Masters of Defense - Ayoob Razorback

I got three Masters of Defense knives in the door yesterday: A Casillas Ladyhawk, a Watson Trident, and an Ayoob Razorback. Martial arts are not my department, so somebody else should evaluate them as weapons. Here are my first impressions of them as knives.


I expected very precise CNC grinding and machining, and that's what I got. With the folders, I'd like to see the liners fully engage on the tang, but the partial engagement is as much engagement as full engagement with some thinner leaf springs, and they seem to lock up firmly.

With the Ladyhawk, I expected a specialized little knife, good for pruning the rose bush or doing a velociraptor impression, and that's what I got. Not all that practical, but cool.

With the Trident, I expected a sport-utility folder with an attitude, and that's what I got. Good working knife, if a bit upscale, though I'd prefer the plain edge in this blade style, I think.

With the Razorback, I expected a small fixed blade utility knife with an attitude. That's not exactly what I got. What I got is the four-inch single-edged fixed blade least likely to clean a fish. Here is a picture of the knife, from the Masters of Defense web page.


The picture is apparently of the hand-ground version, and it appeasrs to be a hollow ground blade, which is a good way to get a good working edge below a thick spine in a narrow blade. The production version, my scan above, is flat-ground, from a grind line part-way up the blade. The blade is about 3/16" thick, and there is a secondary edge bevel. The result is something like an axe edge, which is not what I want in a knife that I'm going to cut things with, as opposed to chopping or jabbing. Slashing? No experience, but I doubt it.

The handle shape feels good in my hand.

I haven't figured out what the grooves in the blade are for, though they do look interesting, especially the one on the top of the blade - good show of machining skill.


If I was using the knife on food, which I wouldn't because the edge is way too thick, the grooves would be inconvenient to clean. If I was assasinating a wicked warlord, perhaps the grooves would be a good place to hold the poison.

The knife seems to contradict a lot of what Massad Ayoob has said about surviving the legal system after surviving the fight. Perhaps there are still some jurisdictions that are weapon-friendly enough that a knife that said "Masters of Defense" and "Lethal Force Institute" on the blade wouldn't get its civilian bearer sliced and diced (figuratively speaking) by the DA or the plaintiff's attorney, but I don't live in one.

If I was going to keep the knife, to use, the first thing I'd do would be to take it to my grinder and remove steel from the bevels until they met at the edge Scandinavian-style, with no secondary edge bevel. The bevels would be my sharpening angle, and the heck with the finish. That would give me a sharp knife for woodworking and dire emergencies, and also erase the incriminating etching.

I'd like to see this knife re-done, without those grooves, perhaps in a commercial-grade hollow grind, or perhaps flat ground from 3/32" steel instead of 3/16", and with a molded-on Zytel handle for light weight and practicality. Then it would be a good utility knife, and I suspect one could still do willful damage with it in the gravest extreme.


Oct 3, 1998
Hi James - thanks for posting your impressions. I fully agree with your observations on the Trident. I'm glad I got mine in a plain blade, it is much more handy than the serrated one is. Plus, I already have a small cadre of fully serrated blades that I can call upon if the need arises. The Trident has quickly become one of my favorite production folders

Dexter Ewing
Knife Reviews Moderator

"The keystroke is mightier than the sword"

I uh.. happen to have winter vacation coming up soon after my exams next week and uh.. *cough* if you should need someone to test out the combative aspect of these blades... well... *cough* my uh schedule is open.

You know, they may be called "Masters of Defense", but it doesn't seem like Watson was really trying to design a fighter. I handled the Trident once, only briefly, and loved it. It felt great, had Microtech-like production values, looked great, etc.

For either a defense folder or even an everyday using knife, I like the point to be sharper. So do most people, which is why I don't think this is a defense folder. The point format on the Trident makes the point extra strong. This format is found on some hunting knives; I bet it'd be a good hunter. And that really strong point would be great for really hard use where you'll be prying and otherwise abusing the point. Top-notch hard-working folder!

Can someone show me how the Razorback is any better than the Stiff KISS? For about 20% the cost of the MOD knife, the Stiff KISS looks like it will do all you could ask of it.

I agree completely with James Mattis concerning the name of the Razorback along with the other things wriiten on it. Massad has always talked about surviving the legal system after surviving the fight. I might as well carry a Cold Steel knife (I think they make one called "The Disembowler" or "The Heart Ripper"). I'm a big fan of Massad, he's a great source of information and I want him in my corner in any type of fight, but this knife could be better.


Hello guys,

I got the Razorback since last week to test and review with Fred Perrin.

The knife is a great weapon.
Also a good hard chores tool.
It's not made for kitchen duty.

We will review it soon and also we will
customized the blade on Fred backstand.

And then we will test it again !

BTW the Trident is keeper!
A real sailor knife.


I have the Ladyhawk. It is a great palm sized knife.I would definitely say it is for smaller hands! It is very well made and makes for a pretty cool dare I say pocket knife. Now if could just get that damn clip off.
i just purchased the ayoob razorback about 1 week ago. it was just what i was looking for - a small, easily concealed, tough, sharpened prybar type of knife. i think it will handle a lot tasks that other knives with blades of it's size can't. i know that mad dog's will handle everything and more, but look at the price difference. the razorback is probably not suited for fine cutting, but it is one tough knife!