I’m not a prepper. I just like to be prepared. I want to know I can rely on myself to get through anything that comes my way.
And the subject of being prepared for anything — with a hint of downfall of society — comes up more often when I think about journeying into the woods for a long stretch.
This mindset amplifies when I come across a knife like the Sniper Bladeworks MAMU. This blade marries the tenets of tactical with those of bushcraft. The result is a survival tool that checks a lot of boxes of a single knife I would want by my side when the fit hits the shan.
In past reviews, I’ve pondered how folks (myself included) would react if they could only grab a few things off the shelf in an emergency. For me, the Sniper Bladeworks MAMU stands as the one knife I want waiting for me on that shelf, if not already attached to my belt.
In short: The Sniper Bladeworks MAMU is a reliable knife. In fact, I’d say it’s one of the most reliable fixed-blade knives I’ve had the pleasure to test and use. It’s tough, utilitarian, and can manage the abuse virtually anyone can throw at it — including bushcrafters, landscapers, tactical users, and EDC aficionados.
Sniper Bladeworks MAMU Fixed-Blade Knife
- OAL 11.68”
- Blade length 5.46”
- Blade steel 420HC
- Blade shape Drop point
- Grind Flat
- Hardness 58-60 HRC
- Carry Injection-molded sheath
- Weight 1.05 lbs.
- Price $195
- Performs an expanded array of tasks with ease
- The ergonomics are top-notch
- The sheath has numerous carry options and can be adapted to carry a ferro rod or other required items.
- Less than $200 / Made in USA
- It will make you do more things with it outside.
- It may cause you to plan expensive outdoor adventures with your friends.
Sniper Bladeworks MAMU Knife Review
Design & Features
A full tang brute, the Sniper Bladeworks MAMU is an 11.68-inch long piece of 0.20-inch thick 420HC stainless steel. It comes in either a satin or a PVD-coated finish, and has a variety of G10 handle scale colors to choose from.
For testing, I went with the satin finish and OD Green. I don’t have anything against coated blades — I just like to see what the steel can do on its own.
Like the rest of the knives in the Sniper Bladeworks lineup, the MAMU utilizes the brand’s advanced ergonomic design. The handle cants downward to improve leverage and long-term comfort. Plus, this feature opens the MAMU to other tasks, like chopping and splitting without needing to baton the spine.
The sheath that comes with the MAMU is also top-notch — as impressive as the knife itself. It is injection-molded and comes with a locking DOTS belt clip. This sheath also sports a distinctive notch to hold the blade in place, in any direction you decide to carry it.
As for the steel, I’m glad to see Sniper chose to go with 420HC. This stainless steel has been pushed aside for more premium steels of late. But it holds up to corrosion and abrasion extremely well, which means this knife really can go anywhere.
The con is that 420HC doesn’t hold an edge as well as some of the newer, premium knife steels. But I rarely consider that an issue when picking out big fixed-blade knives. Proper knife maintenance will help you know your blade better.
Aside from its overall size, one of the first things I noticed about the MAMU was the bowl in the center of the handle, intended to be the bearing block for a bow drill. In primitive survival, the bow drill is the preferred method of firestarting, as it’s a surefire way to get a fire going.
This tells me the knife is meant to do more than your standard camp knife, bushcraft blade, or chopper.
Beyond that, the MAMU remains a bit of an anomaly — a 1-pound knife with perfect balance and outstanding ergonomics. Typically, a knife this big sacrifices one of the two by default, so it’s obvious that some time, love, and tenderness went into the design and execution of the MAMU.
The 420HC steel receives the satin finish where it counts — on the spine and perimeter. It’s polished on the faces and grinds, save for an indent above the grind meant for shaving and sawing. Polishing the blade like this keeps things from sticking to it and slowing it down. Tree sap will still present a problem, but sap sticks to a matte finish more than it does polished.
Another interesting note that may go unnoticed is that un-sharp edges on the knife, like the choil, were left unbroken. As a result, these spots make an excellent place to run a ferro rod to start a fire.
In the Field
When I started testing the MAMU, I was just back from my honeymoon with the ZT 0006. The ideas of survival, food prep, even taking down trees for fire and shelter, were still fresh in my mind.
The MAMU became the continuation of that journey, as it’s meant to serve the same purpose as the 0006. But, the MAMU offers a broader spectrum of possibilities, given its advanced form.
I carried the MAMU around with me for 3 weeks, and we did everything together. I used it to clean up some large tree limbs that had fallen and crushed some saplings. Then I removed the saplings with a few choice chops. Another afternoon, I used it to further split some larger pieces of cut wood that needed some coaxing to be halved.
And as the coup de grâce, I used the MAMU to prep kindling for a fire, and then sparked the fire with it (and my ferro rod). I finished up by slicing up some vegetables and chicken for a nice dinner under the stars.
With its big belly and curved handle, the MAMU works great for hacking and chopping, without the need for batoning. It also excels in the camp kitchen, able to chop, slice, and even fillet.
Additionally, the MAMU makes a great digging tool, so for those folks who really want to leave no trace, it’s great for when you need to “dig, squat, and bury.”
Take the MAMU out of the woods and put it into an urban setting and it becomes a pry/entry tool with enhanced leverage and ergonomics for getting inside those places that are locked or blocked. Put it in a suburban setting and you could just as easily use it to take down that old treehouse in the backyard or even for some light gardening.
Additionally, you can choose to hold the MAMU farther back on the handle to let leverage do the work on those bigger chopping and hacking tasks. When it comes time to do more precision tasks like slicing and chipping up veggies, you can choke up on the choil to make quick work of that.
When I tell you that the uses for the MAMU are endless, I’m not kidding.
Based on what I wanted to do with the MAMU, I chose to add a custom kydex sleeve to the sheath to hold a ferro rod.
Where this might seem a little outlandish to some, the idea behind a survival-style knife is that you can use it on its own to help you out of some hairy situations.
In this case, I created a de facto firestarting kit that I can wear on my belt.
What’s in a Name?
Lance Abernathy — the man, myth, and legend behind Sniper Bladeworks — is a known Deadhead. So, he likes to name his knives after Grateful Dead tunes.
You wouldn’t think it, what with his knives being so robust and tactical. But Lance’s MAMU stands for “Me And My Uncle,” which about blew my mind when I found out.
Sniper Bladeworks MAMU Knife: Overall
I’m not a particular fan of big knives. I never saw the need for anything as large as the MAMU. The belt knife I usually carry is easily half the size of the MAMU.
But the MAMU, with its big, fat-bellied drop point blade and incredible ergonomics, can do everything a bushcraft, camp knife, chopper, or survival knife can do — only better.
In fact, the MAMU presents all of those knives rolled in one, with an excellent sheath for easy carry on your belt or backpack. The fact that it costs less than $200 and is made in the USA only serves as an added bonus.
I recommend the Sniper Bladeworks MAMU for anyone who spends a lot of time outdoors and requires a knife they can rely on. Perhaps someone hiking the Appalachian Trail? Even if your recreation sounds more like floating down a river for a few days, the MAMU will work.
Whether you’re a Doomsday prepper or just looking for a good, all-around knife, the MAMU will serve you well.