The Police III and Police EVO are the latest multi-tool offerings from Extrema Ratio Knives. Extrema Ratio has made a name in the consumer market making well built tools with recognizable, stylish designs. They also collaborate with, and supply divisions of the Italian military and police force. Their largest folder, the R.A.O. is probably the most well known of these models. The Police III and EVO, as the name may imply also fall into this category.
Extrema tends to generate iterations of their folding knife designs, classified in categories such as BF (Basic Folders), MF (Medium Folders), Heavy and Heaviest. For those who are familiar with the difference amongst the lines, these could fall in with the BFs due to the .118” (3mm) blade thickness. For fairly obvious reasons they are actually classified in the Multi-Purpose, Rescue tool category instead. Further details on the company’s folder classifications can be found in the article “Understanding Extrema Ratio Folder Classes”.
The Police III and EVO fill a gap in the line-up for a larger Swiss Army Knife like tool. On the smaller side of things Extrema Ratio has offered the BF M1A1 and BF M1A2 knives which are also S.A.K. inspired and built on a similar frame.
Both the III and EVO have four main tools : a marlin spike, emergency rescue cutter, carbide tungsten glass breaker and a blade.
The Blades are made from Böhler N690co and measure 3.45” (87 mm ) in length. This cutlery grade steel wears well, offers excellent corrosion resistance and is reasonably easy to maintain. The ‘co‘ denotes that there is cobalt in the alloy. This addition primarily acts on wear and corrosion resistance. It is often utilized in many ‘superalloys’ found in products like jet engine turbines, high speed tools, medical implants etc.
The pattern on the EVO is a sheep’s foot profile. This design originated in cutting tools used for paring hoofs to prevent disease in livestock. The rounded end was adopted as a safety measure to help avoid penetrating cuts. Likewise the pattern is often found on rescue tools like this one. The III is a variation and similar in edge geometry however an angled tip and full swedge will improve the knife’s ability to perform penetrating cuts. This type of tip is sometimes referred to as a “reverse tanto”. Both designs provide excellent tip strength.
The grind is a full flat. Since the blades are fairly broad, the .118” (3mm) stock is thinned out substantially across the width. A secondary bevel produces a keen working edge. Toward the hilt the spine has a row of aggressive jimping for control and feedback. A right handed thumb stud is used for manual deployment on both. While the knives can be opened with one hand, it would be good to see either a slight cut away on the handle or some extra height on the thumb-stud for easier access. For detailing “Extrema Ratio” and “Made In Italy” appear etched on the lightly stone-washed blade. On opening the blade is held firmly and without play via a stainless liner lock.
The safety cutter has a long recessed blade and blunt angled tip. The tip is shaped to easily get into tight spaces without causing damage to surrounding materials or tissue. This makes it suitable for rescue operations such as cutting away seat belts, bindings or removing clothing. In order to efficiently deploy the blade under duress, it is equipped with an auto mechanism that is triggered by a button on the side of the handle. A strong spring tension deploys the cutter quickly and reliable. The button doubles as a plunge lock.
“Use only in case of emergency” is etched on the blade, likely to remind the owner to keep the safety cutter as sharp as possible. While both models come equipped with the same tool, the EVO variant has an additional safety that locks the auto button both closed and open. Although left out of the more cost effective III model, it would be a feature that would be better seen on both.
The marlin spike is an interesting addition for a knife geared toward Police. I haven’t seen many local LEO’s dealing with knots. Regardless it is a great feature for people who do. This implement is held shut by a clever spring cut into the liner. Equally as ingenious, the tool locks with a firm push downward in the open position. Knurling around the base makes manipulation easy. This part is made from 420 stainless steel. The last tool shared by both is a tungsten carbide glass breaker. This is housed in a stainless bezel and protrudes from the pommel.
The Police handles are built on a robust, open construction. Three substantial stainless liners provide a strong base for all components. These are clad in the standard, matte black anodized Anticordal aluminum scales seen on most Extrema Ratio knives. The ergonomics are straight forward. An indentation on the inner edge keeps your hand from slipping in either direction. The shape is slightly more exaggerated on the front, acting as a guard. The back side of the handle has a jimped thumb ramp for a standard grip while an angle before the pommel is ramped for your thumb in reverse grip. Traction is helped along by a recessed area for your first finger where a milled texture adds extra traction and detailing.
A reversible tip up clip is provided for carry in a pocket or on gear if the pouch isn’t being used. Three extra fasteners for the clip are include in the unused clip mounting holes opposite. The knife name and serial number are etched on the guard before the blade on both models. The EVO has additional icons to instruct use.
Outside of the blade patterns, the main difference between the two models is the added mounting points and tools that ship with the EVO. Toward the pommel there is a hexagonal bore with a magnet at the bottom. This holds a driver shaft that takes the supplied four Phillips (star) or two flat head bits. While the bit selection may not be for everyone (We use a lot of square Robertson heads in Canada, which are the best btw) the hexagonal slot is universal. This allows easy mix and match or replacements for parts if the tools are lost.
At the front of the handle there is a slot that can accept a saw, file or bottle and can opener. These are fastened with a screw in pin. While the tools are useful and the mounting method is very secure, the locking pin is quite small. If lost, these parts would be rendered unusable. To help with this there is a velcro tab on an attached split ring that holds the part to the inside of the pouch flap. It would probably be wise to tie it to the handle with a lanyard so it never gets lost. While the parts effectively extend the use of the EVO, you’ll have to be careful not to misplace the loose bits. Luckily the pouch has extra pockets to keep things in order. One other criticism here would be the plastic sleeves the accessories come in. It would be nice to see something more refined and in line with the quality of the rest of the package.
Each model’s pouch is made from Cordura. This is stitched around a hard plastic insert. The back side has a row of PALS webbing and a nylon strap making it MOLLE compatible out of the box. The strap can be looped for belt carry if preferred. The EVO model has two additional side pockets and an interior pocket for the accessories.Since the EVO’s extended tool-set isn’t attached to the knife, the pouch is pretty much mandatory if you want to have them at hand. For this reason the III can be carried with or without. Additionally the Police III is a bit loose in its pouch, likely because it was designed for the EVO and has extra room where the tools would have been. It’s also good to consider the over-all packed weight which is 14.7 oz for the EVO and 11.3 oz for the III all in.
When everything is considered the Police Models are interesting and ambitious in design and execution. It is impressive that Extrema Ratio has managed to fit in three separate locking mechanism and four base tools with an auto component. The III is well resolved while the EVO is a little bit less so, since the tools can be easily lost and the plastic pocket inserts don’t quite line up with the rest of the quality. That being said, it can do a ton of things if you are organized enough to hold onto all of the pieces (which I am personally not). Regardless of the criticisms, this is another bold, unapologetic Extrema Ratio design and different to what other manufacturers are putting out. The core utility of both knives is excellent providing a useful set of tools for the intended rescue application.