tactical knife

Best Tactical Knife For 2020 – Reviews, Comparison And Advice

Last Updated on by Alex

Premium Choice

Ka-Bar-Full-Size-US-Marine-Corps-Fighting-Knife

Ka-Bar Full Size Marine

Our Choice

Kershaw-Blur-Tactical-Folding-Knife

Kershaw Blur

Budget Choice

SOG-SEAL-Strike-Tactical-Knife

SOG SEAL Strike

Tactical is often a word that gets thrown around, and knives that get branded with this word often end up to be useless and overhyped. This is very much the same in the gun world too, and all you end up with is a steel blade or gun that ends up being a complete waste of time or money. But we’re not looking at guns in this guide.

Here we are looking at what the best tactical knives are, and what features make them great so you can walk away with a knife you love as a part of your tactical gear set.

What Is A Tactical Knife?

All tactical knives have features in common. Most have one-handed opening functionality that is quick, will have blades built for purpose, and the grip material will be strong and aggressive. When you want to get your first knife, there are a few things you have to think about in order to get the best.

The first thing we need to think about is what you are going to be using the knife for. The second is under what conditions do you need this knife to perform. The last thing you should think about when looking for the best knife for you is how it will fit into your hand. Just because you splash the cash on the most expensive kit doesn’t mean a thing if the blade isn’t suiting your needs.

Does Your Tactical Knife Need A Serrated Blade?

With most other fixed blades, you would go with your preference on if the blade is serrated or not. With tactical knives, this isn’t the case. To get the best option for you to think about exactly what this tool will be used for.

Most knives that are going to be used outdoors need to be heavy-duty, easy to carry, made from durable materials, and have either a serrated or partially serrated blade. This makes it easier for cutting through tougher materials and comes in especially handy if you aren’t going to be around a sharpener for a while.

A tactical knife that will be best at slicing or self-defense should have a drop point blade with a plain edge. Having the right tool in your hand for the job is half of the battle with finding the best one.

Now you know a little bit more about what a tactical knife actually is and how you can choose the right designs for you, let’s take a look at the top 5 tactical knives.

What Is The Best Tactical Knife On The Market Today?

Lets take a look at the best tactical blades for 2020, what makes them unique and whether they fit the bill for your specific use:

1. SOG SEAL Strike  

SOG-SEAL-Strike-Tactical-Knife

1. Blade Size – 4.9″
2. AUS-8 Stainless Steel
3. Anti-Slip Nylon Handle
4. Frame Lock sheath 

The SOG SEAL Strike tactical knife is a great all-rounder for survival purposes. SOG has been a huge figure on the market for years, and it feels like the SOG SEAL has taken all of their knowledge and real-world experience then combined it into one knife-shaped package. This knife is both rugged and durable, and I found it to be an ideal choice in terms of accessories for my outdoor adventures.

There’s a lot of features packed into these pocket knives. Coming with a nylon sheath, the blade itself is just as sleek as the carrier it’s in, and as a utility steel blade, it surpassed my expectations. The SEAL Strike takes its inspiration from the military, and you can tell it means serious business with the black handle and sharp looking blade.

SOG SEAL Strike Blade Information

The blade of the SEAL Strike is partially serrated and measures at 4.9 inches. It’s a steel blade made from AUS-8 stainless steel that makes a great companion on outdoor expeditions. This military-style knife also boasts clip point designs, which yields some pretty aggressive jimping at the top. This helps you to control the blade a lot better so that jobs are easier to carry out.

As I began to review this SOG Seal knife, I discovered that the steel blade doesn’t only have to be used for cutting wood but can be used on metal as well. The durability of the knife is boosted tremendously by the powder coating, which is why it has been used by the military. This coating adds to the knife’s rust resistance as well.

The most interesting thing I found out about this blade after I had completed my review tests was how it had been treated. SOG has used a cryogenic heat treatment on the steel blade to increase both its resistance to wear and its toughness as well. With continued use, I have found that the blade’s edge doesn’t chip, and it retains its sharpness for longer periods of time than my other SOG knives.

SOG SEAL Strike Handle and Grip

The blade is placed in a durable and truly rugged housing that has been crafted from stainless steel and glass-reinforced black nylon. The anti-slip features of the nylon handle give a better grip, and the finger grooves are quite deep as well. I used it as a glass breaker to test the grip of the tactical knife handle and found it to be excellent even when utilizing it in odd situations.

The handle scales have a diamond checked pattern to them, which means your grip won’t be compromised whether the fixed blades are wet, dry, or even dirty. Whilst it’s not the prettiest handle by any stretch of the image, it’s still comfortable to hold and doesn’t get affected by temperature changes.

SOG SEAL Strike Sheath

For the price of this blade, the black sheath that is included is what you would get on average for the brand. You can get the knife with a standard nylon sheath, which is hard backed or pay extra for a deluxe model that comes with a belt clip attachment too so you can carry it easily.

The frame lock feature of the black sheath adds an element of security to the blade. It’s this that made me think this knife is the best choice for hiking or day to day outdoor activities.

Pros

  1. The blade of the SEAL Strike is partially serrated and measures at 4.9 inches and its made from AUS-8 stainless steel that makes a great companion on outdoor expeditions
  2. This military-style knife also boasts clip point designs, which yields some pretty aggressive jimping at the top, which helps you to control the blade a lot better so that jobs are easier to carry out
  3. The blade is placed in a durable and truly rugged housing that has been crafted from stainless steel and glass-reinforced black nylon

Cons

  1. While the metal is pretty durable and you won’t encounter any problems during normal use, it is so fragile that breaking its tip-off isn’t that hard to occur
  2. This is a common problem with most SOG knives, and this is the same with this model – the knife will come as dull as possible, creating you additional problems

2. Cold Steel Recon 1

Cold-Steel-Recon-1-Tactical-Knife

1. Blade length – 4″ 
2.  Weigh 5.3 Ounces
3. AUS 8A Blade Steel
4. Linerless G10 Handle Design

The reason Recon 1 made it onto my best tactical knives list is that I love when companies take their existing designs and refine them to the point of excellence. Of course, I like when new models come out, but when an already good knife then becomes a great one, it gets me very excited.

The Recon 1 is the latest version of the 2001 release Cold Steel blade. The new version is a lot lighter, has a stronger frame lock, and the designs are overall much more clever. What has been given to us is a heavy-duty set of tactical folding knives at an affordable price.

Cold Steel Recon 1 Uses

The Recon 1 is another military-inspired tactical knife that has a lot of different functions. For a larger looking military knife, it’s very strong too. I use this out on trails and also as a backup knife. I’ve seen others online using the knife to baton wood, which is a really incredible skill for a folding knife to have.

Cold Steel Recon 1 Blade Information

The length of the Recon 1 is 9.75″ with the blade making up 4″ of that. Overall it weighs 5.3 ounces, which I found quite surprising when holding it in-store before purchase. It’s definitely a knife that has been geared towards hard usage and for self-defense as well. I would wager that this would be an ideal knife to carry too.

There are different blade options you can have with this knife. These are the Bowie or clip point blade, the spear point, or the American tanto. You can also choose from having a plain edged blade or have it partially serrated. Made from an AUS 8A blade steel, but Cold Steel has upgraded some of their steel blades to the CTS-XHP version as well.

Cold Steel Recon 1 Handle

The biggest sticking point I had with the original Recon 1 was the handle material, so I’m very glad this got an upgrade. Now it has a linerless design and uses G10. The handle is strong despite the lack of steel liners, and there is also aluminum handle backspaces as well. You can use the handle as an ice or glass breaker because this tactical knife is so strong.

Folding the Cold Steel Recon 1

Use the thumb stud at the side of the tactical knife to get the blade to come out. I prefer studs on both sides of the knife, but it does the job just fine without. Within the folding mechanism is a powerful back spring that makes the knife a bit tricky to deploy, but with the right flick of the wrist, I can normally get it snapped out (grab my email address and get in touch if you have discovered the same problem).

The lock of the tactical knife has been built phenomenally and is easily the strongest lock available today. Because it has a stop pin, any heavy-duty tasks are forced onto this instead of onto the locking mechanism. This means that the lock can take on more pressure and won’t break.

Cold Steel Recon 1 Verdict

This aluminum handle drops point blade tactical knife rivals any other knife out there, even the titanium built ones. As far as my review goes, I find this similar to a review I did on the Cold Steel AK-47. What it comes down to when choosing between these knives in the store is which one you like the looks of most. The Recon 1 is tough as titanium, and the fact it has been upgraded from a bargain-priced knife into such an impressive tool is amazing.

Pros

  1. The Recon 1 is another military-inspired tactical knife that has a lot of different functions and being a larger military knife, it’s very strong too.
  2. The length of the Recon 1 is 9.75″ with the blade making up 4″ of that, but it still manages to have an overall weight of 5.3 ounces, which is pretty lightweight for its class
  3. The handle is an upgrade on the last model and now it has a linerless design and uses G10, so it is strong despite the lack of steel liners, which it compensates for with aluminum handle backspaces

Cons

  1. Unlike the quality seen in most other Cold Steel products, this one feels extremely cheap and doesn’t justify its high price
  2. The handle isn’t very good, with constant rattling sounds coming out of it and a very small and practically unusable pocket clip

3. Spyderco Paramilitary 2

Spyderco-Paramilitary-2-Tactical-Knife

1. Drop Point Blade
2. Pocket Size
3. Good Handle Grip
4. Compression Lock

There always comes a time when I need to carry a knife around, whether it’s on the hiking trails, at a survival weekend, or on the campsite. I’m sure this is true for many other people. Larger knives are the ones I tend to drop the most, so being able to carry such a small and compact built knife like the Spyderco Paramilitary 2 tactical drop point blade was a joy.

Spyderco Paramilitary 2 Size And Weight

This knife really is small. There’s no doubt about you being about to carry it and almost forget it’s there. When the knife is open, it only measures at 9 inches and is only 5 inches when it’s closed. It’s a tiny tactical knife that sits well in your pocket if you want to carry it.

Talking of wanting to carry this black and camo print knife, the weight won’t be an issue for you either. Weighing in at only 4 ounces, all of its size and lightweight features make it a true everyday knife.

Spyderco Paramilitary 2 Handle

Although this isn’t the highly durable aluminum handle, I’m such a big fan of, I couldn’t find much to complain about with this handle. In its gunmetal grey and green camo colors, it’s been constructed from stainless steel liners.

The texture of the handle makes it enjoyable to grip, and because of the material it’s made from, it won’t wear away any time soon. The handle is also strong enough to be used during emergency situations as a glass breaker without harming your hand.

Spyderco Paramilitary 2 Blade Information

Having a blade that has been poorly built can really put the kibosh on what would otherwise be a great knife. With the Paramilitary 2, the blade matches the look of the knife being intimidating and ultra-sharp as well.

It’s a really tough blade crafted from a high carbon stainless steel compound. The entire blade is also powder coated with diamond-like carbon to keep it hard-wearing and durable. Plus, it won’t rust.

Pocket Clip

A big part of a tactical knife is how you carry it, with the pocket being the number one choice. There’s plenty of options with the pocket clip included with this knife. You can slide it into your pocket and let is sit snugly or firmly secure it into place as well. Having the pocket clip included with the price means you can carry the blade around safely in a convenient way that is also strong enough to last.

This pocket clip will support a knife configuration of the tip down and on the right-hand side, too, which limits the number of ways you can carry it. However, the blade is always within your reach, and you can pull it out in an emergency self-defense situation, taking care to use the knife as safely as you can.

Locking Mechanism

The way a folding knife acts on deployment is important. Because the knife edge is so sharp, it’s crucial that you can lock the blade away securely as well so that it doesn’t spring open by accident. The Paramilitary 2 has a compression lock that lets you flip the blade open when you need it but also keeps it in place and safely stored when in the retracted position.

Pros

  1. When it is open, it only measures at 9 inches and is only 5 inches when it’s closed and that results in a tiny tactical knife that sits well in your pocket if you want to carry it.
  2. The handle, which is colored in gunmetal grey and green camo colors, has been constructed from stainless steel liners and that combined with its texture makes it enjoyable to grip
  3. The Paramilitary 2 has a compression lock that lets you flip the blade open when you need it but also keeps it in place and safely stored when in the retracted position

Cons

  1. Though unconfirmed, there have been a majority of reports that report this knife as a fake, with some glaring issues like taking minutes after opening, operating hinges and inconsistent curvature. This is also where most of its other problems originate, like its chunky and cheap feel

4. Ka-Bar Full Size

KA-BAR-Full-Size-Marine

1. Marine Fighting Knife
2. 1095 Cro-Van steel
3. Knuckle protection
4. Leather Grip

An almost upgraded fighting version of the Colonel Rex Applegate tactical knife, the Ka-Bar Fighting Knife is one of the best tactical fighting knives out on the market right now. Much better than the Karambit or Emerson versions of the same kind of knife, this black bladed tool also comes with a leather sheath that provides beautiful storage and protection. Instead of titanium, the blade has been crafted from cro-van steel, which is an unusual but strong choice for a tactical knife.

Ka-Bar Fighting Knife Blade Information

Because I’ve always been a fan of the Karambit and Emerson fighting knives, I found myself constantly comparing this one to those brands. One thing the Emerson knives can’t say is that their tactical knives are used by the army and the marines. The knife itself measures at just over 11 inches, and the edge of the blade is 7 inches alone.

The sharpness of the blade lasted for a long time, and it was sharp as soon as I took it from its sheath. Strong materials are a thing of the past with this tactical piece of equipment on your belt.

Pros

  1. An upgraded fighting version of the Colonel Rex Applegate tactical knife, the Ka-Bar Fighting Knife is one of the best tactical fighting knives out on the market right now
  2. The knife itself measures at just over 11 inches, and the edge of the blade is 7 inches alone, coming as sharp as possible out of the box
  3.  The weight of the knife is also pretty impressive considering how large it is, and it’s pretty easy to use

Cons

  1. The handle not only doesn’t add anything new to the table, but its material is also very grating to the skin of your hands, making it very uncomfortable to use
  2. There is also the huge drawback of the company’s practice by which you can only buy the serrated blade version in-store, not online

5. Kershaw Blur

Kershaw-Blur-Tactical-Folding-Knife

1. Top Quality Brand
2. Sandvik Stainless Steel Blade
3. Carbon Coating
4. Anodized Aluminum Handle

Straying away from the fixed blade knife and going back to a knife that is suitable for everyday carry on your pocket clip, let’s look at the Kershaw Blur. The brand name Kershaw should immediately tell you what fine quality this knife will be. It’s so much more than a combat knife or a tool for cutting. The knife features and the way it’s been designed takes it above and beyond what a lot of tactical knives have to offer.

Kershaw Blur Handle and Blade

The whole point of a knife is to have a sharp blade. The handle has to be comfortable to grip and durable for lots of use as well. So what does the Blur have to offer in these categories?

Straight out of the box, the blade was razor sharp. The Sandvik stainless steel blade has been molded into a curved design that gives the knife a more elegant feel. As well as being made from high-grade steel, the blade also features a carbon coating that is almost diamond-like.

This means the knife will be resistant to rust and looks beautiful at the same time. The handle is, of course, anodized aluminum with grip tape inserts, which makes it durable and feels really solid in your hands.

Both the blade and handle put together, despite the materials they are made from, are actually very lightweight and quite sturdy as well. I would say that the Kershaw Blur definitely ticks all of the right boxes in this category.

Kershaw Blur Opening and Locking

When you have the Kershaw Blur folded away, it looks very simple and passive to the eye. On the side of the knife is a tiny little flipper that, when pulled, allows the blade to gracefully emerged from its cavity inside the handle.

The mechanism that releases the blade is very quick and has the added feature of being incredibly safe as well. With safe speed technology that is used in almost all of Kershaw’s knives, the assisted opening ensures that the blade emerges safely without ever becoming delayed or jammed.

Kershaw Blur Pocket Clip

What about carrying this handy little knife? In your pocket, of course! Included in the price of the knife is a pocket clip so that you can put it into your pocket and then secure it in place, so it doesn’t drop out. You can decide on whichever way you like to knife to sit in your pocket or bag because the clip is reversible as well, which is a really neat touch.

Included on the handle are some pre-drilled holes that allow you to change how the blade hangs within the knife. All you have to do is unscrew the clip and then fasten it back into the holes provided. This can help if you like having the tip of the blade up or down when carrying it.

Pros

  1. Straight out of the box, the blade is razor-sharp and combined with the Sandvik stainless steel used that has been molded into a curved design all give the knife a more elegant feel
  2. The carbon coating used on the blade helps it to remain as durable as possible even after a lot of abuse and protects it from rust and abrasion
  3. The handle is made out of high grade anodized aluminum with grip tape inserts, which makes it durable and gives it a really solid feeling in your hands

Cons

  1. The pocket clip included isn’t quite deep enough and this means that the knife isn’t completely hidden when it’s in your pocket
  2. Because the blade is so sharp, I noticed it dulled quite quickly as well, so it would be a knife that you have to sharpen on a regular basis

Final Words

Having a tactical knife is one of these things you don’t know you need until you actually do. It has much-needed features that even the military uses, so for survival or just everyday carry, nothing can replace the utility of a tactical knife.

Trought the article we looked at many of the factors that are needed when searching for the best one, and in my opinion, if you know how to use the information properly, you can choose the best one form the 10 we have mentioned above. Just be careful because with all the different types of blades, their materials, can they close or not, how long are and where the center of gravity ism you can get two on the surface identical-looking knives with very different features and uses.

Suffice it to say, it hasn’t been an easy mission to choose the best tactical knives on the market right now, but if you read carefully through the article, it will be a 10-minute job to choose one of our 10 candidates and find your next best survival companion.

What Is A Tactical Knife?

All tactical knives have features in common. Most have one-handed opening functionality that is quick, will have blades built for purpose, and the grip material will be strong and aggressive. When you want to get your first knife, there are a few things you have to think about in order to get the best.
The first thing we need to think about is what you are going to be using the knife for. The second is under what conditions do you need this knife to perform. The last thing you should think about when looking for the best knife for you is how it will fit into your hand. Just because you splash the cash on the most expensive kit doesn’t mean a thing if the blade isn’t suiting your needs

Does Your Tactical Knife Need A Serrated Blade?

With most other fixed blades, you would go with your preference on if the blade is serrated or not. With tactical knives, this isn’t the case. To get the best option for you to think about exactly what this tool will be used for.
Most knives that are going to be used outdoors need to be heavy-duty, easy to carry, made from durable materials, and have either a serrated or partially serrated blade. This makes it easier for cutting through tougher materials and comes in especially handy if you aren’t going to be around a sharpener for a while.

What Is The Best Steel?

Blade steel is incredibly important to survival knives, and the material I would choose above the rest is the 1095 carbon steel. This adds 0.95% of carbon to the blade, helping it to keep its edge as well as fighting off rest. With the right storage and the proper care, these knives can last a lifetime, but you want to get a thicker blade made from this steel as thinner ones tend to be brittle and break easily.