BK&T Brute vs Busse "E" Battle Mistress (Battle Royal)-1st Impressions

Oct 5, 1998
Siting in front of me are 2 very fine, purpose driven blades.The BKT Brute and Infi-"E" Battle Mistress by Busse Combat.
The Brute has been around in several different incarnations for about 7-8 years. It was a Blackjack/Becker design that was originally offered in 440C, then 0170-6, then 1095, and now(2000) 0170-6C (again) by Camillus Cutlery.

The BM-"E" is the latest, greatest incarnation of Nuclear Toughness by Jerry Busse and crew. It the evolution of a very respected design that has also been around for a good while.

Both are big (9.5" of sharpened edge)
Thick (.260-I would bet 1/4" before coating)
And Black......

Carbon tool steel is the order of the day.
"Infi" proprietary on the BM vs. 0170-6 proprietary on the BKT.

The next few days, myself and a team of devoted rednecks will attempt to determine which knife is "better", although I hate to use that terminology. As this time I will make a few handling and cosmetic comparisons.

Handle-The BKT handle, although smooth, is very comfortable and fairly secure. I have wide, thick hands and fingers of above average length. The BKT handle is quite a bit wider and thicker than the "E" handle on the BM. The handle is an excellent fit around the tang with one side approximately a thumbnail's thickness lower on the top and around the pommell. Overall very nicely matched up. The screw holes are deep, but do not offend my hands. Actually, the left side center screw hole performs as an index mark and tells me when I have a "good" grip.

The BM handle is quite thinner than the BKT and aggressively textured in a diamond quilted pattern. This pattern does a nice job locking the knife in the hand, but I am curious to see what long term comfort while chopping is like. The fit of the handles to the tang is about twice as bad as the BKT (maybe 1/2 as good?)leaving a strip all the way around the handle that sticks out past the scales a bit over 1/32" all around. The height varies slightly. The deep rivet dimples, and the periphery of the handle edges are somewhat square and sharp. Not real comfortable at all. The shape of the grip, and dual "Talon" design locks the grip in nicely, though. We will see about long term comfort later this weekend....

One area where the BKT handle is clearly better thus far is in upside down use. Using the back of the blade as a hammer is something around camp that I do all the time. Whether its beating rusty nails back in a board or securing tree-stand steps, hammering with the spine of a long, heavy blade is a common field usage. The BKT handle is very comfortable in the use, while the BM handle is absolutely uncomfortable due to the radically curved shape and extended pinkie hook.

FINISH-The powder coat finish on the BKT is slightly smoother than that on the BKT. It is also -slightly- more abrasion resistant, if my scratching with a metal ruler is a fair test. The BKT finish should be slightly easier to clean than the Busse. We will see. Both were very uniformly applied and of even thickness.

The Brute Blade is much more complex than the relatively simple BM blade. The recurved Brute has 6 seperate machine grinding operations done to it, while the BM has 2. All grinds are well executed, and the sharpening bevels remain fairly consistent throughout the OAL of the 2 blades. Since the Brute, and the BM get slightly thicker towards the tip, the bevel also gets slightly wider.

The BM blade is an excellent shape, although
find that its choil is too small to be a "working choil", and I have already drawn
blood handling it. The Brute has a larger area, although flat for choking up if you find that necessary.

Sharpness-Both had the original factory polished edges. The BKT edge was slightly more polished and popped arm hair and sliced paper easier than the BM. The BM edge was a bit grabbier, and may turn out to be the more aggressive cutter on rope.

Edge Geometry-This is going to be interesting. The Brute has conventional sharpening bevels, while the BM has a "scalloped" edge, a Busse trademark that may enhance chopping and promote easier sharpening in the field.

The Brute measures .045" at the top of the sharpening bevel at its thinnest area (near choil) and for the bulk of the remainder of the first 7 inches or so (from the rear) is closer to.060" at the top of the sharpening bevel, while the BM is nominally about .055" through its straight edge , and gets a bit ticker through the tip with the "sweet spot" around .075" The sweet spot of the BKT is about 10 thousandths thicker. The edge geometry award goes to the BM at this point, but there are many unanswered questions.
The BM is also quite thinner 1/2 way up the blade (.155" vs .225 BKT) This makes sense, since the BKT has a shorter, sabre grind, and the Busse is full height ground from the top.

The BKT has a nice recurve that may offset the thicker edge geometry somewhat. We shall see.

Will the thinner edge wedge more? How does the 0170-6 stack up to the "INFI" in the BM?

SHEATH-BKT has a decent kydex sheath. Very secure, rattle free. The BM has a very nice cordura sheath with kydex liner. The BM sheath has a nice accessory pocket and seems to be quite ruggedly constructed.

One advantage to kydex in a tropical environment was relayed to me by a former DEA operator. In parts of Central America that he visted, the bugs were so bad that food and blood left on a cordura nylon sheath would be attacked by insects and they would actually eat the tasty nylon, as well as leather in no time flat rendering them useless, and by the sounds of it, quite nasty. Kydex may be weaker than cordura in a polar environment. Take your pick.

The BKT sheath has numerous lashing rivets around its edges-I like that feature. The BM sheath does not. Retention on the BM sheath is solely by snap. The BKT sheath has molded kydex retention, and snap.
Retention wise, the BKT sheath is a winner, For all around use the cordura covered kydex stiffener BM sheath should also suffice. At this time I prefer the dual security of the BKT kydex, I will not be riding around on a 4-wheeler without the BM sheath securely snapped, while I would feel comfortable doing this with the Brute.

The BKT Brute is $139 suggested retail, available on the net for about $95 US.
The BM is $350. Available for $350

Is the BM worth 3.5 Brutes? Only time will tell. All questions to be answered later this week.

For now, this is very preliminary.

"The most effective armor is to keep out of range"-Italian proverb

[This message has been edited by Anthony Lombardo (edited 11-23-2000).]
Anthony :

This pattern does a nice job locking the knife in the hand, but I am curious to see what long term comfort while chopping is like.

So am I, I will be interested in what you have to say in this regard. If you could, when you are finished and if you do find it abrasive, could you mention any other blade handles that you find are roughly similar in terms of discomfort.

[upside down]

while the BM handle is absolutely uncomfortable due to the radically curved shape and extended pinkie hook.

One of the problems with an extensive shape to fit handle is that it tends to be very specific. On the other end of the spectrum is something like the grip on the CS Trailmaster which feels pretty much the same in any grip. I am not sure about the pinkie hook comment, does your hand not fit in there upside down?

The BM blade is an excellent shape, although find that its choil is too small to be a "working choil", and I have already drawn blood handling it.

I had to do some work on mine as well.

The BM does not fit my hand upsidedown at all. It cuts into my small finger if I use it.
(reverse grip) Hammer style.

There was an artical in Tac knives about a year and a half ago about field knives.
The biggest complaint in the artical about chopping knives was that the handles were to thin and not long enough. After hours of hard use the normal person would tend to loosen there grip. The BKT handles address this problem. With the BKT handle style it is easier maintain a tight grip After long use.

Web Site At www.darrelralph.com
New projects and pics to look at !!!!

[This message has been edited by Darrel Ralph (edited 11-23-2000).]
Good intro review. I look forward to seeing both blades in action. Where did you get the blades from? I hear there is quite a wait for the BM.

Do you think the BM was worth you spending $350?

Still I spent a lot more on a Sebenza, so not a fair question. Do YOU think it was worth it? I want to get a BM as my next fixed blade. It seems the best product of its type from what some have said.


"To strive to seek to find and not to yield"
Ranger motto

[This message has been edited by The General (edited 11-23-2000).]