CAMPING & HIKING

Best Tactical Knives: Tips & Tricks on How to Select Only The Best

Tactical knives review
Daniel Carraway
Written by Daniel Carraway

The best tactical knives are those that serve as many of your needs as possible, whether you use the weapon camping, hiking, fishing, or you use it for survival and other high pressure or intense situations. Thus, you will want a tactical knife that is durable, long lasting, and corrosion resistant. Moreso, you should demand a weapon that is diverse in features and only made with the best material available.

Ultimately, knowing what it is you will be doing with the knife and in giving consideration to how best the knife might serve your needs, you will be able to slow down and consider what weapon is ideal for your specific purposes.

Features to Look After Before Purchase

Ease of Handling

Among the leading weapons on the market today are going to be the knives that are easiest to use. Consider this: you do not want to fuss around with a knife during a survival situation. You want the knife to open and close with ease.

You will need a knife with a durable handle and one that has the right ergonomics to ensure the greatest comfort while the blade is in use. When you hold the knife you need an excellent grip and it should be designed in such a way that it makes the weapon feel as it is an extension of your hand.

Tactical knives handling

It makes no difference if you decide to get a forward grip weapon, which is one where you close your fist around the handle and the weapon points outward away from the hand, or if you are using a reverse grip method of holding the weapon. Ergonomics need to make it so the knife is comfortable in your hand and that it has the right traction to prevent slippage.

The quality of the knife’s handle needs to support the safety of your hand as you hold it; in other words, it should be free of flaws that might accidentally cause you injury. Besides the inclusion of any grip marks or purposefully placed traction, the handle should be smooth, flawless, and the right size for your hands.

Many weapons have finger grooves to ensure an easy time of wrapping your hand around the handle for a firmer grip.  In terms of finger grooves, they should be deep enough to allow comfort but not so deep that they trap your fingers into a single position. Essentially, the appropriate knife ergonomics give you that “just right” fit.

Safety Features

The ergonomic design of the knife already introduces you to a few safety features: finger grooves, grip marks, and added traction. Additional safety features lend to even greater handling safety. One such feature is the locking mechanism on the knife. A locking mechanism is not put on a knife to keep it closed.

Quite to the contrary, it is included so the knife remains open when you are cutting. You can be injured severely if the knife is so weak it collapses on your hand while you are cutting something.

Tactical knife safety

You should also look for tactical knives featuring a tool that help in opening the knife with ease. Some knives come with a push button mechanism that helps in popping the blade open immediately. Other knives are made with spring assist features that pop the knives open half way are into a locked position.

Many tactical knives are sold with a sheath to carry it with ease. This same sheath can help you in storing the knife away safely when not in use. Some blades come with tip up or down features meaning you can insert the knife into the clip in either direction – tip up or down.

In considering knife safety, you should take knife size into consideration as well. You do not want a knife that is so small it is troublesome to handle. At the same time, a bulky, heavy knife is cumbersome even in dealing with the simplest tasks. The ideal survival knife runs around eight or nine inches in length. Most blades run around three to four inches in length.

Add-Ons

Add-ons are those additional features that will serve you well in survival situations. First, many knives are fitted with a glass breaker – imagine having to break through a windshield to escape a vehicle or having to break a window to get out of a dangerous situation. A glass breaker can help you in shattering the glass without injury.

Tactical knife Add-Ons

A few knives are fitted with LED lights. These lights are good in low lighting conditions or in a pinch when you do not have a flashlight handy. Some manufacturers go as far as to waterproof the lights so they remain usable if dropped in a shallow body of water.

Another feature you will find on tactical knives is a seat belt cutter. The cutter is special and for use in cutting through fibrous or difficult to cut materials.  Alternatively, there are weapons fitted with whistles just in case you have to alert someone of where you are if you are waiting to be rescued.

Tactical Knives to Consider: Main Features And Reviews

Smith & Wesson SWBG2TS Border Guard 2

Smith & Wesson SWBG2TS Border Guard 2

Color: Black Handle, Steel Blade

Weight: 10.4 ounces

Dimensions: 5.6” handle; 4.4” blade

Specific Features: Blade made of 7Cr17 high carbon steel; aluminum handle; glass breaker feature, liner lock, belt cutter, and thumb safety knob.

Best Uses: Survival, hunting, fishing, and camping

Description: The Smith & Wesson SWBG2TS is a rescue blade of splendid design and affordable price. The knife costs $18.41, so it meets any budget. This tactical knife has a seat belt cutter in the event you have to cut yourself out of a seat belt harness or other material. A glass breaker is also included if it should be necessary for you to break through glass.

The knife is easy to carry because of its small size and folding function. The 7Cr17 high carbon steel is manufactured in China and lends to the durability and longevity of the blade. The aluminum handle is long lasting and equally durable. The blade is a combo between a straight edge and a serrated option, allowing you to get the best functions from both types of blade styles.

The handle of this weapon features a highly texturized design on each side and three grooves along the edge to ensure a solid grip when you use the weapon in question. This weapon is absent of spring assist features, but still, folds and opens with considerable ease.

Related: Smith & Wesson CK107 Homeland Security Knife

MTech USA Xtreme MX-8054 Fixed Blade

MTech USA Xtreme MX-8054 Fixed Blade

Color: Black Blade, Black Handle

Weight: 1.4 pounds; 5.5” blade; 5mm thick blade

Dimensions: 11” overall

Specific Features: Black Tanto Blade made of 440 stainless steel, G10 Handle; uniquely carved handle with finger grooves, and it is sold with a nylon sheath. Blood groove and saw back features on the blade. The weapon features a lanyard hole.

Description: The MTech Xtreme MX-8054 is a visually attractive and affordable tactical knife featuring a tanto blade. The body is a good size for making it comfortable to use and easy to grip, but it remains small and light for ease of portability.

The knife blade is black and this matches the black handle – this not only streamlines the knife’s look but also makes it easy to camouflage the weapon more readily than a knife fitted with a bright, shiny, stainless steel blade.

The affordability factor of a knife priced at $27.90, will hold appeal for individuals with every kind of budget. The MTech USA Xtreme has a blade crafted out of a special type of steel featuring a higher amount of carbon in it.

The 440-grade stainless steel is used for the purposes of making cutlery because the extra carbon gives you a more durable, long-lasting blade that is also less likely to corrode or rust. Then there is the G10 handle that ensures a secure grip, even if it is raining or snowing and the handle of the knife gets wet.

The blood groove and saw back promise you considerable cutting power. The lanyard hole makes for easier carrying.

Tool Logic SLP2

Tool Logic SLP2

Color Black and Silver

Weight: : 4.3 ounces

Dimensions: 6” x 6” x 4”; Blade is about 4”

Specific Features: Three-year limited warranty; LED flashlight, magnesium allow fire starter rod; whistle, pocket-belt clip; frame lock; thumb notch; serrated blade

Best Uses: Camping, hiking, and survival situations

Description: The Tool Logic SLP2 by SOG is an exceptional tactical knife and one with 1/2 serrated blade that folds into the handle. The Tool Logic SLP2 comes with an inexpensive price tag of $30.50.

The knife has a serrated blade for ease of cutting power, and the thumb notch lends safety to the act of opening and closing the weapon. The stainless steel blade has a bead blast finish giving the blade an ultra smooth side and sharp edge.

The magnesium alloy fire starter rod and the LED flashlight inclusions are exceptional when you are in need of such tools out in the wilderness, and the waterproofing of the flashlight ensures the longevity of the feature.

The inclusion of a whistle allows you to alert others of your presence during a search and rescue mission. Also the pocket-belt clip lends to the ease of portability and the rugged frame ensures that you are investing in a durable weapon for all your survival needs.

Related: The SLPro SLPB2 ToolLogic Tactical Folding Knife by SOG

Cold Steel Recon 1

Cold Steel Recon 1 tactical

Color: Black blade, black handle

Weight: 5.3 ounces

Dimensions: 4” blade; 9 3/8” overall measurement; 3.5mm blade thickness

Specific Features: Rust resistance; corrosion resistant; Aus 8A Japanese stainless steel blade; G-10 laminate scaled handle; specially treated blade; thumb disc; pocket clip inclusion; and a blade with a scratch resistant Teflon finish

Best Uses: Camping, hiking, survival conditions

Description: The Recon 1 by Cold Steel is a tactical knife sporting a G-10 handle. This ensures a great grip even when the handle is exposed to water or if your palms sweat during knife use. It is the laminated   scales on the handle that lends to a greater grip in conjunction with the scalloped and contoured nonslip grip design.

The price tag of the Cold Steel Recon 1 is on the higher end of the scale at $158.94. The blade of this weapon is equally superior as it is durable and resistant to corrosion – the blade is a sub zero quenched, vacuum heat treated blade.

The inclusion of a thumb disc makes the knife easy to open, and the weapon comes complete with a pocket clip for ease of transport. The finish on the weapon ensures a rust-resistant design, and there is no glare when the weapon is in use. The entirely black design also camouflages the weapon nicely.

Related: The Cold Steel 27TXLC XL Recon 1 Clip; 21TTL Talwar Plain Edge Knife, and the Micro Recon 1 Spear Point

Kershaw Black Blur Glassbreaker

Kershaw Black Blur Glassbreaker

Color: Black handle, black blade

Weight: 4.2 ounces

Dimensions: 3.4” blade; closed weapon measures 4.5”; overall length open is 7.9”

Specific Features: Black coated blade; partial scallop serration; DLC coating on the handle and knife blade, Sandvic 14C28N, Trac-tec inserts, tip up/down pocket clip; liner lock locking system; and a handle made of 6061-T6 anodized aluminum.

Best Uses: Survival, camping, hunting, hiking

Description: The Kershaw Black Blur Glassbreaker features a price tag of $63.88. The knife has a glass breaking feature in case you ever get into a scenario where you must break through the glass in order to escape. The unit has a speed safe opener; this is a patented feature to help you open the knife without injury, with speed and ease.

The Speed Safe Opener is actually a button you can push to activate the feature. The liner locking system is used for actually keeping the blade open and steady when in use so it does not collapse inward and fold away on you when in use.

The blade has a DLC coating, otherwise called a Diamond-Like Carbon coating to ensure reduced friction when in use, and makes the weapon look visually attractive. The same coating lends to the corrosion resistant properties of the knife.

Meanwhile, the handle’s anodized aluminum alters the texture of the handle’s surface microscopically so it will accept a film made or porous coating that will then accept a special dye; this strengthens the handle considerably making them fade and scratch resistant. Finally, the tip up/down clip means you can insert the folded knife into the clip any way you desire: tip up or down.

Related: Kershaw Ken Onion

E37SN-CP Seal Pup Elite Knife

E37SN-CP Seal Pup Elite Knife

Color: Black handle; Black blade

Weight: 5.4 ounces

Dimensions: 4.85” blade x 0.185” thickness; 9.5” overall length

Specific Features: Glass molded, ergonomically designed handle with grip lines; blade spine rasp included. Deep finger grooves on the handle and a racy blade design. Blade with black TiNi finish. Comes with a nylon sheath and a limited lifetime warranty.

Best Uses: Hunting, Camping, Fishing, Survival

Description: The E37SN-CP Seal Pup Elite Knife is a SOG Specialty knife featuring a solid, straight edge. The knife is priced at $69.40. The handle has a brand new design that makes it more ergonomically fit: This means the handle is longer with finger grooves that are deeper than previous models.

Essentially, the knife comes with an even better grip than ever before. To add to the perfected design of the handle, the piece is made of injected molded glass so the handle is reinforced. The handle is also fitted with grip lines to ensure terrific traction as you use the knife; better traction means fewer cuts and unwanted injuries.

A blade spine rasp is included for placement of the thumb. This makes for ease when cutting, filing and notching. The blade has a “racy” style for visual appeal and is made of durable AUS-8 carbon steel. It also has an attractive clip point shape.

A Black Tini finish protects the blade, and makes the knife and handle blend together thereby making the knife camouflaged and streamlined in appearance. The nylon sheath the unit comes with ensures ease of transport.

Related: SOG SEAL Pup Fixed Blade M37K

Spyderco Assist with Carbide Tip

Spyderco Assist with Carbide Tip

Color: 4.0 ounces

Weight: 8.375” open; 4.875” closed; 3.7” blade; 0.125 blade thickness; 3.2 inch cutting edge

Specific Features: Combination Edge, Carbide Tip,

Best Uses: Fire and Rescue, High-Pressure Situations; Emergencies; Survival, Camping, Hunting

Description: The Spyderco Assist with Carbide Tip costs anywhere between $95.97and $154.95.

The FRN Combo Edge knife has a VG10 Blade that has a toothed edge to ensure rapid easy cutting of material. This knife cuts fibrous and difficult materials like seat belt material with ease. The knife also has a special plain blade edge for detailed cutting tasks.

This knife is suitable for professional firefighters looking for a knife capable of cutting rope quickly; it has a wavy, die cut pattern on the blade’s blunt side – the feature was created by a firefighter in Sweden so that the knife can be used for cutting a rope simply by squeezing the blade and the handle together.

The unit comes with a manufacturer warranty.

Related: Spyderco Byrd Cara Cara2 Rescue Knife

A Tactical Knife Purchase Is A Personalized Endeavor

Investing in a tactical knife is clearly a personalized endeavor. With all the different knives for sale, you should have little difficulty finding the weapon that you can use in an emergency situation.

Tactical folding knife

Sitting down and writing a list of desired features and examining the different models available from a wide array of manufacturers can help you define your personal needs. You will find a knife that fits every type of budget too, so there is no need to break the bank to get the knife you require.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Daniel Carraway
Daniel Carraway

Daniel Carraway joined our team last year. He is a gear freak when it comes to hiking, climbing and camping. He went to REI Outdoor School to meet new people and learn best practices. Don’t even try to argue with him about the latest backpack or ice axe, he tried most of them. Daniel’s dream is to climb Mount Everest.

  • Elliot Giles

    The MTech Xtreme MX-8054 is a good choice if you want a good tactical knife. Im very impressed with the quality and design of the blade, handle, and the sheath. It looks mean, and quite beautiful, yet it is very durable. The blade itself could be sharpened , just like any other blade that’s fresh out of a store/factory in most cases, but it’s great, nonetheless. I recommend this knife to anyone who enjoys unique blades to add to a collection, or even use. In my case, I will be doing both.

    • Daniel Carraway

      As I’ve said before from my previous posts – invest in good tools and equipment. There’s no shortcut for this, you can’t be a cheapskate. Out there in the wilds, your life depends on your knowledge and excellent hardware so better choose the best. I’m glad you found the MTech Xtreme MX-8054 to your liking. It’s a hardy knife and if I may say, very very affordable. For that price, you’re getting a good deal!

  • Carl Thompson

    The Spyderco Assist with Carbide Tip knife is awesome. If you don’t have one, get one. It’s the perfect combination of scary and useful. If it has a negative, it’s only the handle texture -it is very rough, in a fiber-grabby sort of way, and maybe that it’s not an assisted opener. Otherwise, RULES!!!

  • Daniel Carraway

    Hi Carl, so you’ve discovered the Spyderco Assist with Carbide Tip knife. From the looks of it, it’s fast becoming a favorite, right? Most users find that the rough texture of the handle makes for a very nice grip. It ensures that the knife won’t be slipping from your fingers any time soon.
    Check out the Smith & Wesson SWBG2TS Border Guard 2. It has a glass breaker feature that just might come handy someday. There’s no spring assist feature, but I find that it adds to its longevity.

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