When choosing a tactical knife, it is important to consider the most common use cases it will face. Almost any blade can be used in a self-defense situation, so focus on activities you intend to perform regularly. With so many options to choose from, starting here will lead to the best design and materials from which to choose the perfect knife.
Everyday Knives (EDC)
Everyday knives are lightweight, ergonomic and easy to take anywhere. They are usually foldable to save space and come with pocket clips for easy transport.
The survival knife, also known as the military knife, is an essential tool for outdoor adventure enthusiasts and armed forces professionals. This versatile knife is designed to withstand the most extreme conditions and meet the needs of users in critical situations. When it comes to choosing the right survival knife, there are several factors to consider.
First, it is important to consider the intended use case. Whether you are an avid hiker, seasoned camper, or special forces member, the survival knife should be tailored to your specific needs. Additional features such as notches for barbed wire, glass breaker tips or built-in belt cutters can also be important criteria when choosing a military knife.
Then, the quality of the blade is a crucial aspect. Stainless steel or carbon steel blades are popular due to their strength and durability. Edge retention, corrosion resistance and ease of sharpening are also features to consider.
In terms of design, the blade style can vary from drop point to clip point to Tanto or Wharncliffe. Each of these styles offers specific benefits in terms of versatility and functionality. Additionally, the decision between a fixed blade and a folding blade will come down to personal preference and the intended use of the knife.
Serving knives A serrated knife is a good option for police and military personnel because they tend to stay sharp longer. A good utility knife will hold an edge, resist corrosion, and deploy quickly.
A hunting knife largely depends on the game being hunted. Small animals may need a smaller, sharper blade, while larger game will need a harder edge.
Utility Knives A general purpose utility knife can do a bit of everything. It must be able to cut well and withstand frequent and prolonged use. Look for a knife with a corrosion-resistant blade that holds the edge well.
Blade edge types
After determining the type of regular use for your knife, the next step is to choose an edge type. There are two types of knife blade: smooth and combined. Each type has certain advantages best suited to specific cutting needs.
Combo Edge Knives
Combination edge knives have serrations (saw-like tips) on one half of the blade and a plain edge on the other half of the blade. A combination edge offers the chopping and chopping ability of a serrated edge and the clean, precise cutting of a plain edge in a single blade. This type of edge is ideal for survival and hunting as its serrations easily cut through brush and wild game.
Smooth blade knives
A smooth-edged blade has no serrations. Its straight, sharp edge is designed to cut precisely and efficiently through softer surfaces. This type of edge is often used as a utility knife because it sharpens quickly and resists corrosion. The ability to cut with precision also makes smooth-edged blades excellent utility knives.
Another important aspect to consider when choosing a tactical knife is to choose between a fixed blade or a folding blade. Like single and combination edges, fixed and folding blades each offer distinct advantages for different scenarios.
Fixed Blade Knives
Fixed blades are strong. Generally larger than folding blades, they are sturdy, easy to clean and deploy quickly. Their size and strength prevent them from breaking unexpectedly. Fixed blade knives are especially good for work, survival, and hunting due to their reliability.
Folding Blade Knives
A folding blade retracts into the knife handle. As a result, folding blades are compact and easier to transport. Because of this portability, folding blade knives are popular for EDC, utilities, police, and military.
Retractable Blade Knives
The retractable knife is a popular choice among military professionals and outdoor enthusiasts. Known as the military knife, this versatile tool offers exceptional practicality and functionality in demanding situations. When looking for the ideal retractable blade knife, several factors should be considered to ensure optimal performance.
First, safety is a primary concern. Retractable blade knives are equipped with a reliable locking mechanism that keeps the blade in place during use, thus preventing any risk of accident. Be sure to choose a model with a sturdy, easy-to-handle mechanism for confident use, even in extreme conditions.
Then, the quality of the blade is essential. Stainless steel or carbon steel blades provide superior strength and durability. The ability to maintain a sharp edge, resistance to corrosion and ease of sharpening are characteristics to consider for optimal longevity.
The ergonomic design is also a crucial aspect. Look for a retractable blade knife that has a comfortable, non-slip handle for a secure grip, even in wet or muddy conditions. A textured handle can also provide extra grip, allowing you to work efficiently in demanding environments.
In terms of versatility, some retractable blade knives have additional functions such as belt cutters, window breakers or integrated screwdrivers, making them even more versatile and suitable for a variety of situations.
Uses, edge types, and fixed/folding blades are very general considerations when choosing your knife. Blade styles, on the other hand, are specifically designed for certain cutting tasks. The blade style you choose should (like all other aspects of a knife) be based on what you intend to use your knife for.
Drop Point Knives
As the name suggests, the spine of a drop point knife blade literally drops to meet the edge at one point. A drop point blade is designed for excellent balance and comfortable use. Their construction makes it easy to extend your finger along the spine of the blade to apply more pressure for precise cutting and slicing.
Clip Point Knives
A clip point blade looks like a standard blade with the top part cut off (this cut part can be straight or curved). Clipping the blade provides better punching capabilities due to less surface area at the tip and better control when cutting. The cut side of the blade can even be sharpened to a second edge for maximum efficiency.
Straight backed knives
On a straight backed knife blade, the back of the blade does not curve. This stiffness provides more surface area on the edge. As a result, this type of blade has good slicing abilities, decent punching abilities, and excellent balance in its overall construction.
Spear point knives
On a spear point knife blade, the spine and cutting edge both come at a similar angle to resemble a spear. This type of blade is unmatched in its piercing ability. The spearhead is an intimidating and effective self-defense tool in an emergency.
The edge of a tanto blade slants to meet the spine at one point. The result is a large edge and a kind of mini edge where the blade tilts. Tanto blades are a favorite style among military and law enforcement. The angled point is hard and pierces well.
A wharncliffe blade consists of a totally flat cutting edge and a spine that gradually drops to meet the tip of the blade; they are essentially inverted straight-backed blades. This type of blade is best for precision cutting. The flat edge allows for long, smooth cuts on flat surfaces.
Drag point knives
On a drag point knife blade, the cutting edge curves upward to meet the spine at a point above the handle. The design provides more edge surface ideal for slicing and peeling. The drag point blades also provide excellent punching capabilities.
While blade style is a good indicator of what a knife is built for, a more telling feature is the blade material itself. As with other knife qualities, you should choose the material of a blade according to the use that will be made of it. These are a few common attributes of a knife blade that are most directly affected by the material.
Blade Strength : The ability of a blade to resist breaking or fracturing
Edge retention: the ability of a blade to stay sharp without the need for frequent sharpening
Corrosion Resistance: The ability of a blade to avoid deterioration due to moisture, humidity, salt or other chemical processes.
Ease of sharpening: ability of a blade to be sharpened without great difficulty
It is very rare for a knife to exhibit skills in all of these categories. Most of the time a blade will only excel in one or two as there is no blade material that can perform well in all of them.
If you have selected a folding knife, the deployment method is an additional aspect that should be considered. In an emergency situation, opening a knife quickly can help shave precious seconds off your response time. The following deployment methods are found on virtually every knife on the market; make sure you pick the one that's right for you.
A thumb stud is a tab on a knife blade found near the handle. Although thumb nails can take some getting used to and can hurt a bit when opening a knife, they are definitely a quick and efficient method of deploying a blade.
Opening a knife with a thumb hole is a bit easier than using a thumb button. A hole in the blade allows you to use your whole thumb (or even a thumb and index finger) to deploy the blade. Using the entire thumb rest helps distribute pressure for a smoother deployment.
This elongated piece of metal protrudes from the back of the handle when the blade is closed. To open the knife, simply press the flipper with your index finger. A flipper is one of the best and easiest deployment methods for a folding knife.
Often found on smaller pocket knives, the classic nail requires the use of a fingernail to open the blade. If your nails are short, it may be best to avoid a knife that extends through the nick of the nail.
Once you've opened your knife, it's important that it doesn't close when you use it. Tactical knives are made with a variety of locking mechanisms. These locks are a safety feature to ensure that the blade does not fall on your fingers. The blade of a locked folding knife will only stay extended until you decide to engage the locking mechanism and close it. Here are some of the most common types of locking mechanisms on tactical knives.
One of the most common and easiest to use knife locking mechanisms, the liner lock is a piece of metal inside the handle of a knife. When the knife blade is closed, it holds the liner lock in place. The tension of the lock naturally pushes it away from the handle and under the blade, however, when the blade opens, the liner slips into place and prevents the blade from closing. To disengage the lock, simply push it away from the blade and towards the handle, and slide the blade closed. Liner locks are advantageous for their solid construction. It's very difficult to accidentally disengage a liner lock, ensuring the blade only closes when you want it to.
A frame lock is very similar to a liner lock - it slides into place under the blade as the knife opens. Instead of an integrated piece of metal, however, a frame lock is just a part of the frame itself designed to lock the blade in place. The process of engaging a frame lock is the same as engaging a liner lock: just push it out of the way and close the blade. Like a liner lock, it is nearly impossible to accidentally disengage a frame lock.
A lockback is an exposed piece of metal on the back of a tactical knife. A notch at the end of the lock (near the handle) hooks into a notch built into the blade, holding the knife firmly in place when open. Closing a locking knife requires two hands; press down on the exposed part of the spine with one hand to disengage the blade and rotate the blade closed with the other hand. This two-handed requirement ensures that the knife blade will only close when you push it deliberately, protecting your hands and fingers while using the knife.
The locking button is probably the easiest way to close your knife. A spring in the handle is attached to both the knife blade and the button. Pushing the button down unlocks the blade and allows the spring tension to take over. Simply push the blade against the tension (while holding the button down) to close your knife. While knives with locking button are very easy to close, this is also their danger: they are easy to close. Be sure to avoid accidentally pressing the button during use so that the blade does not close on your fingers.
When it comes to exploring the world of combat tools, it's impossible not to mention iconic weapons such as the sword, shuriken, and penknife. Although these weapons differ from the traditional military knife, they share certain characteristics that attract the attention of martial arts enthusiasts and history buffs. The sword, with its noble look and sharp edge, embodies the elegance and power of the warriors of yesteryear. Used for centuries, it has crossed the ages as a symbol of courage and self-control.
The shuriken, on the other hand, is a throwing weapon originating in Japan. Also known as the "ninja star", the shuriken is often associated with ninjutsu martial arts. These small, sharp blades are thrown with precision to hit targets at a distance. Their unique shape and skillful use make them fascinating weapons, both technically and culturally.
Finally, the penknife, although it may seem smaller and less imposing, has a versatility and practicality that make it a popular choice among adventure and survival enthusiasts. Featuring a folding blade, the penknife is easily portable and can be used in a variety of situations, whether opening a box, carving wood or performing precision tasks. Its compact design makes it a reliable companion for hikers, campers and explorers.
Although the sword, the shuriken and the penknife have particularities that distinguish them from the military knife, they all share a long history of use in combat and adventure contexts. Their cultural heritage and unique aesthetics continue to attract the interest of collectors and gun enthusiasts around the world.
How to choose the best military knife for extreme situations?
A military knife is one of the most important tools in a hostile environment, which is why special forces and commandos use it regularly. In addition to being an effective edged weapon for hand-to-hand combat, it can also be used as a survival knife in the event of an accident. But how to choose the right military knife?
The first thing to consider is the handle of the knife. Opt for an ergonomic "all-weather" model with a solid and silent grip to avoid being spotted. Tactiprene or paracord are excellent choices for optimal grip, even in the rain or when sweating.
Next, choose an inconspicuous blade that won't splinter and withstand the many knocks it might take in the field. Stainless steel blades with a black or stonewash (grayed) treatment are the most suitable.
The quality of the blade is also essential for an optimal defense. Choose a blade with a length between 10 and 20 cm to be able to cut, slice and penetrate deep into your target.
Finally, make sure that your military knife is easily accessible in any situation by storing it in a suitable kydex, POM or neutral-colored nylon sheath, attached to a strategic point on your body.
In summary, to choose the best military knife, attention must be paid to the quality of the handle, the discretion of the blade, the quality of the latter, its length, its resistance, and its ease of access in any situation.