A Knife made purely for Self-DefenseArticle and Photos by Keith Sipmann
Are you a knife lover? Maybe you’re a blade collector? If you are, then you undoubtedly know that there are a lot of knives on the market claiming to be the very best design for self-defense, military use, etc. However, very few have been used and tested by individuals with the actual experience needed to truly test the weapons’ effectiveness in a real combat scenario.
How many knifemakers’ ads have you seen that claim their knife is a box cutter, a food-prep tool and a defensive weapon all wrapped up into one design? Probably quite a few, I am guessing. But is that what you really want?
Personally, I don’t carry a knife to open boxes or cut food labels, I carry it as a backup to my gun during close-quarters self-defense situations. Therefore, I want a quality blade that’s made just for that purpose.
Meet the Troika, a handmade CPM3V knife with tapered tangs and G10 scales. It’s made right here in America, and assembled by veterans.
The Troika was developed by Meynard Ancheta of Kali Dynamics and Torin Hill of Toris. The knife is actually handmade by expert knifemaker Jeff Crowner, who we have featured before for his epic Golok blades. Crowner was chosen by the team to make the blade due to his knowledge, reputation for impressive heat-treating work, and his commitment to quality, all of which has been put into this special knife.
Hill told me during our interview, “The Troika design was the result of a conversation about knives, their use, impact, and ideal carry/use positions.
Meynard and I went back and forth, discussing the value or lack of merit in the designs of ‘fighting’ knives in the market and history. After a long online discussion, he said he’d draw up some ideas, and then we began making changes to the drawings – throwing out features and informing the design with historical or functional concerns.
Ancheta knew what blade geometry he wanted, and suggested that the steel (and exponentially more important the heat treat) would make the difference in the design.” The blade is made from CPM-3V steel, which is said to provide some of the best blade properties when compared to other common tool and knife steels.
It’s a quality steel providing better toughness than most other steel grades, and it has very good wear resistance, about 50 percent better than the much-loved D-2 steel. It holds an edge very well, and is fairly easy to fabricate and sharpen due to its relatively low alloy content.
The one caveat to CPM-3V is that it is not very good at corrosion resistance. When heat treated using Crowner’s methods, CPM-3V outperformed everything else for the characteristics that the designers wanted for the knife. One concern about the knife was related to the performance of the blade tip.
Some knife enthusiasts have often stated that a blade tip that is too thin will snap off as soon as it hits a hard surface, such as bone. That concern didn’t stop the team from pushing forward with their design, which included some unique puncture testing of their 3⁄16-inch-thick knife design.
In fact, that shared concern is what led the team to use the heat treated CPM-3V as their steel choice. “I expressed my initial concerns about tip performance under load and against organic material – knowing full well the historical concerns about the Fairbairn-Sykes breakage,” Hill said.
“I’d never seen a knife with that fine of a tip perform on a puncture test like that. It absolutely put to bed the concerns of ‘knife guys’ who said that it would be flimsy, or would snap off as soon as it hit a bone.”
The handcrafted grip, which consists of hand-filed graphite, olive drab, coyote, or black G10 scales, is designed with a neutral shape so that its user can handle the knife however they feel most comfortable with.
Like most knives meant for combat use, some specific training with this knife is highly recommended in order to be able to put it to good use in your time of need. The makers realize that need by including a $110 voucher for a Toris workshop with every knife purchase.
The Troika comes with a Toris draw-driven Kydex sheath and a steel trainer knife. The overall package is priced at $479. You can purchase the knife through toris.org. All in all, if you want a high-quality, purpose-built blade that was ultimately designed for rapid-penetration and rapid-release, then you’ll want to look at getting your hands on a Troika.
- Overall Length: 10″
- Cutting Edge: 5”
- Blade Material: CPM3V
- Handle Scales: G10
- Blade Length: 5.25″
- Blade Thickness: 5.56mm
- Blade Finish: Satin
- Weight: 500 grams