Kerambit or Karambit?
By Adelia Ladson
When you’re looking for that knife that has a curved blade and an open ring pommel, do you search online for “karambit” or “kerambit”? Which one is the right name? Is one of them a misspelling? Nope. They’re both right. “Kerambit” is what this knife is called in Indonesia.
The Kerambit’s Indonesian Roots
Legend holds that the kerambit was inspired by the claws of big cats. Originally, it was used as a farming tool by the peasant class of Indonesia because its curved design was meant to work as a tool for a variety of jobs. The safety ring allowed the user to work at uncomfortable angles with ease and still retain a secure grip on the knife. Eventually, the kerambit became a weapon which soldiers used as their last resort in battle when their other weapons were lost. In combat, the safety ring allowed the soldier to keep a tight hold on his weapon instead of being disarmed by an opponent. The karambit was extremely versatile in many combat situations whether defensive or offensive. A point of interest is that it became popular with women as a self-defense weapon. They would tie it into their hair.
The centuries old basic design of the curved blade coming from an ergonomic (the ancient folks were ergonomically correct before the word “ergonomic” even existed) handle with a finger guard has not changed in all of the modern versions. As a weapon, this curved knife is meant to be held with the blade pointing down from the bottom of your fist, not held upward in your hand. Since, you finger is inserted into the safety ring or finger guard at the top of the handle, you have a really secure grip on it. This knife is used with a slashing or hooking movement. So, if you are looking for an exotic looking “everyday carry” do consider getting a kerambit. It can be useful for a variety of jobs like gutting and cleaning fish, cutting rope or even light pruning in your yard.
Get An Everyday Carry Karambit
You can find kerambits in a slew of colors and a little artistic license, in design, has been taken with some of them. Western companies have taken the original design of this former farm tool and given it a folding blade option. I find this appropriate because when I think of a folding knife, I think, “everyday carry.” The kerambit was the “everyday carry” knife for peasants in ancient Indonesia. So whether you call it a “kerambit” or a “karambit”, here are some hot choices for you, both tactical folding and traditional fixed blade styles.
Timber Wolf Bone Karambit
Starting with a classic style, the Timber Wolf Bone Karambit has natural-colored bone handle scales like what would have been used in the past, in Indonesia. Added to that is a Damascus steel blade, which extends into the open ring pommel with a penetrating point. Essentially, both ends of the curved, razor-sharp knife can be used as a weapon. The karambit is a robust 9 1/4” in overall length and it comes with a premium leather belt sheath.
Delta Defender Assisted Opening Karambit
In direct contrast to the traditional style of karambit above, the Delta Defender Assisted Opening Karambit is a masterpiece of modern tactical design. It was made for the modern battlefield, taking the traditional karambit and pumping it up with steroids. It has thick and beefy G10 handle scales that are extremely grippy with a textured, ergonomic design. The hefty, curved blade is razor-sharp with a penetrating point, and it has double thumbstuds for quick deployment with the assisted opening mechanism. The folding karambit is non-reflective black and even though it’s a beast, it will still fit discreetly in your pocket, secured with the pocket clip.
Hibben Warbird Folding Karambit
With his decades of knife-making and designing experience, of course, Gil Hibben was going to take on the karambit and make it his own. The Hibben Warbird Folding Karambit is perfect as an EDC pocket knife. The keenly sharp, premium stainless steel blade has a dark grey titanium coating and a flipper to deploy the smooth, ball-bearing opening system. The open-ring handle scales are a dark grey linen Micarta, matching the blade in color tone. Metallic blue screws and liners add a pop of color, along with the pocket clip, which has the iconic Hibben Knives logo. You’ll always have a tool in your hand that can be used every day. If you’re a fan and collector of Gil Hibben, this is your karambit!
M48 Liberator Falcon Karambit
M48 has a history of effectively taking traditional weapons and updating them into modern, tactical weapons for today’s urban battlefields. The Liberator Falcon Karambit is a solid part of this line. The cast stainless steel blade is just over 41/2” and has a black oxide coating, plus, weight-reducing thru-holes. Heavy-duty screws secure the grippy, injection-molded nylon handle scales to the tang, which extends into the open-ring pommel. The handle is ergonomic for a comfortable grip and a pronounced finger-choil keeps your hand from slipping forward during vigorous use. The blade also has jimping on the spine for the same purpose. The open-ring pommel has a point on it to use as a second line of self-defense. The battle-ready M48 karambit is 10” overall and a specially designed Vortec and nylon belt sheath lets you carry it easily at your side.
Honshu Karambit And Shoulder Harness Sheath
What really makes the Honshu Karambit a stand-out is that it comes with a shoulder harness so that it can be completely hidden under a jacket or coat. The adjustable harness has an ABS sheath, that the karambit snaps into securely, putting the handle within easy reach. The over-molded TPU handle is textured and finger-grooved with jimping at the back and front, assuring that when you pull it from the sheath, your grip is solid. The curved blade is 4” long and made of premium stainless steel as is the open-ring pommel, which also has a point like most tactical karambits. When you need an easily concealed, serious self-defense weapon, add this Honshu Karambit to your self-defense and survival gear, today!
Timber Wolf Attila Karambit
I’m ending this list with another traditional karambit and it’s an absolute showpiece. The Timber Wolf Attila Karambit looks like it would’ve been carried by the legendary conqueror. The full-tang blade is crafted of striking Damascus steel, and it features a gut-hook on the spine. The tang ends in the traditional open-ring pommel. The dark handle scales are Micarta, accented with a mosaic rosette and brass bands. This karambit is 9” long and a leather belt sheath lets you carry it conveniently at your side.
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