Ed Calderon is renowned for his time in counter-narcotics, organized crime investigation, and executive protection in Mexico. Due to his vast experience, he runs Ed’s Manifesto, a successful tactical and combatives training program. Likewise, he also has a unique perspective on what makes a good weapon—specifically non-tactical-looking tools. For this reason, Ed and TOPS Knives came together to design the El Pionero, a tactical paring knife.
The TOPS Knives El Pionero
With his background dealing with some very shady characters in some very shady areas, Ed believes in weapons of opportunity. Partly because they are readily available and because they won’t out you as law enforcement by carrying tactical gear. This led to the utilitarian paring knife design of the El Pionero.
Featuring a 3.38-inch blade, the El Pionero has the look and feel of a typical paring knife. The full tang design is constructed of 1095 high-carbon steel, with a hardness of 56-58. This combination of steel and TOPS excellent heat treat provides a blade with excellent edge retention and overall durability.
Providing the interface between flesh and steel, the El Pionero has tan Canvas Micarta handle scales. Embossed in the scales is Ed’s signature reaper design. Likewise, the butt includes Ed’s finger divot. The divot is an idea he got from his mother to help index the knife properly without looking. This translates perfectly to defensive knife tactics as well.
Measuring 7.63 inches in overall length, the El Pionero has a blade thickness of only .090 inches. This provides a very keen edge and easily slices through subject matter—much like a paring knife. Likewise, the swedge at the tip aids in maximum penetration capabilities.
The El Pionero ships with a Kydex belt sheath and weighs a lightweight 2.9 ounces (4.1 ounces with sheath).
The TOPS Knives El Pionero is available now with an MSRP of $220.00. For more info, please visit TOPSKnives.com and EdsManifesto.com.
TOPS Knives El Pionero Specs
Blade Steel: 1095 RC 56-58
Overall Length: 7.63 inches
Blade Length: 3.38 inches
Cutting Edge: 3.13 inches
Blade Thickness: 0.090 inches
Blade Finish: Tumble Finish
Handle Material: Tan Canvas Micarta
Knife Weight: 2.9 ounces
Weight w/Sheath: 4.1 ounces
Sheath: Black Kydex
Designer: Ed Calderon