Finding the best tactical knife in today’s market can be a little bit overwhelming. With some many options and models to choose from, you can easily spend days, if not weeks, going through hundreds of hundreds of knives trying to pick a good choice. This is why I came up with the Best Tactical and Combat Knife comparison chart. This dynamic table will help you in your quest of finding the right tactical knife for your needs and budget. You can sort each column by clicking on the header of the column or just click on the image to read more about the product. You can also keep reading more about my personal top selection for this year as well as my personal reviews, tips for choosing your knife, and why tactical knives are so popular.
Best Tactical and Combat Knives 2016 Chart
What is the best tactical knife?
Tactical is a word that gets thrown around a lot these days. The word tactical itself means ‘of tactics’. Tactical is attached to everything these days, tactical rifles, tactical clothing, and even tactical pens. When the word tactical is applied it’s assumed the item has multiple uses and is designed for dynamic environments.
Tactical knives follow the same line of thought. A tactical knife is designed for a variety of environments and is meant to be used heavily. Tactical doesn’t apply strictly to combat. In fact combat is far from the main use of a tactical knife. These knives should be able to be used as tools and weapons. They should be strong, dependable and robust. Tactical knives aren’t designed for everyday pocket carry, but for the vest of a soldier, the belt of a police officer or in the hands of a first responder. Tactical knives are large and heavy and this doesn’t make pocket carry comfortable.
A good tactical knife should be flat in color and lack any kind of stainless steel or shiny and reflective metal. Tactical knives can feature safety orange or red to make finding it in low light easy. A couple features to look for is a strong locking mechanism. Without a good lock the risk of injury and objective failure is substantial. The blade should be large and strong, and the handle should fill your hand completely for a solid grip. Solid construction is the number one thing to look for. The knife should provide a good heft and a solid quality feel.
Best Tactical Knife Reviews
Cold Steel Spartan Grivory Handle
Among knife guys and gals Cold Steel is a household name, and is well respected. Those who carry a knife daily and serve as police officers or soldiers either have a Cold Steel knife or want one. The Cold Steel Spartan employs the name of the legendary Spartan warriors, but does it live up to the name?
I could say duh it’s a Cold Steel blade, but that wouldn’t be extremely informative. The Cold Steel Spartan features a very interesting grip. The grip actually molds around your hand. This is probably the surest grip you can get on a blade.
The blade is quite unique and you can see some true inspiration from the ancient Spartan short sword. This blade is quite round and makes slashing very effective. The round profile of the blade keeps it from sticking during slashing motions. The blade worked brilliantly when one applied a slow and precise cut, the AUS 8 steel holds a nice edge and cuts clean through denim.
Testing the Spartan fell into my state’s hunting season. This gave me the chance to test the knife as weapon against actual flesh. The weapon made cleaning a hog a dream, slicing through flesh like it was water. I tried a few quick slashes and the weapon absolutely sheered through flesh. It’s easy to understand why the legendary Spartans used this blade design.
The blade is over four inches and is quiet intimidating. The bulk and heft give some real weight when slashing and the handle design make small and precise cuts easy. The Cold Steel Spartan is another excellent knife in the Cold Steel Lineup.
I cant deny that my favorite tactical knife is the Cold Steel Spartan. If it was a little bit smaller, I would have tagged as the best edc knife. I want to share this video so you can see the quality of this knife.
Smith and Wesson Border Guard 2 Rescue Knife
Smith and Wesson is a house hold name of one of the most popular firearms manufacturer in the world. There are renowned for their quality revolvers and their automatic pistols. Smith and Wesson have taken the same quality they put into their revolvers and began building a lone of knives.
The Border Guard 2 is about as tactical as a knife can get. In addition to the blade the knife is equipped with a brutal looking glass breaker and a strong seat belt cutter. The grip is coated with an aggressive texturing. This texturing guarantees a strong and firm grip with wet or gloved hands. The blade is a hefty 4.4 inches which makes it quite the robust folding knife.
Since I wouldn’t do this if I couldn’t have fun I had to test the glass breaker out. As a safety precaution I wore thick leather gloves made for handling barb wire and a long sleeve jacket. My glass was and old glass top end table. It was over in one good hit. The table top exploded into shards and the glass beaker attached to the
bottom of the handle wasn’t even phased.
I used ratchet straps for the strap cutter for two reasons. First off they are much thicker and stronger than a seat belt, and second off finding someone willing to let me cut their seat belt. The strap cutter may not have cut through like butter, but with some elbow grease it went right through.
The blade is 40 percent serrated and features two reliefs. The tanto edge is very sharp, and quite thick. The Border Guard is designed to be a rescue knife so I wanted to simulate its uses as a rescue knife. The knife’s weight and grip size make it easy to stab with. The sharp blade sliced through fabrics with ease. I learned this by stabbing an old chair to the hilt and ripping it across the length of the seat.
The precise tanto makes small cuts easy, the kind of cuts one would use on ACE wrap or other bandages. Of course the knife is capable of slicing through clothes. The thickest and toughest clothes I used were old Marine Corps Marpat uniforms. The blade slashed right through them. This is extremely valuable for soldiers and especially medics. The strap cutter also cut nicely through the material.
The Border Guard 2 rescue knife is one hell of a tactical knife that is well rounded and robust. This knife fits well in a variety of situations, but perfects the rescue niche for a tactical knife.
Gerber Bear Grylls Folding Sheath Knife
Gerber is a knife company that needs no introduction and Bear Grylls has become a household name in survival, especially in best multitools and survival equipment. When they combined and began producing a line of knives and tools that have earned quite the reputation.
The first thing that struck me was the grip. The knife features an excellent grip and is extremely comfortable. The rubber grip features an aggressive checkering and feels like a fixed blade grip. The grip is extremely tacky and sticks to the hand well. Slippage isn’t an issue with wet hands and more importantly sweaty hands.
The blade is quite the traditional knife blade it doesn’t break the mold, but works well. Half of the blade is serrated and the drop point makes sharpening easy and retains a better edge. I wanted to change it up and stop cutting straps and clothing so I focused on ropes.
The heavy serrations make the weapon capable of cutting through the different sizes of ropes. The thickest was a two inch rope that was easy to chew through. The traditional blade is easier to use and doesn’t need any kind of fancy grip or style to use. The blade is very durable as its finish. The knife found its way to my tackle box and has yet to gather any kind of rust. Keep in mind my fishing is in the Gulf of Mexico.
Tips before buying
What is legal in your state/country might not be in other part of the world. Recently, one of our reader asked us some questions about knife legislation according to the countries and how should we be aware of them in order to follow the law, in case we travel with our knives or send one as a gift for a friend. He shared with us this link that can help you to keep updated with any knife related laws for several countries. Take a look before you make your purchase!
Probably the most important feature of your tactical knife is the blade material. By just knowing your knife’s blade material you will have a better understanding on the quality of your knife and how you will be using it in the future. In the past many manufacturers only produced full tang blade designs. A full tang design blade is a one piece blade. The steel of the blade starts from the tip and end on the button of the handle. This design definitely provides a superior performance because of its stronger unibody shape, but it is a little bit troublesome to carry around. New technology have produced folding tactical knives which are as strong as a full tang design, but you end up having the comfort of a folding knife. So don’t worry to much in this part.
Size and Weight:
As you have seen from our chart, popular tactical knives come in different sizes and weights. On my personal experience, I think that blades around 4.5 – 6.0 inches are perfect. With this blade length you can feel confident that you are holding a robust knife. For me, the weight of the knife should be no more than 15 ounces. You will find that actually the weight depends a lot on the blade. Small tactical knives will be really light in weight because of its blade length, but larger designs will open you more working options with a trade off on the weight. So we can say that the knife’s weight is directly proportional to the length of the blade.
Most people prefer folding knives that can fit easily in their pocket or a small pouch. There are a variety of knives that you can explore in terms of size. The size of the knife will depend upon the type of blade you are looking for. A large knife is not always preferable, despite what you may have seen in the movies. Smaller blades live up to the usual tasks that are required of knives, like whittling or skinning or even self-defense. It should also be noted that the effectiveness of a folding knife hinges on its locking mechanism. A fixed blade knife will be larger than a folding knife, but it is very possible that it will last longer. Depending on your intended use for the knife, you will have to decide the size of the best tactical knife that fits your purposes.
Overall, these are some of the best tactical knives in the market for this year. I really like the uniqueness of each knife. Each one is robust and strong. Each one is a premium knife designed for multiple jobs and tasks. The locking systems are tough and keep you safe. Each has its place and use, and fit well in a variety of different roles. Now is your time to select yours.
If you have any more questions or still can’t decide which knife you should pick, then leave your comment below and I will help you select one.