The "Comando Subacquei ed Incursori - COMSUBIN" (Scuba Divers and Raiders Command) of the Italian Navy needs no introduction. It is among the best special forces groups on the planet, and the GOI - "Gruppo Operativo Incursori", the Raiders Operations unit- is legendary, as much as the daring feats it has performed since the First World War to date, among which stands out the Raid of Alexandria in 1941.
At the base of this success is a "forward thinking" philosophy and the extraordinary ingenuity and inventiveness of the Incursori, applied to everything and anything concerning the Unit's operation: gear, weapons, strategies, training. Having identified a need, the Unit - with the time to time help of trusted experts in every field - will find the solution, either modify, improve and sometimes create completely new equipment and techniques from scratch.
S.E.R.E. 2 GOI knife: details and features
Such is the case of the SERE knife - acronym for Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape, a program born in the United States at the end of WW2 and based on the "Evasion and Escape" military studies of the British MI9 Service, starting as early as 1939. Designed by expert operatives of the GOI in collaboration with Italian knifemaker Extrema Ratio, the S.E.R.E.1 was adopted a few years ago.
Today, we received a sample of the new and improved, second version of the S.E.R.E., based on the operational experience of the Unit. The S.E.R.E 2 GOI.
Built using Bohler N690 stainless steel, hardened to 58 Rockwell and finished with a MIL-C-13924 spec, burnished black oxide coating, the S.E.R.E. 2 GOI by Extrema Ratio is a fixed-blade knife in a "Push Dagger" configuration.
Compared to a normal fixed-blade combat knife, such as the "Col Moschin" or the "Fulcrum" from the same manufacturer, the size of the S.E.R.E. 2 GOI is rather compact, but if we compare it to a typical push dagger - normally featuring a very short blade and designed for maximum concealability - then this unconventional combat blade suddenly appears to be on the large side.
The S.E.R.E. 2 GOI is also characterized by a peculiar handle grip in Forprene that is not a symmetrical and straight "T": the angle, as well as the shape, are similar to a pistol grip. Furthermore, the handle is shaped in such a way that the relatively thin tang of the blade passes between the index and the middle fingers of the hand, to take maximum advantage of the natural force vector formed during the the rotation of the shoulder, the arm and the fist swinging a punch.
Matter of fact, in hand to hand combat, boxing and any martial art, the part of the fist that connects during a strike to an opponent are the first two knuckles. Furthermore, the shape of the blade and the handle - which can also be used in a reverse grip - allow the S.E.R.E. 2 GOI to be used indifferently as a thrusting or slashing weapon, and the GOI operators exploits this feature to combine hand to hand and knife combat training in a single activity.
However, fighting is only the main purpose of the S.E.R.E. 2 GOI, which is also called upon to carry out survival, emergency and Rescue tasks, thanks to specific features we will now see in detail.
The compact and very rugged blade of the S.E.R.E. 2 GOI , with a diamond section and a triangular tip shape, is just 148mm long and 6.3mm thick; the upper portion of the blade is ground sharpened with a 50mm long serration, very useful for cutting ropes and fibers in general, as well as producing wood curls to be used as fire bait.
The lower portion of the blade, from the bolster to the tip, is full-flat bevel ground and hand sharpened. In this civilian legal version, the portion of the blade that goes from the tip to the serrated edge is not sharpened, so to avoid being classified as a dagger.
The S.E.R.E. 2 GOI features a line and belt cutter with replaceable blades at the lower heel of the main blade.
The blade features a central cut where a fuller would be, shaped in a way so it can be used as a tool to tighten or loosen the threaded pin of boat shackles, while at the base of the pistol-grip handle, an extension of the tang is shaped to act as a slotted screwdriver and a glass breaker. At the opposite end, we find a 5mm deep and 9mm wide square notch milled in the same steel of the tang: it is an adjustment key for an "unidentified instrument" used by the Comsubin operators.
Video: Extrema Ratio S.E.R.E. 2 GOI knife
The S.E.R.E. 2 GOI knife is supplied with a Kydex sheath (also featuring a flat screwdriver) which captures the blade with an elastic clip; two additional paddle type safety locka are also supplied and can be mounted for right or left hand carry. The sheath can be belt mounted in a variety of ways, plus the holes around the edge of the sheath can be used with Paracord to mount it on a MOLLE system, for example on a plate carrier.
We've had a very positive impression handling the knife. The amount of grip the stippling on the Forprene handle is incredible. After a short period of adaptation to get used to the peculiar shape and philosophy of the S.E.R.E. 2 GOI it can be mastered well. Of course, some basic to mid level experience in a martial art or boxing is needed to fully appreciate its features, but the knife is really intuitive.
Actually, the ancient and very effective fencing techniques conceived for the use of the Indian Katar could be easily adapted to the S.E.R.E. 2 GOI. The weight of the bare knife is about 306 grams, even if it seem more in the hand due to the compactness of the knife, which is altogether only 217mm long. As a cutting and utility blade it can be uncomfortable to use in daily tasks and may be less effective compared to more traditional knives built for those same tasks, but it performs its duty; it was designed to combine the specs of a combat weapon with the typical functions of a Rescue and survival knife.
In the end, the S.E.R.E. 2 GOI was designed to fulfill a specific niche in a highly vertical and professional environment. The civilian legal version will be coveted and appreciated by collectors and enthusiasts, and in all likelihood it may also be used by individual operators of other international SF units.
One last note on the price. The S.E.R.E. 2 GOI by Extrema Ratio is sold to the public at a MSRP of 382.01 euros, certainly not cheap at all, but the price is in line with the quality and attention to detail that distinguishes all the blades made in by Extrema Ratio in Prato, Italy.