If nothing else, this machete has an impressive name: the Schrade SCHKM1 Large Full Tang Fixed Blade Kukri Machete. With a name like that, it better be good. And it is, mostly.
Even though the SCHKM1 doesn’t make my list of favorite machetes, it’s far better than many of its similarly-priced competitors.
If you’re already tired of all these boring words and just want to buy one, click here to get it on Amazon now. Otherwise, keep reading for the full review.
The best word to describe the SCHKM1’s 13.3″ blade is “beefy.” It’s thick, heavy, and feels more murder-y than nearly all of the other machetes I’ve reviewed so far. The black powder coating makes it look even more sinister while helping to prevent corrosion.
This machete’s overall design is fairly minimal, which I like. The only branding on the blade is a subtle “Schrade” logo stamped on one side and “SCHKM1” on the other.
There are seven elliptical holes above the belly of the blade. I don’t know if they were added for balance, material cost reduction, or aesthetics, but they look sort of cool so I’m not going to worry about it.
The blade on my Schrade was dangerously sharp and ready to use right out of the box. In fact, I cut myself twice within the first few minutes of playing around with it, but that’s probably because I had gotten into the whiskey cabinet earlier and shouldn’t have been playing with sharp objects.
Just like Schrade’s marketing video states, the SCHKM1 really is “paper-cutting sharp” straight from the factory.
In my brief field test, it was a great chopper but not as good of a slasher. I would have played around with it longer but the handle started driving me nuts (see below).
The blade is made using 3CR13 steel, a common Chinese stainless steel formulation similar to the American-made 420J2. This steel is known for its corrosion resistance and hardness.
The rubber handle of the SCHKM1 is molded directly onto the full tang blade and feels incredibly solid. The seal is 100% airtight with no no gaps or openings. I have no doubt that the handle will stay securely on the blade for the lifetime of the machete.
The rubber has a nice texture and a great grippy feel. I would love to see a similar material used on other machetes.
As much as I like the rubber Schrade used for the handle, I’m not crazy about the profile. As you can see in the photos, it’s strangely bulbous in the middle and very narrow towards the bottom.
This narrow section was difficult for me to grip securely, so the machete felt like it always wanted to pivot forward. In addition to being uncomfortable, this resulted in unnecessary rubbing and chafing, and I can imagine getting some pretty brutal blisters after a long hack sesh.
Of course, many Amazon reviewers loved the handle, so it’s possible I just have weird hands.
The SCHKM1’s sheath has a lot happening. There’s the assortment of straps and clips designed to offer the user a variety of carry options. There’s a cute little pouch that holds the sharpening stone and the flint and steel.
While the overall construction of the sheath didn’t scream “high quality,’ I wasn’t able to rip it apart with my bare hands. This is a dramatic improvement over number of other machetes I’ve reviewed.
I was looking forward to wearing this thing on my thigh like a 90’s comic book character, so I was saddened to discover that the leg straps didn’t fit very well. I could just barely get them around my legs, which are medium girth at best. Users with beefier legs than me could never get these straps around their legs.
The long strap is designed to allow the Schrade to be worn across the chest or back. I tried this, and while it made me a look a few percentage points cooler it felt loose and floppy around my body.
The sheath’s lower interior has a smooth plastic-like lining, but the upper part is nylon. This might not normally be an issue, but the SCHKM1’s ultra-pointy blade tip likes to stick into this part when sheathing the blade.
The SCHKM1’s sheath has a small removable pouch that holds the included sharpening stone and flint and steel.
The sharpening stone isn’t anything special, but it works. Since the SCHKM1 is already stupidly sharp out of the box, I tested the stone on another machete and it performed reasonably well. Since I always have my Smith’s Axe and Machete Sharpener at the ready I probably won’t use the Schrade sharpening stone too often, but it’s a nice bonus.
The flint and steel was the more intriguing accessory. It works perfectly and I had a great time throwing sparks around my apartment when I first got this machete. On a more practical level, I used it to start an actual fire last time I went camping and it worked like a charm. Starting a fire with a flint and steel is loads more fun than using a lighter, and it has the added beneift of making you look like a grizzled survivalist to your soft-handed friends.
The SCHKM1 is currently going for about $34 on Amazon, which is considerably more than the $26 I paid for it a few months ago. For $26 it wasn’t a bad “why the hell not” kind of purchase, but the current price is just high enough you may want to consider some alternatives.
I’ll take this opportunity to point out that my current favorite machete of all time (the Condor Eco Survivor) is around $37. If you can scrape together the extra few bucks, the Eco Survivor is a superior product and a better all around purchase.
Of course, if you’re a collector or just think the SCHKM1 looks cooler, I certainly wouldn’t tell you not to get it. Even though the sheath is mediocre and the handle felt a little weird in my hands, my overall opinion is that it’s a fun, brutal machete that will make you happy when you hit things with it.
If you’d like to purchase this machete, please consider doing so by clicking this Amazon link. It won’t cost you anything and it’ll help me replenish my whiskey cabinet.