Story and Photos by Waysun Johnny Tsai
Over the past two years my social media feeds have been filled with images of some tough looking new knives. One of the newer companies that caught my eye was T.A.S.K. Knives, by a designer named Brandon Kirby.
The thing that makes T.A.S.K. Knives stand out among the new, up and coming, companies is the muscle behind the knives. The person that makes them exclusively for T.A.S.K is none other than Ted Frizzell of Mineral Mountain Hatchet Works (MMHW).
Ted Frizzell has been making hard use axes and knives, at MMHW, for the past 35 plus years or so – maybe even longer. Ted is now leveraging that experience to make T.A.S.K. Knives the right way.
Recently, an interesting T.A.S.K. design that came across my Instagram feed is the Breacher Cleaver. When I first saw it, I found myself staring at this interesting blade and knew that I had to spend some time with it.
The following is the result of that time.
So, I get home and find what is clearly a knife package sitting on my kitchen counter.
I open it up and am immediately greeted by a couple of notes from Brandon Kirby (owner of T.A.S.K. Knives) – I’ve always found a hand-written letter from the maker to be a nice touch. I then pull out a good size chunk of steel – the Breacher Cleaver – and immediately felt a grin come across my face, as I anticipated how much fun this article was going to be to write.
The first thing I noticed was how well rounded off and comfortable the brown micarta handles were – which is extremely important for this 2-pound, 6.9-ounce tool. On initial inspection, I did not feel any noticeable areas that would cause hot spots on the scales. I then slid the blade out of the Kydex sheath, and man there is something simply wicked about this tool.
The blade is cut from .25-inch thick parkerized 5160 Spring Steel, which is a good steel for a cleaver or chopping tool – due to its outstanding toughness, flexibility and resistance to fatigue. The Breacher Cleaver features two working edges – to cover myriad tasks – including a 7-inch primary edge, followed around the front of the axe by a 3-inch front edge.
The balance point falls roughly even with the point on the beard – providing good forward heft for chopping, but nice balance when choking up at the neck. The beard length itself is roughly 2-inches, which I like since it covers about two and a half fingers when I choke up on it – it feels perfect for punching stuff or people.
It features a double lanyard hole, at the end of the handle – for affixing a retention lanyard – as well as an oversized hanging hole within the decorative rise, on the spine just before the front edge. Hanging holes seem to come standard on many large cleavers in today’s marketplace.
Overall the Breacher Cleaver is a hybrid of sorts – being a mix between a cleaver and an axe – and I found the overall length of 16.75-inches to be a good length for use as either.
The Breacher cleaver is a heavy tool. As I mentioned earlier, it’s important for the handle and scales to be ergonomic and not have any hot spots – otherwise playtime would be over in 5 minutes or less.
The first test I wanted to do was just swing it into a tree stump several times and see how the forward weight felt. Because of the thickness of the steel and scales, I didn’t feel any shock in my hand or wrist.
I then turned my attention to a wooden pallet. The Breacher Cleaver has a good forward weight and bit deep into the wood – I really can’t envision anything made from wood that the Breacher Cleaver can’t destroy.
Finally, I was able to find an old metal fire door that was no longer in use and gave the Breacher Cleaver a test, befitting its name, by prying the door open. I found the sharpened front edge of the Breacher Cleaver very useful for this. I slipped the edge between the lock and just banged it until I could peel the lock back off the door. After that, I was able to just pop the lock open easily.
MMKW did a stand-up job rounding off the scales and I experienced no hot spots or discomfort during my testing. The Breacher Cleaver did exactly what it was built to do, and I was able to breach and enter the metal fire door within minutes.
Who wouldn’t like this thing? It’s half axe, half cleaver and 100% brute! As far as chopping and hacking goes, it is built perfectly for those tasks (no pun intended).
The handle is comfortable, which I found very important for the type of use the Breacher Cleaver was built for. The Kydex sheath is simple but does its intended job. I haven’t tried to clean the blue paint off yet, so I can’t speak on the parkerized finish, but it didn’t scratch up at all.
I was impressed by how easily I could get through that locked metal door – I wasn’t sure how long it was going to take, but it wasn’t hard at all.
I highly recommend this tool to anyone that want’s the ability to destroy stuff at their fingertips.
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Blade Material: Parkerized 5160 Spring SteelPrimary Edge: 7 inchesFront Edge: 3 inchesOverall Length: 16.75 inchesBlade Thickness: .25 inchWeight: 2 pounds, 6.9 ouncesHandle Material: MicartaSheath: KydexMSRP: $165.00
Email BrandonT.A.S.K. FacebookLANTAC Knives
Knife & Gear Society: Hi Brandon, please introduce yourself to our readers.Brandon: My name is Brandon Kirby and I’m a knife designer from Tennessee. I want to bring handmade tools to market, with a lifetime warranty, without breaking the bank. Good honest made in the USA blades.
K&G: How long have you been in the business and how did you hook up with Ted Frizzell of Mineral Mountain?BK: I started T.A.S.K. around two years ago. I wanted a reputable manufacturer to make my designs, so I contacted Mr. Ted Frizzell of Mineral Mountain Hatchet Works to make my blade to my exact specifications. His work is second to none, in my opinion, and I love his work. Ted has been a pleasure to work with.
K&G: What does T.A.S.K. Stand for?BK: T.A.S.K. stands for TACTICAL ASSAULT SURVIVAL KNIVES.
K&G: In your own words, please describe your Breacher Cleaver?BK: The BREACHER CLEAVER is a cleaver and axe morphed into one. From the campsite to breaching doors, I wanted a robust tool made to work. Being made from 5160 spring steel and a .25-inch-thick stock, this tool will smash chop and hammer almost anything a man will encounter.
K&G: What’s the craziest thing that you have destroyed with your Breacher Cleaver?BK: I’ve chopped trees and busted blocks, and even chopped a windshield out of my buddy’s car. I should have filmed that one. *Laughs*
K&G: Any new projects in the works that you would like to share with our readers?BK: I have a whole line up of T.A.S.K. knives. The newest item I’m excited to have is the NERAKA short sword.
K&G: Will you be exhibiting at BLADE SHOW in June?BK: Will love to be at blade show but my schedule might not let me attend. No promises on a that.
SIJO Waysun Johnny Tsai is a Chicago native and the founder of C.U.M.A. Combatives and the C.U.M.A. Survival School. A Master level Instructor, Sijo has over 33 years of combined experience in teaching practical street defense in the civilian, military and law enforcement sectors and is considered one of the World's foremost experts in practical street defense and Combatives. He is a published book, magazine and DVD author, as well as a highly established impact and edged weapons designer. Sijo has knife designs on the market and available through TOPS Knives, Slysteel Knives, Day One Gear, Combat Ready Knives and Grunt Style.
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