Our Top Picks
Knives are valuable survival and utility tools for self-defense, camping trips, hikes, or your EDC. If you’re new to the world of knives, we’ve got you covered! Join us as we review the best combat knife in the world.
Comparison of the Best Combat Knives
Features We Considered
For tactical applications, you typically will want extreme quality and durability as well as steel that holds a sharp edge in all conditions without a lot of fuss and upkeep. We’ve covered desired features in combat knives in detail before, but we’ll cover the basics again here to help you avoid jumping around.
Safety always comes first. Your life may depend on it, so get a knife that’s made from high-quality materials. While it’s good to stick to a budget, remember that you get what you pay for. The last thing you want is a dull or broken blade when your life depends on it.
There’s no perfect combat knife length, as long as it’s between 3 to 12 inches. And, it depends on your personal preferences. While longer knives provide more leverage and cover more volume when stabbing, they may be too big for your hands. And while shorter knives are great for working in detail, they may be too small for you. So consider this carefully.
The most common blade shapes are Drop Point, Spear Point, Tanto, and Clip Point. Here’s a short description of these blade types for your reference. Check out our full article on blade shapes for more details.
A drop point blade has a convex curve and is most effective at stabbing strikes. A spear point blade’s tip is parallel to its center so it’s great for stabbing so it’s often used on throwing knives. A tanto blade is great for outdoor and survival applications so it’s preferred by the military. Lastly, a clip-point blade features a concave curve and is great for piercing and stabbing.
Choose a knife with a handle that’s made from a non-slip material. A great knife should maintain a firm grip even in the worst weather or when your hands are a mess. After all, you don’t want your knife flying out of your hands when you most need it.
When it comes down to choosing a particular knife handle material, there is a wide variety to pick from. Depending on the intended use of the knife, there are some great material options, from wood or animal bone to composite or metal materials.
Fixed or Foldable
While fixed blades are more recommended for combat, some foldable knives also serve as great combat knives. Just like our foldable picks below that offer one-hand blade deployment so it’ll feel as if you’re holding a fixed blade knife. Keep in mind, though, that foldable blade knives are limited in length.
If this is your first time buying a knife, our guide to knife blade types is a must-read.
5 Best Combat Knives
Best Overall Combat Knife: GERBER StrongArm Fixed Blade Knife
- Blade Style: Plain Edge
- Blade Material: 420HC Steel
- Handle Material: Glass-Filled Nylon w/ Rubber Overmold
- Blade Length: 4.8 inches
- Weight: 7.9 oz
Our best overall pick is tough enough to break through hard surfaces such as glass.
The Gerber StrongArm Fixed Blade Knife is compact and can be carried multiple ways. Its high-quality thermo-plastic sheath is compatible with the traditional vertical belt carry but can also be carried horizontally or via Molle strap.
The StrongArm’s blade tip is also tapered and designed for deeper penetration when stabbing. Its high carbon steel blade is also more rust-resistant than other brands and is reinforced with ceramic blade coating for added durability.
- Deep stabbing penetration
- Rubberized texture grip
- Blade is a little short
What Customers Say
“One of the best designed and made combat knives you’ll find. This thing offers a very well-rounded package in terms of durability and versatility. It’s an extremely functional knife that often sells at budget prices of fifty bucks or less. Gerber really put some thought into this one. Even if it’s not your very favorite, it’s hard not to be a little wowed by the utter utility of the design. Definitely a knife worth keeping around.”
“Buy this knife! I’d certainly buy this knife again in a heartbeat! This knife is certainly worth it’s the exceptional price point of $47 as of June, 2016. For that price, I would pick up two and put one away as a backup! I’m a strong believer of the “two is one, and one is none” motto! Highly recommended! Hopefully this knife will change a lot of people’s minds about Gerber!”
Best Budget Combat Knife: Smith & Wesson High Carbon S.S. Fixed Blade Knife
- Blade Type: Plain Edge
- Blade Material: High Carbon Stainless Steel
- Handle Material: Thermoplastic Elastomer
- Blade Length: 5.2 inches
- Weight: 8.5 oz
The Smith & Wesson Fixed Blade Knife is a high-quality and cost-effective option if you’re on a budget.
For its price, this fixed blade knife is well-machined and very functional. Its tanto blade is made from high carbon stainless steel and its handle has a handguard that grips firmly even when wet.
You can also hear a click once the knife is locked in its sheath so you can rest assured that it won’t accidentally slip out.
- Ambidextrous sheath
- Low-quality sheath
- It’s a little big
What Customers Say
“S&W offers a well designed blade here, with a basic survival style and no frills. The steel used is comparable to 440c used by Harnds and other top brands. Produced in China, the QC and appearance is very good . This is one of the most useful knives I own. Weight, balance and non slip grip. The only question is durability over time and use. Being a Taylor brand I would not hesitate to buy again. I bought for $30. Recommended for serious duty.”
“Well balanced and feels as if it would be a good throwing knife if needed. Remember the scene in the first Matrix movie, when Trinity throws a knife into the soldier’s head on the rooftop? Makes you feel like it is the same knife and you could do the same if you needed to. However, the sheath is a rigid plastic without a snap to secure knife from coming out. On the plus side, the weight of the knife is substantial by comparison; you feel it there.”
Best Fixed Blade Combat Knife: KA-BAR US Marine Corps Fighting Knife
- Blade Type: Plain Edge
- Blade Material: 1095 Cro-Van Steel
- Handle Material: Leather
- Blade Length: 7 inches
- Weight: 11.2 oz
Our next pick is manufactured by one of the pillars of the knife industry.
The Ka-bar US Marine Corps Fighting Knife is equipped with a gold-plated brass guard and pommel. Its durable leather sheath also guarantees that your blade stays protected and sharp at all times. It’s also equipped with a crossguard to protect your hands and prevent the knife from slipping.
A lot of customers have also sworn on this fighting knife’s durability and how it’s able to survive daily use and abuse.
- Very sharp blade
- Solid metal butt
- Blade is a little heavy
What Customers Say
“You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better outdoor knife than this one. The knife is useful for everything from hammering, prying, opening cans, and digging trenches to cutting wood, roots, wire, and cable. It is virtually indestructible and will last a lifetime. I mean, come on, it’s been used by the U.S. military for decades. That says a lot.”
“This is a no-nonsense knife. It begs to be used and abused, but I probably won’t. The quality of everything, from the box to the literature, to the sheath to the blade, to the handle is way better than I expected. “
Best Combat Knife for Self-defense: Zero Tolerance Folding Pocket Knife
- Blade Type: Plain Edge
- Blade Material: S30V Steel
- Handle Material: Glass Fiber
- Blade Length: 3.25 inches
- Weight: 6.35 oz
Our best combat knife for self-defense is ultra-tough, thanks to its diamond-like carbon coating. This state-of-the-art coating reinforces it into an extra hard, corrosion-resistant, and wear-resistant blade.
Zero Tolerance’s well-centered blade is made from S30V steel for guaranteed durability. Removing the knife from its sheath involves the use of a torsion bar for quick deployment.
What we love most about the Zero Tolerance Folding Pocket Knife is that it offers one-handed blade deployment, which is very helpful during emergencies. This knife’s clip offers solid retention, but it would have been better if it was longer for a deeper carry.
- Corrosion-resistant blade
- Compact and lightweight
- Quick deployment
What Customers Say
“I am presently surprised just how great this knife is!! The craftsmanship is superb. The fit and finish are above reproach. It is just slightly smaller than what I like in a pocket knife but it’s not an issue. The blade is VERY SHARP!! The instructions are excellent as it tells you the correct angle to sharpen the blade. I really like the spring assist feature. It’s a little stiff but I’m sure that will smooth up after repeated openings. The lock engages correctly and there is no movement after lockup. If you want a high-quality knife but don’t want to pay a premium price just because of a name, then this is the one you need. You won’t be disappointed.”
“This knife is my EDC. I thought it might be too big, as I owned its slightly bigger brother the 300 before, but this one is just right. Lightning-fast opening. I love the G10 grip. Way better than a metal-bodied knife for grippiness. Sharpening knives is my hobby/art. This steel took a mirror sharp edge you can shave with. Decent edge retention. The only downside is the tip. I know some people prefer more of a drop point. For me the blade shape is fine. It’s stout. I know it’s not going to break off when I use it !”
Best EDC Knife: Kershaw Blur Glassbreaker Folding Knife
- Blade Type: Drop Point Recurve
- Blade Material: 14C28N Steel
- Handle Material: Anodized 6061-T6 Aluminum
- Blade Length: 3.4 inches
- Weight: 3.9 oz
Our best EDC knife features a glass-breaker tip that’s tough enough to slice through hard and fibrous surfaces.
The Kershaw Blur folding knife’s handle is equipped with Trac-Tec inserts for a firmer grip when the going gets tough. The knife’s pocket clip is also versatile so you can choose to carry your knife tip-up or tip-down.
We also love Kershaw Blur’s secure locking system that keeps the knife open, preventing any accidental closure. The knife also features a torsion bar and a thumb stud for quick one-hand blade deployment.
Here’s a video on how to use the Kershaw Blur Glassbreaker during emergencies.
- Comes with a limited warranty
- One-hand flip
- Corrosion and wear-resistant
- Thumb studs are abrasive
What Customers Say
“Had to use the glass breaker for the first time the other day. A car had caught fire and I used the glass breaker to bust out the front driver’s window. Just a simple hammer fist with minimal pressure shatter the glass immediately. As for the rest of the knife, I’ve used it for varied tasks over the last 2 years. It’s a great knife, sturdy, well constructed, and holds a sharp edge. I would trust my life with it, I have already and it has not failed me.”
“I am very happy with the USA-made quality. The spring-assist is very fast to open, feels good in the hand and it’s a great everyday carry knife. Yes, you can shave the hair off your arms very easily with this one.”
Types of Combat Knives
1. Fixed Blade
A fixed blade knife is a solid, one-piece design with the blade permanently attached to the handle. Ideal for outdoor and survival situations, these knives are robust and reliable, offering greater strength compared to folding designs.
2. Bowie Knife
Named after American pioneer Jim Bowie, this large knife features a crossguard and a clip-point blade. It gained fame in the 19th century and is well-suited for hunting and various outdoor tasks.
3. Tactical Knife
Designed for military and law enforcement use, tactical knives are versatile tools optimized for self-defense. These knives often include features like serrated edges and glass-breaker tips to enhance utility in emergency situations.
Originating in Southeast Asia, the Karambit features a curved blade that resembles a claw. This knife is primarily used for slashing and hooking, and its ergonomic design allows for multiple grip options.
5. Folding Knife
Unlike fixed blades, folding knives have a pivot point that allows the blade to fold into the handle. Convenient for everyday carry, they are generally less durable but offer the benefit of easy concealment and portability.
What is a combat knife?
A combat knife or a tactical knife is a self-defense weapon that’s best for close-range or hand-to-hand use. Combat knives were initially used solely by the military until they became commercially available to civilians.
Aside from self-defense purposes, combat knives are also very useful for everyday carry and surviving in the wild.
What is the best combat knife in the world?
We pick the Gerber StrongArm Fixed Blade Knife as the best combat knife in the world. It’s the combination of toughness and affordability. Its blade is a little shorter compared to its rivals, but it makes up for it with its versatility.
What knives do Navy SEALs use?
The US Navy SEALs get a standard issue of the Ontario MK3 Navy Knife.
Who makes the best military knives?
Gerber is one of the manufacturers that makes the best military knives. Gerber’s knives are also great for EDC or for use downrange, at the worksite, or at the campground.
Who makes the best tactical knives in the world?
If you want a high-quality knife, get one from these manufacturers – Gerber, Ka-bar, Smith & Wesson, Zero Tolerance, and Kershaw.
The best combat knife in the world can get you through the most life-threatening situations, even the apocalypse. And you can bet your life on all of our choices above so be sure to pick one from them.
A concealed carry gun is another reliable self-defense weapon that’s also preferred by many. There are many types of gun holsters, so choosing a concealed carry holster (or the best concealed carry purse) can be tedious. Click on the links above for the simplest and most comprehensive guides we put together. We also reviewed the best belly band holster, find out which brands make it to our top five.
Above all, it’s important to know how to defend yourself in threatening situations, with or without a weapon.
Last update on 2024-02-23 / Images from Amazon Product API