Regardless of your profession, a blade can come in handy. As a LEO (Law Enforcement Officer), I’d say it should be a requirement. I can use my blade for day-to-day tasks, saving a life, defending myself, and more. As a LEO I have requirements I place on my blades that others may not. Everyone has their favorite blade, so to make this list I took into consideration: off-hand draw (non-shooting hand), grip retention (hold while in a struggle, or wet), defense (fighting with it), practicalness (day-to-day usage), and durability.

#5 Emerson: La Griffe (Specifications taken from emersonknives.com)

Specifications

  • Handles: Skeletonized Handle
  • Blade: 154 CM
  • Finish: Black Oxide (various available)
  • Grind: Razor Sharp Chisel Grind
  • Overall Length : 4.9 in.
  • Blade Length: 1.75 in.
  • Blade Thickness: .125 in.
  • Hardness: 57-59 RC
  • Weight: 1.5 oz.

This is a small fixed-blade knife. The size is my favorite part. At under 5” you have the ability to put this blade anywhere on your kit. It also comes with a chain so you can wear it as a necklace under your shirt. However, what I like about it is also its weakness. Due to its small size, and smooth finish you could end up losing it in a struggle (it does have a finger hole that will help prevent this, but you have to make sure you get your finger in there during a struggle).

#4 Emerson: Gentleman Jim (Specifications taken from emersonknives.com)

Specifications

  • Handles: Black G-10 epoxy / glass laminate
  • Lock: Aerospace grade Titanium
  • Blade: 154 CM
  • Finish: Stonewash
  • Grind: Conventional V Grind
  • Overall Length : 8.55 in.
  • Blade Length: 3.75 in.
  • Blade Thickness: .125 in.
  • Hardness: 57-59 RC

This is a folder with the Emerson Wave technology. In short, the wave allows the blade to open as you are drawing it from your pocket. I was able to deploy this blade faster than an auto-opener (button push), or an assisted opener. The blade comes to a serious point (think spear tip), and it literally screams I want to hurt someone. The spear tip which makes it such an awesome weapon is a little overkill for my day-to-day tasks (I’d want it in a fight, but not opening boxes).

#3 Zero Tolerance: 0900 (Specifications taken from zt.kaiusaltd.com)

Specifications

  • Manual open: KVT ball-bearing system
  • Frame lock: hardened steel lockbar insert
  • Reversible clip: (left/right)
  • Steel: S35VN, stonewashed finish
  • Handle: Titanium: stonewashed finish
  • Blade length: 2.7 in. (6.9 cm)
  • Closed length: 3.9 in. (9.9 cm)
  • Overall length: 6 .6 in. (16.8 cm)
  • Weight: 4.3 oz. (121.9 g)

Of all the blades on this list, this one is my favorite day-to-day blade. It is just the right size to easily slide into your pocket, the blade is large enough for defense and small enough to be practical. It is a manual opener, but the bearing system is extremely smooth and fluid. If there was no risk of needing it for combat, this would be my #1 blade. With combat in mind, the smooth finished handle will be extremely difficult to maintain in a struggle, and almost impossible if it becomes wet.

#2 Emerson: P-Sark (Specifications taken from emersonknives.com)

Specifications

  • Handles: Black G-10 epoxy / glass laminate
  • Lock: Aerospace grade Titanium
  • Blade: 154 CM
  • Finish: Black or Satin Finish
  • Grind: Razor Sharp Chisel Grind
  • Overall Length : 8.2 in.
  • Blade Length: 3.5 in.
  • Blade Thickness: .125 in.
  • Hardness: 57-59 RC
  • Weight: 4.1 oz.

The P-Sark is a curved blade where the tip dips down (Wave technology). The idea behind this blade is rescue and recovery. I could place the back of the blade against someone to cut away their seatbelt, without risk of injury. Its handle has an extremely aggressive finish making the grip perfect in all conditions. The only downside to this blade is its size, at a little over 8” open and a little under 5” closed it’s a bit cumbersome to carry. I basically need to commit an entire pocket to carry it. Make no mistake, if I needed to rescue someone this is the first blade I would want at the ready.

#1 Ka-Bar: TDI Law Enforcement Knife (Specifications taken from kabar.com)

Specifications

  • Weight: 0.20 lb
  • Steel: AUS 8A Stainless Steel
  • Blade Type: Fixed Blade
  • Blade length: 2.3125”
  • Overall length: 5.625″
  • Grind: Hollow
  • Handle Material: Zytel ®
  • Shape: Drop Point
  • HRC: 57-59CR
  • Blade Thickness: 0.125

This small fixed blade topped my list for a number of reasons. First, it rated the highest across my criteria considerations: off-hand draw, grip retention, defense, practicalness, and durability. Its mounting features really appealed to me. The placement of this blade is limited only by your imagination (I wear it on my under belt for a fast off-hand (non-shooting hand) draw, and a clean cross draw with my strong-hand (shooting). Being a fixed blade means less chance of failure when I need it most, and its size lends to its practicalness. 

(Video courtesy of Tactical Defense Institute YouTube channel)

Everyone will have slightly different considerations when they choose a work-blade, as such their lists may vary. I’d be happy carrying any of the blades on this list as my LEO blade. Also, I’d love to hear what blades you use for your job, and what made you select them. 


 served with the 2nd Ranger Battalion from 2003-2007 where he deployed four times in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom. He attended Jump school, Ranger school and has served as a riflemen progressing to a team leader. After leaving the Military Robert became a Customs and Border Protection Officer, working at both Seaports and Airports. During his time at CBP he has been utilized as a Range Safety Officer and K9 Handler, and EMT. When not spending time with his wife and kids, Robert spends his time bowhunting in Washington State, and lifting heavy things. Fun Certifications: CF-L1, Firefighter I, EMT. (Instagram: robert.mccartney)