A few years back, Kabar and the Tactical Defense Institute in Ohio, teamed up to produce a knife that would serve as an officer's last-ditch weapon in a defensive scenario. Not surprisingly, the Kabar TDI knife variants have become very popular not only with law enforcement, but also the civilian concealed-carry market.
Many of these pictures were provided by our customers via Instagram.
Most likely, the thing that will catch your attention about the Kabar TDI is its unique shape - it somewhat resembles a claw or talon. Upon first handling the blade, you'll notice that it feels very good in the hand. Kabar and The Defense Institute did a great job with the ergonomics of the grip during the design process. It is so comfortable in fact, that it actually feels like and extension of your hand - exactly what an advance knife fighter wants. The TDI is designed to allow the user to gain a positive purchase on the knife with either a forward (standard) grip, or a reverse grip. The unique curved shape of the Kabar TDI Law Enforcement knife makes it a very versatile defensive tool, assuming you have had some type of knife training.
The only real gripe that I have about the ergonomics of the TDI is the lack of texture on the grip. With a knife that is designed to be a defensive tool, I would have liked to see a more aggressive texture on the handle. The possibility of the knife slipping in a wet, muddy, or bloody confrontation should be a real concern. My personal TDI will be going under the soldering iron for some stippling - stay posted for that.
For the quality of blade you get, the price of the Kabar TDI is hard to beat. Similar designs from other companies run 3-4X the cost of the TDI. The TDI can be had from Amazon for $35, which makes it a must own for your EDC kit. At that price, there's really no excuse not to own one.
Utility and Purpose
The TDI is clearly designed to be a defensive tool, one that if the hands of someone trained with it, would be highly lethal. It is not designed to be an everyday user. You're not going to be peeling and apple, prying open a paint can (don't recommend that with any blade), or cutting cardboard with it. Is it capable of every day tasks like those, of course it is, but that's not what it's designed for. This knife is meant for last ditch, save your life scenarios, and it should be treated as such. My recommendation would be to simply carry two knives - one for every day carry tasks, and one for defensive purposes.
Size, Weight, and Materials
Upon first glance, the TDI looks kind of puny, especially when placed next to something like the TOPS C.U.T., which sports a similar curved design. Don't let the seemingly small profile of the TDI fool you. Even though the cutting edge of the blade is only 2.3 inches, if placed in the hands of someone who knows what they're doing, the TDI is a serious defensive tool. The TDI is constructed of high quality materials, relative to the cost of the blade. The blade is AUS-8 stainless steel, which is a pretty high quality Japanese steel that costs a lot less than American-made steels of similar properties. The handle for the TDI is made from Zytel, which is a very strong polymer. Again, as mentioned earlier, I feel like the grip should be a little more aggressive, considering the intended use of the Kabar TDI.
As with many of the great production fixed blade knives out there, the Kabar TDI comes with an a cheap, injection-molded plastic sheath. The sheath is bulky and blocky, but most regrettably, doesn't offer a consistent level of retention. I personally have three variants of the Kabar TDI - one of the sheaths made it impossible to smoothly draw the sheath because the retention was way too tight, the other two barely had any retention at all, and made me feel like the knife was constantly at risk of accidentally disengaging.
To remedy the Kabar TDI sheath problem, we have designed a custom kydex taco, or foldover style sheath. The taco style sheath is the strongest, most durable type of sheath, because it's made from only one piece of Kydex. Our sheath has a streamlined look, and offers a much thinner profile than the stock Kabar TDI sheath. Every custom Armatus taco sheath has a built thumb ramp to help you smoothly draw the knife. Each sheath comes standard with a laminated nylon soft loop that features a mil-spec Pull-the-Dot snap which allows the sheath to be converted from OWB to IWB carry with the simple turn of a screwdriver. The most important improvement that we have made to the Kabar TDI sheath is the consistent level of retention. Our TDI sheaths lock in to place with a positive click, and will not disengage until you need it to.
The Izula ESEE is one of my go-to EDC blades for more reasons than I have time to articulate into words. The Izula is small yet rugged, simplistic yet robust, and is capable of doing almost any task you can ask of it. The ESEE Izula is a small fixed blade (SFB) knife that is perfect for everything from bushcraft chores to yard work, and from opening mail to food prep. The ESSEE Izula will be able to take on just about any challenge that you can throw at it.
The Vita EDC Wallet by Armatus Carry Solutions is the next evolution of man’s most basic carry item – his wallet. Fabricated from a thin, light, and ultra-durable thermoplastic called Kydex, the Vita EDC Wallet makes it so you never have to carry that heavy, bulky leather wallet again!
The Vita EDC Wallet comes standard with a nylon soft loop and a mil-spec Pull-the-Dot snap. The soft loop secures your cards and other wallet content and also doubles as a cash strap (We suggest cash be carried inside the wallet as an extra security measure). The Pull-the-Dot snap can only be disengaged from one direction, which ensures that your cards and cash cannot come out of the wallet unless you want them to. The nylon loop and snap used on the Vita EDC Wallet are the same that we use on holsters that carry firearms every day. We reasoned that if we bet our lives on theses straps when it comes to our holstered firearms, why not use the same hardcore straps to secure our money?
Lately, I have had quite a few people ask me what belt I wear for concealed carry. The reality is, I don’t have just one concealed carry belt that I use. I do, however, have one that I wear most of the time, because it is the best on the market (more on that belt in a minute). Before I tell you what belts I personally use and recommend, let me explain the two qualities major that I look for in a concealed carry belt.
About a year ago I chose to add a defensive folding knife to my EDC. After a long decision process, I finally settled on the BM810 Contego from Benchmade’s Black Class (military and law enforcement line). After almost 12 months of carrying this blade, it’s time that I give the Contego an objective review.
The Contego has a huge blade! At 3.98”, it’s not your typical EDC utility knife, but it wasn’t designed to be. The long blade gives you the reach that you would want should the blade ever need to be deployed in a defensive role. The edge is long and is great for cutting and slicing. The blade is made from CPM-M4 high-speed tool steel and takes an awesome edge. The Contego’s CPM-M4 blade holds its sharpness longer than any other blade steel I have ever used (D2, 154CM, S30V, AUS-8). In the year (almost) that I have owned the Contego, it has only needed sharpening twice – most of the time, a few strokes on the strop does the job. The only warning that needs to be heeded about the CPM-M4 is that it is not stainless steel and the edge needs a light coat of oil every so often to keep rust away.
The “reverse tanto” is an awesome blade design. I have always loved the tip strength, and thrusting performance you get from a tanto blade; but they are hard to sharpen, and you lose a lot of the cutting surface. Benchmade’s reverse tanto fixes that problem. The angled tanto tip is on the non-cutting side of the blade, while the edge itself has a more traditional look and feel.
Anyone that has been a part of American gun culture knows that there are a lot of hotly debated issues in regards to firearms and related equipment. Everyone has their opinion about what’s “right,” or what the “best” is, but the reality is, most of these debates are based largely on subjective arguments. What works for one person, may not work for another. The topic addressed in this article is no different.
I have a lot people ask me how I feel about installing a laser on a carry gun. First of all let me say this: there are a lot of people, that know a lot more than me about concealed carry and combat tactics – A LOT OF PEOPLE! That being said, I usually answer that question with the standard, “You just have to find what works for you, and see if the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.”
Personally, I like having a laser on my everyday carry pistol. Here are five reasons why you should consider adding a laser to your carry gun:
I know what you’re thinking: “Of course you’re advocating Kydex holsters, you sell them.” Before you cast too much judgment, hear me out – We aren’t advocates of Kydex holsters because we manufacture them; we manufacture Kydex holsters because we are advocates of them. We believe that Kydex holsters are superior to leather holsters in every aspect except one – beauty.
If you are looking for beauty in a holster, go with leather – Kydex is not pretty.
If you are looking for a concealable, durable, hard-use, high-speed, low-drag holster, that is impervious to even the most hostile environments, Kydex is your best option.
Here are 11 reasons that a Kydex holster should replace your old leather holster for your concealed-carry EDC:
There is an old saying that I love, “Opinions are like buttholes - everybody has one and they all stink.” It’s true. I have an opinion on most things just like everyone else – and there’s nothing wrong with that. The problem is not that people have opinions; the problem is that some people try to force their opinions upon other people by packaging them as a fact. I find this to be especially true when it comes to people giving advice to self-proclaimed “newbies” in the gun and concealed-carry subculture.
I am a part of numerous gun and self-defense Internet forums, and for the most part, they’re great communities of like-minded people sharing real-life experiences. The forums can be great places to learn if you are new to guns. Unfortunately, from time to time, you get someone that regurgitates information that he/she read somewhere, that was originally written as an opinion or theoretical piece. Said person also tends to present that regurgitated information to people as fact.
Here are five concealed-carry myths that I have seen presented as factual information on different forums over the past week:
Most gearheads and disciples of the church of EDC carry a blade – after all, it is one of the most fundamental tools that we can carry. A good blade can be used for many tasks, from breaking down cardboard to food preparation; but how many of us carry a blade dedicated to defensive purposes? I never did. In fact, it never really crossed my mind because I carry a gun. But about a year ago, I decided I wanted to start carrying a knife that would be dedicated only for defense.
Why did I decide to carry a defensive folder?
There were two things that sold me on the fact that I “needed” to carry a defensive folder.
Essential Features (for me).
Once I decided that I was going to carry a knife that would be designated for defensive purposes, I began to list some of the features that I considered essential:
1. A blade made of one of the following steels (154cm, S30V, D2, or CPM-M4)
From my experience, these steels out perform almost all other types of blade steel in terms of durability, ability to take an edge, and edge retention after heavy use. I know blade steel is a debatable issue, but I like the aforementioned steels and wanted to stick with one of those.
2. A blade length of at least 3.5 inches.
If I am going to carry a blade for defensive purposes, I want it to have some reach. I want it to be able to inflict some damage if I have to thrust, while also having a long cutting edge.
3. Full steel liners.
Obviously, a well-made fixed blade knife is going to be stronger than a well-made folder, but carrying a fixed blade was not an option for me. The biggest weakness on folding knives is the pivot point, and while you will never make a folder as strong as a fixed blade, you can combat some of the weakness of the pivot with steel liners to hold the blade firmly in place.
3. G10 or micarta scales (handles).
From my experience, G10 and/or micarta offer a superior grip when compared to other materials. If I would ever have to use my knife to defend myself, I want to make sure that I have a positive grip that wont slip (even when wet). G10 and micarta both offer excellent texture that will stay firmly in your grip in the worst of conditions.
4. A solid locking mechanism.
I am a huge fan of the strength and durability of Benchmade’s Axis Lock. Because of that, Benchmade had the early lead when it came to making my final decision. There are many great liner-lock knives, but from my experience, the Axis Lock is in a league of its own (not to mention the wicked fast deployment of the Axis).
5. A Tanto (or similar) tip.
I like the strength of knives with Tanto tips. While they are a PIA to sharpen correctly, the tips of Tanto knifes are unrivaled for thrusting capability.
6. A tip up, low-profile pocket clip.
To me, tip up is essential for fast deployment. I also wanted a clip that would allow the knife to ride low in the pocket for ultimate concealability.
7. Keep it under $150
There are some who can spend upwards of $500 on a custom blade and feel fine about it – I am not one of them. In fact, I have a hard time spending more than $100 on a knife, even if I know I am going to carry it for a long time. I set an absolute spending ceiling of $150 on the knife I was looking for. With the type of blade steel (and other features) I was looking for, I would have been hard pressed to find a heavy duty, tactical folder for much less.
I looked at a ton of knives from various manufacturers such as Spyderco, Benchmade, Emerson, Zero Tolerance, and Cold Steel, but in the end, only one stood up to all my criterion - the Benchmade 810 Contego. I have been carrying the 810 for almost 9 months now and I have been nothing but impressed.
(A thorough review for the Benchmade 810 Contego will be forthcoming).
In the End
As with any weapon that I carry, I hope to never have to use my knife in a defensive scenario. Moreover, if I ever find myself in a situation where a weapon must be used to defend my life, or the life of others, I hope to be able to use a pistol. That being said, I have a knife that was designed from the ground up to be a hard-use fighting folder. As is the case with most of us EDCers, I would rather be over prepared than under prepared.
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