When the words “tactical knife” are spoken, the first thing many people think of are large blades, some fixed, some folding, with black handles and black shiny blades. There might be serrations and even a hollow handle with survival tools inside, but I am willing to go out on a limb and say most people do not carry such a knife on a daily basis. Truth be told, most city people carry a folding knife with a blade 3 inches long or less. Why? Because it is convenient, causes little alarm in the workplace and is legal in most jurisdictions.

Perception is important, and if you perceive the need for a large knife, then it is probably a must-have solution for you. As for me, life experience has led me to smaller, handier knives for everyday carry, and after 37 years of law enforcement, security and full-time firearms instruction, I maintain the same thought. Knowing my preference for smaller blades, I was asked to review a couple of small folders from A.G. Russell, to see if these knives could be used in the tactical or personal-defense arena. Before I even looked at them, I knew the answer—anything (pen, fork, stick, book) can be a weapon if the mind makes it so.

The pair of folders sent by A.G. Russell would be thought of as gentlemen’s folders by many, but I doubt any of them would want to test the knives’ cutting abilities with repeated slashes to their own flesh. If you take a moment to consider how a knife is used in a defensive situation, you’ll recognize it will be with fast stabs or slashes, something I saw over and over again in my law enforcement career. (And it was seldom a high-end, tactical knife, but a kitchen or fishing knife.) Because folders are trim and light, they will likely be with you always, as opposed to the large sheath or folding knife, which you may decide is just too heavy to carry on a particular day.

Trim & Light
The first adaptation of the lock was on the A.G. Russell K93, which was produced with Zytel handles and a modified version of the lock. The K12 One-Hand Knife is a continuation of that modification. As costs rose, the retail price of the original rose too, thus Russell decided to offer a new knife that would operate in the same fashion, allowing the owner to open and close the knife with only one hand, but at a lower price. That’s the K12, which employs the same front-lock mechanism of previous designs but with a blade that measures just under 3 inches, making it legal in most jurisdictions…

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