4 HARDCORE 5.11s | Tactical Knives Review

The Tanto Surge (right) is a full tactical fixed blade,…

The Tanto Surge (right) is a full tactical fixed blade, big enough to do the job, not too big to get in the way. At left is the Side Kick, a good backup knife.

Many of TK’s readers are familiar with 5.11’s line of tactical clothing, which is well regarded within the “contracting” community. On a recent trip to Finland, I wore a 5.11 Aggressor Parka and despite cold, snow, and driving rain, I stayed dry and warm. There were many times in my career in the U.S. Army when I wished I could have been wearing that parka.

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In the penetration testing, the Tanto Surge penetrated deepest, closely followed by the XPRT. The Scout was right behind the XPRT and even the Side Kick penetrated the top portion of the box.

Incidentally, “5.11” comes from the Yosemite Decimal System, which was started to rate climbs in Yosemite. The “5” indicates the hardest category, and the “.11” is a sub-division which at the time was the hardest of the hard. Here a mistake or failure of your equipment would probably result in very serious injury or death. Like the 5.11 clothing line, the 5.11 knives that I evaluated are built with the company’s heritage in mind; they are designed and made to do the job without ever letting you down.

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The XPRT (top) and the Scout are two tough folders that will provide reliable service to their owners.

I was able to evaluate and use four of the 5.11 knives, all of which were designed by Mike Vellekamp from BladeTech and Fox Knives USA. Mike is well known and highly regarded for his knife designs and these 4 knives confirm his ability.

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  • JJ

    nothing against mike v., but 5.11 should have kept steve tarani on board as their knife designer. just visually looking at these blades from your pics already shows some important tactical design “omissions.” i won’t call them flaws, but tarani’s earlier designs had important specifics, that are now omitted.