TOPS Knives

Our Knives are TOOLS designed, and built, using the extensive knowledge and REAL LIFE Experiences of 12 Operators with backgrounds in the Military, Law Enforcement, Outdoor Professions, and the Martial Arts.
All TOPS fixed blades are designed and handcrafted at TOPS’ own facility in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, USA. Over the last 15 years TOPS KNIVES have been requested and deployed in many 'Hot Spots' around the world. Numerous individuals who are currently active FIELD OPERATORS are using our knives and have been reporting top performance and reliability from their TOPS KNIVES.

GySgt Dave (Norseman) Williams Bio

 I was born and lived my early childhood in Augusta Georgia, until around the age of eight my family relocated to Southern Michigan. My father was a genius mechanic and hunter, my mother was a prison guard in Jackson. As a child I found that my two sisters shared one great passion in life. That passion was the endless torture of their only brother. In time I found that the only place that I could get any peace was alone in the wilderness. I learned to hunt, first with a bow and later with rifles and shotguns. It seemed that I spent all of my free time alone in the woods of Michigan. Of course winter was inevitable and eventually I learned to cope with the bitter, wet, cold conditions as well as anyone could expect too. This passion for the woods grew as I grew, and blossomed when I started to understand the things that were going on around me. I spent much of my free time teaching myself to track and recognize the natural resources that were there in abundance. Keep in mind that this was not survival, I didn’t even know what that was; for me it just was the way things were. It seemed natural and instinctive so I never found a reason to put a label on it. In my youth I explored many avenues that would today be considered modern survival, like raising rabbits and planting a garden. I was not raised like this; we were like any other family at the time. It seemed to me to be the thing to do, and although my friends did not quite get it, they did not give me any flack over it either.

My plan for life was to join the military and go out in a blaze of glory. I sure do miss the illusions of youth. I realized the first part of that dream when I enlisted in the Marine Corps immediately after graduation in 1993. Before Yule of that year I was a US Marine attending the School of Infantry. I loved it, there was nothing like being a grunt. In March of 1995 I found myself in the New Port of Mogadishu Somalia, This is where I had my first combat engagement and the realization that “this is nothing like the movies” This is stupid and there are far too many rules. Never the less I returned home and progressed through my Marine Corps career.


Throughout the years I have had the opportunity to attend many courses and training packages around the world. I could never seem to get enough training, so the next logical step was to go to the battalion sniper platoon. I attended the sniper indoctrination with 14 other SLUGs (Slow Lazy Untrained Gunmen) and only two of us made the selection. Soon after indoctrination I was off to sniper school as a brand new PIG (Professionally Instructed Gunman) where I spent the next ten and a half weeks, in a state of mental and physical exhaustion like I had never known possible. I was one of the fortunate few that graduated the course on the first attempt and returned to my platoon in the Fleet Marine Force as a HOG (Hunter of Gunmen). Throughout my tour with the platoon I attended and graduated many courses to include: Urban Sniper, Urban R&S, Advanced Sniper, Sniper Employment Officer, and Mountain Survival. I had forgotten how good it feels to accomplish wilderness living tasks, so now my flame was rekindled.


After a couple successful deployments, I applied for an instructor’s position at the First Marine Division, Scout Sniper Basic Course. I was accepted and immediately began to re design the survival and combat tracking programs. The new programs greatly increased the field craft portion of the course and I eventually became the primary instructor for field craft. After my tour was complete I rotated back to the FMF and took over a sniper platoon for a couple more deployments. By this time I was becoming well connected in the survival community and was really enjoying the job that I had. Eventually working with other sniper platoon sergeants we started a pilot program to get David Scott-Dolelan From TTOS (Former Rhodesian SAS, Selous Scout) out to CampPendleton to teach a few select Individuals the art of Combat Tracking, some of which were my former students at the school house. The program was a grand success and we set up a second one, this time I was an assistant instructor.  Upon the end of my rotation with this sniper platoon I received orders to the MountainWarfareTrainingCenter in BridgeportCalifornia.


When I checked in I inquired about instructing the Mountain Survival course that I had attended many years before. I was informed that the program was decommissioned. I worked with the SNCOIC of the Formal Schools and rebuilt the program from the ground up. I secured a contract to have Ron Hood out on the mountain to train my instructors. These guys were already proficient survivalists so the goal with Ron was to teach them how to teach survival. It was an instructor course like none other. Ron Hood proclaimed that I was among the top woodsmen that he has ever had in the field, in his over 40 year’s experience, what a great honor it was to hear that come from the Woods master himself.

The survival program flourished despite the fact that my cadre was also responsible for the Mountain Sniper Course. Both programs benefited from each other.

During my time on the mountain I was fortunate enough to attend the summer and winter mountain leaders courses focusing on military guide skills in a complex compartmentalized mountainous environment. Additionally I attended higher levels of training in Telemark skiing, tactical rope suspension and systems for rescue, alpine operations with glacier travel, and crevasse rescue. I graduated Rock II training hosted at Lovers Leap California focusing on two man teams, multi pitch climbs, up to the 5.8, 5.9 rating YS. In preparation for the pilot course of the survival program I was given the opportunity to attend a two part course in Elverum Norway, at the NorwegianSchool of Winter Warfare. The International SERE Instructors Course, summer and winter certifications. By far that was one of the most challenging courses that I have ever attended.

By this time my quest for survival has become an unquenchable thirst. So I created my own system of training called Survivology 101 that teaches the principals and the science behind the skills, focusing far beyond the cool and sexy of survival. I have continued my association with Hoods Woods as a staff writer for Survival Quarterly Magazine, and other projects as I am needed. I am also a member of the Brothers of Bushcraft where our simple purpose is to teach the skills to any and all that are interested. My continuing goal is to teach and preach the survival arts.

During my last few years in the Marine Corps I have been fortunate enough to know a few world class knife makers that have set me on the path to my future.  I began designing knives as soon as I was old enough to hold one but I never thought that I would be making them by hand.  Throughout my entire life I have used knives in the field and for general daily use.  I have trained in Kali/Escrima, Marine Corps Martial Arts and a few Karate disciplines.  I have used knives in just about every way imaginable so it was only natural that I would eventually mass that training and experience into knife design.  I recently started my own knife company and my designs are gaining in popularity with in the survival, military and tactical communities.   My designs are light on gimmicks and heavy on experience. They are designed for people that use knives, by an operator that understands to the core how the right blade can make or brake an operation or an adventure.    

Over the years my students in the art of survival and tracking have been, Sierra club members, Special Forces personnel, Snipers, Recon, Force Recon, MARSOC, Police and TLA’s (three letter agencies), border patrol, foreign special operators and many other civilian and military instructors and personnel from around the globe. I have instructed at Survival gatherings and hosted workshops, and lectures, and have been assigned to groups to update military survival manuals and develop curriculum for survival education and training.

My relevant schools and training includes:

Marine Combat Training

School of Infantry

Water Survival Qualified (WSQ Swim Qual)

Marksmanship Instructors Course (PMI)

Scout Sniper Basic Course

Scout Sniper Employment Officers Course

Scout Sniper Advanced Course

Urban Sniper Course

Urban Reconnaissance and Surveillance Course

Mountain Scout Sniper/High Angle Shooting Package

Mountain Survival Course

SummerMountain Leaders

WinterMountain Leaders

Mountain Survival Instructors Course

International SERE Instructors Course (Winter)

International SERE Instructors Course (Summer)

Tactical TrackingOperationsSchool / Combat Tracking 1&2

Formal Schools Instructors Course

Marine Corps Scout Motorcycle Operators Course

MSF Rider Coach Course

Tactical Rope Suspension Training (TRST)

Military Skier Certification

Rock climbing level II certification

Alpine Operations level I certification

8th Award Rifle Expert

7th Award Pistol Expert

Combat Action Ribbon 3rd award (Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan)

Retired USMC Gunnery Sergeant (E7)