The Tactical Knife

The Tactical Knife


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15 Responses to The Tactical Knife

  1. Joachim says:

    Hello! I am a french living in Japan, I love your story with the long knife in France. I remember the place I live and the time I was boy scout. Sure I will do it when I will go back for november. Thank you very much for the informations in your book. Please continu to make us dreaming.

    • James Morgan Ayres says:

      Hello Joachim,

      Thank you for your comments. Glad to hear that you enjoyed that story and that you’ve found the information in The Tactical Knife to be useful. “Continue to make us dreaming,” is much what I try to do with many of my stories, or at least to make the events and the time and place, real for you. You might enjoy Killing Mr. Jones, The Jaguar’s Heart, or some of my other stories – link below. After a short time in Paris I’m now in Brittany and enjoying being here. We might in Paris in November, and if so, our paths might cross.

      Be well,


  2. Evan Harkey says:

    I just finished your book. Great read! I think about the “Long knife in a French forest” story every time I am in front of a camp fire when I am camping or hunting.

    I have always wanted to get a Randall, and the book helped me make up my mind. I just recieved my #1 special fighter. It has the # 1 blade with the # 14 full tang in a border patrol grip. I thought that it was the best of both models.

    I also wanted to know if you have ever seen the Jefferson Spivey “Saber Tooth” kinfe.
    I thought it was interesting that he came up with the idea for the knife on his 1968 coast to coast horse back ride.

    Evan Harkey

    • morgan says:


      Hi Evan,

      Thanks for your comments, glad you enjoyed The Tactical Knife and that the “French Forest’ story comes back to you – it does to me too. Sometimes when I’m stuck in a boring meeting I drift away and remember that night.

      I think you picked the best Randal and the best options. If these had been available ‘back in the day’ I would have ordered one set up exactly like yours.

      I did see the Jefferson Spivey story and knife, just after I returned from spending most of 1968 in Europe. I didn’t care much for the knife, but I did admire his spirt and his adventure. I wonder what’s become of him.

      Best regards,


  3. morgan says:

    Hi Jerry,

    Please do let me know how your knife donation works out. As to travel stories including knives, you might check out Knives Annual – I have one in that publication each year.



  4. Jerry Brouwer says:

    Hello Mr Ayres,

    thanks for keeping me informed, i think it is indeed a good thing that the companies donate directly. You should take great pride in being the first who made all of that happen.

    I do have contacts in the military, so that will work out.

    Thanks and have fun traveling ( I am looking forward to a new travelstory in Blades 2012 )

    Best regards, Jerry

  5. morgan says:

    Hi Jerry,

    I just heard from Steve and learned that Blade no longer operates the Soldier’s Knives program. This is due to the fact that many makers, perhaps inspired by my initial example, now donate directly to active duty service people. In addition, companies such as Spydero, CRK&T, and others have direct donation programs. All in all I think that’s a good thing in that the guys on the ground benefit from receiving far more knives then we could handle ourselves.

    If you have any contacts in the military I would encourage you to make a direct donation. A Google search will locate a number of sites where active duty service people congregate. If you decide to do this, please keep me informed and I will write about the results, photos help. If you would prefer, I will do my best to contact an active duty service person who needs a knife when I return from my current travels.

    Best regards,


  6. morgan says:

    Hi Jerry,

    Thanks for your thoughtful and laudatory comments. I’ll let you know as soon as I receive a response from Steve – he’s a VERY busy guy.


  7. Jerry Brouwer says:

    Thank you for forwarding my letter.

    I just wanted you to know that buying your book on tactical knives was one of the best investments i have made as a knifemaker. The insight in your tests and your view on the modern tactical knife made me learn alot.

    Best regards, Jerry Brouwer

  8. Jerry Brouwer says:

    Dear Sir, with great pleasure i have read your book on tactical knives.
    I am a beginning knifemaker in the Netherlands and i focus mainly on tactical
    knives. I make models with G10 and micarta grips, but i also make some knives
    with a japanese wrap, coated with epoxy.

    My heattreating is done by Bos and my kydex sheaths are made by Martinsheaths.

    In your book i learned about your knife for soldiers program and i would
    gladly send you a knife.
    I have one ready for imidiate shipment. It is a japanese style fixed blade
    with a chisel tanto blade ( a bit emerson style ) It comes with a kydex sheath
    and tek lock. The sheath is adaptable for molle, merc harness and iwb. The
    blade is cmp s30v 59/60 rc
    I can send you a picture if you like.

    If you provide me with an adres i will ship it asap.

    Keep up the good work,

    Best regards,

    Jerry Brouwer ( Netherlands )

    • morgan says:

      Dear Mr. Brouwer,

      Please excuse me for the delay in my response – I’ve been traveling and my
      email has been piling up. Thank you for your kinds words regarding my book,
      The Tactical Knife, and for offering to donate one of your knives to a
      However, due to various commitments I am no longer able to administer the
      ‘Soldier’s Knives’ program that I initiated. I will forward your letter to Steve Shackleford,
      the capable editor of Blade. I think Blade still has such a program.
      In any event, thanks again for your considerate offer.

      Best regards,

      James Morgan Ayres

  9. Neil says:

    Thank you so much for your prompt reply! I agree with everything you’ve pointed out. How could I have missed the fact that in all of my texts on edged weapons none of the “antique” pieces were equipped with a lanyard or even drilled for one. I can see your point regarding water operations but as I take great pains to avoid boats that will not be a problem for me! Finally I can ditch those blasted strings!

    I live in Oregon. Any recommendations for survival skills courses in the area?

    I am also interested in a kydex or a fine leather sheath being custom made for my Chris Reeve Shadow III. The issue one, while well crafted, just rides too high and digs into my ribs.

    Thanx again for the info,

  10. Neil says:

    Just finishing your Tactical Knives book. Great read barring some typos etc. I really like your work in Tactical Knives magazine also.
    You did not cover lanyards as far as I can tell in the book & I was wondering what your opinion on them is. I find them to be a royal pain but I also don’t work/play in super hostile environments. I notice in the book pics they are few and far between besides some fobs on a couple of folders. So, essential part of knife work or useless decoration?

    • morgan says:

      Hi Neil,
      Thanks for your comment, glad you liked the book and sorry about the typos. Publishing, like many industries, is today working under severe constraints and sometimes proofreaders get overwhelmed by their workload and deadlines.

      Your question about lanyards is an interesting one, both from a user’s point of view and historically. I didn’t cover lanyards because I find them to be an encumbrance rather than an aid. For my usage lanyards impede shifting grips, and, unless tightly wrapped around the hand or wrist, dangle and get in the way of whatever task I’m doing. The only time I ever invested much effort in trying lanyards was some years ago when I was doing a good deal of sailing and diving. Even then I found them to be useless and possibly dangerous. I do not drop my knives and so the only use for a lanyard I could think of was to, possibly, release the knife to free up my hand. Having a sharp blade dangling from my wrist was extremely uncomfortable and I quickly decided I would prefer to re-sheath before my knife became ‘a royal pain,’ as you put it.

      I did once, in a special circumstance, and on the advice of a respected old soldier, use a lanyard on a handgun for a short time. But I soon discontinued the practice, and anyway that’s a different application and a story for another time.

      I do recall one of my teammates who liked to wrap a leather thong he used as a lanyard on his Randall Model 14 tightly around his hand when chopping, but I have no knowledge if he used a lanyard for any other purpose. Nor have I seen others, even in extreme situations use a lanyard. Certainly no escrimador or fencer I have ever known has used one. Further, I’ve never seen a lanyard on any knife or edged tool, sword or edged weapon is any of the many museum collections I’ve studied. Those collections cover a period of centuries.

      As a lifetime student of almost everything I remain open to other points of view, but I do not use lanyards or like them.


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