Re-design British Gurkha Issue ?

Discussion in 'Kailash Blades' started by bigeard09, Jan 2, 2021.

  1. bigeard09


    Sep 8, 2016
    Hello All ,
    This new re-kindled interest in khukuris via the Kailash site has now started to turn the cogwheels in my old brain . Moving on slightly from what I wrote yesterday regarding the photographic evidence I have seen of British Army Gurkha soldiers carrying chitlange khukuris on operational duties . Having owned an issue khukuri and not having been impressed with its overweight build and construction for practical usage both as a bushcraft tool and possible offensive weapon , I have come to the conclusion that maybe its time for both the Brigade of Gurkhas and British Army think tank to re evaluate its intended use with the possibility of re designing this iconic piece of kit to a more practical role in the field of modern day military operatioins .
    How to go about this would have to be a thought out solution , but looking at Kailash designs in both their sirupate and chitlange models may be the actual solution . both models are nothing new to the world of khukuri design and have been around for a long time but its just the way that Kailash use the dramatic fullers and hollow grind and reduce the spinal thickness that impresses me and definitely something other khukuri manufacturers dont seem to take into consideration with the consequences that in my opinion some other well known khukuri houses overbuild their models . I know by practical experience that the larger a bladed weapon is the more difficult it is to wield them in a combat situation or jungle environment if that weapon or tool is not weighted correctly with the right balance ! I think Kailash mention somewhere on their website that a lot of Westerners like the idea of a good heavy knife with thick overbuilt spines which in their view represents quality but this is not neccasariliy true ! Whether its a bushcraft knife , machete or a khukuri you are using , much of the quality and practical usage comes from its actual build quality using fullers and hollow grind to help reduce weight and give balance to the weapon ang how it is then put together with a well fitted handle that is shaped for ergonomic use and that include the type of tang construction used for the right blade .
    What I am trying to say now is , as far a military use khukuris go , the standard issue should be changed to incorporate modern materials with the right ergonomics that were not available decades or even hundreds of years ago to produce a more practical user friendly khukuri for use as both an all round bushcraft tool and as a last resort fighting offensive weapon .Taking into acount the Khukuri is not just an iconic weapon , but also a great integral part of the culture and heroisim of the Gurkha solder and as such I am sure they nor the people of Nepal would want to change the basics of what the khukuri is or what it represents and there is no reason to suggest that the Gurkha soldier should ever be seen parted from his beloved and symbolic khukuri.
    To conclude (in my opinion) a well designed operational khukuri should incorporate a total length of around 17" , 4.5" handle to accomodate the usual smaller hand of these soldiers , with a 12.5" to 13" blade ( quality hollow ground or fullered) to help keep weight to a minimum including a 6mm to 7mm spine tapering to the point / tip . Ideally now the handle could be expertly shaped out of a black micarta (for tactical and historical purposes ) . I think it would be important to retain the historical shape of the khukuri for obvious reasons but use a sirupate style shape with a more pointed tip for offensive purposes bit using the encapsulated cho of the chitlange for more practical reasons ( stop any snagging on uniforn etc ) . For operational duties the traditional Dap sheath could be changed to a kydex or webbing material , once again for practical purposes and to reduce weight which is an important factor in a soldiers everyday life when in the field ! One point I would like to raise and get other more expert peoples opinion on is the shape of the actual spine on different styles of khukuri . I personally do not like an angled or elbow shape on the back spine of some models , and I can remember reading once that over the years that particular design was nothing to do with practical use but more of a personal choice ( can anyone substantiate this information for me please ) .
    Anyway these are only my thoughts but please feel free to have your say .
    Kailash Blades and FOG2 like this.
  2. Chandra


    Mar 18, 2016
    I have the same opinion as you regarding the service issue. A 12-13 inch Sirupate would be a lot better suited. Both my grandfather and father didn't really care for the issued Khukuris. Only maintaining the Service No. 1 as it was their duty to do so. For everything else, they used a Sirupate style khukuri made by the local blacksmith in our village.

    Using materials such as kydex and micarta seems logical. However, I highly doubt the MOD is ever going to change their current design. Production of khukuri with such materials is going to cost them a lot more. I feel that, they see the Khukuris more as a symbol rather than tool or weapon. I wouldn't be surprised if they removed the knife from their kit altogether in the future, to save money.

    Regarding the angle/elbow/peak, I think I read somewhere that it only started to appear just before/during WW1. I could be wrong though.
    Personally, I don't mind either designs. The only thing I'm picky about is that I don't like blades with overly steep angles, and straight handles.
    Blades that are just slightly curved are easier to use, and also gives a lot more surface area to work with. Curved handles are way more ergonomic than straight ones.
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2021
    Kailash Blades likes this.
  3. bigeard09


    Sep 8, 2016
    Hi Chandra , yeh totally agree regarding straight handles on khukuris , I just dont like them at all and as you say slightly curved ones are more traditional looking and ergonomically better suited for the job in hand (pardon the pun) .So Chandra , were your Father and Grandfather serving in the British Army Brigade of Gurkhas ?
  4. Chandra


    Mar 18, 2016
    Hi Bigeard09,
    My maternal grandfather was a rifleman in 10th GR. He was involved in the malaya confrontation. He mentioned he was in C coy while VC Ram Bahadur Limbu was in A coy. He does not speak openly about what happened, and we never ask him.
    My father was with the Royal Gurkha Signals and was stationed in Hong Kong when I was born, after which, he retired. During my early teens, my family moved to Brunei to join my father. During this time, he served in the Gurkha Reserve Unit.
    My paternal grandfather did not join the army, choosing to look after his land instead.
    Did you or someone in your family serve too?
  5. bigeard09


    Sep 8, 2016
    Ive sent you a PM
  6. Kailash Blades

    Kailash Blades KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Nov 21, 2015
    @Chandra has hit the nail on the head here. It's naive to think that the ministry of defense isn't aware of the shortcomings of their issued khukuris and any negative feelings gurkhas may have about them. Them being issued is symbolic and traditional, but the quality of design, manufacture or functionality of the blades isn't as crucial as the economics. We've been thinking about this same issue for some time and have considered what features a new design would include and what historical features it would lose. I have a few sketches I've done that are pretty close to what you're suggesting in terms of dimensions- it's a very interesting thought exercise. Will we ever end up making it? I don't quite know yet. We've got a lot of other projects on the backburner as well.
    Take care,

Share This Page