Knifemaking is one of mankind’s oldest activities, with crude edged tools predating the rise of Homo Sapiens by at least 300,000 years. It has continued to be a pursuit of every society of man, across the span of human existence and in every clime and place in the entire world. And with such a long history of edged weapons making, it is extremely difficult for anyone to be truly distinctive in bringing new ideas to making knives.
Mick Strider is that exceptional person, a man who has routinely brought innovation to the craft of making knives. Mick Strider’s early years were unremarkable except for his unyielding desire to excel at whatever he was doing. This drive ultimately led him to enlist in the US Army, and attain the high distinction of becoming a member of one of its Ranger Battalions. His military career was cut short due to injury. After the disappointment of his unexpected discharge from the Army, he drifted a bit in life for awhile. However, in 1988, he began making specialized knives for use by the military. This turned out to be fortunate turn of events, both for Mick and for the knife using world at large. Mick’s approach was to not get burdened by the weight of past designs. He started with a tabula rasa, a clean slate, informed only by his own experiences and knowledge of what a soldier needed in a knife. The knives he made didn’t look like the hunter-inspired knives seen in most PXs; instead they were almost brutish in their functionality: beefy, solid, and with unbreakable ¼” stock full tangs. These knives were the first indication of his innovative approach: in addition to their utilitarian design, the knives carried a subdued finish and subdued sheaths. No one carrying a Strider knife was going to be spotted because of sunlight glinting off of polished steel or a glossy leather sheath. Soldiers, policemen, and other men going into harm’s way couldn’t buy them fast enough. Mick sampled some good ideas, but made them great. For instance, he was not the first to wrap a knife handle with paracord, but he was the first to do it in a way that was tough enough for sustained infantry use.