Knives and pocket tools have become as much a part of the duty uniform as body armor. There are as many styles of knives and tools as there are men and women in uniform. POLICE Magazine asked me to take a look at one item each from several of today's best known manufacturers.
First up on the list is 5.11 Tactical's XPRT. This knife was designed by Mike Vellekamp, who is one of the knife industry's hottest designers. A simple 3.75-inch clip point blade with a recurve edge, the XPRT provides a long and strong cutting edge. Its Crucible CPM S30V blade steel is tough, holds an edge, and sharpens easily. The blade and all hardware are black oxide coated to reduce reflections and enhance corrosion resistance, while the scaled G10 handle is scalloped to give you a solid grip.
What makes this knife different is how the liner lock and frame protrude from the rear of the knife to give you an impact weapon or glass breaker. 5.11 Tactical's XPRT gives the owner a knife built for duty and field use. With a Price of $149.99 this knife will not break the bank and will serve you for years to come.
Benchmade has been making knives for the kitchen, diving, and duty for more years than I can recall. Over the last couple of years, Benchmade has been building more high quality knives with lower price tags. The H&K Pika II is one of these offerings.
Using 9Cr13CoMoV this 3.5-inch blade is very corrosion resistant and extremely durable. Its glass-filled polymer handle is virtually indestructible. With a price of $45, this knife is tough and value priced. And the Pika II does not sacrifice Benchmade's quality.
Many years ago I obtained a knife from MOD Knives, the CQD MkI. The company was later acquired by BlackHawk and today this knife has been reinvented as the CQD MKI Type E. This updated version retains all of the tough features of its older sibling: blade, locking mechanism, PVD coated AUS8A steel, double locks, recessed seat belt cutter.
However, the Type E's frame is injection-molded reinforced nylon with stainless steel liners instead of the machined aluminum used in the MkI. The CQD MKI Type E is a large folder and comes with a sheath so you can carry it on your belt or tactical vest. It's an excellent knife and will serve you for years to come.
Columbia River Knife and Tool
Columbia River Knife and Tool has been making high-quality, value-priced knives for many years. This year the company has introduced the ExiTool. While this may not be a fancy, baddest blade on the market; it will make quick work of a seat belt or door window, and supply you with a light so you can find your way out of a wrecked vehicle.
Designed as an easy-to-carry rescue tool, the ExiTool will not only cut a seat belt or harness, but will also safely go through a long sleeved shirt should you need to put in an IV or find the source of blood coming from an accident victim. And thanks to the LED light located at the cutting end of the ExiTool you can do the cutting in little or no light. Tipping the scale at just over an ounce and a half, the ExiTool will not weigh you down. It can clip to your waistband, and could literally be a life saver should you or someone else become trapped in a vehicle.
If you are a knife person, the mere mention of Emerson evokes thoughts of serious knives for serious and dangerous operations. Ernie Emerson's knives continue to be used by the most elite warriors in military units worldwide. His company's "tactical pink" Mini C-15 SF or SFS is yet another of these knives.
Yes, the knife boasts pink G10 laminate grips and is built to take on the worst the job can dish out.
With an overall length of eight inches and a blade length of 3.25 inches it's the perfect size for slicing a sandwich or cutting open a bundle of suspected narcotics. The pink Mini's blade is what Emerson refers to as the Tant-Com, designed to give you the cutting power of a beveled tanto blade yet the cutting edge of a recurve blade. The Mini C-15 was built to be carried and used daily. Fear not if tactical pink is not your style. It can also be had in boring black.
Gerber has had some of the most innovative pocket tools on the market. Its Octane carries on that tradition. This compact tool offers you needle nose pliers, knife, wire cutter, flat and Philips head screwdrivers, and a bottle opener. All of this comes in a four-ounce, five-inch package, which means you can toss this in your duty bag or clip it to your pocket with the supplied pocket clip.
The Octane is roughly the same size as a knife, but packs a lot more useful tools in the same space. It should allow you to repair most things that break on duty. Need to tighten a loose screw or nut, clip a bent wire, or bend a stray wire? This miniature pocket tool from Gerber has you covered.
The name Ka-Bar is synonymous with tough knives built for hard use. The company is also known for giving the consumer great value. Its K2 Rescue set offers you both. This rescue knife and screwdriver set allow you to cut a harness or tighten down a loose screw.
The knife blade is fully serrated with a blunt nose hook style so you can slip the blade right next to the skin and not injure someone, yet quickly cut through most clothing material. So you don't lose the K2 Rescue in low light, its aluminum handle is safety orange. A nylon belt sheath that carries both the knife and driver bits keeps the K2 Rescue secure and close at hand.
I am a big fan of the Kershaw Carabiner Tool because it's so versatile. First, let me say this is not to be used for rappelling, for it will not secure you. That said, the Carabiner Tool will allow you to hang a heavy pack. More than that, this tool conceals a sharp partially serrated blade, both flat and Philips screwdrivers, an emergency nylon cord, and a bottle top opener.
Because it contains so many useful items, I keep this tool on my travel pack so I always have a sharp knife and screwdriver with me. The Carabiner Tool is available in a number of colors for easy identification if you have several team members who use them.
SOG Knives has been creating fine knives for GIs and cops for years; the company also makes some of the finest and most innovative pocket tools I have seen. This year the company introduced the Micro, which is the smallest pocket tool in its line.
Inside you'll find pliers, flat and Philips head screwdrivers, and a file. The best part is the tool only weighs a scant three ounces-less than your pocket change. While you won't be able to rebuild the squad car with it, you can adjust the settings on your rifle's scope, or fix those other little things you don't want to dig out a full sized set of tools for. The micro is even available in a number of colors: black, blue, green, and pink (pink must be the new tactical color for 2010).
Spyderco has been one of the most responsive knife manufacturers in the business. In addition to providing knives to fit people's wants and needs for a good value, the company addresses the needs of the left handed among us. Several Spyderco models, including its Military knife, are specifically made for southpaws.
The Military is a fine knife, with a thin profile, four-inch blade, liner lock, and G10 grips. This knife rides blade forward, tip down so it can be drawn and opened in one swift move with the blade opening away from you to reduce the chances of cutting yourself.
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.