Eyes On EDC: The Tops Knives Fiel

Close up of the EDC Fiel
December 16, 2016  
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Categories: Knives and Axes

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An EDC Small Fixed Blade Knife (SFBK) for Everyone’s Inner Barbarian

Jeremy Stafford

One of the very coolest things about working for Breach Bang Clear is that occasionally, interesting things show up unsolicited on your doorstep. One of the worst things about working for Brach Bang Clear is that occasionally, “interesting” crosses the line to “weird” or “creepy.” I’m happy to say the Fiel, while unique, falls squarely into the interesting.

Tops Knives Fiel

First off, let me get some bias out of the way. I am an unapologetic fixed-blade fan-boy. When in a fight for my life, I want the damn blade now, and I don’t want to worry about opening it. I’ve been in a fight or two, and I know that no matter how hard you train, shit will not go according to plan. By reducing a step to get steel into flesh, you make the process more efficient. Efficiency wins fights. Be efficient.

Tops Knives Fiel with SureFire flashlight and police officer badge

On to the knife. At first glance, the Fiel appears to be a short, fat version of a Bronze Age leaf-type sword, with the blade becoming thinner towards the tip as its width increased before tapering back down to a point. This made for a blade that was particularly adept at slashing and hacking. The TOPS website recognizes this and even makes mention of it in the product description.

Close up of the Fiel blade

The name Fiel itself is Spanish for “faithful” or “accurate”, and with its hefty 2.7 oz weight and 3-inch blade, it’s hard to imagine this knife ever letting you down. The blade is double-edged, and the cutting edge goes nearly all the way down to the guard, measuring 2.88 inches. The edge is incredibly sharp, and the 1095 high-carbon steel is easy to re-sharpen when it wears down and dulls. The 1095 makes for a very robust blade material but can tend to be brittle, making it a great match for shorter, thicker blades such as the Fiel.

The entire knife is finished in TOPS tumbled finish, which gives it an appealing, muted, dull grey color throughout but has the unintended consequence of making the surface slippery and smooth. The knife does have a fairly generous guard with adequate jimping (milled or filed grooves for additional control), but in heavy use, I found the skeletonized handle too thin and slippery when combined with the rounded edges and overall smoothness of the tumbled finish. The fix would be easy; I think an epoxy-impregnated para-cord wrap would be perfect. As is, the knife can be tricky to hang on to when hacking, slashing and stabbing.

The blade in its designated sheath

I carried and used the blade as an EDC for a month in its provided sheath but attached it to an old Raven belt clip so I could carry it Appendix Inside Waistband (AIWB). It comes set up to be used as a neck knife, but I found it too large to comfortably carry that way, especially as it liked to grab my luxurious man-pelt. Painfully.

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Here at Breach Bang Clear, we have a clear mandate from the boss all the way down: honesty. My job is to give you my honest opinion, regardless of any missing chest hair. My honest opinion is that while the design has merit and capability, the wide blade takes time to get used to and has limited applications outside of pure self-defense. Additionally, the handle must be remedied before I’d feel great about using it in extremis. That being said, build quality and attention to detail is high. If you want a stout, bomb-proof EDC blade and you’re willing to deal with the handle issue, the Fiel should be high on your list.

-JS



Mad Duo, Breach-Bang& CLEAR!

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About the AuthorAuthor Jeremy Stafford

Jeremy Stafford is a truculent old school LEO and a combat veteran of the Marine Corps. He has just one beady eye (the right), a single shriveled testicle (the left) and is rumored to be the adopted son of Burt and Heather Gummer. (Grunts: truculent). Probably only part of that’s true, but really does it matter? Jeremy has been serving with the Los Angeles Police Department for nearly 20 years, both on the road and in specialty assignments. He is currently a senior instructor at the LAPD Firearms and Tactics Division, is a Krav Maga instructor and probably the guy responsible for those few times you see some Hollywood type actually handling a gun correctly. He’s written for several publications like SureFire’s Combat Tactics Magazine and is one of the main reasons we started reading Guns & Ammo again (the other is Mudge.) Stafford teaches for the SureFire Institute, mentors local youth (including kids doing the Spartan Race) and he runs many courses himself (think marathons, Tough Mudders and assorted other needless exercises in self-flagellation). Follow him on Instagram here (@jestafford).

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Jeremy Stafford

Jeremy Stafford

About the Author

Jeremy Stafford is a truculent old school LEO and a combat veteran of the Marine Corps. He has just one beady eye (the right), a single shriveled testicle (the left) and is rumored to be the adopted son of Burt and Heather Gummer. Probably only part of that's true, but really, does it matter? Jeremy has been serving with the Los Angeles Police Department for nearly 20 years, both on the road, in specialty assignments, and occasionally to the sound of the T.J. Hooker soundtrack. He recently left a position as a senior instructor at the LAPD Firearms and Tactics Division to a different assignment that is more hunting than fishing. He's a Krav Maga instructor, a court recognized firearm and use of force SME, and is likely the guy responsible for those few times you see some Hollywood type actually handling a gun correctly. Jeremy has written for a number of publications (like SureFire's Combat Tactics Magazine) and is one of the main reasons we started reading Guns & Ammo again. The other is Mudge. Stafford teaches for the SureFire Institute, mentors local youth (including kids doing the Spartan Race) and he runs many courses himself - think marathons, Tough Mudders and assorted other needless exercises in self-flagellation. Connect with him on Instagram if you're up for it (and don't require trigger warnings): @jestafford.

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