The Rough Man TSK

There is an old Nordic saying that “a man without a knife is a man without a life”.

I have come to meditate repeatedly upon this saying in my reflections on the Rough Man TSK (Tactical Survival Knife), a custom production of, designed by veteran operator Andraes Holmgren, a native of Sweden who has been working in Hati in the field of Close Protection and as a firearms instructor in most recent years.

I came to know Andraes through a mutual friend, at the time he was a knife enthusiast with some very cool ideas on paper. After a bit of discussion Andraes soon became motivated to bring to life his personal vision of what turned out to be a very unique and functional Tactical Survival Knife, the Rough Man TSK.

When his first production was complete I did not hesitate to take him up on his offer of one of the first edition serialized custom productions of the Rough Man.

Knife in hand, I was most impressed!

Before I begin, it may be worth while to first address the mentality of the man who is the designer, that being the Nordic mentality of Andraes Holmgren himself. Andraes is a man thoroughly founded in this heritage and in the mentality of the Nordic tradition of blade culture, where the knife is not only a weapon but also a tool. The Rough Man is most certainly that. Stout, rugged and hefty the Rough Man is well equipped to go beyond day to day cutting tasks, beyond Tactical application and into the bush.

Before applying pencil to paper, Andraes took first into account a vast variety of blades that have shaped the world through other warrior cultures. Knives that have become, “the standard point of reference for many modern blades we see in use by modern warriors today”. Each formidable and many legendary, these included primarily the Katana, the Gladius and the Kukri. Incorporating various elements from each into his vision and with a touch of Nordic functionality the Rough Man TSK also features a Scandinavian grind.

The outcome of this effort was fantastic. The moment that I took the Rough Man in hand, I must admit that I was a bit taken back by the weight. At .18 thick and 11.8 OAL, it is not heavy, just more so than you might have imagined. The weight is not a drawback, as a matter of fact; I came quickly to view the weight as tremendous advantage.

Given this weight the cleaving power of the Rough Man is an obvious draw to the many who have handled it. Slashing is a typical impulse in a combat scenario, chopping is also a typically desirable function in a Tactical Survival Knife and the Rough man is most certainly suited for both tasks, among many others.

Let’s examine both functions on an individual basis.

As a Tactical implement of close quarters combat the Rough Man is particularly well suited. The suitability of the Rough Man for Tactical application starts with its seemingly universally compatible grip. In a day and age where many (if not most) knives seem to feature their own unique attempt at the betterment of ergonomics, the handle of the Rough Man is a rather refreshing departure. The handle is near simplistic perfection in many ways. The handle thickens ever so slightly further from the blade, widening continuously downward to the skull crushing pommel. Given the weight and the inherent slashing and chopping ability of the Rough Man, the widening of the handle is a simple and effective way to elevate the retain-ability of the knife. Coming down on the target with the recurve section of the blade the scale of damage is immense. The Rough Man inflicts a more cleaving type of damage given the weight, geometry and thickness of the blade.

You will find in gripping the Rough Man in various configurations that the tip is well aligned to the center of the geometry in many favorable configurations. Also, the combat orientation of the blades point works in union with the back edge for the purpose of thrust style attacks, with both the back and front edge providing relief for optimum penetration.

The flip side of this coin is the application of the Rough Man as not only a weapon but a tool. This brings us back to the notable heft of the Rough Man TSK. Every individual who has handled the Rough Man has without fail mentioned an urge to get out doors and start clearing a path with it. The field survival application is a tremendous appeal of Rough Man. You can most certainly clear the way with it, take down sizeable branches that could be used to fortify a shelter or to split wood. This is a knife, that with the proper application of technique, you can literally pound nails with.

I honestly don’t know what greater compliment I could pay to a knife than the previously mentioned sentiment. At least not for a knife that was purpose built to be tough as nails, if not tougher. And the Rough Man is most certainly that!

Please see bellow a few of the more relevant specs and of course a link to where you can get one of your own. (GET ONE!)


  • 11.8”  OAL
  • .18  thick
  • 7.1” blade
  • 1095 High carbon steel – clay tempered, Parkerized black
  • Includes Kydex sheath with Molle attachment for vertical or horizontal carry.

To purchase the Rough Man TSK and for more information visit –

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