What if I told you could get S35VN blade steel for under $50? That’s what I have here with the LA Police Gear TBFK. S35VN is considered a premium powdered USA made blade steel and typically found on knives more than 2X the cost. I am going to call this a version 2 model because some changes have been made over the version that was first released a few years ago. So let’s take a look and see if the rest of the knife holds up. Thanks to LA Police Gear for reaching out and seeing if I was interested in taking a look at some of their gear.
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Packaging is very simple, it’s your cardboard tray style box that other manufactures use. The knife was wrapped in plastic inside and had a generous coat of oil. It’s a pretty generic box that looks like it could be used for multiple models, but on the back there is a sticker that has all the details telling you the model name and number, finish style, handle color and SKU.
Size & Weight & Comparison
Unopened length I measured at 4.5”, Opened length at 8”. Cutting edge at 3.4”. Blade stock at 0.13”. Overall thickness at 0.58” give or take with the tapered scales. Weight is 5oz so this is definitely on the heavy side. Here are a few comparisons with other common knives.
Let’s talk about materials here because that’s what caught my eye and really is the big value here. As I mentioned in the intro this knife is using S35VN for the blade steel. Through the years a few youtubers have tested it and it does appear to be genuine S35VN. On my knife it came shaving sharp from the factory and has maintained that edge fairly well although I think the heat treat might be a little soft based on my cardboard cutting performance. That said it stopped up nice and sharp again with just a few passes.
The modified drop point blade here is flat ground about ¾ up the knife blade. The sharpened edge was symmetrical as well. The knife comes in 2 versions, a satin blade and a blackwash blade that I have here. Scales are all the same black G10. The G10 has a little texture to it and is 3D contoured. It fits the steel liners here fairly well but there are few areas on my knife where they are not perfect. Overall the materials to value ratio is outstanding.
One of the improvements on the version 2 of this knife is that it’s been switched from a tip down carry position to a tip up, The result is a knife thats super deep carry which you know is important to me. The clip here is long and does a good job of being secure in the pocket. It is right hand carry only, sorry lefties.
In my medium sized hands it’s good, the jimping on the back of the blade spine is in the perfect spot, I do get a small amount of a hot spot by where the clip flares out when using it in my right hand but I don’t think many people will be bothered by that. The 3D contoured scales do take up more room in the pocket but fit nicely in hand.
Let’s talk about the action here I would label it ok, keep that price point in mind. This is as it came to me, I have been using the knife for about a month, and carried it a few weeks during that time. It started off a bit stiff but has gotten looser over time. It’s a bit gritty and could benefit from being taken apart and cleaned. I did put a drop of oil on it and this improved things a bit. Even with the I was expecting more given this knife is on bearings. As is I couldn’t tell you if it was washers or bearings.
Even thought it has a strong detent, and the flipper is large it flips pretty well and I have not complaints there. The flipper does have some jimping on it which I like on a blade this size. When I do go ahead and open it up to clean I will probably try to drill out the steel liners and reduce the weight here.
My knife has a bit of an early lockup I would say about 40% engagement of the liner lock or so. That’s room for it to wear in
I don’t care for the thumb studs here. While the tip up carry eliminates the issue the first generation had of having them get snagging in the pocket I still think they are unnecessary since this knife flips pretty well. If you are going to have thumb studs anyway, I think they could be smaller.
I am not a fan of the branding on this knife, the LAPG logo is kind of large and very visible when the knife is closed. The TBFK name is an acronym for “The Best F***ing Knife, and I think that’s a stretch. V1 of this knife had issues, which they have made some changes, so if it was the best and you changed it to make it better was it ever the best? It also doesn’t roll off the tongue very nicely for me.
Since the knife did change, I really do think LA Police gear needs to update the photos on their website to reflect these changers. While they do make note in the description of the relocated pocket clip and removal of the lanyard tube, that relies on people reading. Updated and accurate pictures are a must for ecommerce.
I have mixed feelings on the LA Police Gear TBFK V2 Knife. Admittedly I have become a bit more of a knife snob in recent times but I still see merit and value here. The overall value here is quite good. I can’t think of another knife that offers S35VN blade steel and G10 in this size for under $50. Even if the heat treat here might be a little soft that’s still a fantastic value.
That said the knife has some issues and its action is only ok and it’s fairly heavy. I wouldn’t be surprised if the profit margins here are less than your more typical $50 knife, and I suppose they have room to do that since they are selling it directly not through other dealers. I think the thumb studs are unnecessary and the branding just isn’t for me but those are not deal killers.
The value here is quite high, and the overall knife is decent. Other than being a bit large and heavy there isn’t anything that would prevent me from carrying this knife daily. So if you’re looking to try out a more premium steel or needing a good knife under $50 to try out a super steel, I can recommend this, but don’t expect it to compare to the fit and finish of knives over the $75+ range with lesser steels.