Monday Night Knife Fights: The Comprehensive Fighting Systems ARK
The Karambit is an oft-misunderstood tool in the world of edged weapons. It can be easy to write them off as the pocket ornaments of mall ninjas and wanna-be-real-ninjas. But Comprehensive Fighting Systems and Pinkerton Knives have teamed up to deliver a practical and intuitive iteration of the curved blade they’re calling the Active Response Karambit, or ARK. This knife was specifically designed to be used in conjunction with handguns, and offers all the advantages of a fixed-blade backup knife without taking your ability to run your favorite pistol at the same time.
Weighing in at a scant 1.2 ounces and measuring millimeters in thickness, the ARK is practically weightless in the hand or on the belt. The overall length is less than six inches with a 1.6 inch single-edged blade. These stats translate into an EDC fixed-blade small and light enough to fit in with any wardrobe or load out. The 154CM stainless blade is bead blasted and all the edges are beveled for a more comfortable grip.
The ARK’s most distinctive feature, measured against other karambits, is the short “locking bar” that protrudes from the top of the traditional ring. On most other karambits, the ring is intended for your index finger. In the case of the ARK, you use your middle finger for the ring, and your index finger wraps over that small bar. This holds the knife in place regardless of whether your hand is open or closed. This is what gives the ARK its borderline magical power of staying put while you drive your gun uninhibited. Your two-handed pistol grip, one-handed grip with handheld white light, reloads, slide manipulations and presentation from the holster are all unaffected with the ARK in your hand. When carried without a handgun, the ARK’s design allows you to physically restrain or fend off an attacker, open doors, drive a vehicle and display open hands to law enforcement without dropping the knife. Typical knife designs, whether fixed or folding, always leave you having to choose between retaining your knife or using that hand. The ARK lets you do both.
The ARK’s price point is almost as light as the ARK itself – $98.99 for both knife and sheath. The sheath is black kydex. After some messing around, I swapped the G-clip for a soft loop I had laying around and liked it better. The sheath is also the only thing about the ARK that I think needs improvement. While the fit and finish are fine, its rectangular shape seems to always have one sharp corner poking out somewhere, whether it’s mounted vertically, horizontally or somewhere in between. After some trial and error, I settled on a horizontal mounting at the 10:30-11:00 position, using one of the wife’s hair ties to keep the handle snug against my Carbon Tactics belt. This seemed to offer the most comfort and least printing without affecting the rest of my EDC.
Even for shooters without any formal edged weapons training, the ARK’s utility is obvious after a sixty-second demo. Its primary use as a weapon retention aid and extreme close-quarters secondary is obvious from the way it sits in your hand. Its light weight and low profile means you’ll never have to go without it. In places where you can’t have a gun at all, the ARK makes an excellent choice for an alternate primary. While I don’t remotely consider myself a knife guy, I love the ARK. It unexpectedly ended my eighteen-month search for an EDC fixed blade to carry with my pistol, and since purchasing mine I haven’t looked back. It’s available exclusively through CFS’s website and production models are shipping now.
Mad Duo, Breach-Bang& CLEAR!
Emergency: Activate firefly, deploy green (or brown) star cluster, get your wank sock out of your ruck and stand by ’til we come get you.
About the Author: Tom Marshall is an interesting miscegenation of background experiences. He’s a former active duty US Army officer, but before that was a graduate of the US Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, NY. Before accepting his commission as a 2LT, Midshipman Marshall spent a year travelling the world on a variety of merchant shipping vessels, including several months attached to Military Sealift Command. After returning from sea, he spent a summer working at the HQ training facility for Blackwater USA.
Tom spent four years in the Cavalry with a Stryker Brigade, including a one-year tour to Iraq with 4th BCT, 2nd Infantry (“Raiders”). Among other assignments he worked S-3 before taking over a Recce Platoon. He earned the rank of Captain and spent his final year in a HQ Company XO billet. After departing the military he spent about a year and a half working security at a federally-contracted Corrections facility before going back overseas in a PMC job working security and force protection for government personnel working in high threat environments around the world. Tom has written for Guns & Ammo, World of Firepower, SWAT Magazine, Black Sheep Warrior, RECOIL Magazine, and Emerge Social, a PR firm specializing in digital brand management for firearms-industry clients. He may or may not have been the inspiration for the best selling issue of Urecco. You can follow him on Facebook at /TMAuthor/ or on Instagram, @tom.marshall.author.