ARK Proto 2


February 19, 2012, 11:51 AM
Most of you know I'm currently in Afghanistan. This tour I've become very aware of the problems of sexual assault in theater, and it's especially been on my mind because the teams I send out to isolated bases are usually of just two service members.

One of the problems with weapons on base is that they are not allowed in certain areas. Service members are not going to bring their firearm in with them when they shower, and most shower facilities are trailers with multiple shower stalls. The thought of being able to have a knife small and light enough to always be with the service member, combined with non-rusting H1 steel was exciting. I brought up the idea on BladeForums in the Spyderco forum, and Spyderco owner Sal Glesser was kind enough to consider it.

Since part of the driver for this knife- which I call the Active Resistance Knife- would be as a defensive weapon for people with little or no training, Sal suggested that a ringed design might be useful. My original idea was for a ringless knife, and maybe Sam will want to post pictures of the initial model for that (which we like much more- and no, sm, you can't have one any time soon, in O1 or not).

I did think that y'all might find the ringed version interesting. Here are a few pics.

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February 19, 2012, 12:00 PM
Sometimes you learn things you don't expect. One of the things we've learned from this is that the ring forces gripping in a way that makes that handle sweep not at all secure. (The ringless ARK-1 seems to work fine.) We think changing that angle "down", into the hand, will work much better.

Another thing we may have learned is that, though churning out thousands of H1 knives to service members and others who want a last-ditch, go-everywhere (except through metal detectors, natch :rolleyes: ) knife is the goal, we could probably just make a smaller number ourselves in G10. Using G10 would be less expensive than H1, which means a "custom" defensive piece would probably cost less than the production steel version.

OH- that round hole in the thumb ramp is the intellectual property of Spyderco.


February 19, 2012, 02:07 PM
Hafta agree, John.

The handle angle needs to be down.

Relying on the trigger finger for all your retention can be a problem.

Also, maybe a little more handle? You might experiment with cut-outs from thick cardboard or thin wood for that shape.

The blade shape is quite good; the curvature will provide a more forgiving scope of attack angles. It's not a stabber, but it would probably be a lot like being sliced with a box cutter. Just the thought kind makes a guy clench.

The grind is excellent. Heh -- that last pic makes the steel look translucent. :)

February 19, 2012, 04:29 PM
Since I doubt the sexual assault comes from females, I would look into the tool (stainless of course) that would best remove the offending member (s) .

Spec ops Grunt
February 19, 2012, 04:41 PM
Does it tend to be male on male violence, or male on female?

I ask because the media only ever seems to mention male on female violence.

February 19, 2012, 05:46 PM

Is that a polymer concept proto in the pictures?

SoG, Gordon,

I know folks in Afghanistan and have been made aware of male on male and male on female and a rumor of one female on female. All bets are off when you're in Theater.

February 19, 2012, 10:45 PM
This is a G10 concept model. The first, ringless ARK concept model was made from 1095.

The assault usually comes from males, but happens to both males and females.

Remembered that I have pics in my email. (Not all forums have direct attachment, so it's easy to forget that's an option.)

February 20, 2012, 01:00 AM
Is that a polymer concept proto in the pictures?


I missed that.

No wonder the "steel" looked translucent.

Where is that "duh" icon?

February 20, 2012, 07:54 AM
I should have been clearer. I suggested making the model in G10 instead of steel because making the ring in it was much easier without precision machinery, and the whole idea of the model is to test the handling.


February 20, 2012, 08:07 AM
It's not a stabber, but it would probably be a lot like being sliced with a box cutter. Just the thought kind makes a guy clench.
I tried to mitigate the non-stabby-ness with a little careful beveling:

And, instead of box-cutter, imagine a very nasty cardboard or paper cut. :(

The curve of the blade edge brings out a lot of tiny fiberglass shards to create something like a micro-serrated edge. I can't imagine it would hold up to much heavy use, but it will cut, even if it's just in your pocket while you're walking around Home Depot... :rolleyes:

February 20, 2012, 08:29 AM
And here's a better pic of the ARK1 ... just so there's one that's NOT of my pajamas. :o

February 20, 2012, 12:16 PM
So... how would you carry this? Like a neck knife? I'm not familiar with the "shower knife" genre :).

February 20, 2012, 12:18 PM
Yes. That was the origins of the plan. If a serviceman/-woman is only wearing their tags on a chain, this could be there, too -- at all times.

The plan is for the steel version to hit 1.1 oz., with sheath. That's pretty tough. Not quite there yet, but close.

February 27, 2012, 02:20 AM
Well, work continues on the ARKs. Experimentation with different hand sizes and handle angles. I think we went too far on correcting the handle angle!

Original (ringless) ARK and RARK proto 1 and 2. All in G10. Sam may begin offering a G10 version, though if that happens, there will be no need to have the lightening holes in the handle, as there will be if a steel version is made.

Angles of RARK Proto 2.

February 27, 2012, 02:42 AM
If you increase the angle at the top point of the blade some and keep the same grip angle, it seems like you could go for a kabar TDI-style push dagger. Still looks like it would cut alright as well. Dunno how thick the blade would have to be to keep strength like that though

February 27, 2012, 07:11 AM
...there will be no need to have the lightening holes in the handle, as there will be if a steel version is made.

:) Oh, I know. Just a habit. (Kind of like the look.) If there's some reason not to, I'll drop it.

The new "bent" version works well in my hands, but horribly in my wife's small hands. Both of us can use the original (ringless) ARK version well, though.

Maybe a compromise ringed version -- between the hump-back first version and the extreme bend second version -- will work well for both of us.

February 27, 2012, 07:54 AM
No, it does look cool, Sam. But I think the G10 is light enough that it's purely aesthetic. (I could be wrong, though? If you're removing more than .25/oz of material.)

Also, if you want to keep the Spyderhole on something that's going elsewhere, we'll need to get Sal's permission.

February 27, 2012, 07:55 AM
I really don't know. Might steal the postal scale from work on my way out the door tonight. :)

February 28, 2012, 03:17 PM
"Middle ground" RARK.

And new logo. :D

February 28, 2012, 03:32 PM

Ban Tang makes some interesting twists on the La Griffe made of titanium. I'm somewhat reminded of those here.

I think you have to start with the question how is the knife intended to be used. Do you want to presume the "best" way to use it? If so, are you going to package a DVD or manual with the knife? Or do you want to assume people will use it a certain way, and design the knife around what "most untrained people do?"

Personally I don't care for the second option.

I think the other issue is a lot of people conceptualize a "get off of me" cutting knife as being somehow less lethal than a stabby knife*. These knives look less stabby so I guess I would ask whether you are looking for a psychological stop or...?

I do think a psychological stop would be very feasible in deterring a potential rapist but it's possible that in a really remote area that might incur retaliation particularly in a group setting.

*It's still lethal force, no matter how the knife is being used, so I think it should have complete lethal capabilities, even if the intent is mostly psychological stoppage.

We could talk about biomechanical cutting which I disagree with...if that's your main intent I'll probably just agree to disagree, but I hope this helped a little in terms of focusing the use of the knife.

February 28, 2012, 11:49 PM
Well, the design goal initially was to make a knife that was light and rustproof, so it could be with a service member at all times, even in the shower. The ringed version was attempted after discussion with Sal Glesser, who believes pretty strongly in the ring for retention for less skilled users.

I wanted this knife to be able to slash like the dickens when applied with a "slapping" motion that should be very natural to most people, even if they had never thought of using a knife defensively previously. Obviously a knife meant to be as small as possible is going to not be large enough to penetrate very deeply, so the wounding mechanism had to be shallower slashes~ I agree, if someone used this knife way out in the boonies somewhere without quick access to larger/more effective weapons or backup, it might lead to bad things happening. But probably no worse, and potentially better, than just being assaulted in the first place! The type of person who would take the precaution of getting a knife like this, and wearing it all of the time, though, seems like the type who'd be more prepared than that.


February 29, 2012, 02:13 AM
I personally like the deep choils, and am a little surprised that Mr. Glesser isn't a bigger fan of that. More intuitive than a ring, I think they help retention just fine, and it's grab and go as opposed to grab, adjust, and go. I just wrote a post about my kiwi, and I don't mean to pimp that, but the deep choils on that knife are what make it a delight to use, and while I haven't slashed an attacker with it, it seems quite secure and the choils guide your fingers in to where they need to go comfortably and effortlessly.

February 29, 2012, 06:59 AM
More intuitive than a ring, I think they help retention just fine, and it's grab and go as opposed to grab, adjust, and go.
I do agree with you Timbo. That's my own preference as well. I tend to think I could grab the ARK1 version hanging in a neck sheath, clutching it blindly/wildly, and get a usable grip on it faster than I could slip my finger into the ring of something like the RARK.

There is also a slight tendency I've noticed (comparing my grip vs. my wife's) for the ring to make the knife more hand-size exclusive. Some of the prototypes I made worked for me, but my wife could hardly use at all. The last one is much better in that regard, but the ring appears to require a certain geometry that perhaps a simpler handle does not.

But there is no question that the ring is much harder to drop inadvertently, once you have your grip established.

February 29, 2012, 10:52 AM

I hope you've had a chance to post the last picture on the BF thread, with your comments about your feeling and your wife's.

February 29, 2012, 11:01 AM
Thanks for the reminder!

February 29, 2012, 03:31 PM
"Middle ground" RARK. (

And new logo. :D

I'm liking the middle handle shape, although I believe that an ever-so-slight increase in the angle might be just the ticket.

Something with a gentle down angle, between #2 and #3.

Although, for my money, I'm inclined to support Timbo's observation about the choil over the ring.

February 29, 2012, 11:38 PM
Well, Sal says to pool our best ideas, refine, and then, he'd like to see (handle) the result. Folks can look up the SWICK if they want to see what we're trying to improve upon/do better than.


March 1, 2012, 12:53 AM
In my opinion, and I know I'm far from a knife guru, especially among the standards of other THR members and moderators here...

To ME, a ring makes the most sense on a straight handle, which would otherwise be too slippery, like this Pinkerton design.

I like this because it allows the knife to be used with the edge forward, like a saber-gripped karambit, or with the edge back like a clinch pick without the ergonomics changing any.

March 1, 2012, 01:29 AM
I do like the idea of a reversible (edge out or in) design but I don't know how well it would work for someone with minimal training, and in a neck shower knife at that.

My girlfriend says it's cute and should be called the alligator or crocodile.

March 1, 2012, 02:25 AM
Yeah, I wasn't suggesting a reversible design be used here. Just saying it's one of the very few instances where having a ring grip makes sense in my opinion.

I probably would go without the ring, and use a deep choil instead.

March 1, 2012, 04:24 AM
conwict, now that you mention it, it does. :D

March 1, 2012, 07:03 AM
Sure beats any of my working names... :o

John, what do you think of ArfinGreebly's suggestion of one more shot -- something between No.2 and No.3?

March 1, 2012, 12:34 PM

I think the change should be relatively subtle- not halfway between the two, maybe 1/3 more than the "neutral" middle. Also, if you can move the ring slightly more "inward", that might also help.


March 1, 2012, 12:40 PM
Feel free to use either one then! I found it appropriate due to the aquatic and mean nature of such a knife.

March 1, 2012, 12:58 PM
Good point!

The "Alligator RARK", eh?

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