Story and Photos by Armando Basulto
Everyone has strong opinions on what the ideal EDC (Everyday Carry) checklist should include.
Some feel that two pistols, two magazines, two knives, two tourniquets, handcuff keys and 20ft of paracord are necessary pocket gear before grabbing your car keys and cellphone and leaving the house. Other – more minimalist-minded – folks feel prepared with a good old-fashioned folding knife and a clean hanky.
However, for most civilians grinding out day-to-day lives of “quiet desperation,” the “Goldilocks” balance of just-enough EDC gear is somewhere in between these two extremes.
More often than not, the choice of what you can or cannot carry on your person – concealed or not – is dictated by the spaces in which we move; both geographical and legal. In some cities, carrying a 10-inch bowie, openly on your belt, won’t earn a second look from the soccer moms. Whereas, in other municipalities, a folding knife’s pocket clip peeking out from your trousers will earn you a citation from law enforcement, or even a visit to the local hoosegow.
Inevitably, concealability and portability become major influences in what – and how much – you can carry. With weight and visibility being such an important factor, imagine an almost “invisible” blade, that can be stashed anywhere on the body or secreted away in a bag. Now imagine that blade being so affordable that carrying multiples or having to “dump” one is not a concern.
If this idea intrigues you, then the Ultra Covert 1 from Sanctified Forge Works is the knife you’ve been looking for.
The Ultra Covert 1 is unlike any other blade you may currently own in your collection. Up-and-coming blacksmith, Travis Black of Sanctified Forge Works, stepped outside his usual comfort zone of anvil and forge to craft something uniquely fresh in combative blades. To paraphrase LL Cool J, the UC-1 is the “…sneaky, freaky brother sneaking in from the rear.”
Though at first you may be quick to dismiss a knife made out of anything but steel (“Is this plastic?”), one has but to feel the sharp edge and aggressive point of this blade to realize what a potent combative tool it can be – in the right hands. It is not a toy and not something you would let your kids run around the house with.
From its inception, the UC-1 was meant to be a stealthy tool, for carry in places where your attire or environment would restrict any other “metal-based” defensive tools. Its small, ultra-light shape makes it disappear in a cargo pocket.
When held in the hand – in a variety of grips – the UC-1 is almost invisible, and an assailant being slashed or punctured with it may be unaware of its existence until it is too late.
If the goal is to be as “gray man” as possible, even accidently dropping the UC-1 would barely gather a second look. Its light weight and G-10 construction avoids the tell-tale metallic clang of a blade hitting the ground, and someone getting only a quick glance may think you dropped a plastic dinnerware knife from your take-out lunch.
Even when carried in the discreet leather sheath, the UC-1 makes little to no print through pants, jacket or waistband. It will not only escape detection when you need it most, you’re likely to forget you are wearing it.
While other blades are touting the newest in metallurgical advances, the Ultra Covert 1 boasts its own unique material for the one-piece blade and handle – G-10 composite fiberglass.
The choice of this challenging material was not taken lightly by Black.
“G-10, by nature, is some pretty nasty stuff to work with,” he recounts. “G-10 is a high-pressure fiberglass laminate. It is similar to carbon fiber and micarta, in that they are all resin-based laminates. However, G-10 uses glass cloth as its base material. It is created by stacking multiple layers of glass cloth and then soaking them in epoxy resin. Then with heat and pressure, it is formed into sheets of varying thickness. Being fiberglass based, it is incredibly strong and resilient.”
But working with G-10 is not all fun and games. It is easy to assume that it would be a breeze, compared to working the forge and shaping hot steel. However, G-10, as a source material, has its hazards.
As Black explains “…being fiberglass based it has considerable health concerns. As with any fiberglass-based product, extreme care needs to be exercised when cutting or grinding. It produces a very fine dust that is very harmful to your respiratory system. Basically, without proper PPE (personal protective equipment) you are breathing tiny shards of glass. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t strike me as being very pleasant. It also poses a risk for skin irritation. Much like fiberglass insulation, tiny glass fibers can become embedded in your skin and cause redness, itching and irritation.”
Despite all the obstacles of G-10 as a medium, the final product makes the Ultra Covert 1 tough, lightweight and able to hold the ready-for-the-fight edge.
Don’t let the lightweight feel fool you. The sweeping line of the Ultra Covert 1 drop point leaves no doubt that it is combat ready. Though you might get away doing some very basic day-to-day tasks with the UC-1 (like opening a letter or package), you won’t want to count on it for heavy-duty industrial jobs.
This is not a cheaply made gas-station, plastic “hidden knife in a hairbrush,” toy. The edge and point on the UC-1 are impressive and slashed through various clothing materials with ease, and punctured effortlessly through denim and light canvas, around different mediums.
“When I was commissioned to create the (original steel) live blade, there were certain criteria that had to be met. One of which was concealability,” Black explains. “It had to have enough blade to cut deep and puncture far enough to reach certain vital targets, should the need arise. It also needed to be low viz (inconspicuous) even when deployed. As such, with a little creative license, the UC-1 was born.”
The UC-1’s small size makes it easy to conceal in the hand, without sacrificing grip or control. Once deployed, the shape allows a secure grip – either in an icepick orientation or with a “finger point” grip.
Says Black of the design, “It comes in with a 3-inch blade, that is an adequate size for most defensive/offensive scenarios. The handle is designed to fit with the butt in the palm of your hand, when held at the thumb stop. It also features a fairly pronounced thumb rest and choil area, to allow firm purchase during thrusting exercises. The tip of the blade also features a short, but effective, swedge for the same reasoning.”
If your hands lean towards the big and meaty side, a simple paracord wrap will create more surface area to grip.
Black also points out that, “in an emergency situation, the holes in the handle allow the UC-1 to be lashed to something longer, thus increasing your effective range.”
For ease and worry-free carry, through a variety of environments, the Sanctified Forge Works Ultra Covert 1 is hard to beat. Its sleek design allows it to be effective as an easily accessible force-multiplier, without garnering too much attention from the attacker or bystanders.
The price-point on the UC-1 also makes it a less painful blade to part with if you ever find yourself in the most restrictive NPEs, where even carrying a plastic utensil may be considered “armed and dangerous”. K&G
Note: Please familiarize yourself with your state and local municipality’s knife laws and restrictions on open and concealed carry.
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Blade Material: G-10Blade Length: 3 inchesOverall Length: 7 inchesWeight: 0.95 ouncesSheath: optional- Kydex or Leather available MSRP: $40.00 w/Kydex – $50.00 w/leather
Sanctified Forge Workswww.SanctifiedForge.comIG: @SanctifiedForge
The origin story of the Ultra Covert 1 resonates with the old axiom that necessity is the mother of invention.
As a bladesmith whose name is starting to be known in certain circles, Black was approached for a custom knife order.
“I have been blessed to have met a very eclectic and diverse group of people throughout my life, that I now call friends. One of those individuals happens to be a retired United States Army, Brigadier General…. who is also a SF (Special Forces) guy. He has acquired several blades from me over the years and approached me with an idea.
He was looking for a live blade that he could carry discreetly, concealed with almost any attire. Be it a three-piece suit or jeans and a T-shirt, it had to be concealable but effective when deployed. Being somewhat of a perfectionist, as well as really wanting to deliver exactly what he wanted, I started working on templates.”
During the design process, Black created something more than just the usual paper or wood exemplar for the client.
“Generally speaking, I design my blades on paper, then transfer that design to ¼ inch plywood. Finally, I will use that as a profile guide as I forge or cut my blanks,” said Black. “On this particular blade I decided it would be appropriate to go ahead and grind some bevels into my template. (Pro tip, don’t grind bevels into ¼ inch plywood.) Needless to say, that was a failure.”
Still working to provide his client with a reasonable template for approval, Black needed to come up with a different medium to work with.
Black explains, “Luckily I found a big sheet of G10 and thought why not. So, I roughed out a blank, ground in some bevels and presented it to him. He loved the design, but moreover loved the creation that came out of the process. As I showed it around to some of my friends, almost all of them wanted one. The rest, as they say, is history.”
Armando Rafael Basulto is an avid and life-long outdoorsman, writer, photographer and hunter. His work has been featured in a wide variety of outdoor and action-lifestyle publications – including American Frontiersman, American Survival Guide, Ballistic, Knives Illustrated, Tactical Life, Survivor’s Edge, RECOIL Carnivore, and many others. Over the years Mr. Basulto has developed working relationships with a diverse group of creative vendors and publishers in the outdoor industry. In addition, Mr. Basulto has co-authored a combatives manual for the US Special Operations community and has worked with a variety of European military units. Mr. Basulto holds undergraduate degrees from Montclair State University and NYU, as well as a Master’s degree from Fordham University.
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