American Survival Guide - - TABLE OF CONTENTS - By Jer­rie Bar­ber

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. 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 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.


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.

Op­po­site page:

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.

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