The Sykes-Fairbairn knife is named for the two British officers who designed it, based on their experience with the Shanghai police. Major W.E. Fairbairn had been chief of police in Shanghai before the Japanese capture of the city. Eric Anthony Sykes worked with Faribairn in Shanghai where they developed the "Defendu" system of police training and combat fighting. Defendu is credited with being the first modern fighting system, a "kill or get killed" approach that was practical and effective. Both were recruited by the OSS to train American and Allied commandos and resistence fighters. Starting in 1941, their knife was a standard commando weapon in World War II for U.S. and British Commonwealth forces to the point where it was often called simply "the Commando knife".If you want to read more, Leroy Thompson's book, Commando Dagger, is the way to go, and Leroy would probably appreciate the money.
I've had a bunch of different flavors of the S-Fs, and the week point has always been the tip. That thin, elegantly shaped blade, while perfect for slipping through all those pesky body parts on the way to vital organs-ville, is weak when it comes to other duties a knife might be put to in the field. Say all you will about using the proper tool for the right job, but on a bad day in Baghdad, a knife's got to deliver on a lot of fronts.
Enter Masters of Defense knives, now steered by SHOOTING GALLERY regular and my pal Mike Janich. At SHOT, he towed me over to the MOD booth to show me "something new under the sun," the next evolution of the combat dagger. It's the Beshara XSF-1 dagger, designed by Canadian special forces guy Brent Beshara. What's really neat is that the knife is chisel-ground on each side of the blade; the grinds come together to form a third edge at the point, solving the S-F "weak at the tip" problem.
"I've been in knives for 30 years," Janich told me. "The is the first totally original idea I've seen."
I, of course, ordered one on the spot. As they say, guns are only guns, but knives are important!