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Over the years, Wilson Combat has expanded its product line to include shotguns, AR-pattern rifles and knives. It is nothing unusual for a firearms company to have a knife, or even a line of knives, included as a standard product. However, I cannot think of a company that carries it to the same extent as Wilson Combat.

The RRX (Rapid Response XL) is actually the final variation of a standard Wilson model, the Rapid Response. The drop-point blade is 3.5 inches long and fashioned from ELMAX steel. For those not familiar with ELMAX, it’s a Swedish powdered metal that is earning the reputation as the new “super steel” in the knife industry. This vacuum-melted steel has a high carbon and chromium content to improve wear resistance while maintaining the rust resistance of stainless steel.

Wilson Combat RRX knife
The RRX…is always ready to complete all the utility functions that may come about during a survival situation.

The RRX is a right-handed frame-lock design with a titanium handle contoured to match the natural shape of the user’s palm. The top and bottom of the handle have pronounced bevels to increase comfort while

all other edges around the handle have been rounded. Along with dual thumb studs, there is a “flipper” that protrudes 0.31 inches from the top of the handle when the knife is closed. Once deployed, this flipper acts as a lower guard. The RRX comes with a pocket clip that can be mounted on either side for point-down carry.

One feature of this knife that stands out is the recessed cocobolo inlay on the side of the handle, opposite of the frame lock. You can order the knife with a G10 insert instead of the cocobolo, but I think the wood gives a little extra snap to the appearance. With either insert, the stonewashed finish of the metal creates a nice contrast. The open-back design of the handle not only reduces weight, but also eases cleaning out the crud that normally collects in the handle of a folder. The final feature of the RRX is the lanyard hole at the end of the handle.

These are American-made knives, and each one is hand fitted, sharpened and tuned. Before I tried out the attributes of the ELMAX steel, I wanted to get accustomed to the feel of the knife. Anyone who has a flipper-operated knife knows it can be an addictive practice. However, just because a knife has a flipper doesn’t mean it works as intended. Wilson’s design was dead on. Since this knife does not have any type of spring assist, the flipper starts the movement of the blade, but it is the wrist flip that propels the knife into a locked position. It may require a few practice swings, but once this movement is learned, the knife instantly opens.

Wilson Combat RRX knife
The RXX is seen here sutting through wood without any difficulty.

The RRX carried well, and it is always ready to complete all the utility functions that may come about during a survival situation. Its first use came when a heater hose on my car decided to spring a leak right at the hose clamp. Fortunately, I had a screwdriver to remove the clamp, but have you ever tried to cut anything with a screwdriver? A quick trim job on the hose with the RRX made my stay on the side of the highway a short one. It also came in handy a day later, when I deemed it wise to replace all of the hoses on the car. The RRX is also an excellent tool to turn old, plastic soda bottles into funnels for oil changes. The RRX could also run competition with any garden shears on the market, by clearing out brush for a campsite and cutting branches for firewood or a shelter.

Related Stories: Preview: 8 Essential Fixed-Blade Knives For Survival

All-Purpose Steel

The RRX can also serve as a self-defense weapon. The advantage to a knife is that unlike a firearm, it can also be used as a utility tool. My first venture with the RRX was to experiment with its slicing and stabbing abilities. It took very little effort to open up or penetrate sections of leather with either a swiping or stabbing motion. The addition of a layer of denim over the leather didn’t change the results. After a little practice, retrieving the knife from my pocket and deploying the blade soon became a quick process.

After the leather, I moved to something a little more serious. I’ve been testing a bulletproof vest for another project and thought I would see how it would perform against the RRX. A .357 Mag just mushroomed and failed to penetrate while the RRX passed through with little effort. That will give you a moment of pause when you consider the value of a knife as a weapon. These tests also exhibited the RRX’s prowess in being used for hunting. A knife that can easily slice and dice through multiple layers—fur, flesh and bonewill dull much slower than one that requires a lot of effort from its user. The RRX may never be put to use as a weapon, but the same can be said about my handgun. The knife is more than capable of performing that role, but until then it makes a good tool. For more information, visit wilsoncombat.com or call 800-955-4856.

This article was originally published in SURVIVOR’S EDGE ™ Winter 2015 magazine. Print and Digital Subscriptions available here

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