With most military units it is relatively easy to identify issue weapons and equipment. With the U.S. Navy SEALs—not so much! Naval Special Warfare units have a wide leeway in purchasing weapons and equipment. Often, each Special Boat Team, Seal Delivery Vehicle Team, or SEAL Team purchases special equipment to fit the unit’s mission. A good example is the Pro-Tech TR-3 automatic knives purchased by Naval Special Warfare Group 2, which includes three SEAL Teams, a Seal Delivery Vehicle Team and other elements.
Why Go Auto?
Airborne qualified units have often used automatic knives. In World War II, U.S. paratroopers were issued the M2 Parachutist Knife and later airborne troops were issued the MC-1. The logic behind the automatic knife for parachute troops is that it may be necessary to cut free if snagged in a tree or otherwise immobilized in the chute. In this situation, it was assumed that an arm might be incapacitated or tangled; hence, an auto would be desirable. Combat swimmers such as the SEALs may also have use for an auto in other circumstances. While carrying out small boat or underwater operations, the operator might get tangled in lines or otherwise trapped under water where a knife that can be deployed in close quarters with one hand might prove desirable. Of course, units such as the SEALs may find an auto useful for various other reasons.
The Pro-Tech TR-3 offers some appealing characteristics for the special operations operator. The slimness and compact size of the TR-3—4.5 inches overall closed and 3.6 ounces—allow it to be stowed very easily on the tactical vest or in a uniform pocket. The 154-CM 59 RC stainless steel blade is 3.5 inches long and .125-inch thick. Overall length is 8 inches with blade open. The handle is of T6-6061 Anodized Aluminum in various colors. The availability in a wide color range offers appeal to some military units who may want green, black, FDE (Flat Dark Earth), etc.