KA-BAR TDI Law Enforcement Knife

KABAR TDI Law Enforcement Knife

Every EDC kit - the gear you should be carrying with you every day, needs to include a edged blade. Whether its a folding pocket knife, a fixed blade knife, or a utility knife, everyone should have a sharp tool in their "toolbox." Early mankind invented the sharpened edge because of its utility and usefulness for defense, hunting, and utilitarian duties around the cave. There's no good reason to not continue the tradition of toting a blade with you each day. I've had days when I left a knife behind, and ended up needing to puncture or pry at something using the house keys. No excuse, especially with all the knives I've collected over the years.


KABAR TDI Law Enforcement Knife


Most conceal carriers will have a gun AND a knife on them to be better prepared for any situation. Using a gun should be a last resort because deadly force carries a heavy weight with it, while a knife used as a second line of defense (after trying to deescalate a situation) is a viable option. Many police officers and other law enforcement have a knife on their duty belt for the same reason. While folding pocket knifes are easier concealed and less intrusive, a fixed blade is more useful in a fight. Just like how you carry a gun, a knife should be easy to access without fumbling around. KA-BAR has made a line of knives that fit that role perfectly.


KABAR TDI Law Enforcement Knife


KA-BAR, the makers of the iconic military blade, have collaborated with the Tactical Defense Institute (TDI) to a line of quality fighting knife to the market for civilians and LEO alike. Simply called the Law Enforcement Knife, the KA-BAR TDI line features several different configurations of blades, varying in blade shape, length and grip color. All of the knives are designed under one concept: the theory that your primary weapon can become hindered or compromised. An attacker can grab for your holstered weapon, or your gun can jam or simply run out of bullets. Each TDI Law Enforcement knife is designed to be effective for up close and personal, close-quarters scenarios. Combined with a belt mounted sheath intended to be easy to draw and ambidextrous, this knife suits lefties or righties and is ideal when clipped to the opposite side of the belt that a pistol holster in on. If your drawing hand is hung up or out of the fight, the TDI's angled grip is easily and very quickly accessible by the other hand. While the shorter TDI blades may seem underwhelming, its smaller profile is easier to conceal under a shirt or jacket and is plenty sharp and dangerous when being attacked within grappling range. Using punching, slashing, or stabbing, the TDI will make quick work of an attacker who is too close to see it coming. Of course it's practical for cutting open packages or boxes too, but the grip angle will feel a bit different than traditional in-line knife designs and take some getting used to.


KABAR TDI Law Enforcement Knife


The sheath the TDI comes with is a simple polymer injected shell with a reversible belt clip. My TDI came with a Flat Dark Earth colored sheath. Out of the box it was setup for a right side carry, but I ended up swapping it to the left side for carrying with a holster on the right. The edge was pretty sharp, but could use some light honing. The AUS 8A Stainless Steel has a black finish that may wear over time, but it helps keep the blade concealed instead of a reflective polished steel.


KABAR TDI Law Enforcement Knife


The larger TDI LE knife comes with a MOLLE compatible sheath. While less ideal for belt carry than the steel belt clip of the smaller TDI, the MOLLE straps make this knife perfect for carrying on a tactical vest, plate carrier or other tactical items with the webbing system. The angle of the grip facilitates mounting the sheath more on the side panel for easy access without sacrificing room for magazine pouches. The straps also seem reversible to the other side of the sheath for customizing it to your gear and strong/weak hand. Note that the grip angle makes pulling the knife downward from the sheath if mounted inverted on the left or right chest requires more force, and the blade will not be pointing in a safe direction. Ask me how I know. Mounting with the grip handle pointing up makes it so drawing the knife leaves the edge and tip pointing away from yourself and towards your potential attacker.


KABAR TDI Law Enforcement Knife


For under $50 on the shelf, this is a great little self defense knife that I actively try carrying with me whenever I go out, with or without a carry gun. With a wide variety of blade shapes and styles its nice to be able to pick your preference. It's the popular choice for a lot of on-duty and off-duty cops, and its easy to see why it's popular with us average joes as well. If you are looking for a do-it-all knife I would probably choose a different tool, but for a heavier focus on self defense and easy of carrying on a standard belt, the TDI knives are on point.

Firearms Insider Reviews – 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame: KA-BAR TDI Law Enforcement knives are effective for close-quarters defense. Each one is designed to be easy to draw, sure when gripped and ambidextrous.

Target Market:  LEO or civilians, EDC

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • AUS 8A Stainless Steel
  • 0.20 lb
  • Fixed Blade
  • 2 5/16" Blade Length
  • 5 5/8" Overall Length
  • 15 Degree Edge Angle
  • Drop Point Shape
  • Hollow Grind
  • Zytel Handle
  • Hardess: 57-59CR
  • Made in Taiwan
  • 0.125 Blade Thickness

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?: Black non serrated, Tan Zytel serrated

What others are saying?: "This is an excellent knife. It takes and holds a keen edge easily. The grip is easy to hang onto even in wet conditions. The sheath mounts firmly to the belt in such a way that it is nearly impossible to remove accidentally. It holds the knife firmly, so that it will not fall out, but is easy to remove and replace when necessary. It also has a very attractive finish which protects the blade from corrosion." Brownells User Review

"Great knife, sheath and clip. Attaches securely on inner belt (under duty belt) and stays put. Easy draw and return to sheath. Grip is secure and blade comes very sharp. The grip-blade angle are very well thought out. I like this knife so much I wear it off duty as my EDC. Great product." Brownells User Review

Price point:

I need it now! Availability: Brownells, Amazon or many online stores

Our Rating:


  • Easy to reverse belt clip for left or right side carry, or inside the belt on opposite side
  • Grip angle is very fast to draw in either hand
  • TDI LE series features several different blade styles for your selection


  • Grip angle reduces leverage for linear cutting
  • Zytel grip texture is too minimal for adequate grip
  • Larger TDI LE knife has MOLLE straps instead of a standard belt clip, with no factory way to achieve it.
  • Larger TDI LE knife is more difficult to unsheath

Score: 7.5 Good

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