Issue knives and tools for LEOs?

Jan 21, 1999
Glocks, Berettas, SIG-Sauers, Smith & Wessons dominate the U.S. LEO market for issued handguns. H&K and Colt for SMGs, Remingtons and Berretas for shotgun. ASP batons are the standard, and now pepper sprays are also entering acceptance as non-lethal tools. (I don't know about stun guns, maybe Cougar Allen's report will be the deciding factor?

With the US Military, the choice has been Berretas, SIG-Sauers, H&Ks as issued small arms.

I'm curious to know if knives and tools are being issued as well to the U.S. and other country's law enforment offices. If so, what brands and models dominate this market? If not, why?

While browsing thru the May issue of GUNS Magazine in a local bookstore, I read that one local PD in the US issue their officers with Mad Dog and Emerson knives. So far, this is the only info I know where an LE unit issue knives.

Here in the Philippines, our national police does not include knives as issue equipment. I only see some police carrying their personal bali-songs in their leather sheaths.

Any info will be much appreciated. Thanks!
I work for a mid-size dept. (400+ sworn officers). We are not issued any knives or tools. We have to provide our own. I will say however that most of the officers in my dept that carry a knife carry Cold Steel. I think the general consensus is that they are helf way decent knives and for the money if they get messed up or lost its no big deal. I see alot of Gerber ezouts also. A few officers carry multitools , but not many.
shootist16 -- I assume a number of cops carry personal knives, but I'm curious why PDs such as yours refuse to issue knives?
I have been around LEO's my whole life and I think most departments' reason for non-issuance of knives and multi-tools is due to a public perception problem. If the budget shows that police are being issued these items, the potential is there for negative publicity. The public for the most part sees knives as tools of ill-will and the idea of law enforcement officers being issued knives has the potential to turn into a PR battle no department wants to deal with.

Yes it's sharp!!!! Now go get the first-aid kit!!!

I work for a mid-size state dept. (250 sworn officers) which is very progressive when it comes to equipment. That does not apply to cutlery, however! Just as with Shootist16 all of our officers provide their own knives (mostly Benchmade and Spydercos) and Leatherman tools (original model is most popular). I'm still working on the equipment comittee to issue a standard model knfe with approx. 4" blade so we can standardize.


You mentioned the military regarding guns, but not knives. NSNs (stock numbers) have been assigned a Camillus auto, Benchmade AFO auto, Mission MPK-Ti, in addition to the normal Kabar fixed blades and Camillus folders. Over the years, special orders from military units have run the gamut from Spyderco Enduras and Delicas to custom folders and fixed blades.


I did NOT escape from the institution! They gave me a day pass!

I just joined a rather large dept, and we, thankfully, are NOT issued multi-tools and knives.

Why thankfully?

Because I trust the bureaucrats in the Dept. of Public Safety to make informed decisions about the best equipment about as far as I can chuck them. If they make a standard-issue decision, that is what I will have to carry. No ifs, ands or buts. Sure, I can theoretically ask for permission from the Chief of Police to carry something non-standard, but that would be as likely to bear fruit as Dan Quayle's presidential bid.

One of Murphy's Laws of Combat:

Never forget- your weapon was manufactured by the lowest bidder.


Hey! Uncle Sam!

(_!_) Nyah nyah nyah!

Refund! You lose! :)

Knife Medic -- I find it ironic (idiotic?) that some PD bureaucrats are concerned with the possible negative PR publicity if knives are issued to LEOs. Are knives really perceived as the greater evil than firearms, then?

Waldo -- good luck!

bald1 -- Thanks. Why don't your federal and local LEOs follow the Military's practice then?

Coronach -- what is your standard firearm issue, then? Will you be confident in using it as you have no other alternative when on-duty? Is it not better to follow Waldo's effort?

"It is better to understand a little than to misunderstand a lot." -- Anonymous

As an LEO over the past many years I have been issued the following at one time or another:

1. Victorinox Super Tinker

2. Gerber LST in small and mid size

3. Leatherman Tool

4. U.S. Navy Mk III (issued while on SRT)

Obviously, the knives were issued for utility rather than combat purposes. (With possible exception of #4)


Live Free or Die

My Dept. standard issue is a S&W .45, and I'm not exactly pleased with that, either. I have smallish hands, and the gun fits my grip like...well...not well at all.

I would much prefer to have the freedom to purchase a Sig or something of higher quality than a S&W smei-auto (I like their revolvers, though), since I will be trusting the gun with my life.


PS and yes, Waldo's solution is ideal. But in a dept this size, a rookie officer's voice is very soft indeed (and it should be).

Hey! Uncle Sam!

(_!_) Nyah nyah nyah!

Refund! You lose! :)

I think there are several reasons for depts, at least mine, not issuing knives and tools.

1. They dont want to spend the money.

2. Liability (we do not receive standardized training in how to use a knife)

3. The knife is a weapon and not a tool perception.

Also by dept regulations right now we cant carry a knife with over a 4" blade and we cant carry fixed blades of any kind. There is a move right now in our dept. (Knoxville, Tennessee) to not allow us to carry knives at all. Knives are not in our use of force continuum and the administration is afraid of one of us having to use a knife.

next time you need to cut a clothes line that is strangling a child,a seat belt to get some one out of a burning car, or open an airway so someone can breath. I have had to do all of these and more when I worked LE. Use you issue pistol then explain that you were not allowed any other tools. I am not surprised by the idiocy of our poliitians and administrators. The theory has been that no matter how streetwise and smart a officer was,Once they were promoted to an office job, Goofy gas was piped in. They lost any common sense, empathy, or tact with officers that were not responsible for thier well being or out ranked them.

Good Luck,

BTW I worked in East Tenn. LE for 3 yrs.

I think they promote people sometimes because they were incompetent as patrolmen. In other words, they are promoted to get them off the streets. I got a bullpup shotgun, which WAS authorized by our general orders. I liked it because it was compact, which would aid in searching buildings. When my Lt. saw it during a vehicle inspection the general order was changed. I was told the shotgun might either "intimidate or offend someone" This is the mentality we live with every day as LEO's. And people wonder why it seems we cant get anything done. All we really are is report takers for insurance companies. Our DA wont even prosecute someone for selling drugs unless they have a pager, cell phone and get this preferably a signed confession that they are drug dealers!

BMWGS80 which agency did you work at?

Totally off the subject-
I just wanted to say thank you to all of the LEOs out there . You give it your all and don't recieve much appreceation for putting your lives on the line Thank You for all that you do!
I work in a small suburban dept. Some of the Ofcs. are carrying Multi-tools of one kind or another. Others are carrying S&W SWAT folders or spyderco's, I carry a Buck 110 on my belt and an S&W in my right pocket. I plan to get a Spyderco Military with my next clothing allowance!

My department does provide edged weapons training. They do not issue knives, but "recommend" Cold SteelProducts. Yeccch. I am also required to carry a .40 cal weapon, with the only choices being SIG, Glock or Beretta compact models, which is also not issued. The Administration is not really popular due to these kinds of decisions, but What say do I have. When I started in security work and I learned to make due with what I had and buy the best that I can afford.

I work for a small department in Colorado. We are very well equiped- the city manager says yes to most of our requests. There is no requirement to carry knives, though everyone does. The department does not provide the knives. I carry a 4" Cold Steele Tanto as do a couple of others. Just about every major brand is represented by someone, though.

An LEO's knife could be a back-up weapon, or it could be a work/rescue tool.

As a back-up weapon, it is outside many a department's use of force doctrines and training, and also hopelessly politically incorrect. I don't recall ever seeing in the news a case of a cop cutting a suspect, though I've seen plenty of justified or murky cases of shooting, blunt trauma, etcetera.

A sharp, tough, and versatile work/rescue knife is probably the same knife that would also be an effective back-up weapon. Some knives sacrifice versatility for a peaceful image. Sheepsfoot blades, as in the Spyderco Rescue, have been around a long time, but some companies are making knives that are deliberately disabled as weapons. The rescue versions of the Camillus CUDA and Lev-R-Lock have incurved edges and no point at all, and could cut a rope or a seat belt, but are of no use in a fight, and helpless to open a package or slice a bagel.

LEO's are not the only people to suffer from "knife-phobia". The current supervisor at our EMS division is of the opinion that knives are not needed in our line of work. Told him to try cutting some of the things in the same situations that I have had to, but he wasn't real receptive to that concept. Remember the Rule of Supervision: Screw up/Kiss up and Move up!!!!

Yes it's sharp!!!! Now go get the first-aid kit!!!
I dislike the idea of issue.The Troopers should have what they want.