Story and Photos by Tim Stetzer
In a world of satellite guided weaponry and drone warfare it’s hard imagine that bladed weapons still have a place on the battlefield, but if you look at field reports from the War on Terror, you’ll find that it’s not all that uncommon—especially in tight urban environments.
With that said, maybe you won’t be taking a CAS Iberia Tac Brutus with you on your next deployment to some third world crap hole but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for it in your home defense or post-apocalyptic prep. Maybe, it just becomes part of your back-yard chopping arsenal. Because big blades are fun.
The Tac Brutus is a modern take on the classic Roman Gladius, with a naming nod to infamous Caesar assassin, Marcus Junius Brutus.
The Tac Brutus was designed by Angus Trim, through his Gus Trim sword line, like the rest of the APC Survival Sword line from CAS Iberia. It’s a shorter, handier version of the APOC Wasteland Gladius.
Whereas the Wasteland Gladius uses a wasp-waisted blade and longer grip, suitable for two handed use, the Brutus has an 18-inch straight blade, with a 5 5/8-inch grip. The Brutus is a double-edged design with a sharply tapered point, made from a solid piece of 5.5mm thick 9260 spring steel.
The swords are made at Dragon King forge in Dalian, China and heat treated to a 56 Rockwell—which is a good compromise between edge retention and toughness. The blade is coated in a durable black anodizing and has the APOC logo etched on the left flat of the blade, at just about the integral double cross guard.
The full tang handle is scaled in black G-10 grips, held on by a set of hex head bolts. A divot in the grips acts as a lock point for the MOLLE compatible fiberglass and Kydex scabbard, that comes with the sword.
The overall length of the Brutus is a handy 24 inches and weighs in at 1 pound 14 ounces. The factory edge was decent for a chopper but could definitely be tuned up on a stone.
I had the Brutus with me on a recent trip I took with Joe Flowers, of Bushcraft Global and Condor Knife & Tool, and Glen “Spen” Stelzer, of JRE Industries, when I tested the Condor tomahawk and select knives for a previous article here on Knife & Gear Society.
Let me start by saying, field testing with Joe is always an experience. Before I even had a chance to do anything with the Brutus Joe rammed the point into the upright railroad tie, that we were using as a cutting stand, and started pulling on the blade. He had around a 45-degree bend in it before I had a chance to yell at him, as we hadn’t even done any cutting yet.
Thankfully everything sprung back to true with no issues. Probably not how I would have started testing, but it was encouraging to see that the heat treat and temper looked good.
To get a feel for the handling of the sword, and its cutting ability, Joe secured an abundant supply of my arch nemesis, Cucurbita pepo—the common pumpkin. I like pumpkins for cutting, because the thick rind gives solid resistance to your cuts and is quite satisfying when you slice and cleave through them.
I find they typically have more resistance than another cutting favorite, the watermelon. There’s also a suitable amount of orange goo carnage to liven up a cutting session as well. Plus, they’re biodegradable; just throw the remains in the woods and you’re good. The carnage may even feed some wildlife, while you’re at it.
The Brutus has a slightly handle heavy bias, with the balance point just shy of three inches ahead of the guard. It makes for a fairly nimble blade in the hand, and the comparatively short 18-inch blade is responsive and allows for fast backhand cuts. It would make for a good close quarters blade, which is obviously the intention behind the design.
We sliced, we chopped, and we stabbed a copious amount of the bright orange gourd and gave the Brutus a good workout. The acute point of the blade made it an excellent stabber, which is in line with its Gladius lineage. It did well cleaving pumpkins in two, as well as slicing off disks of tough rind from the remaining halves.
To be absolutely certain of our findings, we chopped a lot of pumpkins—in the interest of science, of course.
We also did some water bottle cutting. This was a little trickier and gave some indication that the Brutus is more of a stabber than a delicate slicer. Spen and I tended to crush 12-ounce water bottles when we tried cutting. The bottles would be cut, but not all the way through. Joe had better technique and could generally get clean cuts.
With the finer cutting tasks out of the way, we moved on to hacking at a hardwood pallet. The Brutus was more suited for this sort of brutal chopping than it was for the fine water bottle cuts, and had no problems cleaving through the hard, dry pallet wood boards. We also did a number of stabs and twists to test the tip strength.
Examining the blade after the pallet chopping, we found no damage to the tip whatsoever and only a couple of very minor spots of edge deformation on the blade—which would come out easily with a couple minutes on a stone.
One thing we did notice while stabbing into the hard wood, was that the edges of the guard have sharp 90-degree angles to them and dug into the hand, on a hard thrust. We quickly went to wearing gloves for the rest of our testing on the pallets. CAS Iberia is aware of the issue and future models will have those edges chamfered to correct this.
Aside from the dedicated cutting sessions, we left the Brutus rolling around in Joe’s Jeep during the trip and used it as a machete while clearing an area for shooting, as well. While I wouldn’t normally recommend using a sword as a machete, it was what we had, and I figured it was in line with survival testing. I wouldn’t recommend the short, heavy blade for cutting large area grasses, but it did just fine clearing shooting lanes and on heavier brush.
The blade finish on the Brutus seems very durable. Despite the three of us chopping, hacking, stabbing, using it roughly as a machete and stuffing it back in the scabbard, without doing more than wiping the pumpkin goo off, there was no rust and very little wear to the finish.
So, do you need a Tac Brutus in your collection? If you want a rugged, no nonsense blade that can chop and stab, doesn’t take up too much room strapped to your pack and will work in tight quarters, then the answer is definitely yes.
It’s a tough blade, made of quality materials, with very little that can go wrong. The edge could be tuned up a little when you get it, and you might want to chamfer the guard edges or wear gloves during heavy use (if you get an early version), but other than that, the Tac Brutus is as solid a modern tactical sword as your likely to find—especially for the very reasonable MSRP of $159.00. K&G
Join the Conversation, comment on this story below. >>
Blade Material: 9260 Spring SteelBlade Length: 18 inchesOverall Length: 24 inchesHandle Length: 5.625 inchesBlade Thickness: .216 inchBlade Finish: Black anodizedWeight: 1 pound 14 ouncesHandle Material: Milled G-10MSRP: $159.00
CAS Iberia(800) 635-9366www.CASIberia.com
Tim Stetzer lives in Western Pennsylvania with his wife, 2 kids, and too many cats. He has over two decades of law enforcement and criminal justice experience, and is a police academy instructor. He is also a veteran of both the Army and Air Force Reserves and has been an avid outdoorsman since his youth in Boy Scouts where he first became interested in knives. Tim has written for various gun, knife and outdoors publications since 2006 and has designed or helped design a number of custom and production knives during that time.
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.