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Picking a Randall for military use (pilot)

Discussion in 'The Randall Made Knives Collector's Forum' started by Jack88, May 19, 2018.

  1. Jack88

    Jack88

    192
    Jun 16, 2017
    So to preface this I'm a Helo pilot with the Navy and I'm considering a Randall for my vest while flying on mission. I've scoured the forums for information on the knives but I concluded it was best just to come direct to the source and ask for opinions.

    I've narrowed it down to two the catalog models 14/15. I just can't decide if the 14 would be too large to carry on my vest (I'm a big guy 6'2 210 I wear a large vest).

    So my original specifications for the knife were:
    - It needs to be able to break glass
    - Sharp enough to cut obstructing cords and straps should they fail on an emergency egress
    - Large enough for camp work in a survival situation
    - Be a capable fighter if it came down to it
    [​IMG]
    I've been back and forth on stainless steel versus carbon steel. Stainless would be easier to maintain but in any survival situation not looking at being in the field long enough for caring about rust. Haven't found anything conclusive about either steel anyway and stainless would be harder to acquire as I'd probably have to buy from a dealer at an increased price rather than use the company's military buy option.

    I've also decided against the saw teeth, I don't like how to profiles the blade away from being a fighter and there's no situation I can see of when I'd use them. Seems like a gimmick of the past no longer needed (maybe it was with the Huey idk)

    So asking those who own either knife, how is it in comfort of carry? I'd certainly buy an after market kydex sheath so it would go on my gear easier. If there are any prior aircrew either with expert opinion even better.[​IMG]

    I own plenty of other manufactured knives including a few Winklers (who was my second choice) but I've always wanted a Randall and want this to be a heirloom knife that I can tuck away with other service memorabilia and display proudly one day.
    [​IMG]

    So please I'd be honored with your opinions or even other Randall suggestions should you have any.
     
  2. Steven65

    Steven65 Traditional Hog Platinum Member

    Mar 11, 2008
    Hi. Thank you for your service.

    Just a suggestion.......

    The non catalogue 4-6" Fighter is a great knife and may fulfil your needs while being smaller and easier to carry.
    They are a little tough to find but a good dealer like Gary Clinton could get you one fairly quickly.

    Personally I like the Stainless 440B. I own many Randalls and I have always favoured the stainless over the carbon, but that's just me.

    Here is the link to Randall's catalogue....... http://www.randallknives.com/knives/4-6-fighter/

    The 6" Model 1 may also be something you may consider.

    Best of luck with your search and please post again when you have made your choice.:)
     
  3. Jack88

    Jack88

    192
    Jun 16, 2017
    Thank you for the thoughtful post! I’ve honestly never seen that model before, looks exceptional as a fighter but I’d be curious of its performance in smashing it against hard objects (a plexiglass window) due to the alignment of its tip. I’m building up a question list to ask when I call them again on Monday. I was totally sold on the 15 before but now I’m leaning towards a larger blade.
     
  4. Melvin-Purvis

    Melvin-Purvis Not a Registered User Staff Member Super Mod

    Jan 14, 2001
    Jack, welcome, and thanks from here for your service as well. The full-tang models, (#14/15/16/17/16-7) are going to be your better options, IMO, coming from a guy that's owned all the models in most configurations (I quit counting years ago after the 800th RMK owned, most now sold) - there are many options available, but regardless of your personal size, space is still going to be a premium. The Model #14 is a large knife, the Model #17 more of a novelty than an all-purpose knife based on smallish handle size, and the Model #16 is for all intents and purposes a Divers knife; this leaves you with the Model #16-7, basically a full-tang Randall Model #1 Fighting Knife with 7" blade (again, long in length), and the Model #15 Airman with a 5.5" blade.

    The Model #16-7 is my personal favorite and will be one of the last to go, but in your case I'd recommend the Model #15 with some options. The #16-7 only comes in SS, and that would be my recommendation for the Model #15 too, if for no reason other than ease of maintenance. The stock four finger-grip handle is limited in versatility, so I'd recommend the optional single-finger groove or deep-bellied 'Border Patrol' shaped handle instead, with emphasis in the BP over the SFG. A forward-curved hilt 'FCH' (guard) is going to add to the feel of a longer handle, especially for a guy with large hands, and will be better suited for the odd thrust if needed. Agreed on the lack of saw teeth as being desirable, but there is a saw teeth/no saw teeth blade option that gives two cutting edges. I'd suggest considering that as well, and ordering the FCH in Nickel-Silver doesn't cost a dime more than ordering it in stock brass, so would recommend that also.

    That's a lot of words, so here are some photos of sets I ordered a few years ago. Randall Model's #14, #15, and #16, in green Micarta with SFG handles, and Model #14, #15 in black Micarta with BP handles. Feel free to ask any questions you might have about the knives, sheaths, carry methods, etc. Someone here will have an answer. (those are optional waxed, no hone sheaths in the first photo, black sheaths in the second.) Hope that helps...

    Buck_4.jpg

    Buck_3.jpg
     
  5. Jack88

    Jack88

    192
    Jun 16, 2017
    Wow that’s a huge amount of Randall knives and a depth of knowledge. I was sold on the 15, but I ask myself now what’s two extra inches and it would vastly improve the ability of the knife. I’m going to go in and play with my vest a bit to see if it would be uncomfortable to sit like that in the helicopter.

    I’ve seen a lot of people rail against the finger grip handle but i tend to believe the extra grip would be helpful in the worst of situations (upside down in the helicopter stuck on something preventing egress)

    Now I guess I was under the impression that it took years to get a custom Randall but I’ve seen the third party dealers who cut the time down. The company itself has a military program but they don’t allow any customization and only a 3 month wait.

    The 16-7 (SP1 fighter) has admittedly drawn my eye recently, what’s the difference between the blade on the 14 and the 16-7 SP1? It doesn’t seem as large. Is it lighter?
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2018
  6. Jack88

    Jack88

    192
    Jun 16, 2017
    Those customizations are pretty sweet but will probably run me an extra $200 at least. Are they all worth it? And do you know of anyone that makes lined kydex sheaths for Randall? I’ve been spoiled by winkler’s sheaths.
     
  7. Melvin-Purvis

    Melvin-Purvis Not a Registered User Staff Member Super Mod

    Jan 14, 2001
    Jack, the Model #14 has a 7.5" blade that is 1-1/4" from blade spine to cutting edge, vs. 7.0" and 1-1/8" on the Model #16-7. Authorized dealers are the way to go to shorten the wait time. Are the options 'worth it'? To me they are. Options cost extra up front, but that cost is typically recovered upon resale - and if you decide to never sell, you'll have an upgraded knife built to your taste.
     
  8. Jack88

    Jack88

    192
    Jun 16, 2017
    Between the model 14 and the SP1 what are your opinions? I’ve read that the SP1 is the same blade as the original model 1.

    I tend to agree about the mods, I want this knife to be a heirloom and far outlast me
     
    Melvin-Purvis likes this.
  9. Melvin-Purvis

    Melvin-Purvis Not a Registered User Staff Member Super Mod

    Jan 14, 2001
    As mentioned above, the #16-7 (SP1) is my personal favorite, primarily because I look it as a full-tang (stronger) version of the classic Randall Model #1-7; but that's more of a nostalgic preference than anything. The Model #14 is a large knife, there's just no getting around that. Large knives can be heavier, less useful, and slower to get into the fray (that's simple physics) - you'll obviously choose which model best suits your own preferences, but to your original question, the Model #15 is called the 'Airman' for a reason, and IMO is still your best bet. My mention of options was just to give you an idea of what was possible. That said, I have a very special Model #15 I'll take a photo of if you're interested. I would consider selling, but it won't be cheap; it's the best of the breed, the nicest I've owned...
     
  10. Danke42

    Danke42

    Feb 10, 2015
    Post the picture!!!!

    I really do need a Randall knife. Next gun show I'll have to go in and try and negotiate a bit harder. I see the same couple knives in the cases every year. The prices aren't super out of line but if they're not selling they must be a bit high.
     
    Melvin-Purvis likes this.
  11. Melvin-Purvis

    Melvin-Purvis Not a Registered User Staff Member Super Mod

    Jan 14, 2001
    Hah! It's never been photographed before, so I'll need to drag out the light tent tomorrow. It's the earliest Model #15 ST/NST I've ever seen. Things were done differently, back then... o_O
     
  12. Jack88

    Jack88

    192
    Jun 16, 2017
    Well you’ve certainly picqued my interest! I’d love to see it out of curiosity young officer pay doesn’t make me much of a collector at this point though!
     
  13. Jack88

    Jack88

    192
    Jun 16, 2017
    So I’m going with this model 15, going to take nearly a year to get but it’s just too damn sexy.
    [​IMG]

    So I do want to take advantage of the military buy program and in lieu of cancelling a different knife order I had I can afford another so if you had to buy a base model what do you think a: 1-7, a 14 or the SP1? As more of a collectors item, not much of a user. Have other blades to beat to hell
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2018
    rexromic likes this.
  14. junglefighter

    junglefighter

    220
    Aug 13, 2008
    My son and I are retired from the military.. He took my randall 15 with him on his many trips to the sand box and had no complaints about it from his command.. That is one thing you need to consider before strapping a BFK to your vest along with the comfort of carrying it all the time in the cockpit. I had several friends who flew on helos and aerovac airframes.. When they came to me for ideas on what to carry, I recommended the cold steel srk for their survival kits. But this was before they shipped their stuff off and started using inferior steel (IMHO)
    I packed many a medical survival kit and my son worked around a lot of different airframes during our military career.. I personally carried a randall 14 when in the field as a medic and my son carried my randall 15..
     
    Jack88 and Melvin-Purvis like this.
  15. Melvin-Purvis

    Melvin-Purvis Not a Registered User Staff Member Super Mod

    Jan 14, 2001
    Jack, I think that if you can't temper your enthusiasm, you should just buy whatever sparks your momentary fancy. You'll have a lifetime to rethink your decision. :thumbsup:

     
    Jack88 likes this.
  16. Jack88

    Jack88

    192
    Jun 16, 2017
    Yeah the comfort consideration is what made me settle on the smaller model 15. As for the command question I’m not sure about that, I’m still in the frs. The PR’s yesterday acted as if I wouldn’t be able to add anything to my vest, I know that is BS though we get an extra 5lbs and I know for a fact various friends have carried fixed blades overseas in the cockpit. Some marines even strap a KaBar on lol.

    Did you both use after market sheaths? I’ve seen a couple kydex companies that make them for Randall’s though none that line them the way Winkler does. Any suggestions?
     
  17. Jack88

    Jack88

    192
    Jun 16, 2017
    Honestly the SP1 tickles my fancy, I love the blade profile as matching the original model 1 and it’s at least stainless on the base model. I ordered a benchmade infidel week’s ago to find its at best quasi legal here in Virginia. So I think I’ll be returning it, unbelievable the archaic knife laws some places.
     
  18. junglefighter

    junglefighter

    220
    Aug 13, 2008
    I used the leather sheath and kept it well treated with minks oil.. I am in the process of getting another one so I can send my 14 in for the spa treatment..
     
  19. Jack88

    Jack88

    192
    Jun 16, 2017
    Don't think that'll work for strapping it to my vest, do you know of any lined kydex sheath makers for Randall?
     
  20. cut_n_run

    cut_n_run

    178
    Apr 29, 2005
    Have you thought about one of these sheaths? picture
     

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