Tag Archives: Lagriffe

Fred Perrin LaGriffe, Michael Janich’s review and many more sharp objects.

PROLOGUE:
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 ?

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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 Perrin 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…

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So La Griffe was the source of this blog, it was even the wallpaper of our pages.

CHAPTER ONE:
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
sheath.

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
alone.

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.

The concept:
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 !

See:
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 !

Period.

Fred

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CHAPTER 3
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.

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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.
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A Bowie La griffe. This is a Chisel 440C tool.

 

Damascus Mini and Normal !

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The famous Shark !

 

Le Shark folding version which is actually a friction folder.

 

Le Héron, another very unique concept short blade !

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The Big Hole Concept in action !

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The Mini Pic !

And suddenly the Love at First Sight:

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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.”
JERRY O.

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…”
James Keating.

“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

 

EPILOGUE:

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.

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Spyderco C135CFP Perrin PPT — Portable Praetorian Tool.

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The first PPT was release eight years ago. It was the mind child of Sacha Thiel, Philippe Perotti and of course Fred Perrin which it got all the power. For the record Philippe Perotti aka “PP” was Fred’s student in knife making (and Fred was PP student in handguns). I still own one of PP’s Streetbowie made in D2 and also one of his great Commander knife made with Sacha Thiel which looks a lot like the Perrin Streetbowie.

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Now the design’s goes in the stardom with a luxury amazing S90V / Carbon Fibers corrugated stunning handle.
This rude boy is a beauty like Marlon Brando in a Streetcar Named Desire or Tom Hardy in Taboo. It’s heavy in your palm. But this weight is a pleasure exactly like the Sharpfinger.  Marc Animal McYoung in his book “Knives, Knife Fighting and Related Hassles” was choosing a butt heavy short knife over any other. The weight is like an anchor in your hand as the knife handle is cuddling inside your palm. You find the same idea of weight distribution on heavy butt  first Streetbeat.

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Talking about the handle, this macro-texturing shows a wild side of this tool.

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On this picture you can notice the unique clever sturdy lock. It’s made to be secured once the handle is hold tight.

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The steel liners and the full steel back spacer, the full steel construction, while sturdy, makes for a dense carry.  Knowing Fred, being able to use the “pommel” as a crowd pleasure won’t be a surprise. Anyway it’s a tool which can certainly be used to drive a nail in a plank.

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Let’s compare with a titanium folder, the Spydiechef.

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It’s a matter of taste but I love it as the balance suits me.

In eight years the Taiwanese manufacturer has refined his production.

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The choil used to be a hotspot in the first version. No more now, there is absolutely no hot spot but… the clip.

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The way it’s stand with a point proud point …it’s really not the best SPyderco clip just compared with for example… the Lil’ Lionspy great great spoon deep carry clip !!
The point/end of the clip needs to be parallel to the handle as this one is an invitation to scratches cars doors and catches things.
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But its zips easily inside the pocket. It’s a no brainer.

 

 

Like the Spydiechef the design of the PPT notice how it give you a lot of power in case of cutting on a board. But the PPT won’t be as easy to clean with it’s squeleton thick liners but nothing which cannot resist to some hot tap water.
This new incarnation got a very thin edge. Those full flat ground blade in S90V provided by Spyderco lately are a pleasure to use and performance oriented.

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But its true brother in law could be the Yojimbo 2.

The PPT got a very strong spirit, mix that with Sacha Thiel attention to details and Philippe Perotti pragmatism and you got a very powerful EDC which can be used by soldiers, firefighters, hunters, cooks, collectors and bushcrafters.

A little edit: after some EDC carrying and using.
Of course I have started to de-shoulder the edge and gives the PPT a more friendly way to get strop on leather.
Ergo wise, this heavy butt is really addictive. It works like a magnet because of that handgun handle. For the record La Griffe got a Derringer shape handle too which is also heavy compared to the blade. It makes your tool almost jumped in your hand and really anchored it in your palm while the perfect radius of opening makes it a very fast and safe opener. The meat of your finger is caught by the sharp hole and SHLACK !! It’s really one of my fastest tip up carry opener so far.
Why is the PPT a tip up carry ? I remember Fred bitching about the way some newcomers (back in 90’s)  who were providing RIL locks with a tip down carry: the clip was in the way. What Fred loved in the RIL lock on the Sebenza was the way the hand will secure the lock. With a clip attached near the pivot, you could not squeeze the handle anymore and secure the lock.
So the PPT reflect all those years. It’s a real biker friendly design, like the La Griffe has always been. Bikers are modern world horse riders. The PPT would a horse rider best friend too.
In the part 2 the rider could be a nightrider ?

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Choosing a knife for the city.

You don’t need a reason to carry a knife.
Whatever they ask you, just lie or tell them what they want to hear.
In the woods or in the countryside carrying a knife, whatever your gender, is wise.
But in the city ?
You really think you will defend yourself with a knife ? Let’s forget about it. A chair, a stiletto shoe, an ashtray will be better defense tools if you know how to train your mind first. And be prepared mentally whatever your gender, is wise.
Knife is not the best tool to get away of trouble. It’s like playing with matches in a gaz tank. It’s used by madness and idiots to create horrors. So unless you want to be an idiot.
Since knives, cheap and ugly dull knives, are often used to hurt people. Worst, some people think knives has been used when they were not even in history.
An example ? When Lucheni, a madman, has stabbed the Empress Elisabeth of Austria in Geneva he did it with a file. “There was no blood on the file and the tip was broken off, which occurred when Lucheni threw it away. The file was so dull in appearance it was speculated that it had been deliberately selected because it would be less noticeable than a shiny knife, which would have given Lucheni away as he approached.”
So you want to carry a knife in the city. It’s your choice, your business. Nobody else business. Your freedom of choice. In those days where metal detectors are common and official journalists are scanned all over their body before filming some president from ten yards away, when policemen can search you with no good reason because of the state of emergency… you better carry something which is small and sheeple friendly.
Better: you should conform with the laws of your country.

Younger I felt some kind of thrills being an outlaw. My first knife even was a folding AF dagger from Gerber. Go figure ! But later, I have found it is more fun to be lawful and cleverly respect the rules, because it gives you the occasion to try new designs and new makers. Of course you can always carry a Swiss Army knife. I almost never do. It’s in my bag not in my pocket. Because since the 90’s I have fallen in love with clips. Clips are such a great way to avoid a pouch or a scabbard or anything used to say to the world: I carry a knife !! So the clip is mandatory for me. My last clipless knife has been slipping under my wallet and at the Airport it has been taken away from me. So no more clipless knife for me.

So, in the city, I need to follow the rules and I need a flat design clipped to a pocket’s lip. Again a thick Victorinox Swiss Champ is a no-no as is an rounded handle Opinel. Opinel are not for the city unless they are under N°8. And I want a slick design something easy in and easy out without telegraphing around I’m going to use it.
I love the Worker design from Sal Glesser , the very first clip it, which could be used without opening it completely the blade thanks to its false edge. Very clever.
In the city I want elegance. the object needs to be warm and tell a story. I’m not a predator, I carry a tool not a weapon. For the records, hammer, screwdrivers are much more lethal than any Perrin Lagriffe destined to wound and not kill. I like to be able to cut my food without using the dull silverware of restaurants. Because there is some places which are not fast food too. And even at the Macdonalds, using a sharp knife can help to share in two portions a single burger. But in restaurants nowadays it’s not common to find good steak knives. I always enjoyed bringing my own knife like my grandfather used to and that manner that my father hated so much. My father was carrying a switchblade for SD and then a La Griffe. He also used a small turtle shell slipjoint folder made in Nogent in his bag. The exact opposite of my way. Strange how generations go counter clockwise just to complete a full circle thinking they are re-inventing the wheel.

A knife, may it be a slipjoint of a locking folder, is a door for adventures. I often walk on the avenue of the Opera remembering Ernest Hemingway.
“He was a customer of the house Kindal, 33 avenue de l’Opéra, he used to go through the shop, after his purchases, to the Ritz, Place Vendôme. His Parisian triangle was the Harris Bar, Kindal then the bar of the Hotel Ritz. His deer stag handle locking folder, with blade, saw, bottle opener and corkscrew, was his daily companion, he even packed his tobacco and curated his pipe with it. The stag’s wood cracked at the end with time and the tobacco was constantly caught in the cracks, obliging him to clean his knife regularly, he had the idea to place an ivory knob, coming from one of his African hunts probably.
Many years after his death, Mrs. May Kindal, found Hemingway’s knife at the bottom of a drawer, left there for maintenance.
She had him reborn by Jacques Mongin, knifemaker and Meilleur Ouvrier de France.
Since then, the Hemingway knife is sold exclusively by the Kindal cutlery.” Translated from Kindal.

I remember the first time I have seen Ray Mears on the TV. He was walking in the beautiful English countryside and he used one of his elegant Woodlore fixed blade to cut some plant and give some stories. Wait a minute, this guy is walking in the UK and carries a fixed blade in his pocket. But as a black belt in Judo he won’t go in trouble with bushcraft knife anyway.

In the city, knives are making conversations. So it will leave your hands for those of a friend who want to see it. And you will be sitting in the sun drinking a cappucino. So the knife needs to be beautiful and smooth and not aggressive in any way because it can be display in public like smartphones and cameras.

I also need the knife to be out of the way, because I carry stuffs in my pockets or I got a messenger back and it happen sometimes: the knife get hooked to something and falls. So the clip and the way to carry it needs to be secure.
It needs to be very sharp also. And stays sharp. Because I’m not going to show my honing and sharpening skills in the street and a dull edge is dangerous for your finger. So, a good geometry and a good steel. A knife thought to be used not only to be displayed.

So here are some examples.

The Delica in its Knifecenter Special Edition is my actual companion. This one is so sharp it goes beyond my scale. HAP40 can be thinly honed, it’s a true razor. More can be found on it following that link:

In the very highest performances you also got Pekka Tuominen little Wonder Nilakka. You can click on its link. Again a little big knife with performance and ergos which change the game of current gentlemen folders.

The Michael Walker is a rare Gem and this Sprint run has proven how excellent it was as a skinner for very serious hunters.

In the Slip It territory the Urban is the perfect companion unless one hand operation is forbidden by the law. The steel of this one just does wonder and I’m thinking a lot about testing the new Police Model…

One of my old little city companion has been that little Tim Wegner Mouse II knife.

Spyderco has covered all the ground about small knives to carry by men or women. The Dragonfly is one of their pure example of acceptable locking Clip It.

My friends Xavier Conil and Laurent Monnier propose an elegant not threatening folder: le Pointu.

This knife got no clip and is not one hand opening but I have bought it in South Africa at the Good Hope Cape’s shop. This is my Southern souvenir. It has no vertical play and got a story to tell.

respecting the Danish law, the Pingo is one of the solutions for having a clipped knife with no opening hole.  The hole here is only a trademark.
There is a Sprint run with Elmax blade and Titanium handle, I often look with envious eyes…

This one is French, it’s JD’s folder a Sacha Thiel which will be reviewed soon. The blade can be open with a gentle flick helped by the thumb and the deep pocket clip makes it disappears.

So here my knives for the city. My Griptilians are too tactical. My small Sebenza has been lost. I could dig my drawers for more but I think you were able to catch my drift.
Here is a following up about choosing a 3 inches folder.