ESEE’s big news at SHOT Show was the return of a cult classic fixed blade design, the Libtertariat. Now called the Libertariat USA, it has revamped materials and a new place of manufacture (can you guess where?), while retaining all the charm of designer John Armstrong’s original chopper.
It’s shocking to think the original Expat came out more than five years ago, but it did. Released in 2017, John Armstrong’s Libertariat was sorted under the Expat Knives line, an ESEE project comprised of more affordable knives made in places other than the US. While it was clearly a chopper in the broad strokes, the Libertariat differed from its burlier brethren with a comparatively light, slim design; balancing slenderness and stoutness, it was meant to stay comfortable in the hand through extended periods of use.
The Libertariat USA keeps that design intact for the most part, with the chief changes being manufacturing and material ones. The squared-off, 9-inch blade has a hole in the snout for draw cuts on wood. Here it is made from 1095, which we’re dubbing an improvement over the original model’s 1075; they’re related and quite similar, of course, but 1095 is widely acknowledged to have higher edge retention. Material change no. 2 is the handle: the walnut scales are swapped out for foliage green Micarta scales, which are nice and grippy, not to mention weather/shrinkage/warping-resistant.
Finally, the Libertariat USA is made, well, in the USA, as opposed to El Salvador as its predecessor was. This technically brings it out of the Expat line, of course, and means that it benefits from ESEE’s full warranty. It’s a pretty famous warranty in the knife world, and for good reason; the company offers to repair any broken knife (with proof of purchase), or replace it if fixing it isn’t possible, no questions asked.
The Expat Libertariat proved quite popular – but thanks to its limited production run designation, not everyone who could get one, did. Similarly 2023’s Libtertariat USA is also going to be limited production, so while there’s a second chance for would-be owners, the opportunity won’t be there forever.
ESEE says the Libertariat USA will be shipping to dealers very soon.
Knife in Featured Image: ESEE Knives Libertariat USA
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