by Alexander Castiglione
These items are for active duty military, LEO, and first responders only. Please note that SGPT does not endorse using or obtaining these knives for anything illegal.
Ontario Knive Company has been around for a while, 1889 in fact. And they’ve been making blades for a long time, and it shows. I’ve had a SP2 survival knife by them for many years, and it’s just as rugged as anything it’s come across. I also have a SPAX, and an SP8 machete – both of which are great.
Their automatics though, are pretty outstanding in their own right.
First up is the ARK, or automatic rescue knife. I love this for practical/tactical applications. If you are a first responder, EMT, firefighter, or LEO, you need one of these either on your person, or attached to your med kit with their included sheath (as seen below).
The knife itself is exceptionally robust, with a hefty weight. The blade is blunt at the end, and curved, to help EMTs and First Responders with not injuring their patients when they need to cut them from a seatbelt or restraints. It also has varied carry options, with the ability to change the orientation of the carry clip to blade up, blade down, LH or RH carry – very versatile and thoughtful on Ontario’s part!
The push button lock has a safety on the spine of the knife, and the release button is also the plunger lock to dismantle the blade. It whizzes open with a positive lock, and can easily be deployed one-handed, as intended, so a first responder can use one hand to palpate and assess a victim and deploy their blade to cut them free without missing a beat; very crucial when seconds count.
The knife is hefty and robust, but still lightweight enough to be carried everyday or in the line of duty without noticing it. The included sheath I now have secured to a Condor Rip Away EMT pouch, right next to my med kit where it needs to be. I recommend this tool 100% to any first responder, EMT, or medic. It’s solid construction, easy opening, sharp semi-serrated blade, and blunt edge are literally made for lifesaving applications.
One of their other automatic offerings is the Strike Fighter. This blade is all business, with a 8.5″ overall length, 58-60 RC hardness blade, and a T6 aluminum handle as well. With roughly the same locking mechanism and deployment mechanics, this is the ARK’s sharper, mission ready brother. With a semi serrated tanto style blade, this knife springs into action with the push of a button (pun intended). It flips open fast, locks positively, and can be open, closed, or put on safety with just one hand.
Again, Ontario knocked it out of the park, but giving you 3 different carry options, blade up or blade down, LH or RH carry. It also has a lanyard hole if you wanted to secure this to a tac vest, or lace it to your pack with some 550 cord.
The blade itself is secure, with no noticeable wobble, but it also deploys fast and smooth. Once the safety lever is flipped, a press of the button brings it into action; again, essential if you need to deploy it with just one hand. It locks into place firmly, and the grip is quite ergonomic, giving you control for fine work should you need it. The only thing it lacks is some jimping on the spine of the blade, but for its application, that’s just fine. My only qualm with the Strike Fighter is the logo, it comes across a bit chintzy in my opinion, but other than that, both knives are mission ready and good to go. You can customize how you carry it based on your own preference, which I think is a huge plus.
Add to that the fact that the knives are constructed of all metal (Aluminum handles, RC58-60 blades), deploy quickly, lock positively, and are well-balanced in the hand, and you have a winning combination for a quick deployment blade – be it for combat or rescue operations.
Overall, both knives are robustly built, and great EDC options for first responders, LEO, and military. We highly recommend them to active duty and first responders.
Robustness – ***** Both feel strong and are machined very well with tight tolerances. These feel like they will last the rigors of duty.
Ease of deployment – ***** They’re automatic, doesn’t get much easier than pushing a button.
Looks – **** Spartan and utilitarian, no flash here, but these are meant to work. My only qualm is with the logo on the strike fighter, a minor issue.
Features – ***** The belt clip modifications, as well as LH or RH carry options make these great choices for an auto. Additionally, the plunger lock system is secure, as is the lock on the spine.