I remember one of the very first advertising of the Clip It collection of Spyderco. The Police was presented in its stainless handle serrated edge version of that time (80’s…) and it was written something like: “Pure Performance” … The cheetah is a good example of incredible fast and lean animal and as this knife, it is thin and light and totally performance oriented.
The venerable Police model designed by Sal Glesser is at its 4th version. Born in the early 80’s it is now part of Spyderco’s Legendary knives. I remember seeing some models with “Pride Integrity and Guts” engraved on their blade: they were the very first. This knife can be spotted in so many Hollywood movies, mostly in the hands of bad guys and even in the excellent classical Spike Jonze’s musical video for the Beastie Boys: Sabotage ! The stainless serrated hollow ground blade was really catching the lights hence it’s success for a dramatic entry in various films !
I was never a real fan of the first 3 versions of the Police models even if I recognized it has a valuable tool. In my book, the Tantaka was the true heir of those years. The fourth version caught my eye as it was promoting a new steel the KC390.
Many times I had noticed some vertical play on “Made In Japan” folders from Spyderco and decided to buy one if only I could test it before.
But this one came from a Massdrop sale and I was very happy to get one with zero blade play in any direction. Mine feels solid and knowing how strong a good backlock is, this flat long folder is really impressive. So it was about time to review this venerable classic folder which is delivered with a plain edge only and K390 … but why choosing a “staining “steel high performance steel when the Police as always been serrated and stainless ?
“We make quite a few designs for the Law Enforcement market at this time, so the design for Police use is (not?) necessarily the case anymore, like it was in 1984. I designed the Police 4 to include what I would like in a knife, more than what a LEO might like. It’s still a kissing cousin, and large for most people. I widened the blade, enlarged the hole and selected a steel that I like to use. The design’s success in the marketplace is unknown at this time. But I get to have one. ” Sal Glesser on Spyderco Forums in 2016.
Also the blade is perfectly centered. The construction is the same as my Endura and Delica, sandwiching the steel liners with the handle material. Here it’s black G10 on skeletonized liners: the knife doesn’t feel heavy at all but very well balanced and fast in the hands.
The long flat blade is still intimidating while deployed. Let’s see some comparaison pictures. Notice the black could of forming patina in the middle.
Here with Ed Schempp’s Bowie which is one of the best blade/handle ratio folder in the Spyderco collection, full flat ground versus high saber flat ground. The Bowie has been convexed to my taste. The large choil on the police is confortable though.
Here compared to the wonderful Manly Peak, another thin backlock lightsaber. The Manly has not been really convexed; it is really thin ground ! With its S90V blade, better edge/handle ratio and zero blade play construction, it is a real contender to the fourth version of the Police.
They share the same thin stock blade. The Manly (on the right) is even pushing the envelop a little further by proposing hidden nested liners for the same handle thickness.
It is obvious the Delica and the Police are sharing the same DNA even if the Delica main difference is the absence of real choil to choke up the blade. I have both in tip down carry position for easy spyderdrops opening. Here is the Knifecenter special edition of the Delica.
The Delica still got the Boy indentation on the lock when the Police is now leaner. This raffinement has never made a real difference to me. The spring on the Police model is quite strong actually so no worry about unlocking it will chocking the handle.
Here you can notice how longer the Millie handle is compared to the Police. Also the belly of the Millie is much more pronounced. I think now the Police 4 has been also designed to be used while wearing gloves (one of the Military plusses). Both finger holes are equally wide with a very pronounced blade’s hump. The Police’s choil is even wider than the Millie’s !
Also the Military blade is thicker as is its handle. The Police is perhaps more “urban” oriented: it is a large folder easy to wear with any suits.
Here you can admire how the Police is a steel cheetah: lean and mean. The clip was mounted that way and I was tempted to add a deep carry clip but eventually, the spyderdrop is the more handy way to open that large folder so the clip is now mounted near the pivot.
This thin blade enhanced by a great steel (K390) is pushing that venerable model to new heights. We are far from the serrated hollow ground model of the 80’s which was respecting special requirements from the LEO. “It was designed to have an as large as possible blade built into a thin, equally sized handle. Because of this, Save and Serve professionals continue buying the Police Model as an essential tool for their trade.”
It is a flat and elegant design with a very clever purpose: to insert easily the knife inside the pocket when tip down carried.
Some sanding was required to get the handle even smoother for easier pocketing.
Aerodynamism is one thing, pocketodynamism is another.
Again, never breath that dust it is toxic for your lungs.
“”The benefits of G-10 as a handle material are many. It can support a building, be drilled and sawed. It’s doesn’t retain heat or cold, shuns chemicals, discoloration and peeling. “
And that makes it long folder which can easily be pocketed. Carried tip down, the handle shape pushes my wallet away when inserted and allow very quick and positive spyderdrop openings. They are four positions to mount the clip on the Police since the 3rd version in 2008.
Next step, with some diamonds, it was time to reprofile the blade to a Manly Peak level and to thin the edge by “deshouldering”. Not an easy task as K390 is a bear to sharpen.
The occasion to picture the blade before to scratch it.
The light reflections on the blade shows it has already started a mild patina while being stored.
K390 develops naturally a beautiful patina like storm clouds. Here is the Police with my Pingo and Urban.
Funny how it is hard to catch on photography but the Urban got the convexed grind I want to achieve for the Police. Both knives are signed by Sal Glesser’s logo.
I have check how the patina was easy to remove before going back to sharpening.
Here you can see the dust formed by the diamonds of a DC4.
K390 is a very wear resistant steel…
Here what Phil Wilson said about it in the Spyderco Forums:
“I have been using K390 from the start ever since it was introduced by Bohler and I got some small samples to try. A bit of history is that it is the European version of CPM 10V but not the exact chemistry (about 1% less V plus small addition of a few others). That is because the CPM 10V chemistry was protected by patent at the time. If you check the K390 data sheet it claims that the bit less V gives K 390 a little boost in impact toughness. It also can be heat treated at a lower temp. than 10v. So it is pretty much the same as the A11 grade but different in a few small details. It is hard to tell the difference between CPM 10v and BU K390 in the real world in my experience. I like both grades and they are the base line (along with Vanadius 10 and K294) from which I measure wear resistance. The 5 chrome is there to make them all air hardening among other things and does not contribute much to corrosion resistance. It is going to make a killer knife in the new offering and be another classic. Phil”
So slowly it is deshouldered but I will be obliged to go back to the blade later. It is, for me, like painting a ceiling… I always come back for another layer… 😉
All right, the performance are already promising. The plastic Bottle Butt is as thick as the blade itself but it has been able to got through it right in the middle. Again, zero blade play on that huge folder: very happy. Same punition for the bottle neck. The Police shows how powerful it is and that the recipe of “thin blade + super steel” is always a winner for high performance knives. More to come, as this one is going to be user !
I have mounted a deep carry clip from Blade4sell.