Over the years I have been able to play with and use many knives in the field and in various uniforms. It seems that for the most part I and others tend to gravitate toward folding knives of one model or another. The reason is simple: Folding knives are just more convenient. They fit in a pocket or between your duty belt and liner and they weigh less than a fixed blade.

That said, there are still times when a fixed blade is worth its weight in gold, especially when you need to pry something open.

While perusing the aisles of the SHOT Show, I came upon the Buck Nighthawk Bravo. This is a 420HC fixed-blade knife using the BESH Wedge blade. The BESH Wedge is just like the name implies: a wedge-shaped blade. Because of its geometry, it gives you a cutting edge that can be used to wedge open a car door, punch through a hollow door, poke through a good portion of a city phone book, and still cut your sandwich.

Other than the blade design what sets this knife apart is its handy size. Its overall length is just a hair over nine and one-quarter inches. This means it can be packed on a raid vest, attached to your thigh rig, or carried in your go bag so you have it when you need it.

The Nighthawk Bravo is also priced so you can afford to buy it. At full retail it is $80, but I'd venture to guess you can find it for less. This is a heckuva price for a knife that is tough, has a durable reinforced nylon grip with rubberized gripping surfaces, and uses the combat proven BESH Wedge.

I liked the way the Nighthawk Bravo fit my hand and that it is a tough knife. The sheath allows you to belt carry it or mount it to any MOLLE system. I have used various BESH Wedge-style knives and I can tell you they are some of the most durable and useful blades in the industry. The Nighthawk Bravo is a fixed-blade knife I'd carry in harm's way any time or place.

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Weaver Optics

Tactical Model 800360 Scope

Way back when I was a young lad of 13 or so I started hunting. Actually, I think I might have gone out even earlier with my dad. I did get my license when I was 13 so I could go hunt various varmints native to southwestern Pennsylvania, the groundhog being the dominant target of choice. My first centerfire rifle was a custom-built .243 Winchester on a Mauser action. It was topped off with a Weaver optic. (Sorry, I do not recall the exact model.)

Late last year I received word that Weaver was introducing optics for tactical use. Since I started my precision shooting with a Weaver, it seemed like it was time to check out a new model. I can gladly say there have been loads of improvements since I owned my first Weaver optic; ones that rival tactical optics manufactured with various European names.

Weaver's Tactical Model 800360 has a proverbial laundry list of standard features. Multi-coated lenses with hard coating on the exterior lenses provide durability and finger adjust pull-up turrets mean I don't need quarters to adjust point of impact (yes, that was the field expedient windage/elevation tool for many years). Argon-purged tubes that are sealed to be waterproof and fogproof are further enhanced by a one-piece 30mm tube. The scope is also shockproof to hold up to the heaviest recoil.

I wanted to mount this scope on my SIG 556 to see if it could make this rifle shoot better. But to establish a baseline, I first used a fixed four power combat optic at 100 yards off a bipod. The SIG 556 shot two-inch groups like this all day long. Not bad for a non-precision rifle; how could it do with fine optics?

With a load the SIG liked and the Weaver Tactical mounted on it, I was shooting one-hole groups or something close to a half-inch off the same bipod over the same 100 yards. When I moved out to 200 yards the groups were holding in there at approximately an inch. At this point I determined the Weaver-SIG combination to be nearly perfect; it was allowing me to do some fine shooting.

I found I could easily move the point of impact with the target turrets and the ¼ MOA adjustments. If I chose to, the mil-dot crosshairs allowed me to easily make "Kentucky Windage" adjustments once the rifle had been zeroed. The 800360's variable power adjustment ring was smooth and easy to operate and at 20 power I could easily see the bullet holes at 200 yards. Thanks to some of the finest crosshairs in a mil-dot reticle, shooting the "x" at 200 yards was a piece of cake. The intersection of the crosshairs did not obscure the center of the six-inch bull's eye, allowing for precision shot placement.

The Weaver Tactical 800360 is a fine piece of equipment. This scope would serve any precision shooter in any service well. I am impressed with it and am sure it would serve an individual or department for many years or decades to come. Hell, I have a T10 from the early 1970s mounted on a .308 Win. chambered Mk 77 and this combination shoots one-hole groups at 200 yards. With all the technological improvements of Weaver's latest scopes I have no doubt they will last as long if not longer.

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Smith & Wesson

Special Tactical Knife

From time to time I come across something I absolutely have to look at. This was the case with Smith & Wesson's Special Tactical Knife from a company best known for its firearms.

What amazed me about this knife was the price: under $15. But beyond that, it fits the hand well, its rubber coating has excellent grip when held with gloves, it has a sharp edge, and it operates smoothly. What's not to like?

I also like that a flipper lever assists in opening and becomes a blade guard when opened. If you prefer, you can use the thumb stud. The blade is a modified tanto half serrated, which means it can easily cut a seat belt or peel an apple. When the blade dulls, the 440C stainless is easy to sharpen and will hold an edge.

The Smith & Wesson Special Tactical Knife is a good buy for the buck. It will serve you well and won't break the bank. Check out this and other Smith & Wesson Knives for duty.

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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.