If you don’t think about it too much, constructing a knife should be simple. It’s only two planes of steel meeting at an extremely acute angle. Sure, it sounds simple. But there are as many shapes and sizes of blades as there are tasks for them to perform, from the delicate work of the sharpest scalpels, to machetes that hack through jungles, to diamond blades that cut tough materials in the bowels of industrial machinery.
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It’s the task it will complete and the environment in which it will be used that determines how the blade will look, feel and balance, and how the edge interacts with the material it’s intended to cut.
When designing a combat knife, there are a few questions to answer before the design should even begin. Will it be purely a fighting knife that won’t be regularly used for any other task, like fieldcraft and basic chores, or will it be the only fixed-blade knife a warfighter carries in the field? It has to be good at two things: slashing and stabbing. Thin, viciously pointed blades are great for puncturing through gear and clothing to get to the flesh beneath, but they are usually poor slashers. A clip-point blade might have a nicer belly for slashing, which would also make it a decent field knife, especially for dressing game, but the blade’s shape can leave a weak, narrow tip that isn’t ideal for stabbing chores and can break.
The Nyx combat knife from Spartan Blades does a beautiful job of balancing the capabilities of a slashing and stabbing weapon to create a truly universal combat/utility/survival knife. It’s a sturdy blade of CMP S35VN steel that’s 0.19 inches at it’s thickest, making it plenty strong for hard batoning and carving. With a blade length of 5.13 inches and an overall length of 10 inches, it’s a nimble tool that offers the perfect amount of blade.
The knife is named after the primordial goddess of night and darkness—a mean name for a mean blade, as it should be. Spartan Blades is the brainchild of two retired U.S. Army Special Forces NCOs who know firsthand what a field/combat knife needs to be. All of their products are produced in North Carolina with materials of U.S. origin, with exacting detail you would only find on the most expensive custom knives. Some of their blades are hand-ground while others are milled, meaning every knife Spartan Blades produces is touched and handled by their skilled craftsmen. These aren’t big-batch assembly line knives.
The Nyx was one of the first knives Spartan designed when it was created in 2008 and was considered the field knife of the company’s initial lineup. According to Curtis Iovito, a co-owner of Spartan Blades, “It is one of the three knives that Spartan made when Mark [Carey] and I started the company. The intent was to make a hybrid knife that could be used for both hunting and military tasks. It ended up being the preferred knife of many hog hunters in the Southwest, the reason being that it can dispatch a hog due to its sharp point, yet the belly of the blade works great for dressing animals.”
Spartan calls the unique shape of the blade a hybrid recurve design. It’s almost a leaf-shaped blade with a generous belly and no clip. The tip is aligned with the centerline of the blade and it has a lot of steel behind it, making the Nyx a strong, sharp stabbing weapon.
Often, blades with a tip like this are forced to have a straighter spine, which cuts down on the knife’s slashing power. But the Nyx’s full-tang blade tilts forward a few degrees at the hilt, almost like a miniature kukri knife, providing extra leverage for slashing motions. The handle blends seamlessly into the silhouette of the blade so you don’t notice the slight angle until you need it.
Like other Spartan knives, the handle is narrow and quite thin, with rugged canvas Micarta scales. At first, the handle may seem a bit inadequate, but after you use it for a while, the reasons behind the handle’s dimensions become apparent. It offers a bit less leverage but provides excellent control and, perhaps more important for many operators of all kinds, it makes the knife easier to grab, use and hang onto while wearing gloves, thick or thin. The low-profile handle also takes up less room when the sheath is mounted on a vest or belt.
But a knife is not always used as a weapon, even in combat. The thick blade allows the Nyx to become a light prying tool if absolutely necessary, and a choil just above the hilt and serrations on the spine allow a user to choke up on the knife for superior control and applying force for more delicate tasks like carving or dressing game.
The blade is available with a flat black or Flat Dark Earth SpartaCoat finish, and the Micarta handle scales are available in black or green. As for a sheath, there are a couple options. The Nyx ships with a plastic and nylon MOLLE sheath with a handle retention strap with a snap. It’s square and bulky, but it works well enough. You can also buy a molded Kydex sheath to match the color of the knife’s handle or blade, which is a better option, as it allows for the knife to be extremely secure or readily available for a smooth, quick draw.
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The Nyx is a combat-ready knife that won’t fall short in handling the tasks you need a knife to perform in any theater, in any circumstances.
For more information, visit spartanbladesusa.com or call 910-757-0035.