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5 Best Affordable Tactical Knives On The Market Today

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Buying a knife for opening boxes and processing fibers is very different than buying a knife with the implicit goal to be to defend yourself.

Defending yourself with a knife is no picnic for either party. Of course, it’s much better than not defending yourself and being killed. Still, it is a very intimate arrangement.

That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have a knife on your person to serve as a self-defense tool.

Knives can be a game-changer in a serious physical altercation. If your attacker is unaware of the knife they can be rendered helpless or worse in a hurry with the right point of contact.

Best Tactical Knives Reviewed

1. Winner: Gerber Fixed Blade Tactical Knife

Gerber Fixed Blade Tactical Knife
2,728 Reviews
Gerber Fixed Blade Tactical Knife
  • Full Tang Tactical Knife: The plain edge, full tang 420HC...
  • Rubber Grip Camping Knife: With a rubberized diamond-texture...
  • Military Grade Knife with Versatile Sheath: The...

Why is it Better?

  • The fine edge makes this blade more aerodynamic.
  • The 420HC steel construction, with full tang, ensures maximum power.
  • Designed to mount on MOLLEs and drop-leg sheaths

Fixed blades—there’s nothing like them.

Gerber is known for making some of the best camping and general outdoor gear on earth, and they put all that excellence into making knives.

Fitted for tactical use with MOLLE gear and ankle sheaths, this knife has every bit of precision engineering in it that you need for tactical situations.

With a diamond weave textured grip from hilt to blade, you’ll have complete control and dexterity over the entire thing all at once. It feels like an extension of yourself, because it very much is.

Gerber makes all of their products here in the United States, so with them, you’re also supporting American men trying to bring their families up right. 420HC steel is nothing to mess around with.

Built for endurance and longevity, this blade will endure all forms of stress and only need to be sharpened on occasion. With Gerber, power is in your hands.


  • A fine edge makes this blade more aerodynamic.
  • The 420HC steel construction with full tang ensures maximum power.
  • Designed to mount on MOLLEs and drop-leg sheaths

2. Runner-Up: CRKT SIWI Fixed Blade Tactical Knife

CRKT SIWI Fixed Blade Tactical Knife
607 Reviews
CRKT SIWI Fixed Blade Tactical Knife
  • High performance steel: SK5 carbon steel holds an edge well
  • Compact size: Easy to carry
  • Enhanced Protection: Black coating improves corrosion...

The Columbia River Knife & Tool might just become your next favorite tactical knife.

Built with a black powder coating on the SKS carbon steel blade, you won’t have to sharpen this for quite some time.

You won’t need to worry about initial sharpening or anything similar when it comes out of the package.

CRKT includes a limited lifetime warranty with purchase, which guarantees all but sharpening this blade down to a dull little nub.

If you can sharpen this down that much, you’ve made good use of it. The ultralight design gives you the ability to move swiftly without any issue.

Though the grip will occasionally need cleaning, you won’t likely need to tighten the star bolts in the handle.

Its material not only enhances your dexterity but also retains the natural oils in your hand. After a quick wipedown, it is ready for use.


  • The ultralight design allows for swift movements during use.
  • The manufacturer backs it with a limited lifetime warranty.
  • Fine SKS carbon steel requires less sharpening per knife lifetime.

3. Best for Survival: BlizeTec Survival Tactical Knife

Given that it has a belt cutter and an LED light on the bottom for discreet use, BlizeTec should actually refer to this as a multitool. It’s no tactical flashlight, but it comes in handy for utility purposes.

The blade includes a serrated portion along the bottom of the blade to work better for self-defense and to secure the kill during hunting when things get down to the blade and bare knuckles.

This is perhaps one of the best EDC knives I’ve ever used. It’s strong, durable, and includes far more than I’ve let on at this point.

EDC is all about keeping things lightweight (this knife is 5.5 oz.) and multi-functional. There’s a window-breaking pommel at the bottom, as well as a fire starter that fits inside the handle.

On top of that, there’s a pocket clip to keep everything secure in a bag or tactical pouch. All that, and it’s the least expensive option on the list. That being said, it’s also down here for a reason.

Although the 420 stainless steel construction is good, the aluminum handle reduces costs.

It’s more malleable than the blade, meaning that in a tooth-and-nail situation, the handle might break before the blade is up, but a broken handle makes the rest of it useless when it isn’t a full-tang blade.

It’s an unlikely event, but not a trade-off I’m willing to make for survival or tactical situations.


  • A jagged, serrated section is ideal for self-defense and hunting.
  • The handle includes a belt cutter and a mini LED light.
  • EDC carries 5.5 ounces.
  • It is ultralight.

4. Best for Concealed Carry: Gerber Fixed Blade Tactical Knife

Gerber Fixed Blade Tactical Knife
1,960 Reviews
Gerber Fixed Blade Tactical Knife
  • Compact, Skeletal 420Hc Steel Frame.
  • Black Ceramic Coating For Minimal Reflection + Corrosion.
  • Diamond Texture Rubber Handle For Superior Grip.

Gerber’s back at it again, providing excellent quality without charging you what they honestly could be charging.

The Ghoststrike is personally my favorite blade, though it does come with its flaws.

For one, you’re going to notice the handle’s aerodynamic design. This is what I love and dislike about the blade. It allows for swiffer movements, but it doesn’t distribute weight like a standard blade does.

You’re going to feel a bit blade-heavy on this one, but if you’ve used knives before, then you’ll know how to right it.

Made from 420HC steel, it’s basically impervious to standard stress and destruction. With a black ceramic coating on the blade, you’ll have less of a chance of corrosion.

Much like a black powder finish, it means you won’t have to spend as much time sharpening in between uses.

You’ll be grateful to have this reliable, lightweight blade in an emergency.


  • The black ceramic coating on the blade reduces corrosion risk.
  • Aerodynamic handles reduce movement times and enhance self-defense.
  • The high-end 420HC steel frame won’t bend or quit on you.

5. Best Folding: Buck Knives Tactical Folding Knife

Buck Knives Tactical Folding Knife
  • RAZOR SHARP, CORROSION RESISTANT - 3 1/2 " Modified tanto...
  • STURDY, VERSATILE - The blade includes a notch for bending...
  • SAFE NON-SLIP HANDLE - Destruction proof textured G-10...

Knives get tricky, especially when you’re carrying them over state lines. Every state has different laws, but on average, anything 3 ½” or under is usually okay.

Buck Knives meticulously crafted this blade size, ensuring it feels perfectly balanced in your hands. Not too light, not too heavy.

Allow your fingers to rest on the slotted and textured inlays while you focus on your target.

The hilt includes a belt cutter tool to get you out of a slippery spot, as well as a zirblast finish on the blade for longer time in between sharpening.

When it does come time to sharpen, that’s 154 CM steel that you’re grinding away at.

It’s strong enough to hold a fine 20° edge without requiring too much honing, so you can keep it straight just about all the time.


  • On average, 154 CM-grade steel needs less sharpening (finer point).
  • Finger inlays provide additional grip on the handle.
  • 3 ½” falls under almost every single United States knife length law.

What to Consider When Purchasing Tactical Knives

tactical knife with casing

A tactical knife is very different compared to a regular knife.  What are the differences that you may notice when you are comparing tactical knives?

If you can prove that you’re fishing or hunting, you can bring a large knife that might fall outside of standard parameters. You would need licenses and permits to prove that, though.

Tactical knives that have a blade length of 3 ½” are usually safe to bring anywhere. They’re considered pocket utility or EDC knives, but there is a point where it’s no longer for utility, and the knife is looked at as a weapon.

1. Design

The design choices are one of the most noticeable differences in a tactical knife.

This not only affects the knife’s aesthetics, but also the material selection.

When it comes to the design of a tactical knife, it utilizes the most durable materials that you can find in a knife.

Additionally, it has certain features that will allow it to perform best in survival and life-or-death scenarios.

Thus, it has design choices that make it an incredible option for those looking for a knife that can simply do more.

2. Ergonomics

Another area where tactical knives will differ is in their ergonomics.

Ergonomics is one of the most critical aspects of a tactical knife because it is designed to be used in scenarios where optimal performance is a must.

Therefore, we designed it to not only feel comfortable in your hand, but also to be easy to use under duress or stress.

As a result, you’ll notice that tactical knives are among the most ergonomic options available on the market, especially when compared to other knives that may not have the same ergonomic design.

3. Size

Another major difference that you’ll likely notice is its size.

Because they are purpose-driven, you will notice major differences in tactical knife sizes.

As a result, the knife’s size will more accurately reflect its intended and designed use.

As a result, tactical knives have the ideal size to suit a specific need or task.

4. Handle

Another area that will likely stand out with tactical knives is their handle.

You can make handles from a variety of different materials.

However, with a tactical knife, you want a handle that is not only easy to grip but also waterproof and won’t shrink or crack.

Thus, you will find that tactical knives have some of the best material selections for handles.


tactical knife

What makes a knife tactical?

A tactical knife will not only have a blade that’s durable and ready to use in any situation, but it will also have a sturdy handle with a contoured, ergonomic grip.

What knives do the navy seals use?

United States Navy SEALs are known to use the Ontario MK 3 Navy Knife, which is not available for civilian or public purchase. SEALs can carry their own knife of choice in most combat situations, so there is no way to tell what they will carry on hand with them.

What is the best material for a tactical knife? 

Steel. Always steel. The SAE has over fifty steel classifications that define grades based on separate metal contents, such as nickel and chromium. There are a ton of grades to remember, but basically, 304L, 420, 440, and sub-sections of those grades (such as a 440C) are all top-of-the-line for tactical knives.

Is it legal to carry a tactical knife on yourself?

Yes, it is, if you plan it out ahead of time and know the laws of the place you’re traveling to or through. In essence, be tactical about how you approach the situation and understand your legal rights down to every dot and line.


Overall, there are more major differences that you will find with a tactical knife than with a regular knife or a tactical tomahawk.

A specific task will be the focus of a tactical knife’s design. Therefore, the design will prioritize optimizing that particular task.

This will result in a better-designed and better-performing knife. We will use the most durable and best materials to create a tactical knife that maximizes performance.

Ultimately, a tactical knife is the only option for those who are looking for versatility, durability, and quality in a knife.