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Kim Breed is a been there, done that, gets it type of guy. You’ve probably heard the expression, been there, done that, but maybe not the last part. While this expression may not be a part of the common lexicon, we’d like to make a case for it. Kim is a retired Green Beret and he remains a serious badass to this day. His military service is a testament to his been there, done that experience. The gets it description comes from his knowledge of blacksmithing, years of practice in knifemaking, and his passion for the outdoors. Kim simply understands what a knife should be and how it needs to work in the real world.
With this understanding in mind, we took some time to evaluate and analyze Kim Breed's latest knife offering.
Meant for bushcraft and survival, the SERE Combo features a pair of knives: a strong main blade and a smaller and more nimble companion blade. A custom ferro rod from HRK Machining rounds out the SERE Combo, and all three components are carried securely in a Kydex sheath with a Tek-Lok buckle.
For the guy who only has room on his duty gear for a single blade, this package provides a lot of utility in a compact package. Unlike some piggyback combos, this setup doesn’t feel like a boat anchor dragging you down — its total weight is only a hint over 20 ounces. If carrying multiple blades on a single belt rig is not your style, the smaller piggyback blade, carried on the outside of the main sheath, can be worn around the neck as a deep-cover concealment blade. Any way you slice it, this combination is meant for work and we put it to the test on numerous nights out in the field over the past few months.
We wanted to see how effective the Kim Breed SERE Combo could be for the construction of temporary shelters, camp tools and food procurement methods. We also wanted to see how the knives would fare against seasoned hardwoods and tough webbing.
With quick snap cuts, the edge cleanly made its way through bamboo. We used the main blade to chop saplings and remove branches from them. We split smaller pieces of wood by tip-first batoning the blade through them. By choking up on the handle, we had excellent control to carve trap triggers. The single-finger guard in the handle kept our hand from riding the blade.
By choking back on the handle, we effectively extended its length and used a snap cut to make quick work of the tasks at hand. We added a small lanyard to the rear lanyard holes but found even more security using a forward lanyard tied around the ricasso.
Using a wooden baton, we forced the 80CrV2 blade through knotted woods and found no deformation to the edge. After extended use, some of the finish on the blade wore off but this was the only noticeable wear on the blade. The edge remained arm-hair-shaving sharp. While used in various grips, the handle felt great and produced no hot spots.
The smaller companion blade, also worked great for its size. Let’s face it, a small blade like the skeletonized companion is not going to do the heavy work of its bigger brother. We decided to use it in lieu of a neck knife for opening meal packets, prepping our food (like hard cheeses and summer sausages) and as a fire steel scraper for the HRK Machining ferro rod.
The minimalist design is not meant for a full grip. Most of the time, we used the smaller companion blade in a pinch grip. When we wrapped the smaller blade with some Kevlar-braided cord, it was easier to hold in more traditional grips. With the cordage around the handle, we were still able to use the provided Kydex sheath without having to modify it at all. We also tried paracord and found it extremely comfortable in hand as it made the grip larger but we found we couldn’t get the knife back into its sheath with this bulkier handle wrapping.
At first, we questioned the use of ordinary 440C as a steel instead of one of the newer super steels. Then we remembered who the maker of the SERE Combo is, and realized there must be a reason for selecting that steel. Since the companion blade is carried on the outside of the sheath, it requires better rust resistance, as the blade will be exposed to humidity and precipitation. During all of our testing, we carried the SERE Combo in all sorts of weather and we didn’t notice any rust on the smaller blade.
We also tried out the custom ferro rod from HRK Machining that's available as an option with the Kim Breed SERE Combo.
The knurling on the ferro rod is subtle, but certainly noticeable when your hands are cold and wet. The 4-inch rod is also available in a 3-inch version, but the extra length means extra sparks. We used the companion blade as a scraper, and it worked well, but still wasn't as effective as a carbide scraper. Hey, we have to call it how it is.
If we could change anything about the SERE Combo, it would be the spine on the companion blade. Its edges are sharp enough to throw a spark, but they could be a little sharper. As it is is, we were able to light multiple fires with this setup, using both man-made tinder and an assortment of birch bark, dried leaves, cedar duff, and cattails. HRK Machining threads their ferro rods, so this rod can be replaced in between training trips and missions in the field.
The more we used the Kim Breed SERE Combo, the more it became evident Kim Breed’s been there, done that, gets it reputation is well deserved. Sure, we could have used an assortment of purpose-specific blades for each of the individual tasks in this article, but the SERE Combo pairing of blades worked extremely well together as a comprehensive survival set. We’re confident this combo of tools will be right at home on your next trip into the woods.
Blade Length: 6.25 inches
Thickness: 3/16 inch
Handle Material: Green Micarta
Overall Length: 10.75 inches
Weight: 10.5 ounces
Blade Length: 3.25 inches
Thickness: ⅛ inch
Overall Length: 6.75 inches
Weight: 2 ounces
Total Combo Weight: 20.2 ounces
MSRP: Starting at $475. Ferro rod ($50 for the model tested) and holder will add to cost.
Kim Breed Knives
733 Jace Dr
Clarksville, TN 37040
Kevin Estela is the owner/head instructor of Estela Wilderness Education, a bushcraft and survival school in New England. He is a Sayoc Kali Associate Instructor, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner, and an avid marksman. As a “survival athlete” he can be found regularly testing his physical and mental limitations in the gym, woods, and urban landscape preparing for the fight.