Trying to sort through the hype...

Jan 19, 1999
Someday, the Busse Battle Mistress will arrive at my doorstep. I have handled one, seen how it performs, and trust that it will exceed all of my high expectations. I don't consider Mr. Busse's advertising excessive or outrageous.

I've been looking for another high quality fixed blade in a shorter blade length to purchase in the near future. My first thought is to get a Mad Dog. The problem is, in looking through this and other forums, it seems that most opinions of his knives are based on emotion and little else. I'm sure they're tough and certainly a great product, but there are a lot of knives out there that don't cost half as much that perform very well also. I personally don't want to throw $300+ away just to find out that a knife is very good, but not worth that much money. It's difficult to tell if people are so happy with his knives because of the pure performance of the knives or the pride of owning an expensive, hard to get (long wait time) item.

I've seen similar posts to this one that were greeted with the usual "Get one you won't be disappointed", "Mad Dog knives Rule" "Trust Me" type of answers with no substantive testing or proof, just emotional answers. The tests that I've read about, pitted his knives against other regular production knives that really were'nt a fair comparison.


Give me and everyone else out there some answers please!


Chris Canis

Catering, Gifts, Flowers
Send your wife/girlfriend
something from us and she won't
be mad when you tell her you just
bought ANOTHER $400 knife!!
I too, was curious about Mad Dog knives. I purchased a Pygmy A.T.A.K. to try out. I have since obtained several more of Mr. McClung's products. They are indeed excellent. I am quite fond of the Busse knives I own as well. (Badger Attack, Mean Street)I must tell you, if I could keep only one knife, it would be a Mad Dog.

It is hard to explain the Mad Dog thing. See if there is any way that you can get your hands on one. You will than get a better idea as to what the fuss is all about.

To be honest, the first time that I "looked" at one, I could not see the appeal but the more that i looked and held it, the more i could appreciate it.

The real fun started when I first called Kevin regarding some tech. stuff on the ceramic blades. I got more info in that half hour than anyone else has ever been able to give me about their knives.

On the more quantitative side, when I was in Arizona at Knifegnugen, I saw first hand the
*incredible* amount of heart and soul, blood sweat and tears, and technical expertise that goes into each knife he makes. I also saw and did things with some of his knives that I flat out would not have believed had I not seen it with my own two eyes.The most amazing of whitch was where he took a blade and laid into an anvil in his shop full force. Not only were chunks literally flying off of the anvil, upon completion, there was absolutely no deformation of the edge. You could not feel even the slightest burr along the edge. (DISCLAIMER, this knife had a primary grind but the edge was not sharpened).

The bottom line for me is, from first hand experience, all other fixed blades just seem to be lacking something.

As always, YMMV.

Take care,

People are very loyal to Mad Dog products because they do actually perform well when really used hard. How many people actually use a knife anywhere near its limits if it is of reasonable quality as shown by so many good custom makers and upper end production stuff from companies?

Must you spend +$300 for a knife to meet your needs? No. Figure out what you really want in the knife, what you really need and, then find a the knife that fits best. Right now I have several Tactical OPS knives in stock that are not in this price level. They lack electrical isolation of a Mad Dog. They are not hard chromed like a Mad Dog. They are not made of O-1 like a Mad Dog. They are good solid using knives though.

I would carry a Mad Dog knife with complete confidence that it would not let me down under any circumstance. I also would not limit myself to just Mad Dog products. As for pure clinical statistical data that it is better, I don't know where I would find it, whether for a Mad Dog or any other blade.

If I were a stuggling college student working multiple jobs to pay tuition, I wouldn't feel under prepared because I couldn't afford a Mad Dog. There are many military who manage to struggle through with government issue. Sure they would prefer a Brend, Busse, Mad Dog, etc. but, they made it through with what they had. If you make the transition from production stuff like Cold Steel and Gerber to being a reasonable educated consumer shopping the custom makers, you have already reached the 90th percentile of what's available.

How likely are you to need that last 10 percent?

How much is it worth to you?

Cougar, I read the info on the links you provided above...interesting stuff. I must say that the majority of info I can find in Deja News and the forums is all extremely favorable towards Mad Dog. I am hoping that I can find one to hold and examine maybe at the next big gun show here in Dallas on the 27th and 28th. Perhaps I'll be one of the guys posting about how great Mad Dogs are in the future!

Thanks for the information!

Chris Canis

Catering, Gifts, Flowers
Send your wife/girlfriend
something from us and she won't
be mad when you tell her you just
bought ANOTHER $400 knife!!
They really are "all that".

Welll.....most of 'em. I'll be honest and say that the smaller ones leave me a bit flat. If you're buying that sort of Gorilla toughness it's sorta wasted on a "small fine-work" blade, depending on your usage of course.

But...the ATAK types (including WSP1 and DSU variants) are shockingly good. Possibly the best single-edged fighters ever made, the grips on the pieces in this size range (and the Panther/SuperShrike/Cougar) are totally unspeakably good. Superb grip flexibility, they can "flow" from one grip style to another yet when you lock down in any position they're like iron molded to your hand.

A knife with unmatched toughness and balanced like a fighter yet capable of hardcore utility usage all the way up to tearing a car apart to extricate a crash victim? My GOD yes...I ain't parting with mine, ever.

The "pure fighters" like the Wild Thing, Shrike, Panther and others are also awesome but they're not quite as remarkable a mix of "fight and work" as the ATAK-based series. I think it IS possible to match or exceed the combat ability of some of his pieces in specific ways, but only if you throw out utility functionality and a lot of toughness. ANY Mad Dog can double as a utility/survival knife due to over-the-top toughness and a comfortable grip.

The only "pure fighters" that come close to the combat functionality of a similar-length MD are some of the Black Cloud pieces...which aren't as tough but for a "streetfighter class" defensive knife perhaps don't need to be. My Outsider is also a "lesser steel, zero utility streetfighter" and for some needs, that's fine. If I'm heading away from civilization, my WSP1 gives me almost as much fighting ability with far greater utility.

I'm glad I have both.

Jim March
Well, guys, it seems like a MAD DOG knife is actually going to get a real life workout. If you bothered to go to the TRAILMASTER VS TUSK thread you would know. It will be interesting to see how they compare. Of course the MAD DOG knife should be in a class all it's own in every category of comparison, since it's price is in a class all it's own, but the test will tell.

Canis, most people who purchase a knife never give it a hard enough workout to take it to the limmit, thus, you don't hear of failures to often, for many of the well known knives. I think it's a good idea for unbiased testing to occur that takes a knife to the limmit, that way I don't have to take mine to the limmit. I have been troubling over one for a long time, but have never purchased one, due to what many of his loyals consider an advantage and which I consider a disadvantage, Hard Chrome. If I could get myself an ATAK without the Hard Chrome, I would probably do it.
Get a hold of a Mad Dog Dealer. I am sure that Kevin will make you an ATAK (or whatever else you want) with no hard chrome. It is no sweat off his back as it is one less expense and step for him to go through. Kevin has made a few knives for his own personal use sans hard chrome.

Don't count out the Busse Steel Heart 2, or the Badger Attack for a smaller companion to your BM. I own a SH2, and use it alot. In this price range, all the combat/survival type knives from reputable makers are good. But Jerry is a nice guy with an unbeatable guarantee. Also, check out Simonich Knives, he'll make you a custom to your specs, with what materials you want at a fair price. It's nice to have a knife that you helped to create.

I own two Mad Dog's...a DSU2 and a Wasp (Jim's WSP-1)...they're awesome. They really do all the amazing stuff they're supposed to do. They are thoughtfully designed and well constructed and their sheaths are great too.

If you can afford the Busse, then you can afford the Mad Dog as well (I'm talking ATAK models like Jim alluded too).

There's not much of a risk here, the Mad Dog is made to be tough - so I doubt you break it, and if you decide it's not for you then it should go quickly on the used blades forum.

Try it, you'll like it.


Canis there is no risk in buying a MD knife. They are covered by a strong warrenty and the dealers that I have dealt with all offered to return the knife if I was not satisfied (Earl Stewart and Shannon Lew). In addition the dealers are some of the nicest out there.

When I bought my Operator from Earl he sent it to me by Fed-Ex. Well because I live way out in the sticks Fed-Ex had a problem with deliverly (cost was much higher than expected) and it bounced back to Earl. As soon as it got back to him he phoned me to let me know what happened and Fed-Ex'ed it out again paying the much higher cost (almost double) but billing me just the initial estimate.

I think Sid Post said it best: "How likely are you to need that last 10 percent?" when there are so many good and great knives out there.

I understand some knifeknuts have less problem with the knife than they do with the often-outspoken, sometimes-discourteous owner of the firm. Others don't care about that at all or find it appealing.

I'm kind of in the middle. I like the idea of a tough blade, but that seems like a lot of money for toughness that I have not needed up to now, since I have not even broken a Buck Knife yet. Steve Mullin's Pack River Camp Knife has a seven-inch blade of D2 steel and sells for $175. That's likely to be plenty tough for me, lots cheaper, and I really enjoy dealing with Steve.
Walker, that Pack River knife does look like a good deal with a good steel, so there is no shame in it, when the price is low. Also, I don't really care about the attitude of any maker if I like his product. The quality sells me on it not the person. I think it is fair to say that there are many of the top knife makers who are head strong and opinionated, but they also have an incredible belief in their product which is admireable.

Derek, you may have just sold me on an ATAK. If I can get one without the Hard Chrome, I may do it. I'll call MD and see first.
There will be an alternative very shortly... the A2 steel MPK is essentially done, we are waiting on Wegner (Bladetech) / Scott (Edgeworks) for some final production kydex sheaths. Both of these guys seem to be overwhelmed with orders. The steel MPK handles the last 10% at a $220 price tag.

Sid Post and Mike T. will be carrying this new line.

Now, there is an alternative!

That's right I forgot about you, Rick. But I do have one on order with you, so no worries. Any word when they will be ready to ship?
Defining the best is often very subjective. I've got multiple Dog's and like them very much. However, given the cost and the way most of us use knives I'd say there are very acceptable alternatives. I think you would be very well served by looking at say the Randall #1 or #14 for 50% less money out the door. I don't view my Randalls as lesser quality or utility. Look at what you realistically going to use a knife for and ask - Do I need to spend $350+ to get what I need? If you need that "feeling of I've got the best" then buy a Dog. If you want an excellent knife that will do what is reasonably expected of a quality blade then look at something else for less bucks. Remember, it's that last little bit of real or perceived something that costs so much extra in most things.