Knives are like boots and gloves to an operator, what works for me is junk for you. For me, a knife is a tool, I find a use for it practically every single day. It is used to cut rope, open a package, cut out a splinter. I don’t use it as a weapon, that is what guns are for. Some guys are knife fighters and they prefer to carry a fighting knife; I prefer to use a pistol over a knife. Therefore, my requirements for a knife are quality in craftsmanship, ability to hold an edge, ergonomics and the ability to employ it as quickly as possible.

Over my 20-year career as a SEAL, I have been issued dozens of knives (fixed blades and everyday carry knives). The last knife I was issued was a Protech TR-3 AUTO Knife with Fish Scale grip and safety. I was surprised that I was issued such a nice knife. Usually, we get issued middle of the road knives, not high-end knives. This time was different, this knife opened with force. When I pressed the button to open the knife It almost jumped out of my hand. In the past, we were issued switchblade knives but they ever opened like the Tr-3. When I got home I put my Emerson CQC-7 in the gun safe (Team Guy kids like knives) and I have carried the ProTech ever since.

The ProTech TR-3 is ProTech’s most popular knife with Military and Police. It has a 3.5-inch blade that is available in a variety of colors and blade finishes. Handles are machined from solid bars of T6 6061 aluminum. The blades are 154-CM Stainless Steel.

Protech TR-3 with SEAL Trident

The TR-3 issued is different from the ones in the catalog; ours have safeties. When I first got the knife I thought, “why the hell do I need a safety on a knife. It’s like having a safety on a pistol… it’s stupid and only going to slow me down”. I was wrong; first, the knife safety is in the right place to transition from the pocket to off safe, opening the blade smoothly. Operating the safety is not awkward or slow you down in any way.  But I knew better, I kept the TR-3 safety off so I could be fast. Remember when I said it opens with force, well it opened with force in my pocket. From that day forward I kept it on safe.

Since I have been retired, I have purchased 5 TR-3’s for friends and family as gifts. Each gift was given with a letter. That letter was different for each individual except for these three sentences: “Over my 20-year career as Navy SEAL I have been issued, bought and received dozens of knives. I believe that the TR3-X1M is the best all around knife I have ever carried. It is not to big, not to small, ergonomically superior, and extremely well-built.”



Jack Thompson spent 20 years a Navy SEAL Operator. Combat tours include Bosnia, Africa, Afghanistan (x3) and Iraq (x2). He firmly believes “Its not what you’re doing, it’s who you’re doing it with.”