We are going to share the top 20 best tactical knives of 2019 & 2020 in this post. We are focused on functionality, durability, and price of the tactical knives.
Buying the best tactical knife for your wilderness activity is a no-brainer. Besides tackling the wild outdoor, a tactical knife can be handy in day to day activities also. If you are into camping, you are no stranger to tactical gears. Besides tactical pen and tactical flashlight, these tactical knives can be a useful tool to have in your backpack. Though a lot of manufacturers have a tactical level in their knives, it’s tough to tell which one fits the bill. That’s why we have taken the hard to filter the knives, and offer you the best tactical knives to you.
20 Best Tactical Knives 2020
Benchmade Bedlam 860 Scimitar
Benchmade is one of the most reputed knife makers in the United States. With a manual opening with the AXIS mechanism with thumb-stud openers, this tactical knife comes with a 154CM blade steel. Even though the price is high, I strongly recommend you to check this tactical knife. The open length of the tactical knife is 9.76 inches which weigh 7.3 ounces. Made of sturdy material, it is very durable and perfectly fits the wilderness. A lot of knife lovers has called this the best tactical knife with high durability. This manual folders tactical knife is a beast with a hefty price. If you are not ready to read a lot of reviews, and ready to splash some money, Benchmade Bedlam 860 is one of the best tactical knives for you.Shop now at Amazon.com
Cold Steel Micro Recon 1 Spear Point
Highly lauded for quality knives, Cold Steel is one of the top-notch knife manufacturers in the market. Cold Steel Micro Recon 1 Spear Point is a tactical folding knife for a friendly price. With a blade thickness of only 2.5 mm, it comes with a comfortable handle made of Griv-Ex style G-10. Japanese AUS 8A stainless steel with Tuff-Ex coating is used to make this tactical knife. It even comes with a pocket clip to keep it tied to your pocket or another object. If you are a fan of short knives, this is the best tactical folding knife for you. The best part is it comes at a very reasonable price and loved by a lot of knife lovers.Shop now at Amazon.com
Ka-Bar TDI Law Enforcement Knife Fixed Blade
TDI stands for tactical defense institute. This tactical knife is specially designed for law enforcement officers. Ka-Bar TDI fixed blade knife is made of AUS-8A stainless steel blade with the hardness of steel-57-59-HRC. The overall length of the blade is 5 5/8 inches with 2 5/16 inches blade. Though the blade may be small, it is highly effective for defense purposes. TDI knife comes with a black handle with a nice sheath to keep it secured.
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Ka-Bar TDI has a great combination of price, functionality, and quality.
Kershaw Black Blur Knife
Trapped in a car? Break the glass with this tactical knife. Kershaw black blur is a small tactical knife made for facing the harsh situations. It comes with a 3 3/8 inches small blade. The handle used is 6061-T6 anodized aluminum coated and offers an excellent grip to the users. Kershaw has always been providing durable knives, and this one is no exception. With DLC coating Sandvik 14C28N steel is highly durable to withstand the marine environment. Weighing in only 4 ounces, you can tip up or tip down the pocket clip for easy management.
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Best tactical folding knife
Zero Tolerance ZT0350TS G10
Zero Tolerance is popular for its world-class knives, and Zero Tolerance ZT050TS is no exception. This sturdy tactical knife is equipped with a SpeedSafe manual assist for easy opening. S 30V stainless steel with Tungsten DLC coating is used to make the blade. A lot of people love stuff which is made in the USA, and for them, this is a great option. That’s because it is made in the USA with love. This non-serrated blade comes with tiger stripe finish for a more bold look. The length of the blade is 3.25 inches, and the overall length is 7.75 inches. Weigh only 5.6 ounces; this is one of the best lightweight military knives in the market.
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A versatile knife that can also be used for different outdoor activities like hunting, fishing, camping, and more.
Benchmade Contego 810
Benchmade Contego 810 is another excellent tactical folding knife from Benchmade. With a plain and sharp blade fishing, this tactical knife features a reverse tanto shape. Contego folder comes with an aggressive texture with a glass breaker on the pommel. Super strong CPM-M4 steel is used to make the blade of this tactical knife. The length of the blade is 3.98” with a .156” thickness. Weighing in only 5.92oz, this is perfectly designed for tactical purposes only. Like most of Benchmade knives, it is also made in the USA. That’s one more good reason to purchase this awesome tactical knife.Shop now at Amazon.com
Schrade SCHA4BG Magic Knife
Made of black 4034 stainless steel, Schrade SCHA4BG is a great folding tactical knife. You will see a black textured aluminum handle in this knife. The length of the blade is 3.3 inches. The overall length of Schrade SCHA4BG is 7.7-inch. This knife features an M.A.G.I.C system which stands for multipurpose, generational, assistant and innovative cutlery. It even comes with a reasonable price if you are looking for a cheap tactical knife.Shop now at Amazon.com
TAC Force Pocket Knives Tactical Knife
If you are not ready to splash some bucks, you can check this tactical knife for the money. TAC Force’s tactical knife is sturdy and well made. Even though the blade of this tactical knife is only 3.25 inches, it is very useful for different types of work. The blade is quite sharp and works well on the field. The handle might look weird in the first look, but its quite comfortable and easy to hold. The handle feel is quite good and makes it easy for operating the knife.Shop now at Amazon.com
Gerber Mark II Knife [22-01874]
Gerber Mark II is a classic tactical knife first featured in 1966. A lot of collectors have this tactical knife in their collector’s box with love. Unlike usual tactical knives, this one’s blade is double serrated which comes very handy when piercing stuff like a seatbelt. If you love tactical knives with long blades, you will love its 6.5” long length blade. The overall length is 12.75” which might put some user off. The blade has been black oxide coated to prevent corrosion and reflection. The die-cast aluminum handle offers a good grip for combat and survival conditions. Gerber Mark II is often called as the best combat knife by a lot of critics, and I wouldn’t disagree with them.
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Top-notch combat knife
Buck Knives 0870 Bones Tactical Folding Knife
If you are into buying different kinds of knives, you have already bought one or two knives from Buck Knives. They are legendary in this knife making scene, and they have always proved to be a great manufacturer. Buck Knives Bones 0870 is a partially serrated tactical folding knife that comes with a low price tag. It comes with a 3“ modified tanto and partially serrated 420 steel blade. You can open the knife with one hand, thanks to the thumb stud. When closed the length of the knife is 4 5/8” only. The handle of the knife looks classy and lets you have a nice grip when using it. With this high-tech design at a low price, this tops a lot of people’s “top tactical knives” list.Shop now at Amazon.com
Gerber Swagger Knife
Gerber Swagger is a knife with an assisted opening function. If you are into EDC knives, this is the EDC tactical blade you will desire. To be ready for any type of condition require you to have the proper tool in your hand, and Gerber Swagger should be one of them. With solid construction and a one-hand opening advantage, this tactical blade comes with a 3.25-inch blade. Gerber used their Assisted Opening 2.0 technology to make it easy for opening the knife with one hand. It uses a reliable plunge lock which will secure the blade from causing unwanted damage. The blade has been coated with black titanium nitride to prevent corrosion and unwanted reflection. What’s more, it even comes with a utilitarian pocket clip to keep the knife on our belt or in your pocket.Shop now at Amazon.com
Spyderco Assist Black Blade
Spyderco made knives are specially used for harsh conditions. This Spyderco Assist Black blade tactical knife is a perfect choice for firefighters, rescue professionals, and well-equipped civilians. As you can see, this knife will take a force to stab, but it is a good option for rescuing purposes. Made of high-quality raw materials, this knife comes with a 3.7 inch VG-10 steel blade. With a 3.2-inch cutting edge and 0.56-inch blade hole, it weighs only four ounces. You will see a blunt-tipped blade which is toothed SpyderEdged surface for slicing seat belts or fibrous material when rescuing. This is why it’s the best tactical knife for rescue professionals.Shop now at Amazon.com
Smith & Wesson Border Guard SWBG2TS
Besides making firearms, Smith & Wesson also makes knives. Situated in Springfield, Massachusetts, Smith & Wesson specializes in making defensive gears like this tactical knife. Smith & Wesson Border Guard SWBG2TS is a tactical folding knife with a partially serrated blade. Made of black 7Cr17 high carbon stainless steel, this knife provides high durability at a low cost. The blade has a length of 4.4 inches and weighs only .56 pounds. You will find ambidextrous thumb knobs with dual blood grooves in it. It comes with a black aluminum handle with track tech inserts. You can also use this knife for glass breaking purposes. With all these features, it can be called as a multifunctional knife for the money.Shop now at Amazon.com
Rothco Genuine British Commando Knife
Ever wanted to feel like a commando? If the answer is yes, now is the time to do that with this commando knife. You can put this commando knife in the leg sheath and brag how badass commando you are. This commando knife comes with a leg sheath for free. Made for close combats in mind, this is designed for the toughest and roughest users in mind. Rothco’s products are mainly used for recreational purposes, and they have done a great job making this combat knife.Shop now at Amazon.com
Gerber Silver Trident Knife
Weighing in at only 17.4 ounces, Gerber Silver Trident Knife is a great tactical and combat knife. This incredible knife is resistant to chemicals, heat and UV light. The double-edged blade is 154CM in length. Primarily designed for special ops personnel, this tactical knife comes with an advanced handle to make moves faster and quicker. Two versions of Hytel is used to make the handle of this knife. In the inside, a solid rock version is used for strength and the outer part is soft and textured for a better grip. The Gerber silver trident weighs only 17.4 ounces. What’s more, you will also get a nice sheath made of ballistic nylon. Arguably, this is one of the best combat knives in the market.Shop now at Amazon.com
SOG SLPro Folding Knife ToolLogic SLPB2
If you want a tactical flashlight with knife combo, SOG SLPro Folding Knife ToolLogic SLPB2 is a great option for you. This is a combo that is great for outdoor activities. It comes with a three-inch 50/50 serrated stainless steel with the satin blade. It is equipped with a waterproof flashlight which is great for working in dark areas like the basement, outdoor or the garage. It also comes with a loud emergency signal whistle to draw attention when needed. This rugged tactical knife comes with a decent price tag and has been loved by a lot of outdoor activities.Shop now at Amazon.com
Gerber Applegate Covert Knife: Serrated Edge
Despite its seemingly simple appearance, the Gerber Applegate Covert knife is very useful for your outdoor exploration time. The 154CM blade with the titanium nitride coating makes it very stylish. Though the price is slightly high, you can ignore that as the durability and strength are high. There is a small but functional pocket clip hole on the top side of the knife. The overall length is 8.7 inches and 4.9 inches when closed. Despite being strong, it weighs only 4.2 ounces. For safety, it includes patented roto-lock.Shop now at Amazon.com
Kootek Tactical Flashlight Knife K1
If you are working in low light or want a combo of a flashlight and a tactical knife, this one will fit the bill. This tactical knife comes with three assembly ways which can be combined to make a long flashlight or a short torch lite. The flashlight also comes with several zoom options and three brightness modes (high/low/strobe). The flashlight is powered using recharging 18650 batteries. You can use the 3.5mm inches long blade for cutting small objects like tree limbs or to prepare foods. If you are going camping, fishing or other casual outdoor activities, kootek tactical flashlight is a great option for you. The best part is it comes with a very low price.Shop now at Amazon.com
Sage2 Titanium PlainEdge Knife
Made of high-quality raw material, Sage2 Titanium is a folding knife with a spear-point blade. Spyderco used a screw constructed titanium handle for high durability and comfort. The Reeve integral lock system uses the handle scale as a liner. When closed, this knife is only 4 3/16 inches in length. Weighing only 3.5 ounces, this one is one of the best lightweight tactical knives on the list. The Plainedge feature means it’s ground flat for more precise cutting and preparing. It’s that one nice small tactical knife that can be stored in less space.Shop now at Amazon.com
These are currently the best tactical knives of 2019. We will continue to add more tactical and military knives in this post. Meanwhile, you can read our handy guide on how to find the best combat knives.
What is a tactical knife?
Tactical knives originated as combat weapons mainly used in the field by military and law enforcement officers. While they retain this traditional usage, they have also found a multipurpose utility as part of the arsenal of survivalists, campers, hunters, outdoor sports enthusiasts, hobbyists, and collectors. They are often called as combat knife, fighting knife, and military knife.
How to choose the best tactical knife?
Primarily, choosing the best tactical knives depends on which purpose they are intended for. There are various factors to consider while selecting the right tactical knife, and they are listed below.
Type of blade
A tactical knife can have a fixed blade or a folding blade. Fixed blade knives have no moving parts, so they can be used without the risk of jammed mechanisms, making them preferable in combat and emergencies.
They are generally sturdier as they are reinforced with tangs (tongue of the blade extending into the handle).
They can be made safer with guards to prevent the hand from sliding onto the blade. They are well-suited for cutting through tough materials and can better withstand rough and exhaustive use.
These days, however, several folding knives measure up to the strength and durability of fixed blade knives. Folding knives are easier to conceal as well as carry, making them better for EDC (Everyday Carry).
The decision on which of these two types to buy also depends on the knife laws in the state or county the buyer resides in.
Length of blade
Folding tactical knives typically have a maximum blade length of 4 inches. Fixed blade knives tend to have longer blades, but their overall knife length does not usually exceed 10 inches.
Knives with longer blades are better for combat and self-defense as they can be wielded from a greater distance.
Aside from that, smaller blades can get rigorous tasks done as well as longer blades do, so size is determined mostly by carrying preference and legal mandates.
Material of blade
The two types of metal that are most commonly used in tactical knife blades are stainless steel and high carbon steel.
Stainless steel is corrosion-resistant but needs more frequent sharpening as it does not hold its edge as well, or for as long as high carbon steel does.
However, high carbon steel is susceptible to rust and requires more frequent cleaning and a protective coating.
Titanium and Damascus steel are superior quality materials used in tactical knives. Titanium is expensive, and Damascus steel requires a sophisticated forging process that is not conducive to mass production, and so, it is not widely used anymore. These two types of metal are now mostly found in collectors’ knives.
Strength and toughness are two qualities of the material used, which determine the performance and durability of a tactical knife. Strength is a measure of how well the blade can withstand lateral forces, or how much it can bend without breaking. Toughness is its resistance to cracking and chipping.
Depending on the main purpose that the knife will be used for, the buyer can choose a stronger blade or a tougher one.
The Rockwell Hardness Scale, which is a measure of abrasion resistance or ability to hold its edge, can help with the decision. A good rule of thumb is to choose a material between 56 and 60 on the scale.
Serration of edge
Tactical knife blades can be serrated or plain/straight. Many knives these days come with a combination or combo edge where one side is serrated while the other is straight, or half of an edge is serrated, and the other half is straight.
While a straight edge is easier to sharpen, a serrated edge needs special sharpeners. A straight edge provides a clean-cut, but a serrated edge is more effective while cutting through tricky coarse materials such as rope, and textured and pliant materials in general.
Serrated edges get dull slower than straight edges. In a combo knife, the use of a serrated edge preserves the sharpness of the straight edge for a longer time.
Type of tip
There are around ten types of knifepoint or tip designs, but these are the five most common tactical knife tips, with their pros, cons, and typical applications.
The Clip Point: The Clip Point has a narrow point created by clipping the back of the blade near the tip. It has a large surface area, which is suitable for slicing, and the tip is good for piercing. If too much pressure is applied, the tip could break. Its easily controllable tip can also access hard to reach places.
The Drop Point: The Drop Point is also common and has a convex curve at the tip. That makes it more challenging to use for piercing and prying but makes the tip stronger in the face of pressure. It is most prevalent among hunting knives as its controllable point helps intricate cutting. Its ample cutting edge (called belly) and surface area make it well-suited to slicing.
The Tanto Point: The Tanto Point design is based on Japanese swords. Its shape gives it a very strong point, but it lacks a cutting edge. Although it is not useful as a utility knife, its strong edge is perfect for piercing tough materials.
The Dagger Point: The Dagger Point, also called needlepoint, has a thin and sharply tapered tip and a double edge. It is ideal for piercing soft targets but can break on hard targets. It is most suitable for combat and not as a utility knife.
The Spear Point: The Spear Point is formed by symmetrically curved edges which could be single-edged or double-edged. It is designed mainly for thrusting and throwing. It is not useful as a utility knife as it is not effective in slicing and cutting, and is better suited for combat.
Handle design and material
The handle plays almost as important a role as the blade in the design of a tactical knife. The ergonomics of the handle help determine the ease of gripping the knife so it can be comfortably wielded.
Finger grooves are helpful, but they should be designed to accommodate various hand sizes and forward as well as reverse grip. There should be no pinch points and sharp corners. It is wise to avoid knife with hollow handle as it means that the blade has a short or non-existent tang, making it weak and easily breakable.
Natural or exotic materials like bone, wood, and leather have given way to synthetic ones as the latter are more durable and moisture resistant.
Materials like stainless steel, plastic composites, G-10, and titanium are moisture repellent, which lasts longer and also prevents slippage during use. However, natural materials absorb moisture and weaken over time.
Rubber, as a tactical knife handle material, is preferred by many for its excellent grip, but it could get dry and cracked with prolonged use.
In conclusion, keeping in mind the factors included in this tactical knives review, the buyer can make an informed decision about which type of knife will best fit their needs.