Years ago, I needed a holster for a Novak-built STI International 1911. I searched high and low to no avail. Then I learned that a small Washington-based company called Blade Tech was making custom holsters out of Kydex. I sent them my STI, and they made an excellent holster that fit it perfectly.
Blade Tech started as a cottage industry, literally in company founder Tim Wegner’s home. Today it’s an expanding company based in a modern production facility in Lakewood, Wash. And it makes some really great products, including holsters and knives.
The latest Wegner knife design is Blade Tech’s MLEK (Military Law Enforcement Knife), and it’s an interesting take on the duty folding knife.
Astute knife aficionados will notice that the MLEK is a modified skinner- style knife. A blade of this style has a full-length cutting surface, and is quite strong. Both are good qualities for a duty knife.
The MLEK is a liner lock knife. Unlike many of its peers, the MLEK’s liner is recessed into its grips. This results in a thinner knife that is easier to carry and conceal. Machining the liner into the frame also helps ensure you don’t accidentally unlock the blade on your fingers.
Wegner’s blade design for the MLEK incorporates both serrations and a straight edge. The result is a knife that’s equally useful for sawing through seat belts and slicing other material.
The MLEK is so well designed that even the spine of the blade is functional. Not only are there perpendicular serrations at the pivot point of the blade to give your thumb a secure purchase, there are also two additional sets further forward on the blade. These allow the operator to push the blade with his or her off hand or choke up on the blade for more control when operating in tight quarters.
Blade Tech has also taken into consideration that no two people are the same. The grips and frame of the MLEK are machined and threaded at both ends and on both sides of the grips. This allows you to set the blade up or down in your pocket and adjust it for left- or right-handed carry.
The MLEK’s clip, like the rest of the knife, is built to take the extremes. Also, the screws that secure the clip are Phillips head screws, not micro-mini Torx screws. This might seem very minor, but I challenge you to find a mini Torx wrench in the field if your clip gets loose. Using Phillips head screws facilitates easy adjustment of the clip and if you misplace a screw it can be found at a hardware store.
I found the clip of the MLEK to be very tough. On some other knives that I have tested, the clips failed or the screws stripped when the clip was flexed much past about 20 degrees off the frame. This didn’t happen with the MLEK, so it will likely survive such common mishaps as becoming snagged on a car seat or seat belt.
Overall, I found the Blade Tech MLEK to be a good knife. It was designed from the ground up for military and law enforcement duty, and it’s both versatile and adaptable.
Scott Smith is a disabled veteran who served as an active duty Army MP and in the U.S. Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard as a security policeman.