I knew this was going to become one of my favorites the minute I opened it. The Bradford Guardian3 is just 6.5 inches overall, but its 3.5-inch drop-point blade (with 3-inch cutting edge) can handle about anything you need a knife to do.

Bradford Guardian3 in sheath

This knife features a leather horizontal belt sheath with plastic insert.

Bradford Guardian3 is Highly Capable

The Guardian3 is made of Bohler M390 steel. Mine has a sabre grind and stonewashed finish. It’s also available with a Nimbus (dark stonewashed) or black DLC finish. The Micarta handle scales on mine feature a raised checkboard pattern in Tiger Stripe orange and black. It’s a very aggressive texturing pattern. I like that for sloppy work, such as field-dressing game. Despite the stereotypes about hunting knives, a small blade is often the most practical for such purposes. If you prefer something smoother, the knife is available with other handle options, including 13 different colors.

The full-length tang features a lanyard hole, something I use most often when kayaking. The knife design incorporates a finger groove just behind the sharpened edge and jimping on the spine, both of which allow you to inch up on the blade for greater control when needed. The leather sheath is well made and is made for discreet horizontal carry on the belt. A plastic insert protects the inside of the leather from the knife edge.

Bradford Guardian3 full length view

The knife features a very usable 3-inch cutting edge and nice Micarta handle scales.

Handy Carry Size

This knife came sharp from the factory and I found it excellent for the routine cutting tasks – rope, packaging, cardboard boxes – around the house. What I liked most of all is the overall size. It’s small enough to be a good EDC knife around town. But I spend lots of time in the woods and the Guardian3 is large enough to handle more demanding chores in camp. The exposed tang at the tail end could be used for light pounding and would facilitate use of the lanyard hole. Like all designs from Bradford Knives, the Guardian3 is made in the U.S. This Guardian3 is going into my regular fixed blade rotation.

For more information on the Guardian3, go to BradfordKnives.com. And be sure to check back with KnivesIllustrated.com for more of the latest news from the knife industry.


Model: Bradford Guardian3

Overall Length: 6.75 inches

Blade Length: 3.5 inches (3-inch cutting edge)

Steel: Bohler M390

Grind: Sabre

Configuration: Drop point

Weight: 3.5 ounces, 5.5 ounces with sheath

Handle: Micarta

Origin: U.S.

Other: Leather sheath for horizontal belt carry

MSRP: $159

Source: BradfordKnives.com

A version of this article was first published in the Spring 2021 issue of Engaged Media’s EDC – Everyday Carry Essentials magazine.