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6 tips for choosing tactical knives

Here are some practical guidelines for choosing a good duty knife


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I am an advocate of carrying a good tactical combat knife or two on duty. I personally carry a Cold Steel Recon 1 (Tanto Point version) every day while on patrol.

Guidelines for choosing a good tactical duty knife

  1. Decide if you want to carry one or two knives. One working knife to beat, bang, pry and get dirty, along with one to keep for personal defense.
  2. For either of the choices you want a solid knife, a locking folder knife or a sheathed knife.
  3. For all purposes a 3" to 5” blade is in the wise category. Longer is not better.
  4. The blade should be stout — thin is not in, 3/16” area is a good recommendation.
  5. As far as serrated or plain, I prefer plain, it’s easier to take care of and touch up the edge.
  6. By all means, go by your police department’s regulations and guidelines. Training is good, but being familiar with your equipment and having a plan of action when things go bad is paramount.

NEXT: 8 tactical knives for police officers

This article, originally published 7/23/2007, has been updated.