THE CUTTING EDGE
Hogue HK Karma First Response Tool

HK Karma is versatile new knife from Hogue Knives designed for duty. Author tested this version with spearpoint blade and black G10 handles.

HK Karma is versatile new knife from Hogue Knives designed for duty. Author tested this version with spearpoint blade and black G10 handles.

Heckler & Koch and Hogue, Inc. have partnered to release a family of high-performance knives designed and built for law enforcement, military, and first responders. Hogue is now the exclusive knifemaker for Heckler & Koch.

The first three knives of the HK Knives series collaboration were unveiled at SHOT Show 2018. They’re the HK Exemplar, Hadron, and Karma First Response Tool. Hogue provided me with the HK Karma for evaluation. It was designed by former Recon Marine and custom knife maker Allen Elishewitz and is manufactured in the USA by Hogue Knives.

The HK Karma is a large, heavy-duty folder that’s specifically designed to meet the needs of first responders. It features a saber-ground, partially serrated 3.75-inch blade. The blade is a beefy 0.15 inch thick. The knife has a closed length of 5.25 inches and weighs 7.2 ounces.

The Karma is much more than a knife. It’s a well-thought-out rescue tool. It has a safety/strap cutter on the spine that rotates open, a tungsten carbide glass breaker on the butt, and an oxygen cylinder valve wrench cutout in the handle.

Tungsten carbide glass breaker on butt of HK Karma is hard and durable. It can be used for multiple breaches without sharpening or replacement.

Tungsten carbide glass breaker on butt of HK Karma is hard and durable. It can be used for multiple breaches without sharpening or replacement.

The Karma is available with either a Tanto or spearpoint blade and with an HK textured black or safety orange G10 handle. I went with the spearpoint blade and black G10 handle.

I chose the spearpoint for its functionality. It offers a good balance between piercing and slicing ability, combining the sharp point of a dagger with the strength and some of the belly of a drop-point blade.

When the Karma arrived, I was immediately impressed with its design and quality of construction. The workmanship was flawless. The blade and safety/strap cutter on the sample knife were razor sharp right out of the box.

The blade and safety/strap cutter on the Karma are made of 154CM stainless steel. Originally developed for jet engine fan blades, 154CM alloy is a premium-grade USA-made high-carbon stainless steel from Crucible Industries. It’s a high-molybdenum modification of 440C that offers improved wear resistance and better corrosion resistance. 154CM alloy has a fine grain structure and is known for its toughness. The blade and safety/strap cutter are cryogenically treated and have a hardness of RC 57-59.

HK Karma is available with Tanto or spearpoint blade and safety orange or black G10 handle. Photo: Hogue

HK Karma is available with Tanto or spearpoint blade and safety orange or black G10 handle. Photo: Hogue

The blade and safety/strap cutter have a matte-black Cerakote™ coating. Cerakote is a ceramic polymer-based proprietary formulation. It’s a hard, durable baked-on coating with good corrosion resistance and high lubricity. The liners are made of aerospace-grade 300-series stainless steel, which is highly corrosion resistant and easy to maintain. The liners have a black oxide finish.

The blade on the Karma features a flipper opening mechanism with a liner lock. The knife has a phosphor bronze washer system for smooth, precise action. The knife has an oversized pivot pin and stop pin that are constructed of hardened stainless steel.

Lockup is very secure with no blade play. The liner lock is one of the most prevalent locking systems used in tactical knives. It employs a leaf-like spring split from the liner that wedges against the tang of the blade when the knife is opened. The blade is held in the closed position by a ball detent. Advantages of the liner lock include simplicity, ease of one-handed closing, and ease of cleaning in the field.

A potential downside with some liner locks is the possibility of accidentally releasing the blade if the handle is tightly gripped. This didn’t occur with the Karma, even when I gripped the handle in a white-knuckle grip and exerted side torque on the knife. The design of the Karma helps prevent this from occurring. And even if the blade were released, the flipper would act as a handguard.

Strap cutter on spine of HK Karma rotates open to safely cut through fibrous materials with ease, minimizing chance of injury.

Strap cutter on spine of HK Karma rotates open to safely cut through fibrous materials with ease, minimizing chance of injury.

The safety/strap cutter is opened using a thumb stud. It’s held open by means of a slipjoint, which is a non-locking mechanism that holds the cutter open by pressure on the tang. This is all that’s needed for a pull cutter.

The handle of the Karma has been shaped and sized for use with both gloved and bare hands, as well as ease of carry. The Karma’s ergonomics are outstanding. Aggressive jimping is machined into the rear of the blade spine for greater control and on the back of the flipper for additional purchase.

The G10 handle scales are attached to the liners with black-oxide finished stainless steel Torx socket screws. G10 is a high-pressure epoxy resin and fiberglass laminate. It’s impervious to most solvents and has an incredible 55,000 psi tensile strength, making it nearly indestructible.

The HK Pattern texturing on the scales is similar to that on the HK VP9 pistol. It looks good, provides a secure grip, and is comfortable in the hand, though it’s not abrasive on fabric.

HK Karma has ambidextrous four-position flatwire pocket clip that allows for right- or left-side tip-up or tip-down carry.

HK Karma has ambidextrous four-position flatwire pocket clip that allows for right- or left-side tip-up or tip-down carry.

The Karma is equipped with a four-way reversible stainless steel flat wireframe pocket clip, which is also black-oxide finished. Hogue offers PALS/MOLLE compatible pouches in Black, Coyote and OD for the knife.

To sum it all up, the HK Karma First Response Tool is an outstanding hard-use duty folder with a combination of features that make it ideal for first responders, military personnel, or any preparedness-minded individual.

The Karma has an MSRP of $189.95, which is very reasonable for a knife of this high quality. It comes with a neoprene pouch and has a limited lifetime warranty.

SOURCE

HOGUE, INC/HK KNIVES
(800) 438-4747
www.hkknives.com
www.hogueinc.com

Specifications, HK Karma First Response Tool

MANUFACTURER

Hogue Knives

MODEL

HK Karma First Response Tool

BLADE STYLE

Spearpoint or Tanto, partial serrations

BLADE LENGTH

3.75 inches

OVERALL LENGTH

9 inches

CLOSED LENGTH

5.25 inches

WEIGHT

7.2 ounces

OPENING MECHANISM

Manual, flipper

LOCKING MECHANISM

Stainless steel liner lock

HANDLE MATERIAL

Solid black or safety orange G10

SPECIAL FEATURES

Strap Cutter Blade, Oxygen Valve Wrench, Tungsten Carbide Glass Breaker

SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE

$189.95

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