Devgru knife

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Meet SEAL Team 6’s Bladesmith

Introducing Daniel Winkler, the world’s most elite maker of high-performance knives and tomahawks.

On a summer day in 2010, I walked into a sporting goods store in Nashville and bought the sharpest, meanest looking knife I could find. It wasn’t completely for show: a few days later, I boarded a plane to Afghanistan for a yearlong deployment with the 101st Airborne Division. For the next 12 months, the knife—a 10-inch man-killer with a hard rubber handle—hung ominously from my belt, always there just in case. Fortunately, it never came to that. I was not Rambo. Had I been, chances are that knife would have been used for a lot more than slicing open MREs and chasing off feral dogs. And there’s a good chance it would’ve been made by a guy in Appalachia named Daniel Winkler.

Over the years, Winkler, 58, who earned his master smith rating in ‘92, has developed a reputation for being freakishly skilled at his craft. In the early nineties, he was commissioned to make weapons for Michael Mann’s epic blockbuster The Last of the Mohicans, and soon after he started getting approached by elite military units looking for high-performance tomahawks and knives to fill their arsenals. He is now the blade smith of choice for American commandos. According to a recent New York Timesexposé on SEAL Team 6, Winkler’s work has come to be so revered among the SEALs that his hatchets are ceremoniously awarded to those who manage to survive a year in Team 6’s storied Red Squadron.

Maxim spoke with Winkler about the intricacies of his craft, what distinguishes his special line of tactical blades from anything else you can buy on the market, and the delicate art of making a weapon worthy of the battlefield gods.

How did your business relationship with U.S. Military Special Forces begin?

Because of my reputation within the knife industry, certain groups within the military came to me and asked for help in designing equipment that was more specialized than what was available in the open market. They were not happy with either the axe designs and/or knife designs that they had access to. So, being a custom maker with knowledge of high-performance steel, they came and asked me to help with some design work. Initially, all I was going to do was help with the development of some new products that they needed—some new cutlery items—and then farm out the manufacturing to other manufacturers who were more set up to do multiple pieces, because at that time I was still a two-person shop: me making knives and Karen, my wife and business partner, making sheaths. Problems arose from that after we did the designs because I could not find other manufacturers that would manufacture in the manner that I felt necessary to keep the performance level where it needed to be for these people who’d put their lives on the line based on the quality of their equipment. So, we decided to set up our own limited production facility, allowing us to keep control of not only the knife and axe designs, but also the quality of manufacturing methods.

As far as knives and tomahawks go, what were the specific qualities these commandos are looking for?

Functionality of the design is of great importance. If you were to compare the weight and the balance and the design configurations of one of our knives to most any other production knife that’s out on the market, there’s a noticeable difference in the weight-balance, which makes a difference to people who rely on high-performance equipment. The same thing holds true for the axes—not only is it weight-balance, but overall weight. These guys may be carrying 80 pounds on a mission, and if you got a knife that weights 3 pounds hanging on your hip that dangles and doesn’t carry well because the sheath is designed poorly, it’s likely going to be left back at camp on the shelf when you go out on a mission. So we develop knives that are not only properly designed and balance for the primary use that they have, they also are lighter in weight overall, and the carry systems are designed to integrate with the rest of their gear kit. So instead of it staying at home on the shelf, the guys actually carry them in the field as intended. And they’re easy to access, they’re not cumbersome to carry, they perform at a high level, you don’t have to worry about them failing when you’re working with them. That is the main difference in what we’re making and what is marketed as “military special forces knives,” or however so many people market them as. We truly design them to fit the use and the carry limitations of the guys in the field who are actually going there. Now, that costs money to do that. That’s why in the market that we’re in, we’re in the high end of the cost structure. But it’s just like with bicycles. If you want to knock another 8 ounces off an already working racing bike, it costs money to do it, because you have to do it in a way that doesn’t compromise the strength and the structure of the piece of equipment. Knives and axes are the same way.

Is versatility taken into consideration as well?

It’s all taken into consideration, but when it comes to reality, knives have been around for thousands of years and it’s really hard to improve on the overall concept of what a knife is. For example, I was at the blade show this past weekend in Atlanta. It’s the largest knife show in the world. And a person brought me a “survival knife” to look at and review. This knife had everything. It had a fine edge, a rough edge, you could chop with it, you could saw with it, you could pry with it, you could do everything with it— except, by making it a knife that tries to do everything, what it does is nothing very well. So we don’t really get into that concept of knife design. What we do is design knives that have a primary purpose, which is cutting, slicing, stabbing, whatever the purpose of that piece is—that’s the primary use, and then as best we can, if possible, we’ll add a secondary purpose, such as a glass-breaking spike. Something that will provide that knife a secondary purpose, but without limiting its primary purpose. So, basically, our knives are very simple and straightforward without a lot of frills on them, because they’re made to do a primary job as well as can be done.

For these elite soldiers who are deploying overseas, what’s the primary function they’re looking for?Is it hand-to-hand combat?

I think combat applications are very important to them because they are in a situation where, with the way warfare is these days, there’s much more close-quarters contact. So, hand-to-hand combat is a definite possibility. But then they also have to be able to do utilitarian jobs with their equipment. So if they need to punch a hole through a mud wall or use it to pry and open a window, within reason, or breach through a door, the equipment has to have those capabilities also. That’s why we use special formulations of steel for the knives and axes based on the primary usage. We have full blade bevels, which means that the blade is tapered all the way from the back spine of the knife all the way through the cutting edge, using perhaps a little bit thicker steel. Doing full-blade bevels you improve your ability for less cutting drag, so it does slice and cut more effectively. And there’s a lot of subtle details that we put into them that just make them perform better. So, as far as the primary use for either a guy that’s out in the field protecting our country or a guy who is going into the field for an elk hunt, generally speaking a lot of their needs are the same. If you needed to use it as a survival tool, the quality is built in to where if you had to jam it in the crack of a rock and use it as a stair step to climb out of a crevasse or something you’ve found yourself in when you’ve fallen off a hill or a mountain – it’s the same thing whether you’re in a combat situation or a hunting trip.

How are your sheaths—or carrying systems—modified to suit the needs of these commandos?There’s nothing that we’re making sheath-wise that would be considered what I think traditional or commonplace for what’s on the market today. The carry system or sheath is of as much importance as the knife or the axe itself, because if you can’t carry it comfortably and access it effectively then it’s not worth carrying. Even though these guys, whose primary uses might be similar, everyone sets up their gear a little bit differently. So ours can be worn vertically, horizontally, right-handed, left-handed with a belt loop that slips on your belt, a belt clip that clips on easily or can be converted to a MOLLE system. We make the sheath very versatile, but it’s still very minimalist, so you don’t have this big nylon sheath that hangs down your leg and gets hung on car seats and whatever. It fits closely to the body so it’s accessed easily wherever you want mount it. And they’re all form fitted to the actual knife that it comes with, so we’re using basically a thermo-forming plastic with a holster lining on the inside and leather on the outside so its comfortable and quiet both inside and out.

Tags: daniel winklergadgetsgearnavy sealsseal team 6tactical knivesTechtomahawks

Adam Linehan


Emerson Commander | A Folding Knife Inspired by the SEAL Teams

Early on Emerson Knives created the ES1-M, which was developed as an all-around survival knife for the SEAL Teams. That knife (The ES1-M) is what we know today as the Emerson Commander knife. Take a look at the photo below out of Tactical Knives magazine from 1997.

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Originally Designed for SEAL Team 6

The Emerson Commander knife is a battle-tested blade and approved by the Navy SEAL Teams as an edged weapon. Originally this knife was developed with input from members of Navy SEAL Team 6 and later made available to the public beginning in 1998.

The wave opening feature allows you to deploy the blade as it’s pulled from your pocket making it quicker than auto knives, and in some cases quicker than a concealed fixed blade. Opening the knife using the wave feature will require some practice in order to become consistent. The knife will react differently with different pants depending on how the pockets are constructed – practice, practice, practice.

Tips and Tricks

To make the deployment of the blade as smooth as possible, I recommend applying blue Loctite to the pivot screw and adjusting the pivot to your personal taste. If the handle traction is too aggressive, you can remove the pocket clip and use high grit sandpaper to smooth out the texture of the G10 (under the clip area a bit so that it doesn’t destroy your pocket and makes for a smoother deployment).

Blade and Handle Design

The blade and handle design are what you would expect from Emerson Knives. Once again the ergonomics of the handle are a perfect fit for my hand. I’m not sure what they do during the design phase of these handles, but they always seem to fit my hand like they were custom-made for me. When it comes to the design of the Commander blade itself, there are several factors that I really like about it.

  • First, the recurve design provides a continuous cutting surface making the use of the knife more efficient for the operator.
  • Second, the chisel ground edge allows for ease of maintenance out in the field when you need to bring back a serviceable edge after hard continuous use.
  • Third, the combination of the blade steel (154cM) and heat-treat of the blade steel gives you a highly wear-resistant blade, easily maintainable edge, and lateral strength.

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Folding Knife

5 versions of the CQC-6 knife.jpg

Five variants of the CQC6

TypeFolding Knife
Place of originTorrance, California, USA
In serviceUS Navy
Used byNavy SEALs
WarsDesert Storm, War on Terror, Operation Iraqi Freedom
DesignerErnest Emerson
ManufacturerEmerson Knives
Produced1989 through present
No. built500
Variantsspearpoint, hollow-ground, right-side grind, and damascus blades
Blade length3 5/16”

Blade typeTantō point ATS-34 Steel
Hilt typeLinen Micarta and 64AVL Titanium
Scabbard/sheathPocket Clip

The CQC-6 (Close Quarters Combat — Six) or Viper Six is a handmade tactical folding knife with a tantō blade manufactured by knifemakerErnest Emerson. Although initially reported as the sixth design in an evolution of fighting knives and the first model in the lineup of Emerson's Specwar Custom Knives, Emerson later revealed that the knife was named for SEAL Team Six. It has a chisel-ground blade of ATS-34 or 154CM stainless steel and a handle made of titanium and linen micarta. The CQC-6 is credited as the knife that popularized the concept of the tactical folding knife.[2][3][4][5]


The CQC-6 has a 3 5/16" long blade. The handle is 4 5/8" long making the knife close to 8 inches in length when opened. The butt-end of the knife tapers to a point and features a hole for tying a lanyard.[6]

The blade profile of most CQC-6's is a Japanese chisel ground tantō with a single bevel or zero-ground blade sharpened on only one side.[7] Early models have a buffline similar to a hamon found on a Japanese Samurai Sword due to a leather buffing wheel used by Emerson to finish his blades.[8] Unlike the typical Japanese chisel-grind, Emerson's grind is on the left-side of the blade as opposed to the right-side.[9]

The handle material of the CQC-6 is composed of two titanium liners utilizing a Walker linerlock and a single or double detent as the locking mechanism, although one experimental model exists with a ratchet lock.[7] Titanium bolsters make up the front half of the knife with the back half represented by linen micarta scales. The reasons for using titanium as a linerlock material were due to its memory characteristics and corrosion resistance.[10] The screws in the handle, and pivot are traditional straight-head screws to accommodate easy disassembly in the field with an improvised tool, if needed.[7] Most models feature traction grooves for a more secure grip in a wet environment and a chamfered lockface. Early knives were made with black linen micarta and later models featured a proprietary green color made exclusively for Emerson.[11] A pocket clip held in place by three screws allows the knife to be clipped to a pocket, web-gear, or MOLLE.[7]


In the mid-1980s, individual Navy SEALs from a West Coast team had been using personally purchased custom fixed-blade knives made by Southern California knifemaker Phill Hartsfield.[1] Hartsfield's knives are hard ground from differentially heat-treated A2 tool steel and are known for their distinctive chisel-ground blades.[1][6] More accurately, they are zero ground; that is, the edge has no secondary bevel, minimizing drag when used for cutting purposes. Emerson had long been impressed by the cutting ability of the chisel-ground edge and had asked Hartsfield's permission to incorporate it into his own folding knives, which Hartsfield granted.[1] When the SEALs asked Hartsfield to make them a folding knife, he informed them that he did not make folding knives and referred them to Emerson who manufactured folding knives utilizing the Walker linerlock.[1][12][13]

According to the SEALs' requirements, the knife had to be corrosion resistant, designed for easy cleaning in the field, durable enough to be used on a daily basis as a tool, and capable as a weapon should the need arise.[14] Emerson's folding chisel-ground "tantō" became the sixth model in his Viper series and, while a handful of prototypes were referred to as "Viper 6", the model was soon named the "CQC-6" (CQC refers to "close-quarters combat") and was chosen by the SEALs for use.[12][14][15] Writer, David Steele, refers to the CQC-6 as the sixth model after five prototypes as opposed to the next in the evolution of the Viper line of knives.[1] Emerson, himself, says the moniker "six" was used because the SEALs in question were members of SEAL Team Six.

Ownership of a CQC6 soon became something of a status symbol among members of various elite military units, including Navy SEALs, Army Special Forces, German GSG 9, and British SAS.[2][14][16][17][18][19] Because of this connection to the Special Warfare community, Emerson changed the name of his custom knife line to "Specwar Knives", and in 1994 this new designation began appearing in the logo on his line of custom blades.[16] The CQC-6 was not an officially issued item, but rather one that was privately purchased by the troops in question.[20]

Richard Marcinko's Rogue Warrior novels (Red Cell, Green Team, Task Force Blue, Detachment Bravo, SEAL Force Alpha, Violence of Action and Holy Terror) prominently feature the CQC-6 as a regularly carried piece of equipment.[21][22][23][24] On page 175 of Task Force Blue, Marcinko remarks that his CQC6 was a "personal gift from Ernie Emerson, himself". The popularity of Marcinko's books helped fuel the popularity of the CQC-6 in particular and Tactical Folding Knives in general beyond the realm of Military and Law-enforcement personnel.[25]


While each CQC-6 is made by hand by Emerson, there are certain subtle variations between models of different years. The earliest examples feature the Emerson "half-moon" logo, which is simply the name "EMERSON" arranged in an arc on the blade.[26] This was replaced by the Specwar logo in 1994 which resembles the gunsight on the Stealth aircraft and the moniker "Emerson Specwar Knives". The gunsight logo was briefly replaced by Emerson's Diamond logo for a period of 1 year(2004–2005), until the die to cut the logo was broken and Emerson resumed the Specwar log.[26] In 2004, Emerson incorporated his patented "Wave" opening device into the profile of the blade.[27]

The blade finish has almost uniformly been Emerson's trademark satin flats and matte edges. However, some models were made with a Black Tenifer coating. The steel was originally ATS-34 but was replaced by its American equivalent: 154 CM. Emerson has made "dress" versions with Damascus steel blades and Titanium blades with a bonded carbide edge.[28]

Emerson has used exotic handle materials such as decorative hardwoods, abalone shell, and mother-of-pearl on these dress variants; these models often feature polished hardware as opposed to the bead blasted bolsters on the tactical models.[28] A few early models featured a titanium backspacer, replaced in later years by a backspacer made of G10 fiberglass.[29] Some early CQC-6's featured cutouts in the micarta handle slabs for a small pair of tweezers as found on the Swiss Army Knife.[14][30]

At the 2017 G9 USN Gathering knife show in Las Vegas, Emerson made the debut of the most coveted CQC6 to date, a black CQC6 Flipper.

In Japan there are strict laws regarding the manufacture and possession of tantō blades.[28] In response to this, Emerson made a small batch of CQC-6's with a more conventional blade-grind for a Cutlery Show in Seki City.[28] These knives featured the grind on the right-side of the blade as opposed to the left.[28]

Emerson makes a 10% scaled-up version of the CQC-6 known as the "Super Six" and a 10% scaled-down version retro-named the "CQC-5". Like all of Emerson's custom knives there is a 13+ year backlog and no new orders for knives are taken.[31][32][33]

In November 2001, Emerson made a one-of-a-kind CQC-6 and auctioned it at the New York Custom Knife Show for the benefit of children whose parents had been killed on 9/11/2001: 100% of the proceeds went to this charity. This knife featured polished hardware, hand-checkered micarta scales, and an engraved blade reading: "We shall strike a dagger deep into the heart of such evil".[34]


Emerson's custom CQC6 (top) alongside Benchmade's 970 (CQC7)

In 1994, the president of Benchmade Knives, Les DeAsis, approached Emerson to manufacture the CQC6 on a larger scale as a factory production model.[16] Preferring to keep the CQC6 as a custom-only knife, Emerson instead licensed a similar design of his, the CQC-7.[25] Even though it did not have the craftsmanship of a handmade piece of cutlery, it satisfied customers with their own version of Emerson's work, at an affordable price and without the five-year wait.[1][15][35] Benchmade manufactured automatic versions of the CQC7 such as the BM9700.[17] Currently Pro-Tech Knives of Santa Fe Springs, California manufactures an automatic version of the CQC-7 in collaboration with Emerson.[36]

The CQC-7 is similar in size and blade profile to the CQC-6 with the main difference being a rear brake at the butt of the handle of the CQC-7 as opposed to the boattail shape of the CQC-6. After the contract with Benchmade expired, Emerson began production of this model in his own factory, Emerson Knives, Inc., in 1999.[15] The production version of the CQC7 is not a handmade knife and features no bolsters or micarta in the handle construction. The handle material on the production model is G-10 fiberglass and the edge of the blade has a secondary bevel. There is a larger and smaller version of this knife known as the "Super CQC-7" and "Mini-CQC-7", respectively and a version with a drop-point blade as opposed to a tanto.[15][37] An "all titanium" handled version with a framelock was made in 2005 known as the HD-7 to commemorate the tenth anniversary of this model.[38][39] Emerson makes handmade versions of the CQC-7 with variations similar to the CQC-6 mentioned above.[28]

In the Russian movie 12 a remake of the classic Twelve Angry Men, an "Emerson CQC7" is revealed as the potential weapon used by a Chechen teen in the murder of his Russian foster-parents. However, the knife shown in the movie is not a CQC7 or even an Emerson made knife.

In May 2013, a non-custom factory-made Emerson CQC-7 knife carried by Matt Bissonnette who served as point man on the mission to kill or capture Osama bin Laden was auctioned off for charity, netting over $35,400.[citation needed]


  1. ^ abcdefgSteele, David E. (1997), "The Hottest Grind of All", Blade Magazine, 24 (3): 16–18
  2. ^ abCovert, Pat (January 2000), "Strike Force!", American Handgunner, 30 (1), retrieved April 20, 2009
  3. ^Haskew, Mike (2004), "Ground Breaking Tactical Folder Makers", Blade Magazine, 31 (2): 24–31
  4. ^Shackleford, Steve (2003), "30 Most Influential People in Blade History", Blade Magazine, 30 (10): 92–99
  5. ^Burch, Michael (2011). "Tactical Tuxedos". In Joe Kertzman (ed.). Knives 2012: The World's Greatest Knife Book (32 ed.). Iola, Wisconsin: Krause Publications. p. 52. ISBN .
  6. ^ abTieves, Bruce (1998), "Captain Tactical", Blade Magazine, 25 (1): 41–44
  7. ^ abcdDick, Steven (1997), The Working Folding Knife, Stoeger Publishing Company, p. 280, ISBN 
  8. ^Dockery, Kevin (2004). Weapons of the Navy SEALs. California: Berkeley Hardcover. pp. 23–24. ISBN .
  9. ^Kertzman, Joe (2007). Sporting Knives: Folders, Fixed Blades, Pocket, Military, Gent's Knives, Multi-Tools, Swords. Iola, WI: Krause Publications. p. 110. ISBN .
  10. ^"Titanium Alloys – Corrosion and Erosion Resistance". The A to Z of Materials:Materials Information Service – The Selection and Use of Titanium, A Design Guide. 27 March 2002. Retrieved April 20, 2009.
  11. ^Walker, Greg (1993). Battle Blades: A Professional's Guide to Combat/Fighting Knives. Boulder, CO: Paladin Press. pp. 38, 130. ISBN .
  12. ^ abLang, Bud (1996). "Ernest Emerson Profile". Knives Illustrated (Folders Special ed.). 10: 28.
  13. ^Dockery (2004).
  14. ^ abcdGarrett, Robert (1996), "Will the Rolex be Replaced by an Emerson Folder as THE Special Ops Status Symbol?", Tactical Knives Magazine, 2 (2): 58–63
  15. ^ abcdEwing, Dexter (2006), "Stand and Salute the CQC7"(PDF), Knives Illustrated Annual, 20 (1): 172–176, archived from the original(PDF) on 2010-12-18, retrieved 2011-03-23
  16. ^ abcNorman, Chris (1995), "Ernest Emerson", Knives Illustrated, 10 (4): 104–108
  17. ^ abPickles, Al (1995), "Innovation Sets the Pace", Tactical Knives Magazine, 1 (1): 32–39
  18. ^Lang, Bud (1993). "Combat Special". Knives Illustrated. 7 (2): 16.
  19. ^Waterman, Steve (1997). "Brown Water to Silver Screen: Story & Photos". Soldier of Fortune Magazine. 22 (7): 67–69.
  20. ^Bahmanyar, Mir; Chris Osman (2008). SEALs The US Navy's Elite Fighting Force. Osprey Publishing. ISBN .
  21. ^Marcinko books:
    • Marcinko, Richard; Weisman (1994). Rogue Warrior II: Red Cell. New York: Pocket Books. p. 108. ISBN .
    • Marcinko, Richard; Weisman (1995). Rogue Warrior: Green Team. New York: Pocket Books. pp. 3, 18, 56, 78, 130–132, 204, 230, 265. ISBN .
    • Marcinko, Richard; Weisman (1996). Rogue Warrior: Task Force Blue. New York: Pocket Books. pp. 4, 22, 107, 153, 174–175.ISBN .
  22. ^Marcinko, Richard (2002). Violence of Action. New York: Atria Books. pp. 28, 101, 105, 110, 112, 116, 154. ISBN .
  23. ^Marcinko, Richard; Weisman (2001). Rogue Warrior: Detachment Bravo. New York: Pocket Books. pp. 217, 317, 323. ISBN .
  24. ^Marcinko, Richard; DeFelice, Jim (2006). Rogue Warrior: Holy Terror. New York: Atria. p. 108. ISBN .
  25. ^ abFritz, Mark (2006-07-25). "How New, Deadly Pocketknives Became a $1 Billion Business". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2007-01-02.(subscription required)
  26. ^ abCallahan, Paul (2010). "Emerson Logo's". Emerson Resource Page. Retrieved 2011-03-23.
  27. ^Overton, Mac (2007). "Emerson Knives: The #1 Hard Use Knives in the World". Knives Illustrated. 21 (4): 36–43.
  28. ^ abcdefDarom, David; Eric Eggly; Francesco Pachi; Paolo Saviolo (April 30, 2008). The Great Collections (Modern Custom Knives). Chartwell Books. p. 288. ISBN .
  29. ^Emerson, Ernest (1994), Viper Knives Catalog, p. 4
  30. ^"CQC-6 Green Canvas Micarta with Tweezers". 2010. Archived from the original on 2011-07-23. Retrieved 2011-03-23.
  31. ^Emerson, Ernest R. (July 1, 2000). "Retirement Announcement". Emerson Knives Inc., News Page. Retrieved 2014-04-06.
  32. ^Haskew, Mike (2006), "The Quick-Resale Phenomenon", Blade Magazine, 33 (12): 30–35
  33. ^Ewing, Dexter (2007), "Rock-Star Knifemakers Part 1", Blade Magazine, 34 (1): 26–29
  34. ^Shackleford, Steve (2004), "Top 10 Most Collected Makers and their Knives", Blade Magazine, 32 (5): 57
  35. ^Shackleford, Steve (2005), "The 7 Is 10", Blade Magazine, 32 (2): 42–48
  36. ^Searson, Mike (2011-04-01). "The Best Knives of G2". Blade. FW Media Inc. 37 (5): 80–84.
  37. ^Hopkins, Cameron (2001). "Emerson Knives' CQC7". Guns Magazine. FMG Publishing. Retrieved 2011-03-23.
  38. ^"Emerson Knives HD-7 folder" (Press release). Shooting Industry. 2004. Retrieved 2011-03-23.
  39. ^"HD-7: Emerson Knives - Spotlight" (Press release). American Handgunner. 2004. Retrieved 2011-03-23.

External links[edit]

No Easy Day, the controversial first-handaccount of the Navy SEAL raidthat killed Osama bin Laden, doesn't just provide a minute-by-minute description of the famous May 2011 operation. The book by SEAL Team Six member Matt Bissonnette (who wrote under the pseudonym Mark Owen before his true identity was revealed) also gives a wealth of fascinating information about what the Navy's elite commandos carry along on a mission.

Bissonnette is clearly careful not to reveal details about classified technology that SEAL Team Six (also called DEVGRU) used. For example, the stealth helicopters used to transport the SEALS are referred to in the book simply as Black Hawks, with no mention of their special capabilities. But he does detail the type of gear he would typically bring with him, including on the historic raid.

"Without doubt, DEVGRU had the best tools in the business," he writes. While total gear would often weigh 60 pounds, the SEAL motto was "light is right," and team members would try to strip down to just the essentials.

Here's what Bissonnette often had with him:

Knives and tools: Bissonnette says that a Gerber multitool, which includes a knife blade, screwdriver, scissors, and can opener, was provided to each member of Seal Team Six. So was a fixed-blade knife.

Weapons: According to the book, SEALs like Bissonnette get a "standard issue" Sig Sauer P226 (he also had an HK 45C), though he says the weapon he used on a daily basis was the HK 416 with a ten inch barrel and suppressor. Owens went on some missions with a MP7 submachine gun, but says it wasn't as powerful as the HK 416. His other guns included another HK 416, this one with a fourteen-inch barrel, which he preferred for long-range shots. SEALS also carry what they call the "pirate gun": The Vietnam-era M79 grenade launcher, nicknamed for its odd resemblance to a blunderbuss.

Breaching gear: SEAL Team 6 members like Own would typically carry explosive breaching charges, bolt cutters, and even a sledge hammer, used for gaining entry through locked doors and gates.

Combat Assault Dog, or CAD: Cairo, the Belgian Malinois who went on the Osama bin Laden mission, brought national fame to the SEAL Team Six's use of assault dogs. The "hair missiles," as one of Bissonnette's colleagues describe the dogs, can detect bombs and track and attack people. Owen credits the CAD with saving his life on one mission in Afghanistan whenthe dog found an insurgent hiding in a ditch, ready to attack, after his team thought it had cleared the area around them.

Night-vision goggles: Bissonnette mentions the top-of-the-line night-vision equipment issued to SEAL Team Six. Members carry four-tube night vision goggles rather than the standard two-tube ones, which have a larger field of view. They cost about $65,000 per pair, the author says.

Uniform and body armor: On the Abbottabad raid, Bissonnette says he wore a Crye Precision Desert Digital Combat Uniform. "Designed like a long-sleeved shirt and cargo pants, the uniform had ten pockets, each with a specific purpose," he writes. The uniform wicks away sweat, but Bissonnette also made his own modification by cutting off the sleeves. (For some servicemen this would be a major no-no, but SEAL Team Six members aren't required to wear standard-issue combat clothing). Members also get a vest with room for ballistic plates, though Bissonnette mentions leaving the plates behind on one mission to save weight. As for shoes, Owen opted for Salomon Quest boots to protect his ankles.

Sensitive Site Exploitation Kit: With SEALs increasingly called upon to help do detective work by collecting evidence, Owen traveled with rubber gloves, a digital camera, and a DNA collection kit. SEAL Team Tix took DNA swabs from Osama bin Laden at the compound in Abbottabad, in case the body couldn't be recovered.

Ambien: Long flights on C-17 transport aircraft often mean popping the popular sleeping pill. Bissonnette writes about taking Ambien to sleep several times in the book, and in particular on the final night before the Osama bin Laden raid.

Miscellaneous gear: Among the other gear Bissonnette talks about using are "bone phones," which are essentially communication devices that allow the user to hear through bone conduction technology. He also carried infrared chemical lights to mark specific spots, an extendable ladder, a Princeton Tech charge light, a Daniel Winkler fixed blade knife, assault gloves, leather mitts, batteries, energy gel, and two power bars. On the Osama bin Laden raid, he carried one more thing: $200, in case everything went wrong.

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Knife devgru

10 Knives Special Forces Around The World Use

The United States Marine Corps. The Special Air Service. The Navy SEALs.

They're the elite, deployed to situations that demand the best soldiers in the world. And they need to know that their equipment can handle anything they run into. When the best of the best suit up, these are the knives they choose to bring along.

1. Ontario MK 3 Navy Knife

Navy SEALs (USA)
The Ontario MK 3 Navy Knife is standard issue for the United States Navy SEALs. With a 6-inch stainless steel blade, it's a perfectly compact piece of equipment for this elite and efficient group. Though many SEALs also opt to carry their own knife of choice, this is the one they all receive—a reliable piece of equipment that does its job without getting in the way.
Civilian equivalent: $77.90

2. Fairbairn-Sykes

Special Air Service (UK)
It's pure, it's simple, and it's been used for decades. The Fairbairn-Sykes may not be flashy, but it's legendary. First put to use in World War II, it was issued to members of Britain's Special Air Service, one of the most accomplished and recognized special forces units in the world. The Fairbairn-Sykes proved to be such an effective fighting knife that the United States tried to manufacture its own version for the OSS, the precursor to the CIA.

A British classic that was so impressive even the Americans wanted it? Yeah, it's basically The Beatles of knives.
Civilian equivalent:$81.67

3. Glauca B1

GIGN (France)
For a counter-terrorist unit, simplicity isn't always a good thing. You're gonna run into unexpected situations, and unless you're able to MacGyver a solution in minutes, you'll need tools that can serve multiple purposes. That's why the GIGN, a French special ops group involved in terrorist and hostage situations, worked with Extrema Ratio to design the Glauca B1. Along with a custom blade, the knife features a plastic handcuff cutter and window breaker. It's the multi-tool of badasses.
Civilian equivalent$388.50

4. WING-Tactic

GIGN (France)
The GIGN doesn't solely go for gadgets like the Glauca B1. They also worked with Wildsteer Intervention Group on the WING-Tactic, an 11-inch knife that gets the job done when you need something simple. If you're an elite soldier, your gear has to be useful when you need it and barely noticeable when you don't. This knife balances those requirements.
Civilian equivalent$326.58

5. Karambit

Joint Task Force 2 (Canada)
They've hunted Serbian snipers. In 2004, the United States gave them the Presidential Unit Citation. They've guarded major figures overseas. And despite that, there's very little we actually know about Joint Task Force 2, the Canadian special ops unit dedicated to counter-terrorism duties. Most of their missions are classified. All we know is that they're very good at what they do. And rumor has it that at least some of them are fond of using a karambit (or two) in combat. A weapon so old we're not 100 percent sure we know where it came from, this knife is especially useful for self-defense—the grip rests in the hand so perfectly that it is very difficult to disarm anyone holding one. And, well, when you've got two of them...
Civilian equivalent$248.99

6. Kukri

Brigade of Gurkhas (Nepal)
This centuries-old weapon has been iconically linked with the Brigade of Gurkhas for decades. The unique design of the kukri allows users to simultaneously slice and chop at an opponent, doing the most damage possible with speed and accuracy. It's a knife not to be messed with, used by men not to be messed with. The Brigade of Gurkhas consists of Nepalese soldiers serving the British Army, and each year, they award a mere 200 positions out of around 25,000 applicants. They're badass.
Civilian equivalent: $48.99

7. Strider SMF

Marine Corps Special Operations Command Detachment One (USA)
When Detachment One was formed in 2003 to fight in the War on Terror, they decided they needed a new knife specifically for their unit. The result was the Strider SMF, a compact folding knife with a titanium frame that guarantees it can not only handle the conditions they knew they'd be facing, but also stands the test of time.
Civilian equivalent$570.00

8. Ari B'Lilah

YAMAM (Israel)
When an Israeli counter-terrorism force gives you feedback on how to design a knife, you're probably gonna wind up with one crazy knife. The Ari B'Lilah was created with the help of Yamam, a group that handles everything from hostage rescue to SWAT team duties and undercover ops. They gave their input to develop a knife that combined effectiveness with practicality. They have a lot of jobs to do, and the Ari B'Lilah needs to work for all of them.
Civilian equivalentExtremely Unavailable

9. Ballistic Knife

Spetsnaz (Russia)
A knife that propels its blade through the air like a bullet? No wonder ballistic knives are banned for non-military use in several countries. For soldiers, though, these weapons can handle the close-quarters combat of a knife fight, without the limits of most blades. These were first developed for Spetsnaz, the Russian special forces, whose focus on intelligence missions required weapons that could take out an enemy quickly and quietly. Terrifying.
Civilian equivalentNot really legal, dude

10. Ka-Bar

Marine Corps (USA)
A classic American weapon, the Ka-Bar sums up what special forces usually look for in their blades. The Ka-Bar originally came to be when Marines in WWII found that the knives they were issued didn't meet their needs. Even when they were good for combat use, they didn't do their job as tools. In reality, special forces use blades for many purposes, not just fighting. The Ka-Bar was designed to preserve the lethal elements of previous weapons while also working as wire cutters, crate openers, and just about everything else a Marine needed a knife for. Just like a special forces soldier, it does a lot of jobs, and it does them well.
Civilian equivalent: $59.95

Joe Olivetois a staff writer for Supercompressor. He can barely handle a kitchen knife. Follow him on Twitter.

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