This month at the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) show, some of the leading makers of tactical folding and police and military duty knifes plan to debut their latest models. In order to get a glimpse behind the curtain ahead of the show, Police made some calls and received a sneak preview of the latest duty blades from Al Mar, Benchmade, Buck, Columbia River Knife and Tool (CRKT), Kershaw, Masters of Defense (MOD), SOG Knives, and Spyderco.
The Shrike and the Nomad are the latest hard-use knives from Al Mar. These folders feature blades fashioned from VG10 stainless steel for durability and G10 composite grips. The result is impressive. Both the Shrike (8.5 inches unfolded) and the Nomad (7 inches unfolded) will take and hold an edge, and their grips are virtually indestructible. All in all these knives have what it takes to survive the streets.
For 2004, Benchmade Knives has teamed up with Taurus Firearms to produce the Taurus Tracker. These beautiful folders are patterned on the Benchmade Switchback, but are distinguished by a laser etching of the Taurus logo on the blade. The Taurus Tracker is available from Taurus dealers only.
Another great tool that Benchmade will be showing at SHOT is the Rescue Hook, a simple finger-held cutter that makes short work of seat belts, harnesses, and webbing. The Rescue Hook is flat and is easily carried on your belt without adding any noticeable weight to your daily load.
Best known for its hunting and outdoor models, Buck Knives has entered the tactical knife market in a big way. The company recently teamed up with Strider Knives to bring the high-end tactical designs of Strider Knives to the production market. Buck could have looked a long time and not made a better choice for a tactical market partnership. Strider Knives are often found in the pockets and on the belts of such elite spec ops troops as Marine Recon, Navy SEALs, and Army Special Forces who are working in such "friendly" neighborhoods as Afghanistan and Iraq.
As part of this joint effort, Buck has introduced the Strider Buck Police Utility Knife. And while this is not technically a new knife at this year's SHOT, it's new enough and interesting enough that any street cop attending the show should check it out.
Designed by edged weapons expert and police defensive tactics trainer Steve Tarani, the Buck Strider Police Utility Knife is built for the long haul. This radically shaped knife has a G10 blade, which incorporates a thumb hole and a textured surface for ease of opening, and its grip is a proprietary material called Tactical Composite that provides a positive gripping surface in all weather conditions.
Columbia River Knife & Tool
Columbia River Knife & Tool (CRKT) has expanded its "For Those Who Serve" line of duty knives to include the Cascade Tactical and the Desert Cruiser.
The Cascade Tactical has some really great features for a duty knife. First, it was designed for user safety. The lockback blade can be closed with one hand thanks to a hitch in the closing mechanism that stops the blade at 90 degrees and prevents it from coming down on your fingers. Second, the injection-molded Kraton handle gives you a solid grip on the knife even on wet, sloppy days. And finally, the premium AUS 8 stainless-steel blade has a black titanium nitride coating that reduces visibility of the blade and resists corrosion.
CRKT's Desert Cruiser was developed for military units operating in desert environments. The knife's injection-molded Zytel handles are designed to blend like a chameleon into the sand, and even the blade features a desert-tan-colored titanium nitride coating.
Kershaw's new Blur Rescue incorporates the company's Speed Safe one-hand-opening system into an extremely well-designed EMS tool. The Blur Rescue has a blunt-tipped blade that is designed to both protect the victim and make short work of a variety of materials, including seat belts and webbing. Incorporated into the textured handle is a window punch to break windshields for extricating crash victims. The Blur Rescue is available in high-visibility orange for quick and easy identification.
Masters of Defense
One of the newest members of the duty knife community is Masters of Defense (MOD), the brainchild of former Navy Seal Jim Watson and now part of the Blackhawk Products Group.
The latest duty knife in the MOD product line is the Scorpion. This is not a folder; it's a lightweight, fixed-blade "neck" knife with a skeletonized grip.
Designed to hang on a sheath around the user's neck, the Scorpion has no noticeable weight, but that doesn't mean it's a "lightweight." This knife takes the hardest use that a police, military, or EMS operator can dish out. It's an excellent street tool.
In 2004, SOG will continue to expand its Flash line of assisted-opening knives. The latest Flash model is the Rescue Flash II.
Like most rescue-specific knives, the Rescue Flash II features a blunted tip that allows the user to safely slip the blade between the victim and his or her seat belt or harness. It also has a textured Zytel handle that provides the user with a secure grip in stressful situations. But by far what sets the Rescue Flash II apart from other rescue tools is the Flash one-hand-opening system, which allows the user to deploy the knife almost as rapidly as an automatic.
Spyderco's 2004 product line includes the Assist II rescue knife. This easy-opening folder includes features such as a retractable carbide tip for breaking windows and a snub-nosed blade that protects the victim from accidental cuts.
Another new knife in the Spyderco line is the D'Allara Rescue. This knife is a sheepfoot (non-pointed) knife that sports a new ball bearing lock and feels really comfortable in the hand. The D'Allara is named for an NYPD
officer who made the ultimate sacrifice on 9/11 and who was a devout
Scott Smith is a former active-duty Army MP. He is airborne qualified and currently serving with the 171st Security Police Squadron of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard.