I’ve been a knife guy for the better part of my adult life, almost always having at least one knife on my person somewhere. Majority of the time I prefer knives with a blade length of no more than 3.5″ for a few reasons, but mostly to skirt most restrictions on blade length. Many local municipalities have a cut-off of either 3″ or 3.5″, however, if you do any traveling (especially overseas), you’ll notice that some places require the blade length to be under 3″. Trying to find a decent knife, made from decent materials with a blade length under 3″ can be challenging.

The issue I run into when searching for a knife with such a short blade length is that typically the handle is too small, giving you less than ideal retention of the knife during use. Let me also add that if I’m traveling, I prefer to pack/carry a knife that won’t break the bank if I lose it, it gets stolen or I have to ditch the knife.

I recently came across the 5.11 Tactical DRT Folding Knife and I have to say, I’m pretty damn impressed. There are several points (no pun intended) that I want to highlight on this knife.


First, the profile of the blade is a spear point shape, which is ideal for any kind of stabbing. Generally, in a stressful encounter, you’re going to be stabbing at the attacker to get them off you as quick as possible. Second, the type of steel used is AUS-8 which is a great middle of the road steel. It holds an edge well and is easy to maintain after repeated use. Third, the length of the blade itself is 2.85″ with a cutting edge of 1.95″, making this an ideal knife for both domestic and international travels.


From an ergonomics standpoint, the handle is very comfortable in the hand. It has a natural feel to it when holding it and you’re not trying to adjust your grip constantly. The handle material is a durable FRN (Fiber Reinforced Nylon) that will stand up to repeated abuse and exposure to outdoor elements. Probably my favorite thing about the handle is the length which is 3.8″. At 3.8″ I can get a full grip on the knife like I would any other larger folder. The knife does come with a pocket clip mounted for tip down carry, but I prefer to just drop the knife inside my front pocket. It’s small enough to do so, and keeps a minimal profile while out in public.

Although I haven’t carried this knife much yet, out of the box it appears to be well built using quality materials. Time will tell how it holds up to daily use. If you work overseas in any capacity, this is a great EDC knife to keep on you. I say that because I know of a few dudes that work counter intel on foreign soil and carry this knife specifically because the blade length is legal where they are. Give it a try, you won’t be disappointed. For only $32, you can’t go wrong with the 5.11 DRT folder.


The 5.11 DRT Folder can be purchased on Amazon for around $32.99


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