15 Best Self Defense Knives to Buy


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January 16, 2023

You will usually hear people say that you should not bring a knife to a gunfight. And while that is certainly true, not every fight has a gun. So even if you are in a position where you need to defend yourself, bringing a knife is the best way to defend yourself effectively. Here, we will be discussing the things you should consider before buying a self-defense knife and the best ones you can buy this year.

Best Self Defense Knives

Gerber Ghoststrike

gerber ghoststrike

The Gerber Ghoststrike is easily one of the best knives on this list while still cheaper. At a low price of just $50, this blade comes with a full tang and an ergonomic handle, making for an excellent grip. It is a fixed blade knife that is very sharp but very light.

The drop point blade gives it a unique look, and the total blade length is just 3.30 inches making it a smaller blade. And a total length less than seven 7 inches, it is not for the biggest hands. The best part about the blade is that it is perfect for both self-defense and survival, given its incredible edge retention and tough blade.

Ka-Bar Fighting Knife

ka-bar fighting knife

If you want something a little more old-fashioned, then the Ka-Bar fighting knife is just right. Used in World War 2 by US marines, the knife is a stick tang but reliably strong. The long blade length of 7 inches ensures that you have plenty of reaches but might be a little clunky for some. 

The clip point blade, matched with the leather handle composition, makes it an effective knife in a fight. But with a blade at 7 inches, you are looking at a full package of a little under 12 inches. It can be difficult to conceal but is nonetheless very effective. 

Steel Tiger Karambit

steel tiger karambit

Karambit knives are some of the most effective CQC blades to exist, seeing how they can effectively puncture and slash in the same motion. And it doesn’t hurt that they look very cool. Its reasonable price and ergonomic grip make it stand out on this list.

The knife’s finger guard is just deep enough to avoid any accidents, and the blade is reasonably tough. However, Karambits, in general, is not a very effective self-defense weapon against someone who does not have effective training for it. Be sure to buy a trainer first and practice the motions until you can comfortably use it.

Grand Way Spring Assisted Knife

grand way spring assisted knife

The Grand Way Spring Assisted Knife is one of the few knives on this list that meet the perfect ratio between price and utility. The drop point blade matched with the spring-assisted mechanism also makes it one of the easier knives to conceal carry.

When folded, the eh knife also comes with a clip, which can be very useful when carrying it. The ergonomic handle comes with a decent finger guard and a relaxing lightweight. With a blade length of 3.42 inches, it is just the perfect size for any self-defense situation you find yourself in.

Kershaw CQC-6K

kershaw cqc-6k

The Kershaw CQC-6K is a very good folding knife that could do with a better grip. The polished steel does have a good feel to it, but it lacks proper groves for a comfortable grip. It does have a very nice and deep finger guard that helps with the grip, but it is still not enough.

The CQC also features a drop point blade that is 3 inches long, which is on the shorter end. But it has fairly good edge retention and can be fairly sharp thanks to the 8Cr14MoV material used throughout.  

SOG SEAL Pup Elite

sog seal pup elite

The Sog Seal is just the right size for a knife, with a blade about 5 inches long. The AUS8 material is one of the higher-end ones specializing in its all-rounded nature. The knife itself takes its design inspiration from many other blades that special forces use in tactical operations.

The blade is very, very sharp, which goes well with its better ergonomic design. It has a deep finger guard and finger grooves, making for an incredible grip. The full tang design ensures that the blade stays intact, even under the most strenuous situations.

Gerber StrongArm

gerber strongarm

The Gerber Strongarm is very similar to the SOG Seal Pup we mentioned before because it does take its design elements from tactical knives. It does differ in its sheath, which is a strap instead of a regular one.

This blade also has a very good edge and is perfect for backpacking. The ergonomics are a little off, though, as it has a shallow finger guard and very and no finger grooves. The handle is completely straight, making it difficult to handle when fighting off an attacker.       

Gerber Mark 2

gerber mark 2

The Gerber Mark 2 is an especially effective dagger in puncturing targets; need we say more? The handle is die-cast aluminum, which gives it a nice feel, but it lacks any real groves throughout the handle, making it difficult to handle.

Of course, the real selling “point” to this knife is its blade. While it isn’t the best blade to slash with, it can be very effective at puncturing a threat and putting it down. With a blade at 6.50 inches, it will easily be able to do permanent damage to a threat.

Ka-Bar Becker BK9

ka-bar becker bk9

The Ka-Bar Becker BK9 is a bowie knife that is truly only for people who know how to swing a knife. With the blade alone being 9 inches, it is not the easiest to handle. But in a proper fight, in the right hands, this is a deadly weapon simply for its reach. The knife has a total length of 14 inches. This is usually the type of knife you take on a trip to the woods.

But even people who do not know how to use a blade of this size effectively will find the handle exceptionally comfortable. The advanced ergonomics of the blade matched with the deep finger guard and Grivory composition gives it a steady grip.

Ka-Bar 5055

ka-bar 5055

Ka-Bar makes another entry in our list with its 5055 Short Tanto. Ka-Bar is not the best option for looking for more EDC knives that can work in every situation. Instead, this is usually a weapon you hide inside your car for dangerous situations.

The blade has a length of over 5 inches with a total length crossing 9 inches. The long blade face makes it effective in slashing, and the unique Tanto edge makes it a good weapon for puncturing as well. Regardless of how you use the weapon, this is a good option against any type of threat.

Cold Steel Spartan

cold steel spartan

The Cold Steel Spartan is a good blade is a simple yet very effective folding knife with a very sharp yet short blade. At a comfortable 4.50 inches, it is just big enough for most encounters with assailants. But with a total length of 10.50 inches, a deep finger guard, and a large groove for support, this is a very comfortable knife to swing.

The blade features a custom Cold steel Spartan design that also looks cool. And despite the lower price, this is a very tough knife that can survive most situations, including close encounters with an assailant.


ka-bar 2486 tdi

The Ka-Bar 2486 TDI is a modified tanto blade with a length of 3.50 inches. It came from a collaboration between one of the best custom knife makers alive today and the president of the tactical defense institute John Benner.

The handle has been designed by someone who knows what it’s like to hold and swing a knife, with a deep finger guard and dedicated more groves for a better grip on the blade. At a total length of just 7.25 inches, it can be a very effective blade to conceal carry. On the other hand, the best thing about this blade is that it has a unique draw from its sheath, making it harder for people to disarm you.

Cold Steel Voyager XL

cold steel voyager xl

Sometimes when it comes to knives, size does matter. And if you don’t mind carrying a blade that is a little on the larger side, you will very much like the Voyager XL. The blade has a size of just 5 inches, with a total size of 12.25 inches.

Despite being a fairly large blade, it can be very comfortable to wield, given its unique handle. The knife features a deep enough finger guard to ensure no slippery accidents, along with the unique Cold Steel Handle that bends at the back. The blade has a unique reverse S-like shape, which is also very sharp and effective in the right hands.  

SOG Flash 2

sog flash 2

The SOG Flash 2 is a very comfortable concealed carry knife that comes with all of the benefits of a full tang blade. It is exceptionally sharp thanks to its AUS8 material, which can also retain its sharpness for a long time. The tanto-style blade also makes it exceptionally good for stabbing and slashing at an assailant, making it versatile enough for all situations.

Of course, the blade is only half of the knife, with the grip also being very important. It features a tactical grip with a somewhat shallow finger guard and different groves for an improved grip. The handle also composes GRN, giving it that extra “edge” in handling.

Spyderco Ronin 2

spyderco ronin 2

The Spyderco Ronin 2 is possibly one of the best-designed knives currently on our list. The modular sheath makes it easy to store away, and a blade of a little over 4 inches makes it very easy to conceal carry. The Wharncliffe looks very good, especially the stainless steel, and is very light at just 4 ounces.

Forged from CTS BD1, the material resists corrosion very well and allows the blade to hold a nice edge. Its edge is easily a “cut” above the rest, the thick neck allowing the blade to stay strong in most situations.

Considerations When Choosing a Knife

Types of Knife Blades

The first thing that you should always consider when you are buying a knife is the type of blade you will be getting. It is important to understand that these different blades need to be handled differently, making that choice all the more important. here are the different types of blades you can find:

  • Tanto
  • Reverse tanto
  • Talon
  • Spearpoint
  • Needle point
  • Spear point
  • Nessmuk
  • Sheep foot
  • Pen blade
  • Spanto
  • S curve
  • Reverse S curve
  • Bowie
  • Dagger
  • Clip point
  • Drop point
  • Dao blade
  • Straight back
  • Tailoring point
  • Kukri

Material of the blade

The next thing that you will need to consider is the material of the blade and its construction. Most good manufacturers will list all of the materials used in a knife and how hard and tough it is. Different materials used in a knife can affect its sharpness, hardness, toughness, ability to chip or crack, and how long it will stay sharp.  

If you want the most accurate knife buying experience, you should learn a little more about the types of elements used in the steel of different knives.

Grip and handle

The first thing to spike in a fight is your adrenaline, affecting your fine motor skills. Therefore, the last thing you want is to lose a grip on your knife as you fight. Premium knives will usually have a very specific grip and will come with grooves that can allow you to hold the blade more comfortably.

The grip and handle of a knife also come down to the type of blade, which makes it another factor to consider. Needle point blades will rarely ever have a grip similar to a tanto knife or a karambit.

Everyday carry or for specific situations

Do you want a blade that you can carry around with you throughout various everyday situations? Do you want something specifically for self-defense? Or are you looking for a survival blade that can help you when you’re out in the woods?

Self-defense knives are not as good in the woods are usually not as effective when trying to fend off an attacker. Therefore, you should first consider why you are buying a knife in the first place to ensure you get something that better suits your needs.

Its lethality

Finally, you should also consider how lethal the knife of your choice should be. Many people believe that self-defense exists to neutralize the threat when their real purpose is to incapacitate one. Therefore, you want to look for a knife that does not pierce but rather one that you can effectively slash and use to cut a person’s muscles and tendons.

The best slashing knives have a blade at least 3.5 to 4 inches in length, which increases your reach. And be sure to not focus too much on reach, as larger blades can be very difficult to manage or cumbersome.

Serrated Blade or Plain Edge

When you choose your preferred blade, you should also consider if it should be serrated or plain edge. Serrated steel looks more threatening, which you can use to your advantage in a fight, but come at the cost of being very difficult to sharpen. Since the steel has groves, you do not want to flatten it out.

On the other hand, the plain edge can be very easy to sharpen depending on the material, and it is also generally easier to maintain. The only real trade-off is that it doesn’t look as intimidating.

Folding or Fixed blade

When you’re in a tough situation, you’ll need a reliable weapon, and you’ll need it fast. Therefore, you should choose your knife accordingly. If you’re worried about not opening a folding knife quickly, then a fixed blade can be a better option. They are quicker on the draw and are generally sturdier, with the trade-off that they are much more difficult to conceal carry.  

Closing Thoughts

A good knife by your side in a difficult situation can save your life. And each of the knives mentioned in the list above is easily some of the most versatile. So if you plan on investing in a knife for self-defense, be sure to keep your considerations in mind to buy a perfect knife for you. 

Every product is hand selected by our editors. We may receive commissions on purchases from a link.

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