So where do we begin? It must be twenty years . . .
Long story short, it was the beginning of forums on the Internet.
When someone in the tactical new world order of the 90’s named Ernest Emerson was promoting his Tiger Claw… Saying he got that clever idea for a neck knife…
Wait a minute… Ernest invented that ?
Immediately I was reacting on the threads asking questions about that design I already knew from the articles in La Passion des Couteaux. Ernest was bragging he was the inventor of Lagriffe ! Immediately his groupies and especially Kevin “Mad Dog” McClung once king of the forums attacked France, French, our flag, our way of life… McClung was so proud of his lack of knowledge… He even asked one of his friend working in the FBI, a guy named “Hilton” on the forum to buy a Fred Perrin original Lagriffe and write an ugly review about it !! Shame on you “Hilton” you were such a groupie with a brown tongue.
Reading the review nothing was good for Hilton and Emerson was a true American God who give a huge chance to a little Frenchie …
Well I did not know Fred at that time but I had contacted him some weeks after my lonely war against Mad Dog and his groupies… Fred told me that Ernest had contacted him and was ready to pay royalties.
Well, then we became friends and Fred was visiting me every week to show me his last productions and we have started to write review on Geocities about the knives we loved ! It was a great fun. It was long time before digital photography: I was using my SVHS camera and extracted the frames to get images I could publishes. I was also experimenting animated gif…
So La Griffe was the source of this blog, it was even the wallpaper of our pages.
Here the review back in those early Internet times written by Michael Janich:
“Fred Perrin’s “La Griffe,” (02/1999)
Recently, I had the opportunity to become the lucky owner of two knives made by noted
French knife maker Fred Perrin. Although I hadn’t had any previous exposure to Fred’s
work, I had seen a few articles about him and knew that he was an devoted practitioner of
defensive knifecraft and the Filipino martial arts. Since competency in knife fighting is a
unique (and unfortunately rarely seen) quality among knife makers, I had high
expectations for Fred’s work. I was not disappointed.
The knives I received were two variants of Perrin’s “La Griffe” (meaning “claw” in
French) model. Both knives are single edged and hollow ground on only one side of the
blade. The handles are a unique pistol-grip shape with a large hole at the ricasso. The
smaller of the two knives features wooden handle scales, while the larger is of one-piece
steel construction. Both knives came in well-made adjustable kydex sheaths configured for
neck carry. Also included in the package was a training version of the smaller knife made
from a high-strength fiber-reinforced plastic. Like I said, knife makers who are true knife
fighters look at things a little differently. The inclusion of the trainer immediately
convinced me that Perrin was serious about his work.
Although the Griffe is an unconventional design, its purpose, as well as Perrin’s brilliance,
become apparent as soon as you grip it in your hand. What you notice is that with your
index finger placed through the hole in the ricasso, the knife becomes a natural extension
of your hand. By placing your thumb on the back of the blade, the natural motor skills of
the hand are transferred directly to the blade, allowing you to use it almost instinctively as
a cutting and slashing weapon.
With a subtle shift of the handle, the butt of the knife can be placed directly against the
meaty part of the palm. This suppors the handle firmly and indexes the point with the
knuckles of the fist. A natural punching motion now produces a powerful and accurate
thrust with the point of the blade. With the handle braced in this way, you can generate
tremendous power, and the hole in the blade provides a secure grip for withdrawing the
blade from the target. The hole also allows you to open your hand without dropping the
knife (try that with any other knife!) and provides a great index for a quick draw from the
Speaking of drawing, the curved handle of the Griffe design helps keep the knife flat when
suspended from the neck and provides a great tactile index for the blade edge. Many neck
knives have symmetrical handles that are impossible to orient by tactile sense alone. If the
cord on these knives becomes twisted, you can easily draw the knife with the edge facing
the wrong way. Thanks to its unique design, you can draw and orient the Griffe by feel
Basically, the Griffe design combines the best features of a single-edged boot knife and
push dagger and improves upon them with the unique ricasso hole. In case you’re worried
that the hole will weaken the blade, a close examination of both knives revealed that they
are differentially heat treated. A clear temper line (like the hamon on Japanese swords)
was apparent on both knives, showing that the working part of the knife was substantially
harder than the ricasso and handle. When was the last time you saw this kind of attention
to detail on a neck knife?
In summary, Fred Perrin’s La Griffe is a unique, practical, and totally functional defensive
knife design. These days whenever I choose to wear a neck knife, it’s a La Griffe.
CHAPTER TWO: “ME MYSELF AND EYE” 16th of February 1999.
A self portrait of Fred Perrin’s La Griffe !
assisted by Sundey the Cat, specialist in claws since her prime age.
I don’t want to present to you a self evaluation of my own design.
Because it’s almost impossible to talk objectively about something so personal as my GRIFFE. (The Claw in french…)
But a lot of people come to me and ask me: “Why ? Where it comes from ? Where is your hairbrush ?”
But seriously, about the design, I needed that tool for myself and there were no equivalent for real self defense and everyday chores.
During the 80’s, I have used a lot of knives. Some were good some could but I was always looking for a short blade, with an excellent grip, with a total security (like opening my hand without losing my knife, and without using Superglue!).
As a “martial improviser”, I wanted also to use all the grips I knew with no more than 2 inches of rigid blade.
I was looking around the Kerambit and equivalent but I was disappointed
because the ring was at the other side of the handle and it was too big.
With some of my “Hyena Brothers” (close friends) we began to try, to use and to abuse, different designs. The main idea was to put the ring between the blade and the handle.
(And it was long time before the new Gerber Cameleon…)
Then we have tried many blade shapes and handles.
Finally the classic Griffe was born at the end of the year 1990.
1/ A fixed blade is always ready.
2/ Small and easy to conceal
3/ Small edge means great control on razor edge.
4/ Short blade because with long blade I could kill to much easily (sorry but that’s true !)
5/ The ring hole is the security belt. I can climb a tree with my knife in my hand, ready to be used.
Almost impossible to disarmed. (I talk here about real combat situation as during sparing tests…)
The handle ,à la “Derringer Gun” : one finger in the ring, two on the handle and the little finger at the butt.
This is what I always wanted for Christmas !
I can grasp my opponent, i can hit with hand open and then I close my fist and the Griffe gets in action !!!
It is so easy to check and then strikes back.
This is the power of that design. You can check, grasp, use all the power of your hand and the blade sticks in your hand, following your movement.
The moment your opponent will see the Griffe, if he sees it, it will be to late.
Now, my first customers were policemen, soldiers, alpinists, sailors, firemen and dockers…
But soon the concept “Take it, pull it, use it …” has become famous toward women and especially my wife and my wife’s friends.
She: “Ooooh c’est joli !”
Myself : “Grrrrrrroal!”
The neck carry was also a must for me. Whatever you wear, Tuxedo or Santa Claws ‘s “suit” !
Neck knives are really useful when they are light !
Some people around me feel naked without it even consider it as lucky charm.
My Griffe ?
It’s my ” #@&$¤%” signature !
Today while attempting the 29th SICAC, the oldest Parisian knife show, I came across Pierre Supper’s table to check the last Mid Tech Fred Perrin Concept releases. Pierre is responsable of all the industrial production of Fred.
Of course, as a fan as I was immediately attracted by a Perrin/Janich fixeblade name the Fusion: an heavy short knife with a thick spine !!
A very solid massive fixed blade with an aim at self defense.
Michael Janich, like Fred Perrin are both instructors in the way to defend yourself against knives but also to use this sharp tools as equalizers. They bot have a very pragmatic approach. Fred always says that the best defense equipment are runner shoes for running fast and away of danger for example.
Looking on the table they were so many wonders.
A Bowie La griffe. This is a Chisel 440C tool.
Damascus Mini and Normal !
The famous Shark !
Le Shark folding version which is actually a friction folder.
Le Héron, another very unique concept short blade !
The Big Hole Concept in action !
The Mini Pic !
And suddenly the Love at First Sight:
A beautiful double ground La Griffe !!
Eventually I have come back home
This new industrial La Griffe got only one sharp edge, all the others are rounded and D2 steel is stone washed to an exquisite finish.
Fred Perrin is a veteran of the French Army and expert in survival under extreme conditions. He has designed a knife that is the epitome of simplicity, efficiency, and effectiveness. It is used by military and police operators throughout the world and is widely used in the open ocean fishing fleets of the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. With the addition of the new variation, the WWR model, it is now the perfect emergency companion for climbers, kayakers, and white water rafters.
Fred is one of the world’s premiere “real world” fighting instructors. This fact is directly reflected in his bare bones no-holds barred style of knife making. His attitude and philosophy have propelled him to design some of the best and most affordable combat knives in the business. Fred comes from a diverse background of French Military Special Forces service and a life long study of martial arts and weapons systems.
Fred Perrin is a highly sought after instructor in Europe and a highly recognized and respected knife maker to those who use and carry knives in high risk environments.
You can notice the temper line on this picture.
On this one: 3 temper lines !
From top to bottom:
a custom forged bushcrafter Lagriffe with a 1075 convex flat ground chisel blade.
a bowie Lagriffe chisel in 1075.
the new La Griffe Dark double flat ground in D2 Tool Steel.
a double hollow ground delux custom in 1075
a three time tempered classic version in 1075.
“…I couldn’t believe it either until I held one, I had similar reservations up till that point too.
This is a very utilitarian knife, it’s made to be used. The ring helps you hold onto it even if you’ve heavily jarred the blade…
…It looks like a ring knife, but it’s not. The ring (index in, forward grip; pinkie in, reverse grip) is a retention feature. I have one and let me tell you it’s not going to leave your hand unless you want it to. The handle sits within your fist and gives you a very solid feel.”
NOT ONLY A NECK KNIFE:
“Fred Perrin often carries it in the belt (his kydex sheath is set up with a strap to go over the top of your pants and the strap grabs under your belt so when you draw the sheath doesn’t move) for a reverse grip. This means the blade is down and when you draw you have the edge up, facing your knuckles. His moves were very fast, I don’t know what martial art he studies so I can’t tell you for sure. But what he told me was that he made these knives to compliment that art. A lot of stabbing moves or it seemed to this untrained eye…”
“La Griffe is Fred Perrin trademark and is a concept of its own.
It comes in a variety of styles and lengths and his 100% handmade. Every has a temper line and comes with a kydex sheath. A true utility fighter, maybe the last knife you’ll ever want to own. 100% hand crafted in France. Copied by many, never equaled. Employed by members of the French Secret Services…” LACI SZABO
The only companies which got Fred Perrin’s authorization to make a Lagriffe version are mentioning him in the description of their knife. To my knowledge here they are:
Emerson Knives for the Tiger Claw.
Spyderco for the SPOT and SWICK
Cold Steel for the Cross Guard and
Bastinelli knives for the coming Raptor.
If they are any other manufacturers who mention “Fred Perrin’s design”, he has given his autorisation to reproduce his pattern.
The main defender of inventors is an inventor himself: Sal Glesser. He will never use any design or inventions without mentionning and paying royalties to the source inventor. Sal does that for Emerson’s Wave for exemple but also for the way Fred Perrin used a hole in a neck knife before neck knives were in fashion…
Sal also give credits to locks inventors and pay royalties to them.
This is respect as Fred also shows respect to inventors and forgotten knifemakers.
And here is the Bastinelli Raptor a prototype destined to be produced in 2019.