Lets talk Hawkbills

Joined
Jun 17, 2000
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262
Hello once again,

Hawkbills have always been a fascination to me. I have had several over the years, but have settled on the Andre Devilliers Covert Operator. They are very effective for utility as well personal defense. I just wanted to get your opinions on the blade style, who here uses them? why did you choose that blade style?
GW, you advocated the hawkbill with your Elishiwitz/Walker MK 23 Spec. Ops. Parrot Beak. Can you share the experiences you had with that design? such as techniques etc.
BTW, I had a full size Parrot Beak neck knife, same specs as the large folder. I traded it some time ago. I still kick myself in the 4th point of contact. Awesome design.

Matt
 
Joined
Apr 6, 2001
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1,394
I carried a Spyderco G-10 Harpy for several months, and in a fit of idiocy I traded it. (Not sure what for now... perhaps it was in the same trade that I got rid of a LNIB C.S. Mini California Hunter, which would make for double reason to kick my own arse about it.)

Awesome little knife, for utility, and defense... Small blade, but plenty of cutting edge anyway... felt good and solid in my hand... opened fast... solid lock... would make an excellent slasher, in defense... I would think.

I'd love to pick up another one sometime.

The other two Must Have production hawk-bills on my list are the CRKT Seahawk (the large one), a friend of mine has one, I've fiddled with it a lot, like the blade, like how smooth it opened for me, seemed to have a solid lock, and I liked how the handle felt in my hand... I generally avoid metal handles because of wetness/slippage issues, but it had a coating on it, that gave it a nice rouch texture, that seemed to hold pretty well, and the other is a Spyderco G-10 Civillian... a pure fighter extention of the Harpy I Loved so much... why in the hell wouldnt I want one? :d ;)
Actually, there's two more... haha... a Emerson La-Griffe, and a P-Sark, would both rock to have as well.
 
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Apr 6, 2001
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Too big for defense?
Not at all.

The bigger the better in my opinion... (within reason of course... no 15" blade folders, thanks all the same.)
 
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Dec 3, 2001
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Too large for me to carry, legally. Thats why I carry the Matriarch. The M can also be had for around $50 and is light enough to carry in a variety of ways. In honesty I like the looks of a Hawkbill and think they have their place. However, I find myself just not carrying them very often. I like a stabbing option availible to me. Loved my MOD Ladyhawk as well, but in all honest did not carry it enough to justify having $100 in it. Traded it for a S2K which I get much more use out of.
 
Joined
Jun 17, 2000
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I think the beauty of the hawkbill lies in the fact that it is a lot of blade for the size. I have NEVER used one on a living organic target, but from slashing clothing covered targets, I find it hooks and bites very deep with minimal effort.

I remember a post from CJ Caracci on that old Urban Jungle forum as he explained his special knife design that was made by Mr. Ernest Emerson:

"A curved knife of this type merely needs to be placed then pulled.
This is needed for those who for whatever reason do not spend the time needed for effective traditional blade use. There are also many special techniques that are possible with this type of blade, but I cannot describe them in words only in 3D.."

The ADV Covert Operator has a blade that will also stab equally well as the curve is rather shallow vs. the Civilian or Matriarch.

I have never used either so I have to refrain from commenting on them, although they look like serious gear.
 
Joined
Mar 31, 2000
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Guys,
In Fl. country boys carried Case hawkbills as weapons of choice!
In Pompano Fl.in the 40's & 50's it was the produce area for Fl.city Afro Americans would carry switchblades for stabbing,razors for slashing,migrants would carry melon testers! My MA Instructor, was raised there at that time,also APP. to a Funeral Home.Would tell me about the Sat. Night Fights,"The Hawkbill didn't lose!! As he once told me(all those people that say Hawks don't stab therefore they are useless) let's go to the cemetary & tell a lot of people to stand up cause they ain't dead from a HAWKBILL!!
jim
 
Joined
Dec 3, 2001
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I don't think anyone says that all hawkbills are inept stabbers. However the deeper the curve (and thus better slashing ability) the less of an ability to stab the blade has. I think they have their place, but personally I most of the time prefer a straighter blade.
 
Joined
Dec 9, 2001
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482
The "Cobra" as designed by the late great W.E. Fairbairn was a hawkbill like fixed blade design which Fairbairn developed a fighting system around. There's a web site address about this with photo of the prototype knife (never produced, as I understand it) on the Forum. Clearly Fairbairn knew something way back when about the effectiveness of the downward curved sharpened edge!

When Spyderco came out with the Civilian, Ernie Franco (one of FK's original staff members and a valued advisor to Spyderco as well as other quality specialty companies) told me after he'd seen the prototype that the knife was meant for one thing...offensive knife work.

Ernie was right. FK addressed the Civilian early on and I was happy to see it featured as the cover for my video program on bladework, and to include some of the first information on application(s) for the Civilian in both Battle Blades and the video noted.

I've seen a number of similar thought processes since but believe the Civilian is still the King of the Highway.

The Spyderco Harpy is light, small, and deceptively wicked in trained hands. And it's a lot less expensive than the Civilian. It is a great seatbelt cutter, or static line, or anything else of similar nature. A practical and effective design.

The Matriarch is really a nice blend of the Civilian and Harpy. Smart design. Decent price. Very durable and efficient in trained hands. A good choice.

The Parrot's Beak from Alan Elishewitz and myself was our best shot at a military grade hawkbill. Good SD features and good utility attributes. Rugged knife, liner locking system. The reverse load was a purely military model for sentry removal and close in fighting. I still hear good things about the PBs that folks got while Alan was making them.

Emerson hawkbill designs are way functional, too. Ernie was experimenting with this thought process early on in the trend, and in fact started the trend along with Spyderco where a tactical grade hawkbill was concerned.

I need to check out a SeaHawk from Columbia River Knife and Tool. Anyone got a photo they can post of this model?

Tactical hawkbills are inclined toward hooking, tearing, cutting, piercing, lifting and manipulating the opponent, and scaling. In trained hands a tac-hawk is a fearsome SD knife regardless of blade length. FK, according to Alan E., really opened the doors on tac-hawk designs and applications. But we had great insight from the pros in the field and good instructors willing to experiment and discuss. James Keating was one of the first such knife instructors to really explore the hawkbill (via the Civilian) up front and personal.

If I were to recommend a tandem set it would have to be a Harpy (for primarily utility type applications) and the Matriarch (for SD, both offensive and defensive applications). Roughly $100 to $125 for both with careful shopping, high quality construction and materials, superb design(s), easily replaceable, and easily carried in variety of places (clip carry / lightweight).
 
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Apr 6, 2001
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Greg, if you're still around, or for anyone else who's never seen one, I found this picture of the SeaHawk online...
seahawk.jpg

I neve rhandled the smaller one, but that larger one I really liked, opened smooth and fast, and felt solid and comfortable in the hand... and the blade would take a wicked ege.

This was one of the few models with ATS-34 steel... 3.75" blade, 5 1/8" closed, handle was aluminium (6061 T6).

I wish they were still being made... :(

A.G. Russell still carries the small one, with the 3 inch blade, but the bigger ones are sold out... no idea where else to get 'em.
 
Joined
Nov 29, 2001
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3,251
I'm also interested in Hawkbill blades. I'm wondering though how they compare to the reverse, namely an upswept blade like a Sharpfinger or even a traditional curved tanto when it comes to slashing. Has anyone compared the two blade styles? Seemingly a mirror image of one another, yet loyalists on both sides swear by it. At the moment the closest I have is a Wharncliffe, which is an excellent slasher.
 
Joined
Nov 22, 1998
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982
Thought I had stumbled into paradise when this thread was found! Been carrying and using curved-blades for awhile, and I'm happy to say that through the helpful suggestions of many fine folks, Spyderco is actually playing with the concept of a LARGER Harpy-type knife, using the Endura FRN handle (same as Matriarch) which would be an excellent blend of utility & emergency capability.

As to the Seahawk by CRKT, I have owned and carried them. They're okay, but the parkerized blade seemed to rust just sitting in my back pocket.

Love my Parrot Beak, but the smooth Micarta scales get too slippery for comfort.

As my handle suggests, I'm somewhat biased on this blade style!
Brian
 
Joined
Nov 22, 1998
Messages
982
Jim:
I'm with you on that, but asking Spyderco to produce a new knife with another G-10 handle would:
1. Raise production costs
2. Raise the end-user price
3. Limit the sales
And if you think that the company hasn't had enough of this, just recall the excellent G-10 Harpy...no question that it is superior to FRN in all but weight and cost. But look at which models have survived the market-demand...
Personally, if they make this concept in FRN only, I'll buy it. If they eventually move on to produce it in G-10, I'd be all over that too. But hey, we gotta give them credit for continuing to try new models out in the market. They might as well make a buck or two in the process.

(Not affiliated w/Spyderco other than enthusiasm)
Best regards,
Brian
 
Joined
Mar 31, 2000
Messages
2,981
Hawkbill,
Yeah,I'll get one too! Harpy in g10 is one of my fav. Spydies, Civ. is my fav.When they first came out, I was the second person to get one in Fl.a SEAL was the first!Picked up a Stag Queen
Hawk(traditional)really nice,my MA instuctor & best friend,looked shook his head said,"Brings back bad memories"!Glad to see someone likes Hawkbills besides me!
take care ,
jim
 
Joined
Nov 22, 1998
Messages
982
Jim:
The Queen is a beauty, isn't it? Mine is in a showcase with only a few other "select" hawkbills of special-significance. Great quality. I was tempted to use a Queen for my daily utility knife, but instead use a Burnt Chimney pruner w/bone scales (made by Boker) as I had two of them, and one needs to be in the "case".
Rarely do I feel the need for a straight blade anymore. Hawkbills just do what I need done.

My emergency blade is a Harpy, and it stays positioned in the same pocket, every day, factory sharp. At least until Spyderco makes this XL-Harpy...then I'll tote one of them!
 
Joined
Mar 31, 2000
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2,981
Hawk,
P/U your Queen,notice the extention at the bolster(prevents your hand from sliding down the blade,new HAWKS from other co. don't have this!ALSO notice it has a more pronounced beak!!Old time country boys would hit you turn the wrist & come back across!Blade wouldn't slide! One guy I know of carried A Hawk in each of his coverall pockets!
My main crry is a GUNTING & A Hawk! Showed the Queen to a LEO friend,he said "YOU" & your HAWKBILLS"If you run into any more QUEEN STAGS please let me know mine is BEAUTIFUL! Doesn't scare pc people in the office,"WAS TOLD, GOOD,YOU CARRY A NICE SAFE KNIFE WITH NO POINT THAT CAN HURT SOMEONE!!
tAKE CARE ,
jim
 
Joined
Nov 22, 1998
Messages
982
Jim:
I see what you are referring to on the Queen...the kick is fairly pronounced on them. I also appreciate the angle of the "Beak", and while I haven't fought with anything more dangerous than carpet and plastic tie-straps so far, ya never do know ;)
 
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