The tactical knives are divided into two major shapes, the folding and fixed blade knives. While they each offer different benefits, fixed blade knives are growing in popularity and for good reason too. Tactical fixed blade knives come in different designs, length, handle or blade materials, blade edges with the aim of meeting the different needs and preferences of different individuals.
To help you meet your objectives, below is a list of the best tactical fixed blade knives the market has to offer. They vary in brand and model to help meet your requirement. Each product points out its key features and the benefits they offer to ease your decision-making process. But before you scroll down, you should know the distinguishes between the tactical fixed blade and regular fixed blade knife.
BLade material & Edge
handle material & Tang
Sheath & Warranty
Rubber & TPE Overmold
440 Stainless Steel
Glass Reinforced Nylone & Steel
Hard Molded Nylon
What Are The Differences Between a Tactical Fixed Blade Knife and a Regular Fixed Blade Knife?
Most of the common people think that there are no differences between a tactical fixed blade knife and a regular fixed blade knife. But there are several verities between a Tactical and a Regular knife. In fact, as long as you can understand or identify those differences, it is almost impossible for you to find a best tactical fixed blade knife. Let me show you some major differences-
Purpose: A tactical knife is any knife that has been made to meet military specification like fighting or self-defense, utility tool or emergency salvation tool. A regularly fixed blade knife is usually used by sportsman, household utility work, hunting, fishing and indoor purpose.
Blade Material: Typically, regular fixed blade knives are softer or made from softer or normal steel. Blades of tactical knives are made of harder, stain or rust resistant high-quality steel that keeps the edges as to stay sharper longer.
Handle: The handle of the tactical knives also has a comfortable textured rubber coating or different type’s non-slip grip pattern with ergonomic finger grooves for super strength holding. Where-as regular knives have more ornate and integrate designed handles.
Sheath: Even the sheaths the knives are stored intend to be different. Regular knives have a sheath that is made with finer, more decorative materials and need to be maintained more carefully than the counterparts. Tactical sheaths are more weather resistant, less decorated and tend to be able to take more abuse from the wearer. Also, some tactical sheaths are MOLLE well-matched, integrated with fire starter, sharpener etc.
Cutting Edge: One of the last differences is the blade type. A regular knife tends to have a straight or plain edge and a tactical is usually partially serrated in some degree. Sometimes it has a gut hook edge or tip. It has a tough and sharp thick point to penetrate the hard object. The differences can be easy to spot once you know what look for.
How to choose A Best Tactical Fixed Blade Knife
Choosing a tactical fixed blade knife can be confusing if you don’t know what you are looking for or have an idea as to what the main use will be. There are many different styles, and aspects to take into consideration before making a decision. Many different companies those can supply you with so many options that a person can get lost and discouraged. Below will outline what to look for in order to choose the best tactical fixed blade knife to fit your life.
What is the Purpose of Your Tactical Fixed Blade Knife?
Before you pick a Tactical knife to help you, you have to know what its purpose will be for. Will it have a dual or triple purpose? A specific purpose or undecided?
• What will you use it for?
Is it for a job or for an activity specifically? There are many different types of fixed blade knives, made with a variety of materials, with many different blade designs and handles. Each knife has a certain purpose in mind.
• Will it be used for slicing or cutting?
This is very important. If you are going to be cutting then you will be using a straight blade, very sharp and compact so that it doesn’t hinder motion. This allows the knife to cut through meat more easily. If you are slicing, as in a possible fight, self-defense or protection, you will want a serrated blade.
• How will you use your knife?
Protection, outdoor utility work, part of your job or just to carry? This is a question that is important to ask yourself so that you can get the right one the first time. A Protection knife will be straight, large to medium in length and not easier to conceal. An outdoor utility knife will have multiple uses and will be medium in size and easier to conceal.
• Which style do you need?
Depends on what you will be using it for. Fishing? You will need a fillet knife. Hunting? You will benefit from a skinning and boning knife. Camping, hiking, survival, fighting? You will benefit from a tactical knife so that you can cut flexible or thick materials and use for a multitude of uses. Love the beauty of knives? There are a variety of collector knives to suit your preference.
How Frequently Will You Be Going to Use Your Fixed Blade Knife?
This is nearly as important as what the knife will be used for. Some materials can chip and even though they may hold an edge longer, the situation and frequency the knife will be put in; it may make more sense to sharpen the blade more often. If you need a knife for frequently uses then select a lightweight and durable stainless steel blade. Scroll down; I have suggested some blade materials which will help you for daily use better than others.
Consider the Overall Length of a Best Tactical Fixed Blade Knife
The size of your knife is important when you start considering how often it will be on your person. The length of the best tactical fixed blade knife depends on the purpose in which you are going to use it.
For fighting would require a longer length knife 10 to 12 inches. But remember, it’s easy to spot and can’t be concealed as well as lots of states have legality issue (Scroll down to Read More about Knife Legality). If you are just going to keep it in your car or truck, then that size won’t be a problem. Diving would require a longer thinner blade too.
Utility, outdoor and survival would require a medium length knife 8 to 10 inches. If you are carrying it for self-defense on public transportation or to your job, you should choose a small or medium size under 5 to 9 inches.
Specific use requires a specific size. That being said an all-around good Tactical fixed blade knife length is about 9 to 11 inches long.
All About the Blade
The most important part of a knife is the blade. Different type of knives has different types of blades. Each blade is made for a specific purpose. Performance of a blade depends on its length range, design, shape, tip, cutting edge, spine, thickness and core material. Some unique design blades can do multiple and difficult tasks. I have described all the aspects you have to check before selecting a best tactical fixed blade knife.
Selecting blade length is a little bit tricky task for a newbie. In every case, the blade range depends on what type work you would like to do. Different types of works require different types of blade lengths. I am going to deviate it in 3 parts.
• Small Size Blades: A small size blade means between 2.5 to 3.5 inches. You can use it for regular utility work or as a tool, everyday carry through the public and easily can be concealed. But small blades are not an ideal kit for the outdoor trip or cutting thick object or heavy task.
• Medium Size Blades: Between 4 to 7 inches blades are standard medium size blade. With the range of this length, you can use it for survival, hunting or skinning, camping, self-defense, cutting, chopping and other outdoor as well as indoor utility activities. I always use to recommend this range of the blade.
• Large Size Blades: Blade lengths between 8 to 10 inches are large size. Large size blades are suitable for cutting or chopping woods and splitting with a baton. But those knives are difficult to carry, use and not easy to control. Also, not ideal for everyday use but if you need a heavy-duty knife for cutting thick or bigger object than large size blade is better than medium or small.
Consider the Knife Design
The design is also a major factor in choosing the right knife. If you choose the wrong design for its purpose then it will not work as well as a knife made for a specific purpose. Several designs to choose from include; fixed, curved, serrated, straight, boot and neck knives.
Blade design is also important because you have to decide what kind of tang you want in your knife. Once that is established your decision-making process just became that much easier.
Selecting the Blade Shape and Tip of you Best Fixed Blade Knife
There are many different tips to consider in a tactical knife and selecting the correct one can make you feel as if the knife was specifically made for you. Each tip has pro and cons and a specific use that it will excel at. The different tips and shapes are as follows;
• Clip Point: One of the three most common blade shapes. What gives them the name is the forward third of the blade looks to be “clipped” off. The shape of the clip can be straight as a board or concave. The clip itself can be straight or concave.
• Drop Point: Two of the three most common blade shapes. This is also considered the most popular for knives today, most recognizable in the hunting knife. The blade slopes on the top or spine of the blade from the handle to the tip allowing easier penetration when skinning or boning on a hunting trip.
• Gut Hook: The gut hook blade is a specially designed blade that has a hook or semi-circle on the top of the blade and the tip. It was developed to give a knife the ability to more easily skin game in the field. It is a feature that has been added to a blade, in order to better serve the user in a dual situation.
• Tanto: It is a Japanese word for the short blade. It is designed after samurai swords and used for self-defense. The tip is designed for piercing hard materials and is very sturdy. A Tanto knife has a high point with a flat grind that leads to an extremely strong point.
• Chisel Tip: A utility point with many advantages to the working man. This shape allows the user versatility. The tip resembles a chisel but is very sharp and can be paired with a gut hook, making it a perfect companion to the outdoor man.
• Needle-point: Stiletto, as it is sometimes known, is a dagger or knife that has a long slender blade and a needle-like point. It is intended as a stabbing weapon. Originated in Italy.
Selecting the Blade Edge
There are three different blade edges that can be considered when looking for the best tactical fixed blade knife. As with the other aspects to consider, the use of the knife will be a determining factor in which edge to choose. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages. They are as follows;
• Plain Edge: Just as the name implies, it is a plain edge. There is no serration, grooves or disruptions of any kind. This kind of edge is most commonly used in self-defense knives. It cuts more cleanly and leaves almost no fraying on rope, fabric, or skin. Easy to sharp and useful.
• Serrated or Saw-toothed Edge: This kind of edge has “teeth” on the sharp end of the blade that creates extra tension on the blade. This kind of edge is used to cut flexible or rubber fabric, rope, and skin, copper or steel cable, hard plastic objects, limb or branches or hardwood of the tree. Not easy to sharp, it requires special skill and sharpener.
• Combination or Partially Serrated Edge: A combination edge has a combination of both a plain and serrated edge. It’s the number one chose for those looking for versatility in both self-defense and utility and outdoor use. I use to recommend combination edge knife for best fixed blade knife.
This spine allows you versatility and multiple uses for your knife. The spine of a knife is the non-sharp back edge of your blade much like our spine gives us stability. Having a flat-ground spine or 90-degree spine allows easier use when batoning and it can also be used to start a fire if you have a Ferro-rod. For a survival and outdoor situation, the flat-ground spin will serve you well since it will become a utility and defense knife.
Selecting the Blade Core Material
Keep in mind when choosing which material to look for that softer materials will dull fairly quickly but are easily re-sharpened. Hard materials can be ground down to extremely sharp edges but may be susceptible to chipping and breaking if used inappropriately. If you don’t have a good knowledge about the tactical blade steel then let me introduce you to some useful and most popular blade core materials.
• 420HC Steel: The 420HC is very common in the commercial knife making market. It can be sharpened to a very fine edge and to a mirror finish. The core materials used it has a fair amount of toughness and good corrosion resistance. The 420HC Steel also can be easily re-sharpened when maintenance is necessary.
• High-Carbon Steel: High carbon steel is harder and stronger but when used in a blade it loses its ability to be manipulated. It has successfully gone through heat treatment which has made it unbelievably strong however it can crack, chip or break if molded too much.
• S30V Steel: Best blade steel available today. This steel has considerably higher amounts of carbon and Vanadium which allows for the material to have superior edge holding abilities and also abrasion resistance. Contains improved flexibility so that it can be molded and formed into whatever the manufacturer can come up with. Good corrosion resistance and superior edge holding.
• AUS-8 (8A) Steel: AUS-8 (8A) is almost the same component comparable carbon amount close to 0.75%. Sometimes this steel is conducted instead of 440C. You will find AUS-8 (8A) steel made a knife from SOG Knives. This AUS-8 (8A) steel has great edge sharpenable.
• 154CM Steel: Found in many cutleries. This steel is used for bladed that require a heavier cutting load. It is very good at holding an edge. Good toughness when double tempered. Fair corrosion resistance and relatively inexpensive compared to S30V.
• Cryogenic Heat Treatment Steel: This is a heat treatment used by the knife maker SOG. The treatment very slowly decreases the initial blade temperature to -300 F only to then bring it back up to room temperature again. This process is said to increase the blade in toughness and heightened wear-resistance overall. In essence, that means the knife’s edge will stay sharper longer. Decreasing the instances of micro-fracturing and edge-chipping.
• 13C26 SANDVIK Steel: The steel specifically designed for razor blade applications. It is known for hardness, sharpness and edge stability. 13C26 SANDVIK is Moderate corrosion resistance, very strong and hard. It is used in surgical blades, whittling and razor applications.
Do not forget about the blade thickness. You may be thinking the thickness is not a big deal but when you are in a wild area it really does matter. Believe me this aspect as important as the blade. In this case, if you make a mistake, your blade could be broke in multiple pieces or you can’t cut the object according to your expectations. However, it’s an easy trick just follow my instruction.
Chopping or cutting a hard element, anything like wood, you must need (5/32” / 0.156″ / 3.96mm) to (¼” / 0.25″ / 6.35mm) thick blade.
Blade thickness 3/16” / 0.187″ / 4.74mm is ideal for daily utility task like cutting a rope, fabrics or flexible element, plastic cable, tree limb of the garden, wood splitting etc.
For any heavy work, try to get a ¼ inches thick blade and the standard measurement is 0.17 inches and 0.25 inches.
The portion of the blade that extends into the handle is known as a knife’s tang. It is one of the most important aspects of a fixed blade knife. It produces balance, durability, and weight in the knife. There are several types to choose from and consider.
• Full Tang: This is when the tang extends the full length and width of the knife, the full length of the handle. A full tang fixed blade provides strongest construction, leverage, and balance. It is the go to tang for survival situations or anyone who may be in a situation that requires life-saving tactics. It does, however, weigh more than other tangs.
• Partial Tang: This is the other major category of tang used. It refers to the tang that does not cover the length of the handle. Lighter handle design makes this easier to carry and with improved manufacturing, it can be just as strong and durable as the full tang. But under extreme conditions, the chances of a breakage are greater.
• Encapsulated Tang: The handle is fitted to the tang rather than pushed in. Providing a stronger knife and more precise control it rivals the full tang for durability. The only con is that only certain handle materials can be used in order to encapsulate the tang.
• Skeletonized Tang: Portions of the inside of the tang are missing. Removes weight without compromising its framework. Often seen with cord wrapped handles or no handle at all. Reduced weight and retained structure make a lightweight, durable knife. The removal of material from the tang will give weak spots so performance and strength can be seen.
• Tapered Tang: The name says it all. This tang becomes increasingly narrow as it enters the handle. The tapered tang is lightweight without sacrificing strength. In extreme condition or under duress, the reliability of the tang can be compromised slightly.
• Extended Tang: A tang that extends past the handle. Most tangs stop before or near the end. The extended tang gives the knife an added ability of handle protection and can be used as a hammer. Adds weight and limits the amount of handle materials that can be used.
All About the Handle
The handle of your knife is just as important as the blade material used because it will be the only thing between your hand and the blade of the knife. There are three things to consider looking at and including in your handle.
• Handle Material: Good component solid handle provides great durability and strength when using it on a heavy-duty work. Some best quality handle materials are G-10, Glass, Zytel, Reinforced Nylon, High-Quality Rubber and Micarta.
• Handle Design and Structure: Handle designs vary depending on the ability and use of the knife. Once you have used and handled knives for any amount of time you will discover that you will develop a favorite. Ergonomics opinions are different for everyone as everyone has a different size hand. To start, a knife handle should be close to your own hand measurements.
Designs vary from finger holds, Skelton handles to straight pieces with a divot at the top to rest your thumb. Materials will vary depending on the tang used, as some tangs can only be used with certain materials.
• Make Sure Your Knife Contains a Solid Handle: Solid handles are less likely to break or be damaged while doing work. Remember too, your knife should be comfortable to hold. If it is uncomfortable, then you may not be able to complete the designated task the knife was chosen for.
• Handle Grip: Make sure the handle is coated with rubber grip or texture grip pattern that provides essential grip while your hands are wet or muddy. The way a person holds a knife. First off you need to enclose the handle with your dominant hand in a forward position.
The grip should be light but firm as to not drop the knife or leave it floppy. Depending on the knife chosen, you may have to apply pressure with your thumb, pointer finger or wrist. You want to be comfortable using the knife in whatever situation you are found in.
• Slight Bulge at the Tip for Balance: Balance will help your knife from falling out of your hand during use and non-use. Also, any handle should not have sharp corners or pinch points that create an uncomfortable feeling.
All about the Knife Sheath
A carrier or sheath is another vital accessory of the knife. Most of the knife manufacturers provide a very simple type of sheath. This type of sheath can carry the knife only. But very few companies (Gerber, SOG, Morakniv, Ka-Bar) provide the survival or tactical sheath that can carry not only the knife but also fire starter, shaper, built-in cord cutter, survival guide, lanyard with emergency whistle etc. Also, check some other features like MOLLE well-matched, belt loop, extra pocket, Velcro shutter, left or right side adjustment, weight, color, durability on harsh environment etc.
Most importantly you have to check that which material has used to make the sheath. Let me inform you about the 3 best sheath components.
• Kydex: It is one kind of plastic element which is molded due to adjusting the body of the knife. The Kydex element or sheath is nearly indestructible as well as lightweight and capable to sustain difficult circumstances. The Kydex sheath usually comes with straps to fasten them as a user sees fit.
• Nylon: The Nylon is one kind of woven component which is inexpensive, very lightweight and durable on the harsh environment. This type of military grade sheath comes with MOLLE well-matched, Velcro shutter and extra snap-secured straps or belt loop to attach it to your bag or waist belt.
• Leather: It is the classic component of the sheath material. A leather sheath is not very lightweight, sustainable and durable in harsh weather like in a rain forest, in the water etc. But still, leather is one of the most popular and great looking sheath components.
Is the Manufacturer Providing Any Type Of Warranty?
Warranty is one of the most important aspects while choosing a best tactical fixed blade knife. A warranty service not only ensures your product security, also provides mentally satisfaction. A reputed knife manufacturer always provides a conditional lifetime warranty. Most of the time, this type of conditional warranty protects against defects in workmanship and materials. If you are going to buy $50+ knife and the knife does not have any kind of warranty then leave it, find another one that has a lifetime warranty.
Choose a Best Fixed Blade Knife for the Money
There are many people think that a good budget ensures a quality product but it is not always true especially when you selecting a best fixed blade knife from thousands of them. A good budget does not ensure you will get a high-quality knife, only your experience, and basic knowledge can help you to get the best one. Let me show you some recommended knives from lower to the higher budget.
Best Fixed Blade Knife under $10
A lower budget that does not mean you will get a low-quality knife. But if your budget is under $10 then it is really hard to find a good one. I will suggest you, if it is possible, increase your budget and move under 30 dollars knife. If not then still I can show you top 4 best fixed blade knife under $10.
Best Fixed Blade Knife under $30
This is the most popular budget range for the beginner knife hunter. You will find lots of quality fixed blade under 30 but most of the time, these economical range knives do not have a better quality blade. Also, in this price range, a huge amount of knives come from China. If your budget range is $30 then follow my top 4 best fixed blade knife under $30.
Best Fixed Blade Knife under $50
The knives under this budget have good quality stainless steel blade, improve tactical design like serrated or partially serrated, strong tip point and the solid material handle will be available. My recommended top 4 best fixed blade knife under $50.
Best Fixed Blade Knife under $100
For most tactical fixed blade knives this is the ideal price range I use to recommend to the others. Highest quality blade and handle core material, ergonomic handle and blade design for multiple purposes, tactical sheath and this type of knife capable to sustain almost any type of difficult circumstances. After purchasing a cheap knife at the first time, most of the users will move to this $100 range. My top best fixed blade knife under $100.
Best Fixed Blade Knife under $200
When your budget is under $200, then you can buy something exceptional. Those who need a special knife for gift, collection or want to use that for the extremely hard work on a regular basis then you have to keep this price range. Let me help you to find the top 4 best fixed blade knife under $200.
The legality of having a Tactical knife depends on where you are in the world. The United States for instance has federal laws about the types of knives that can be carried, size of the blades and whether that knife can be concealed or open carried. All of that can be reaffirmed or ignored depending on which state you reside in or travel to. Other countries have their own laws regarding knives in size and carry. Check these articles on Wiki, I wish you will get all of your answers about Knife Legality.
Some Trusted Best Tactical Fixed Blade Knife Brands
If you choose a reputed knife manufacturing brand rather than a new or non-popular company, the possibility of picking the wrong knife would be very low. There are hundreds of tactical knife manufacturers in the market but I have found these are the trusted best tactical fixed blade knife brands in the world – Gerber, Ka-Bar, Morakniv, SOG, MTECH USA, Smith & Wesson, Buck, Columbia River and Cold Steel.
Best Gerber Tactical Fixed Blade Knife:
Best Ka-Bar Tactical Fixed Blade Knife:
Best Morakniv Tactical Fixed Blade Knife:
Best SOG Tactical Fixed Blade Knife:
Best MTECH USA Tactical Fixed Blade Knife:
Best Smith & Wesson Tactical Fixed Blade Knife:
Best Buck Tactical Fixed Blade Knife:
Best Columbia River Tactical Fixed Blade Knife:
Best Cold Steel Tactical Fixed Blade Knife:
Some Extra Features You Can Consider
Blade Edge Angle
Color or Finish
Sharpening Stone with the Sheath
Emergency Whistle on lanyard
The Best fixed blade Knife is not something that can be chosen generically. The best tactical fixed blade knife is any that fits your situation, purpose, and style and meets military specs. If you take into consideration the points from above then you are bound to make an excellent and informed choice. It may seem overwhelming to read all the things to consider before making a decision but a knife can be a man’s best piece of equipment in a critical situation.