Knives Illustrated - - Contents - STORY AND PHO­TOS BY WAYSUN JOHNNY TSAI

De­signed by self-de­fense expert Fred Mas­tro, the nonon­sense PY (Pro­tect Your­self) knife by Bastinelli Knives pulls dou­ble duty as a solid self-de­fense and field knife. BY WAYSUN JOHNNY TSAI

Some­times a knife de­sign just needs to be sim­ple. In a world where knife de­sign­ers are con­sis­tently try­ing to rein­vent the wheel, sim­plic­ity seems to walk away with the win more of­ten than not. Strong er­gonomics, good steel, a solid heat treat and a ra­zor-sharp grind are all a knife needs to be­come a sim­ple and ef­fec­tive tool.


French knife maker Bastien Bastinelli and self-de­fense expert Fred Mas­tro set out to in­tro­duce the all-busi­ness PY (Pro­tect Your­self) as an all-around tac­ti­cal and self-de­fense knife. In fact, Bastinelli de­signed the knife and pro­duced it with FOX Knives in Italy specif­i­cally for Mas­tro and his self-de­fense sys­tem.

Hav­ing been ac­tive in the mar­tial arts for more than 37 years, I have enough ex­pe­ri­ence to con­clude that the PY is more than enough weapon to han­dle any fight. I think it’s safe to say that 90% (or more) of the peo­ple read­ing this ar­ti­cle have never been in a knife fight, though, let alone ever stabbed any­one; so, let’s see how the Bastinelli PY han­dles as an all-around tool.

Built Light­weight

I was first in­tro­duced to the PY at the 2017 C.U.M.A Sur­vival, Prep­per, Back­packer and Knife show in Chicago by Bastinelli Knives com­pany rep Ni­cholas. He’d re­cently em­i­grated to the U.S. from France and was a stu­dent of the Filipino mar­tial arts. He was shar­ing a ta­ble with a lo­cal knife com­pany and was ea­ger to show me the Bastinelli Knives prod­uct line. Ni­cholas felt that as a fel­low mar­tial artist I would es­pe­cially ap­pre­ci­ate the PY. He was right.

Since the PY was cre­ated specif­i­cally for a mar­tial artist and his mar­tial arts sys­tem, it was de­signed to be sharp, fast and deadly with­out any gim­micks. I im­me­di­ately no­ticed how light­weight and nim­ble the 5.5-ounce knife was as soon as I picked it up. The 0.64-inch-thick han­dles sport grippy G10 and are some­what skinny, but the knife felt pretty good in my hand; al­though more swell in the grip would have made it a lit­tle more com­fort­able. I knew that since FOX Knives was man­u­fac­tur­ing the knife for Bastinelli, it should be able to with­stand any­thing I could throw at it.

A Closer Look

With a blade length of 5 inches, the Py—in my hum­ble opin­ion—is the perfect length for an ev­ery­day carry knife. It sports a full tang black Pvd-coated 5-inch blade made from Bohler N690CO steel and is ra­zor sharp right out of the box. The de­sign ap­pears to be some sort of a tanto-styled blade and steak knife hy­brid.

The PY’S over­all length is 10.125 inches, and its slim 0.16inch blade has a flat grind that ta­pers to a very sharp point. The blade fea­tures a swedge, which makes its ex­cel­lent for pierc­ing flesh and other soft ma­te­ri­als such as cloth­ing. The sam­ple that I re­ceived for this ar­ti­cle is the plain-edged

ver­sion, but the PY is also avail­able with a par­tially ser­rated blade.

Grip­ping the knife in a for­ward po­si­tion, I no­ticed a slight, com­fort­able curve from the han­dle to the tip of the knife. Both bare­handed and gloved, my in­dex fin­ger fit well into the choil, while my thumb rested on the well-placed jimp­ing. The G10 han­dle scales have a some­what grippy milled fin­ish and feel com­fort­able in a for­ward and re­verse grip. There is a lan­yard hole as well as a bit of ad­di­tional jimp­ing on the butt end of the han­dle to rest your thumb in a re­verse grip.

The knife comes with a light­weight fric­tion-fit Ky­dex sheath with TEK-LOK at­tach­ment for a va­ri­ety of carry op­tions. As hard as I tried, I could not get any wig­gle from the knife while it was in the sheath; the re­ten­tion is su­perb. The only draw­back that I can de­ter­mine about the sheath is a per­sonal pref­er­ence: I wish it had a bit of a lip or thumb-re­lease to draw the knife.

Cut­ting Ca­pa­bil­i­ties

I’m not go­ing to lie, I am new to Bastinelli Knives as a brand. I needed to do some home­work for this ar­ti­cle. While scrolling through the com­pany’s web­site I no­ticed a theme: All of its knives are mis­sion spe­cific, in­clud­ing the PY. Since KI isn’t a mar­tial arts or firearms mag­a­zine, I de­cided to test the knife in ways that the de­signer prob­a­bly hadn’t con­sid­ered for this model.

I started by cut­ting sim­ple things like small .5-inch rope and round card­board tub­ing. As ex­pected, the sharp, flat-grind edge cut ex­tremely well, slic­ing the card­board tub­ing like it was a sheet of pa­per.

Next, I wanted to test the knife on thicker ob­jects, like a leather belt. The cuts and slices I made were very clean, pass­ing through the leather like a ra­zor. Since the PY re­minds me of a steak knife, I also tried it in the kitchen to slice semi-frozen meat. Once again, the PY per­formed like a champ. I de­cided it was time to take the knife out­side for test­ing.

The morn­ing I planned to test the knife, the tem­per­a­ture was just 7°F, so I headed to a lo­cal park where there is a small, man­made pond. As ex­pected, the pond was com­pletely frozen over.

Imag­in­ing my­self as an Alaskan ice fish­er­man, I grabbed the PY in a re­verse icepick grip and started stab­bing away at the pond. Af­ter a cou­ple of min­utes, I eas­ily cut out a de­cent sized hole in the ice. I then sub­merged my hand in the freez­ing wa­ter for 30 sec­onds while clutch­ing the knife to see how well it han­dled af­ter I lost a bit of dex­ter­ity.

Be­ing an outdoorsy kind of guy, I fig­ured I would test the blade on some wood with my not-so-happy hand. Ob­vi­ously, since the PY isn’t a large chop­per, I wasn’t go­ing to tackle any­thing as in­volved as build­ing a shel­ter, so I set­tled on test­ing how the PY would do shav­ing a cou­ple of small branches. I think the knife’s er­gonomics per­formed a lot bet­ter than I did in the cold. Even shak­ing, I was able to get a good grip on the wet knife and shave a cou­ple of branches for tin­der. Un­for­tu­nately for me, the park rules do not al­low open fires, so I went back to my truck to warm my frozen dig­its.

Good Carry Op­tions

Since the sheath has an ad­justable TEK-LOK, I was able to try a few dif­fer­ent op­tions to mount and carry the PY. First, I mounted it to the MOLLE web­bing on my sling pack and took it to the park for test­ing. Then I strapped it onto my belt, drove to the lo­cal mall and walked with my coat open and shirt pulled down over it, con­stantly glanc­ing at mir­rors and store win­dows, look­ing for any in­di­ca­tion of print­ing. I didn’t


see it in any reflection, which is a good thing since it is slightly longer than 10 inches tip to tip. Then I used it to cut and eat my lunch at the food court. Af­ter lunch, I re­turned to my truck and strapped the knife onto the back of my pas­sen­ger side tac­ti­cal seat cover, in a po­si­tion where I could eas­ily reach and de­ploy the blade if nec­es­sary.


Solid Per­for­mance

I think the Bastinelli Knives PY fixed blade is a solid per­former. As far as the PVD fin­ish, it held up per­fectly to rope, food, leather, card­board, wood and ice with­out any vis­i­ble wear. The qual­ity of its ma­te­ri­als, build, fin­ish, er­gonomics, sheath re­ten­tion and per­for­mance earn the knife a solid four out of five stars. I’m hold­ing back the fifth star be­cause of per­sonal pref­er­ences only: I’d like a thumb re­lease on the sheath and a slightly beefier swell on the han­dle. Again, th­ese are per­sonal pref­er­ences and shouldn’t de­ter any­one from pur­chas­ing this fine edged weapon, es­pe­cially if those two caveats aren’t im­por­tant to you. I highly rec­om­mend the PY to uni­formed pro­fes­sion­als and civil­ians alike. KI

Above: The Ky­dex sheath with TEK-LOK of­fered sev­eral carry op­tions.

Below: This tac­ti­cal tanto pairs per­fectly with any weapons sys­tem.

Cut­ting twine and card­board tub­ing was easy with the Bastinelli.

Ra­zor sharp out of the box, the Bohler N690CO steel cut through thick leather like but­ter.

The milled G10 scales were com­fort­able in for­ward and re­verse grip. The black PVD fin­ish might be dirty, but there is no sign of scratches or wear.

Below: The PY fa­vors a steak knife and worked great for food prep.

Left:the jimp­ing on the spine pro­vided ex­tra con­trol, even in freez­ing con­di­tions.

Shav­ing tin­der was pos­si­ble, even with a freez­ing hand.

The PY made fast work of a frozen pond.

I was able to slice through mul­ti­ple lay­ers of card­board with lit­tle to no re­sis­tance.

Ny­lon web­bing and a ny­lon pouch were cut cleanly us­ing the PY.

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