The TOPS El Pionero is the latest fixed-blade EDC option to consider. This model represents a collaboration between TOPS Knives and law enforcement expert Ed Calderon.


This knife is made of 1095, the steel that TOPS knows best. It’s a full-tang design that measures 7.63 inches overall with a 3.38-inch blade and tan canvas Micarta scales. It includes a Kydex sheath.


Ed Calderon’s experience includes counter narcotics, organized crime investigation, and executive protection. He uses that experience to instruct others in such things as defensive tactics, the use of weapons, and countering abduction attempts.

A few years back, Calderon was able to host one of his most famous training courses at TOPS Knives and took the time to be a guest on the TOPS Daily Grind podcast. During his time at TOPS in Idaho Falls, there were many conversations about edged tools and weapons. Ed and TOPS President Leo Espinoza agreed that a knife designed by Ed and produced by TOPS would be epic. This was the basis for the design that became El Pionero.

El Pionero in sheath

The TOPS El Pionero comes with a Kydex sheath for multiple carry and mounting options.


The El Pionero is a simple design based on what is probably the most common knife type on the globe – a paring knife. El Pionero has many other features that Calderon has found to be useful on knives throughout his experience.

The finger divot is a signature of his that he originally learned from his mother and is designed to make it easy to know where the edge is oriented based on where that divot is felt, but also helps when extracting a knife that has been stabbed into a something and may be somewhat stuck. The false edge aids in stabbing as well. The Kydex sheath is low profile, and easily customized by the end user to be worn in multiple configurations.

For more information, go to To learn about Calderon’s classes, go to And be sure to check back with for more of the latest news from the knife industry.


Model: TOPS El Pionero

Type: Fixed Blade

Overall Length: 7.63 inches

Blade Length: 3.38 inches

Cutting Edge: 3.13 inches

Blade Thickness: 0.09 inch

Blade Steel: 1095 RC 56-58

Blade Finish: Tumble finish

Handle Material: Tan canvas Micarta

Weight: 2.9 ounces, w/sheath 4.1 ounces

Sheath: Black Kydex

Designer: Ed Calderon

MSRP: $220