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Franciscomv 07-09-2010 05:29 PM

LEOs and military guys, please help me out.
I'm writing some knife articles for a couple of magazines, which is great because I get knives to play with for a while and can purchase them with a huge discount. However, quite a few of these knives are advertised as tools for emergency response workers, police officers or soldiers.

I've got the emergency part covered. I'm a volunteer with several SAR organizations, attend training sessions a few times a year and have friends in that line of work. So I know what an EMT, fireman or SAR worker need in a knife.

The problem is that I don't have any first hand experience about what policemen or soldiers look for in a knife. Things like how much money you guys can sink into a blade or tool, what carry options work better when you've got to add a knife to all that gear that's already hanging on your belt or vest, etc. Any details you can give me will help a lot. I'm going to interview some GEOF (Argentine version of SWAT) guys that my academy is helping train, I feel like having some previous knowledge would help me ask better questions.

You don't need to write a super long post with loads of technical details, just give me a general idea of what sort of knife or multitool (or rescue tool, etc.) you carry and what you like about it.


robocop10mm 07-09-2010 07:11 PM

I like big, strong and uber sharp. I carry a CRKT M-16/14 and a Benchmade Auto Tanto for my primaries. Leatherman Micra for small jobs and a Leatherman Wave on the gun belt.

Smaller Benchmades are popular around here (auto preferred). I see a few smaller CRKT's and the occasional MOD in pockets. Most carry a multi tool on the gun belt with Leatherman being the most popular and Gerber being #2.

We make pretty good money so the higher end blades are not unheard of.

Hot Sauce NARC 07-09-2010 07:37 PM

i carry in my pocket all the time since im always in plain clothes and dont really have anywhere else to carry anything. A folder with about a 4inch blade is what i like. I like plain blades, hate serrated ones for some odd reason. I carry a cold steel ti-lite aluminum frame and i love it. My only dislike on it is the clip location i wish it was at the hinge end instead of the butt end. Unlike robo were are not well paid and im the only one i work with who sees the importance of a knife enough to spend alot of money on one. The majority of the time my knife isnt used for much cutting, rather PRYING and inspecting things i would rather not touch with my hands. Strength for prying is extremly important to me when considering a knife, so is sharpness and edge durability, I HATE stainless steel.

Franciscomv 07-09-2010 07:52 PM

Thanks for the replies, guys.

Robo, is there a practical reason for the popularity of autos? I can open my manual folders as fast as an auto. Is it just because LEOs can own and carry them freely?

Hot Sauce NARC, the Ti-Lite is a cool design. If it carried tip down it would defeat the fast deployment system (similar to an Emerson wave), that's why it's tip up. The prying part is very interesting, that's just the kind of info I was looking for. Oh, and there are plenty of really good stainless steels out there (the Ti-Lite is stainless), you just need to find one that works well for your needs.

Hot Sauce NARC 07-09-2010 08:12 PM

ya i understand that the ti-lite is stainless (aus8a i think) i should have put that as another con in my above post. it stays relativly sharp. I have a black jack thats pretty close to the same steel too, but i just wish knife companies would give you a choice of stainless or tool steel or high carbon so you could tailor the blade to its intended purpose better.

I dont see the quick deployment system as a must for me. Its nice to have that option on a knife because it can make opening with one hand easier in some situations, hands soaked with oil/blood, but cold steel markets it for people using that knife as their sole self defense weapon. If im resorting to my pocket knife for self defense both of my guns are dry and im exhausted from beating people to death with them. the serrated clip that grabs the corner of your pocket to open the knife tends to scratch the crap out of my thigh when its inside my pocket, so i could live without it.

Dzscubie 07-09-2010 08:26 PM


Glass carries a Spyderco Endura as her pocket clip knife and has several jesters on each of her key rings. She also has a leather man in her patrol car. She likes the edge that Spydercos carry and when she needs a knife it must be sharp. I will have her post to you with more details of what and why.

I carry a lot of knives on duty and almost all are for a specific purpose. My normal working knife is the Bob Lum Titanium Tanto that is used as a multi-purpose knife. It needs to be sharp but beefy enough to withstand constant and hard use. I carry the Stainless Endura as a back up utility knife. I carry a McHenry&Williams Benchmade as a back up/last chance to save your life weapon that was given to me after completion of a Tactical Duty Knife Instructor class I completed a few years ago. It is sharp, quick to flick open (not an auto) and easy to hold as the grip is G-10. I carry a Spyderco Cricket on my duty belt that I use to cut samples from bundles of dope when I make a seizure.

Almost all my officers carry knives for duty use and they are looked at more as tools rather than weapons. We run the gambit from cheap to expensive it is up to how the officer feels about it. Most carry buck folders in a duty belt sheath or a clip knife in their pocket. In our duties as customs officers we do a lot of opening of packages, boxes, cutting rope, twine and nylon rope and strapping and sometimes out of necessity cutting light wire or cable. Most important is how long the knife will keep an edge, how easy is it to bring an edge back by sharpening, will the blade break (how sturdy is the blade for prying). Many officers do like an auto mainly because when you are in multiple containers (18 wheeler trailers, railroad containers, sea containers) you may be in awkward positions and no have free use of both hands and you need an auto. A flick open may work, however, the chance to drop your knife is amplified by the more movement needed to open the blade (my observation and my opinion only).

I know a lot of street officers (police and sheriffs) that like the Spyderco Rescue design for duty use in emergencies because of the design of the blade. When you are trying to cut a seat belt that is drawn tight in an accident or cut jeans legs or coats you donít want a pointed blade that could cut the person your trying to help the rounded end of the Rescue is perfect for this reason. I also think ambulance and EMTís like the rescue blade type also. You might want to talk to the ambulance people for their input also.

Take care and I would like to read your article when you finish.

robocop10mm 07-09-2010 09:42 PM

I think the autos are popular here because we have GT Distributors in town and they carry a good selection. Partially because of the novelty, I'm sure.

I carry the Benchmade in my left front pocket and the CRKT in the right. Each is specific for that hand (For me). I have had to use the auto to cut off seat belts while holding direct pressure on a bleeder in a car wreck. I cannot open a traditional folder left handed so left hand access is nice.

I got a great deal on the CRKT (Z) and always wanted one. They are nice and beefy and the Z model is not too heavy (for me).

NGIB 07-09-2010 10:04 PM


Originally Posted by robocop10mm (Post 312656)
I got a great deal on the CRKT (Z) and always wanted one. They are nice and beefy and the Z model is not too heavy (for me).

Be real Robo, a full size machete wouldn't be to heavy for you (and might even fit in your pocket)...:)

Dzscubie 07-09-2010 10:16 PM

Hey Robo, where do you keep that butter knife that you threatened.. I mean .. showed Joe at the meet up?? :D

c3shooter 07-09-2010 11:10 PM

Military- have a Gerber Mk1 that I have had since ....... well, a VERY long time. Suitable for use as a tool or weapon- double edged, part serrated, part smooth blade. Kept a small Swiss Army for everyday chores. But the Gerber was handy for removing snarled rope from a carabiener, making your own door in a helicopter, etc. Altho I DO have an Othello Red Dot thrower that my lady bought me for a birthday gift.

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