When it comes to duty knives, SWAT blades are in an exclusive field by themselves. No one expects them to be used as weapons because law enforcement tactical teams go armed to the teeth with state-of-the-art firearms and hold the legal authority to use all that firepower. Nor are they normally considered normal utility cutting tools. What they tend to specialize in is smashing, chopping, prying and breaking into “things,”— cars, buildings, floor boards, cabinets and containers of all types. Recently, famed photographer Ichiro Nagata worked with Jason Davis, administrative sergeant of the Arcadia, California police department to create their version of the perfect “SWAT Knife.”

Over dinner, Davis asked Nagata if he could help the police department to design this ideal SWAT knife. This lead Nagata to contacting his good friend Kikuo Matsuda in Japan, a renowned knife maker in that country, especially well known for his convex Japanese sword style edge grinds. The end result is the extremely heavy-duty Tuff Products “Arcadia SWAT Knife” that will be available in two basic sizes, 6-inch for active tactical teams and 4-inch for patrol units. Both feature black-coated D-2 tool steel blades 7mm thick on Micarta handles. The Kydex sheaths for the pair are also produced by Tuff Products. Currently, the suggested price for either knife will run around $850.

Tungsten Carbide Points

Along with the special convex Japanese sword-type edge, another unique feature of the Arcadia is that it offers not one but two Tungsten carbide window breaker points. There is a conventional stud on the butt of the handle and a duplicate version mounted on the spine of the blade near the tip. Breaking vehicle and dwelling windows is an everyday requirement for most SWAT teams and this knife will put the right tool in their hands the instant it is needed. Nagata provided me with a short video of Davis demonstrating the Tungsten carbide point’s effectiveness on car windows, and it certainly seemed to be getting the job done.

There was one little problem with that special sword edge when Nagata sent the prototype No. 2 of the 6-inch version for evaluation. It seems the importer had given the knife a very extensive field test of his own against car bodies and the like, pretty much destroying the handcrafted edge. D-2 is well known for being an extremely tough alloy but there are limits to even its edge holding ability when cutting sheet metal. The edge was bad enough that I have admit to actually giving the blade a light touch up on a 240 grit belt grinder before trying to hand sharpen the Arcadia. That said, I was a little surprised how easily the blade came back to life on a benchstone once the grinder removed the serious dings. A few minutes work on the medium and fine sides of a Norton India Tri-Stone cradle followed by a couple of passes over a diamond surfaced butcher’s steel had the edge shaving hair off my arm.

Pages: 1 2
Show Comments
  • Where can I but the set?

  • Uruk-hai

    The Ontario OKC3s would be a better choice. No need to reinvent the wheel….the USMC already has the tool.