Preppers and hunters, let’s find out what is so special about a great tactical knife. Nowadays, you will find excellent examples of a folding knife, a fighting knife, a hunting knife, a combat knife, or a military knife. But there are inherent parameters that only a solid tactical weapon possesses. Besides a stainless steel or carbon steel blade, top brands pay attention to the handle design and materials and extra survival features to make this self-defense gear a perfect companion in the wilds. What are they? Let’s find out!
Everyone, who considers oneself to be a true survivalist, knows that the knife and the knife blade might be essential when it comes to surviving. You can use them in a huge variety of situations, starting from cutting the tree branches and ending with self-defense outdoor. One might use it as a bottle opener. One can adapt it to be a glass breaker (yes, all have quirks).
Anyway, these items are irreplaceable, ad every prepper should obtain at least one.
Some people say: “Don’t come to a gunfight with a knife.” Well, it makes sense only if all you have is a knife. Otherwise, adding this device to your “fight set” is a great compliment.
If you still think differently, watch this video and let me prove me right:
That is why tactical knives are great devices—they can be used for so many purposes, be it a survival situation, emergency, or military circumstances. Besides, you can use it as a self-defense weapon — I know a couple of people whose lives were saved thanks to these items.
That is why I strongly recommend adding a tactical knife to the plate carrier vest.
Not, I believe, it’s time to get to the point. In this article, I will tell you about why we call tactical knives like that and how to find out whether your knife is a high-quality one or not. Moreover, I will introduce the best tactical knives available at the moment. Also, we will touch on the topic of knife accessories, knife maintenance practices, and so on. Let’s start!
Here you can get a free copy of our Survival Gear Checklist.
What Is So “Tactical” About This Knife?
We don’t always think about why we call tactical knives this way. It happens unconsciously, out of habit. Let me now try to bring a little bit of consciousness to it.
People often confuse tactical knives with survival knives. They are indeed quite similar. However, there is one significant difference—the aura around the tactical knife. At first, it might seem to sound strange, and yet, tactical knives are more threatening and frightening than ordinary survival devices. A “deadly weapon,” if you like.
I mean, they don’t make you attack everything you see, of course. But they are advantageous if the fight is about to begin. Their look will make your enemy feel nervous, which will guarantee a psychological superiority. These knives are perfect self-defense weapons.
Besides, every tactical knife usually contains several survival or military features. Wikipedia states that such items are created as having combat capabilities.
Many of these knives are designed to serve the following purposes:
- to cut or carve the wood to build a survival shelter
- to open packed stuff
- to protect oneself from dangers
- to hunt
- and other issues you will have to deal with in the unknown environment
And each category includes numerous knife styles and types of every possible size.
This is the current situation, but it has not always been like that. Our predecessors did not have much choice. The shapes were similar, and mainly the blades served the purpose of self-protection and hunt. These “ancient” knives were made from stones and decorated with leather of animals. This was their maximum.
But now, fortunately, humanity developed enough to produce high-quality devices. Almost every tactical knife now contains a carbon steel blade. They are designed in such a way so that every person who takes them in hand could feel the balance and the comfort. In other words, knife-production technology is something we now can be proud of.
If you are a real prepper, you must have an entire collection of survival gear. And to do so, you have to obtain at least one tactical knife. But I would recommend getting several, as they are diverse and not by accident are called utility multi-tools.
Here you can get a free copy of our 78 Item Survival Checklist.
7 Best Tactical Knives Available Nowadays
Now, as I promised, I will tell you about 7 products which I consider to be the best options when we talk about tactical knives.
All of them can be divided into two main categories: knives with folding blades and knives with fixed edges. Let me start with the folding knives.
My personal number 1 folding knife is a TAC Force Dagger Style Tactical Folding Knife.
This is the best option for those who think carefully about the budget, as this tactical dirk is one of the most beneficial among the entire price range.
As for its main characteristics, I should mention:
- Black aluminum handle
- Spring presence (spring-loaded device)
- Blade steel with a guaranteed corrosion resistance
- Length of the blade: 4 inches
- Thickness: 3 mm
- This tactical knife includes a pocket clip.
This device is one of the best pocket knives among all I’ve ever seen. I can definitely recommend you checking an online shop and getting one.
The next item which deserves your attention is Kershaw Blur Tanto Black Serrated Knife.
By the way, I have one boot knife produced by this brand.
Hardly can anyone call this folding knife to be “common” or “traditional.” It has a convenient design, with a one-hand opening mechanism. That is why people call it a speed folder. For the price, which you can check by clicking on the picture below, you will get a reliable device equipped with a pocket clip.
This kind of EDC knife will always be a highly-used part of your bag.
Let me now share some of my user experience. As a man who knows something about martial arts and has a personal combat knife, I state that if you want to feel secure and have your back protected, go to the shop and buy a couple of combat knives. I’m serious.
The next blade item I will introduce is a Masalong Double-Edged Tactical Fixed Blade Knife.
This is a strong karambit knife, which has a blade shape, beneficial in close military fights. Many brands produce tactical pocket knives, but Masalong is known for its quality and reliability. This item is also considered to be one of the best fighting claw knives.
Its design is also advantageous since you can carry it on a belt because it includes a pocket clip.
Check the online shop to make sure this blade fits you.
The first fixed blade knife I will tell you about is Morakniv Bushcraft Survival Knife with Firestarter.
This tactical knife is an excellent choice for those who often leave their places to “explore the world around,” who go camping and backpacking. Very often, the weather does not play our rules, and the rain starts when we don’t want this to happen. This is a perfect option for such situations. First of all, this knife includes a Morakniv firestarter, which means that you will have a chance to warm up. Besides, this firestarter works even when it’s wet outside. Not all brands produce such highly-functional devices, but Morakniv is the brand that pays attention to the details.
As for the construction, it has a carbon blade steel and a plastic sheath.
Moving forward, let’s discuss the US Military KaBar.
Some of you will call it “classic,” and you won’t be wrong. The USMC widely use it for two main reasons—it’s long-lasting and resistant. The majority of military men, hunters, or preppers have had a chance to deal with this Ka-Bar product.
With a leather handle, a proper “American” knife will become a great company for your toolset. Ka-Bar Fixed blade knives are famous all over the world, taking a secure position somewhere in the middle of the price range.
The following representative of high-quality brands is SOG. This company is famous for the warranty they provide. Their tactical knives are durable and, what also matters, are well-designed. Take a look at the SOG SEAL Pup Elite.
This tactical knife is created in a brutal black, which gives it a luxurious look and a charm of power.
The last of all combat knives I demonstrate is Gerber StrongArm Tactical Fixed Blade Knife.
The brands like Gerber Gear can be called “centenarian” of the combat knives production. However, their knives serve not only combat but survival purposes too, just like this Gerber Tactical Knife.
Pay attention—this knife is a perfect glass breaker, as it has a pommel on the handle of metal.
9 Features To Consider Before Buying A Knife
Now, when you are acquainted with the 7 best knives on the market, you probably noticed that many of them share standard features. In other words, there are reasons why these knives are the best, while others are not. You cannot pick any random item and state that it is the best one—it does not work like that. You have to base on something when making judgments.
As I have already stated, the variety of knives available nowadays is impossibly broad. Different brands produce different items which you can now buy almost in every related shop. Some people wear them just like a part of their everyday outlook, like “apparel accessories,” others carry them in their bags along with mobile phones and credit cards.
When we talk about knives, we don’t usually even think that they all vary in very different dimensions: brands differ, blade styles differ, categories differ, knife types differ, and so on. You can get any sort of knife if you want. This is the best thing about the 21st century—knife production is probably at its peak.
Anyway, you, as a current or potential prepper, should know what to pay attention to when choosing your personal knives. Let me now tell you about several key characteristics to check before making the orders.
Feature 1: The Price
Maybe, this feature is not the most important for you, especially if you are a fan of “all-the-best” things. If you are not bothered by spending two times more than a usual tactical knife costs—it’s totally up to you.
However, if you are more like me, who can spend a little bit more time searching throughout the sites to find the best ratio of price and quality, welcome to the club!
When choosing a knife, check the price first. If you can afford this item, check the characteristics. If you cannot—there is nothing to do here anymore (some knives are costly, so all you will be able to do with them is to print their photo and dream of it while looking at one).
But you should always remember—if you manage to save money on a knife, you will be able to buy more devices for your survival gear.
Feature 2: Weapon Balance
A well-balanced blade is always an advantage, as it can be more quickly and more comfortably applied in action. When choosing a knife thus, please check the feedback of those who already tried it. Sometimes you can get a lot of useful information from other users.
I’m not saying that no blade is better than a poorly balanced one. You can for sure use one, but you won’t feel comfortable with it.
Feature 3: Knife Handle Material
The handle is the part of the knife that you will be directly dealing with, touching. That is why it is important to consider the material from which it is done.
There are various options to choose from, handles from plastic, holds from wood, or from metal. The last item I obtained has an aluminum handle, and I am quite satisfied with it.
Be careful—choose the knife which will “sit” carefully in your hands. If it doesn’t, you will most likely not be able to work with such a device.
If you are a wood-lover, stay cautious. Wood is not a long-durable material (at least, in comparison to metals). Of course, some brands produce marvelous wooden-handled pocket knives, which provide long service. As I said, all the knives are different!
Anyway, forewarned is forearmed.
Feature 4: Knife Handle Design
The design of the handle matters as well. You have to be sure that you can hold it tight. Otherwise, working with a knife will become an unpleasant process.
Some handles are designed traditionally, without special recesses for fingers—these are ordinary smooth and steady ones. Others are more advanced. They are created to enhance the ability to hold the device. The tastes differ—choose the one convenient for you.
Feature 5: Weapon Sturdiness
One of the essentials you always have to keep in mind is that your tactical knife must be able to survive any situation you can hypothetically get in.
I would recommend checking your knives on whether they can overcome being dropped, thrown, hit. If your knife fails these challenges, it does not deserve to be called a true survival knife.
Feature 6: Blade Length
Blade length, in some sense, is essential. If you choose a knife with a very long blade, it might be considered illegal, cold steel, and you won’t be able to take it anywhere (of course, we are not talking about law enforcement/military knives used by professionals). This is because you can accidentally hurt somebody’s body with it.
Besides, long knives cannot be pocket knives, and every day carries knives. Imagine carrying one in your bag or on a belt—no, a poor idea!
But, having a knife with a very short blade is also problematic—it is useless (maybe not useless, but definitely less useful) in any combat contact.
In other words, try to find “your size,” a balance, which will work for you personally.
Feature 7: Blade Shape
The shape of the blade is something one might not even think of when choosing a knife. An untrained eye may even think they all are the same! This is not true, obviously.
I, personally, have knives of different shapes: a drop point blade, a clip point blade, a spear, and some others. The best option for you would just be to try them all—that is how you will realize what is best for you.
Many survivalists think that clip point and spear are the best ones. They have reasons to think so. Watch the video below to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of different blade shapes:
Feature 8: Blade Material
Take it for granted: some materials for blades are perfect, some are awful. The perfect ones usually ensure edge retention, and for them, the contact with many other materials is not a big deal—they survive wood, food, and even coca-cola.
The great materials can be divided into two main categories: high carbon steel (extremely durable) and stainless steel (rust-resistant). I strongly recommend considering these two alternatives, not anything else.
Watch the following video to learn more about blade materials:
Feature 9: Fixed Or Folding?
The first knives invented were, of course, with fixed blades. However, the times changed, so did the knives.
As you know, now there are two main categories of knives: fixed ones and folding ones. The folding knives were invented in the second half of the 19th century. They were lighter and more compact. But, they are not as durable as the fixed ones, of course.
The folding pocket knives may include either a liner lock or a frame lock. Almost every shop nowadays can offer a hybrid lock and some other locks, but the first two are classic. When choosing your device, pay attention to this detail too.
Here you can get a free copy of our Survival Gear Checklist.
Now, hopefully, you know more about tactical knives. It does not really matter whether you prefer pocket knives or combat ones, whether you choose a drop point blade or a clip point one, whether you give preference to certain brands like, I don’t know, Blade HQ or to all except Blade HQ (guys from Blade HQ, it’s nothing personal), whether you are a Ken Onion or a Kit Carson fan (these men are knife designers).
But the only thing that does matter is that your self-defense gear outdoor backpack or a survival backpack must include tactical knives!
What is a tactical knife used for?
People use tactical knives for different purposes: for the hunt, to protect yourself from outdoor dangers, to build a shelter, to prepare food—there are different categories to serve each purpose. Every survivalist must have at least one. Military men also have these devices in their vests or even boots. They help them in military or combat situations.
What tactical knife do the Navy SEALs use?
Some brands produce knives for the soldiers. For example, military men from Navy SEALs use knives produced by a SOG Company. They created helpful fixed-blade knives to fulfill military equipment. Ka-Bar manufacturer, by the way, also supplies lethal weapons for the army of the USA.
What is the best knife for combat?
The best knife for combat is the one that you feel comfortable with. It should not have a too short blade. Besides, it should fit your arm perfectly, in order to be convenient enough for a fight. I would recommend something like stainless steel for the blade material to make sure your device will survive many fights and other unexpected circumstances.
What should I look for in a tactical knife?
First of all, it must be sturdy. Choose the materials the majority of survivalists trust. Make sure the handle is of a “correct” material too. Wood is probably not the best choice, but tastes differ. The length of your blade must not be either too long or too short—search for the balance. Overall balance matters as well because badly-balanced devices will not be convenient in use.