Choosing the Best Tactical Knife

by Knife Expert on January 18, 2014

You might have surely wondered if people are still fond of tactical knives or whether they are safe to carry. The answer is yes! Tactical knives are not only used for self protection, but they also have other practical uses.

To give you a glimpse into this topic a little more, let me ask you a set of questions. Have you ever felt the absence of a right tool, for a “not so right” situation? Have you ever needed a very handy tool to unwrap your gifts, cut open some stubborn knots or for self defense in an uncanny situation? Do these instances remind you of a tactical knife? The fact is; they really help us overcome such situations.

Tactical knives have a varied range of uses, starting from survival and defense to handy tools for day to day work. They make our tasks simpler and easier. You needn’t be part of any military or law enforcement agency to carry one.

Before I move onto to discussing the elements that make up the best tactical knife, here’s my pick and detailed review of the top 5 tactical knives in the market as of now. All the below have been personally used and tested by me and my survivalist friends and come highly recommended.

Review of the 5 Top Rated Tactical Knives

1. SOG Specialty Knives and Tools TK-03 Toothlock Folder

My #1 choice for the best tactical knife goes to the SOG Specialty Knives and Tools TK-03 Toothlock Folder and there are enough reasons for the same. With a 3 inch VG10 stainless steel blade, this partially serrated knife comes with a Zytel handle that has steel liners that provide additional durability.

SOG Specialty Knives and Tools TK-03 Toothlock Folder

It comes with its own patented knife opening mechanism and I’ve never had an issue with the blade not securing once fully opened. Overall the knife is a pretty solid one and weighs just over 3 pounds and feels really comfortable in your hand.

Somehow this knife reminded me of ancient samurai swords and sure feels that way with its kick start and high performance lock back mechanism. It also comes with a low carry reversible bayonet pocket clip.

All in all, it’s the perfect knife that you’ve always wanted and at a price point of under $100 (Amazon runs some great deals on it), this one is a must buy.

2. SOG Specialty Knives & Tools SE14-CP Spec-Elite I Knife

#2 on this list of the top tactical knives is the SOG Specialty Knives & Tools SE14-CP Spec-Elite I and this 4 inch, straight edge blade is a beauty to work with. It’s specifically designed for high performance and has a reverse curve main edge while the blade is made from VG10 steel that has a clip point shape with bead blasted finish.

I personally loved the glass reinforced nylon handle and SOG’s trademark Arc Lock system that allows me to deploy the knife quickly and smoothly while the overall spring action lock is efficient and extremely durable.

SOG Specialty Knives & Tools SE14-CP Spec-Elite I Knife

There are not many left handed or ambidextrous knives in the market so it’s a pleasure for those who pick up this knife thanks to the double-side lock feature and comes with a limited lifetime warranty, though I’ve not faced any sort of issue so far.

You need to be a little careful because the knife is razor sharp out of the box and holds its edge very well even when put under a lot of stress. All in all, an excellent all purpose knife and definitely among the best tactical tools that you’ll find anywhere.

3. Buck TOPS Nighthawk Hunting Knife

Another great tactical knife that I’ve used pretty frequently is the Buck TOPS Nighthawk and this mean, sleek, fixed blade knife is a worthy candidate for the title of the best tactical knife. With a 6.5 inch blade that is made from 420HC stainless steel, the Buck Nighthawk also features a MOLLE compatible sheath and has a reinforced molded nylon handle with a rubberized grip.

When you look at the knife, you’ll notice that it has a sort of dark, shimmery finish and that’s because of the black oxide coating which protects it from rust and corrosion.

Buck TOPS Nighthawk Hunting Knife

A unique feature of this knife is that you’ll find three holes (or utility notches) within the blade and each of them serves a specific purpose. While the center oval is used to turn bottle valves, the two round notches can be used to bend wires etc.

Both Bucks and Tops have conducted numerous stress tests on this tool and it’s amazing to see this knife pass through all of them seamlessly. And once you look at the price of this knife (less than $70) and you’ll be even more amazed!

Trust my judgment and go for this one, you won’t be disappointed.

4. Ka-Bar Black Kukri Machete

Ka-Bar has been offering a lot of high-quality tactical, utility and military knives since decades. They rule the market with their solid survival and tactical knives and among those, Ka-Bar’s gigantic knife, Kukri Machete is a leader.

The Kukri Machete weighs 1.7 pounds and its carbon steel blade is 11.5” long and retains its edge for a really long time. It has a thermoplastic handle that provides a firm grip – very much needed for the swinging effect that one needs with this blade.

Ka-Bar Black Kukri Machete

This knife can chop wood, clear through brush and even can hack your garden, keeping it neat and clean. Despite having a massive size and weight, the Kukri Machete is a sturdy, all purpose and excellent knife for anyone engaged with adventurous activities like camping or trekking.

Hence, Ka-Bar Kukri Machete is said to be intended for a true survivalist.

5. Browning Stone Cold Folding Knife, Tanto Blade, G-10

Made by Browning, the Stone Cold Tanto is another kind of Tactical Knife of the Black Label series. It features a 5.7” stainless steel, tanto-point blade that has been partially notched near its base. The knife has a solid pommel or hand grip which has passed a stress test that makes it durable under extreme pressure and ensures that the tanto lasts for a long time.

The handle has been grooved well, so that your fingers rest in them easily and the grip is made stronger with a durable desert camo paracord that has been wrapped around it. If you need a replacement, you have a strip of cord attached to the base of the handle. This unique design of the tanto makes it efficient for perfect stabbing and cutting purposes.

Browning Stone Cold Folding Knife, Tanto Blade, G-10

Moreover, it is lightweight and weighs less than 10 ounces. These features make the tanto very handy and it can slide easily into your pockets or belt strap, making them very portable and an excellent support to carry for camping, trekking or any other stressful tasks.

Factors to Consider before buying a Tactical Knife:

Today’s markets are filled with substitutes and competitions. Options for a single product are available in plenty and in such a case, one needs to be very thrifty and should consider certain factors while choosing a Tactical Knife. It should be durable, guaranteed as well as fulfilling your needs.

Cited below are a few important factors that can help in you in choosing the right Tactical Knife.

1. Capabilities:

At first, you should know what exactly you need the knife for. Unless you are aware of your needs, you cannot select the right item for yourself. For example, in case you wish to use the knife to manage daily repair tasks at home or office, then you should prefer buying a multipurpose model.

On the contrary, if your needs are focused on trekking, camping or other survival needs, then the best option is selecting a fixed blade knife.

2. Weight:

Tactical knives come in different ranges of shapes and weights. An extremely small knife is almost weightless, while the large ones can weigh more than half a pound. In other words, the weight of the knife is directly proportional to its size.

The weight of the knife depends upon the weight of its blade. Heavier blades are meant for rough use whereas the lighter ones are for day-to-day tasks. So, basically, one needs to select the knife as per the use or need of it.

3. Size:

Tactical knives are available in many sizes and the size of the knives depends upon the kind of blade you are looking for. People mostly prefer folding knives that are easy to carry in pockets or pouches. You might have seen actors in movies carrying large knives, but in reality, they are not always preferable.

Small blades are used for regular tasks like paring, skinning and even for self defense. The most important factor that one should know is that the effectiveness of a folding knife hinges upon its locking mechanism.

A fixed blade knife may be larger in size but may last longer than a folding knife. So, depending on your need and intention of use, you need to select the right size of the best tactical knife to fit your purpose.

4. Blade Quality:

Now we step into one of the most important as well as integral feature of your tactical knife. A good tactical knife needs to have the sharpest blade! The blade quality also involves the steel it is made up of.  The quality of steel utilized in the manufacturing of the knife is a determinant factor for the utility of your knife.

Secondly, the geometry of the blade also plays a vital role. For thrusting and stabbing, spear point or tanto point blades are preferable. For multipurpose usage, drop point blades are the best.

Finally, you also need to be aware of various state regulations because every state has certain laws and permits for owning blade sizes. One needs to abide by that too.

5. Legality:

Many countries have not yet legalized the owning and carrying of Tactical Knives. So, you need to be aware of the regulations of your nation before venturing out to buy the knife.

Also, you need to keep in mind the purpose of buying the knife. Instead of buying it for yourself, you may like to gift it to some friends or relatives who would appreciate this unique gift.

Final Verdict

All said and done, each of the knives listed above have their own unique features and plus points and can cater to a wide variety of needs and requirements. Trust me, choose any of the 5 knives reviewed above and you’ll be a proud, happy owner.

In case I’ve missed out on a great tactical knife inadvertently, do let me know via the comment box below and I’ll surely take it into consideration.

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