;D

Not even damaged !

Batoning is not used only for splitting logs.
Before having logs you sometimes have to cut troncs a saw is the right tool for this task but when you don't have one you can succeed using the addition principle : you have a knife without mass and a beetle without cutting edge. You add both of them and here is the result :

After 5 minutes (the oak was dry this time) :


Well, you may have guessed I wouldn't stop here... The knife prooving to be fit for a normal use, let's see now to which ends it can go...

a) Intensive batoning

4 pine small logs very dry and quite knotty to split in 4 parts.
The size of the blade is limited, so that the batoning would take place only on the point.
No problem, the knots are overcome with an astonishing ease :blink: (comparatively, even if I do like the Moras, they would have been stuck).

b) Side stress

The weak point of the knives is side stress.
If the heat treatment is not good the knife can break.
Here, nothing to say, the ESEE-4 stays perfectely straight :

c) Cutting edge holding and sharpening

Nice knives lovers, avoid this part ;D

Survival training, with only 4 objects, there come the time when I need to find pine roots to build my shelter.
I could have sharpen a branch for this, but I prefered to test the cutting edge holding for you ;# :

Well after that, the ESEE-4 would not shave as well as before but it still cut very well.

Anyway, it's really easy to give it back a good cuting edge on the spot.

I used my Leatherman diamond file and it could shave again ! And that, for me is really important :
a knife you can shrpen only at home must stay at home.

Here, you have a knife made to last long on the bush.

d) Hand holding test

First, I must specify that these tests are in no way scientific, they just allow me to confirm what I thought. For each test I try to make some very slender sharpenings on a fruit tree branch (I don't know which one) dry for +/- 4 years. I chose slender sharpenings since it meant having to work meticulously when compared to batoning for example...

1) Weak hand test :

It's no problem, unless you consider I'm a awkward with my left hand...

2) Test with mitts :

They are the US cold weather system mitts. To make it more complicated, I didn't use the place for the forefinger.

Once again, no problem :

3) Test with a loss of dexterity :

I order to see whith could be the holding of the ESEE-4 with numb AND wet, I dived my hands in a very cold water where the ice cubes couldn't melt (outside temperature about 0°C) :

I let them get stiff until it was difficult for me to touch my thumb with my little finger (I could do it, I was just a bit numb) :

Apart from the fact it was hurting during and after the test ::), I had no problem concerning the holding but on the other hand it was harder to make slender sharpenings ;# :

4) Conclusion

I don't know if you can really draw a conclusion after that kind of tests -I didn't have to light a fire with a firesteel by -10°C after I had been through the ice- but considering that not in the slightest moment it was difficult to handle the knife, you can deduce that the ergonomics of it even in bad conditions, are good.

By the way that is the hug avantage of fixed blade on folding knives.

VI. Maintenance

On the ESEE website, you can read this:

Our knives are made from high carbon 1095 steel. And while 1095 is a top choice for professional cutlery designed for hard use, it will rust and stain if not properly cared for - especially on the cutting edge and around the laser engraving. It is the user's responsibility to keep the blades properly lubricated and cleaned. We suggest using a dry film rust inhibitor such as TUF-GLIDE or TUF-CLOTH.

As for me, I don't really do that since I can't spend a week without using my knife :lol:.

After each « hard use » or after using it for a long time, I clean it with a scouring pad in order to take of all the wood, resin remainings then I sharpen it again. I never had any problem and I have alway acted that way for all my knives : as time passes some sheen appears (except that on the ESEE-4, there is no need of it thanks to the black coating).

And even if I had to keep my knife unused for long time, I would do the same and keep it out of its sheath. All my knives are kept that way protected from dust, moisture and not one became rusty, at the worst they get some sheen :love:.


There no use to say to which extent I'm happy with the ESEE-4.I had heard from them for a long time and I wasn't disappointed.

For 250 gr (knife + kydex sheath), you have a strong knife, not bulky and whose blade lengh is perfectly adapted :
The ESEE-4 is not to small for hard use nor to big – which would prevent us from taking it. To sump up : a good compromise :)

To prove it, the ESEE-4 is at the moment in my survival kit and has I stated in my article on my survival kit, I'm particulary carefull to the gear I put in it : I must have a blind confidence in this gear so that I can rest on it if ever the situation is becoming critical.

Just for fun, and to put an end to it, here is a little snapshot of my knife after a few week's use :

Thanks to mum for helping me with the translation  and sorry if there are still some mistakes!
« Modifié: 11 avril 2011 à 21:48:45 par guillaume »


Keep in mind

Bienveillance, n.f. : disposition affective d'une volonté qui vise le bien et le bonheur d'autrui. (Wikipedia).

« [...] ce qui devrait toujours nous éveiller quant à l'obligation de s'adresser à l'autre comme l'on voudrait que l'on s'adresse à nous :
avec bienveillance, curiosité et un appétit pour le dialogue et la réflexion que l'interlocuteur peut susciter. »

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