BK&T TacTul – also known as: Tac Tool, DivTul ResqDivTul 1990s manufactMade by Blackjack Classic Knives for BK&T in Effingham, IL

“Cut, Hack and Hammer!!” Vintage Becker Tac Tool

BK&T TacTul – also known as: Tac Tool, DivTul ResqDivTul 1990s manufactMade by Blackjack Classic Knives for BK&T in Effingham, IL

  • BK&T Tac Tool, Also know as TacTul, DivTul and ResqDivTul
  • 8 1/2" fixed blade, 13" overall length, 1/4" material
  • 440A sandblasted steel; Esta-Loc Handle, Eagle Cordura sheath
  • Marked with the BK&T logo, made in the 1990s for BK&T by Blackjack Knives in Effingham, IL

Every knife maker worth his salt inserts hard-won experience and distinctive quirks into each design.  A knife, so ardently produced, gives even the most causal collector an object that tells a fascinating tale.  The Becker Tac Tool, with its numerous name and design iterations, is no exception.

TacTul II was Blade Magazine’s 1990 pick for “Most Innovative American-Made Design of the Year” describing it as, “a heavy duty diving/utility knife that is a saw, hammer/nail puller, screw driver, chisel, pry bar and knife all-in-one.”

The DivTul series was described in 1990 era ad as possessing “near indestructability and easy sharpening…DivTuls can CUT, HACK, and HAMMER!!”

The following summaries explore the uncommon individuals who had a hand in creating this extraordinary knife:

Ethan Becker

Always a fan of the “big knife’, Ethan Becker started making knives geared toward outdoorsmen and tactical professionals in his garage and formed his own company, Becker Knife & Tool in the 1980s. Becker recounts the colorful beginnings of Tac Tool design in this A.G. Russell video

In case the name Ethan Becker doesn’t ring a bell, you just might know him as the author/editor of the 1997 and 2006 landmark cookbook, Joy of Cooking.  He also has a thriving, knife-loving fan base known as “Becker Heads” 

John Benner

John Benner, the field commander of Hamilton County OH SWAT Team that Ethan Becker credits for contributing to the knife’s development went on to design an entire line of  law enforcement knives .  He also founded and heads up his own training academy:  TDI Ohio

Blackjack Knives / Bark River Knives

Mike Stewart and his wife Lesley founded Blackjack Knives in 1987 . The early version of the Tac Tool pictured above was produced for Becker Knife & Tool by Blackjack Knives when it was located in Effingham, IL.  The company changed hands over the years and the Blackjack name was eventually sold.  Mike Stewart continues to make his own semi-production knives at Bark River Knives in Escanaba, MI   and hosts weekend knife making workshops several times a year.

Tac Tool Lives On as BK3

The BK3, an updated, USA made version is available at Ka-Bar Knives.  Ka-Bar also sells a number of Ethan Becker’s other designs.


The Tac Tool is a muscular beast with a 1/4″ spine.  It’s fun to hold and to admire for its sculptural qualities. It’s unlikely that I would ever use it to pry apart a Dodge Omni, as referenced in the A.G. Russell video link.  I have no doubt that the Tac Tool would perform admirably in a multitude of exciting endeavors, however, at present, I’m satisfied to leave it untried in protecting life and limb.

It’s pleasure enough knowing and telling the Tac Tool’s beguiling story.

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