Ammo & Gear Reviews

Gear Review: TOPS Knives Scorpion’s Tail

Inspired from an ancient Indonesian utility tool, the TOPS Knives Scorpion’s Tail has tremendous self-defense potential.

By Bob Boyd, Shooting Illustrated

Part of the thrill of being Shooting Illustrated’s assistant editor involves getting a first look at new firearms that are going to be covered from one month to the next. While the content is always fresh and thought-provoking; what I really enjoy is not only the informative articles, but also ones that leave me with some sort of insightful tidbit I can apply to my own defensive practices.

Take, for example, Bryce Towsley’s article on surviving a terrorist attack. In addition to learning about the various forms of ultra-close-quarters-battle techniques, I discovered I was one of the many people who mistakenly carried my knife in a strong-side pocket as opposed to keeping it on my weak side as a weapon-retention tool.

The sudden realization created quite a dilemma for me. My lack of fine-motor coordination in my right hand makes the small movements required to successfully open and wield a knife a challenge due to my disability. Thankfully, the folks at TOPS Knives offer a solution in the form of a knife called the Scorpion’s Tail.

With a design similar to the Indonesian-inspired utility tool known as the Karambit, the true inspiration for Scorpion’s Tail came not from the Far East but here in the USA. Because even though everyone can benefit from it; the knife’s design proves quite beneficial to the disabled—especially those who, like me, are confined to a wheelchair.

Inspired from an ancient Indonesian utility tool, the TOPS Knives Scorpion's Tail has tremendous self-defense potential.

Sporting a unique design, the Scorpion’s Tail is comprised of a generously sized handle that curves into a blade at a 90-degree angle, while the pommel features a telltale Karambitesque large-diameter ring. An added benefit, inserting your pinky into the ring creates an even more secure grip. Available in two styles, the sample I received contained black linen Micarta scales with a decorative scorpion on one side. It ships with a black kydex sheath that contains adjustable tension screws and a multi-position belt clip.

At 5.5 inches long and boasting full-tang construction, the Scorpion’s Tail is made of 1095 high-carbon alloy with a Rockwell hardness of 58 and is coated in a tactical black finish. Its small-but-potent 1.75-inch blade—which is appropriately in the shape of a scorpion’s stinger—is capable of double-duty, thanks to a second 1.25-inch false edge. As a result, the blade cuts, regardless of which direction the knife is wielded.

The large-diameter ring on the Scorpion Tail's pommel provides enhanced leverage when cutting.

What makes the Scorpion’s tail beneficial for the wheelchair bound, you ask? Regardless of whether wielding the knife underhand or overhand, the perpendicular orientation of the handle to the blade is, in large part, what I find appealing about this knife. The shape lends itself to close-in work and produces an extremely short cutting arc. Second, the design lends itself to a “hook-and-grab” motion unlike a straight-bladed knife, which could cause a disabled person to lose their center of gravity by leaning forward. That, coupled with the Scorpion Tail’s drop-point blade and false edge, should see the knife prove capable of lethal finality at close-quarters. The design also provides enhanced leverage with minimal wrist movement.

At a price of $99 for the plain handle or $129 for the Micarta, the Scorpion’s Tail is extremely potent protection, no matter how you slice it.

Knife review courtesy of Shooting Illustrated. Visit them here