Knife review: The ESEE DPx HEST (Dangerous Places Hostile Environment Tool)
The thickest part of the blade is about 3/16" which is thicker than most knives of this size class to add durability
I've been on the lookout for some fixed blade action so I was fortunate to have an opportunity to check out this here DPx HEST knife. The back story is that ESEE (formerly RAT Cutlery) teamed up with Robert Young Pelton to make this bad boy. DP is an abbreviation for Dangerous Places while HEST stands for Hostile Environment Survival Tool.
Mr. Pelton is apparently no slouch on the dangerous places subject and has done a lot of high adventure action in his day. (BIO) As for what the knife can do, it has some pretty nifty features that make it an adaptable blade to many environments. The core is of course the business end which sports a fairly classic shaped blade capable of stabbing, slashing, and cutting. The thickest part of the blade is about 3/16" which is thicker than most knives of this size class to add durability. For an overall finish a Textured Powder Coat is used that gives a tough look and result. Since it's made from 1095 High Carbon Steel it should be noted that despite being good stuff, the exposed areas such as the cutting edge and logo engraving will be more prone to rust and stains thus should be properly maintained.
Micarta handle grips are included. They have pretty good anti-slip qualities in the texture and sport a somewhat unique look. The interior of the handles are hollowed to allow a goodie stash for small survival items like matches, fish-hooks, mini-compass, or some money. It is a nice little bonus, but does require 2 screws to be taken off to access, so it’s more of a backup storage place rather than a sneaky one. A simple washer is included with the sheath to allow screw manipulation without the need for a larger tool.
As a personal preference I wish the screws were black rather than brass. For survival oriented features, the handles can be totally removed to strip the knife down to its skeleton handle. This makes the blade nice and slim for neck-knife type applications however the shape is also great for lashing for creating a spear. While on the lashing note, the Bottle Opener and Wire Break Notch features also allow for enhanced lash points. The bottle opener performs more of the urban everyday carry features while the wire break notch caters back more towards survival and military. It can take a while, but is effective enough to snap barbed wire.
At the bottom is a crafty Pry Bar Pommel that not only gives enhanced prying capability, yet also improves the grip in my opinion shielding and stabilizing the pinky. An example of usage would be to use the blade to start the wedge by then hammering the pommel, then switching out to the pry bar end to do the actual prying now that a gap has been formed. As durable as this knife is, the very tip of the blade is always going to be a weak point when it comes to prying.
A big plus to the DPx HEST Knife is that is comes as a package. You not only get the knife, but also a kydex sheath and even Blade-Tech MOLLE Locks. The additional holes in the sheath allow both mounting of the MOLLE locks and lacing of paracord. The sheath is a great balance of speed vs security and between the 550 cord an MOLLE locks, you can attach it about anywhere you want; Examples include belt, neck, pack, or vest.
As for how this knife works for me, I have to say that the grip is not the best for my small hands when in skeleton mode or while using the included Micarta grips. I feel like I'm holding a slim letter opener due to having difficulty keeping a firm encompassing grip. Luckily the combination of the skeleton handle shape and holes make the DPx HEST a great 550 cord handle platform.
After making a quick cord handle attempt I was quite pleased with the end result grip as it filled my hand much better delivering a no messing around fighting grip. In the long run, the powder coat will chip, but this is meant to be a USE knife and not a SHOW knife. Rough it up and sport the marks with pride rather than worrying about babying it. The street price is pretty good on the DPx HEST considering it comes as a "kit" for about $100. It doesn't look that special at first, but all the little features together make it quite a versatile and unique blade so I certainly recommend checking it out.
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