The Boker Plus CFR EMT knife, the Combat First Responder. It came in for review today as part of my effort to find the best emergency responder knife for my elite everyday carry backpack setup.
The idea is simple: put together an urban survival backpack with only the best gear for the job. The Boker Plus CFR is one of only a few knives that could make the cut for best EMT knife. Let’s find out if it will.
When we talk about knives, rescue or EMT knives are hardly ever part of the conversation. And that’s a shame as carrying a rescue knife might be the best decision you’ll ever make. Not just so you’re better equipped to save other peoples lives, but to bring more security to yourself as well.
The Combat First Responder
The Boker Plus CFR – Combat First Responder has been designed for soldiers. Ones that, next to fulfilling their normal combat roles in the field also function as medics and military EMT personnel.
Boker claims that “the CFR can master any task making it an uncompromising rescue knife”. At first glance this seems to hold true. Especially when looked at from a rescue activity perspective in a combat environment.
It has a belt cutter that can (and should) be used with the blade closed. This way you can use it close to the body without the risk of cutting the one you’re trying to rescue.
It also features a glass breaker at the pommel allowing you to free people from their vehicle by smashing the window. And let’s not forget, it is also a potent folder because of the full fledged, partly serrated, recurved blade.
The Boker Plus CFR – Combat First Responder is a pretty big knife with an overall length of 9″ or 23 centimeter and a closed length of 5.2″ or 13.3 centimeter. It weighs in at 6.2 oz or 176 grams. This makes it a beefy knife that can easily be handled when wearing gloves.
Boker Plus CFR Handle and Ergonomics
The handle on the Boker Plus CFR is a semi-open design made out of a steel frame covered with Zytel scales. The scales come in a fire red color and can easily be detached using the tools that come with the knife. This provides the option to paint the Boker Plus CFR in a any friendly urban survivalist color you’d like.
Boker did not drill holes into the frame to save weight. Because of that the weight and therefore its center of gravity lies behind the finger groove for the index finger. It doesn’t make for a light knife, but it does add to the overall rigidity and strength. You’ll notice this when checking for play on the blade for example, it doesn’t have any. None whatsoever.
The main ergonomic features are the finger grooves and a front finger guard. They provide lots of grip and lock in your fingers. The handle isn’t fully texturized, Boker choose to have some texture in the finger grooves only.
One way the combat aspect of this knife comes into play is by the shape of the rear end of the handle. The part that looks like a rear finger guard. It is called a ‘pull assist’ and is meant to assist you in pulling the knife out of whatever it is lodged into.
The handle is slightly bulky with a thickness of 1.75 millimeter or 0.46″, but when you think of it as the work horse knife in the hands of a soldier or fireman that thickness is fine, especially when wearing gloves. When you’re looking to EDC it on person to the office, 0.46 inches is a bit thick.
Boker Plus CFR Pommel and Clip
One of the premier features of an EMT knife is its glass breaker, instrumental in rescuing trapped occupants of a vehicle. The Boker Plus CFR also has one, of course, capable of breaking a car window with a single blow. When you try this at home, don’t go crazy by forcefully slamming it through the car window. Just gently, yet firmly tap the window in the lower corner. That way you’ll shatter it into a thousand pieces in a controlled manner, minimizing the risk of hurting yourself.
The Boker Plus CFR – Combat First Responder has an interesting trick up its sleeve though. The knife comes with a changeable tip that allows you to customize it to fit your need. You can choose for either a regular glass breaker tip, or a false pen tip (left image above).
And just in case you wondered, that tip is indeed a tip that looks like a writing pen clip for undercover operations where concealing the knife is important. The clip is a slim clip, just as you would find on a pen. Add to that the false pen tip and you got deception. Next to looking like a pen the solid steel false pen tip will also serve as a backup impact or pressure point weapon.
Boker Plus CFR Blade
The Boker Plus CFR – Combat First Responder blade profile is a bit of a recurved blade and a drop point, measuring in at 3 7/8″ or 9.7 centimeters in length and 3 millimeter in thickness. The razor sharp edge and broad blade coupled with a slight belly make it an excellent slicer. Serrations on the first one third of the blade are great for cutting through though materials and for cutting thick rope.
The drop point gives added strength to the tip making it a good blade for stabbing, and various survival tasks like cutting, skinning, and carving. Another advantage of the drop point blade is it’s relatively broad tip. This allows for the placing a belt cutter on the spine of the Boker Plus CFR.
Thoughtfully designed seatbelt cutter
Although the mouth of the belt cutter isn’t as wide as I would have liked, it is well designed for cutting and it is sharp. It easily sliced through a seat belt when testing it. Next to seat belts I figured it would also have to be good at cutting someone free from his or her backpack or any tactical gear. Just as with the seat belt it went through the backpack straps with ease.
I myself like a slightly larger mouth so it’s easier to feed it other material than just seat belts in case you need to cut of the clothing or boots of a trauma victim, for example.
Talking to one of the amazing people behind the R&D and creation of the Boker Plus CFR I learned the reasons behind the design of the belt cutter. Most importantly I learned that my desire for a wider mouth has a drawback.
What is important in a seatbelt cutter?
When cutting seat belts a wider mouth has as a negative side effect the tendency to make the seat belt curl up onto itself. So instead of presenting just the side of the belt as surface to cut through you now have a much larger surface to cut.
A purpose designed seatbelt cutter means less need for applying lots of force and less reengaging of the cut.
This costs valuable extra time to free the trauma victim or, in case of a police officer arresting somebody trying to stay inside the vehicle (think right after a car chase for example) this means that securing a suspect takes more time, thus extending an unsafe situation. Not good in either case.
In all honesty, it makes nothing but sense that you design a seat belt cutter to be best at cutting seat belts. In real life that will be the main use case anyway. As a cop, EMT, first responder or sheepdog you’ll be the one breaking windows and cutting seat belts. Paramedics will take care of the rest.
A solid knife meant for professionals
This knife is clearly build to be strong and reliable, not to be sexy and quick, you’ll notice holding and operating it. If you want to open this knife one handed you can definitely do so, without any trouble. Just don’t expect to ‘flick it open’, because that’s not the kind of knife this is.
Made for left and right hand opening using a ring placed to the back and on top of the spine, instead of using ambidextrous thumb-studs for example. At first that seemed a little odd to me, but after having opened it numerous times I must say that I probably like it better than thumb studs as it is easier to exert force on this ring.
The locking mechanism used is a half lockback system. It utilizes a strong backspring located along the back of the knife and incorporates a hook or lug on the backspring, which snaps into a corresponding notch on the blade’s heel when the blade is fully opened, locking the blade into position. Closing the blade requires you to release the blade by applying pressure to the bar spring located halfway the handle.
Some final thoughts on the Boker Plus CFR – Combat First Responder
Going over this knife you can see that Boker has managed to come up with a knife that is both a survival and rescue knife without compromising on either one. It is strong, made of non rust and rust resistant materials and will do the job it’s build for. It’s also not beautiful. The fit and finish doesn’t look smooth at all.
Question is of course, can it be an urban survivalists EMT or rescue knife? Let me answer right away: It could very well be. I see no reason why this knife couldn’t be part of your EDC. It just depends on how and where. Would I EDC this knife on person in a down town, office type environment? Not during peace time I wouldn’t. To bulk and aggressive looking. A little too much knife for small everyday office tasks.
Would I EDC the Boker Plus CFR?
Would I EDC the Boker Plus CFR in my EDC backpack or pack? You bet! Front pocket, right hand side.
My thinking here is simple. It doesn’t look all clean and polished, but so what. Next to that being my personal taste more than anything else, it does exactly what you need it to do. And in the end that is what you should choose a knife on.
When you’re looking for an EMT or rescue knife to EDC this knife is a great choice.
We the urban survival everyday carry crowd, should EDC an EMT knife at all times. The Boker Plus CFR Combat First Responder fits the bill.