The ARK, or Always Ready Knife, is the brainchild of military veteran John Shirley, who conceived the knife as a go-everywhere self-defense tool for U.S. personnel in Afghanistan; and the final product certainly fits that bill.

The two-and-a-half inch blade has a deeply curved clip point shape and a hollow grind. It’s made from H-1 stainless steel, which is a nitrogen alloy that is completely immune to rust. It’s quite an intimidating design for such a compact blade, and the point and edge come extremely sharp right out of the box.

A fiberglass-reinforced nylon handle is molded onto the blade’s tang and features Spyderco’s Bi-Directional Texturing pattern for a secure grip. Very easy to hold comfortably despite its size. The polymer sheath is slim and holds the knife tightly without impeding the drawstroke. The weight of the blade and sheath combined totals a feathery two ounces, making this a truly inconspicuous tool.

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