The Blackhawk Products MOD SFK folding knife has a very “tactical” look to it. It appears, at first glance, to be a double-edge folding knife, but the top edge isn’t sharpened. Made in Italy from N690Co stainless steel, it’s quite the folder for backup to your main self-defense weapon. I understand that this is a very popular folder with law enforcement and military personnel. I’ve reviewed several knives over the years that were manufactured out of N690Co stainless steel, and I don’t know exactly the chemical formula for this steel, but it holds an edge a long, long time and is easy to re-sharpen, too.
The Blackhawk website gives credit where credit is due, and it states that the design of this knife was inspired by the late Col. Rex Applege, who I worked under for several years. The good Colonel taught me to ALWAYS give credit where credit is due, especially in your writings. So, it was nice to see Blackhawk say the design is somewhat inspired by Applegate.
With a blade length of 3.94 inches long, it fits right in my own personal preference for a self-defense folding knife. I like a folder with a blade 3.50 inches to 4.0 inches in length. These just seems to balance better in my hand when a blade is this length. The overall length of the MOD SFK with the blade open is 9.06 inches. The blade’s edge is plain (not serrated), and serrations are not offered as an option either. The blade is black color coated in BlackIDroglider. I have no idea what this material is, but it has a slick, almost Teflon, feel to it.
Textured G10 black handle scales that are very thin complement the MOD SFK, along with a pocket clip, stainless steel liners, and an ambidextrous pocket clip for easy opening. The blade locks-up via liner-lock. The blade can be opened using the thumb stud or using the cross guard! Yes, this folder has a minimal cross guard at the base of the blade to help protect your hand and fingers from sliding forward on the blade. With practice, the blade can be started open, by pressing on the cross guard with your index finger and at the same time giving it a little “flick” with your wrist; the blade locks open solidly!
The MOD SFK also has a nice lanyard hole in the butt of the handle scales. Many people don’t realize a lanyard hole is there for a reason. When working over water with your knife, you don’t want to drop it and have it sink to the bottom of the ocean, lake, or river. By placing a piece of 550 Paracord in the lanyard hole, tying it off, and then wrapping it around your wrist, should you lose control of the knife, it will still be attached to your wrist.
Some knife makers call this “jimping”; I simply call it “friction grooves” on the handle of a knife. These are areas on the handle that are cut or milled in just the right areas for thumb placement or finger placement, and these friction grooves give your hand and fingers a little something more to bite into, giving you a very firm hold on the knife. The MOD SFK has friction grooves in all the right places, in my humble opinion.
The N690Co blade has a Rockwell hardness of 58-60, and it gives the blade’s edge just the right hardness to hold that razor-sharp edge for a long time, yet the knife is fairly easy to re-sharpen once it gets dull. It took me forever to get the blade halfway dull. It arrived over the Christmas holidays. The knife got a good work out in the kitchen, and it didn’t dull in the least. I resorted to taking the knife outside on several trips at my small homestead to do some chopping. This knife isn’t meant to be a “chopper”; it’s a folder and not big enough for chopping chores. However, as is my wont, I test knife blades for sharpness against tough blackberry vines. It easily cut them in half with one single swipe of the blade.
One sure way to dull a knife is to cut cardboard. The fibers in cardboard tend to really dull a knife’s edge. I also stabbed the blade into stacked cardboard and could easily stab it up to the cross guard hilt. Now, as much as I hate this part of my testing, I threw the knife at some trees to see if it would stick; it never could do it. This knife took a beating. There were some scratches on the blade’s coating and the handle scales, but the knife stayed together. Sometimes, a liner-lock will “give” with constant throwing against any object, but the MOD SFK never gave a hint of loosening the liner lock.
There are some states and locales that do not allow a double-edge knife of any kind. So, take note of what I’m about to tell you. With a little skill and time, you can place a cutting edge on the top of the MOD SFK blade. Or, if you know a custom knife maker in your area, they could do the job in a minute or two on their belt grinder, and you would have a true double-edge folding knife. The blade completely goes into the handle, so no fears of it cutting you when the knife is closed and in your pocket. However, if a double-edge knife is illegal in your area, don’t do it! I believe the idea behind a true double-edge knife is for ease of stabbing into a body. The MOD SFK has a thin enough profile on the top of the blade, that you really don’t need to sharpen it. It penetrated to the cross guards when stabbed into stacked cardboard.
Coming from Blackhawk Products, the MOD SFK seems to cry out “tactical” in my mind. Like just about everything Blackhawk manufactures, I like it. Plus, the pocket clip allows the knife to ride low when clipped inside your pocket, unlike some folders that stick up way too high. A person wouldn’t pay much attention to the fact that you’re carrying a folding knife, without a close look and knowing what that clip is attached to.
The MOD SFK retails for $199.99, and they seem to be in short supply most of the time. If you have some extra money to spend, you can get their limited edition MOD SFK for $519.99. It has a Damascus stainless steel blade and fancy wooden handle scales. However, for your self-defense needs, the plain model will suffice just fine. So, if you’re in the market for a new folding knife that really appears “tactical”, take a close look at the Blackhawk Products MOD SFK folder. It might be just want you’re in the market for. – SurvivalBlog Field Gear Editor Pat Cascio