The Parry Blade
My initial impression upon holding the Parry Blade survival knife for the first time was ‘Wow! This is a lot of knife!’
Made in Sheffield, England, from X46Cr13 420 stainless steel, and coated in black teflon, the big Bowie knife weighs in at a solid 651g and sports a blade that is 223mm (8.8″) from hilt to point.
The blade has a Rockwell hardness of 57-58 and the front part of the blade is of heavy construction and bellied, hinting at the designer’s appreciation of the Ghurkha kukri knife.
As of early 2012 a second version of the Parry Blade was being designed and I was lucky enough to be able to trial a prototype version. This version is of 420 stainless steel with a Rockwell hardness of 53 – 55.
The blade is 6 inches with the same overall shape and features as it bigger brother. The handle is linen Micarta and the knife weighs just under a pound (430 grams). This knife also comes with a sturdy military specification sheath.
The knife’s designer is former 22nd SAS Regiment Warrant Officer, Mel Parry. A highly experienced SAS soldier who had served in a wide variety of military theatres, Parry recognised that the British Army lacked an appropriate general purpose survival knife.
For downed pilots or SAS operatives on the run from hunter squads in hostile jungle environments, Parry wanted a quality, purpose-built survival knife that would give such men every opportunity to survive in harsh terrain and make good their escape.
Over a period of years, Parry consulted his counterparts in Special Forces units around the world, gradually refining the design. After a lengthy gestation period, the knife finally went into production in 2008.
Unashamedly designed for military applications, the knife will also appeal to outdoorspeople. While I would not carry it as a hunting knife, I do have a definite use for such a knife. My boys and I occasionally go walkabout in Arnhem Land with our Yolgnu friends.
These trips see us getting dropped off with backpacks in very remote locations then walking out over a period of days. We travel as light as possible, obviously, and knives are a prime consideration.
We each carry fine custom-made hunting knives and have often discussed the need for a heavier duty, general purpose knife. The Parry survival knife is exactly that, and can easily take on heavy chopping, prising and levering functions, as well as more delicate work.
The knife is of full-tang construction, with a handle of black linen micarta held on by three large screws. I found the handgrip to be quite full and comfortable. The screwed grips make fitting custom grips an easy option for those that require it. Another option with the handle, which I will probably adopt myself, is to replace the grips with a winding of the ever-useful para cord.
The guards are effective without being obtrusive and combined with a grooved and extended ricasso allows a comfortable choke gripe to be used for finer work. This is particularly so when using the razor-sharp hollow-ground part of the blade back towards the hilt for precise whittling or paring.
For sawing, the back of the blade features a section of sharp serrations, which I found to be a quite effective. The handle butt is an extension of the full-tang construction and with its flattened steel surfaces can be used for hammering or bashing activities.
A false double-edge provides a sharp spear-point to the blade, a comforting feature when potentially having to deal with wild pigs. The heavy bolo-style front section of the blade is ideally designed for chopping. I proved this to my own satisfaction with some ad hoc pruning of my brother-in-law’s jungle acreage in Far North Queensland. I hope he doesn’t go poking about in the western corner for a couple of months!
The Parry Blade comes nicely packaged and accompanied by a webbing sheath with a Lansky diamond sharpener in a front pocket. A more stylish leather sheath is also available for those who would prefer that look.
I am completely satisfied with the design and construction of this knife. It is a testament to the knowledge, experience and skill of Mel Parry.
More information about the Parry Blade is available at www.parryblade.com and inquiries can be made to the official agent at firstname.lastname@example.org