Americancopmagazine.com: "The BESH Wedge - Ultimate Cop Knife?" by Michael Janich

August 10, 2010

[IMAGE] Production BESH XSF-1 knives from BLACKHAWK! These were an instant hit in the law enforcement community.

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When it comes to knives, the average street cop is usually best served by a one-handed, clip-carry knife that provides good utility function, yet is still a capable personal-defense weapon. When it comes to tactical teams, however, the meaning of the “S” in SWAT usually suggests something different. In simple terms, it usually means a do-everything tool that can cut and pry. And although the odds of a well-armed SWAT officer getting into a knife fight are pretty slim, it’s nice to know your blade has significant potential as a weapon.

Unfortunately, these qualities are somewhat mutually exclusive. A knife that cuts well needs to have acute edge geometry, making it a poor choice for prying. A good pry tool needs to be thick, strong, and not too hard or brittle, making it a lousy platform for a sharp cutting edge. And although it’s certainly possible to beat the snot out of someone with a big, dull knife, that hardly makes it an efficient weapon.

Is it possible to have the best of all worlds? Thanks to Canadian knife maker and former spec ops soldier Brent Beshara, the answer is “yes.”

Better known by his nickname “Besh,” Brent knows what hard-use knives are all about. A career enlisted man in the Canadian Navy, part of his military service included a tour with the Canadian military’s most elite special operations unit, Joint Task Force 2 (JTF 2), our northern neighbor’s equivalent of our Combat Applications Group (CAG), better known as Delta Force. In addition to his military experience, Besh is a life-long martial artist with decades of training in both armed and unarmed close-combat tactics. He has an exceptional understanding of the combative use of a knife.

Besh wanted to develop an ultimate combat knife based on the design of the V-42 dagger. Although it excels as a stabbing weapon (at least against unarmored enemies), in its traditional form it’s poorly suited to the tasks for which soldiers use knives most often. Those tasks include things like utility cutting and prying; the same types of things SWAT officers would use a knife.

[IMAGE] Shown here with Col. Rex Applegate’s personal sidearm from WWII, Boker’s A-F Wedge combines the strength of the BESH Wedge point with the classic lines of the Applegate-Fairbairn dagger.

Get To The Point

Besh was determined to design a dagger that retained all the attributes of the traditional double-edged combat design, but incorporated a robust, unbreakable point. Instead of sketching a few designs and commissioning a custom knife maker to do the work, Besh learned the art of knife making. He ground and tested countless experimental blades without substantial progress until one day, partway through the grinding of a dagger blade, he had an epiphany.

After grinding the first two bevels of a blade, he saw the way the lines began to converge at the tip and realized they formed a chisel edge. He continued to grind the bevels until he had a dagger with two diagonally opposed chisel-edged bevels, which created a third edge where they met at the tip of the blade. The new blade, which has a distinctive “wedge” shape, has substantially more strength and structure than a traditional dagger point. Beshara called his new design the BESH Wedge and his first knife, the XSF-1.

After the compulsory ritual of staring at the point for a while with a mesmerized look, savvy knife users and experienced tactical officers come to the conclusion, “That won’t break.” Officers loved them and used them to pry a variety of obstacles they tended to encounter during entries and searches. Although they found the steep chisel edges extremely strong, they reported the knife didn’t cut as well as they’d like.

Fortunately, Besh was already way ahead of this feedback. He’d not only figured out a way to increase the cutting performance of his blades while maintaining their incredible point strength, he’d actually adapted the BESH Wedge concept to a broad spectrum of blade profiles that went far beyond the symmetrical dagger. By varying the length of the bevels on each side of the blade, he was able to integrate long, chisel-ground bevels with acute edge angles with shorter, stronger bevels that provide superior tip strength. In doing so, he learned to achieve the best of both worlds, optimizing cutting performance and both point and overall structural strength.

[IMAGE] The “Good to Go-1” (GTG-1) from TOPS Knives is an asymmetrical expression of the BESH Wedge combining cutting performance, penetration and extreme strength into an extremely reliable tool.

Variety Is The Spice Of Life

To date, Beshara has collaborated with about ten different knife companies, designing specific fixed-blades and folders to meet the needs of their respective customer bases. From the perspective of the law enforcement officer — particularly SWAT officers — several designs stand out.

If you can still find one, the original BLACKHAWK! XSF-1 is still an awesome knife. To improve its cutting performance, use a shallow sharpening angle and don’t be afraid to scratch the blade bevels a little to tune the edge geometry.

Similarly, XSF Micro and XSF Punch Daggers from BLACKHAWK! are inexpensive, yet extremely potent back-up blades. I designed the sheaths so the grommets “straddle” a typical duty belt, which means they can easily be zip tied to a duty belt behind a double magazine pouch for low profile, but quick access.

If you’re looking for the ultimate expression of the combat dagger, Boker has synthesized Besh’s improved BESH Wedge dagger geometry with the classic Applegate-Fairbairn design. The result is a truly classic dagger with the design pedigree of the late Col. Rex Applegate and W.E. Fairbairn combined with the state-of-the-art edge geometry and strength of the BESH Wedge. A full-service combat dagger that’s also strong enough for prying, this is one of the most impressive factory knives ever produced.

TOPS Knives has an enviable reputation for quality and strength. They’ve embraced the BESH Wedge concept with their new GTG-1 (Good to Go-1), a beefy, single-edged, asymmetrical design with a sharpened false edge and angled BESH Wedge point. A true knife and unbreakable pry tool, it’s in a class by itself.

If you want to cut and pry, or just have the satisfaction of knowing your knife will never let you down, you owe it to yourself to check out the BESH Wedge.

[IMAGE] The business end of the BESH Wedge — two diagonally opposed chisel-ground edges converging to form a third, super-strong cutting edge at the point.

[IMAGE] This is one well-used titanium XSF-1 that’s served its owner well during several overseas deployments and many breaching operations. I’ll bet is has a story or two.




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