The mission was fairly straightforward — the subject in the tent had fired a shot when troopers approached him to discuss the stolen vehicle parked nearby — we needed to ascertain his intentions.
I detailed a perimeter and dispatched deputies to clear the campgrounds of civilians while we pieced together our challenge. A lone tent was pitched approximately 20 feet away from the parked (and confirmed carjacked) camper. The ground was clear of cover in all directions, making the approach hazardous. We called out several times to no response while planning our approach. We knew we would need to breach the tent. As a SWAT commander in a rural area, I had trained with larger police agencies and applied my knowledge for a few years. I’d never even heard of anyone needing to breach a tent.
What we had worked out was fairly straightforward: while being covered, one officer woud reach forward and slice the tent, then another would drop in a flashbang. After conferring with the team, we executed our plan.
True to the name, the bang did just that, and the tent violently changed shape to resemble a hot air balloon before settling. Several seconds of silence, further call outs and no movement led us to believe we could investigate further. We found the suspect had taken his own life. I inspected the tent and marveled at how difficult the rip-stop nylon was to sever. Daddy’s pocket knife would not have quickly cut the hole we needed. In short, the big knife cleared the way.
I have used Cold Steel products for over twenty years. They offer a wide range of products – including some high-end cutlery – that is stunning to behold. However, living on a cop’s income, I have greatly appreciated the value of their products offered at prices I have been able to afford. When thinking of suggestions for fixed blades in tactical settings, my mind fixed on Cold Steel and a recent addition to their line: the Chaos Kukri.
The Kukri, or Khukuri, was made famous by Nepalese soldiers (Gurkhas) who used the weapon in many battles ranging from the Gurkha War through World War II. If you have never seen one, they can be imagined by starting with a machete, and then curving the tip eagerly forward until the blade resembles a boomerang. The resulting tool combines a piercing tip, the weight of an axe, and the chopping power of a giant pair of open scissors. The blade geometry lends itself to forcing objects to the apex of the two cutting angles — imbuing the Kukri with a cutting power greater than its size due to its doubled angles of cutting surface.
|The blade itself is 12.5 inches long. (Sean Curtis Image)|
Cold Steel’s Chaos Kukri takes the original concept and adds a few great tweaks that are nods to historical combat. The overall weapon is mildly reminiscent of the Greek Kopis, and finished in flat black from tip to tail. The grip is strikingly different from most currently offered. Those familiar with the trench knives of World War I will recognize the design of the full covered hand guard. This feature at first blush allows the wielder to keep a grip on the weapon when things get slippery. However, it also allows the user to deliver strikes not unlike brass knuckles. Made of 6061 Aluminum, the “D Ring Guards” are hardy, and capable of delivering and withstanding abuse.
Below the grip is a feature that harkens back to much older times. The pommel has served many purposes throughout the history of sword combat; aiding in retention of the sword, or serving as a counterweight. As long as people have been wearing helmets, others have been looking for ways to penetrate them and the skull beneath. The pommel on the Chaos Kukri is the actual end of the blade – a full-tang configuration that makes it extremely strong.
The blade itself is 12.5 inches long and weighted toward the business end. It is made of SK-5 High Carbon steel – a substance noted for its rust resistance, strength, and ability to hold an edge. The hardness of the SK-5 makes it a strong choice for this application, when hacking, slashing, and chopping are mission critical. The angle of the blade has more in common with an axe then a fillet knife, designed to split and separate things. The Kukri is equally at home serving as a machete or limbing…anything.
Finally, the Chaos Kukri comes with a Secure-Ex Sheath that can snap onto your belt. Given the length and curvature of the blade, care must be taken when drawing or sheathing it. A thumb snap secures the handle in place for retention.
Big knives are often a must in tactical situations. The Cold Steel Kukri ($129.99) is a beast; the size alone makes it a formidable weapon approaching the short-sword category. It is certainly capable of handling tactical situations, but might be more suited for a zombie apocalypse due to its size. For you television fans, Alan Kay used a Kukri to great effect on the survival contest/show, ‘Alone’ - ultimately winning the competiton. For those hesitant to strap an 18 inch chopping tool to themselves, Cold Steel also has a Chaos Tanto ($99.99) and Chaos Double Edge ($99.99) in the line that are equally tough.