CAMPING & HIKING

Best Tactical Pocket Knife: Picking the Best Knives for Survival Situations

Daniel Carraway
Written by Daniel Carraway

Are you looking for some backup for a jammed firearm? Or seeking to enhance your self-defense gear? If yes, purchasing the best tactical pocket knife is a prudent idea. Tactical pocket knives make a great difference when it comes to most emergency situations.

The small, discrete folding blades are great for self-defense can be tucked in the pocket acting as an everyday carry item, both for utility and emergencies. Unlike other regular knives, tactical knives pair nicely with other tactical gear, such as tactical pens and flashlight, making a great companion to any sidearm.

They fit into combat jobs, outdoor activities such as camping, hunting and hiking, and of course, law enforcement activities. For these reasons, finding the right tactical knife can be complicated. However, worry not as our guide will help you with this.

In this article, we will guide you in choosing the right tactical pocket knife by highlighting all important features that you should consider before buying. We will begin with a clear head-to-head comparison on the eight best tactical knives available in the market today. See how the best models compare in the chart below.

Product Name Weight Blade Material Blade Length Price
HAUS Summit Tactical Folding Knife 5.4 ozStainless steel3.75 inCheck price on Amazon
TAS Accessories Folding Pocket Knife 4.8 ozStainless steel2.2 inCheck price on Amazon
KingCamp Tactical Folding Knife 6.3 ozHigh carbon stainless steel3.3 inCheck price on Amazon
Spring Assisted Tactical Folding Knife 4.4 oz440C stainless steel3.42 inCheck price on Amazon
TAC Force TF-705 Series Folding Knife 7 ozStainless steel3.15 inCheck price on Amazon
MTech USA MT-A845 Folding Knife 8 ozStainless steel3.75 inCheck price on Amazon
Blade Mate Survival Folding Knife 8 ozStainless steel tanto blade3.5 inCheck price on Amazon
TAC FORCE Spring Assisted Pocket Knife 6.1 ozStainless steel3.5 inCheck price on Amazon

Factors to Consider Before Buying

What defines the best everyday tactical pocket knife? This should be the first question you ought to ask yourself before purchasing any tactical pocket knife. As mentioned before, there is a myriad of tactical knives available in the market.

Therefore, finding the best requires that you have a look at some of the crucial features of the knives. Outlined below are some basic considerations you should look into before buying one.

The Purpose

How you plan to use the knife is completely your choice. Be it for protection, utility, part of your job or just to carry, you definitely want a knife that performs expertly. Certainly, uses are vast but the type of knife chosen is important as many tactical knives are made with specifications and precise usage in mind.

For instance, a hunting knife used for skinning and cleaning the animal is made to sharpen more often with straight edges. Also, depending on the hunter, it could be folded for easier carry or otherwise fixed for enhanced strength. If the knife is used for a job, understanding what the exact job requires is beneficial.

tactical pocket knife

A case in point being a carpenter benefits overly from a folding knife with multiple blade types whereas a police officer will greatly benefit from a fixed blade serrated knife used for self-defense. Bearing that in mind, you should know that knives are created for specific purposes and choosing the right one depends on your intended use.

Overall Length

Tactical knives are available in various lengths. Therefore, before choosing any knife, consider its overall length. Folding knives have a small blade compared to a fixed blade knife as the blade has to be folded to fit the handle. This is perhaps why fixed blade knives have varying blade lengths compared to folding knives.

The blade length goes a long way to determining the appropriate use of the tactical knife. That said, a folding knife is convenient for concealment, utility and carry but the blade length limits its use. On the other hand, fixed blade knives are frequently used for hunting, skinning and cleaning games.

Blade Length

You should measure the blade length based on your requirements. There are three main blade length classifications. They include small, medium and large blades. Each of the blade sizes is meant for specific purposes and perform expertly on their prescribed use. Note that the longer the blade, the more it is prone to bending or breaking edges. They are also heavier.

tactical pocket knife with longer blade

Large blades include any knife with a blade longer than 4.25 in. They are common with fixed tactical blades and used for specific purposes such as cutting branches for firewood, filleting a fish and survival. Folding knives may also have large blades. Such blades, due to their size, are hard to conceal, carry and maneuver compared to those of smaller sizes.

Blade Material

Considering the blade material is essential as it determines how strong and versatile your blade will be. Folding knives are made from a variety of stainless steels while fixed blade knives are made from carbon steels. Some of the materials commonly used for fixed and folded knives are outlined below.

Fixed blade knives blade material includes 42oHC steel, 154CM, High carbon steel, 13C26 Sandvik, Cryogenic heat treatment and S3oV steel. Note that all steels come with varying degrees of moldability and hardness.

tactical pocket knife

On the other hand, folding knives materials include ATS-55, Co-special, M390, Kin-2, and CPM-2oCV. Depending on the intended use, folding knives can be made of stainless steel or tool steel. One could be harder and more resistant to corrosion compared to others, but all these are taken into consideration when making blades.

Knife Tang

This is the portion of the blade that extends into the handle. This feature determines the durability, weight, and balance of a fixed blade. Manufacturers often fix different types of tangs for different purposes. That said, the full tang is the most effective, popular and durable tang shape.

In the Full tang, the blade of the knife extends almost to the end of the handle thus covering the full length of the knife. This gives the knife a good construction, leverage, and balance. Other tangs you can consider include partial, tapered, extended, skeletonized and encapsulated tang.

Knife Handle

Handles are essential as they affect how steady and proper you hold the knife. Handles depend on your hand size, as a bigger hand size requires a relatively long handle. A medium sized knife usually has a standard handle size of approximately 4 to 5.5 in.

folded tactical pocket knife

Initially, handles were made of natural materials such as horn, wood, and bones, which made it difficult to find the suitable combination of a blade and handle. However, revolutionary changes in handle materials have made it easier to find the perfect handle.

That said, most knives currently feature composite handles that hold up to abuse better than initial models. They are also ergonomically designed to fit the hand perfectly. Additionally, handles with waterproof and enhanced durability feature aluminum, high-quality plastic, carbon fiber and metal handle materials.

Without forgetting, the handle structure and design are also an invaluable consideration for tactical knives. You should consider a knife with ergonomic finger grooves handle making it effective for various circumstances. They grip should also be comfortable and non-slip. This is perhaps because nobody wants a knife that slips from the hand when in use.

tactical pocket knife handle

The six features outlined above are not all you should look into – but among the crucial considerations. You might also want to consider the price, blade opening mechanism and blade locking mechanism for folding knives among other factors. With that said, have a look at the top tactical knives outlined below we thought you might consider purchasing.

Best Products on Today’s Market

Are you open to recommendations? Here some of the top-rated pocket knives that should be a worthy addition to your EDC kit.

HAUS Summit Tactical Folding Knife HAUS Summit Tactical Folding Knife

Price: Approx. $13

Weight: 5.4 oz

Dimensions: 3.75 x 0.11 x 5 in

Specific features: Sturdy pocket clip, a glass breaker, cord cutter, 8cr3Mov steel blade, G10 handle, black anodized and stainless blade and liner lock.

Best use: Flint striking

Description: If you are looking for the best hybrid knife, HAUS Summit Tactical Folding Knife should be your product of choice. Perhaps the best in HAUS Tactical knife series, this model is designed to look extra sleek and sharp for full-range functionality.

It is a smooth opening folding knife that locks securely in place. Thanks to the reliable liner lick system which makes it easy and safe to secure the knife to your belt, with an included belt clip. For emergency situations, the knife comes with a glass breaker and a cord cutter.

The HAUS Summit is overly sleek and of tactical style with a comfortable G10 handle which makes the knife perfect for any situation. The handle is designed to provide undoubted grip when stabbing, cutting, gouging among other uses. It is extremely sharp and holds its edge extremely well. HAUS Summit blades are extremely sharp and dead on center with no blade play.

This is complemented by the stainless steel, black anodized tanto blade made of 8cr13Mov steel.

PROS:

  • Features a glass breaker
  • Cord cutter
  • Stainless and black anodized blade
  • Sturdy pocket clip
  • G10 handle

CONS:

  • Lacks spring assist

Related: Tactical pocket knives form part of a large tactical gear which includes flashlights and tactical pens any person may need. In this case, it would be great pairing it with the ATACTICAL A1 550 LED Flashlight as part of your safety gear.

Check the price on Amazon

TAS Accessories Folding Pocket Knife TAS Accessories Folding Pocket Knife

Price: Approx. $13

Weight: 4.8 oz

Dimensions: 5.4 x 2.2 x 1.1 in

Specific features: Stainless steel blade, safety lock mechanism, foldable design, special back clip, sharp pointed tip, multi-functional design and ready-to-gift box.

Best use: Survival or camping knife

Description: If you are in the market searching for a tactical pocket knife that is not too big or too small, consider purchasing the TAS Accessories Folding Pocket Knife. This knife comes with all you need from the best camping and survival knife.

Its multi-functional design makes it pliable for gathering edible tubers, cutting saplings, opening bottle caps or tin lids, cutting custom bandages and food, for use as a fork, stake for securing things as well as flaying ribbons for preparing a fire. Surely, what else do you need?

The knife is foldable in design, making it perhaps an ideal sized tactical knife. As a survival knife, it can easily slip into your pocket, used for sharpening wooden spears as well as other useful tools, which come in handy especially in emergency situations, providing safety against humans or beasts.

You will appreciate the high-quality stainless-steel blade that comes with a sharp tip compounded by an aluminum handle with holes and a lightweight construction, which makes it overly easy to use and carry along. It can be opened with one hand.

PROS:

  • Sturdy stainless-steel blade
  • Multifunctional design
  • Sharp pointed tip
  • Safety lock mechanism

CONS:

  • Comparably weak blade

Related: If you feel you need a better tactical pocket knife and willing to spend more, consider the OutowTech Vantage Multipurpose Folding Pocket Knife which provides seven survival features in one pocket knife.

Check the price on Amazon

KingCamp Tactical Folding Knife KingCamp Tactical Folding Knife

Price: Approx. $15

Weight: 6.3 oz

Dimensions: 9.45 x 5.51 x 1.57 in

Specific features: High carbon stainless steel blade, aluminum handle, folding design, liner lock, pocket clip, hollowing out handle and belt clip.

Best use: Camping

Description: The KingCamp Tactical Folding Knife is designed to handle a wide range of cutting tasks. It can be easily opened and closed for easier use. The blade, just like other high-quality folding tactical knives is made of high carbon steel to ascertain durability. The handle is composed of aluminum with titanium plating making the knife not only sharp but also textured.

The knife comes with a compact design, making it easy to put in your pocket. This is perhaps due to the included pocket clip which makes it easy and safe to carry around without losing it. It also has a frame lock to enhance safe carry and storage.

The titanium plated handle hallows out, which significantly reduces the weight of the knife. It also gives it its compact structure. The hole at the end of the handle makes it easy to keychain for easy carrying. It is also non-slip and comfortable to use.

PROS:

  • Durable
  • Portable with a pocket clip
  • Hollowing out handle design
  • Non-slip

CONS:

  • Has issues with blade unlocking latch

Related: The KingCamp folding knife can be quite sharp to cause unexpected injuries and bruises. In that case, you should have the First Aid Only First Aid Essentials Kit, an easy to tote first aid softpack.

Check the price on Amazon

Grand Way Tactical Folding Knife Grand Way Tactical Folding Knife

Price: Approx. $15

Weight: 4.4 oz

Dimensions: 7.75 x 1.0 x 3.42 in

Specific features: Comfortable aluminum handle, liner lock, 440C steel blade, monostatic clip, spring assisted knife disclosure and multifunction design.

Best use: Indoor and outdoor activities

Description: The Grand Way Tactical Folding Knife is a prudent tactical pocket knife choice for anyone in need of a razor-sharp, good quality, inexpensive, unpretentious, safe and reliable camping, indoor and outdoor knife.

The balanced blade composition of this knife – 440C stainless steel, ascertains a long-term operation with good resistance to rust, unnecessary frequent sharpening, and high-durability. This could perhaps make it the best choice for your military set or tactical knife set.

For efficient use, the handle is convenient with a reverse grip. The coverings are made of aircraft grade aluminum for comfortable use. The reliable liner lock is highly resistant to dirt as well as prevents unauthorized knife disclosure. The clip provides for concealed carrying with an easy opening mechanism when slightly pressed.

Overall, this is a sleek, light but very strong knife. It provides a nice feel and balance that makes it a great EDC or outdoor knife.

PROS:

  • Easy opening mechanism
  • Comfortable handle
  • Liner lock
  • High-quality blade

CONS:

  • Comparatively expensive

Related: If you are not a fan of folding knifes, why not try the SOG Pentagon Fixed Blade Knife with serrated and beveled edge cutting options.

Check the price on Amazon

TAC Force TF-705RD Folding Knife TAC Force TF-705RD Folding Knife

Price: Approx. $8

Weight: 7 oz

Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9 in

Specific features: Spring assisted, aluminum handle, pocket clip, liner lock, half-serrated and a stainless-steel blade.

Best use: Emergencies

Description: Finding the top-rated tactical knife with a quality blade can be quite daunting. This is especially true based on the increasing number of self-proclaimed “high-end” tactical knives. Nonetheless, consider the TAC Force TF-705RD Folding Knife if the blade/knife quality is what you need.

That said, this model features a 3-millimeter thick, 3.15 in half-serrated blade, made of stainless steel for ascertained durability. The spring assisted opening knife offers an easy one-handed deployment, while securing into place taking advantage of the liner lock.

The sturdy aluminum handle comes with additional features for extended use. They include a bottle opener and a screwdriver for additional use. The knife, as mentioned, has a serrated blade for cutting branches, ropes and more. The back side of the handle has a pocket clip for easy carrying and storage.

All in all, this is a very durable and sharp knife that won’t break the bank.

PROS:

  • Spring assist for one-hand deployment
  • Stainless steel blade
  • Aluminum handle
  • Bottle opener and glass breaker
  • Pocket clip
  • Half-serrated blade

CONS:

  • Spring assist can be tricky to use

Related: If this product is quite big for you, how about getting the The One Top Mini Folding Coin Knife, which comes at the same price, small and compact design and amazing features?

Check the price on Amazon

MTech USA MT-A845 Folding Knife MTech USA MT-A845 Folding Knife

Price: Approx. $12

Weight: 8 oz

Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9 in

Specific features: Spring assisted, liner lock, stainless steel blade, pocket clip, aluminum handle and cut-out handle design.

Best use: Camping, survival

Description: MTech is one of the most adventurous tactical knife manufacturers with a diversified lineup including fixed blade knives, security items and archery products at good quality yet at competitive prices. MTech USA MT-A845 Folding Knife adds to the list of their best performing tactical knives present in the market today.

As its name suggests, it is spring assisted thus offering an easy one-hand deployment. Once the knife is open, its blade locks securely in place, thanks to the liner lock which ascertains this. For extra sharp cutting, it features a 3.5 mm thick and 3.75 in stainless steel blade. It is highly resistant to rust and provides great durability.

For utmost comfort, the handle is made of aluminum which has a seat belt cutter, and a glass cutter, which comes in handy when breaking a car window in emergency situations are imminent. It also comes with a pocket clip which make carrying safe and easy.

PROS:

  • Spring assisted deployment
  • Aluminum handle with cut-out design
  • Pocket clip for easy carry
  • Sturdy blade
  • Seatbelt cutter and glass breaker for emergency use
  • Thumb stud in blade for faster deployment

CONS:

  • Locking mechanism is undesirable
  • Blade is fat on backside

Related: As mentioned before, tactical pocket knives are great components of tactical gear, which include pens and flashlights. That said, how about complementing this awesome knife with the J5 Tactical V1-Pro Flashlight?

Check the price on Amazon

Blade Mate Survival Tactical Folding Knife Blade Mate Survival Tactical Folding Knife

Price: Approx. $13

Weight: 8 oz

Dimensions: 6.1 x 2.1 x 3.5 in

Specific features: Seatbelt cutter, steel-tipped glass breaker, steel tanto blade, serrated blade edge, belt clip, liner lock and sleek design.

Best use: Harsh outdoor conditions

Description: If you are in search of a knife with great quality and dependability, consider the Blade Mate Survival Tactical Folding Knife. It is well crafted with a lot of features in mind, making it a great choice for any firefighter, police officer, handyman, hiker, camper, soldier, and perhaps anyone who may need the services of a tactical knife anytime.

For assured durability, the knife comes with a stainless-steel blade with fortified alloys which are resistant to corrosion even in worse conditions. The liner lock keeps your fingers and hands safe as it safely closes the knife and protects the blade.

The knife’s sleek design makes it easy to transport but is enhanced by a belt clip attached to the side. As a nice added touch, it has a seat belt cutter and steel tip used to break glasses in emergency situations.

PROS:

  • Life-saving seatbelt cutter
  • Sharp stainless-steel blade
  • Serrated edge for slicing/sawing
  • Alloyed blade resists corrosion

CONS:

  • No discussion on how to use glass breaker

Related: Retailing at almost the same price is the Smith & Wesson 1st Response Folding Knife which offers quite similar features with the G10 handle being the only difference.

Check the price on Amazon

TAC FORCE Spring Assisted Pocket Knife TAC FORCE Spring Assisted Pocket Knife

Price: Approx. $12

Weight: 6.1 oz

Dimensions: 8 x 3 x 3.5 in

Specific features: 440C stainless steel blade, full aluminum handle, bottle opener, glass breaker and liner lock system.

Best use: Cutting

Description: The TAC FORCE Spring Assisted Pocket Knife suits needs of any person looking for a medium sized straight-edged knife blade with no serrations. This allows one to push the back of the blade in the case additional cutting pressure is required.

It comes with an attractive matte black finish handle with a feel of not only quality but also descent product. The 440C stainless steel blade offers the needed durability and utmost sharpness.

Once released, the liner lock system holds the blade in place. Other outstanding features of this tactical pocket knife include the included bottle opener, cord cutter and glass breaker for use in emergency situations.

Using this knife can be quite tricky. If you open this knife like your typical folding variety, you must be careful and pull it all the way to activate the locking spring. This is to avoid any possible injuries.

PROS:

  • Stainless steel blade
  • Full aluminum handle
  • Affordable
  • Durable

CONS:

  • Loose clip screws

Related: This knife, as it lacks serrations, is often purchased for security purposes. The other knife that ascertains security is the Snake Eye Tactical Folding Pocket Knife, perfect for self-defense.

Check the price on Amazon

Wrap Up

You’ve arrived at the end of the reviews. Tactical pocket knives are an essential component of individual security and tactical gear. Alongside pens and flashlights, finding the ideal tactical knife should significantly help you most survival situations. This is why we have taken time and outlined the best models in the market.

However, before settling on one of the knives, make sure that you go through the buyer’s guide we outlined above. This will equip you with vital information required to make the right choice. So what do you think of our selection of the top-rated tactical pocket knives? Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments!

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.