SIMPLE. SHARP. SOLID. UTILITARIAN.
BASTINELLI KNIVES AND FRED MASTRO INTRODUCE THE NO-NONSENSE PY (PROTECT YOURSELF)
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.
“BASTINELLI DESIGNED THE KNIFE AND PRODUCED IT WITH FOX KNIVES IN ITALY SPECIFICALLY TO OPERATE EFFICIENTLY FOR MASTRO AND HIS SELFDEFENSE SYSTEM.”
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.
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.
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
“IT WAS DESIGNED TO BE SHARP, FAST AND DEADLY WITHOUT ANY GIMMICKS.”
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.
“THE QUALITY OF ITS MATERIALS, BUILD, FINISH, ERGONOMICS, SHEATH RETENTION AND PERFORMANCE EARN THE KNIFE A SOLID FOUR OUT OF FIVE STARS.”
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.