I learned very early in my police career that a knife is essential. I'd been on the street about a month, working the midnight shift, when I came across a car on its top in a roadside ditch. I got down on my hands and knees and saw a female (she'd been drinking but was sober at this point) strapped into the driver s seat upside down. She was screaming at me to get her out of the car and, although I saw no indication of fire, gas had leaked out and was pooling around the car. The seatbelt was jammed. I couldn't release her, so I started to look around for something to cut it with to no avail. I called the situation in on the radio, and a medic crew arrived shortly thereafter to extract her. A grizzled veteran firefighter wandered over and asked me, "Why didn't you cut her out of the seatbelt?"
When I told him I had nothing to cut with, he looked at me in shock and said, "Kid, if you work in a job that requires a gun, don t you think it would also be a good idea to carry a knife?"
I went out and bought a folding knife the next day, and I haven t been without one since. Over the years I ve carried many knives, but I ve gravitated toward folders that I call small knives with a big knife feel. With a blade length of about three inches, the grip will fill my hand and keep it solidly anchored when I use the knife vigorously. I really don t want my hand to slide onto the blade while I m using it.
Although the folder could certainly be used as a back-up weapon (and has been, especially during weapon retention situations), I think of it more as a cutting tool, so I prefer a folding knife to a fixed blade. At the same time, I want a knife I can deploy quickly and easily with one hand. At this past SHOT Show, I came across the Benchmade Model 585 Mini-Barrage, which was recently awarded the Shooting Industry Academy of Excellence 2009 Knife of the Year Award.
The Model 585 Mini-Barrage features a patented AXIS Assist Locking Mechanism, combining speed and strength in one complete package. Not only is AXIS a solid locking system, but it s also easy to release with one hand when putting the knife away. Other features include 100% ambidextrous function; a tip-up, reversible carry clip; and 154CM blade steel. The blade is also available in a partially serrated configuration.
What sets the Mini-Barrage apart, however, is the spring-assisted opening system. Don t confuse this with an auto-opener or what many think of as a switch-blade. Opening-assisted knives must be partially opened manually using the thumb-stud mounted on top of the blade. This is an important legal distinction in many jurisdictions. In reality, the opening-assisted action was my one concern, thinking that it might open in my pocket due to body motion. But after months of carry, it never happened, and the Mini-Barrage has been nothing but a stellar performer.Note:The Mini-Barrage also features a locking button.
Model 585 Mini-Barrage