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Hendon Publishing

Knives That Are Tools: KA-BAR Becker Tac Tool

Typically, one operator on the tactical team carries a big fixed blade, but a large fixed blade knife is not always the right tool.

Think of exactly how you use the fixed blade in tactical scenarios. You hack and chop with the knife as if it were a hatchet, axe or small machete. You pry, leverage and force things as if it were a wrecking bar or crowbar. You pound on things as if the knife were a hammer. You beat on it with a ram or small sledge as if it were a chisel. You use it to dig and scoop like a shovel.

We seldom use these really big knives to cut anything and almost never use them for precision cutting. For those jobs, it is easier to use a tactical folder. So, why do we carry a big knife when the real need is for anything but a knife? While everyone else on the team can get by with their tactical folder, one guy on the team needs the right tool for the job.

The KA-BAR Tac Tool is an excellent example of the “right” tool for tactical operations. It offers several advantages over a knife for certain tasks.

The BK3 Tac Tool is made in the United States by KA-BAR, but it was originally designed and recently updated by Ethan Becker of Becker Knife & Tool. KA-BAR currently produces six different Becker-designed fixed blades.

The Tac Tool uses a 7-inch long, 0.188-inch thick, 1.6-inch wide blade made of 1095-series Tool Carbon Steel. This is a “cro-van” alloy with 0.95% Carbon and higher levels of Chromium and Vanadium for extreme toughness and excellent corrosion resistance.

The Tac Tool has three different chisel ground knife edges and one serrated edge for cutting. A combination of a breaching tool and a big knife, the Tac Tool also has three wedge edges for inserting and prying. The exposed tang pommel and the flat false edge allow the Tac Tool to be hammered into a door jam or window frame prior to the breach attempt. The Tac Tool also has a wire, webbing and para-cord cutter.

The grip panels are made from Grivory, a trade name for one of the high performance nylons, virtually identical to Zytel®. It may have been better if the grip panels were heavily textured instead of perfectly smooth; however, the slight palm swell and massive index and little finger reliefs make the Tac Tool easy to grip (and hard to lose grip). The grip panels are fastened to the full length tang with huge socket head machine screws and hex nuts.

On a big knife or tactical tool, the sheath is just as important as the blade. In fact, while many big blades may be equal, their sheaths are not. Some sheaths are afterthoughts, mere storage devices. Many great fixed blades come with sheaths so bad that the knife can’t really be used for tactical operations. This is not the case with the KA-BAR Kydex sheath which holds the Becker Tac Tool.

Just like a good security holster allows quick access to a gun, the Tac Tool can be quickly drawn with one hand. The open sheath design easily allows the Tac Tool back into the sheath and offers the ability to immediately retain the tool as soon as it is sheathed. With the Kydex material, it is simple to snap the tool in place. Finally, the Tac Tool can be secured by secondary metal snaps. The Tac Tool and sheath can be attached in at least two ways: with a belt loop or with a web loop ring. Of course, the slots and rings in the sheath also accommodate a variety of Velcro® strap and para-cord options.
The Tac Tool, with a 7-inch blade, weighs 21 ounces, which is the same as a small wrecking bar. A typical 14-inch long, big tactical knife with 8-inch blade weighs 16 ounces. The Tac Tool can be easily carried for interior work, which is helpful because your team’s pry bar was most likely dropped at the door as soon as it was breached.

A knife is always handy, but the Becker Tac Tool is the right tool for many jobs.

Published in Tactical Response, Nov/Dec 2009

Rating : 10.0

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