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The word utility is defined as “fitness for a purpose or worth to some end, something useful or designed for use.” I like this word. In a time when it seems that everything intended for law enforcement is labeled something ninja-like—tactical, Recon, Delta, SWAT, Ops, Special Ops—it’s nice to have a company introduce a few products for which the name aptly describes the product without “wrapping it in black nylon,” so to speak.
Surefire is a legendary company. The company’s founder, John Mathews, designed and invented the first palm-sized, super-bright flashlight. For decades, I’ve heard cops refer to any hand-held and weapon light as a “Surefire,” regardless of the brand.
I admit to a certain bias for Surefire products. I’ve used them since their introduction and they’ve proved their worth to me since day one. Mr. Mathews gave me my first 6P light at an IACP show, and it’s still in working condition. During my time in narcotics, I was searching for a suspect that was hiding in an attic, and as I attempted to use my 6P to search and disorient the suspect, I dropped the light and the Xenon bulb burst. One of my teammates handed me another Surefire quickly, and the suspect was taken into custody without incident.
I returned the light to Surefire for repair with an explanation of what happened. Not only did they fix it for free, it arrived overnight with a letter from Mr. Mathews. He apologized, and said he was glad I wasn’t hurt! Since then, I’ve been a solid Surefire fan, having been through Surefire Academy training, as well as visiting the factory.
When Surefire decided to enter the knife market, I was enthused. I knew they’d give the same TLC to their knives as they did their lights. My first Surefire knife was the Echo Fixed Blade Combat/Utility Knife, a fixed sheath blade built like a crow bar. When Surefire introduced the Crank folder ($179), I thought this could better fit my world of work. At the 2011 SHOT Show, Surefire introduced the Crank’s little brother, the Dart ($215), which was just what I was seeking for everyday carry. The Dart is basically the Crank without the tool attachments at the heel of the handle. Surefire calls these two folders utility knives, and they certainly meet my definition of utility.
As a utility knife, the Crank combines a compact size and maximum functionality making it an excellent everyday-carry, outdoor or law enforcement backup knife. Its compact blade is made from 154-cm stainless steel, has excellent slicing geometry, enough point for good penetration and is able to stand up to all weather conditions. Designed for a secure grip on the handle, the Crank’s aluminum frame features a hexagonal opening that serves as a wrench for 1/2" nuts. Slots in the opening hold various coins for use as a field-expedient flathead screwdriver. Completing Crank’s functionality is a built-in cord/seatbelt cutter and a bottle opener for those times when stress is low.
The Dart is the latest introduction to the Surefire knife line. This new blade was designed due to popular demand. Users wanted a knife with the Crank’s utility, but in a more streamlined configuration for casual or off-duty use. Its 3", 154-cm stainless steel blade is identical to that of the Crank and also has a distinctively sculpted hard-anodized aluminum frame/grip with a steel-bar lock. The Dart has a shorter length and no frame tools, resulting in an excellent choice for backup carry or everyday pocket carry, or those situations where less is more. Like the larger Crank, it has a pocket clip for carry in various locations, but can easily be deployed when needed. To me, the Dart is a small knife with a big-knife feel. It’s small enough to carry at all times, but large enough to take on serious cutting chores.
Although these knives might not be the most inexpensive you can find, they’re like all Surefire products: well designed and built to last a lifetime.
• Ambidextrous thumb studs yield one-hand opening
• Stainless-steel clip for various carry locations
• Compact with aluminum light-weight frame