In the upcoming July 2014 issue of TACTICAL WEAPONS, author Mike Detty goes behind the scenes at Bates Knives to meet Bryan Bates, a former Marine who creates exceptional battle blades.
Detty writes, “If it hadn’t been for a testy exchange with Senator John McCain at a Tucson, Ariz., town hall meeting, I might never have learned of Bates Knives. Former U.S. Marine Rifleman Bryan Bates attended the town hall meeting to let McCain know he was dead set against sending American troops to Syria. ‘I didn’t want any U.S. troops fighting alongside al-Qaeda—the same guys that were trying to kill me in Iraq and Afghanistan,’ said Bates.
“The cell phone video a friend had taken went viral. An effort by a writer for the Marine Corps Times to find Bates for an interview discovered the website for his knives and resulted in an article describing how he stamps each of his hand-forged blades with the Arabic symbol for ‘infidel’ and then quenches it in pig blood.
“Bates offers about 10 different styles of knives, all with fixed blades and G10 grips. He also makes the Kydex sheaths for each of the knives. He steadfastly refuses to use blanks, insisting that he wants to control every aspect of the manufacturing process to offer a truly handmade knife. He has even taught himself to pattern weld to produce his own Damascus blades.
“While I was in his shop, he was working on one of his biggest sellers—the Stubby—a fixed, 3-inch-bladed knife with incredible balance. Bates cuts each blade from 1095 high-carbon steel. His shop has rudimentary machinery—a couple of drill presses, belt sanders, a small forge and an anvil secured to a tree stump bolted to the cement floor of his 30-by-30-foot workshop.”