In an emergency, a knife can save your life. When you have a jammed firearm on your hands, a knife can be your only tool for survival and can get you out of a dicey situation. If the knife is small and discrete, all the better because you can carry it in your pocket without raising any eyebrows. Bigger folding knives are useful too, for instance, to intimidate bad guys. Don’t let yourself be caught in a dire situation – get the right folding knife today!
The qualities of a good tactical knife include an ergonomic design, exacting action on the folding blade, a tight tolerance between the liner and the handle, and the carbon content of the blade steel for both holding and corrosion resistance.
The design of the knife is important too. It should be a work of art, an exquisite tool, or a piece of tactical brilliance. The overall design will depend largely on the materials used and the features built into the blade. Each knife is carefully crafted to impress, and the choice is all yours!
Top Tactical Folding Knives Comparison
Here are some of the best folding knives on the market:
This knife combines an open built frame, a blade flipper, and Teflon and bronze bushings at the pivot, allowing for fast hand opening. This exceptional knife is a rugged, value-for-money model that can be used daily. It can withstand abuse from impacts, abrasions, and solvents and still look great.
There is a modified drop point with a slight recurve and a swedged top edge. The CRKT Ken Onion Shenanigan features a stainless steel liner lock which is a strip lock. There is an insert into one handle to save weight. Together, all these features make the knife strong, lightweight, and easy to use.
The blade is made of AUS 8 materials with a bead blast finish. The frame is made of toughened glass-filled nylon. The combination of a contoured handle, an index finger notch, and a sturdy checkered grip pattern makes it very easy on the hands.
Specifications of the CRKT Ken Onion Shenanigan
It has an overall length of 8.25 inches and a closed length of 4.875 inches. The weight is 4.1 ounces. The blade length is 3.25 inches and the blade thickness is 0.119 inches. It is made of AUS 8 material and the blade is HRC 58-59. It has a bead blast finish and a hollow grind. The handle is made of glass-filled nylon material. The knife has a locking liner lock. It is made in Taiwan.
Check out this review found on YouTube:
This is a tough mid-sized knife which you can carry every day.
Its frame is made of 420J2 stainless steel liners. It has an AutoLAWKS knife safety lock which automatically actuates when the blade is opened, making it virtually a fixed blade knife. The CRKT M16-02Z handle has skeletonized black Zytel scales and a tip-down pocket clip.
This knife features a hollow ground Tanto style blade with a bead blast finish and a plain cutting edge. The blade is easy to open with the dual thumb studs or a push of the Curson flipper. The Teflon bearings at the blade pivot and an adjustable pivot screw allow for perfect blade action.
Specifications of the CRKT M16-02Z
The overall length of the knife is 7.375 inches and the blade length is 3.125 inches. The blade thickness is 0.12 inches.
The blade material is AUS 4 and the blade hardness is 55-57 RC. The blade grind is hollow and the blade finish is bead blast. The edge type is plain. The handle length is 5.375 inches and the handle thickness is 0.53 inches. The handle material is GFN. The color is black. The frame is stainless steel. The knife weighs 3.60 oz. It is designed for right-handed users. The country of origin is Taiwan.
Check out this review found on YouTube:
This knife features a Japanese AUS 8A stainless steel blade with a bead blast finish, razor sharp edges, and sturdy needle-sharp points.
It has a CNC handle which is forged from super tough 7075 aluminum billets.
The knife has an attractive bead blast surface and it is finished with a protective EDP (electric discharge plating) coating.
For maximum strength and safety, it comes with stainless steel leaf spring locks.
For ease of carrying, the knife is equipped with a small but unobtrusive steel pocket clip which can be opened by using the thumb studs or by snagging a quillon on the edge of your pocket.
Check out this review found on YouTube:
This knife is fabricated from AUS 8 steel and features a G 10 handle, a reversible thumb stud, a tip-up reversible pocket clip, and a Tri-Ad lock which is supposed to be the strongest lock on the market.
The Tri-Ad lock is the most attractive feature of this knife, touted as one of the strongest locks on the market, making the price quite alluring.
The handle is made of black G-10 material which is pretty standard with a good grip. The holes in the handle are both visually appealing and functional as they improve the grip of the knife.
The pocket clip is a cool feature in this knife which adds to its portability. To top it all, the knife is extremely durable.
Specifications of the Cold Steel Hold Out III
The blade length is 3 inches and the blade thickness is 3 mm. The blade style is spear point and the blade overall length is 6 inches.
The blade weight is 2.5 oz. The blade is made of AUS 8A material. The handle material is G10. The lock type is a Tri-Ad back lock. The carry method is tip-up ambidextrous. The knife is proudly made in Taiwan.
This knife is engineered to be strong, durable, and as effective as humanly possible. The blade is made of imported Japanese AUS 8A stainless steel that has been vacuum heat treated and sub-zero quenched. The handle features G-10 laminated scales which are artfully contoured and scalloped for a terrific non-slip grip.
This knife is held together with state-of-the-art high-strength mechanical fasteners and further anchored by a 6061 heat-treated spacer.
This knife is coated with Teflon, which adds to its toughness. This coating makes the blade rust resistant.
It also eliminates glare and light reflections, which can sometimes give you away to the enemy. The coating also acts as a superior lubricant which permits the blade to slide through even the toughest of materials. What this essentially means is you can cut deeper and longer than you would without the Teflon coating.
It has a thumb disc and a small, extra strong pocket clip which assists in the opening and carrying of the knife. The clip is completely ambidextrous. What is more, its small size doesn’t irritate the hand or palm even after protracted use.
Specifications of the Cold Steel Recon I Model 27TLT
The closed length is at 5.375 inches. The blade length is 4.0 inches. The blade material is stainless steel AUS8A. The blade edge is plain. The lock type is a Tri-Ad lock. The total length is 9.375 inches. The blade color is black. This is a folding knife. The knife weighs 5.3 ounces. The handle color is black.
This is an amazing folding knife which is more than equal to any task or situation. It is a must-have for every tactical professional.
The hollow-ground partially-serrated tanto blade is crafted from 440 stainless steel and has a titanium nitride blade finish for reduced visual signature plus an ambidextrous thumb stud.
It is designed in such a way that you can carry it in your pocket, on your vest, or lashed onto your web gear. The liner lock design holds the blade securely in position, and the sculpted grip sports textured G-10 laminated scales with mounted fasteners.
Specifications of the Browning Black Label Integrity
Its overall length is 8.625 inches. The blade length is 3.75 inches and the cutting edge is 3.75 inches. The blade is made of 440 steel.
The blade grind is hollow and the blade finish is satin. The edge type is plain. The handle length is 4.875 inches. The handle material is aluminum. The handle color is black. The frame is made of stainless steel. It weighs 5.00 oz. It is suitable for both right- and left-handed users. The pocket clip is tip up and tip down. It is originally from China.
Check out this review found on YouTube:
The knife is built on a framework of 420J stainless steel liners and features a high-strength liner lock mechanism, textured G-10 handle, and an aggressively curved AUS8A stainless steel blade.
The contoured handle shape offers improved ergonomics to support a wider range of grip styles and it also maximizes the knife’s ballistic cutting power and weapon retention characteristics.
It has an angle that makes it suitable for both cutting and thrusting, making it one of the most versatile knives available on the market.
Specifications of the Blackhawk Garra II
The blade is 3.00 inches long. It has an overall length of 7.4 inches. The blade material is AUS8A. The blade type is hawkbill. The blade grind is hollow. The finish is black. The edge type is serrated. The handle length is 4.375 inches. It is designed for right-handed users. It weighs 4.60 oz.
The handle is made of 420J stainless steel liners nested in textured G-10 scales. The blade has a black Teflon coating. It is available as a plain knife or a knife with a partially serrated edge. It can only be carried in a right-sided pocket. It is made in Taiwan.
This knife features a fresh invigorating design that looks great. It is a big knife but a relatively slim one and is specifically designed for action.
The blade travels very fast, and once opened, it locks up like a floor safe. It has a hard anodized aluminum handle.
It has a safety button that locks the blade in the open or closed position. It has a reversible bayonet style clip and an impressively sharp blade.
Specification of the SOG TAC Mini Auto Tanto
Overall length is 6.75 inches. Blade length is 3.00 inches. The cutting edge is 2.875 inches.
The blade material is AUS-8. The blade hardness is 57-58RC. The blade grind is flat. The finish is black.
The edge type is serrated. The handle length is 3.75 inches. The handle material is aluminum. The color is black. The frame is stainless steel.
The weight is at 2.50 oz. It is an automatic knife. The lock type is a plunge lock. It is originally made in the USA.
Check out this review found on YouTube:
This is an amazing knife with a black G-10 handle and a 440C stainless steel straight-edge blade. This knife is unique due to its wide, completely flat ground blade, which provides phenomenal cutting performance. The slim handle sits comfortably in your hand and guarantees precise control. The thumb ramp and the flipper protect against slipping of the finger. The structured G-10 scales on steel plates offer maximum stability and a very secure grip. It also has a reversible pocket clip, which allows tip up or tip down carry and the lanyard hole.
Specifications of the Broker Plus S2 B0160
Overall length is 8.75 inches. Blade length is 4.00 inches. Cutting edge is 3.625 inches. Blade thickness is 0.12 inches. Blade material is 440C. Blade grind is flat. Finish is stonewash. Edge type is plain. Handle length is 4.875 inches. Handle thickness is 0.54 inches. Handle material is G10. It is black in color. The frame is made of stainless steel. It weighs 5.63 oz. It is designed for a right-handed user. It is originally from China.
This is an everyday knife which is easy to use and carry. Small enough to fit in the palm of the hand, the exceptional balance of this knife can be experienced on handling it. The skeletonized metal handle complements the weight of the blade for a feel that is very confident for a knife of this size. This is a locking knife with a locking blade that is lightweight and easy to clean and opens effortlessly. It comes with a pocket clip which makes it possible to clip it close at hand. With all these features, plus thumb studs that facilitate quick and seamless blade engagement and a frame lock for added security, this steel knife is ideal for hunting, camping, and everyday use.
Features of the Gerber Paraframe Tanto folding knife
This is a blade which is designed to puncture, slice and perform detailed work.
The blade is coated with black titanium to reduce unwanted reflection and protect it against corrosion.
It has a partially serrated edge which adds utility when dealing with stubborn materials such as nylon rope.
The frame lock offers bomber blade control.
The thumb studs facilitate quick and easy blade engagement.
The pocket clip offers security and keeps the knife within easy reach at all times.
It has a lifetime warranty.
Specifications of the Gerber Paraframe Tanto folding knife
Its overall length is 8.13 inches. The blade length is 3.5 inches. The closed length is 4.75 inches. Its weight is 4.30 oz. It is made from 7Cr17MoV steel. The handle material is 3Cr13 stainless steel. It is proudly made in China.
This knife has a stealth black finish and a menacing blade. In addition, it also has the durability to withstand daily abuse and is strong enough to be used for hunting, camping, or self defense. It has a good, smooth blade action and a wonderful Gerber opening 2.0 mechanism. The silk-smooth action allows true one-handed action blade engagement. You only have to lever the thumb stud to open the blade quickly and confidently. It has a reliable plunge lock which keeps the blade fixed when open and makes for safe and easy closure without putting your fingers in the path of the folding knife. The partial serration adds utility for working through stubborn materials like knots or metal. And to top it all, the blade’s matte black titanium nitride coating reduces reflectivity in critical situations.
Specifications of the Gerber FAST Draw Tanto Folding Knife
The blade length is 3.0 inches. The blade is made of 7Cr17Mov stainless steel. The overall length is 7.25 inches. The handle material is Zytel. It weighs 3.5 oz. It is made in China.
Features of the Gerber FAST Draw Tanto Folding Knife
It has assisted open 2.0 mechanism; plunge lock; thumb studs; Tanto blade; partially serrated, black titanium nitride coated blade; pocket clip.
Check out this video of the Gerber FAST Draw found on YouTube:
This is a knife which features an Optimiser assisted opening mechanism for quick one-hand blade deployment; a simple push of the thumb stud activates the spring assisted action. It has a black coated 8CR13 steel blade which is a modified drop-point style with a plain cutting edge. The black molded thermoplastic handle pays homage to the P30 grips.
Specifications of the HKP30 Assisted Open Folding Knife
The overall length is 6.75 inches. The blade length is 2.95 inches and the blade thickness is 0.10 inches. The blade is made of 8Cr13 stainless steel material and the blade hardness is 57-59 RC. The blade style is drop point. The blade grind is hollow. The finish is black. The edge type is plain. The handle length is 3.875 inches. The handle thickness is 0.48 inches. The handle is made of thermoplastic and the color is black. The frame is made of stainless steel. It weighs 2.20 oz. It is designed for right-handed users. The pocket clip is tip down. The knife type is spring assisted. The opener is thumb stud. The lock type is liner lock. It is originally from China.
This is a folding knife that features amazing spring assisted opening technology. A push of the thumb tab or flipper will quickly deploy the blade.
This knife has a black aluminum handle with a gray rubber grip insert, a steel liner lock frame, and a tip down carry pocket clip. The SCHA4BG features side safety, which keeps the blade locked closed when not in use.
Specifications of the Shrade SCHA4BG Folding Knife
The overall length is 7.75 inches. The blade length is 3.375 inches. The cutting edge is 3.25 inches.
The blade thickness is 0.12 inches. The blade is made of 4034 stainless steel. The blade style is clip point. The blade grind is flat.
The blade finish is black. The edge type is plain. The handle length is 4.375 inches. The handle thickness is 0.72 inches. The handle material is aluminum.
The handle color is black tan. The frame is made of stainless steel. It weighs 5.08 oz. It is designed for right-handed users. The pocket clip is tip-down. It is originally from Taiwan.
This is a wonderful pocket knife which is equipped with a modified clip point blade constructed of 4034 stainless steel.
It has a partially serrated blade and a sliding safety release with which you can engage the rapid release MAGIC assisted opening mechanism with the thumb stud.
It has a non-anodized black coating and features a lightweight T6061 aircraft aluminum handle. It has a sliding safety handle mechanism.
Technical details of the M & P SWMP 2 Folding Knife
It has a 2.9-inch blade and a 4.2-inch handle. It is made of 4034 stainless steel. It has a spring assisted opening mechanism and an integrated glass breaker. It weighs 4.1 ounces.
Check out this review found on YouTube:
This is a great knife for outdoor activities as it has a solid construction. The thick handle features a titanium liner cock frame with hard coated aluminum handle scales. The shape of the handle contributes to its exceptional grip and overall feel with a deep index groove and jimping on the thumb ramp. The blade is made of N690Co stainless steel and has a plain edge and uses dual thumb studs for easy one-hand operation.
Specifications of the Ontario XM-1 Folding Knife
It has an overall length of 8.00 inches. It has a blade length of 3.375 inches. It has a cutting edge of 3.25 inches. It has a Bohler N690Co blade material. It has a hardness of 59-60 RC. The blade style is drop point. The blade grind is hollow. The finish is bead blast. The edge type is plain. It has a handle length of 4.625 inches. The handle thickness is 0.84 inches. The handle material is aluminum. The handle color is black. The frame is made of stainless steel. The weight is 6.30 oz. It is suitable for use by both right- and left-handed users. The pocket clip is tip-down. It is originally from ltaly.
This is a frame lock knife with quick and reliable one-handed deployment, innovative tactical coatings, and a quality that is well worth the price. It is designed with special attention to ergonomics, including a curved handle with grip points which ensure a secure grasp. To make it light, the skeletal framework minimizes material weight without compromising on strength. The knife is small, and thus, easy to carry around.
Specifications of the Buck Bone Folding Knife
It is a folding knife made of 420HC stainless steel. The handle material is made of stainless steel with black oxide finish. The blade shape is tanto point, it is serrated, and you do not require any assistance to open it. The pocket clip is serrated to make it usable by both left- and right-handed people. The locking system is frame lock and it has a Rockwell hardness of 56-58 RC. The blade is 3 inches long and the thickness is 0.110 inches. When closed, it measures 4.5 inches. It weighs 4.4 oz.
Wicked is probably the best term to describe this knife. It utilizes the SOG SAT blade deployment system that springs the blade into action quickly when you need it. The SAT also features a powerful piston lock that is very strong, yet easy to release when you are ready to fold the knife up. It has a built-in safety mechanism to prevent any accidental blade deployment.
It has a stainless steel blade with SOG’s unique cryogenic heat treatment that makes the blade super tough and increases edge retention.
The anodized aluminum or GRN polymer handle feels extraordinary in your hand and looks uber cool as well. The potent pending bayonet style clip allows for discreet deep pocket carrying and can be moved from right to left handy carry easily.
Specifications of the SOG Flash II Folding Knife
The blade length is 3.5 inches. The overall length is 8 inches. The closed length is 4.5 inches. The weight is 3.1 ounces. The blade is made of AUS-8 stainless steel material.
It is originally from China. The finish is satin. The edge is partially serrated. The handle material is glass reinforced nylon. The Rockwell hardness is 57-58 RC. The opening method is thumb stud. The blade thickness is 0.125 inches.
This is a classic and reliable knife and a must-have for anyone who loves the outdoors. It is a superb hunting knife which is large enough to handle any game, but still very portable. The brass bolsters and wood grain handle makes it as attractive as it is functional.
Features of the Buck 110 Folding Knife
It is a stainless steel knife that is heat treated to a Rockwell hardness of up to 58-60 RC for optimum edge retention and blade strength. It is easy to open with the nail notch in the blade. It is a lock back design that is an American icon in the world of hunting. It has a genuine leather sheath to provide protection and a clip blade designed for clean cuts. The 420HC steel blade offers exceptional durability.
Specifications of the Buck 110 Folding Knife
The blade length is 3.15 inches. The blade is made of 420 HC stainless steel. The handle is made of Macassar Ebony Dymondwood. The blade thickness is 0.12 inches. The closed length is 4.75 inches. It has a lock-back locking mechanism. It weighs 7.2 oz. It comes with a black leather belt sheath. The knife has a lifetime warranty and it is proudly made in the USA.
The essential features to consider when choosing a folding knife are:
The Knife Blade
The blade is the main feature of the knife, and to be the best, it has to be sharp. A dull blade is only as good as an unloaded gun, and it can be dangerous in an emergency. What material the blade is made of, how it reacts under stress, and how easy it is to sharpen are some of the things to consider before buying a knife. Corrosion resistance and blade strength are also key elements for a quality blade. The type of steel used will determine how tough, wear resistant, corrosion resistant, and edge retaining the blade will be.
The Knife Handle
The knife handle should be tough and resilient and should not absorb any moisture. For these reasons, fiberglass materials like G-10 are some of the best materials for a knife handle. Titanium, FRN and Zytel are also quality materials to use for handles because they demonstrate minimal water absorption.
Value For Money
It is good to get a knife which is worth every dollar you spend on it. Some knives on the market are significantly overpriced and simply not worth buying. Get a knife which will give you value for money. If you look hard enough, you will certainly be able to find several folding knives which are well worth their price.
Looking for a different kind of knife?
Read our other knife articles:
- Best Tactical Pocket Knife for the Money
- The Top 8 best tactical pocket knives
- The Top 16 Best Fixed Blade Tactical Knives
It is very hard to single out any one knife as the best folding knife because there are several great models available on the market. There are single blades, 2 blades, 3 blades and 4 blades. You will be spoilt for choice! Even once you have figured out what you’re looking for, there is a multitude of choices available to you – tactical or traditional, blade size, type of steel, locking blade or not, natural or synthetic – the list goes on. Go through the reviews and make a wise choice for the type of knife you want to commit your money to.