CANIS AND GOUGE MAKE A FEARSOME TEAM ON THE CLOSE-COMBAT SCENE
From Echo.delta.charlie Knives & Tools and Kelly Mccann, the Canis and Gouge are serious combative tools fit for home or the battlefield. BY CHRISTOPHER DONER
Ifirst met Kelly Mccann in October of 2012 when I traveled to attend training at his newly built Kembativz Civilian Training Center, the CTC, in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Kelly had invited a small handful of people to personally beta test his new civilian program before it went public. I had long been a proponent of Kelly’s methods prior to our meeting, having trained from his Paladin Press video tapes for several years. Up until this time, Kelly only offered training to military, law enforcement and government personnel, so this was an exciting opportunity I was not about to pass up. It was during this first meeting that Kelly showed me a couple of new knives he had designed, the Canis and the Gouge.
The first thing you’ll probably notice is that the Canis, produced by E.D.C Knives, is a fixed blade. Initially I was surprised at this change from Kelly’s original folder prototype, but upon further consideration, it made sense that Kelly would make this adjustment. In a self-defense situation, fixed blades hold an advantage over folders in terms of deployment. During violent encounters when duress dysfunction occurs, fine motor skills begin to deteriorate. A fixed blade is often easier than a folder to get into the fight under these debilitating conditions.
Made from 0.157-inch-thick N690 stock-hardened to 59 HRC, the Canis features a 3.54-inch Wharncliffe blade with an overall length of 8.14 inches and a soft grey, bead-blasted finish. The grind on the Canis is rather unique, featuring a primary, high flat grind, with a secondary beveled cutting edge from the tip to the ricasso.
The spine of the Canis has another unsharpened grind that meets the primary grind near the grind line. This tertiary grind is slightly shorter, starting at the top of the ricasso, extending along the spine and stopping where the spine curves to form the point.
“THE GRIND ON THE CANIS IS RATHER UNIQUE, FEATURING A PRIMARY, HIGH FLAT GRIND, WITH A SECONDARY BEVELED CUTTING EDGE FROM THE TIP TO THE RICASSO.”
This tricky combination of grinds creates a strong, reinforced tip, easily visible when viewed from the top looking down on the spine.
When discussing the design, Kelly said, “In the Canis, it’s all about the handle design and especially the blade geometry. I designed the “ballistic tip” to provide strength and to open wound channel more quickly than traditional geometry, similar to Bud Nealy’s Pesh-kabz.”
The Canis has hand-textured G-10 handle slabs held in place by tubular carbon fiber pins. The aggressive texturing makes for a solid grip and creates a visually appealing look when combined with the knife’s other unique attributes. A deep finger choil aids in knife retention and prevents the hand from sliding forward on the blade during aggressive use. There is adequate jimping on the thumb rise to aid in control, depending on your preferred grip.
Designed primarily for personal defense, the Canis feels good in the hand. Kelly’s knife method, like all of his curriculum, is finite. “Less is more” has been a favored catchphrase of Mccann’s, used to describe the belief that simple, easy to learn and retain, gross motor skills are paramount to more complicated methods. With this in mind, I put the Canis through some basic cut tests on “Porkman.”
Testing the Canis
Porkman is a term popularized by author and edged-weapons expert, Michael Janich, to describe a test-cut dummy made from a pork loin. Porkman is constructed of a butterfly-cut pork loin, with a wooden dowel rod placed in the center. The meat is then tied around the dowel with twine, and wrapped with several layers of plastic wrap. The dowel represents underlying bone; the twine is connective tissue; and the plastic wrap, skin. It is all topped off with a layer of clothing— usually denim jeans or a coat —to replicate what would cover human anatomy such as a bicep, triceps or quadriceps. The completed Porkman is roughly the size of those muscles.
I started off with a simple thrust—nothing too dynamic or powerful—the Canis penetrated the denim pant leg and sank into the meat with ease. The blade only stopped when it hit the dowel. I followed with a horizontal cut using a little more power. The Canis performed as expected, easily defeating the denim and bisecting the pork. Upon closer examination, I noticed that the cut was 2 1/2 inches deep and had again penetrated to the dowel in the center of Porkman. It was wide and uneven on the surface, much like Kelly had anticipated when designing the Canis.
“DESIGNED PRIMARILY FOR PERSONAL DEFENSE, THE CANIS FEELS GOOD IN THE HAND.”
I first learned of the Gouge many years ago when Kelly featured it in one of his training DVDS. At the time, he had a custom Gouge made by Jeremy Krammes. My first impression was that it seemed counterintuitive, due to its small size, but as with anything Kelly advocates, his logic was sound and his reasoning won me over.
The E.D.C Knives Gouge is made from 0.196-inch-thick N690 blade stock hardened to 59HRC. The small fixed blade measures 5.23 inches overall, with a robust, 2.0-inch, hollow-ground, brushed, polished Wharncliffe blade, with just a slight curvature. When asked about his inspiration for the Gouge Kelly said, “The inspiration for the Gouge was to simply design a knife that would be a great EDC utility knife, as well as a nasty self-defense tool.”
The smooth G-10 handles have titanium pinning and a carbon fiber lanyard tube—a handy feature allowing you to add a small lanyard, should you require better retention of the knife. Kelly designed the Gouge to sit in the watch pocket, common in most jeans.
When I inquired as to where this carry option originated, Kelly said, “Jeremy [Krammes] doesn’t make sheaths, so
“THE E.D.C KNIVES’ GOUGE IS MADE FROM 0.196-INCH-THICK N690 BLADE STOCK HARDENED TO 59HRC.”
Both the Canis (left) and the Gouge (right) are available as dedicated trainers.
for a time, I was making watch pocket sheaths designed to fit the Gouge in the ever-present jeans watch pocket, which made it accessible and really low key. You can put the handle behind your belt to make it even less noticeable.”
The Gouge currently made by Xavier Knox comes with a Kydex sheath, complete with a J-hook for belt wear, and integral “ears” that are located on either side of the sheath’s opening. These flared sides serve to catch the top corners of the watch pocket and keep the sheath in place when drawing the Gouge. The Gouge is low key, lightweight and easy to carry in almost any attire.
Testing the Gouge
I took the Gouge through the same basic test cuts as the Canis. The thrust easily penetrated Porkman, and the follow-up slash produced a mean 1 1/4-inch-deep cut. Again, the wound was pronounced. Kelly designed the Gouge with a thick blade to aid in this capacity.
I asked him what inspired the Gouge, and what the advantages were to this design. Kelly replied, “I wanted to make a knife that wouldn’t raise eyebrows overseas (or here for that matter), but had all the necessary design elements to make it perform well as a selfdefense tool. The Gouge is a great utility knife AND a great defensive knife in a small, easily concealable but very accessible package.”
Speaking of utility, prior to the Porkman evaluation I had been using the Gouge for day-to-day tasks around the house—opening mail, cutting down boxes, sharpening pencils, etc. The Gouge handled it all.
What would two purpose built combative blades be without dedicated trainers? Kelly and Xavier made sure this was covered, as well. The Canis and Gouge are both available as dedicated training knives, complete with their own sheaths—and as with any dedicated training knives, they are made with red handles and red sheaths to immediately identify them as safe training blades.
Kelly Mccann and Xavier Knox have combined forces resulting in two tough, well-thought-out knives that will serve the end user for many years. Much like his close-combat forefathers, Kelly has designed knives uniquely his own. If you’re like me and you appreciate the history behind knives, the Canis and the Gouge should be on your to-own list. KI
“TODAY, DISCERNING STUDENTS OF STREETRELEVANT PERSONAL PROTECTION KNOW THE NAME, KELLY MCCANN.”
The Canis has a unique combination of grinds that result in a powerful “ballistic tip.”
The “ballistic tip” of the Canis was designed for strength and to open wound channels.
Top Left: The Canis made a very clean cut into Porkman.
Top Right: The Canis held up well and was comfortable during typical daily tasks as well.
Bottom Right: The edge on the Canis sliced easily through a phone book.
The Gouge, while small, has just enough handle to allow for a solid purchase.
The Gouge packs a lot of cutting power into a small package.
The Gouge trainer at home in the watch pocket found on most jeans. The handle can be tucked behind the belt for an even more discreet carry.
Bottom Left: The Canis trainer comes complete with a red Kydex sheath with an adjustable belt clip.
Bottom Right: The Canis trainer allows for the safe practice of combative knife skills and counter knife practice.