The TOPS CUMA Tak-Ri 2 (available @ Amazon) is not your average tactical knife. This is a very unique curved blade based on the iconic Nepalese knife that can be used both as a multi-purpose survival tool and for defensive purposes. It is the Nepalese’s traditional blade, a popular weapon of choice that is carried around by most of the Nepalese serving the various armies around the world. TOPS has put their own twist on the classic Kukri blade shape with the CUMA Tak-Ri 2 and its more Western oriented design.
When you speak of a tactical knife, it usually means a blade size and shape with practical functionality in hand-to-hand combat for both military and law enforcement. All this was definitely kept in Sijo Waysun Johnny Tsai’s mind while designing the CUMA Tak-Ri knife. Sijo Waysun Johnny Tsai is also the world famous CQC expert who created the CUMA Tactical Street Defense program in 2000.
With over 31 years of martial arts training and 25 years’ experience as an instructor, he wanted to create a fully functional knife that could be used not only for CQT combat, but also for self-defense and use as an all-round TOOL for the outdoorsman, survivalist, and sportsman. With the help of a few others’ expert advice, he assured TOP performance to this one-of-a-kind knife.
Build Quality and Construction Materials
As the knife had to be built strong and durable, Tsai approached TOPS KNIVES for help with its construction. What they have produced is a knife of extraordinary craftsmanship and design, with a top notch build quality to match.
Blade Steel and Coating
The knife’s entire frame and blade is built out of 1095 high carbon steel, like most of the TOPS knives, and has a black traction coating. The coating makes the main body of the blade more rust resistant (1095 isn’t a stainless steel so this is needed feature), requires less maintenance than a naked blade and also reduces glare. It also has a full tang construction (extended) for higher strength and reliability that also functions as a pommel/glass breaker.
CUMA is the acronym for Combined Universal Martial Applications and rightfully describes the versatility of the blade. The overall length of this tactical kukri is only 13.5 inches, including its 7 inch main blade (on the smaller side for a kukri knife), while the second cutting edge on the spine is roughly 4 inches across. The entire knife (without sheath, which is 6.4 ounces) weighs in at 15.6 ounces and the complete package is 22 ounces. The 1095 high carbon steel blade has a RC hardness between 56 and 58.
Sijo designed his knife to have a large curved primary bottom edge and a partial sharpened edge on the back spine for use in reverse swings, jabbing, scraping, and having a secondary blade when the primary edge begins to dull in the field. The blade itself is 3/16 inches in thickness and having a double edge produces a very fast blade for combat. The belly of the blade is really deep. This blade shape is especially suited for chopping firewood, battoning, clearing brush and limbs, or even building shelter in a survival situation. The Tak-Ri 2 also has “Shark Teeth Serrations” or U shaped serrations at the base of the blade which prove useful for blocking, tearing and ripping through rope, leather, cord and anything else where the “sawing” action of a serrated blade is preferable.
Handle and Micarta Scales
The knife comes with a woodsman style, black linen micarta handle (full scales), which is an upgraded version over the original Tac-Ri Kukri Knife. As the handle scales cover a majority of the steel, The updated Tak-Ri 2 offers a more comfortable feel in the hand and improved grip. The handle scales are attached with allen screws so they can be easily removed for cleaning and maintenance. Each side also has a spindle socket which can be used to start a fire with friction using the bow drill method.
Sheath and Storage Compartments
The package includes a black ballistic nylon belt sheath that stores and protects the CUMA Tak-Ri 2. This nylon sheath contains a polymer blade concealer, a small utility pocket with quick snap closing mechanism, paracord lanyard and the rear of the sheath is MOLLE (Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment) compatible. The knife is held securely into place by two belts with velcro fasteners. Many eyelets are also built into the sheath so it can be strapped down to your leg to prevent the knife from flopping around during quick movements or running.
The unique style and feel of the knife puts the CUMA Tak-Ri 2 blade in a category of its own. Though the knife resembles a Gurkha Kukri, the CUMA Tak-Ri 2 is unique, as it features a partially serrated blade and black traction coating with a sharpened edge on the spine of the blade for a dual edge. This gives it an obvious advantage as a tactical combat knife and improves thrusts/puncture performance.
The CUMA Tak-Ri 2 Tactical Kukri knife offers users two types of grip options; a long grip for full extended machete swings and the choked grip that proves useful while making precision cuts and carving during finer cutting tasks. Last, but not least, the knife has what is essentially a decent sized pry bar on the end of the handle that proves useful for scraping and jobs requiring more leverage than can be applied with just your bare hands. A large lanyard hole is also located at the butt of the knife for better security during hard use and easy access.
Primary Use of the CUMA Tak-Ri 2
The main intention TOPS Knives had in mind when creating the CUMA Tak-Ri was to develop a blade that could be used as a survival knife, a knife for self-defense and also tactically in combat situations for the Military. It proves helpful not only for defensive purposes, but also for the many tasks and dangers faced by the average outdoor sportsman, hunter, fisherman, or survivalist. If you’re in need of a good blade for self-defense, camping, or other wilderness endeavors the CUMA Tak-Ri 2 would be the perfect tool (or weapon) to have by your side.
Final Verdict On the TOPS CUMA Tak-Ri 2
The TOPS CUMA Tak-Ri 2 is a very interesting tactical knife. In fact, there is no other knife in the extensive TOPS Knives catalog quite like it. It would be a interesting piece of gear well suited for any survivalist, Military personnel, and those looking for reliable combat blades.
The only negative aspect of the knife I can pinpoint is that while it’s common to hold most Gurkha Kukris parallel and under the user’s forearm with its blade facing out, it is dangerous doing this with the CUMA Tak-Ri 2 because of its sharpened top edge along the spine. This in turn may limit the operational use of the knife. For example, extra care must be taken when batoning to avoid the sharpened portion of the back spine which leaves you with a very small contact area.
Other than this, the CUMA Tak-Ri 2 is a must have knife for combat, self-defense, law enforcement, and wilderness survival situations. Definitely a knife I would carry in my Bug Out Bag as it can be used for multiple tasks that would normally require an additional two or three larger tools (e.g. a hatchet, spindle handhold, machete) along with your survival knife.