ESEE 3 is one the smaller knives designed by ESEE knives for utility and general field work. If you are looking for smaller survival knife or want to add little versatility then this ESEE Model 3 will be an excellent choice. ESEE-3 is among the very first knives designed by ESEE Knives with expertise of Jungle Survival Instructors with no compromise on high performance and durability.
When it comes to survival knife and survival, one thing you always read and hear it’s the emphasis on quality of fixed blade knife. It’s the hardest item one can reproduce in the wild. Its ability can make you or break you. Knowing if anything goes wrong, all you have to survive in the wild so you must be prepared every time you for in wild.
What to look for Survival Knife?
I am working professional who spends his 5 days in a city, where I use folding pocket knives whereas, on weekends no matter what I head to my farms (ranch) 303 hectares. I spend my time hunting and relaxing. At times I do go hunting to Northern areas and other remote locations with my friends but it’s mostly when I take holidays. This is where I always need survival knives for all types of bush craft tasks. With that being said, I must recommend few requirements for a knife which I take whenever I go out which are:
Full tang knife is a must carry in bag pack or preferably on belt.
Blade steel must be easy to maintain in the field with less time to re-sharpen it and more edge retention time
Handle must comfortable to grip which is a must for batoning and other tasks.
Lanyard hole with lanyard making batoning and carrying easier.
Knife must have 3” to 4“inches of at least inches blade and I prefer drop points because of their belly.
** Once I hurt myself with a bigger knife while trying to do a fine work. That experience taught me a lesson.
This small ESEE 3 knife is quit handy for small bush craft tasks. Whereas as for batoning I prefer Fallkniven S1 as it’s much stronger in terms of steel and bigger in size too. You can also use ESEE 6 for those purposes but ESEE 3 or Ontario Rat 3 are fine is for general field or utility tasks. The Serrated options are preferred for camping or hiking as you might be cutting the ropes etc.
Variants in ESEE 3
Following are main variants in ESEE Model as per edge type, blade finish and sheath and optional finishes you can have:
Plain Edge, Black Blade, Coyote Brown Sheath
Sharpened TOP Edge + Plain Edge Black Blade, Coyote Brown Sheath
Partially Serrated, Black Blade, Coyote Brown Sheath
Sharpened TOP Edge + Partially Serrated, Black Blade, Coyote Brown Sheath
Plain Edge, Modified Pommel, Black Blade, Coyote Brown Sheath
Partially Serrated, Modified Pommel, Black Blade, Coyote Brown Sheath
Plain Edge Only, Dark Earth Blade, Black Sheath, MOLLE Back
Plain Edge Only, Modified Pommel, Venom Green Blade, Black Sheath
Plain Edge Only, Uncoated Blade, Coyote Brown Sheath
Plain Edge Only, Uncoated Blade, Coyote Brown Sheath, MOLLE Back
Esee 3 Fixed Blade Knife Review
This ESEE-3 has got the same privileges of its smaller and bigger brothers. i.e. “No Questions Asked”. Yes, it’s really true with ESEE Knives as they have a superb warranty policy on their website. If anything happens to your knife, given you have misused it, abused it, they will not ask any question but simply replace the product. Thus, it comes with 100% unconditional lifetime guarantee as ESEE knives stands behind their knives. This is similar to Dawson Knives.
As per the price, yes, it’s expensive as compared to RAT 3 and many other 3” fixed blade knives.
Given ESEE does not give warranty against corrosion and rust on its blade as it’s made of 1095HC steel, and is more like get rust if not maintained properly.
General Blade details and Dimensions
You will see that ESEE-3 does great in most situations from hiking trips and while life on farm (ranch). Total length of ESEE-3 is 8.31 “with cutting edge of 3.375” having 5.2 oz. in hand with 9.3 oz. with sheath.
Making it great all-purpose and light carry knife. Every ounce you carry matters when you are hiking and its weight makes it great carry knife.
The drop point blade of ESEE-3 has flat grind, which is excellent for batoning and superb for slicing. There are versions in this knife which has combo edge but for survival needs, plain edge is fine. But if you have any tactical use then you must go with combo versions of this knife.
As per the construction of knife is concerned, as said earlier, its full tang knife which comes with powder coated in black or desert tan. The 1095HC steel is durable and easy to sharpen and has good edge retention and ESEE heat treats its knives really fine so these knives hardly chip even you abuse them. But remember 1095 high Carbon steel is not stainless steel.
Therefore, if it’s been used in water or in wet climates it will rust. Its recommended by ESEE Knives to use dry film rust inhibitor such as TUF-GLIDE or TUF-CLOTH to keep them properly oil and cleaned. But on cheaper and handier side is using WD 40.
Survival knives small or big must have be comfortable to use and that’s with ESEE 3 too. If you examine the tang and handle scales you will see that everything is flush, NO Gaps or Protruding Edges over or under the tang. As this knives carries true production values and quality standard that ESEE Knives adheres to. As per the handle length is adequate. There are no hot spots being felt by the users and ESEE-3 provide good and relatively comfortable grip too.
Micarta Handle Scales
According to some reviewers, they say that only drawback or deal breaker are the Micarta handles that ESEE 3 has but, frankly, what can be better than Micarta handle scales when we compared them against other materials. The handle scales of ESEE Model 3 are made with Micarta with different colors and designs to choose from and they are great not in terms of grip but Micarta is highly appreciated for its texture and comfort.
The Micarta handle scales on the ESEE-3 knife are fixed onto the tang with 3 Allen bolts which are nicely milled and rounded. They are flush with tang and provide good grip with no hotspots either.
In Blade HQ website, if you see the technical specifications, you will see, it as tactical! Actually, the pommel (butt) of ESEE 3 is pointed and as per ESEE Knives it can be used as glass breaker. Because you have serrated versions of this knife which are great for cutting seat belts and other materials.
But frankly with plain edge, you can have the tactical advantage to seriously injure someone with it. Last, the lanyard hole which is drilled into the pommel and its essential for heavy chopping and other hard tasks if you ever need.
The Jimping on the tang are great addition not only to its design but also in use. As the blade of ESEE-3 has finger grove cut and jimping through which you can easily choke up on the knife and get a grip beyond the bolster for delicate working which definitely requires more control and it’s safe to do it as well.
ESEE 3 Sheath
The standard Sheath of ESEE 3 is made of molded Kydex just like Fallkniven F1 but this has a boot clip. The sheath has drain hole which keeps your blade dry to delay the rusts. An additional MOLLE Adapter is made of Cordura which provides an option to mount the sheath with MOLLE system.
Whenever you secure the knife in its sheath, it snaps and firs together. There is also a retention strap and an elastic over which can be used if you want to mount your ESEE 3 Sheath for upside down carry. Thus, the ESEE-3 sheath is really well done and it serves its purpose as intended.
Best Uses of ESEE-3
Good for making wood chips, cuttings for starting fire
Best for cutting ropes and other small hiking or field tasks
Best for food prep like cutting fruits, vegetables etc. when camping
Esee 3 is also like by law enforcement because of its small profile, light weight and easy to carry options, it has with its sheath.
Great for skinning big game too. Given my friend who is good at skinning did it but it all went good and he likes the knife quite a much.
Comparisons of Esee 3 with Other knives
I have already compared ESEE 3 with Fallkniven F1 in very detail while I was reviewing Fallkniven F1 knife series. Here, are few more comparisons of ESEE 3 fixed blade knife with other contenders which are as under:
Esee 3 HM Vs Esee 3 Vs Esee 3 MIL
Please note that, there is just a slight difference of blade size, cutting edge and knife handle of ESEE HM as compared with ESEE 3 & ESEE 3 MIL. Given there are so many versions of ESEE 3, with different handle materials, colors, blade finishes with black or OD Sheaths. It’s up to you guys to see which suits your taste. I’ll be giving the links in the end from where you can buy them for lowest prices, if you want to.
Ontario RAT 3 Vs ESEE 3
Comparing ESEE 3 with Ontario Rat 3 is really a due thing, there are so many similarities in both yet just few difference which ESEE-3 knife burdens pocket more than the Ontario Rat 3.
Similarities ESEE 3 VS ONTARIO RAT 3
Country of Origin: Both are made in USA
Blade Steel: Both have the 1095 Steel that offers great edge retention, great wear resistance, and toughness, and comes with low corrosion resistance.
Blade Thickness: Both knives have a very close thickness between 0.13” and 0.125”.
Design: Have almost same or very close design that comes with finger choil and Jimping spine. Twin brothers of each other
Handle: Rat 3 and ESEE 3 both have Non Slippery handles made from Micarta
Differences ONTARIO RAT 3 VS ESEE 3
Blade Length: RAT 3 has 3.75” blade length whereas ESEE 3 has 3.875” of blade length, frankly, it’s just on paper difference, doesn’t make much difference in use even visually.
Sheath: ESEE 3 comes with a Plastic Sheath Whereas Ontario Rat 3 comes with a Nylon Sheath.
Pommel (Butt): Ontario RAT 3 pommel is rounded whereas ESEE 3 pommel is pointed and can be used as glass breaker or to injure someone as tactical use in case of emergency.
ESEE-3 Review Final Thoughts
If you are looking a survival knife under 100$ then this is a great choice backed by Lifetime warranty & replacement. ESEE 3 may not be a true and excellent survival knife as compared to ESEE 5 or ESEE 6, or even the expensive ones like Fallkniven Knives, but it’s a great small size general field knife for sure and can do different utility tasks with ease.
This ESEE-3 is definitely high quality and heavy duty fixed blade knife. Especially, if you want something on a smaller level. The big belly having flat grind, choil and jimping with pointed pommel makes it a great camping and tactical knife. Best for small game hunting and is skinning big game for sure.
Pros & Cons of Esee 3 Knives
Lightweight (5.2 oz.)
Superior heat treatment
Tough enough to handle any task
Concealable for tactical use
Relatively high priced, but has high quality sheath
Will easily rust if not maintained properly
Not Great Value against Fallkniven F1 as per price