When I first heard about the Tool Logic SL1-a clip-it folding knife with a built-in flashlight-I was less than impressed. I thought that combining a knife and a light would give you the worst of both worlds. In other words, the blade would be cheap and the light would be crappy. Without seeing it, I assumed that the SL1 would be nothing more than a curiosity and of little use as anything other than a stocking stuffer for friends and family.
I was totally wrong. The SL1 is a quality knife and a quality light. And the more I used it, the more I realized that it was an excellent way to provide a working cop with an emergency blade and an emergency light in one compact package.
First, let's talk about the blade. Tool Logic went to a very good source for its blade: Seki. This small Japanese city on the inland sea is known worldwide for making fine knives, and the skill of Seki's knife makers shows in the quality of the SL1's blade. It's made out of medium carbon stainless steel so that it holds an edge, is easily sharpened, and is resistant to corrosion.
The three-inch long spearpoint blade of the SL1 is designed so that half its edge is smooth and the other half serrated. This 50/50 design allows for swift cutting of many materials, from harnesses to the mail or even an apple. There is an oval opening hole for easy one-handed opening, and a liner lock for closing.
Normally, I'm not a big fan of liner locks, but I have to say that this one is up to the job. While using the SL1, I was unable to get the knife to close onto itself while the lock was engaged. I even tried to force it, but it held firm. When the blade lock was released, it closed smoothly and easily.
The SL1's handle is also very functional. It's made from Dupont Zytel with 33 percent glass content. This grip material is impervious to most chemicals, including gasoline. Which is a good thing, considering all the stuff you can get into on duty as a cop. The SL1's handle is lightly textured (about the feel of a fine emery cloth) and affords a good grip in wet conditions.
OK. Now that we've discussed the blade, let's look at the other features of this knife that are unique to the SL1.
For example, a signal whistle is molded into one side of the grip. This whistle is shrill and can be heard roughly a city block away with suburban traffic noise. While not as loud as a rescue whistle, it will get somebody's attention.
Then there's the light. The SL1's removable LED light is secured to the actual knife frame by internal rails and a small set screw, which can be loosened with a dime.
The SL1's LED light is a simple twist on/off light. And for a small LED unit it puts out a surprising amount of illumination. At 20 feet away in my darkened game room I could make out my G.I. Joe figures. (Yes, I admit it. I collect action figures.). This may not be as much light as your favorite tactical light, but it's not meant to be. It's a task light for the knife or an emergency light for when things get really bad.
I was impressed with the Tool Logic SL1 Knife. It is well thought out and the easy on/off light is a great feature for duty work.
With a retail of under $40, and most likely selling for less, you really can't go wrong with the SL1. It gives you a knife, a light, and a whistle: all tools that could be critical in the field.
SL1 Multi-Function Folder
Blade Length: 3 inches
Overall Length: 7.25 inches
Handle Material: Zytel with 30 percent fiberglass
Blade Material: 420J2 Stainless RC hardness of 50
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.