TOPS Knives Mini Pry Knife is a hardcore tool for hardcore tasks. According to TOPS, it was designed upon the request of a group of law enforcement officers, many of whom were involved in high-risk warrant service and fugitive recovery. They weren’t looking for a team tool, but a smaller pry knife for individual carry that could be carried close to the body and not be easily distinguishable from a multi-tool when in its sheath.

TOPS Mini Pry Knife was designed at the request of law enforcement officers who needed a compact, easily carried low-profile breaching tool. It has a 4.25-inch partially-serrated 5160 spring steel full-tang blade with pry-bar tip and Black Traction Coating.

Not all breaching operations are planned. Many situations will be encountered in which a breaching capability becomes necessary. A larger breaching tool may be unavailable or impractical in these instances. This is where the Mini Pry Knife comes into play. It’s easy to carry and easy to use, with capabilities that belie its compact size.

The Mini Pry Knife has a multitude of tactical and rescue applications. It can be used to open windows, pry interior doors and transoms, lift flanges and hinge pins, create the first gap in a security door or gate for insertion of a Halligan or other entry tool and maintain the gap when tools need to be reset, force security gates, punch holes in interior walls, secure doors, break glass, cut rope and webbing, pop car doors, and open containers. And it can also be used as a tool of last resort or weapon should the need arise.

The Mini Pry Knife is an outstanding tool for inclusion any urban survival kit. In a disaster, you may need to pry open a door or window, move barriers and debris, hammer out glass, rake a broken window or bust open a lock. The Mini Pry Knife is certainly up to the tasks, whether it be entry, escape, rescue or even self-defense.

The Mini Pry Knife is a compact powerhouse and nearly indestructible. It features a 3.5-inch (8.89 cm) partially-serrated 5160 spring steel blade with chisel pry-bar tip that’s great for prying or scraping, thumb ramp jimping on the spine for added control, and matte Black Traction Coating® textured protective powder coating. The full-tang blade is a whopping 0.38-inch (0.97 cm) thick to handle those tough prying jobs. The blade has a slight belly for slicing.

The blade on TOPS Mini Pry Knife is 0.38- inch thick. It’s one tough tool.

The Mini Pry Knife has an overall length of 8.13 inches (20.65 cm) and weighs in at 16.3 ounces (462.1 g). The amount of leverage that can be generated from this compact tool is surprising and more than enough to handle the tasks for which it’s designed. While not as capable as a larger tool in this regard (simple physics), the best tool is obviously the one that you have with you.

The Mini Pry Knife has contoured Black Linen Micarta® handle slabs with finger grooves that provide a positive and comfortable grip and prevent your fingers from slipping, wet or dry with or without gloved hands. The handle slabs are secured with black-oxide coated stainless steel hex socket screws. The handle has a lanyard hole.

TOPS went with forged 5160 spring steel for the Mini Pry Knife, instead of its mainstay 1095 high carbon steel. This is an excellent choice. 5160 is a medium/high carbon and chromium alloy spring steel. It has a combination of outstanding toughness, a high level of ductility, and excellent fatigue resistance, making it well suited for a tool of this type. It lacks some edge retention compared to 1095 steel.

Although it takes a sharp edge and is easily resharpened, 5160 can be difficult to machine making it more costly for manufacturers to work with. It’s not a stainless steel and will rust if not properly cared for.

All fixed blade knives purchased directly through TOPS and all TOPS folders irregardless of where they’re purchased ship with a bottle of HP100 Knife Oil with SMT (Sub-Micron Technology) that protects, lubricates and reduces wear. It’s 100% synthetic, non-toxic and non-flammable.

How a blade is heat treated is as important, if not more important, as the steel itself. TOPS prefers to do a differential heat treat on its knives to provide a harder edge (56-58 RC) with a softer spine. This makes TOPS knives stronger and capable of withstanding sideways stresses that many other knives cannot.

TOPS Mini Pry Knife comes with a black Cordura ballistic nylon sheath that’s belt and PALS/MOLLE compatible. It’s designed to look similar to a multi-tool sheath.

Differential heat treatment is especially important in a tool such as the Mini Pry Knife. If the metal is too hard it cannot be used used effectively as a pry-bar as it will be too brittle. If the cutting edge is too soft, it won’t hold an edge and cut poorly.

The Mini Pry Knife comes with a rugged black Cordura® ballistic nylon fold-over sheath with a Kydex® insert and ITW Fastex® buckle. The sheath fits belts up to 2.25 inches wide and is PALS/ MOLLE compatible, allowing it to be either worn on the belt or vest/rig, as your mission and personal preference dictate.

In addition to the fold-over flap, there’s a Velcro® strap that secures the Mini Pry Knife in the sheath. The sheath also features a pocket that can be used to house a folding knife or a smaller tool, such as TOPS Pry Probe Punch Tool (PPP-01). The sheath comes with a length of 550 cord (paracord) that can be used as a dummy cord or wrist lanyard.

TOPS also makes a coyote tan version of the sheath that’s available separately. Other than the color, it’s identical to the sheath that comes with the Mini Pry Knife.

The Mini Pry Knife would work well for plainclothes carry with a sheath designed for that purpose. Although TOPS doesn’t offer one for the Mini Pry Knife, there are a number of custom sheath makers that make one for you.

To sum it all up, within its intended design parameters, the Mini Pry Knife is an outstanding go-anywhere breaching and cutting tool that’s easily carried and very capable. It’s a specialty designed for a specific purpose and to meet specified parameters. The design, materials and workmanship are all top-notch. As with all TOPS fixed blade knives, it’s made and hand finished in the Rocky Mountains, USA.

TOPS fixed blade knives are guaranteed to be free from defects in materials and workmanship for life. TOPS sheaths are warrantied for one year from the date of original purchase. TOPS Mini Pry Knife has a MSRP of $180.00.

TOPS Mini Pry Knife

Manufacturer: TOPS Knives
Model: TOPS Mini Pry Knife
Item #: MPK-01
Knife Type: Fixed Blade
Overall Length: 8.13 in. (20.65 cm)
Blade Length: 3.50 in. (8.89 cm)
Blade Thickness: 0.38 in.(0.97 cm)
Blade Type: Partially Serrated with Pry Bar Tip
Blade Steel: 5160 RC 56-58
Blade Finish: Black Traction Coating
Handle Material: Black Linen Micarts
Lanyard Hole: Yes
Knife Weight: 16.3 oz. (462.1 g)
Sheath: Black Cordura Ballistic Nylon w/ Kydex Liner and ITW Fastex Buckle
MOLLE Compatible: Yes
Designer: TOPS Team
Country of Origin: USA
Warranty: Lifetime (One Year Warranty on Sheath)
MSRP: $180.00

Material Disclosure

I received this product as a courtesy from the manufacturer so I could test it and give my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal or implied contract to give this product a good review. All opinions are my own and are based off my personal experience with the product.

*The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the original authors and contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Spotter Up Magazine, the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

By Eugene Nielsen

Eugene Nielsen provides intelligence and security consulting services. He has a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of California. His byline has appeared in numerous national and international journals and magazines.

2 thoughts on “TOPS Knives Mini Pry Knife”
  1. Plain clothes carry sheath?
    Thanks for the great web site, and the above article. I have one on order from Tops, and would be interested in a more syruptitious sheath. I’m a fireman, not a LEO, but plan on EDCing this, and see no good reason to advertise. Help appreciated.
    Regards, Jim

    1. Your best bet would be to contact a custom sheath maker. TOPS designed the sheath to look like a multi-tool sheath, but I agree that it isn’t really surreptitious.

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