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A.G. Russell Sandbox Dagger DM1 Tough - Background

A.G. Russell III - Knife Designer

“A.G. was very fond of daggers! Over my years here, we worked on a large number of dagger designs.

When he decided to explore the concept of the Sandbox Dagger, we spent considerable time studying previous military dagger designs. We primarily focused on the Fairbairn-Sykes & the Marine Raider Stiletto. They both shared a common weakness of a fragile blade point, as do most daggers.

A.G. decided to solve this problem.

He started with a blade shape that is wider than the Marine Raider Stiletto and takes longer to come to the point. He then conceived a method of grinding the blades that would provide a much thicker spine down the center of the blade right up to the point. After we completed the first prototypes, we realized A.G.’s vision had accomplished a full 4-grind dagger with a point thickness 2-3 times thicker than previously made daggers.

The final step was his “varied edge angle” method of sharpening which takes a highly skilled person to accomplish. (A.G. never allowed us to take the easy way, instead he was always trying to find the best result.) This varied edge angle allowed us to use his preferred 15° sharpening angle on the main sections of the blade (about 75% of the length), while seamlessly transitioning to the edge angle of an axe at the point, which adds to the stength of the point.

At A.G. Russell Knives, because of The Cutting Edge® and®, and because several of us have been in this industry for a long time, we have seen a lot of daggers. It is rare to see one like the Camillus version on the front cover of this catalog which is in mint condition, never carried. Most of what we see have had the blades reshaped because the tip has broken off. Under most use, the tips break.

Once we had the Sandbox Dagger blades and handle scales finished, even before we marked and had them coated, we did some pretty rugged testing. The most impressive to me is illustrated in the photograph on this page. I was able to push the blade through an AK-47 Magazine with no damage to the tip, and the edge is still sharp. All initial testing has been very impressive!”

Phil Gibbs, engineer. A.G. Russell Knives.

Sandbox Dagger Product Picture RU-U109BKOD

The Sandbox Dagger is the fourth in A.G.’s planned series of very different Combat Knives intended for use in hand to hand encounters anywhere in the World. The name of the series was inspired by our engagement in the Middle East.

As A.G.’s concept for the Sandbox series was developing, we were looking for a superior high-carbon steel that would hold an edge extremely well and be tough enough for what troops might put it through. In our search for this superior steel, we were presented with the opportunity to acquire a batch of special steel developed by Dan Maragni, the very talented knife-maker/metallurgist. We worked with Dan to develop a special heat treatment for our use. We even re-built salt bath vessels and quench tanks to accommodate the precision hardening of this steel to give us the best possible toughness and edge retention. Our designation for the steel with this special heat-treat is DM1. The blade coating is Chromium Carbonitride, better known as Diamond Like Coating or DLC, which is even harder than the steel itself at almost 90 Rc. The hardness of the steel is 58-59 Rc. Because DM1 is a non-stainless steel, the sharpened edge will be subject to rust so we have coated it with our RustFree™ to protect it. You should wipe the knife down after a day of use and re-coat it with a rust prohibitive like RustFree™ (RF125 . . 1.25 oz. . . $7.95).

Learn more about DM1 Steel here.

Sandbox Dagger Parts & screwsThe handle scales are CNC machined Olive Drab Rucarta™ with the A.G. Russell Omni-Directional patterned surface for increased positive grip. All the components and processes are made or completed in the U.S.A. including the production of the steel used in the blade, the handle material and the screws.  Some of the processes to create the Sandbox series are completed by other companies in the U.S.A. but the final grind, assembly and sharpening are all done in our shop here in Rogers, Arkansas.

We include an A.G. Russell designed Ballistic Nylon sheath that is made with a kydex liner for safety. A pouch on the front will hold a large folding knife or a sharpening stone, and it is M.O.L.L.E. compatible. We have had to reach outside the U.S.A. for this sheath to get the the quality and delivery we need.

The blade measures 6" from tip to front of handle scale, 1-3/16" at the widest point and just over 1/8" thick. Measures 10-7/8" overall. Weighs 5.7 oz. Made in the U.S.A.


Click on the link below for full specifications:

Sandbox Dagger RU-U109BKOD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $375.00



A.G. Russell Sandbox Dagger - in the sandbox

Sandbox Dagger Strengthened Tip - Close up on grind and variable edge angle

Sandbox Dagger Sheath - Nylon, MOLLE compatible, extra pouch

Sandbox Dagger Sideview attached with MOLLE


A.G. Russell Sandbox Dagger bending during testing

A.G. Russell Sandbox Dagger with sheath & expended shells


Published 6/22/2020