THREE FOR THE TRAIL
TESTING THE NEW ABE & MOE SERIES OF KNIVES MADE BY GEISSELE AUTOMATICS
We test the new Abe & Moe series of knives
It’s not uncommon to see knives at gu shows. After all, many people conside a firearm a multi-faceted tool capabl of solving various issues. This wonderful quality is also found in knives; hence, the attraction. What is uncommon is having a firearms company enter the world of cutlery—and knocking it out of the park on the first try. However, whe you learn of the company backing Abe & Mo Knives, all the pieces begin to fall into place.
Bill Geissele (pronounced “Guys-lee”) is an entrepreneurial soul who attacks problems and conquers them with quality solutions. When he entered the competition shooting arena years ago, he could not find a trigger that met his needs, so he designed one. That solution soon became an empire named Geissele Automatics, a company that makes high-quality gun parts, tools and other accessories. (If you don’t know anything about Geissele, it is known for over-engineering its products—an it enjoys a sterling reputation.)
More recently, Bill’s son, Abraham, approache him and asked him to make a knife. True to character, he built the knife and then created a company called Abraham & Moses, named after his sons.
While the Goodman Knife (Special Forces/ combat) debuted at SHOT Show 2017, three more knives oriented to outdoor uses filled
out the line in 2018: the AM-1, AM-2 and AM-3.
These three knives all arrived with a cardboard sheath around the blade. Taking these off, I found a deep-green wax had been used to cover each blade nearly to the hilt. A warning comes with the knives that tells you they are razor-sharp, which explains all the extra protection.
I took each out and set it on the bench. After peeling off the wax, I was able to admire the three different approaches. (Every time I see thre similar things of small, medium and large size, I am reminded of the tale of the "Billy Goats Gruff" and the beating given to the mean, old troll who lived under the bridge.)
The AM-1 is a beast. Marveling at its shape, I see camp use, bushcraft and hunting written into its DNA. The G10 scales are curved in the middle with a bit of a belly to the bottom of the grip that adds extra fit in my hand. The handle is very ergonomic and designed for hard use. Weighing in at 11.9 ounces, the balance is nice, although grip-oriented. The blade is 4.6 inches long an .188 inch thick, with an overall length of 9.5 inches. You don’t get a Rambo sense from the knife but when you pick it up, you understand it is a hard-use tool.
The blade design is a drop point with a nice belly. The full-tang knife (not skeletonized) has a built-in forward quillon on the bottom, preventing the hand from slipping onto the cutting edg
he scales come with a light, grippy texture, and there is a lanyard hole toward the pommel end. The AM-2 is the militant midsized “brother”—smaller, quicker, but still very capable. This knife ells me it wants to be mounted to a tactical vest for those “just in case” moments. The blade is drop point also, but leaner and with no belly. The style strikes me as a relaxed tanto. The grips re thinner and flat and not swollen anywhere to fill the hand as does the AM-1.
Because of its blade length of 3.6 inches, .156 inch thickness and an overall length of 8.5 inches, ou can see the knife is still very capable. The weight comes in at 7.3 ounces—much lighter but till up for hard use. Also full tang, this is the only knife of the three that has jimping on the pine of the blade. The forward quillon is very pronounced and is supported fully by the scales, hich are designed to cover it. This implies the knife was meant for thrusting and retrieval, a ore tactical approach.
Last, but not least, I picked up the AM-3. The first thing I noticed about this knife, despite being he smallest, is the clip-point blade—a diminutive Bowie, if you will. This is a go-anywhere, ck-of-all-trades type of knife. With a blade length of 2.75 inches, a thickness of .125 inch and n overall length of 6.5 inches, the AM-3 won’t frighten anyone, but it will cut anything you eed—and will do it well.
Even though it is the smallest, at 4.1 ounces, the G10 scales still fit in my hand, although arely. This little knife can do just about anything: skin small game, process plants and even ome wood if needed. It would be at home in a tackle box, backpack, bug-out bag or even as an veryday-carry knife.
F YOU DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT GEISSELE, IT IS KNOWN FOR OVERENGINEERING ITS PRODUCTS—AND IT ENJOYS A STERLING REPUTATION.
All three knives have several genetic blessings from Geissele. They are made from D2 steel and re sharpened (flat grind) to 20 degrees. Right out of the box, they each push-cut paper and haved hair. In addition, the blades are commercially differentially heat-treated. This means heir spines are softer than the cutting surface, making them flexible, as opposed to fragile.
The blades I received were covered with something called Nanoweapon coating. This is a gift om the firearms side. As you might imagine, Geissele has some experience with metal under lot of friction. This company is great about customization, so the nano-coating is an option. can tell you it is tough ... and very black. The substance covers the blade, even the tang under
THE BLADE DESIGN IS A DROP POINT WITH A NICE BELLY. THE FULL-TANG KNIFE (NOT SKELETONIZED) HAS A BUILT-IN FORWARD QUILLON ON THE BOTTOM, PREVENTING THE HAND FROM SLIPPING ONTO THE CUTTING EDGE.
the scales; everywhere but the very cutting edge.
The blades all have a forward quillon to one degree or another, preventing forward slippage of the hand. All three have G10 scales, which can be ordered from the Abe & Moe website in a coarse or fine texture. I found the fine texture offered enough grip without wearing blisters during repeated testing.
The leather sheaths that accompany the test knives are absolutely quality rigs, although you can order the knives without them. These are the same sheaths that are made for Randall Knives—hand crafted, heavily stitched and fashioned from oil-tanned saddle leather. I have dropped some coin on quality knives before and have lost them later, because the maker include a poorly made sheath. You will not have this problem with Abe & Moe. The sheaths all have a builtin belt loop and a strap that closes over the quillon with a classy, silver snap embossed with the Abe & Moe logo. The AM-1 has an added bonus of a paracord handle retainer and leg tie for extra retention.
I WENT INTO THE WOODS …
I looked forward to testing these knives—with pretty high expectations. Mr. Geissele is no the type to let anything subpar out the door with his name on it. With a weekend trip into the mountains set, I leveled several different tests against the Abe & Moe trio to test their mettle and metal.
After setting up camp, I quickly found some wood to process for tinder and kindling. I used all three knives for chopping and batoning to see how they would fare. With steady effort, each knife whacked through whatever I put it up against, first chopping through some wood to cut it to length.
I next split some larger wood, also with batoning. (The Nanoweapon finish appeared to be marred from the force of being driven through the wood—until I wiped it. The mark disappeare under the cloth.) Each knife split wood capable of its size.
I used the AM-1 as an axe, lopping and chopping wood to test its limits. It processed several lighter oods and continued to be capable of shaving hair. I beat on its spine repeatedly, driving it through oft woods for various tasks. I actually felt the blade flex in my hand one time when trying to pry a it harder than I should have. But thanks to the differential heat-treat, it resumed its shape.
Finally, after a full day of testing, I worked on some birch—a fairly hard wood—cutting various ushcrafting notches. I was impressed with the D2’s capability to hold an edge. Many knives would ave faltered much earlier in the day. The AM-1 lasted a long while and was able to carve out several otches in an "unfriendly" wood before it could not cut paper or hair again.
The scales were wonderful. Even with all the repeated tasks, I did not develop any hot spots or listers from all the use, nor did the knife slip from my hand. I would also like to point out that I hose the orange-colored scales on purpose. While it is often described as “safety orange,” I did ot go this route because I feared some hunter’s errant shot. (I had a camouflage canteen once, any years ago. That thing is still lying somewhere in the mountains of southwest Colorado. Losing ater is bad enough, but losing a knife in a survival situation could prove fatal.) I love the absolute isibility of the orange scales option.
One thing I noticed from the Nanoweapon coating was the lack of the ability to strike it against ferrocerium rod. Using its 90-degree spine, I struck the knife against the rod several times, and simply slid off without sparking. Nevertheless, I did not have a problem with this whatsoever. I nderstood inherently that the benefits of the nano-coating far outweighed the lack of strike from he rod. Besides, were I desperate, I would use the cutting edge of the blade to strike sparks. As it as, I carry an attached striker with each rod and was not about to sacrifice my sharpened edge. Note that Abe & Moe does offer the knives in a “raw,” or unfinished, version as well.)
THE AM-2 IS THE MILITANT MIDSIZED “BROTHER”—SMALLER, QUICKER, BUT STILL VERY CAPABLE. THIS KNIFE TELLS ME T WANTS TO BE MOUNTED TO A TACTICAL VEST FOR THOSE “JUST IN CASE” MOMENTS.
The AM-2 got a severe dose of wood-testing, despite its apparent tactical pedigree. After breaking own a good deal of branches and larger sticks, I dug up a few salsify or oyster root plants and
rocessed the edible portions. Stabbing and digging in the ground is a rough task best left to hovels, but a survivalist must rely on what they have. The AM-2 served well, still remaining harp until the end of the day.
While the shape of the handle was not as comfortable as that of the AM-1’S handle, the eight did not require it. I ran this knife all day with no issues, had good grip and was never fear of my hand slipping forward on the blade, despite the slippery nature of some of the asks I used it for.
THE POINT, BELLY AND SIZE OF THE SMALLER BLADE MADE ME THINK OF PROCESSING SMALL GAME. I COULD MAGINE BEING ABLE TO EASILY DRESS OUT UST ABOUT ANYTHING SHORT OF A MOOSE WITH THIS BLADE.
Interestingly, the AM-3 did just as well as the others. While lacking the mass of the larger nives, it cut smaller wood adeptly, and its more-defined point was amazing for digging out maller areas in notches, especially the triangular lashing notch. The point, belly and size of he smaller blade made me think of processing small game. I could imagine being able to asily dress out just about anything short of a moose with this blade.
All three of the knives performed remarkably well. And while I am the first to admit I’m not he best knife sharpener, I gave it a whirl with the Gatco sharpening system. I had read that 2 was difficult to re-hone, but this was not the case. I was able to touch up the knives and et them cutting paper in a very short amount of time. (When I reached out to Abe & Moe, a rofessional knife sharpener was recommended for handling the sharpening.)
I was struck with the notion that there are many good knife companies out there that ave fought long and hard—learning many lessons along the way—to earn the reputation hey now enjoy.
By applying its principles of adhering to quality materials and over-engineering, Geissele has moothly sailed from one demanding industry into another. It will be very interesting to see hat direction the company goes from here.
The optional eather sheaths that accompanied the est knives were top quality and built for security and longevity.
Far right: The wax is easily scraped and pulled off, and the blade is quickly wiped clean.
Near right: When the knives arrived, the blades were coated with a thick wax to prevent any accidental cutting.
This is a wonderful example of why you might conside a bright-colored handle. Contrasted with the green surroundings, the orange G10 pops and grabs the eye.
Bottom: In smalle hands, the AM-3 is ideal, but it can be used comfortably with larger mitts to
Middle: The AM-2’ design has a more t tical approach, with a deeper quillon an jimping on the spin
Below: The AM-1 i a stout blade that i manipulated with handle that has gre ergonomics.
Far left: Batoning the thick spine on th AM-1 was a breeze and allowed the auth to make short work of some hard wood
Near left: Seen here in action, the AM-1 drove through soft wood like nothing.
Above: The D-2 steel continued to hold up for a pretty serious round of testing.
Far right: Subtle badging on the blade identifies his knife as a product of Abraham & Moses.
Near right: The AM-2 was used to dig out a few alsify or oyster root plants and then process hem for dinner.
Below: With a deeper quillon and thi effective jimping, the AM-2’S blade wa made to pierce and offer a good grip fo retrieval
Far right: The AM-3 is a wonderful smaller lade with a clip point.
Near right: Even on harder wood, the author as able to use the AM-3 to feather a stick. They ere long, beautiful curls, and they served to ltimately light the stick on fire.
Below: Putting in work, the AM-3 quickly sharpens a hardwood stick to a fine point.