Because I legally carry a handgun in my right front pants pocket when I leave the house, I naturally tote a clipped folding knife in my left pocket. I would never, ever, ever, never place anything into the same pocket as a holstered gun, so my utility knife rides on the opposite side. A favored blade for this purpose is my Coast Products’ Rapid Response 3.0 folder.
Spoiler alert: I honestly did not think I would like this Rapid Response knife as much as I do. I purchased the larger Rapid Response 3.9″ bladed folder first. It was just a bit big for my own daily tasks. When the smaller 3″ bladed knife arrived several weeks later, I was immediately pleased. It had the same rugged construction of its older brother in a package more to my liking.
While the larger knife’s blade thunks open, the blade assist technology snaps the diminutive 3″ blade forward with authority. The patented opening method utilizes a leaf spring riding on a roller bearing to effortlessly transfer energy and fling the edge open. The dual thumb studs outpace my opposable digit during deployment.
The Rapid Responses also make use of Coast’s Max-Lock, which is a sliding switch on the left side of the frame that locks the blade either open or closed. This is a safety system that backs up the standard liner lock in these knives, making the folder imitate a fixed blade when the lock icon is visible.
Fiberglass-filled nylon handle scales have good texture. They are affixed over stainless steel liners, providing the knife’s strong backbone. The Rapid Response 3.0’s handle fills the hand. A bit of jimping at the upper rear of the blade and a slight scallop allow your thumb to choke up. Lastly, the handle halves have posts in lieu of a backspacer. This makes cleaning the knife easier.
A clip point blade of 5Cr15Mov stainless steel is the sharp part of this folder. As I said, I carry this knife for utility. Though not a premium steel, the 5Cr15Mov maintains a decent edge and is no trouble to touch up. I cut mostly cardboard, plastics, rope, and maybe some wood. I have had this 3.0 folder for nearly a year and it has acquitted itself well.
All the metal parts of this knife, including the reversible tip-up deep carry pocket clip, are blackened. I do not know if it is a form of black titanium or a PVD coating, but after much daily carry, all the fittings remain subdued. Even the blade has stayed black, although it shows some slight surface wear marks.
Back in January of this year, I had the honor of meeting and hanging out with Rapid Response designer Ron Lake at SHOT Show 2013. Mr. Lake invented the patented blade assist technology and Max-Lock used in this collaboration. I find these mechanical innovations a welcome surprise on a knife that retails for only $38.49. Shhhh, (whispering) you can hunt one down for less on the web. Thanks Coast and Mr. Lake!
The Rapid Response folders come in a bead blasted or black finish. The bead blasted blades are plain edged and the blackened blades are part serrated. A tanto blade profile is available for either the 3.0 or the 3.9.
I can tell when I find truly good features in a knife, as it will be found in my pants pocket more than in the knife roll. This is certainly the case with my Rapid Response 3.0 folder.