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Reviews : Police Product Test

Police Product Test: 5.11 Tactical's ARK Recurve and Tanto Knives

The 5.11 line takes on the tasks that face law enforcement officers every day.

November 22, 2011  |  by Chris Trapp

Photo: 5.11 Tactical
Photo: 5.11 Tactical

More times than not when you look at a uniformed police officer, you can see the pocket clip from his or her favorite folding knife on a pants pocket. Folders and cops go hand in hand. It's probably the most common piece of equipment law enforcement officers spend their own money on, and one of the most important pieces of equipment to have.

Whether it's cutting a seat belt off of a trapped motorist or depending on the blade as a last line of defense against a suspect, the 5.11 line has arrived to take on the very tasks that face law enforcement officers every day. The two 5.11 Tactical knives that I received to test were the 5.11 ARK Recurve and Tanto folders.

Both knives are completely black with thin, angle cut grooved G10 grips. They're definitely easy on the eyes, but they're also functional. Both are liner lock folders with G10 scales and black razor sharp AUS8 steel blades. While one has a recurve blade and the other a tanto (hence their names), serrations are present on both models along the bottom half of the blade. 5.11 put some thought into their production models, using an ambidextrous assist lever on the blade and a four-position pocket clip on the scales.

The pocket clip is just sturdy enough for good pocket retention. The liner lock is smooth and disengagement is pleasant for a production knife. On both models I noticed that the liner lock has smooth serration notches machined into the liner. I like this feature; it gives you a better grip for disengagement if your hands are wet or wearing gloves.

The blade-to-handle ratio is more than adequate and makes each knife easier to manipulate. I especially like the addition of a lanyard hole at the bottom of the grip for a para cord tail or lanyard attachment. This feature is nice to have especially if you're wearing a lot of gear; sometimes retrieving a knife out of your pocket can be a pain.

If you're in the market for an affordable and functional production knife, the 5.11 ARK series is an attractive choice.

5.11 Tactical ARK Tanto and Recurve Knives

  • Full-sized tactical folders
  • AUS8 3mm thick blades
  • Partial serration and a black oxide coating
  • Hardened to 57-59 HRC
  • G-10 scales
  • Full-length steel liners
  • Lanyard hole and a liner lock
  • Pocket clips can be mounted in 4 positions

Price: $69.99

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