THE IMPORTANCE OF FOLDERS FOR LAW-ENFORCEMENT
Most law enforcement officers I know have some sort of tactical folder that they carry with them off and often on duty. They mostly use these tools to cut mundane things like cords and tape and slice open evidence bags. Most probably don't even think about their folders as possible lifesaving tools so they never practice drawing them and using them in defensive moves. And to be truthful, many of the folders carried by American law enforcement officers are not designed to be used in defensive applications. But there are some folders on the market, like those made by LOTAR Combat®, that are designed to be a defensive, tactical instrument.
I stumbled upon LOTAR Combat® and the picture of its AKRAV™ folder on Instagram purely by accident and was awed and a little shocked by the design. The AKRAV™ is a fighting tool; it's designed to be the backup to your backup.
The AKRAV™ was designed by Nir AKA "300", a veteran of Israel's counter-terrorism units and a founder of LOTARCombat.com.
Nir's covert military and law enforcement experiences led him to create a folder designed to be simple, rugged, and extremely deadly. Beginning with titanium scales for ruggedness and weight savings, the users benefit from the ergonomics of the design, which keeps their hands and wrist safe from being twisted. The ergonomics provide an ideal hold on the handle to be used as a defensive tool. Grip is very intuitive for the index finger and thumb.
The blade itself is made from combined hollow-flat-ground D2 steel formed into a recurve/modified Tanto point on the Gen.3 and an aggressive straight edge with optional serrations on the new AKRAV™ Gen.4 GHOST. It looks exceptionally large for a folder, but it is both razor-sharp and incredibly lightweight. Coated with an advanced DLC coating, this blade is all business and bad ass. The folder is deployed via a military-grade ball-bearing system that requires one hand and doesn't even require the user to flick their wrist. It opens smoother than any folder, I have ever seen.
Even the titanium clip on the AKRAV™ is top of the line. It's much like those found on Parker pens. This fully ambidextrous clip holds the AKRAV™ securely to a pocket, waistband, belt, MOLLE gear, or whatever else you want to attach it. The clip held my folder in place during some foot pursuits, and I even clipped it to the waistband of my shorts when I went for runs, since it's somewhat difficult to run with a concealed carry - this has proven to be an excellent alternative . Even though the clip is secure, it provides lightning fast deployment, and this folder is so slim and lightweight, you almost forget it's there.
And the AKRAV™ is one tough tool. I have deliberately tried the limited lifetime warranty. I ran over it with my truck with no damage, pried open some crates, chopped a limb off a dogwood tree, skinned a few fish, and even used the titanium scales to bust out some windows of a junk car.
Edged tool defense is a dying art, but I believe combative tactics and techniques should be more prevalent in police training. My academy experience included about 15 minutes on edged-tool takeaways, and not once in the 16 years since, have I had any agency training on deploying a folder as a defensive tool. Despite the lack of training, many police departments, nationwide allow their officers to carry a tactical folder—which I do.
I have carried a fixed in an ankle holster for about 12 years and have worked with various defensive tactics trainers over the years on how to deploy the tool from the guard position. Even with that, I can't access the fixed on my ankle easily while standing up or when facing an armed suspect, three feet in front of me. This is why I like the AKRAV™ folder. I can easily access the AKRAV™ that is now clipped to my pocket.
The AKRAV™ is not cheap (15% LEO & Military discount is available year round). But we live in dangerous times when many of our conversations revolve around personal safety. Having the right tools and training is paramount to our success as police officers, military personnel and law-abiding citizens. Instead of going to your local big box store and picking up a made-in-Taiwan folder with a seat belt cutter and glass breaker (have you ever actually used these?), I recommend you invest in a quality, rugged, well-designed defensive tool like the AKRAV™. We won't skimp on our tactical gear, primary, secondary, or body armor, so why settle for junk for your last line of defense? Our profession dictates to be armed and ready for anything.
[ Rich Portwood has been a police officer for 16 years, is a competitive shooter, and is a head instructor at Blue Line Combatives. ]