As my blades and other products
continue to gain a strong following (thank you!) and I get to know more
of you through the classes I teach, I’d like to share with you my
background so you can better understand how my blade designs and
philosopophy came to be.
I am Tracker Dan, I
have been a wilderness survival and tracking instructor since 1995 and a
Navy SEAL since 2002, I am currently serving in the active reserves on
SEAL Team 18. When at home, I teach survival and tracking, marksmanship
and tactics, and hand-to-hand combat and provide personal protection
for celebrities, business men and politicians (those who are worth their
salt). One of my major activities is designing and making sheaths,
holsters and edged weapons/tools.
When I was
working on farms and as a carpenter in the 1980's, teaching
survival/tracking in the 1990's and operating as a SEAL in the 2000's,
the importance of sharp edged tools was a necessity, in fact I knew how
to make a knife “shaving sharp” by the early age of 14. This turned out
to save my ass many times when being inspected by BUD/S instructors!
This skill led me to sharpening 80% percent of my classmates knives
which helped keep us from getting “beat” as a class.
on that 30 year’s of experience, I learned that a knife that is thin,
light and convenient to carry will be with you when you need it, as with
most gear. The Cold Steel Mini Culloden has always been a favorite
because it’s thin, short and light, can fit in a front pocket, on the
hip, forearm, in a sock or as a neck knife, etc.. However, the blade has
drawbacks: the sheath is sub-optimal, the tip is too weak and if it
flips around in your pocket or under your shirt (as a neck knife) there
is no quick safe way to know which way the edge is facing, especially in
the dark and/or under duress. I knew I could design something better.
started sketching a seven inch blade (about the longest for front
pocket carry) that had a stronger tip, finger grooves (for edge
orientation and retention) and a butterfly pommel for gripping and
ripping type deployment (similar to the Culloden). Once I was happy with
my drawing, I made a wooden shape to see how it felt in the hand and at
the same time ordered steel and a professional grinder so I wouldn't be
limited by the basic Sears model I’d been using. This design would come
to be known as the Bloodshark, all this happened in June 2009 about a
year after my second deployment as a SEAL Operator.
until then, my specialty was modifying and creating holstering systems
for edged tools/weapons and sidearms using the skills I’d learned from
making leather, rawhide and wooden sheaths since the age of 6. I’d
gained additional skills when I was an instructor at Tom Brown’s
Survival and Tracking School during the 90's when, over the camp fire, I
started to modify kydex knife sheaths for a friend, also in the SEAL
Teams, who was there taking a Tom Brown class. As with what ended up
happening in BUD/S, I sharpened and modified tracker school students’
blades when they showed up with "crow bars" instead of knives!
I made it to the SEAL Teams, I continued modifying carry systems to
streamline them so they worked for my needs. This included sheaths,
blades, holsters, plate carriers etc., many SEALs do this but I was one
of the perfectionists who would stay up all night before a mission
(whether training or real world) to make sure everything was just right.
Once I’d tested it out in the real world, I’d make any additional
tweaks that were necessary so it would perform optimally next time out.
This is the attention to detail I pride myself on, and believe I pass on
to others through my designs.
A major lesson I
soon learned on the Teams was if you can’t quickly and safely put away
your blade or sidearm you might have to ditch it so you can quickly get
your primary back online. If you can’t do this in the dark, on NOD's,
under duress, then lives can be lost. This lifesaving principle, from my
real-world experiences, is what spawned my kydex sheath and holster
designs that I use for all of my products, including my Bloodshark.
started out on my mission of producing the most optimal low-viz sheaths
available today by modifying Cold Steel Culloden sheaths. I’d
painstakingly stich them with wire (which at the time was narrower than
any rivet I could find) close to the blade profile then remove all the
excess kydex and the huge rivets. I went through that time consuming
process because whether you are concealing the sheath or wearing it on
battle gear you don't have space for the excess width, thickness and
weight. Additionally I smoothed out the shoulders by the guard so the
tip can glide in without catching, this enables you to re-sheath without
looking which I found was necessary in the dark or when I needed
Anyway, I could go on
and on, I hope this gives you a view into how and when my designs came
about. And for anyone who wishes to own my blades, I thank you for your business.
Hopefully my tools and weapons will be used to save or defend lives and remove the cancers of our society.