Many blunt-point, fully-serrated, “seat belt” knives exist. Taylor Cutlery
, in their Smith & Wesson line, has just introduced a unique variation on this theme, a multiple-purpose, “traffic safety” knife.
Called the “S&W 911 First Response,” the knife has a fully-serrated blade made of 440C stainless steel. Serrated blades are more effective than plain blades in cutting rope, straps, fabric and, of course, seat belts. The blade point is blunt and flat to prevent injury during rescue operations. The blade has a double hollow ground cutting edge. The blade is a reasonably robust 1/8-inch thick and is 3.6-inches long with a 2.5-inch cutting surface.
Totally unlike most other knives, the SW 911 FR is actually designed for prying. The blade tip is somewhat screwdriver shaped and the blade pin is large enough to withstand reasonable prying forces. The pivot pin is made from 1/4-inch stainless steel. When have you ever heard a knife maker describe his knife as “a small crowbar that cuts?”
The SW 911 FR tool is ambidextrous, with a large thumb studs on each side of the blade. We found the blade easy to open with gloves on and easy to open while distracted with other aspects of the crash scene. The handles made from Zytel® (fiberglass-filled nylon) and the surface is stippled for an easy grip. The knife has a non-reversible pocket clip.
The SW 911 FR uses the common liner-lock design. While reasonably durable, the liner-lock is not the strongest blade lock design, and at just 0.040-inches thick, this knife does not have the strongest liner-lock material. This will not affect the primary task of cutting in any way, but should be kept in mind during more creative uses of the knife at the crash scene. The knife did indeed fully lock each time we opened it.
By far the most innovative aspect of the SW 911 FR knife is the spring-loaded, tungsten carbide, striker-punch for shattering side glass. With a fixed-mounted glass punch, or an exposed pommel, the officer must supply the striking force. This may mean the officer’s hand has a chance of engaging the glass during the over-travel of the strike. The fixed punch also sticks out and is often in the way.
With the SW 911 FR, the pommel containing the cocked striker is simply placed on the glass, and the spring released by rotating the trigger lever. Of course, we tested the striker-punch against tempered side glass and even laminated windshield glass. Under spring-pressure alone, the striker shattered the side glass some of the time. The striker also cracked one of the two laminated layers of the windshield glass enough for us to pry the blade into the glass and cut along the fracture lines.
In the very worst case, the knife allows the traffic officer to have a large but recessed glass-shattering striker that he can expose to use manually when needed. In this regard, the knife is a very useful traffic safety tool.
According to Taylor Cutlery, now called Taylor Brands, the Smith & Wesson 911 First Response has been beta-site tested at actual crash scenes by members of the Scottsdale, AZ Police; Atlanta Metro Police and Johnson City, TN Police.