Back in 2015, there was a huge buzz around Daniel Winkler right after he was featured in a New York Times article. The piece revealed details about the famous SEAL Team 6, the one who took Osama Bin Laden down, and how the boys carry primeval Tomahawks with them during night raids.
For a world that´s used to seeing the military parade around with their big guns, to learn that Native-American-inspired Tomahawks are the weapon of choice of one of the most elite teams in the world might sound off. The truth is that former members of the unit confirm the use of these tactical hatches for breaching, opening doors, and hand-to-hand combat.
Daniel Winkler, the creator of these incredibly versatile tools, served as a consultant in the movie Zero Dark Thirty where soldiers carry both Tomahawks and custom knives made by the bladesmith. But that wasn’t Winkler´s first time behind the scenes.
Daniel Winkler started making knives back in the 70s. His unique designs incorporated modern techniques with traditional themes. He had a passion for Native American culture and 18th-century history. His first blade was an effort to complete his 18th-century woodsman outfit, and it soon garnered the attention of the reenactment community. He quickly became an authority, making the best custom knives for historical reenactments and movies. Word got to movie producers, and he was commissioned to create blades and axes for the movie The Last Of The Mohicans.
Winkler designs purely utilitarian tools with function in mind, so his products are among the best custom tools for many fields outside movies.
In 2006, Winkler received a huge order from the United States military. They wanted a custom utility knife designed and forged by the now legendary bladesmith. The result is the Winkler Belt Knife, an amazingly lightweight and balanced blade that became part of the Tier 1 Special Operations Force Team´s gear that year.
This CPM3V knife weighed 8.9 ounces, which is remarkably light considering the G10 handle. 3V provided added toughness and supported an extremely sharp edge. However, Winkler switched the material for 80CRV2 as it didn’t give as much trouble when sharpening, according to him.
The shape of the Winkler Belt Knife combines traditional designs and styles with the pragmatic mindset of special forces. So it is a knife that will feel at home both in the hands of a Navy SEAL and a bearded bushcrafter.
This model comes with a thick and meaty pouch style Kydex sheath, with a top grain leather exterior, and soft suede inside. The sheath offers incredibly secure retention, with enough grip to hold your knife in place while trekking or running. It also provides a quiet draw and smooth re-sheathing. An absolute must-have.
The knife was a hit among enthusiasts, and the North Carolina knife maker became so overwhelmed with work he was forced to create a new line of mass-produced blades called Winkler Knives II. However, Winkler still follows all the stages of production closely, and he personally addresses any issues customers have. His commitment to customer service has become legendary, as he even participates in open forums answering questions about his products.
In short, Daniel Winkler produces many of the best custom knives out there. His blades are meant to be used by experienced bushcrafters but can be found in many of the most demanding fields, even the military. If you want to know more about this legendary maker, or would like to get yourself the best custom knives for your style, visit The Knife Connection. They have an incredible custom knife collection at amazing prices. Their staff also offers top-notch customer service and are more than happy to show you around. I highly recommend the Knife Connection to anyone looking for the best custom knives.