Ka-Bar TDI Law Enforcement Knife – The Long Version

I had written a long review of the Ka-Bar TDI Law Enforcement Short Knife. This is a short review of the Ka-Bar TDI Law Enforcement Long (Large) Knife.

I recently received the large version of the Ka-Bar TDI Law Enforcement knife and thought that I would share some of my impressions if this version.

As I stated in my earlier article, it took some time for me to warm up to the design of the Ka-Bar TDI knife in general. The design reminded me of the shape of the Kukri knife. While I own several Kukri knives, I was not sure how the design would translate into a small knife. After all, the power of the Kukri lies in the mass at the front portion of the blade. The Ka-Bar TDI has no mass, per se, in the blade. However, it does have a distinct grip design that should feel familiar to those who carry a handgun for self-protection.

The Knife:

First of all, the long (large) version of the Ka-Bar TDI law Enforcement knife is not a compact knife, as is the short version.

John Benner, founder of Tactical Defense Institute, designed the Ka-Bar TDI Law Enforcement Knife. The Large KABAR TDI Law Enforcement Knife features a 3 11/16″ drop point fixed blade made of AUS8 stainless steel. The blade of this KABAR knife has a non-reflective black powder coat, and TDI logo. The TDI Law Enforcement Knife has full tang construction with black Zytel scales. A side-to-side reversible hard plastic friction fit sheath with nylon straps is included with this KABAR knife. The Large KABAR TDI Law Enforcement Knife has an overall length of 7 9/16″, and weighs 0.4 lb.

Ka-Bar TDI Law Enforcement Knife - Large - Specifications

The knife is substantial in the hand. It is heavy and well made. The 3/16″ backbone says that this knife is ready for heavy duty. The 3 11/16″ blade length falls within most, but not all, knife laws. It is wise to be advised about your state laws concerning carrying knives.

Ka-Bar TDI Law Enforcement Knife - Large

The molded Zytel scales of the knife are slightly textured and just feel like they should fit in the hand, and they do – and well, I might add. An indented finger groove just before the blade (more commonly known as the front Quillon) allows the index finger to wrap around the knife comfortably. A well-defined ricasso (the part that is unsharpened and at the full thickness of the blade.) carries the theme forward to prevent the fingers from contacting the cutting edge. A well-defined, ribbed thumb rest on the top of the handle provides a substantial surface for the thumb for the blade-forward position. The same ribbed pattern is used at the butt of the handle on the inside and the outside to help keep the hand from sliding forward on the knife.

In the blade forward position, the angle of the blade provides a sort of lever for the hand. With straight knives, and when jabbing and thrusting, the hand and wrist are at an awkward angle. When holding the Ka-Bar TDI knives, the position of the hand is as it would be when holding a pistol or revolver. When thrusting, the attitude of the hand is more of a fist; the fist being in-line with the wrist, which provides a very stable platform and helps keep the hand away from the blade.

You will notice in the image that the handle is more like gripping a handgun. The impact of a thrust is to the fleshy part of the hand and absorbs the impact, as would a firearm.

In the blade-back position, again the handle is against the palm of the hand, which provides an immense amount of support when gripping the knife. The little finger is set firmly around the indents in the scales. I found that by wrapping the thumb around the base of the handle, the knife is firmly locked in place. In the blade-back position, the tip of the blade is actually forward of the fist.

The knife, when positioned blade-up position, becomes quite a unique weapon. With standard knives, and when used in the blade up position, the blade is on the same plane as the hand and most knife grips are not designed with the blade-up position in mind. With the Ka-Bar TDI series of knives, the blade-up position is taken literally, as the point of the blade is pointing up. The thumb is locked into the finger groove just before the blade. The index finger wraps the handle and rest on the choil with the remaining fingers completing the grab. The grip may seems awkward but there are several moves that take advantage of this position and are, primarily, stab and pull movements or reverse slicing movements.

There are several versions of the knife including a Tanto-style blade. Plain or partially serrated edges are available for each version. I prefer the smooth blade and drop-point to most others.

The knife was surprisingly sharp when I received it, but not extraordinarily sharp. A little honing will take care of that issue.

The scales are mounted using three very small Torx screws. Shipped with the knife was with a small plastic bag that contained two spare screws and a Torx wrench. The Torx wrench will also be used for removing or adding sheath accessories and mounting the sheath to an ankle strap.

The Sheath:

The sheath consist of a hard plastic sheath that is fitted with flexible Cordura straps to mount to pant and duty belts, tactical vests, and more. The knife clips solidly in place when inserted into the sheath. The lip of the sheath contains a ribbed pattern that matches the ribs found in the choil of the knife. A nice functional touch and provides a place for the thumb when removing the knife from the sheath for a blade-forward position.

If the sheath is mounting so that removing the knife would position it in the blade-back position, the base of the hand rests against the lip of the sheath with the little finger wrapped around the finger groove. A quick pull release the knife from the sheath.

The sheath has two mounting straps affixed to the sheath with two torque screws in each strap. The mounting straps are reversible for left or right hand, blade forward or blade back positions, and horizontal or vertical carry. A clip (sold separately) provides OWB or IWB carry. An ankle strap (sold separately), allows for ankle carry. Each strap is of heavy nylon and has Velcro hook and loop fasteners on the inside of the straps. These would be used for a Velcro lined duty belt or liner belt (as I wear) and help to secure the sheath.

I found that by removing the two bottom Torx screws on the mounting straps allows me to wear the knife IWB, blade forward, at about the 8:00 o’clock position. The sheath can be placed inside the pants while the mounting straps are looped around the belt and then snapped in place. I also found that by removing just the two top Torx screws, the knife can be worn IWB and a shirt can be tucked around it and then bloused to help in the concealment. Note that the sheath is 4″ in length and may play a part in a decision as to the carry location for the knife.

The sheath is intended for the belt, a pack, or vest. The knife/sheath combination could also be worn around the neck using Para cord or leather lacing.

The knife package can be mounted to a TDI ankle rig, but Ka-Bar makes the KABAR TDI Law Enforcement Ankle Knife, which is meant for that purpose and has a less blade-to-handle angle than the Ka-Bar TDI Long Law Enforcement knife. Thus, better concealment.

The Whole Package:

Overall, the Ka-Bar TDI Long Law Enforcement knife and sheath is an excellent package. Both the knife and the sheath are of quality materials and manufacturing and the TDI package affords quite a few options for carry.

The design of the knife is unique and takes advantage of the arm, wrist, and hand working as a unit.

I find the knife comfortable to hold in the hand. I have read of complaints regarding the handle being slippery. I have no issue with it, as the ribbed sections of the handle work well with me. However, some grip tape could help in that department, if need be.

You can view the complete line of Ka-Bar TDI knives at the Knives Plus website.

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About Taurian

Taurian is an Oath Keeper, veteran, former LEO and Defensive Tactics Instructor. Until retirement, Taurian had over forty-seven years of experience as a Technical Writer and Training Program Developer. After leaving home at the age of ten without any shoes, Taurian continues on with many years devoted to the keeping and bearing of arms.

2 Responses to Ka-Bar TDI Law Enforcement Knife – The Long Version

  1. SARGeek says:

    Great article Taurian.

    Really enjoyed both of these and they have me looking at the TDI knives.

  2. oldranger53 says:

    I’ve always been a little shy about knives with an acute angled blade, such as this one.
    That angle, seems to me, would be perfect for certain tasks however.
    Almost bought myself a “real” Kukri ….I take that back, while responding to this blog, I ordered the one I was thinking about last year “Gurkha Kukri Knife” is what they call it.
    Should be here by Friday next. Can’t wait!

    Thanks for this article! It helped me decide to take a walk on that wild side!

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