Last Updated: 11/29/2015
ESEE specializes in outdoor fixed blade knives designed to take a beating and perform in a number of environments. Something special about ESEE knives is their no questions asked warranty that covers everything but rust. If anything happens to your knife through use or misuse, ESEE will replace it – no questions asked. This is great for a hard use tool because these knives aren’t particularly cheap.
The ESEE-3 is one of ESEE’s smaller knives designed for anything from general field and utility work, to use as a full on survival knife or bug out bag blade. These knives (like all of ESEE’s offerings) have been proven in their jungle survival training courses. If you are looking for a smaller survival knife, or simply want to add a versatile fixed blade to your system, the ESEE-3 could be an excellent choice.
General Dimensions and Blade Details
The ESEE-3 has a total length of 8.31″, a 3.88″ blade and a weight of 5.2 ounces without the sheath (9.3 ounces with the sheath). This is a great all purpose size and a lightweight carry for such a strong knife. Could see the ESEE-3 doing great in a variety of scenarios, from a day hike to life on a ranch.
The ESEE-3 is of full tang construction and comes powder coated in black or desert tan. This makes the knife both strong and durable. The blade is a drop point shape and features a full flat grind, excellent for slicing, and batoning. The point is reinforced on which is almost critical for use as a survival blade but it also serves well in defensive scenarios. I looked at the plain edge version although ESEE offers this knife in a combo edge as well.
The ESEE-3 is made of 1095 high carbon steel. 1095 is a durable tool steel that is very good choice for survival knives because it is easy to sharpen, holds a good edge, and doesn’t chip under hard use. It’s a high carbon steel, not a stainless steel, so one issue with 1095 is that it will rust if you aren’t careful. You must oil this knife. Something as simple as WD-40 will be adequate although some prefer specialized knife and gun oils.
Handle and Ergonomics
The handle scales on the ESEE-3 are made of micarta. They are fixed onto the tang with 3 allen bolts. The handle scales are nicely milled and rounded. They provide good grip and the knife feels good in the hand with no noticible “hot spots” after use. The level of fit and finish on ESEE knives is very high, and one way to confirm that is by examining how the handle and the tang meet together. Examining the handle and tang on the ESEE-3 reveals that everything is flush with no edges or gaps. This is a nod to the high quality control and production values ESEE adheres to. The overall length of the handle is very adequate, even for larger hands. For a knife that is meant to be used, a large and comfortable handle is very important and ESEE did a great job with the handle on the ESEE-3.
The pommel (butt) of the ESEE-3 is pointed and can be used as a glass-breaker. This is a cool little addition that I may never need but like to have. Naturally, it’s good for breaking glass but it is also as a potentially non lethal way to use the knife (although I think there is still great potential to seriously injure someone with it – be careful). There is also a lanyard hole drilled into the pommel which is essential for heavy chopping and other hard use tasks.
The sheath on the ESEE-3 is also very well done. The standard sheath is made of molded kydex and has a boot clip. An optional MOLLE adapter is made of cordura and provides the option to mount the sheath with a MOLLE system. When you secure the knife in the sheath there is a nice snap as it fits together. There is a retention strap and a elastic cover which is used if you want to mount the sheath for upside down carry. There is a small drain hole at the base of the sheath which helps keep your blade dry (especially important with that 1095 steel).
ESEE-3: Final Thoughts
The ESEE-3 is a very heavy duty and high quality fixed blade knife. If you are looking for something on the smaller side, I think the “3” combines a light weight with a lot of utility. That blade has a lot of belly and the full flat grind is always nice. I could see the ESEE-3 performing well as an EDC knife (if you can swing carrying a fixed blade), a tactical knife, a camp knife, a hunting knife or as part of your gear for bushcraft and wilderness survival.
I love how the ESEE-3 has been built in the USA to very high tolerances and is backed by one of the best warranties in the industry. I’m not sure I can say this knife is an outstanding bargain, but you will definitely get what you pay for. As long as you don’t lose the knife, or leave it in a bucket of salt water, the RC-3 will serve you well for the rest of your life.
I recommend purchasing the ESEE-3 at Amazon or BladeHQ. Please consider that purchasing anything through any of the links on this website helps support BladeReviews.com, and keeps the site going. As always, any and all support is greatly appreciated. Thank you very much.