It's no secret that we're of the opinion that a knife is a useful item for survivalists — that's why we have advocated carrying a folding knife every day whenever it's possible, legal, and safe to do so. You may use it to open packages at work, trim cordage at a campsite, or simply slice some fruit for an afternoon snack. Or, in a last-resort life-and-death situation, you may need to use your knife as a self-defense tool.
However, in certain cities, states, and countries, carrying a knife in public is heavily restricted. The United Kingdom has a long list of restrictions against carrying, buying or selling banned types of knives. These banned knives include locking knives, gravity knives, “zombie knives”, and any folding blade longer than 3 inches.
Non-metallic “stealth knives” are also banned in the UK, “except when used at home, for food or a toy”. Nevertheless, the Metropolitan Police reported that the London Bridge terrorist attack on June 3rd involved three ceramic knives: “The ceramic pink knives were found on or nearby the three attackers – Khuram Shazad Butt, Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghba – after police shot them dead at approximately 22.16hrs on Saturday, 3 June. The kitchen knives, each measuring 12 inches, are branded Ernesto and are ceramic, rather than metal.”
Several prominent news outlets, including The New York Times, The Guardian, reported on this story accordingly. The Independent even wrote, “Bound with black tape, the 12-inch weapons which helped kill and maim revellers last Saturday were ceramic, possibly so the murderers could avoid metal detectors, investigators believe.”
The evidence images above were released by the Metropolitan Police, along with a plea for information on the origins of these pink knives. “If you know anything about these particular types of knives, please let us know – it could prove a crucial lead in our investigation,” wrote Commander Dean Haydon, head of the Met's Counter Terrorism Command. A later report stated, “Detectives investigating the London Bridge terrorist attack have established that the three pink knives used by the attackers were purchased from a specific shop in east London,” but did not provide any additional details about the knives themselves.
Despite these clear statements from the UK Metropolitan Police declaring that the knives used by these terrorists were ceramic, there are some indications that this may not be the case. The image above shows the evidence photo next to an image of the Ernesto Kushino-Messer 32cm kitchen knife — a design which is clearly listed and labeled as being stainless steel.
Closer examination of the text on the side of the blade shows what appear to be two words below the Ernesto logo. Limited resolution and quality of the evidence photo make these words hard to read, but they appear to match the placement of the words “Stainless Steel” seen in the product photo.
So, if these knives are indeed stainless steel and clearly labeled accordingly, why might the Metropolitan Police make a point of stating that they are “ceramic, rather than metal”? A knifemaker at BFE Labs analyzed the evidence in great detail and came to the following conclusion:
“Why has Scotland Yard claimed the knives used in the attack to be ceramic? Hard to say. The UK has a long, and increasing, history of being strongly anti-knife. Given that Scotland Yard’s counter terror guys tend to be rather good at their jobs, but that politics runs deeply though all facets of British government, it may be possible that they’re working a narrative towards the goal of further knife restrictions.”
The BFE Labs post continues:
“Whatever the reasoning or cause, the reported “facts” are not correct – The knife pictured in the photos released to the media is not a ceramic knife. It is in no way consistent with the appearance, or properties, of a ceramic knife. And, the exact model of knife has been officially identified, and is listed on the primary retailer as being made from Stainless Steel.
As a final note – Had the London attackers purchased and used ceramic kitchen knives, they would have fared no better at passing through metal detectors. Ceramic knife manufacturers insert a steel-shank into the molded handles as a security precaution, against exactly that threat.”
If you're interested to learn more about the knife and properties of ceramic knives in general, we'd strongly encourage you to read the full article at BFElabs.net.