Multi-function tools are usually modified pliers with a built-in secondary blade. But the BriteStrike Brite-Blade Tactical Lighted Survival Knife (hereafter the TLSK) is a multi-function tool that keeps the knife primary. It’s also packed with useful secondary tools, making it a great choice for those of you who like to travel light — but prepared. BriteStrike markets this tool to first responders, hunters and survivalists. Retailing for $150, the TLSK is made from Mil-Spec 6061 aluminum with a hard anodized finish. It measures 5.1 inches in length (closed), 8.6 inches in length (opened), and weighs 5.35 ounces. It’s 1.45 inches tall and 0.375 inches thick. As such, I’d put it in the category of larger folding knives. As for the blade, that’s a 3.5-inch assisted-opening 440c piece of stainless, 0.125 inches thick at the back, with a proprietary titanium coating. It opens with a push of a thumb against a thumb stud and the combination serrated and plain edge makes short work of light- to medium-duty cutting tasks.
Lots of features, one tool. Besides the blade, the TLSK sports a carbide emergency window punch, a seat belt cutter/wire stripper/line cutter, a fire starter striking tool, and a 45-lumen mini-flashlight which you can remove and magnetically attach to some metal surfaces. In fact, the TLSK comes with a second mini-flashlight with a red light. All of these tools work very well for light- to medium-duty use. The fire starter and flashlight are both removable but held in place in the handle by magnets. Mine haven’t fallen out yet. The seat belt cutter is quite robust, capable of taking on some more serious cutting tasks.
Assisted-opening knife. A well-engineering spring system gives the blade a boost when deployed via either of the two thumb studs. It opens with a sharp snap and locks in place due to the liner lock. With a little practice, opening and closing this knife is a one-handed operation. Very handy.
Carbide window punch. Possibly the strongest part of the TLSK, the window punch is far larger than most and can deliver a leveraged blow to a window. It could also serve as a striking tool in a self-defense situation. Moreover, no matter how you grasp the TLSK to use the window punch, you get a very good purchase. And you can rest your thumb on the opposite end to apply maximum force.
Pocket clip location. Located in the middle of the TLSK, the pocket clip leaves well over an inch of tool sticking out of your pocket. That makes it a bit easier to grasp but it also makes it very visible. Since it’s the black and silver window punch sticking out, the contrast in colors makes it even more pronounced. The clip, however, can be installed on either side of the TLSK, making it friendly for lefties and righties. There’s even an extra clip included in the box. Regardless of the side on which you install the clip, the carry is always tip-up. This means your thumb naturally falls to the thumb stud for fast knife deployment.
The flashlight gets in the way of your thumb. While that handy little flashlight stored in the handle can be turned on to illuminate what you’re cutting, it also keeps your thumb from obtaining maximum leverage on the back of the blade. You can choke up a bit on the handle and blade but it’s a bit of an awkward grip at that point. Removing the flashlight helps.
I’m ambivalent about the fire starter. It works fine, sending a shower of hot sparks into a cotton ball and tinder pile, igniting them easily. I just don’t know if it belongs on this tool. A small screwdriver or a punch or even a sharpener might be more useful.
For more information on the TLSK visit BriteStrike.com.
What multi-tool do you keep handy? What’s your favorite tool or feature?
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