Monday, April 14, 2014

Review: United Cutlery M48 Spear

Here's a fun item that I've had sitting by my front door in the umbrella stand for a while, and thought I should give it screen time. I've had a soft spot for spears for a long time, perhaps not as long as with swords, but still, a good long while. My first spear was a Kenyan Maasai spear, and I've previously shown off my Cold Steel Boar Spear which is as impressive a spear as you're likely to ever wave around and at 208cm (82 1/8"), it's not something you carry around lightly.

This is the M48 Kommando Survival Spear, by United Cutlery. This is another of the M48 family, which I have covered before with the Walking Axe and the very handy Ranger Hawk.
Sharing the same 30% fiberglass haft as the Walking Axe, which measures 92cm (36 1/8”) this is actually quite short for a spear, and reminds me of the Zulu Assegai and Ikiwa spears.

As with the Walking Axe, the haft is about 10-15cm too short for me to use as an effective cane, unless I wanted to grasp the head, never a good idea, really.

With the molded finger grips at the head end, and flared throat to prevent over penetration, the spear itself balances nicely when held here, one handed. Two other grip points, in the form of a series of inset groves about midway and at the butt-end allow for a number of different holds.

 Certainly in the places I'd want to be grasping a spear for close fighting, or in a shield wall, if that were my thing.

With a 20cm (8") head, featuring a rather impressive flat grind bevel on both sides. It manages this by being extremely thick, at almost half an inch at the middle, which features some fluting and holes through the spine, which drops the wight a little.

All up this piece weighs 1kg (2.2lbs), mostly at the head. Given the solid design of the head, I expect that it would take a lot more abuse than the head of the Walking Axe, which as you may have read, experienced some structural failure (but not catastrophically) on my last camping trip, chopping firewood.

I expect the M48 spear to pack a lot more wallop, but a spear is not an axe. I'll have to give some thought to how to demonstrate this effectively. Once again, the length of the spear gave me pause. Longer than a knife, longer than a sword, but not really long enough to keep a foe at more than "arms length". The other option was hunting medium sized game.

I haven't had a chance to go out far enough away from prying eyes to fling it around, but at 1 kg, it makes for a pretty dense package for a thrown weapon. It would make a very substantial club though.

Still, it's size allows it to go a lot of places a full length spear like the Cold Steel Boar Spear just can't. Like across your back whilst scrambling up a ravine, or climbing through a building.

It will fit in a car boot, or even lashed to a bike. That big broad head isn't suited to spear-fishing, but I can imagine that in survival situations it would work nicely for both sea-side wildlife and deterring land predators.

Perhaps the most telling aspect of this spear is its cross section.

I used a pizza box to demonstrate the cross section, and you can see just how solid the M48 blade is. This thing pokes big holes.Perhaps not as wide or deep as the Cold Steel, but certainly broadly.

I've not really had much opportunity to put it thought its paces, the fox that took my last bunch of pet rabbits hasn't been back since I threw the Walking Axe at it (close is NOT a hit, in this case) but I think that local livestock protection and vermin control might well be the best option for this piece, until it comes time to go house-to-house and ventilate a horde.

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