A Russki’s View of the Emerson Government Mule

emerson government mule
January 16, 2016  
Categories: Assorted Ramblings

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Today our own transplanted Russian vodka lover opines on an American classic.  Mad Duo

Review – the Emerson Government Mule

Timur Aleksandrovich

Emerson Mule Fixed Blade

Ernest Emerson and Emerson Knives are well known for their folders; after all, Ernie is credited with creating some of the very first tactical folders, way back in the 1980s. Much has been written about his blades, from the custom knives he made for Navy SEAL teams to the production versions of those. For instance: the ES1-M evolved into the Commander and an ultra-rare CQC-6 that became a production CQC-7, which are some of the most popular and reviewed knives on the planet.

Unknown to many, Emerson also makes a few exceptional fixed blades, both custom and production. By no means will I try to argue that his fixed blades are better or worse than some from other great makers (such as Mick Strider’s and Daniel Winkler’s), but will rather humor you with my humble opinion of one of the newest Emerson models, the Government Mule.

Close up of the underside of the handle.

The Government Mule comes in three versions:

  • Government Mule A & B folders, full custom, 2013. Version A is Spearpoint and version B is Tanto ($1200+ street value, auctions/3rd party private sales only. I’ve seen about five of these knives for sale since 2013, a rare collector’s item.)
  • Government Mule fixed blade, full production, 2015 ($299, available online)

Close up of the blade.

Emerson Mule on a black background

Here is Emerson explaining the thinking behind this knife:

“The government mule was the workhorse of the US Military for almost 150 years. The government mule moved the army. All the supplies, food, ammunition, weapons, and artillery were dependent on the strength, endurance and dependability of this animal to get from one battlefield to the next. In fact our ability to wage war rode on the back of a government mule. The Emerson Government Mule knife has many of those same attributes”.

Government Mule Fixed Blade was officially introduced at Shot Show 2015 by Ernie. According to him, this knife is the strongest fixed blade he has ever made. The Mule is one bad motherfucker of a knife.

Disassembled Emerson Mule Knife

Mule 5 TF

Let’s look at the specifics and rate it.

Black and white photo of vodka being poured into shot glasses.

Size / Balance:

  • Overall length: 10.2”
  • Blade: 4.8”
  • Blade thickness: 0.175”
  • Balance: close to 50/50

Emerson Knives G Mule in the designated sheath

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It’s a big & heavy knife, and feels like a large metal file, rather than a typical cutting tool. The center of balance is just slightly behind an overall midpoint, making it a great fighting knife; the neutral balance allows very easy manipulation. Keep in mind, it’s HEAVY for a fighting knife – pizdas no need to apply.


  • Full tang, 154 CM steel, hardened to RC 57-59
  • Spearpoint, bullnose blade shape
  • Natural canvas Micarta scales attached to the tang by three heavy crossbolts
  • Shallow primary grind allowing the full thickness of the blade almost all the way to the tip (great if you need to use the Mule to pry)
  • Edge – same as most Emerson knives, sharpened on one side only (and razor fucking sharp)
  • Stonewash finish – non-reflective
  • Skull crusher – aka butt – extra large lanyard hole, big enough for a webbing loop
  • Aggressive and large finger guard & thumb ramp – this design allows additional force to be applied during forward thrust/stab.
  • ((“Bacon bits storage compartment” – small cutout in the tang, under the scales –  designed to hold a small amount of bacon, to ensure “sandbox” certification of the knife))
  • Blade serrations – optional

Mule 10 TF

Mule 11 TF

The Mule can be used as a pry bar if needed, and not just for lightweight bullshit prying either – it’s good for things like prying a door lock, or using as an improvised step for a 300lb man. This is definitely not your standard Russki-issued AK bayonet (google that piece of shit if you don’t know what it is).

Close up of the serrated section of the blade

Attachment / Carry

  • Precision mold kydex, enclosed in a ballistic nylon sheath (and removable)
  • Safety velcro loop for the handle
  • Multiple attachment options
  • Drain holes
  • Sharpener compartment

Somebody spent time designing this sheath. It’s fucking ugly, but brilliantly designed. Form follows the function.

Mule TF 9

The combination of great balance and great strength make the Government Mule an exceptional knife. It’s sized just about perfect – long enough as a field and a fighting knife , but short enough to comfortably fit on your gear. It also has that famous DNA, built upon 30+ years of tactical knife experience and real-world use.

Considering the very reasonable price, the Mule is an outstanding tactical blade. The only wish: “Bad Motherfucker” stamped on the blade.

Link to the Mule: Government Mule | Fixed Blade | Emerson Knives, Inc.

Learn more about Emerson knives here. You can find ’em on Facebook right here or follow them on Instagram, @emersonknivesinc. If you’re a Twitter-er, their handle there is @emerson_knives.

Shot of Vodka

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Timur Kupa 1

About the Author Timur Kupa

Timur Aleksandrovich is former taiga-frolicking proud bacon- and big-dog-loving American who ain’t from around these parts. We can’t tell you where he comes from, but we can say he grew up wearing a fuzzy hat, loves vodka (which he pronounces WODka) and never does anything without a plan. Though his profession has nothing to do with anything tactically sexy (that we’re gonna tell you about), Tim knows his way around guns and gear. Luckily he made so much money in the 90s selling off Sukhoi Su-47s, souped up BTR-90s and that one cherry MD-160 Ekranoplan to Jacobim Mugatu he can still afford all kinds of cool toys. Timka is an extraordinarily proficient shooter and prefers timepieces that weigh as much as a small child. He is evil genius smart, retard strong and easygoing as an Amish guy stoned on Sunday. You may have read about him in a couple things written by Tolstoy and Mikhail Sholokhov (or maybe it was Pasternak, we can never remember). We hang around with him not so much because we like him but because he sounds like Col. Strelnikov when he talks, and because he lets his Great Danes wear shemaghs. We’re still holding out hope he’ll someday show up to the range with an original 1983 Jatimatic 9x19mm SMG and lots of ammo. A desultory meteorologist and member in good standing of our “Everyman Tactical” element, Tim is a graduate of Grosse Pointe High School and is a Martin Blank cynicist in good standing. Most of this we’re just making up of course, but he really does look good in those shaggy hats and he really is gay for watches and knives. If you’re the stalking sort you can creep on him by watching him on the live webcam he has in his outhouse on the steppe right here.

Grunts: desultory.

Right before Swingin’ Dick (foreground) drank Timka (seated) under the table.

Timur Kupa 6

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    That Casio Mudman…I know it’s off topic, but I’ve been looking at them since your (great) review. One day I’ll get the cash saved…

    • praharin

      Only if by same price you mean an MSRP of $100 more and a similar steet price. Funny though, I wouldn’t want to carry that big guy in modern combat. And I carried a Strider BN in Iraq early in the war. The Gov Mule is much more practical. He bravo 1 would be a better comparison, I think.


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