Fine Handmade Custom Knives
A note to my loyal customers from over the years:
I am currently on a short hiatus from making knives,
to revamp my product line and processes
and introduce machining techniques to assist
me in delivering products to meet demand.
The Survivor knife shown below is still available
Thank you and all the best.
It has long been believed that the unique survival knife sold by TOPS Knives as the "Tom Brown Tracker" was the sole creation of Tom Brown, a New Jersey tracking/survival instructor--though in truth Mr. Brown had virtually nothing to do with the conception of this iconic design. The "Tom Brown Tracker" reached its pinnacle of public attention as a prop (ironically portrayed as a combat rather than survival knife) in the 2003 movie "The Hunted", where Brown was retained as a technical consultant and parlayed "his knife" into the plot. The truth is that the original Tracker Knife has existed since 1981, a creation of my father Robb Russon, a hobbyist knifemaker from Utah. He had sent Brown the prototype for his knife to get feedback and proposed to do business together, but Brown backed out after hearing what it would cost to produce the knife.
Mark Russon, knifemaker
Unbeknownst to my father, Brown instead took credit for the design and shopped it to other knifemakers for years, trying to make it a commercial success. He found that success with The Hunted, after which he took the knife to TOPS Knives of Idaho to be mass-produced under his name. As movie props often do, the "Tracker Knife" took on a life of its own. Although the design has now been copied by hundreds of makers, Brown has profited greatly from my father's work over the past 17 years since The Hunted. For those who are interested, the entire story is told in detail on this site through the link below, with proof in Brown's own handwriting.
As I became a veteran knifemaker myself, I first tried to reproduce my father's design by hand, but just as he had in 1981, found that this was no easy design to make by hand. Ultimately, I took my father's original pattern for The Tracker, added a couple of my own improvements to give it an "upgrade"--which he wholeheartedly endorsed--and gave the collaboration the moniker of "Tracker Survivor". After more than a year of manufacturing work, I was finally able to proudly offer the public this tribute to the knifemaking genius of my father: the true "Tracker Knife" design that has waited nearly 40 years to become available.