One of the difficulties of carrying a fixed blade for daily self-defense is that such knives are either too large to be comfortable and concealable, or too small to be of greater benefit than a more socially acceptable folding knife. Knife designer Chris Zaccara, who in years past wrote a regular column for The Martialist, has solved this problem with his EDC Bowie — one of several knife deigns on his workbench. Chris submitted the EDC Bowie to The Martialist in the hope that the design would resonate with pragmatic students of self-defense. In this, he will not be disappointed, for the initial response to pre-publication photos was overwhelming.
By far the most common response to images of this knife was, “Where can I buy one?” As Chris explained to me, the EDC Bowie (EDC for “Every Day Carry”) is a self-defense tool you will actually have when you require it. “I wanted to design something that packed the ‘umph’ of a full sized bowie, was capable of both utilitarian and defensive work, and [was] something with a real back edge suitable for Inverted Edge Tactics,” he told me. “I wanted to make something small enough for Every Day Carry. Does you no good if you leave it at home, you know?”
After spending several weeks carrying and working with the knife, I can say with confidence that, yes, I know. This is, simply put, a superb knife. It moves well, pierces and penetrates deeply, cuts with authority thanks to its deep, slicing belly, and locks into the hand firmly — this last feature a function of its incredibly good ergonomics. The knife is not curved for the sake of looking curved; the sweep of its shape fits the hand well, providing both comfort and security while lending to its fast, able movement in pattern drills and test cutting.
Using the grommet holes in the kydex sheath, you could attach a variety of belt hardware, such as a Tek-Lok. I’ve used the sheath with a static cord draw, meaning I attach the sheath with paracord to my belt, then tuck the knife into a back pocket. On the draw, the knife pulls free of the sheath and is right where you want it. One caveat applies, though: If you’re the sort of person who indexes his or her finger along the sheath as you draw, you will cut yourself drawing this knife. You’ve got to train yourself to choke back on the handle to put your index finger in line with the integral guard (a scallop in the knife’s shape just to the rear of the blade; point of balance is at the rear of that scallop, which is perfect).
Fit and finish of what is essentially a handmade, semi-production knife are excellent in my sample. The thumb grooves, a feature I always prefer to have on a knife, are nicely cut and just the right size and depth. The micarta handle is a little slippery (that is how micarta is, after all), but the shape of the knife in conjunction with those grooves provides a very secure grip. You could choose to attach a short lanyard to the lined hole in the handle to facilitate the draw and (give you some cord for added traction).
This particular sample is of 01 Tool Steel and was made for Chris by Dylan Farnham of Canada. The handle is micarta; the sheath is Kydex. A short lanyard with a metal skull bead was affixed to the sheath (not the handle) prior to shipping.
Overall length of the knife is just a hair over seven inches, measured from the rear of the handle to the tip while ignoring the knife’s pronounced curve. It is maybe one and three quarters inches wide at the midpoint of the blade.
The blade is about four inches long with a primary cutting surface of roughly three and a half inches. The fully sharpened false edge is about two and a half inches. Edges are ground on both sides and the knife was nicely sharp from the maker. (The false edge, in fact, is so sharp that I’ve nearly injured myself with it more than once.)
The knife can be used for reverse edge methodologies in any orientation (edge up or down, knife forward or reversed) because of its fully sharpened false edge. (Legally, of course, this a double-edged knife, which may not be legal where you are.) Obviously the pronounced handle shape means you cannot flip the knife over and wield it comfortably with the primary edge facing you — but you would have no reason to do so because you can employ the false edge.
I find the ECC Bowie comfortable in the reverse grip, but much more comfortable in the forward grip. This will vary from person to person and is a function of hand size and finger length.
This is an excellent self-defense blade that could be used for utility if necessary. It has the cutting power of a much larger knife, yet is small enough for comfortable daily carry. Chris expects more EDC Bowies to be available at the beginning of 2011. For pricing and ordering details, contact him by e-mail. As for my sample, it stays with me. I couldn’t let it go.