FLAGRANT BEARD FIXED BLADES
THE LOWDOWN ON THE FORERUNNER AND HAVOC
The lowdown on the Forerunner and HAVOC
Ibelieve we can agree that at the very base of a credible everyday carry loadout is one important tool.
Yes, you should have an illumination tool; you need your wallet. In addition, I always wear a watch. Then, there are the other various EDC essentials, whatever they might be for you.
However, at the core of your EDC, there is one thing that can make the difference between success or failure or even life and death. Since the first human foot was cut on a piece of volcanic glass, we have known the value of keeping a cutting tool close at hand.
When I was 7 years old, my grandfather gave me my first knife for my birthday. From that point on, I have always carried a knife. My grandfather did, my father did, and I took it that to be a man was to have a cutting tool of some kind on my person. I personally love a good folder and have collected, traded, bought and sold them since getting my first one.
Lately, I have been on a search for something different—an EDC fixed blade. Most people know a folder is convenient and practical, but they also know that a folder will eventually fail at some point. I have only seen one that would not (but that is a different story for another time). Locks will fail, pressure in the wrong direction will get you hurt and deployment is not always a guarantee, but a fixed blade will not have any of these problems. Simply draw it and use it.
I have had the good fortune to experience two fixed-blade knives from the same company that are worth looking at. Both knives are solid pieces of equipment, with many excellent qualities in their design, available options, concealability and value. Let me introduce you to them and to the company that offers them: Flagrant Beard.
FLAGRANT BEARD IS A RELATIVELY NEW COMPANY BASED IN TENNESSEE. FOUNDER DAVE RHODEN HAS MANY YEARS OF PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT AND DESIGN EXPERIENCE, INCLUDING WITH EDGED WEAPONS.
Flagrant Beard is a relatively new company based in Tennessee. Founder Dave Rhoden has many years of product development and design experience, including with edged weapons. Rhoden cut his teeth on the design-and-development process during his years at 5.11 Tactical, including the relaunch of its fledgling knife business. There, he also made great contributions in other areas. Over time, his focus became development of the company’s bags and backpacks, working closely with military users to ensure that what they were receiving and using in the field was exactly what they needed. As a result, Rhoden has developed many relationships that have come to serve him well in his new business.
The Flagrant Forerunner, Rhoden’s first contribution to the knife world under his own brand, is a new take on an existing design. The Forerunner is based on Bill Coye’s design (www.coyeknives.com), which has been
around for several years. It is a coveted model for law enforcement, collectors and those (including me) who appreciate what a fixed blade can bring to an EDC role.
I spoke with Coye a few months back about his design. He is an emergency flight nurse with overseas private contracting experience, and he fully understands the value of efficient tool storage and effective usage. He had already made a knife or two and was getting known locally for his products when he was approached by a state trooper who needed a fixed blade that would maximize utility while saving real estate on his person. Coye came up with the Ridgeback. Later, he agreed to let Rhoden modify his design in order to create the Flagrant Forerunner.
THE FORERUNNER IS AN EXCELLENT TOOL WITH AN UNCONVENTIONAL THREE-FINGER GRIP HANDLE AND A 3½INCH BLADE.
The Forerunner is an excellent tool with an unconventional three-finger-grip handle and a 3½-inch blade. Designed to be carried in the scout configuration, it can be carried in a number of ways: Because of its index sheath and various eyelets, carrying can go from scout style to MOLLE in seconds and can be fitted to belts up to 1¾ inches wide. The Forerunner’s sheath can be set for standard conventional carry, and you can buy many other pocket and IWB clips from various vendors to set this knife up any way you want.
The Flagrant Forerunner has been optimized from the original to be more robust. Coye’s original design had a false edge on the top of the blade, saving a little weight. Rhoden has given the Forerunner a full spine to strengthen it for more-rugged applications. Batoning this blade through a limb is not a problem, nor is splitting a piece of firewood, thanks to this design difference. The Forerunner has full-tang construction so there is good balance and no weakness in the overall build. You can also choose between a plain and a partially serrated edge. Each has its benefit, depending on your specific needs. All the blades are made of differentially heat-treated 1095 tool steel with a tumbled finish and are sealed with clear Cerakote.
The Forerunner is available with several handle options. You can choose from a green or black cord wrap or green, black or tan Micarta scales.
Depending on your setup for the Flagrant Forerunner, prices with a black Kydex sheath range between $154.99 and $189.99.
For those who would like something a little different, there are options for customization. Leather sheaths can be purchased separately, or you can get a full custom Flagrant Forerunner, complete with leather sheath by Robert Ford and custom sharpening by Brandon Peone. There are several colors of leather, as well as sheath designs, and I can promise you that when
Peone sharpens your knife, you will have bragging rights in whatever company you keep. Nevertheless, the stock Flagrant Forerunner does not come shipped to you dull: It is ready, right out of the box, for whatever business needs to be done.
The Forerunner is designed to be used for more than simple tasks. Because of the generous choil behind the blade, maintaining control and retention of the knife are simple, even with its three-fingered handle.
Flagrant Beard’s second offering is the HAVOC. This design is from Scott Schanaker, who has a host of credible backgrounds, including the Army Reserves and a 26-year law enforcement background, mostly in tactical positions.
I will be the first to admit I am not a huge fan of a single-use knife. However, I can think of no other weapon I would rather have than a knife if I were reduced to a single weapon. This knife just screams, “Get off me!” And that is exactly what it is designed for.
BOTH THE FORERUNNER AND HAVOC FROM FLAGRANT BEARD ARE WORTHWHILE INVESTMENTS IN UTILITY AND SECURITY.
Carried on the strong or support side, the Flagrant HAVOC is designed to work—and work quickly. Like its cousin, the Forerunner, the HAVOC has myriad carrying options. The HAVOC can be carried scout, conventional or as a necker. I have personally mated mine to a Blade-tech magazine holster with a Blade-tech Tek-lok. The index sheath is already drilled and tapped in a configuration to fit the Tek-lok; for me, the HAVOC is easily deployed from that position.
While not technically a karambit, the Flagrant HAVOC draws some of its design features from that knife style. The HAVOC has an oversized ring that lends itself to blade retention with gloved or bare hands. The ring “nubbin,” as Schanaker calls it, protrudes slightly from the ring and works as an effective break when spinning the blade. While the HAVOC would not be my first choice as an EDC, it holds its own as an excellent secondary knife. With the setup on my magazine holster, the HAVOC takes up no room, and I have confidence that it is there if needed.
The HAVOC is delivered sharp enough to slice fabric with little effort. Its tanto blade design is nothing less than devastating when slicing or stabbing. This knife is made from 1095 tool steel. It is light, with a skeletonized handle and plenty of jimping in the right places to minimize slippage while using it.
Both the Forerunner and HAVOC from Flagrant Beard are worthwhile investments in utility and security. These quality tools from knowledgeable designers are backed by a new—but credible—name in the knife business.
While this knife looks odd, the Flagrant Beard Forerunner stays true to the original model’s three-fingered grip design.
Above: There is just enough handle length in the reverse grip to cap the top with your thumb. While this might not always be the best defensive grip, it does work for the Flagrant Forerunner.
Left: The Flagrant Forerunner can be ordered in three configurations: plain, partially serrated edge with Micarta scales or plain edge with 550 cord handle wrap.
Left: Looking at the spines of the Coye Ridgeback (left) and the Flagrant Forerunner
(right), you can see the added blade width. Coye’s design saves weight, while Rhoden’s thicker Forerunner provides added rugged versatility.
If you are into “putting on the Ritz,” the Flagrant Forerunner can be purchased with custom leather sheaths by Robert Ford and a custom “shaving-edge” sharpening by Brandon Peone.
Above: Right out of the box, the Flagrant Forerunner has the capability to go to work; tasks such as feather-sticking are not problems.
Top: In a traditional grip, the Flagrant HAVOC will fill the hand. Because of its tanto-styled blade, slashing and stabbing strikes are easily accomplished and can be devastating.
Bottom: While the intention of the Flagrant HAVOC’S ring was strictly for retention, those who have practiced martial arts or have had advanced edged-weapon training will know how useful that steel ring can be—whether for added effect when punching or as a compliance device.
Middle: The Flagrant HAVOC can be quickly drawn and brought into action using the reverse grip.
Above right: The Flagrant HAVOC is not for opening mail. With a ring for retention, tanto blade and razor edge, this knife screams, “Get off me!”
Right: Flagrant HAVOC designer Scott Shanaker wanted a sheath that could be incorporated nearly anywhere. “Marrying” the sheath to a magazine holster could possibly reduce training time in combatives training via locating the blade in a familiar location.
Above: With the sheath loops and Pull-the-dot fasteners, the Flagrant HAVOC comes out of the box ready for scout carry. Straps can be removed for more traditional or IWB carry. They can also be affixed to MOLLE webbing.