THE RMJ TACTICAL UTSIDIHI IS A COMPANION BLADE FOR LAND OR SEA
The RMJ Tactical Utsidihi uses steel that makes it the perfect dual companion for land and sea. BY KEVIN ESTELA
There’s a proper tool for every job. RMJ Tactical has made a name for itself through the development of modernized tomahawks designed to survive the rigors of the battlefield and provide the warfighter with a tactical advantage. In some circumstances, a large chopping tool capable of breaking holes in walls for shooting ports or cracking locks comes as an absolute necessity.
In other circumstances, carrying a fullsize tomahawk is simply impractical. Enter the Utsidihi. At less than 8 inches overall and only 3.3 ounces, one could wear this blade discretely and practically anywhere. RMJ is known for creating tools that make quite the statement, but could one of the smallest blades they have produced live up to the reputation of its bigger brothers? I was willing to find out and purchased my sample at the most recent BLADE Show.
The Utsidihi is available in either partially serrated or plain edge variations.
The blade comes skeletonized and fits in the Kydex or leather sheath as is. There is an optional G-10 handle kit with fasteners that does not require a separate sheath. Also available is special laser-cut 3M pressure-sensitive gripping material for a minimalist handle. I elected for the plain edge variation and Kydex, with every intention to purchase the optional leather sheath and G-10 handle for greater utility and carrying options.
In the hand and weighing in at a little over 3 ounces, the Utsidihi practically disappears. Other than the cutting edge, all edges are rounded and it was surprisingly comfortable in hand for a skeletonized knife. With just a little paracord, the knife becomes more user-friendly and hand-filling. The finish is consistent and clean and the knife only shows machining/ manufacturing marks where a RMJ fan would expect them, running perpendicular to the edge on the face of the blade. In working through different grips, it became clear this knife would lend itself to daily carry and a variety of tasks.
I decided to go directly to the source for more information on the design of the Utsidihi.
According to Ryan M. Johnson (President and primary designer of RMJ Tactical), “As I designed the Utsidihi, my main purpose was to design a(n) easy to carry, pragmatic solution to the weak-hand carry self-defense blade.”
One only needs to look to the growing trend of easily carried portable fixed blades, either center line or on the support side of the body, to identify the “why” behind this blade design.
“Above all, I wanted to edit out all that was unnecessary and keep the simplest solution possible.” Johnson continued.
Far too many blades are complicated in their lines, carry system, and reasoning. “Simplify, simplify, simplify,” Johnson added. Simple is good, and simple works when creating a blade that will appeal to a broad base of users.
“(But) I wanted the design to be a platform on which particulars could be tweaked to better suit the end user. I wanted to start with something basic that could be modified to make it your own,” Johnson concluded.
“AT LESS THAN 8 INCHES OVERALL AND ONLY 3.3 OUNCES, ONE COULD WEAR THIS BLADE DISCRETELY AND PRACTICALLY ANYWHERE.”
The Utsidihi will work as intended as a self-defense/offense blade, but it can be easily modified for use as a casual neck knife for the backpacker/ hiker or even as a dive knife, thanks to the Nitro-v steel RMJ uses. Nitro-v is the result of adding nitrogen and vanadium to the already proven AEB-L steel. This results in an extremely corrosion-resistant steel with excellent hardness and edge retention.
With a knife as well-thought-out as the Utsidihi, I wouldn’t fault RMJ if they skimped on the sheath design. That is often the case with so many excellent blades—the knife performs and lives up to the hype, but the sheath falls short in execution. That is not the case with RMJ’S Kydex.
Ryan M. Johnson designs all of his sheaths with a computer program and is able to customize the fit through a CAD process. RMJ has both a Kydex and leather sheath available for the Utsidihi, and both are designed for use. The Kydex sheath supplied with mine features a single Biothane snap strap that runs across the body of the sheath allowing for horizontal carry on the belt. During the course of testing, in and out of the water and worn in various configurations, including 11 o’clock on the belt horizontally and inverted as a necker, the sheath held strong and produced no rattle. Even after taking the Utsidihi repeatedly in and out of the sheath, the “click” retention of the Kydex remained strong.
In the Field
Unlike testing larger knives, only where it is legal and practical, the Utsidihi was worn daily and testing was ongoing throughout all hours of the day. The knife was pocket-carried or neck-knife-carried discreetly on
ruck marches and runs. It was worn on a belt while hiking and canoeing. The knife was used in and around the house as a substitute for tasks to which a folding knife is normally assigned. This meant using the knife for everything as simple as cutting meat, fruits and vegetables around the grill, to opening bags of mulch for the landscape and breaking down cardboard for the recycling bin. None of which caused any issue, as expected.
“THIS [NITRO-V STEEL] RESULTS IN AN EXTREMELY CORROSION-RESISTANT STEEL WITH EXCELLENT HARDNESS AND EDGE RETENTION.”
While there was more frequency in using the Utsidihi in tasks like these, they didn’t pose any real challenge to the knife, and therefore, this required taking it to task in the great outdoors.
The Utsidihi was carried in conjunction with its big brother, the RMJ Pathfinder, as well as a folding saw. With that combination, there was really no task unaccomplished in the camp. The Utsidihi is not a chopping knife and its limitations must be understood. It makes an excellent backup knife to a large blade and works as designed as a personal blade for general campcraft. This includes shaving wood to create tinder, carving branches to make a camp kitchen, and cutting cordage and webbing. Again, no issues were experienced, except in cutting the thickest webbing—at 2 inches wide and not under tension, the Utsidihi did not cut all the way through with the first cut, but thoroughly with the second.
The Utsidihi was also used while fishing and diving, and was carried in and around both fresh and salt water and spray. It was used to cut bait, gut fish, and was covered in fish slime.
Cutting through frozen shad and mackerel spines did not phase the Utsidihi. It was used to pry open sandy shellfish, as well. After trips around the water, the knife and sheath was simply hosed off and the paracord stripped. Even
though the metal under the paracord did not have any rust to cause concern, the paracord picked up the unmistakable stink of rotting fish. Luckily, for pennies I was able to trash the cord and replace it with a new length.
Fully Capable Little Blade
I found out, while writing this, a training blade would be offered eventually for those who wish to incorporate the Utsidihi into their combatives training. I knew as soon as I handled this new little RMJ it would be a winner and in my testing, I was never let down. For a company like RMJ, whatever product they introduce must be able to stand on its own next to the tomahawks that made the company famous. I fully believe this little blade will become an industry standard others are judged against. KI
Below: RMJ Tactical is known for their tomahawks, like this Shrike, that makes a great combination with the Utsidihi. Photo Credit: Brian Griffin
Above: The Utsidihi with a fully serrated blade.
Bottom: The Utsidihi can be configured in a number of ways with optional handle materials. Photo Credit: Brian Griffin
Top: The author used the Utsidihi on numerous dives and tested it by cutting cordage in and around water.
Right: The RMJ Utsidihi worked great while preparing the occasional campfire. It split and feathered wood with ease.
Bottomt: The RMJ Utsidihi was the perfect campmate.
Top Right: The RMJ Utsidihi was used for cutting up bait and gutting fish during testing. There was no discoloration, staining, or rusting on the blade after extensive use.