Vel Tye Tactical Gear News


How to Choose the Best Police Knife

August 17, 2017
By Vel Tye

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Police officers have a myriad of options when it comes to choosing a tactical knife. Police knives (more formally known in the industry as “tactical knives”) are intended to serve a variety of purposes. They’re also meant to be small, portable, and easily concealed.

Why Do Police Need Knives?

Although tactical knives can be used for self-defense in particularly dire situations, police officers typically have better tools for that job. Knives also require close proximity to an assailant to be useful during an attack. The primary purpose of police knives, then, is to perform a variety of utility chores. These can include:

  • Opening contraband
  • Prying open windows or doors
  • Jimmying locked containers
  • Cutting clothing
  • Breaking windows in an accident

Types of Police Knives

There are several kinds of tactical knives suitable for carry by law enforcement. Most are foldable knives that fold away, blade-in, when not in use. Other popular knife styles include automatic knives, boot knives, rescue knives, and fixed knives. Each are well-suited to different purposes.

It’s also important to note that police knives come in smooth or serrated blade styles. Smooth blades are ideal for scraping and cutting while serrated knives are better at “sawing” through materials.

Choosing the Best Police Knife

The first step in choosing a good police knife for your purposes is knowing what you’ll use it for. Patrol duty officers might find more use with rescue knives, carbon-tipped so they’re suitable for breaking car windows in the event of an emergency. Conversely, beat cops might prefer a boot knife, there when they need it in case they lose hold of their firearm.

Which blade material do most officers prefer? Steel knives are by far and away the most common, particularly stainless steel. Steel blades are often coated to appear black and avoid corrosion with an oxide coating. Steel for knives is rated according to characteristics like hardness, durability, and more. Ratings range from S30V to CPM-T440V.

The locking mechanism on a (folding) knife should be carefully considered; in most instances, the knife will need to be accessed quickly. Can the lock be operated easily with one hand? The lock also determines how much pressure can be applied to a folding knife before it folds. Is it strong enough for its intended purposes?

Maintenance should also be a consideration. Knives need to be kept as clean and dry as possible at all times, so the fewer “crevices,” the better. The knife’s pivot pin may need a small application of oil from time to time, and almost all knives will need to be sharpened regularly to maintain effectiveness.

Where do police officers keep their tactical knives? Typically, in their utility pouch, on their duty belt (sometimes using a knife clip) or in a specially-designed knife holster. Where a knife is stored depends on its redundancy, its purpose, and the desire to conceal it.


Vel Tye is a US-based producer of police tactical gear, including knife accessories. To see which law enforcement products are in our store right now, click here.

Topics: Law Enforcement, Police Gear