Last Updated: April 23, 2018
A tactical pocket knife is not an ordinary folding knife or a pocket knife. A best tactical folder has some unique features. This kind of knife was popular with sportsmen and then became popular with military personnel because it could do a variety of tasks. These knives first became popular in the United States in the early 1990’s. The blades were from three to twelve inches but most of the model’s blades today are not more than four inches. Let me help you to choose world’s top 15 best tactical pocket knives.
Feature Comparison Table of Top 15 Best Tactical Folding Knives in the World
Blade Material & (HRC)
Blade & Overall Length
Weight & Warranty
Half Serrated Tanto Point
3.9" x 9.25"
4034 Black Oxide (58)
Half Serrated Clip Point
M.A.G.I.C. Assisted & Liner Lock
3.6" x 8.6"
AUS-8 High-Carbon Steel
Half Serrated Tanto Point
Glass Filled Nylon & 420J2 Steel Liner
3.75" x 9.25"
Half Serrated Drop Point
SpeedSafe & Liner Lock
3.1" x 7.4"
Half Serrated Drop Point
2.9" x 6.78"
Sandvik 14C28N (60)
Half Serrated Tanto Point
6061-T6 Anodized Aluminum
3.4" x 7.9"
Half Serrated Drop Point
3.5" x 8"
Plain Tanto Point
3" x 7.1"
Half Serrated Pointed Tanto
Glass Filled Nylon
2.9" x 6.8"
SpeedSafe & Liner Lock
3.25" x 7.7"
CPM S30V (60)
4.44" x 8.3"
420 Stainless Steel (58)
Half Serrated Clip Point
3.5" x 8.5"
3.43" x 7.9"
Sandvik 14C28N/D2 (60)
410 Stainless Steel
3" x 7"
3.25" x 7.4"
Best Tactical Pocket Knife Reviews
How to Choose a Best Tactical Folding Knife?
When choosing this knife you want to make sure that it will give you ease of use, security, peace of mind, and effectiveness. Make sure that it has a firm, comfortable grip, and a secure blade. If you are looking for a best fighting knife that will give you an advantage in case you are attacked and will protect you then choose a tactical folding pocket knife. There are many manufacturers of tactile pocket knives but which is the best is what you choose and like.
What are the Major Attributes of the Tactical Folding Pocket Knife?
When you are going to choose a tactical folding pocket knife you should know, what the meaning of it is. The best tactical pocket knife has some unique attributes. Let me describe in points.
1. Almost always secure single hand opening system.
2. Secure and safe blade locking mechanism.
3. High-quality stainless steel made blade.
4. Modern, durable and high-quality composite material handle.
5. Handle material like carbon fiber, plastic, metal.
6. Comfortable finger notch with grip skin.
7. Lightweight knife, easy to use for varied work.
8. Pocket clip especially reversible.
What is the Purpose of Your Best Tactical Pocket Knife?
Because there are so many different tactical pocket knives in the market; you should first determine what you are going to use it for. This will help you to narrow it down to a few instead of several hundred. This knife can be used as a survival knife, for self-defense, an all-around utility knife, as a knife for protection, or general use for a camping trip. The more you know what its purpose will be the easier it will be to buy the right model.
Features Have to Consider Before Picking up One
One of the features you should consider is the opening system, what fits your wants, personal style, and needs, locking system, blade types and functions and more. Make a list of features you would like so you get what you want in a knife.
Considering the Overall Length of the Pocket Knife
Blades of a tactical folder knife can range from very small two inch blades to large blades over eight and a half inches. The size of the blade can make a big difference even if it is only a few inches. Choose the size for how you are going to use it.
Recommended: Most of the popular pocket knives are made of 6 to 8 inches and the best overall length is 7.7 inches or 19.56 cm.
Considering the Knife’s Blade
Before you decide on the tactical knife to buy you need to consider what type of stainless steel blade you need, blade edge and the length you need, the number of blades you want your knife to have, and manufacture of the knife.
Selecting the Blade Core Material
Blade core material is generally high carbon steel or stainless steel. How the steel has been heat treated is a huge factor in the performance of the blade. When looking at the blade core material, the first thing that you should do is look for one with a specific alloy name. Most knives will have a specification sheet that will list various compounds of the material of the blade. Under the category of “blade material”, you may see a compound like 8Cr13MoV, 440C, AUS-8 or other compound numbers.
If the manufacturer does not list the alloy but states surgical steel or stainless steel, you should not pay more than thirty dollars for the knife. The next step is to choose the knife from a respected manufacturer. Some knife owners say that the most popular blades are the 154CM and the S30V, AUS-8, carbon steel because these two are sharper, harder, and tougher than some of the more foreign and exotic blades.
Selecting the Blade Length
The first thing that you need to do is check the legality of the length of blade that you can have in your area. Next, you need to consider what you are going to use the knife for so you can choose the correct blade length and not get one too small or too large.
• Small Blades: These knives are anything fewer than 2.75 inches and used for intricate tasks. They are legal in most places, lighter, and easier to carry. The disadvantages with this small tactical pocket knife is that are not as versatile or strong as larger knives.
• Medium Blades: These range from 2.75 to 4 inches and are large enough to handle various tasks but still small enough to be mobile. These knives also have different locking mechanisms. The only real disadvantage is that some areas ban knives over 275 inches.
• Large Blades: These knife blades are over four inches and focus more on self-defense and can be more intimidating than the smaller blades. They are also easy to carry discreetly. They are also heavier and bulkier. In some locales, they may not meet the requirements of the law.
Selecting the Blade Edge
• Plain Edge: This kind of blade edge is better at doing push cuts and gives you better control of the knife. It also gives you cleaner, more accurate cuts. Plain edges are easier for the owner to sharpen, so you do not have to send it back to the factory to be sharpened. It does not have the ability to do pull cuts and saw.
• Serrated Edge: This type of edge does a good job of cutting tougher materials due to the extra strength that comes from a higher pressure per area. These blades are usually thinner and allow the blade to cut well than other knives. They are also difficult to sharpen so you have to send it to the factory to be sharpened.
• Combination Edge: This knife-edge is both serrated and plain, with the plain edge at the front of the knife. It lets you manage the part of the blade for rigorous cutting and the other division for easy push cutting. It will also have to be sent to the factory to be sharpened. It is also not as clumsy as a serrated edge knife.
Blade Number and Its Performance
The best pocket knife can have a single blade or multiple blades. They may even have tools. A knife with more blades may not always be the best. Before choosing the number of blades you want your best tactical folding knife to have looked at the knife’s performance.
• Swiss Army or Multi-Tool Pocket Knife: This type of knife has more than blades. It has tools like tweezers, nail files, corkscrews, toothpicks, and more. On the market today, these are the most multi-dimensional tactical pocket knives. It was originally created to meet the demands of the soldiers in the fields. They come in many different sizes and shapes ranging from three tools to 87 tools Giant Swiss Army Knife. They are for those who are the jack-of-all-trades.
• Multi-Blade Pocket Knife: When the knife has more than one blade they will let you do various jobs. They can have from two to four blades. The two-blade knives are very traditional knives, but the three or four blade knives offer you different blades. There is a blade for skinning an animal. One may let you ‘carve wood. Unfortunately, a knife with multiple blades is not as strong or durable but does give you a variety.
• Single Blade Pocket Knife: These come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Their size and simplicity are the best qualities of this type of knife. A single-blade knife focuses on the design of one large blade. They usually are sturdier, lighter and stronger due to their locking mechanisms so they can be used for more demanding work. They are perfect for being an all-purpose knife. One disadvantage is there is a lack of variety.
Considering the Best Tactical Folding Knife Handle
• Handle Length: This depends on how large your hand is. With a larger hand, you would need a longer handle so you can grip it better and not be too close to the blade. Hold the knife in your hand to see how the handle fits.
• Handle Material: There are many different types of material that you can choose. Each one has different disabilities. If you like the look of a classic knife chooses wood, bone, or plastic but if you want a modern sleek knife, choose for a clean metal design. Choose a composite material or rubber if you want a tactical appearance.
• Handle Design and Structure: This is decided by the user’s carrying preferences and comfort. If you plan to wear gloves when using the knife or have large hands, then you should choose one with a larger handle. Choose a slim handle if you want a compact size and a grip is not an issue.
• Handle Grip: The grip should be efficient and comfortable. It should also feel good in your hand and easy to grip when you are using it. You do not want one that could slip when you are using it.
Safety Features of a Best Tactical Folder
You should make sure that you have the right locking mechanism, so it does not accidentally come open when you are carrying it in your pocket. You need to look at the materials the handle is made of and what type of grip that it has.
Blade Opening Mechanism
When looking at the different opening mechanisms you need to know the speed that you want it to open because if you have the knife for protection, it can be a difference between life and death. If you are just using it for doing everyday chores, the speed it opens would not be that important.
• Manual Opening Knife: This type you can use your hands to open it or you can use a thumb stub. On some, there are grooves on the blade that lets your nail to grab the blade to open the knife.
• Single-Hand Opening Knife: This kind is usually opened using your thumb to push in a stud to open it. There are some with a hole in the blade. These can be opened quickly.
• Two-Hand Opening Knife: This type is generally opened using your fingernail. It is considered a manual open tactical folding knife. The older generation used one.
• Automatic Opening Knife: This is like the popular switchblades that were seen in the 1950s that automatically opened with the press of a button very quickly. Today they are not legal in most places. These knives are expensive.
• Assisted Opening Knife: It is a hybrid of two systems. The user initiates the opening with their thumb allowing a spring to kick in and completely deploy the blade. They were created to get around the law that prohibits automatic open knives.
The Locking Mechanism
This is the part of the knife that keeps the blade open. It also helps to prevent the blade from snapping shut accidentally. If it snaps shut on your fingers, it could cause serious injuries. It is a security feature that will keep it closed when you are carrying the knife. There are several different types of locking mechanisms to choose from.
• Lock-Back Folding Knife: This is one of the earliest and most basic designs of locking knives. Along the spine of this knife is a little notch the handle. You will need to use your thumb to depress the locking mechanism before you store the blade. It does not suit a one-hand operation.
• Frame-Lock Folding Knife: On this type of locking mechanism one side of the frame will slide under the blade when you have it fully deployed and lock it into place. It is easy to operate with one hand and very secure. It uses the handle to assist in folding the knife.
• Liner-Lock Folding Knife: This locking mechanism basically works in the same way as a frame-lock mechanism. The difference is that one side of the liner shifts and locks the blade. The rest of the handle stays in place. On modern knives, they are a common locking system. It is functional and very secure.
Carrying Portion or Pocket Clip
One of the most impotent attributes of the tactical folding knife is the pocket clip. There are two kinds of pock clip available in the market. One is fixed pocket clip and another is the reversible pocket clip. The best option is the reversible pocket clip. It keeps the best tactical pocket knife vertical for comfort. It also rides higher in your pocket for easy and quick access. If you choose not to have a pocket clip, it will take up less space but can slide all the way down into your pocket.
Choose a Best Tactical Folding Knife for the Money
Best Tactical Folding Knives Under $30
This is the economical range. Most of these are made with not as much attention to detail and from a material that is cheap, but there are some great knives in this price range. They are sometimes called flea market knives.
Best Tactical Folding Knives Under $50
For most tactical EDC knives this is the ideal price range. Once you go over thirty dollars, you will see that higher quality steel is used for the blade. The overall design significantly improves, and better material for the handles is available.
Best Tactical Folding Knives Under $100
In this price range, there are small improvements in functionality and design as well as better quality material, including the handle and blade. After purchasing a less expensive first knife most will move to this price range.
Best Tactical Folding Knives Under $200
You will get best EDC knife on the market in this price range. The knives have every detail perfect and use the excellent quality material. This is the price range of collectors and knives from well-known manufacturers.
Consider Consumer Product Review and Rating
There are many tactical folding knives on the market. Most are found on different sites for sale. Every site offers product reviews and ratings, so one knife that is featured on several sites will have different reviews and ratings. This makes it hard to list a particular tactical knife and give it a product review and rating, stating that this is what the consumer rates it when it could be different on another site.
Some Trusted Best Tactical Folding Knife Brand
- Cold Steel
- Zero Tolerance
- Buck Knives
- Case Cutlery
Some say that for it to be the best tactical folder knife it has to be expensive, have a carbon steel blade, and be a certain length and more. To some, it may be the one that was handed down to them by their father. If this is your first tactical folding knife take your time and look at all the features and get the one that suits your needs.
- Best Tactical Folding Knife 2017