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Fixed Blades for Law Enforcement

Written by Mick Williams

Yes, fixed blades have a place in law enforcement. Fixed blades are quicker to deploy and are mechanically stronger than any folder. The downsides to fixed blades are the public perception and size-space issues. Many agencies authorize fixed blades for SWAT missions but not patrol. We will look at some knives that can fit in both roles and some that would obliviously fit only in the SWAT or tactical operations missions.

Brock Blades Combat Options

It is rare to feature a knife for law enforcement from a one-man custom shop, but Brock Blades is worth the exception. Ken Brock is a full-time police officer and SWAT cop who makes customs knives between work, callouts and family. One of Brock’s base models is the Combat Options. Like most of Brock’s knives, it can be ordered within a certain length range, handle preferences and finishes.

The particular Combat Options reviewed here is a new variation that will no doubt become popular. While these custom options change pricing, the pricing for a full custom knife built to your specs is very reasonable.

The 4.5-inch blade is made from the semi-exotic S30V hybrid stainless steel, and it has a unique profile. The blade has a Tanto point with a false top edge, making for great penetration. It isn’t as stout as most Tantos for tasks like prying and digging, but it probably does better at penetrating. Unlike most Tanto pattern knives, this Combat Options has a nice belly to the edge for slicing and cutting. The blade profile gives you the best attributes of a Tanto and a drop point (or spear point) blade.

The handle is completely done by Brock. The rounded G10 handle is scalloped and contoured by hand, which give you finger grooves wherever you grab the handle. The grip is rounded at the pommel and sloped to fit the palm. The handle fits very well and works well with gloves.

The Kydex sheath is tight fitting and formed to the particular knife. The sheath has an open mouth funnel for safe resheathing. It comes with a removable TekLok belt clip. The sheath was carried on a static line system. This is a loop of 550 cord tied to the bottom of the sheath and looped to the belt and the sheath is tucked in the pant. When you pull the knife out, the sheath comes with it until the cord runs to the end and the knife snaps out. This is a comfortable and concealable way to carry a fixed blade. It can be carried behind a duty belt or behind a magazine pouch.

The Combat Option is an affordable, customizable fixed blade. The fact that Brock uses his knives every day as a cop—and his tactical teammates also depend on them—speaks volumes to their performance.

Chris Reeve’s Green Beret Knife

Chris Reeve has teamed up with custom knife-maker Bill Harsey to produce a no-nonsense knife for hard use. The Green Beret knife is the sterile civilian version of the knife presented to every graduate of the Army Special Forces Q-Course. The Green Beret has a 5.5-inch long, S30V alloy blade in a spear point pattern. The blade and tang are coated with KG Gun-Kote, giving them a gunmetal grey look. KG Gun-Kote is a high-wear coating that offers good protection from corrosion, though S30V is fairly corrosive resistant.

The blade is stout and cuts and penetrates very well. A 5.5-inch spear point blade should do any mission a cop is assigned to work. The blade has a small 1-inch amount of serration at the rear of the blade for cutting line, rope, etc. The knife has a full hilt to prevent the hand from slipping forward onto the blade.

The handle has large finger contours to accommodate a variety of hands or hands wearing gloves. The handle has rounded Micarta slabs that are screwed to the tang. The hex screws can be removed for maintenance and cleaning. The Foliage Green Micarta is slightly roughed to add texture to the handle.

The exposed tang pommel has lanyard hole with a supplied 550 para cord wrist lanyard. The pommel design also works well for thumb on top placement if using a reverse grip. The pommel can also take being pounded by a hammer to split materials.

The supplied sheath is built by Spec-Ops and comes in Foliage green. These match the new ACU uniform the Army issues. The sheath comes with a split belt loop, which is more comfortable than one large belt loop to bind on your gear. The split belt loop is also MOLLE compatible for putting on vests or MOLLE belts. It has a large amount of 550 para cord to use as a tie-down for extra security, too. There is an accessory pouch that fits multi-tools, small folders or spare pistol magazines.

The Green Beret knife is well-suited for the SWAT mission, especially for rural teams or snipers who may be working with their knives more than usual. If you are going to be doing a lot of cutting and heavy work, the Green Beret knife can handle it.

CRKT Ultima

The Columbia River Knife and Tool (CRKT) Ultima is immediately noticed for its grip. The Zytel handle is cut into 70 triangular segments with space or grooves between them. This is done to optimize the texture and let fluids run away from the contact points of the hand and the grip. The Zytel is screwed to the full tang and is hilted to prevent the hand from slipping forward. The exposed pommel is hooked on the bottom to use as a small pry tool. The grip is very comfortable and does feel like it gives a lot of control.

The blade is DIN 1.4116 stainless steel with a titanium nitrate coating. The 1.4116 alloy is similar to 440-A stainless steel but with vanadium added for increased tensile strength and impact strength. While the edge will need sharpened more often than other steels, it will field sharpen easier and is tough enough for many of the uses in law enforcement. The Tanto blade design maintains its 0.180-inch thickness down to the tip for added strength.

The partially serrated blade has the unique Veff serrations. These serration scallops are set at a 60-degree angle to the edge as opposed to the more traditional 90-degree angle. CRKT believes these serrations are more efficient in cutting flexible materials such as rope and line. The Ultima did cut these materials, and everything else, pretty well. However, we did not do any side-by-side testing to verify that the 60-degree angle is truly more efficient.

The sheath is Cordura with injected molder liner. The sheath has double retention straps for securing the knife. It comes with split belt loops that are MOLLE compatible. A removable leg strap is on the sheath along with 550 para cord for additional tie-down points. It also has an accessory pouch with an adjustable Fastex™ buckle.

The Ultima has some unique features that make it easy to maintain and a comfortable knife. It would work well in the SWAT mission, though it will need edge maintenance.

Hideaway Knife’s Utility

Hideaway Knives is a small company that started with a base design that was executed through collaborations with custom knife-makers. Custom makers such as Mick Strider, Ken Brock, Joe Blum, Rob Simonich, Mickey Yurco and others produced custom-made hideaway knives (HAK) for the company. The problem was the higher prices and that there was a long wait for the knives. Hideaway Knives came up with a production knife called the Utility Hideaway Knife (the UHAK). The UHAK is about $70 and is more available.

Each UHAK is made of 440C with an almost 2-inch blade. The blade profile does not fit the classic definition. This a triangle point with a straight edge. The spine is curved and has ridges for thumb placement. The UHAK is not a great penetrator but is outstanding at cutting and slicing.

Instead of a handle, there is a capsule. When ordering a UHAK, you need to measure the diameter of your index finger and middle finger together. You enter this measurement into the order, and a properly sized UHAK is sent. To grip the knife, you insert your two fingers in the capsule, place your thumb on the thumb ramp, and lock the side of your ring finger into the groove on the rear of the capsule. This makes for a fast secure grip on a small knife. You can also still use your hand to grab stuff and not drop the knife. It is a very secure grip and easy to use.

The basic UHAK comes with the bikini Kydex sheath, but there are up to six different sheath options from Hideaway Knives. The bikini sheath, as the name would imply, is a minimalist sheath that you can set-up with 550 para cord as neck knife, a state cord or just pocket carry. The sheath fits on vest, behind mag pouches, and on drop leg holsters nicely. The UHAK is small concealable functional blade that has a unique grip that gives you options. Hideaway Knives is the only place you can get the UHAK because of the custom sizing.

Ontario RAT-3

Ontario Knives has teamed up with Jeff Randall of Randall Adventure and Training to developed edge tools. The RAT-3 is a compact fixed blade in the RAT line. The RAT-3 has a 3.5-inch D2 tool steel blade. D2 is a great steel for hardness and for impact resistance. D2 sharpens very well. D2 does have some corrosion issues, but many makers use it. The RAT-3 has a textured epoxy coating on the blade for protection. The drop point blade has a small amount of serrations at the rear of the blade. There is a finger choil and serrated thumb ramp for more precise cutting or scraping jobs. The blade cut very well and did well on the couple of minor prying jobs it had to perform.

The Micarta slabs for the handles are screwed to the full tang. The Micarta is very flat for carry as a neck knife. The edges are rounded for comfort, and the handle feels good. The exposed pommel has a lanyard hole and is rounded for comfort in the palm.

The sheath is a molded Blade-Tech sheath. The knife fits tightly in the sheath and is very secure for a sheath without a retention strap. The knife is quick to deploy out of the sheath and easy to resheath due to the wide opening the funnels the blade back into the molded portion of the sheath. The sheath comes with two attachment options, a Tek-Lock belt clip or a boot clip. Both can be removed and the sheath can be used as a neck knife.

Wilson Tactical Cop-Tool

The Cop-Tool is exactly that…a tool, more than a knife. Ryan Wilson and retired cop Roy Huntington teamed up to design and produce the Cop-Tool. The Cop-Tool is made of 3/16-inch thick D2 tool steel. It is 6 inches overall in length. The primary cutting edge is fully serrated and measures 1.75 inches long. There is no normal point or tip; instead it has a chisel edge on the front of the blade. This chisel edge is great for scraping and prying, but it will not cut anything. The serrated edge cut through most materials without problems, but it will not make “clean” cuts.

There is a finger choil and the thumb divot for additional leverage for prying and scraping. The back of the blade has seatbelt/line cutter that is very functional and works well. We used the Cop-Tool on an abandon car during training. It broke side windows out, cut belts and pried old looser doors open. Basically, it worked exactly as advertised.

The handle is wrapped para cord, which is comfortable and easy to remove. If the handle becomes contaminated with diesel fuel for instance, remove the para cord and rewrap it with new cord (or send it in to be rewrapped).

The sheath is tightly fitted Kydex with two rubber belt loops. The sheath is designed to be worn on the trouser belt (similar to an IWB sheath) under the duty belt. This is an unobtrusive way to carry a functional tool on duty without raising eyebrows or having to eat extra doughnuts to expand your duty belt. The sheath is very flat and is comfortable in this setup. The Cop-Tool is a purpose-built tool. The Cop-Tool was made for someone wanting a compact rescue tool for duty carry.

Mick Williams is a patrol officer, SWAT team member and defensive tactics instructor with the Bloomington, IN, Police. He can be reached at williamm@city.bloomington.in.us.


Published in Tactical Response, Nov/Dec 2006

Rating : 10.0


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