Paraponera Clavata would have made an unfortunate disease-worthy name for a knife. And it would not have fit along the length of a 2.75″ blade. But, the Peruvians call this particular genus and species of fierce indigenous ant the isula! ESEE Knives felt that Izula makes a fine name that can be adequately laser engraved on a diminutive sharpy.
Jeff Randall and Mike Perrin of Randall’s Adventure and Training and ESEE Knives designed the Izula as a small fixed blade jungle survival knife, but I put it to you that it can acquit itself quite well as an urban partner of considerable value.
Ultimately, a knife is for cutting things (duh). Izula’s modestly-sized full tang blade of 1/8” 1095 high carbon steel, hardened to 55-57 RHC, is a serious tool for parting objects. Izula’s flat ground, powder coated blade is expertly made by Idaho Falls’ Rowen Manufacturing. My experience has been that, sans moving a rubber tree plant, the little ESEE Izula will stand up to almost all users’ small knife requirements.
For several weeks, I decided to replace the folder clipped to my jeans pocket with an Izula, which I slid into the same opening. The Izula comes with a thin injection molded sheath that holds the knife very firmly within. As knife and sheath total 7″ long and 2.7 oz’s, they are not so much of a burden in your dungarees. I hardly felt their presence.
With a bit of practice, I discovered that you can apply thumb pressure to the top of the sheath to disengage it from the blade. To draw the knife from a pocket, you grasp the handle, shed the sheath as the steel’s edge clears the fabric, and come away with your cutting tool. This can be accomplished in a utilitarian or defensive setting.
As decorum allows, the Izula’s sheath can also be belt-mounted with a Blade-Tech Tec-Lok, secreted IWB with a belt loop, or hung from the neck with ball-chain (never, never a paracord garrote). ESEE’s sheath has the requisite slot and holes to guarantee that you may achieve the carry method of your choice. A gear belt clip plate is available as well. I can legally pocket this fixed blade, but consult your local laws.
After treating the Izula like a supermodel in the photo shoot, I began abusing the steel wench. Cardboard, hardwood, a raw chicken, vegetables, and copper wire all fell before the single pincher of my little ant. It suffered nary a chip. With a quick touch up on a Spyderco Triangle Sharpmaker, its 20 degree secondary bevel was brought back into action.
Izula literature says the 1/8” 1095 carbon steel blade is hand sharpened at Rowen. It cautions that a dry film rust inhibitor should be used to keep the oxidation away, though the powder coating mitigates rust and staining from a lack of care.
I prefer knives with a guard or enough material to prevent my hand from sliding up on to the edge. This knife has a curve to the lower forward section of the handle to accomplish this. Check that box. It also has a short section of jimping on the topline for thumb purchase.
Skeletonized, the Izula’s handle can bear either ESEE’s canvas Micarta scales or a wrap of useful cord. Directions for cord wrapping even come in the instruction sheet with the knife. Did I mention that all the Izula components are Made in the USA? They are.
The basic ESEE Izula knife and sheath can be purchased for less than fifty bucks online. They come in Black, Desert Tan, or Olive Drab powder coated blades. As a package, the Izula-2 knife, sheath, sheath kit and scales will set you back around $80.00. There is a 440C stainless steel Izula available for pre-order at Grand Prairie Knives.
Only the South American bullet ant’s ejection of formic acid into a cut could make the ESEE Izula fixed blade knife more…formidable. Oh, I couldn’t resist using that one. Like the ant, this small knife is mini and mighty.