By: Greg Chabot
Half Face Blades was founded by US Navy SEAL (Ret) Andrew Arrabito. Andrew’s goal was to make dependable, high-quality knives for everyday use by everyday people.
Recently, I was in the market for a fixed-blade knife for defensive use. After doing some research on Andrew’s website, I settled on the Combat Fillet. The blade of this knife is made from S35VN steel for corrosion resistance and hardness. Thickness of the Blade is .12,” and length is 4,” with an overall length of 8.5.”
My knife came with Black and Olive Green G10 handles with Tan liners. The G10 is done in Andrew’s “Chaos” grip. It is very aggressive and provides an excellent grip without being uncomfortable. The grips are held on by carbon fiber pins. The Combat Fillet is of the full tang design.
My knife also came with a Skull crusher with a hole drilled for those who like lanyards on their knives. Customers can also order without a skull crusher if they choose. The sheath is made from black Kydex and lined with suede. The clip has excellent tension and can be positioned for either hand. End-users can also purchase belt loops for more mounting options if they desire. I found the Combat Fillet very easy to conceal using either the clip or belt loops.
The Combat Fillet came razor-sharp out of the box and required no touching-up, though I gave it a quick strop out of habit. I could find no defects in the grind or overall workmanship of this blade. The knife balanced well in my hand, with the weight feeling evenly distributed.
The same quality that went into the blade went into the sheath. The knife was firmly retained, and the edges were smooth. The suede liner provided a silent and smooth presentation and re-sheathing. The clip held the knife wherever I mounted it, too. (For my needs, I purchased belt loops).
In my opinion, fillet-style knives are very underrated for defensive use. Granted, a fisherman’s fillet knife might feel flimsy, but it will produce nasty cuts and get good penetration against an assailant. Andrew took the best attributes of a fisherman’s fillet knife and made a stronger and more practical blade for defensive use.
I focused testing primarily on defensive tasks. To test the Chaos grip, I soaked my hand in mineral oil, then proceeded to draw and sheath the knife. With an oily hand, I had no issues holding on to the Combat Fillet. With my hand still oily, I tested the skull crusher out on a coconut. It penetrated with very little effort on my part.
With the Chaos grip, my hand did not slip during this phase of testing. For the penetration and slashing test, I used an old heavy bag with multiple layers of clothing on it. Not the most scientific way, I know, but that’s all I got. I did some quick stabs and slashes, using both forward and reverse grip. I found the fillet penetrated through the layers with little effort. The razor-sharp blade did not disappoint, cutting through the layers and opening-up the bag.
Andrew has stated he finds that the Combat Fillet design gives excellent penetration through multiple clothing layers. After my testing, I agree with him. To test the strength of the tip, I used my Combat Fillet to open a couple of cans. (Not recommended! I did this for test purposes only!) I also drove the knife into an old oak door after the can test. No damage was done to the tip!
Throughout testing, the Combat Fillet maintained its edge. After testing, I used it in the kitchen for prep work and found it pretty handy. For maintenance, I stropped the blade and applied a light coat of SEAL-1 CLP.
Overall, I found the Combat Fillet to be an excellent defensive knife that is well designed and proudly crafted from quality materials. The sheath will give end-users a variety of options to mount or carry it. This knife performed to my standards, and I feel it was worth every penny.
Choosing a knife is very personal, so do your research and make an informed purchase. Half Face Blades has a variety of styles and models to choose from, and all Half Face Blades are proudly made in the USA.
Greg Chabot is an Iraq Combat Veteran freelancer, writing from New Hampshire.
Photos by Sasha Steadman