In his late fifties, North Carolina native Daniel Winkler is by now a veteran hand at manufacturing knives. Starting in the 1970s with a hand forge he built himself, Winkler turned his hobby into a successful full-time business. To this day he is frequently asked about his work with the production of The Last of the Mohicans, a movie for which he designed a tomahawk for the character Magua.

A Navy SEAL attending a primitive skills class in New Jersey began asking around for Winkler in the early 1990s, hoping to have a compact combat/breaching hatchet made. When that SEAL reenlisted with USSOCOM, he was still carrying his Winkler axe, and members of his unit began asking for more. Thus was born the relationship between Daniel Winkler and his law enforcement/military customers that persists to this day.

“There are many fine makers out there, and so many want the recognition afforded by association with those who protect our American way of life. There have been countless makers that have sold and/or given equipment to these men and women, and they should all be given credit for what they do. However, there are also a lot of bad guys in this country, as has been proven in recent tragic events,” said Winkler. “On our website and advertising you won’t see any specifics—only some general reference to our history and influence from the professionals we have the opportunity to work with.”

That history and influence has led Winkler to create something different, a tool at once unusual and unusually intuitive. This is his Weapon Retention Tool, or WRT.

Weapon Retention Tool

Winkler Weapon Retention Tool, daniel winkler, winkler knives, gun grab
Every part of the Winkler Weapon Retention Tool is pointed, sharp and dangerous.

The Winkler Weapon Retention Tool is a 5-ounce wedge of 0.125-inch-thick 1095 steel with 0.06-inch Kydex spacers and a 550 paracord handle wrap. Bearing a Caswell black oxide coating, the WRT—which measures 6.125 inches from spike to spike and 3.5 inches from the point to the back of the handle—is shipped with a Kydex sheath that incorporates tie-down grommets and the option of a Tactical Tailor Malice clip or a spring steel belt clip.

“This Weapon Retention Tool was designed for instant reaction,” Winkler explained. “It will inflict pain in a pushing, pulling, twisting and jabbing action, hopefully enough to make the bad guy let go.”

Winkler said he pictures the tool worn by its clip on the operator’s gear, where it is securely retained but can be deployed quickly for immediate action. The tool’s light weight, easy carry and versatile striking points make it a natural addition to any bug-out kit, where retaining one’s weapon in close quarters could be the difference between life and death.

Quick To Action

Winkler Weapon Retention Tool, daniel winkler, winkler knives, gun grab

The WRT snaps in and out of its unusual Kydex sheath with relative ease. Deploying it is faster than securing it, of course; the sheath has been cut away as much as possible to reduce its profile and its negligible weight. The opening in the sheath is enough to get the first set of knuckles past the hole if you have large hands. Care must be taken when guiding the spikes of the knife back into its sheath, but that’s because there is no part of this tool that is not sharp and pointed.

Once in the hand, the WRT becomes an extremely intuitive device. It is almost a sawed-off katar, an Indian push dagger that has the same wedge shape. With the WRT on his or her fist, the user can hook with the spikes on the top or the bottom (using whichever leverage is strongest), push to cut with the tip of the wedge, slice using the squared saw-tooth pattern (every individual tooth is sharpened on both sides), or chop and dice by repeatedly thrashing the blade against the opponent’s flesh. There’s no doubt that having this tool close at hand would make it easier to inflict horrifying damage on an enemy who was trying to grab your weapon. Held in the support hand, it becomes a means of flaying or tenderizing the offending grip—or the body attached to it.

RELATED: Winkler Knives | Custom Traditional and Tactical Knives | The Complete Story

This is a unique take on a problem that concerns law enforcement and preppers alike, that of weapon retention while in close-quarters combat with an assailant. Winkler’s Weapon Retention Tool tackles the issue with an abundance of options, all of which hurt and deal damage in the process. It is therefore worthy of consideration when planning your bug-out bag, as it could prove to be the lifesaving accessory that allows you and your family to escape with your lives.

For more information, visit or call 828-295-9156.


This article was originally published in SURVIVOR’S EDGE ™ Winter 2015 magazine. Print and Digital Subscriptions available here.

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