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There is absolutely nothing subtle or delicate about a TOPS blade. While each tool is designed with a purpose in mind, all are stout, well made, and built to take a beating. These are knives you can easily use for a lifetime, and proudly pass down to the next generation.

Things are often just fine, until they’re not. For this, and many other reasons, some folks never leave home without some basic survival items – think folding knife, pocket flashlight, self-defense tool(s), small first aid kit, etc. For the everyday these items are usually just fine, but what about when things “go South” in a big way? In this article, we discuss some very robust gear that you’ll need to consider when you’re planning beyond your everyday carry.

EDC vs. WROL (Carry)

Everyday Carry (EDC) is a carefully considered set of tools/gear many people have on their person on a consistent basis. It’s usually practical, lightweight, inconspicuous, and not meant for anything too crazy. Your EDC components will vary depending on your needs, the environment, and the particulars of where your life’s journey may take you.

As we saw in 2020-21, however, a significant shift from “normal” to civil unrest, riots, and overall chaos can often occur with little to no warning. If you’re unfortunate enough to be caught in a Without Rule of Law (WROL) situation, you’ll want gear that is well suited for those circumstances. Remember, WROL isn’t necessarily a full-blown collapse or a worldwide zombie apocalypse, even a localized event has the potential to explode into something very ugly, very fast. (Think Los Angeles in 1992)

WROL gear, or carry, will be larger/heavier than EDC, but it will also pack a more substantial punch, and provide you with better odds for survival. Enter WROL (carry).

Here are some examples of the type of gear you might want to consider.

Nothing says “serious” like 5/16” 1075 (full tang) steel. The Operator 7 is a monster, but it’s also surprisingly comfortable in the hand and highly maneuverable. Black Kydex keeps everything in its place, until you need it.

Operator 7

The Operator 7 is a heavy-duty tactical knife made for utility and effectiveness. While it’s big, tough, and stout, it’s also well-balanced and comfortable to use, even for finer cutting.  Made from 5/16” thick (full tang) 1075 RC 56-58 steel, with an overall length of 12.50” (7.25” blade length), and weighing in at 18.9oz, this is a very serious fixed-blade knife. Comes with a Kydex sheath and a leather belt loop. If you ever need this tool, you will probably need it desperately.

The Szabo Express incorporates the stealth of a folder, with the inherent strength, reliability, and faster deployment of a fixed blade knife. The ergonomic, Black Canvas Micarta handle is built for grip retention even under extreme conditions.

Szabo Express

Made of 5/32” thick (full tang) 1095 RC 56-58 steel, with an overall length of 10.38” (5.63” blade length), and weighing in at 7.5oz, the Szabo Express fills the gap between a large folder and a small, fixed blade, and brings together the rapid deployment and the inherent strength of a fixed blade with reduced size. While it won’t pry open any doors, or effectively chop down a tree, it is lightning fast, super sharp and ergonomically designed for maximum effectiveness.


The Pry Knife & PPP Tool is a hardcore piece of gear for breaching, breaking, cutting, chopping and busting-up stuff. It’s also a first responder’s dream. The black ballistic nylon sheath is has Mollie backing for easy attachment and solid retention.

Pry Knife & PPP Tool

The Pry Knife is a hardcore, multi-component rescue kit disguised as a knife.  It’s designed for breaching, busting, breaking, and strong-arming your way into, or out of, many difficult situations. Made from 1/4” thick (full tang) 5160, RC 55-56 steel, with an overall length of 10.75” and a blade length of 5.75” (serrated & featuring a Black Traction Coating) the Pry Knife is intense and meant to do serious damage to whatever obstacle stands in your way. Black linen Micarta handle assures a solid grip even under the most difficult conditions.

The Pry-Punch Tool portion of this combo is 1/2” thick 5140 Alloy, RC 55-56 Forged Steel, and all fits into the Ballistic nylon sheath. These tools are meant to complement each other, and to increase the effectiveness of the overall set. The Pry-Punch can assist in breaching a door/window, breaking glass; it can even be used as a last-ditch self-defense tool.

It’s not difficult to see why TOPS Knives have become so popular with first responders, the military and everyday folks looking for robust, well-crafted, American-made knives at a reasonable price.


If you’re caught in the middle of some very ugly stuff, “basic” EDC/survival items just won’t do. For those situations, you’ll want the stoutest, meanest, and most effective survival gear; the kind that can help get you home in one piece. Whether it’s the heft of a heavy-duty knife, the rapid deployment of a self-defense blade, or the bust-down-the-door power of a pry knife/rescue kit, you’ll want these tools at your disposal.


The materials provided are for illustration and/or informational purposes only. Any use of the information contained in this article shall be solely at the reader’s risk.


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