OUT­SIDE THE WIRE

FOR SPE­CIAL OPS, AUS­TRALIAN COM­BAT VET ROBERT­SON TURNED TO BENCHMADE’S AFO TANTO

Knives Illustrated - - News - STORY AND PHO­TOS BY ED­WARD ROBERT­SON

Span­ning the globe, we “landed” in Aus­tralia to bring you this in­stall­ment of Out­side the Wire. Our sub­ject is Ed­die Robert­son, a com­bat veteran who served with the 2nd Com­mando Reg­i­ment, Aus­tralian Army—spe­cial Oper­a­tions Com­mand (SOCOMD). Robert­son also served in Aus­tralia’s premier Counter-ter­ror­ism Unit—tac­ti­cal As­sault Group—east (TAG-E)—AND de­ployed sev­eral times to Afghanistan as a mem­ber of the Spe­cial Oper­a­tions Task Group—task Force 66.

Robert­son has also spent con­sid­er­able time in Iraq and Afghanistan con­tract­ing in sup­port of com­mer­cial and govern­ment con­tracts.

I Ac­tive Duty 01 WHAT KNIFE DID YOU CARRY ON AC­TIVE DUTY AND WHY?

Dur­ing my later time in the ser­vice, and also while con­tract­ing, my knife of choice was the Benchmade AFO II Tanto, which is black-coated and a triple-edged ser­rated blade. I found this to be an ex­cel­lent knife, due to its ease of use, dura­bil­ity and stur­di­ness.

The knife fea­tures a chem­i­cally sharp­ened tanto blade, which was ideal for cut­ting any­thing from Det. cord to heavy-duty ropes and strap­ping. The base of the han­dle fea­tures a solid­steel strike piece, which also comes in handy for break­ing glass or us­ing as a blunt strik­ing im­ple­ment.

I pur­chased the knife as a gift to my­self just be­fore one of my ear­lier de­ploy­ments and was happy to pay a pre­mium, as it is a high-qual­ity res­cue knife that is not too big and ruggedi­zed for aus­tere en­vi­ron­ments. The mech­a­nism has never let me down, and the oc­ca­sional spray of WD-40 en­sures a smooth and rapid de­ploy­ment of the blade.

The but­ton is per­fect size, even when wear­ing gloves, and the safety switch is also easy to dis­en­gage/en­gage when re­quired. I never used the pouch that came with the knife, as the clip on the side of the knife is per­fect for stow­ing in a pocket or within an­other pouch on a plate car­rier.

02 CAN YOU RE­COUNT A DAN­GER­OUS SIT­U­A­TION IN WHICH YOU HAD TO USE THE KNIFE?

I never had to use the knife in an es­ca­la­tion-of-force sit­u­a­tion (thank­fully), but I have used the knife to cut parachute ris­ers dur­ing an en­tan­gle­ment af­ter con­duct­ing a wa­ter jump. I al­ways used to carry the knife in a handy and easy ac­ces­si­ble lo­ca­tion when re­quired and then slipped the knife in my trouser pocket on my strong-hand side when mo­bile.

While con­duct­ing PSD oper­a­tions, I al­ways kept the knife handy if the sit­u­a­tion arose of hav­ing to cut seat­belts in case of a ve­hi­cle rollover; luck­ily, I have never had to use it for this pur­pose.

II Civil­ian Life 03 WHAT KNIFE DO YOU CARRY NOW AND WHY?

I carry a Ger­ber Ridge Black Ser­rated folder as my EDC. It is a nice, sturdy lit­tle knife, and the blade is bloody sharp!

One-handed op­er­a­tion is easy, and it fits nicely into any pocket. It can dou­ble as a money clip as well, so from a self-de­fense per­spec­tive, it has the po­ten­tial to come in handy, if the sit­u­a­tion al­lows for it.

Un­for­tu­nately, in Aus­tralia, we have some fairly dra­co­nian laws with re­gard to car­ry­ing knives in pub­lic. In fact, in most states it is il­le­gal to carry a knife un­less it is a small fold­ing type/mul­ti­tool and is car­ried in a pouch on a belt and is clearly vis­i­ble. Oth­er­wise you may face crim­i­nal charges for car­ry­ing a deadly weapon.

The Ger­ber is the per­fect size to be se­creted in a pocket with­out be­ing clearly ob­vi­ous. And on the slim chance of be­ing searched by law en­force­ment, the small size of it doesn’t lend it­self to be­ing used for crim­i­nal pur­poses. It is a handy ul­tra-com­pact knife for ev­ery­day ap­pli­ca­tions and is great for cut­ting through card­board, tape, fish­ing line, etc. The only neg­a­tive is that the ser­ra­tions can­not be sharp­ened. I’ve had this lit­tle knife for five years now, and it is still go­ing strong. I highly rec­om­mend it. KI

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