If there’s one item a hunter, hiker, camper, or general outdoor enthusiast should always have with them on an outdoor adventure it’s a tactical knife.
It should be right there at the top of the list you make before every trip. You do make one of those right? If you don’t you should. Any time you’re taking an overnight trip into the great outdoors you should make sure you’re prepared and a knife is one of those must have tools.
The reason tactical knives are such a popular item is because good ones are actually versatile tools that can serve a lot of different purposes when needed.
They’re great cutting tools of course, but they can also be used for a wide range of functions including as a screwdriver in a pinch. People tend to come up with a lot of creative ways to use their knives and that’s because they are so versatile in nature.
So what’s the difference between a tactical knife and an everyday pocket knife? They’re typically more durable, they’re sharper, and they’re meant to survive the elements. There are both fixed blade and folding blade tactical knives and both have their merits.
The folding blade types tend to be a little more popular as every day carry items, but a lot of outdoors enthusiasts love their fixed blade knives as well. It’s really a matter of individual choice. Some carry both types of blades with them on long trips.
First we’ll review our top five choices for best tactical knives and explain why each one makes the list. There are many different products to choose from in this category and all that choice can be a little overwhelming.
After that we’re going to take a closer look at the features that help to define tactical knives and that should provide a clear picture of what you should be looking for when you’re shopping for one.
- 1 Tactical Knife Reviews
- 2 Key Features in Tactical Knives
- 3 Final Thoughts
Tactical Knife Reviews
BlizeTec Best 5-in-1 Tactical Survival Knife
The BlizeTec Survival knife is a versatile tool that will prove more than adequate for most situations. This is actually a cross between a standalone tactical knife and a multi-tool. It’s made from durable 420 stainless steel that’s made to last.
As well as being an effective tactical knife it also has several other features including a serrated saw blade, a small built-in LED flashlight, a fire starter, a seat belt cutter, and a glass breaker.
When folded it measures about 5 inches in length. The handle has a contoured grip that makes it comfortable in the hand and it has grooves and ridges for better purchase.
For a folding knife it has a decent length blade at 3.5 inches that’s razor sharp and the overall length of the knife is 8.5 inches.
It’s important to protect your blade when not in use so that it will last for a long time and the BlizeTec Survival knife also includes a nylon pouch to store it in when not in use.
This model comes with a lifetime warranty and a money back guarantee. It’s a great tactical knife for all situations.
BlizeTec Best 5-in-1 Summary:
- Durable 420 stainless steel
- Built-in LED flashlight
- Fire starter
- Lifetime warranty
Smith & Wesson Border Guard SWBG2TS Tactical Knife
Smith & Wesson is a famous name that’s more commonly associated with guns, but they also make one of the best tactical knives available on the market.
The Border Guard SWBG2TS was designed as a tactical tool to be used by professionals and amateurs alike.
It’s made from black 7CR17 carbon steel which is capable of handling the most difficult jobs without any trouble at all. Surprisingly, it’s also one of the most affordable options in our reviews as well.
This knife is longer than average at 10 inches, with a blade length of 4.4 inches that provides plenty of cutting capability. It still only weighs about 0.56 pounds so it provides a comfortable amount of weight to work with.
The handle has an ergonomic grip with finger grooves to make it easier to use and there is a distinct front quillon designed to prevent your hand from slipping onto the blade and causing injury.
As a great tactical knife this Smith & Wesson blade also has some extra features that add to its overall appeal.
It’s equipped with a glass breaking tip for accessing vehicles in emergencies and it has a convenient strap cutter located on the butt of the blade.
There’s also a clip for attaching it to your belt and a lanyard to tie it off with if you prefer. It’s a versatile tool that’s one of the best tactical pocket knives available.
Smith & Wesson Border Guard SWBG2TS Summary:
- Carbon steel construction
- Lightweight at 0.56 pounds
- Ergonomic grip
- Glass breaking tip
TAC Force TF-705 Tactical Folding Knife
One of the most unique looking tactical knives in our reviews is the TAC Force TF-705 and it’s also one of the most capable tactical tools as well.
It has a spring assisted folding mechanism that allows the user to quickly open and use the knife with one hand. This allows you to keep your other hand available for other activities which is often necessary in outdoor settings or emergency situations.
This knife has an aluminum handle and a durable stainless steel blade that performs well as a tactical tool or weapon.
There are some useful extra features on this tactical knife that make it a passable tool in most situations. It includes a bottle opener and a glass breaker that can be used in case of emergencies.
The glass breaker may not be something you need often, but when you do have an emergency that requires its use you’ll be thankful it’s around.
The TF-705 has a 3 ¼ inch blade that’s 3mm thick. It also has a pocket clip so that you can keep it close at hand to use when needed. This is an ideal tactical pocket knife to have with you on your next trip.
TAC Force TF-705 Summary:
- Aluminium handle
- Durable stainless steel blade
- Built-in glass breaker
- 3mm thick blade
Kershaw Ken Onion Blur Tactical Knife
The Kershaw Ken Onion Blur Tactical Knife is one of the best tactical knives around.
It includes the patented Kershaw Speed Safe assisted opening mechanism that makes it a highly effective tactical knife and it locks securely in place while you use it. The blade is made from stainless steel and the handle from high quality aluminum.
The blade is also razor sharp and the whole piece weighs little more than 4 ounces which makes it easy to wield at a moment’s notice when you need an effective weapon.
On the back of the blades handle there’s a compact clip mechanism that allows you to attach it onto your belt within easy reach. Its closed length is 4.5 five inches so you can easily slide it into your pocket if you prefer.
The grip has a soft ridged texture that allows you to grip it and hold onto it securely. It fits nicely into the palm of your hand and it’s contoured to provide a firm hold. This is a nice looking knife that performs as expected.
The Kershaw company is known for manufacturing great knives and they haven’t disappointed with this one either.
Kershaw Ken Onion Blur Summary:
- Patented Kershaw Speed Safe
- Stainless steel blade
- Aluminium handle
- Compact clip mechanism
Mtech Xtreme Ballistic Tactical Flipper Pocket Knife
If you’re on a tight budget, but you’re still looking for a reliable tactical knife the Mtech Xtreme is a very capable blade.
It’s got a sharp edge that will execute most cutting duties with extreme precision and it’s nice and compact.
This is a full tang knife made from 440 steel. It’s got many of the features you’ll find on much more expensive knives.
It has a sharp point and a serrated edge on the one side of the blade which makes this a highly versatile tool. It measures 11 inches in length when fully extended and it has an impressive 6 inch blade.
The Mtech also folds up to about half its maximum length when not in use for easy storage in your pocket, but it does have a lanyard if you prefer to wear it on your belt.
They’ve also provided a nylon sheath to be used to protect the knife when it’s not being used and the sheath has a pocket for storing small cleaning items. This is a surprisingly good quality tactical knife that won’t break the bank.
Mtech Xtreme Summary:
- Made from 440 steel
- Sharp point and serrated edge
- 6 inch blade
- Fold-up design
Key Features in Tactical Knives
If you have your heart set on a folding tactical knife you’ll want to make sure you choose on that has a spring loaded mechanism to open the blade.
When you’re using a tactical blade time is often something you don’t have a lot of and so you need a blade that can be deployed quickly.
A spring loaded knife solves this problem and allows you to have your knife at the ready when needed. If you’re sure you want a folding knife you should make finding one with a spring loaded design a top priority.
Reliable Locking Mechanism
A good tactical knife should be razor sharp if it’s going to be an effective tool to use in both hunting and survival situations. All of the products we review here satisfy that criteria, but that’s not the only thing you should consider.
In the case of a folding knife it’s essential that the model you choose also has a reliable locking mechanism.
The last thing you need when using a knife in an emergency situation is to injure yourself because the blade won’t lock into place properly. If the blade’s as sharp as it should be a blade that doesn’t lock can result in serious injury.
You should also opt for a knife with a rugged design. If you’re serious about your love of the outdoors lifestyle you have to have reliable tools that are going to work when you need them.
The best tactical knives are made from strong durable steel materials that can handle everything you’re going to throw at them and the handles are normally made from the highest grade materials that are just about as strong.
Size and Weight
When it comes to the right size and weight for your blade there isn’t really one right answer. What suits my individual needs may be very different from what you’re looking for.
A good choice should weight no more than a few ounces and the blade will probably range between 3 and 6 inches. If you can, it’s always a good idea to try the weight of a knife you’re considering in your own hand to get a feel for it. Or at least something that’s comparable. This will be one of your most important survival tools so it’s important to find one that fits your personality and one that feels right.
A tactical knife should always have a sharp blade if it’s going to be an effective tool and weapon. A dull blade isn’t much better than no blade at all.
When you make a purchase this should be in the forefront of your mind and you should be prepared to perform proper maintenance on your blade to make sure it stays that way.
Effective Hand Guard
When you’re using a sharp tool such as a tactical knife the potential for injury is ever present. You should always be conscious of that fact whenever you use your knife, and you should consider safety when making your purchase.
A good choice will have an effective hand guard, or quillon as part of the design to prevent accidental contact between your blade and your hand.
The Handle and Grip
The handle on your tactical knife is just as important as the blade itself. You want one that fits comfortably in your hand and the best ones are ergonomically designed to fit the contours of your hand.
The grip should also feature some sort of ridged or textured design to prevent slippage when you’re using it. If the knife is going to feel like a natural fit in your hand it shouldn’t cause any kind of discomfort.
A tactical knife is one of the most important tools for any one spending time outdoors. Most of them include extra features that make them versatile tools that can be used for many different functions as well.
You can use them as camping tools, but you can also use them for a weapon in an emergency. The key is to make sure you choose one made from high quality steel and one that feels comfortable in your hand.
All of the knives we’ve reviewed here are great choices.