Knives Illustrated - - Contents - STORY AND PHO­TOS BY CHRISTO­PHER DONER

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 Canis

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.


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.


The Gouge

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


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.

Tough Tan­dem

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


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.

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