Recently, I received an HR-1 Fighting Blade from Hard Ready, for test and evaluation. This is a fixed blade knife intended for “fighting.”
For 29 years, I served in my state’s prison system, both as an officer, tactical team member, and member of treatment staff. As such, I’ve observed and been an (unwilling) participant in a large number of attacks involving edged weapons. I base my evaluations of fighting knives from these experiences.
With the knife comes a Kydex sheath that is well thought out and constructed, complete with a stainless steel clip to attach to a belt or pockets. The clip has an interesting tab on the inside that will catch on the belt or pants pocket, which aids in retention.
Screws on the clip and holes in the sheath allow for a variety of mounting options, and the sheath can be configured to carry high or low. The clip can also be reversed to allow for upside-down carry for attaching to load-bearing equipment and such. The clip can also be mounted to either side of the sheath, allowing for ambidextrous carry. The sheath does a nice job of retaining the knife very securely and allows a reasonably fast draw. It is black in color, as is the knife.
The blade length on this one is listed at 2.5 inches, with the overall length being 7.125 inches. The thickness of the steel is .125 inches, and it is constructed from German X30Cr13 steel. The tip of this knife is the American Tanto variety, which is a good choice for a knife intended for defensive purposes.
Another advantage of this particular knife is that it is a fixed blade, which is faster to deploy than a folding knife for obvious reasons. The old adage of “Yank and Shank” applies here. The 2.5-inch long blade will be legal in many locales where a longer-bladed knife would be illegal to carry, so that is an advantage as well. The entire thing is also very flat, so concealability is aided by that fact.
There is also a training knife included that is made from aluminum, matching the dimensions of the real knife, and it fits in the sheath as well. This is a good idea because the user can train and not worry about harming a training partner (or himself) when practicing.
So far, those are the positive aspect of what I liked about the knife system. Unfortunately, there are some other facets that I did not care for, which I will delve into.
A knife intended for defensive combat (or any combat) really needs to have a length of more than 2.5 inches. Sure, 2.5 inches is better than no knife at all, I get that, and if that’s all I had with me and my life were in danger, I’d use it. That said, we really need something longer, closer to four inches or even longer, to reach the vital organs of an attacker.
The thickness is also an issue for me because the entire knife has one-piece construction and does not have any scales on the handle. So that handle is .125 inches of bare steel and is just about as uncomfortable as it gets as far as knife handles are concerned. To make matters more difficult, the finger grooves don’t match up to my grip well at all (these factors are purely subjective for me, other users might differ). Adding some grip scales would go a very long way in making this knife something that I’d consider picking up.
At the butt of the knife is a ring, much like we see on karambits that seem to be all the rage these days. Personally, I don’t like the idea of hooking a digit into a circular ring on any knife, this one included. The ring makes an already uncomfortable grip even more so for my hands. I also tried the knife in reverse grip (tip down, or “ice pick” grip) and it was even less comfortable than in the Saber Grip.
Overall, this knife has some pros and cons, and unfortunately, the cons outweigh the pros for my taste and needs. This is not one that I will be carrying for defense.