Five Functional EDC Knives I Have Used in My Law Enforcement Career



Introduction: EDC Knives

Everyday carry knives, or EDC knives for short, have taken on a life of their own. What was once just a good ol’ country boy slash working man habit, has spread into the urban setting and personal protection realm. Growing up in the Midwest, no self respecting person would be caught out with empty pockets. You never knew when you might need to strip a wire, open a feed sack, sharpen a pencil. Soon the popularity of having a knife handy grew. People from all walks of life starting making a knife a part of their daily life, every bit and accessory as a belt or shoes. After all one never knows when you will be called upon to slice a cake, or open a package.

Now, one can approach a magazine rack and find several issues at any given time, with a listing of that years best EDC knives choices (even KnifePlanet has one…), or log into Facebook and join a group of like minded EDC souls. There are no boundaries when it comes to EDC, race, sex, class, people from all walks of life are making sure they have a knife with them at all times.

The reasons people carry are as diverse as the people are. Some for self defense, some for utility purposes. Whatever reasons, people are carrying knives.

Top Functional EDC Knives

My list is based off of knives I have actually carried and used in my career in law enforcement, or as a outdoorsman. In no means do I think my list is better than others, however it isn’t just a list made from the top ten sales of last year.

Spyderco Para Military 2 EDC Knife

As a heavy use, professional setting EDC Knife, the Para Military 2 shines. The S30v blade holds a decent edge against hard use. The G10 scales provide a durable grip and hold up well to abuse. I recall just days after I got my Para M 2, I was working the scene of a bad crash. And while cutting a seatbelt, I dropped the knife, which of course got kicked out into traffic. Luckily it was only ran over by one car, but the scales had little more than scuff marks on them. A great knife for the money.

Kershaw Cryo II

I have owned and used many of kershaw’s knives, and I just love the Cryo II. The blade is made of 8Cr13Mov steel, which isn’t my favorite, but it does the job. The Cryo II is a little on the larger size, but not so big it didn’t fit well inside my uniform pant pocket. And of course, what’s not to love about Kershaw’s claim to fame, the assisted open system. This knife is well suited for the work, which isn’t a shock considering it was designed by an EMT/Firefighter. I’ll take a Cryo II any day.

Cold Steel Recon 1 EDC Knife

Speaking of larger knives, the Cold steel Recon 1 fits in a larger hand like it was made for it. I loved the heft and feel of this knife. I’m going to be honest, this is the only knife I have had with USA CTS XHP blade steel, and I’m looking forward to another one someday. I had a little trouble sharpening the knife, but once I found the right combination of grits, it was razor sharp.  And with the tanto blade style, it was a comfort to have in a sticky situation.

Opinel # 9 EDC Knives

I’m sure that this choice is going to be met with a chorus of groans amid the tactical group of people, but just hear me out.

There  are times and situations where it is handy not to use a expensive tactical knife. Like when I took a group of young boys fishing. Having a knife that was passed back and forth to cut bait, or cut fishing line, and not being overly worried if it was dropped overboard. At least that was the way of thinking at the time, however, if I have to admit it, I would prefer not losing my opinel.

As a outdoors knife the Opinel can’t be beat. It’s trademarked ViroBlock safety ring does exactly what it’s supposed to do time and time again. I went with the Carbon steel blade simply because of the edge retention, and I am used to the extra steps needed to take care of one, because of my carbon steel knives in the kitchen. With a easy to understand number system for size, an Opinel #9 is perfect size for what I need. I do have a #8 for church and it’s just as good.

Be sure to watch for our upcoming review of an Opinel Knife.

Ontario Rat 1

The final knife on my list is one I consider one of the best bang for the buck knives. The Ontario Rat 1 is a budget friendly knife, that’s not short on features. While this model offers several color scale choices, I went with basic black.

The Aus 8 stainless steel full flat grind blade holds its own, and takes a edge very well.

One of the selling features with me was the multi position clip, allowing for a range of carry positions.

The size of the Rat 1 is a bit on the larger size, a bit too much for everyday off duty, however it served me well on duty. Once you get your hands on it, you will understand, it doesn’t seem possible to have that kind of knife for that kind of money.


Well, there you have it, my personal EDC knives list, born from 18 years of law enforcement use. My knives are used, not babied in the least, when I need a knife I need something I know will be up to the job.


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