Tactical Puukko - Why Not?

Oct 7, 1998
We've seen the chisel grind and now the double grind - but sharpend on only one side blades touted as the greatest of tactical cutters. Why haven't we seen a "tactical" puukko? Traditional puukko's have a single bevel and are typically strong mid-size knives very sharp and very easy to resharpen. Is this blade format just too different for American tastes (non-traditional) or is there a real shortcoming in the design? I for one can't see where the chisel grind has anything on the puukko's single bevel grind. I am thinking not of traditionally made puukko's but of a modern rendition - a modern tactically tough knife. Why not apply micarta, g10 for handles (yes add a hand guard) and use the best steel say BG42 or M2 for the blade. Any thoughts?
The biggest problem is lack of a lower guard on a lot of models; the "elongated egg-shaped" grips in smooth wood often aren't the best at preventing a "slip-up" accident on a hard-target stab.

The other problem is the sheath doesn't tend to be "quick draw" and most "dangle" from a single cord/clip/loop in such a way as to make the "where to grab for it" question almost random. If you've just been jumped, that's an issue.

But I've seen some models on James Mattis's site and elsewhere that solve both issues.

Jim March
Check out R.J. Martin's Kozukas if you haven't already. The one on the left looks like a tactical Puuko to me. R.J. makes them double ground on request.


[This message has been edited by Steve Harvey (edited 19 November 1998).]
Puukos are a lovely knife and very versatile.
But I think that they are a little limited in a general tactical sense. Firstly, the blade aspect ratio is a bit severe for some uses and cutting ability is very much dependent on the edge's being kept in a "just sharpened" condition. And I suspect that this would be difficult in many real tactical situations......especially with the "single bevel" edge requiring the removal of steel from the entire bevel when the knife is severely dulled .
Frankly, I would be reluctant to go into any potential "survival" situation with either of my puukos. I would rather rely on something a bit more substantial...like a CS Bushranger or some other modern bowie derivative that I can maintain without distraction from other important tasks .
Puukos have survived in a small corner of the world on tradition. So they can work.....but there are better knives.
Just a few thoughts.

Brian W E

Aren't the knives of Bladerigger, James S Piorek, primary grind only????


Marion David Poff fka Eye mdpoff@hotmail.com

Patiently waiting for the Spyderco SpydeRench, Lum Chinese Chopper Folder, Rolling Lock, Benchmade M2 Axis (and M2 Axis AFCK), M2 Pinnacle and the REKAT NEW KNIVES.

"The victorious Warrior wins first and then goes to war, while the defeated Warrior goes to war and then seeks to win" Sun-Tzu

There are tales from the Winter War against Russia, of bloody puukko work in the forest of the night, but the puukko and its sheath are designed more for woodcraft than martial arts, and they are generally worn openly. On the other hand, a swinger style sheath, with a knife that has a butt designed for a positive grip on the draw can be quite fast to deploy.


I have the "Sissipuukko" made by a Finnish knifemaker Juha-Pekka Peltonen. The word "sissi" translates as "a guerrilla" but since there is an army branch of that name, the meaning is more closer to, let's say, a US Ranger than some guy fighting the government or something. But now, back to the point. The knife has a flat ground, 6.1 inch carbon steel (I don't know what type of) blade, which is "gun blued". As far as I know, that won't provide any protection against corrosion. If I'm wrong here, please correct me. The total lenght is about 11 inches and the handle is made of...I'm not sure about this one, it looks and feels like the handle material in the Special Forces Jungle Machete from United Cutlery, so would that be Kraton or what? It's not slippery when you've got wet hands or anything, but I don't know how much abuse it would take. The handle has grooves in it for a better grip, but there's no actual fingerguard, just the downward (when holding the knife horizontally, back of the blade up)
curve in the each end of the handle, which creats a "hump" in the end.
The sheath is made of thick leather and has a small "wheel" in it, that keeps the knife in the sheath even when it's upside down. The other "hump" goes over the wheel when being inserted in the sheath and it feels very secure. It can be worn on the belt or the alice-system. The sheath doesn't allow quick draws because of the wheel and the proper way to draw the knife is to place your thumb over a small piece of hard rubber riveted close to the open end of the sheath and direct all the force on it. By doing this, you prevent possible damage to the roller inside and the knife comes out smoothly. There are sheaths for lefties, too.
The knife is not a pure fighter, it was basically designed for utility-purposes, as the flat grind offers a stronger edge. But it's extremely popular among military personel, though.
I think this is the closest thing to "tactical Puukko" that Finland has to offer. The materials (especially the handle) and the finish aren't very traditional, but this clearly is a Puukko anyway. If I only knew where to find a picture of it online...I hope this helped a little.


sounds like an interesting knife.
If anyone does know of a website with graphics or can post a pic, please let us know.
The description does pose the question, though : what is a "puuko"? The "Sissi" does not sound like any of the puukos I have seen.
Flat grind, different handle , different sheath.
I would have thought the flat grind would have been enough to disqualify it.
Maybe ,in Finland, the classification is a lot broader than I have believed.
Look forward to other views.

Brian W E
Brian, I actually don't know what exactly makes knife a Puukko. There are definitions made by Finnish knifemakers, but they don't really say, why knife A is a Puukko but the knife B isn't. I think the easiest way to recognize a Puukko is simply by looking. If you've seen many Puukkos, you'll know if it is one. And traditional knifemakers have done some experimenting. During the war, especially the sheathes were sometimes made from unusual materials, like metal from destroyed aircrafts and also birch barks and even cardboard. The owner of the local cutlery store said that in Tibet, there is a knife which looks exactly like a typical Puukko, but the maker had no idea of Puukkos, the shape etc. is just a coincidence. He is currently working with his homepage and I asked him to put a picture of the Sissipuukko in it. He said he'll do it if he can get a good picture from somewhere.

James, I have an old (3 years) phonenumber of the company J-P Peltonen works in, if you want it, I can check if it's still the same number and give it to you. The local cutlery store owner said that anyone with questions can e-mail him at egills@egills.com if they want to ask about the Sissipuukko (or any other Puukko).