The Cutting Edge: Bud Nealy Shrike

Shrike is the result of collaboration between a veteran Federal agent and custom knifemaker Bud Nealy. It’s designed for personal protection.


The Shrike is an exciting new covert-carry fixed-blade knife designed for personal protection. It’s the result of a collaboration between custom knifemaker Bud Nealy and a veteran Federal agent.

Bud needs no introduction. He’s a former professional musician who has become one of the world’s top knifemakers. He’s best known for his patented MCS (Multi-Concealment Sheath) System Knives, widely regarded as the state-of-the-art in hideout blades by knowledgeable operators around the globe.

The Federal agent who collaborated with Bud in the design currently works Violent Crimes as an inner-city investigator. He has 17 years of service as an agent and is a 14-year SWAT team veteran.

Bud’s duties also include instructing firearms, tactics, and defensive tactics. He has been involved in various martial arts for 30 years, including knife training under the tutelage of an Associate Dog Brother.

He’s the recipient of multiple agency awards. He has also been recognized by outside law enforcement and civic groups for his investigative work, as well as for his participation on the SWAT team, and has been awarded a medal for valor by a national civic organization.

The Shrike was designed in direct response to the violent inner-city environment the agent works in on a daily basis. Bud states that, “While working with gangs and drugs in the inner city, the agent realized the need for a weapon that he could deploy in close quarters. He was interested in a collaboration with me incorporating some of his ideas. This led to several meetings, a prototype, and several tweakings to satisfy each of our requirements. More time was spent on developing a Kydex sheath to accommodate a comfortable horizontal appendix carry and to find just the right material for the belt straps.”

Shrike’s design employs maximum blade length for comfortable horizontal appendix carry. It’s designed to ride close to the body where one’s hand can go unnoticed while it rests on the knife’s handle during conversation.


In the agent’s own words, “When interviewing subjects at conversational distances or trying to obtain information, I needed something that would be faster than a gun to get on target. This knife design allows for the maximum blade length for comfortable horizontal appendix carry. The knife is designed to ride close to the body where one’s hand can go unnoticed while it rests on the handle of the knife during conversation. This is not an all-purpose knife. It’s designed solely for personal protection. The knife can be deployed with either hand and the sheath reversed for left-handers. The design was created around a reverse-grip, edge-out draw that allows for quick deployment and superior retention. It can also be positioned for forward-grip work with generous jimping and an aggressive ramp. There is no pommel, as I wanted to maximize the blade length with a comfortable easy-on, easy-off system. The polyurethane straps can accommodate different belt widths. The knife fits into a simple integrated and layered system.”

The Shrike is available in two sizes: 7¼ inches overall and 7¾ inches overall. The size differential is in the handle. A person with a larger frame (6’2″ or more) could easily conceal the larger version, while the smaller version would most likely be the best choice for a person under 6’2”. I went with the larger version.

Shrike was created around a reverse-grip, edge-out draw, which permits quick deployment and superior retention. It can also be positioned for forward-grip work.


The Shrike is of full-tang design and has a four-inch satin-finished CPM® 154 stainless steel blade, hardened to RC 59-60. It has a distinctive blade profile that is wickedly appealing and highly effective in its intended role.

Designed primarily for stabbing and penetration, the Shrike features a hollow-ground blade with a sharply tapered point and slightly swaged two-thirds false edge. The blade has a slight belly to increase slicing and slashing capabilities. The hollow grind yields an exceptionally sharp edge.

CPM 154 stainless steel is the Crucible Particle Metallurgy (CPM) version of 154 CM. Although the composition of CPM 154 is the same as 154 CM, the proprietary CPM process greatly enhances the attributes of the steel. It produces a fine-grained uniform distribution of the carbides that provides improved wear resistance and better toughness than 154 CM, while retaining a similar heat treatment response. CPM 154 can be honed to a very fine edge.

Bud utilizes black Grip-Guard™ G10 (glass reinforced epoxy laminate) handle slabs on his “workhorse” knives. The handle slabs are secured to the tang using black-finished stainless steel button-head Torx® machine screws and threaded inserts. This permits easy disassembly should cleaning and decontamination be required.

Bud can customize any knife to the customer’s request. If you want exotic woods, mother of pearl, bone or animal horn for your handle, he can accommodate you. If you want a pattern-welded Damascus steel blade, no problem.

The Shrike has excellent ergonomics. Although the handle on the Shrike has been kept smaller than typical on knives this size for optimal concealability, the aggressive deep waffle-pattern texture of the Grip-Guard G10, coupled with finger cutouts and jimping the top and bottom of the handle, provide a very secure grip and precise control. The knife is well balanced and fast into action.

Shrike has generous jimping and an aggressive ramp. In order to maximize the blade length without compromising concealment, there is no pommel.


Each sheath is thermally molded to each individual knife to ensure a secure fit and has a safety welt in the tip. The Shrike sheath/strap system is designed for horizontal belt carry at the midline. The straps fit belts up to 1¾ inches wide and have snaps for easy on/easy off. The sheath comes with two Chicago screws and is compatible with aftermarket Blade-Tech® and Spyderco® mounts.

Bud’s MCS System is available for the Shrike as an option. Now in its second generation, the MCS System has five different attachments (including the optional boot strap), allowing for ten different basic carry positions. It comes with a breast pocket flap, “barbed” belt clip, neck chain, and small-of-the-back carry attachment.

I am very impressed with the Shrike. It’s an outstanding low-profile fixed-blade knife and a worthy companion for when things get up close and personal. A lot of thought and real-world experience went into the design, and it shows.

The Shrike with Grip-Guard G10 handle slabs is priced at $275.00, quite reasonable considering you are getting a custom handmade knife from a top knifemaker. Each knife is stamped with the maker’s mark and individually serial numbered.

Custom orders typically take about 90 days to fill, but are definitely worth the wait.

SOURCE

BUD NEALY KNIFEMAKER
(570) 402-1018
www.budnealyknifemaker.com

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