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Fixed-Blade Knives for Duty

Check out these blades for times when a folder just won’t do.

June 22, 2011  |  by Scott Smith - Also by this author

The Ka-Bar/Becker TacTool arrives with a 7-inch blade and retails for $144.38.


One of the first and still one of the finest tactical tools around is the Becker/Ka-Bar TacTool. As the name implies this is a tool, but it's also a big knife.

The TacTool is a harness cutter, machete, hammer, window breaker, pry bar, and I think it will make julienned fries too. I have used the TacTool to fell trees as large as four or five inches around, make kindling, and pry open stuck barn doors. It also does a good job of breaking house or vehicle glass. You can do all of this thanks to a heavy full tang blade and the strength from the three flats of the blade.

There really is no "sharp point" on this knife that could be a weak point. The angles allow the TacTool to slip into a window seal or a door jamb and not shear off, unlike a drop point or tanto-style blade. The distinctive design of this blade is what makes it a TacTool and not a tac-knife. The Becker/Ka-Bar TacTool is one item I would add to the kit of a SWAT, drug, or search and rescue team because it is so versatile.

SOG Knives

The largest knife in this roundup is the SOG Jungle Canopy. This is not your average sheath knife; it is a 10-inch-bladed mini-machete. While most officers will never have a need for something like this, wild life resource, drug enforcement, or any other law enforcement team that works in the woods will find it a valuable tool.

You might guess with its machete design that the Jungle Canopy is built to hack through things. You would be right. This is a razor-sharp, reduced-size machete. It will make short work of vines, bushes, tree branches; most anything you will have to hack through.

Because it's made from chrome moly vanadium steel, the Jungle Canopy is highly corrosion resistant. This steel will also hold a sharp edge when used against soft items such as wood and bushes. If your team works in or around the woods, there should be a SOG Jungle Canopy in the field with you.


Spyderco's Warrior has a certain mystique about it because of its long and continued evolution. The original was designed for use with reverse-grip tactics inspired by the Korean martial art of HwaRangDo, and the knife has been resurrected more than once. It can now be had in a bright or blackened finish. Either way, the H1 steel this knife is made from is one of the most corrosion resistant steels on the market.

The Warrior's full tang, curved blade is serrated on the flat of the blade and the primary cutting edge is hollow ground. This gives you a knife that can be used to cut in a fore or reverse cut. If used to trap, the back of the blade will cut too. The serrations make short work of most any soft item: rope, harness, seat belt, etc. Because of the flat point, this knife can easily and safely slip under a short sleeve or pant leg so you can use it to provide access to a limb should you need to start an IV. At the opposite end of the Warrior is a window breaker that will punch through a vehicle window.

When I first saw the Warrior I didn't think of it as a knife for duty. However, its versatility makes it ideal for special duty service and it will serve those on waterborne units, SAR teams, or any team that needs a tough, compact knife.

While you may not carry a fixed blade on your Sam Browne belt, they do have many uses on duty. From the diminutive 5.11 Side Kick Rescue Tool to the SOG Jungle Canopy fixed blade, knives have a place in law enforcement. Like everything else you use on duty, there is no replacement for a specific tool when you need it. Don't shy away from packing a fixed-blade knife in your duty bag if your agency allows it; you never know when you might need it. 

Scott Smith is a former federal police officer for the Department of Veteran's Affairs who currently serves as a reserve officer and is a contributing editor to POLICE.

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Comments (1)

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Lloyd Reese @ 6/24/2011 8:55 AM

Good coverage of some excellent knife makers and their products.
One excellent company you didn't mention is TOPS which makes some super tactical and survival fixed blades. I have their TOPS Dawn Warrior which is an excellent fixed blade knife. Recommend purchasing at a gun or knife show or via Internet suppliers for the best price. Also, would not ignore BUCK which makes some good fixed blades.

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