Mad Dog Knives
FoundedBear Valley Springs, CA
1988; 36 years ago (1988)
HeadquartersPrescott Valley, Arizona
Key people
Kevin McClung
Number of employees

Mad Dog Knives is a custom knifemaking facility headed by Kevin McClung, a former Senior Materials Scientist at the American Rocket Company, Mad Dog Knives is based in Prescott, Arizona.[1][2] Mad Dog Knives made the fixed-blade knife known as the ATAK, used by Naval Special Warfare Groups 1 and 2 after the "SEAL Trials" of 1992.[3] Mad Dog Knives are typically made from selectively tempered, hand ground O1 Tool Steel with a hardchrome plating to protect the blade.[1]

Materials and design

Mad Dog Knives makes tactical fixed-blade knives, originally using Starrett 496-O1 high carbon tool steel and later switching to Precision Marshall Presco American Made 01, which is given a proprietary heat treatment. This process includes hardening, stress relieving, and selectively tempering the blade.[1] As a result, the blades have an edge hardness of 62-63 on the Rockwell C scale whereas the tip, spine, and tang have a Rockwell hardness of 50-54.[1] This heat treatment was devised to develop phenomenal edge retention while preventing tip breakage and maintaining a degree of flexibility on the softer spine to improve the toughness of the knife. The blades are coated with a layer of hard chrome as a method of abrasion and corrosion resistance.[1]

Mad Dog Knives utilizes a proprietary glass/epoxy composite material for the handle material of its knives.[1] This material can withstand long term heat in excess of 149 degrees Celsius (300 degrees Fahrenheit), a tractive force of 79,000 psi, current of 1,000 volts per mil (0.001") of thickness and is impervious to salt water, diesel oil, benzine and other caustic/corrosive fluids.[1][4] Mad Dog Knives utilizes Kydex 100 ® as a sheath material. [1][5]

Mad Dog Knives has made ceramic MIRAGE X blades and blades from other non-metallic materials for EOD and other military usage.[6] These knives are not available for sale to the general public.[6]

Military models

Mad Dog Knives won the 1992 "SEAL Trials" to supply Naval Special Warfare Groups 1 and 2 with a fixed blade knife.[1][7] This knife is the ATAK (Advanced Tactical Assault Knife) and Mad Dog Knives received a U.S. Navy Sole Source Justification for its manufacture. The ATAK is the only knife in US Military history justified as such.[1][3]

In the media

Mad Dog Knives have been described as weapons in Richard Marcinko's Rogue Warrior novels and were props in Steven Seagal's movie Under Siege 2: Dark Territory.[8][9] One of the knives used in the movie was later sold at a Safari Club International fund raiser for $10,000.[10]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Hartink, A.E. (September 30, 2005). Complete Encyclopedia of Knives. Lisse, The Netherlands: Chartwell Books. pp. 448. ISBN 978-1-85409-168-0.
  2. ^ Rowe, Janice (1991)Mad Dog Knives. Fighting Knives Magazine, Spring 1991, pp. 38-41
  3. ^ a b Dockery, Kevin (2004). Weapons of the Navy SEALs. New York: Berkley. ISBN 0-425-19834-0.
  4. ^ McClung, Kevin (1991)Get A Grip. Fighting Knives Magazine, Summer 1991, pp. 18-19, 93-94
  5. ^ Huntington, Roy (2000).Kevin McClung is a Mad Dog, American Handgunner Magazine, Volume 10, Issue 5
  6. ^ a b Karwan, Chuck(1999)Mirage X Ceramic Blades. Tactical Knives Magazine, May 1999, pp. 66-71
  7. ^ Dick, Stephen (1995), "Blades of the Combat Swimmers", Tactical Knives, vol. 1, no. 2, p. 68-73
  8. ^ Marcinko, Richard (with John Weisman)(1995) Rogue Warrior: Green Team, ISBN 0-671-79959-2
  9. ^ Zeman, Ned.(2002) Seagal Under Siege. Vanity Fair, October 2002: p. 236-250.
  10. ^ Elite Military Knives