Tuesday, November 25, 2014


The Ka-Bar TDI self defense knife made a big splash when it arrived on the scene.  Designed by John Benner to help LEOs cut themselves free should they or their gun be grabbed, it was a big hit with the civilian population as well. 

TDI Knife
The original plain edge TDI self -defense knife  quite a little chamer!

It was designed to be held with the wrist in the neutral position to provide strong, powerful stabbing as well as strong, supported slashing.

The downside, such as it is, the small 2.5 inch blade.  While the TDI knife can be used for opening letters and shaving tinder and fir sticks, but the angled shape prevents it from functioning as an effective pry bar.  Admit it.  Prying things apart is the most common non-cutting function we subject a knife to.

Ka-bars TDI Hinderance
Nice lines, deep finger grooves for grip and a great friction surface for your thumb

Rick Hinderer brings his experience as a fire fighter and EMT to this collaboration with John Benner.  The 3.5 inch blade is described as a modified tanto, but I consider it a wharncliffe blade.  Lets go head-to-head.

Benner TDI
1095 Cro-Van
Blade length
2.25 inches
3.5 inches
Overall length
5.5 inches
7.25 inches
Blade Type
Plain or full serrated
Blade thickness
0.12 inch
0.19 inch

I don’t like giving prices.  You can always find someone selling it for less.

Note the thumb release in upper right edge of sheath

The Hinderance is a heaver, thicker knife with lower Rockwell hardness as suits a pry bar application.  The 1095 Cro-Van steel appears to an upgraded 1095 steel.  A little chromium and vanadium is added to improve strength and edge cutting power.  I’d still wipe it down with oil every once in a while.  I can’t tell you about cutting, as the Hinderance isn’t mine, but it’s made by Ka-Bar so I’m sure it cuts just fine.

The original TDI knife could be drawn from the sheath as either saber or reverse grip because the knife was locked into its sheath by the shape of the knife.  The Hinderance (clever use of Rick’s name) requires a latch to be depressed.  This requires a saber or hammer grip.

Ka-Bar's TDI Hinderance
TDI's logo on one side and Ricks's on the other
I really like the neutral wrist position of the Benner TDI.  Despite the slight curve of the Hinderance I have to cock my wrist to bring the blade parallel to the ground for stabbing.

The Hinderance is well designed and I like the massive thumb friction ridge just ahead of the handle, but despite the smaller size I think the Benner TDI has advantages over the Hinderance.
That doesn’t mean I won’t end up with a Hinderance.  I find its shape exciting and the blade lines attractive.

Columbia River Knife and Tool turned 20 this year.  They have produced interesting knives that tend to be over-engineered.  Frankly that’s a good thing as it makes for a more durable knife.  Their M16 folders have been copied by many companies as well as a target for knock-offs.  While not every design is a home run, they are batting better than .600. 

In addition to knives they make axes, backpacking spoons, multi-tools, sharpening systems and survival tools.  I recently bought from them a paracord survival bracelet charm. 

Compass and firestarter
the little nubben on the bottom of the plastic housing pulls out and gives you a firestarter
The theory is most paracord bracelets give you at least 6 feet of paracord containing 7 strands.  So why not add a compass and mini-light or fire starter to that?

I am not convinced.  I remember wristband compasses that would become de-magnetized or attracted to the metal case of some watches.  Still I’m a sucker for these gadgets so I bought the compass/firestarter combination for my paracord bracelet. 

The housing slips over the bracelet and is locked in place with a little plastic screw.  This didn’t work too well for me, but as long as I have the bracelet on, it’s not going anywhere.  The fire starter has a 1 inch ferrocium rod and two little metal surfaces you can use to make a spark.  I’m not impressed, I had trouble getting nice fat sparks, but I’m not Bear Grylls either.  I need to practice.

The compass seems to be holding up and I’ll give it a trial next month out in the woods.  I’m also going to put a small stretch of duct tape around the ferrocium rod to make sure it doesn’t fall out.

Survival kits are popular.  Catalogs sell them and claim their kit is what the US Foreign Corp issues to overseas personnel or carried by the SEALs.  I don’t think that one I need in Africa or Central America is the one I need going to work.  My best survival kit could well be a credit card and 50 bucks in fives and tens. 

But I will say, if you’re going carry one I think you should design it for your applications. Breachbangclear is running a series on survival kits.  Ignore Redhead Fridays and Cheekweld Wednesdays if you want , but read the series.

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