The Schrade Makhaira Priscilla Brush Sword is a formidable piece of equipment, equal parts tool and weapon. This thing means business.

My interest in this particular blade lies in its abilities as a brush cutting tool. It’s a difficult-to-categorize cutting implement that’s very machete-like, and performs many of the same tasks as a machete, but isn’t quite a machete. We’ll get into that a little more later.

But I will tell you upfront that the Schrade Brush Sword is a beautifully designed and highly effective tool, one that is actually quite a bit more versatile than a run-of-the-mill machete.

Background on the Schrade Brush Sword

The Makhaira Priscilla Brush Sword is the brainchild of Josh Waggoner, a fellow who’s known as a martial artist as well as a knife designer. That intersection of interests goes a long way toward explaining the duality of this blade: equal parts practical landscaping tool and fierce weapon.

Personally, I don’t plan on doing any sword fighting with my Schrade—most likely you don’t either, but I don’t know your life—and am mostly curious about how it stacks up against other tools in the extended machete family.

The chief characteristic that makes this a “brush sword” and not simply a machete is the shape of the blade, with its sharp tip and recurve cutting edge. It’s clearly influenced by its namesake, the makhaira, an Ancient Greek weapon that had a similarly shaped blade, with a convex section closer to the tup curving into a pocket closer to the handle.

Waggoner has also pointed to the Nepalese kukri and kikri blades from the Philippines as inspiration for the Schrade Makhaira Priscilla Brush Sword. The point was to create a single blade that could be used for anything.

Read Our List of the Best Machetes For Brush Clearing Here

Measurements and Specs

Let’s get into the nitty-gritty. The Brush Sword sports a 16.1-inch blade, and measures 22.6 inches in overall length. It tips the scales at 19.8 oz, or about 1.2 pounds. It’s actually pretty light and nimble for its size, but you definitely start to feel the weight after swinging it all day.

It’s hard to describe the exact shape and grind of the blade, which definitely has a unique design. The spine is completely straight (no clip or drop point) and the cutting edge is recurved. Think of a very smooth, elongated S-shape.

Looked at from above, the taper of the blade appears to thicken from the tip before becoming thinner again toward the handle. The cutting edge is also thinnest in its midsection, with a full flat grind that thickens toward the handle up to the last ¾-inch or so, which is left intentionally unsharpened.

The blade has a full tang, which officially makes this the largest full-tang knife in Schrade’s lineup. It’s 3/16-inch thick at the spine, giving it some solid backbone. There’s just the slightest bit of flexibility to the blade.

That small amount of give is ultimately a good thing. It allows the blade to bend, not break during heavy duty use. The blade is made of 3Cr13 stainless steel, a type of Chinese steel that, while perhaps not “good” steel by the conventional definition, is actually very well-suited to a tool such as this. It has a black powder coated matte finish.

The handle is made of thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) and is what I consider just the right solidity/softness balance for a comfortable grip. It’s well contoured to the hand, and has a textured finish that makes it good and grabby.

The blade has a full tang, which officially makes this the largest full-tang knife in Schrade’s lineup. It’s 3/16-inch thick at the spine, giving it some solid backbone. There’s just the slightest bit of flexibility to the blade.

That small amount of give is ultimately a good thing. It allows the blade to bend, not break during heavy duty use. The blade is made of 3Cr13 stainless steel, a type of Chinese steel that, while perhaps not “good” steel by the conventional definition, is actually very well-suited to a tool such as this. It has a black powder coated matte finish.

The handle is made of thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) and is what I consider just the right solidity/softness balance for a comfortable grip. It’s well contoured to the hand, and has a textured finish that makes it good and grabby.

The Brush Sword in Action

Ultimately, the Schrade Makhaira Priscilla Brush Sword performs like a middleweight machete (albeit one that has a few tricks up its sleeve). It has the word “brush” right in its name, so you should have a pretty good idea what it’s intended uses are.

What’s great about the Schrade Brush Sword is that, despite its size, it’s surprisingly agile. Mine also came extremely sharp right out of the packaging, and it makes short work of the wild blackberry bushes, sapling trees and invasive vines that populate the woods behind my house.

Of course, the temptation to use a blade like this for heavier duty tasks often proves too much to resist. Fortunately, the Brush Sword punches well above its weight class in that regard. You can definitely hack through thicker limbs and small trees in just a few solid swings. It has enough weight that you don’t have to put your back into every blow; speed and accuracy will serve you much better than brute force.

There are plenty of perfectly good machetes that I would never recommend using for cutting heavier stuff like this, but I can say with assurance that the Brush Sword can take it. When the time comes to re-sharpen it, the blade takes on a razor-sharp edge, and holds it surprisingly well.

As much fun as it is to just demolish broad swaths of underbrush, one of the things that makes this such a unique tool is its ability to handle finer tasks. While the “belly” of the blade is that part that works best for chopping and hacking, the recurved section closest to the handle is great for detail work. This is a great tool for making wood shavings and feather sticks for tinder.

One of the ideas behind the Schrade Brush Sword was to make it the only blade you need to carry, and I have to agree with that up to a point. Personally, I’m almost never without a smaller pocket knife, but if you don’t happen to have one, you can use the recurve section of the Brush Sword for fine cutting, chipping and carving.

For that matter, you can even baton firewood with the thickest part of the blade if you don’t have a hatchet handy. That being said, I would do so carefully to avoid breaking the blade or getting it stuck, and not use it to split anything much thicker than your arm.

One Small Problem

Honestly, I have nothing but good things to say about the Schrade Makhaira Priscilla Brush Sword. So what’s the problem? The problem is the sheath.

The Brush Sword comes with a hard thermoplastic belt sheath with a shoulder strap. The sheath holds the blade reasonably snug, with a small nylon strap that snaps around the handle. Mine has a little bit of play and I can hear it rattle inside the sheath, but I’m okay with that. The shoulder strap theoretically provides a few different ways to wear the sword on your back or over your shoulder.

But here’s the thing: the clips on the shoulder strap are too thick to fit into the holes provided for them on the sheath. This is a pretty baffling misstep considering how beautifully designed the blade itself is.

At the end of the day, I fixed the issue by getting a couple of split rings and using them to link the clips to the sheath, but not before I broke off a piece of the sheath trying to fit the too-big clips into the too-small holes. It was a frustrating experience. I firmly believe that you shouldn’t have to MacGuyver a way to carry your brand-new blade.
Okay, I’m done complaining now.

Final Word on the Schrade Brush Sword

Look, I’m not going to let a poorly-designed strap ruin an otherwise pretty amazing tool. I would advise getting a couple of split rings right off the bat, and then you’ll have no problem. Other than that, try as I may, I cannot find a single thing wrong with the Schrade Brush Sword.

There are plenty of great machetes on the market, but this is more than that. It’s an incredibly versatile tool that does every job a standard machete can do, and a few that one can’t. If you had to pick just one tool to be stuck in the wilderness with, you could do a lot worse.

It’s also worth noting that the Schrade Makhaira Priscilla Brush Sword is a great buy for the price. I’ve seen these on sale for as low as $30, which is pretty incredible, all things considered.