News & Articles

8 January 2011

Tactical Knives Magazine

Spetsnaz Recon Steel

Written by Leroy Thompson.


A look at the Russian Special Forces’ Kizlyar DV-2 combat blade

designed for hard use behind enemy lines.


 The Kizlyar DV-2 along with its sheath; camo is one of many used by Russian Spetsnaz troops.

 A couple of years ago in this column I wrote about the Kizlyar Voron-3, which is the most widely used close combat knife by the Spetsnaz. Despite wide publicity, the“Spetsnaz Ballistic Knife,” though available and used for a while, was never really that popular. There was also a knife that incorporated a small pistol-calibermechanism to fire at close range. Once again, this was never really widely usedas a combat knife.Other than the Voron-3, my Spetsnaz contacts mentioned two other knives that arewidely used. One is a Kizlyar heavy-duty folder, which I would equate to some extent with Al Mar’s original SERE knife. At least one of the ex-Spetsnaz I workedwith on close protection training in Russia still carried his and later sent me one as a gift. The other Spetsnaz knife was described to me as a big, heavy survival/fighting knife “like an American Bowie knife.” By the way, I should point out that there is at least one, and probably more, very good knife magazines in Russia and a lot of Russians are very cognizant of quality blades. I could never quite get clear from my contacts which Spetsnaz units used the larger knife. One told me it was for the units that operated in forested areas where it could be used for survival, while another told me that certain Spetsnaz units had chosen it as a distinctive blade. Another one told me that in some units it was chosen instead of the Voron-3. I’m not sure of the answer, but since I am a big fanof Kizlyar knives, I had a Russian friend pick one up for me. However, the DV-2 (as the big knife is designated) he sent is the commercial version, which is similar to the Spetsnaz version but has a wooden handle instead of the compressed leather disks used on the issue knife.


15 November 2010

Russian Special Forces Fighter

Written by Leroy Thompson

Kizlyar’s Spetsnaz knife—the first choice of this elite unit of close combat specialists.


The Russian spetsnaz (special forces) are renowned for their close combat training. They learn a very aggressive form of Sistema designed to quickly eliminate an enemy on the battlefield and also learn to fight with clubs and edged weapons. The two edged weapons many readers will associate with the spetsnaz are the ballistic knife, which can fire the blade to a distance via a very strong spring, and the sharpened entrenching tool with which the spetsnaz practice extensively. Most spetsnaz actually carry multiple edged weapons. These may include, in addition to the entrenching tool, an AK74 bayonet, a fixed-blade fighting knife, and a tough combat/utility folder. The spetsnaz also practice throwing their knives and some may carry specialized throwing knives, though most practice with their fighting knives. There have also been some special hideout knives designed for spetsnaz use, though one of my Russian contacts told me that a lot of these were actually designed for KGB Osnaz personnel who were assigned to “wet work.” In any case, the spetsnaz have a strong blade culture.

Spetsnaz Preferred
The ex-spetsnaz I worked with in Russia had some very interesting takes on weapons and their usage. There were two Russian weapons, however, that my contacts all rated very highly. They liked their AKSUs (SMG version of the AK74) and they liked their Kizlyar knives. It was never quite clear to me from my conversations whether they were issued the Kizlyar blades or bought them personally. It may have varied by what unit they were in as some spetsnaz units are considered more elite than others. Most spetsnaz units have conscripts for the enlisted and lower NCO ranks. After completing a very tough training regimen that emphasizes physical fitness and obedience, they are allowed to test for the red beret, which designates them as full-fledged spetsnaz. The final element of this testing is hand-to-hand combat against multiple opponents with no holding back. It is possible that only bereted members of spetsnaz units have the better fighting knives. It’s all speculation on my part.

I do know from my contacts that spetsnaz blade training stresses ending the fight as quickly as possible. As with all good knife-fighting training, spetsnaz hand-to-hand combatives stresses that the blade should be kept moving with movements smoothly blending into other movements. The fighter is in motion as well, using lunges, feints, and other techniques while looking for an opening. However, he is trained in economy of movement so that he does not open himself to attack when off balance and remains ready to strike if an opening presents itself. Because the spetsnaz are trained to operate in small groups behind enemy lines, unarmed combat and blade combat stress fighting against multiple opponents, hence that element of winning the red beret. 

Kizlyar Voron-3
One of the knives that has been used quite a bit by spetsnaz and VDV (airborne) is the Kizlyar Voron-3 (Raven-3). I believe I have also seen this knife in use with Ukrainian airborne and spetsnaz as well. Kizlyar knives take their name from Kizlyar, Dagestan, where they are made. The company’s knives are renowned for taking and holding an edge and, like most Russian weapons, are designed to be tough enough for very hard usage. 

The Voron-3 is about 11.3-inches overall and has a 6.5-inch blade, which almost comes to a spear point. The tang is full length and protrudes from the hard rubber handle. This protrusion incorporates a lanyard hole and can also serve as a striker for a back-handed blow. The blade is a little under .2 inches thick and is designed for toughness. I understand that 55-58 HRC stainless steel is used in Kizlyar military knives. If so, that is interesting, since they are known to keep a good edge. The handle is a little tacky to the touch, which allows a sure grip. It also has slight finger grooves and a beaked pommel, which should help keep it from slipping in the hand when delivering hard thrusts. There are dished cutouts on either side of the handle where it meets the blade, which would appear to be thumb rests. There are also ridges atop the handle to act as a thumb rest. Balance of the Voron-3 is very good and the knife is very lively in the hand, as one would expect for a fighting knife designed for the spetsnaz style of close combat. 

The sheath is of polymer with a nylon leg strap and belt loop. The polymer sheath offers no spring retention, so the nylon snap retention strap is very important. I am quite impressed with the functional design and toughness of the knife but am very unimpressed with the sheath, especially for a special ops knife that may be carried on airborne or air mobile ops, waterborne ops, rappelling, etc. 

Like many in the USA, I have been fascinated by the spetsnaz since the Cold War and, therefore, find their weapons of great interest as well. Few weapons are as personal as a soldier’s fighting knife, so the Voron-3 is a good collectible for those interested in special ops knives.


28 September  2010

Selecting the right steel!

These days, the old adage of there is really only 2 types of steel is no longer valid. Modern technology and advances in metallurgy and materials have allowed us to create alloys and compositions to suit a monumental range of applications. From space-craft to simple springs. Just like the huge range of knife and cutlery designs available today, the range of steel types and grind profiles is also quite more...

28 September  2010

Selecting the right cutlery

These days, the old adage of there is really only 2 types of steel is no longer valid. Modern technology and advances in metallurgy and materials have allowed us to create alloys and compositions to suit a monumental range of applications. From space-craft to simple springs. Just like the huge range of knife and cutlery designs available today, the range of steel types and grind profiles is also quite more...

21 August  2010

How to sharpen a knife - "Updated Article"

One of the most common questions that we receive in Kizlyar is: "What is the best way to sharpen my knife?" and to be quiet frank there is no easy answer when it comes to knife sharpening as there are a multitude of factors that play a role in how quick you can sharpen your knife.

Firstly, buying a properly heat treated knife made from decent quality steel does make life a lot easier. Please do not be put off the words "Stainless Steel". There is a huge miss-conception in the market these days about stainless steel and we often speak to people who think a stainless steel is one particular "rather poor" type of steel. This is a totally wrong and miss-informed belief. The reality is that any steel that is rust resistant, hence contains elements like Chromium and Vanadium, is classed as "Stainless Steel". There are many types of stainless steels, e.g. 440C, 440B, AUS8, AUS6,D2,  full article here..... 

8 December 2010

INTRODUCING! - The Father of all Knives! Coming Soon

When talking about , knives made famous by Hollywood there are only a few that really stand out above all. And you could bet your last dollar, that the top two that almost everyone knows are,… The first would be the robust survival /tactical knife used by the Sylvester Stallone character, “John Rambo” in the Rambo movies. And the one that is even better know Down Under, was made famous by the well known one-liner, “ …that’s not a knife…this is a Knife”.  It is of course the massive Bush-knife used in the 1986 blockbuster hit, which show cased the wild side of Australia to the rest of the world. 

Well here is the great news, although we do not sell the Rambo knife, we did just recently took on the distributorship of the Down Under Knives in Australia. Down Under Knives are the manufacturers of the true Croc Bowie knife, which goes by the name of  " The Outback".  

Massive bowie knife, croc dundee knife, crocodile knife  

At first glance this 16.5 inch monster might seem like another gimmick that you would hang on the wall. But let me tell you…It is far from it. This knife is actually an ultimate bush knife, made to a very high quality and cleverly designed to take on almost any task thrown its way. As described by the manufacturer, “…The Outback™ features a forged, dual heat treated 440C stainless blade honed to a razor sharp edge. The spine retains some spring to it while the edge has been made hard enough to withstand hundreds or thousands of cuts with no perceptible dulling. This is not a wall hanger - we set out to create the most devastatingly effective Bowie knife ever produced, and designed every detail like we mean it. Hack, slash, chop, cut, crush... This is one blade that will never let you down. We believe in putting our money where our mouth is, so we back this claim with a full five-year warranty against defects in materials and workmanship. The handle is skillfully crafted out of genuine ebony, leather and brass with an ultra-strong tang that will not twist or break in heavy use. The solid, bead blasted brass hand-guard and pommel complete the distinctive look. The Outback™ is truly both a great example of the knifemaker's art as well as the most rugged, dependable tool an outdoorsman could wish for.” 

Until now, we at Kizlyar believed that we had the mother of all knives, the famous DV-2. But if you are the type of man that believes bigger is better, then I am proud to say that now we can offer you the Father of all knives! THE OUTBACK!

 31 August 2007

Bare-chested Putin goes fishing and carries Kizlyar’s knife on his belt.

In August Russian President Vladimir Putin takes Monaco’s Prince Albert II on a fishing trip to Siberia, where he strips to the waist. Photographs from the trip made headlines around the world showing the Russian President answering the call of the wild.

Hanging on his belt Mr. Putin has a knife created by Kizlyar’s Saint-Petersburg branch specializing in high-end quality knives, which has recently been given a new name, the Nord Crown.

Putin has a very good taste for knives. Kizlyar’s knives have received a large number of awards, including Best Art Knife at the German IWA show.
However, the most important award for us is this. It is a great pleasure to see that our knives reached that level when the highest man in the country, President Putin himself, gives our knives to his quests in Kremlin as well as takes pleasure using them himself.

Putin is carrying knife Kuniza. The blade is of beautiful Damascus steel and the handle is of Karelian birch. The knife is produced by highly experienced masters and can be decorated with silver, gold, different stones and other materials.

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Please visit the web-site of Kizlyar’s Saint-Petersburg branch the Nord-Crown at
Here are some more pictures of Mr. Putin and Kizlyar’s Kuniza knife:

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