ESEE-4 Review as a Combat Knife – 2022 Update

ESEE Knives are still making some of the best combat knives on the market today. For their quality and price, these knives just can’t be beaten. They can however be matched but it takes a great knife to stand up to any of the ESEE models, especially the ESEE-4.

While this is an ESEE-4 review as a combat knife it can still be used for any other purpose and will perform just as well under any circumstance. We mention this only to inform you that this knife is being reviewed for its ability as a combat knife. We hope you like what you are about to see and please, feel free to keep reading.


Design and Dimensions

The ESEE-4 is one of the 4-inch models of knives that they are making and while its blade is not gigantic, it still gets the job done like its blade was bigger. That being said the actual blade length of this knife is 4.5 inches of 1095 carbon steel. The blade itself is 1.25 inches wide and .188 inches thick. The knife itself does have an extended tang meaning the metal itself runs from the tip of the blade all the way through to the end of the handle without breaks and extends out of the butt of the handle.

With an overall length of 9 inches, this is no small knife. The full/extended tang just adds to the durability of the knife allowing it to be used for prying and heavy-duty striking. A nice feature of this knife is that its overall length makes it easily concealable while not limiting your range of attack much when compared to a long knife. The fact is that if you have resorted to your knife chances are you are not looking for a long-distance attack anyway.


At 8 ounces without the sheath, this knife is very maneuverable for striking and stabbing motions. It also has a sort of hefty feel to it so you know when you are attempting a move there is some weight behind it along with the force of your strike. This is not only great for attacking an enemy but its nice for the chores and other needs of a soldier knowing your knife isn’t going to break doing some work with it. Also, keep in mind typically in the field you have to carry your belongings over long distances so at this weight it’s actually pretty light.


Steel Type

1095 Carbon Steel runs throughout the knife and while this is not the hardest steel on the market it’s still a high-quality steel. You will find that being made out of this type of steel gives the ESEE-4 the toughness it needs with the forgiveness necessary when mistakes are made. 1095 Carbon Steel holds an edge well and when it’s maintained properly will not rust. Overall this steel is strong, will hold an edge, and can be beaten on without too much worry.

Most blades forged out of this type of steel you will find with a coating to prevent rust and having to maintain the blade with oil after every use. Regular maintenance is a good thing to do when you can but with this blade’s powder coating it’s not necessary after every single use. Keep in mind if you are in a wet area or using the knife in an environment where moisture is common a rust inhibitor cloth is a good idea. Also keeping the knife as dry as possible when not in use will prevent a lot of the common rust issues.

Plain Blade or Serrated

While this review is using the plain blade as our example the knife does also come with a serrated blade option as well. Some people will tell you a plain blade is better or a serrated blade is better but in actuality, it’s a matter of what you intend to use the knife for or encounter while you are in the field. Another thing to mention is, serrated or not, is generally weighed heavily on your or a person’s preference.



Moving to the handle of the knife on the ESEE-4 you will find most models equipped with Micarta handles but again you have a choice to get one with G10 handles as well. Because this is an ESEE-4 review as a combat knife we recommend the canvas Micarta handles as the grip tends to be much better and if wet will not slip out of your hand. Another reason is that they are made to last and will not come apart while you’re in the middle of a situation where the G10 handles may chip or crack. But again this is a matter of personal preference, the ways you will use the knife in the field, and the environment you will be carrying it into.

On the other hand, you can purchase the handles you like best because they can be changed out easily but will not come off easily when it’s in use. The handles themselves are secured with 3 bolt fasteners keeping the handles securely in place and making them easy to remove. It’s never a good idea to make the handle change while you are moving or waiting to move because these bolts can be lost easily. The handle change should be made when you post up somewhere if you are going to change them in the field at all.

The pommel of the ESEE-4 is rounded making it a nice tool for striking opponents if needed or breaking open boxes and glass. There is also a hole in the pommel to allow a lanyard to be affixed for easy carrying or securing it to your person. Keep in mind this is not the only way to carry or secure this knife it’s just a nice feature to have if it was ever needed.


Sheathing and Complaints

The ESEE-4 typically comes with a Kydex sheath that can be worn on the right or the left for either left-handed people and right-handed people. 8 holes are in the sheath to allow it to be secured to vests, legs, and anywhere you may want or need to secure the knife while it’s not in use.

In our ESEE-4 Review, we did attempt to find any flaws presented with the knife for combat use but we didn’t find many. Many of the flaws we did find came after a lot of heavy use and improper maintenance. The handles started to wear after heavy use but replacing them easily solved that issue and the blade will rust if left in a high moisture area for extended amounts of time. Although using a dry film rust inhibitor cloth and proper maintenance kept the blade almost like new and in great condition. So all in all this is a great knife and high quality when taken care of.

Overall the ESEE-4 measures up very well as a combat knife and would be a great companion for any soldier in or out of combat and the field.