Trending Topics

This knife company collaborated with a long-time special ops trainer to create a knife that’s not your average folder

Designed to be a utilitarian self-defense tool, this sleek knife is purposefully crafted

Annotation 2020-06-16 095514.png

Sponsored by Benchmade Knife Company

By Sean Curtis for Police1 BrandFocus

Greg Thompson has been training special operations units since 1998. He’s also trained a lot of law enforcement personnel over the years. Combining his decades of combative training (Muay Thai and Gracie Jiu-Jitsu) and instruction with his background in design, he created the Special Operations Combatives Program (SOCP), which takes a holistic approach to covering all levels of the rules of engagement followed by law enforcement.

Thanks to Benchmade Knife Company, the SOCP Dagger designed to maintain dexterity, was brought to life. More recently, the knife makers worked with Thompson to create the 391BK SOCP Tactical Folder, yet another excellent evolution in the line.

The SOCP Folder has been designed to be a utilitarian self-defense option applicable to civilian, law enforcement, and military units, spanning a scale. The slim profile, solid components, and strategically unique features make it a departure from the average folder you see marketed to police these days.

Having the pleasure of speaking with Thompson directly, he filled me in on the thought process behind its development. I confirmed something he said in a video about the SOCP Folder— “Every centimeter of this knife, there’s a reason for it.”

Made in the U.S. with lightweight, durable materials

391SBK SOCP TACTICAL FOLDER®First stop, looking at the materials the SOCP Folder is made with, you can get a glimpse of the overall quality.

It is a folding knife with a 4.47-inch blade (straight-edge or half serration available) that is forged out of D2 steel (60-62 HRC). The handle, 5.66-inches long, is made from CF Elite, a carbon-fiber-reinforced nylon polymer. The overall weight is 4.10-ounces giving the knife a slim, lightweight, yet strong overall impression. While the materials along tell an encouraging story, the ideas driving the design are where many cops will find themselves nodding theirs hears.

Stealth, sleek design that’s meant to deliver

The SOCP Folder is a utilitarian approach that offers modern law enforcement a lot of tools. Thompson understood the force continuum and incorporated options into the folder as a result. This tool can be utilized in conjunction with the weapon-less techniques he teaches. It can be used as a general cutting tool, a striking and raking implement, a glass breaker if needed, and ultimately a self-defense tool to create space or retain your primary weapon if the situation calls for it.

The long, slender, blade is a spear-point configuration, indicative of a more piercing modus than slashing. The action of the knife is manual, but this too was intentional. Thompson wanted the user to be able to open the blade quietly if the situation called for it. Automatics and even assisted openers can be a little noisy when being deployed. The knife opens smoothly with a thumb-disk (as opposed to a thumb-stud) mounted on the spine of the blade near the pivot. This disk offers ambidextrous access so the blade can be opened seamlessly from either hand.

The handle has an excellent texture with concentric ring patterns emanating from three dimples intentionally placed as reference points. Thompson understands the tactile can become physical memory and a knife held in one grip can easily be transitioned to another if the hand “sees” where it is holding. The end of the handle opposite the pivot features a carbide-tip, extremely useful for breaking glass or as an impact weapon.

The locking mechanism is a Benchmade AXIS-Lock, which requires the user to pull back at least one side of the two-sided pins located in the handle to release the blade from its fixed position. The lock is strong once locked into place. Finally, a short clip adorns one side of the handle near the pivot. This clip, with a circular homage to the SOCP Dagger, is short. It allows the folder to hang low in a pocket, behind a vest, or button-down shirt, well-concealed but still readily available for reach. The clip can be moved to one of four positions according to user preference though Thompson’s intention was for the blade to be stowed tip down as a point of reference and for ease of deployment.

Unboxing the SOCP Folder

I tried out the SOCP Folder and among my first impressions, it was hair-shaving sharp out of the box. I think this is crucial anymore, but you can’t always count on this from some manufacturers. Benchmade made the SOCP Folder razor sharp. The blade is thin but strong, and the pivot is strongly formed. I noticed no wiggle between the handle and the blade once deployed. I found the hinge-point to be extremely smooth and quiet as well, allowing for a one-handed opening technique to open the blade rapidly from either hand.

The clip really allows the knife to sit down low in the pocket, but you can grasp it and pull it out quickly. The thinness of the knife had me rethinking where I might be able to store it. A pretty diverse profile of law enforcement can use this knife is so many scenarios. Obviously uniformed personnel can rely on the SOCP Folder, but folks who use plate carriers or over vests can slide it down into their MOLLE. Plainclothes units or even suit and tie law enforcement can tuck the knife away still midline, where it is available to be deployed by either hand.

The dimples on the handle really allowed my hand to envision how the knife was gripped in my hand as it related to the clip. I was able to switch between forward and reverse grip without thought. Switching hands took a little more practice but the dimples accelerated the learning. The knife is outstanding in a field of blades marketed to this profession.

Outstanding Value

Greg Thompson has compiled lifetimes of combat and law enforcement experience into a training program optimized for those who dare to hold the line. Through that program, he developed some blades that best fit those tactics with an economy of the same motions. He understands the challenges law enforcers face and the rules of engagement they must adhere to. He created the SOCP Folder to meet those demands. Benchmade faithfully executed that design with top-shelf materials, making a knife that cops can rely on for years of service.

Get more info from Benchmade Knife Company

Read next: 10 ways cops went above and beyond during the COVID-19 crisis

Sean Curtis is a law enforcement professional with over two decades of experience, serving with SWAT, diving and swift water rescue teams in Colorado. He has also served in wildland fire, search and rescue, EMS and emergency management.

The district attorney’s office said the officer’s use of force was “clearly a last resort”
Deputies were assisting a U.S. Marshals Service task force when the scene turned deadly
Police said a surveillance team was following the man just prior to the attack
The officer managed to shoot the suspect during the altercation, police said