Two years ago, my now wife bought me my Esee 4HM for Christmas. Two years later, it’s the fixed blade that rides on my belt on every outdoor adventure. While I’ll still reach for other tools depending on the purpose and what I have access to, this is my do-all, jack-of-all-trades. While the same blade dimensions and specs as the Esee 4, this model has a handle modification that sacrifices size for comfort and use. The standard Esee 4 is the choice for many other Esee owners.
About the Esee 4HM
The HM value stands for “Handle Modification.” The current version, the 4HMB has more defined edges but the overall shape is still the broom-handle and removal of the choil. The design is something that mixes Esee’s notoriety in bombproof knives, backed by a generous lifetime warranty, and bushcraft ergonomics.
Fixed blade standards are all here:
- Fixed Tang
- 8.875-in full length with a 4.375-in blade length
- 3/16-in blade thickness (0.188 according to Esee)
- 1095 High Carbon steel
- Coated for oxidation resistance
- Bulletproof canvas micarta handle
- Lanyard hole
Esee 4HM Review
I should start off with what my interests and applications are. I’m not military and don’t have full interest in survival-only scenarios. However, my interest in survival is there. I like the idea of a sturdy blade that I can use for a variation of tasks that could get me out of a hairy situation. I’m also not an artist of the woods with my bushcraft skills, but my interest in bushcraft has many applications.
I’m somewhere in between as an outdoorsman. I like to go on adventures that take me outside. The vehicles of which I do so are in hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, backpacking, treasure hunting, and off-roading. I do spend some time playing with bushcraft as well as some time minimizing my gear and practicing survival techniques.
That all being said, I’m in between on all tool fronts. I don’t want to pick between my KaBar Bk2 or my Cold Steel Finn Wolf. The size of the Esee 4HM is considered a ‘tweener,’ or in-betweener.
The size isn’t ideal to split wood nor is it ideal to whittle. However, it is the goldilocks zone for me. I CAN split wood with it and with the use of some paracord, chopping is not a chore. It is small enough to do fine work like cutting notches and making points. As far as hunting knife sizes go, this works great. It is the right size to skin an animal with and is robust enough to baton through a bone rib cage.
Esee 4HM Drawbacks
A jack of all trades and a master of none comes to mind. Because the knife is coated, putting it through meat feels strange. You can remove the coating with aircraft stripper but that allows the knife to be susceptible to oxidation. I have left mine on as it allows me to be more careless with keeping dry. I live close enough to the ocean to where my other steel does take on a patina. If coating is preferred, this coating is great and durable.
As mentioned, the sizes of the knife makes it capable for all tasks, but does no tasks masterfully. If I’m at camp with multiple tools around, I reach for the Ka-Bar when batoning and my Cold Steel for feather sticking. For cutting rope or digging something out of a tree, the Esee 4HM is the one that is closest to me. However, I’ve used the Esee 4HM for both tasks when something easier isn’t available.
It isn’t much to do with the actual knife, but the leather sheath isn’t anything to write home about. I haven’t upgraded my leather sheath as it falls into the zone of ‘ain’t broke, don’t fix,’ but it might be worth considering.
It’s backed behind a warranty that allows me to put it through actual use. It is a robust survival knife with the ergonomics of a bushcraft knife. The Handle Mod in Esee 4HM allows the knife to be used comfortably for any project you’re using it for. 1095 HC steel is basic, but boy does it sharpen up nicely, especially with my Lanksy sharpening system. After sharpening it to an atom-splitting edge, I’ve only had to strop it here and there to get it back to scary. I’d rather be intimately familiar with a common steel like 1095 than use an unfamiliar super steel.
It’s a good knife. Not too much, not too little. It’s in the goldilocks zone.