If you are in the market to purchase a new knife, having the best tactical knife you can buy can be the difference between life and death. When it comes to tactical knives, knowing what to look for in a knife can be every bit as important as knowing how to use it and what for. Whether you’re wanting something compact and storable for your bag or something small enough to fit in your pocket, there’s a knife out there that fits your needs. In this article, we’ll go over the best tactical knife that you can buy in 2018 and 2019.

Product FAQ

What Is a Tactical Knife?

Should You Buy a Tactical Knife?

Where Can You Buy the Best Tactical Knife?

Do I Have to Maintain a Tactical Knife Like a Regular Knife?

How We Reviewed


We reviewed the following knives based on a relatively simple set of criteria. First off, we gave the knives an out-of-the-box paper test to compare the overall sharpness of the edge and the level to which it has been honed. We also took note of build quality as well as comfortability and ease of use.

Overall Price Range of Tactical Knives

Image from Amazon

When it comes to the best tactical knife you can buy, you don’t want to go cheap: corrosion-resistant alloy steels, a rugged build, and a strong polymer wear-resistant grip will cost much more than a knife made of much cheaper metals and materials. Always keep the price in mind when looking for a knife, especially in regards to how much you expect to be using it and where.

What We Reviewed

  • Benchmade – Bedlam 860 Knife
  • Spyderco Pacific Salt black FRN H-1 black Blade PlainEdge
  • Gerber Applegate Covert Knife
  • SOG Spec Arc Folding Knife | 4-Inch VG-10 Blade
  • Cold Steel 4005037 Recon 1 Clip Pt. Plain Edge 4in Folding Knife
  • SOG Folding Knife Pocket Knives
  • Spyderco Assist with Carbide Tip FRN Combination Edge Black Blade Knife
  • Benchmade – Mini Griptilian 556 Knife
  • Kershaw Blur, Glassbreaker Folding Knife (1670BGBBLKST)
  • Al Mar MS2KB Mini Sere 2000
Benchmade - Bedlam 860 Knife, Scimitar Blade
  • HIGH-QUALITY: The 154CM stainless steel blade is tough, rust resistant, and holds an edge well. The G10 handle is...
  • WELL-DESIGNED: Benchmade's AXIS lock is exceptionally strong and fully ambidextrous. The Bedlam 860 is a manual knife...
  • COMFORTABLE: The 860 is large yet is one of the most comfortable knives to handle. The reversible pocket clip offers...

Features

Benchmade is a reputable brand with a long history of solid and reliable products, and the Bedlam 860 is another solid addition to their lineup of knives. The Bedlam, in our opinion, is the best tactical knife for general use. It’s made from high-quality 154CM stainless steel and has an ambidextrous and comfortable grip, making it a good choice for everyday usage. Other features include a reversible belt clip and a lifetime warranty.

Pros

  • Ambidextrous grip with reversible belt clip
  • Curved and serrated edge on blade
  • Lifetime guarantee from Benchmade

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Large handle might not be ideal for small hands

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Features

This tactical knife from Spyderco definitely has a distinct appearance. Its scaled nylon handle provides a pretty good grip overall. The blade is also good for the knife’s price: rust- and corrosion-resistant H1 steel that holds a cutting edge even with heavy usage. Another thing you’ll notice about the knife is its weight or lack thereof. At just 2.6 ounces the knife is feather-light, due mostly to its fiberglass body. Overall, this knife might be the best tactical knife for someone looking for a lightweight addition to their kit.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Lightweight design
  • Reversible belt clip
  • Non-serrated cutting edge

Cons

  • Not the best knife for heavy-duty use
Gerber Applegate Covert Knife, Serrated Edge, Black, 154CM [05786]
  • Applegate-Fairbairn Covert double bevel titanium spear-style knife
  • 154CM blade with titanium nitride coating
  • Features uncommon strength and balance

Features

Gerber has a reputation for reliable knives and blades, and the Applegate Covert might be the best tactical knife they have in their product lineup. Featuring a straight 154CM stainless steel blade, the knife’s edge can hold that edge longer than other competitors. The handle is nothing to scoff at either, being made from durable nylon and featuring ambidextrous thumb studs. Overall, a solid knife.

Pros

  • Ambidextrous design
  • Corrosion resistant blade edge
  • Comfortable and easy-to-hold handle

Cons

  • Knife has some play in the handle
Sale
SOG Spec Arc Folding Knife | 4-Inch VG-10 Blade, Arc-Lock (SE15)
  • Vg-10 stainless steel blade
  • Subdued design with a VG-10 blade
  • Grin handle with stainless steel liners

Features

Like with many of the other brands mentioned in this list, SOG has a solid reputation for quality. The Spec Arc is the best tactical knife for a jack-of-all-trades role. Its curved blade is V-10 stainless steel, making it inherently durable, corrosion resistant and very sharp. The handle is made from black glass-filled polymer, and the texture pattern ensures a solid grip regardless of the situation. The knife’s locking mechanism is also surprisingly robust. Overall, the knife is well worth the price.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Smooth folding and unfolding
  • Robust locking mechanism

Cons

  • There is some play in the blade
Sale
Cold Steel Recon 1 Clip Point Plain Edge 4in Folding Knife
  • Ambidextrous pocket/belt clip included
  • 4" polished satin blade
  • Blade material: CPM S35VN

Features

This knife from Cold Steel is the best tactical knife for stowing away somewhere out of sight. Made from AUS 8A steel, it’s guaranteed to last. Its low price tag makes the knife an attractive buy, especially if you are on a budget. The ergonomics of the knife are another selling point; despite the molded grip, it’s still comfortable in different-sized hands. The knife’s only real downside is the stiff spring in its opening mechanism, making it a bit challenging to close the knife after it’s been opened.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Solid build quality
  • Comfortable and ergonomic grip

Cons

  • Deployment mechanism can be hard to operate for some people
Sale
SOG EDC Tactical Folding Knife - Pent Arc Folder
  • EDC FOLDING KNIVES FOR EVERYDAY CARRY: The Pent Arc tactical folder is a balanced flipper knife made with VG-10 Japanese...
  • PREMIUM KNIFE W/ ONE-HAND OPEN AND ARC-LOCK: Use the Thumbstuds to open these ambidextrous folding knives; lockback...
  • STRAIGHT EDGE TACTICAL KNIFE W/ SPEAR POINT: This VG10 knife is perfectly aligned with a centerline tip for improved...

Features

A variation of the SOG knife listed earlier in the list, the Pent Arc swaps out the curved steel blade of the Spec Arc with a Japanese-style blade. Overall, the rest of the knife is identical to the Spec Arc. Both knives have the same handle and locking mechanism, and both weigh almost exactly the same. Ultimately, which of the two you would consider the best folding knife comes down to personal preference.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Smooth folding and unfolding
  • Robust locking mechanism

Cons

  • There is some play in the blade
Sale
Spyderco Assist Lightweight Folding Knife - Black FRN Handle with...
  • FOLDING KNIVES - Locking folding knives are safe, compact, and easy to carry. They also happen to be where the Spyderco...
  • FRN HANDLE - Fiberglass Reinforced Nylon is a polymer mixed with glass fiber then injection molded into formed and...
  • HOLLOW GRIND - It comes with bevels that are ground with a concave radius. The bevels may extend the full width of the...

Features

Without a doubt, this Spyderco-branded knife is quite possibly the best tactical knife on this list for cutting. It’s pretty much designed around cutting something as quickly and effectively as possible. The serrated edge of the VG-10 steel blade is razor sharp and can cut through anything from cloth and meat to leather with ease. One of the design features that make the knife stand out is its rope-cutting feature, designed by a Swedish firefighter. By squeezing the blade closed over a rope, the knife can cut even the thickest of cables.

Pros

  • Unique, blunt-point knife edge
  • Lightweight, easy-to-use design

Cons

  • Lacks a knifepoint
  • Closing it can be tricky
Sale
Benchmade - Mini Griptilian 556 EDC Manual Open Folding Knife Made in...
  • HIGH-QUALITY: The 154CM stainless steel blade is tough, rust resistant, and holds an edge well. The glass-filled nylon...
  • WELL-DESIGNED: Benchmade's AXIS lock is exceptionally strong and fully ambidextrous. The Mini Griptilian 556 is a manual...
  • COMFORTABLE: The 556's smaller, lighter design and handle grips make it comfortable to hold, use, and take anywhere. The...

Features

The Mini Griptilian by Benchmade is another solid addition in the brand’s lineup of tactical knives. The blade is manufactured from 154CM stainless steel, making the knife edge both durable and corrosion resistant. The knife’s handle is made from glass-filled nylon and is designed to be entirely ambidextrous. Not only are there locking and opening studs on both sides of the knife, but the belt clip can be reversed. Overall, a solid and attractive buy for its price.

Pros

  • Sharp and durable blade
  • Tough and ambidextrous design
  • Comes in a variety of colors

Cons

  • Somewhat expensive

Features

The Kershaw Blur is a sleek and elegant tactical knife that’s perfect for a wide variety of uses. The partly-serrated blade is made out of 14C28N Steel, making the blade both very strong and durable. The serration is also good for cutting through tough fibrous material while the rest of the blade works well at slicing. The textured polymer handle also offers superior grip, regardless of weather conditions. As an added bonus, the knife can be purchased in a number of different colors and styles. Overall, a no-frills knife that does what it does well.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Solid and durable design

Cons

  • Belt clip can slip in some situations

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Features

The last knife on this list but far from the least, the Al Mar Mini Sere is a plain-looking but effective tactical knife. While its grip lacks the appearance of some of the other entries on this list, it still grips just as well, and its handle overall has a very solid and heavy feel to it. The 4-inch spear-point blade can hold an edge even through heavy use, thanks to being manufactured from VG-10 steel. Overall, the Mini Sere is a solid and effective, albeit an expensive folding knife.

Pros

  • Solid construction
  • Durable cutting edge
  • Comfortable, ergonomic handle

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Blade is slightly off-center

The Verdict

In the modern day, carrying a folding knife can be a safe move in terms of both utility and personal safety. Regardless of the situation that may arise, having the tool to deal with it can make all the difference in the world. With that said, we hope this list can help you find the best tactical knife that suits your needs in 2019 and beyond.

Featured image via Amazon

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