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The Best Tactical Knives Today

For tactical knives that prove trusted in both utility and self-defense, tried-and-true remains a minimum requirement. 


A knife should be versatile, durable, yet also seamless, and stumbling upon such a knife amidst the current market of cheap dispensable goods is not easy. In your search for a capable tactical knife, the following options won’t disappoint. 



Best Automatic Knife: Benchmade Claymore 


The Benchmade Claymore is an Oregon-made automatic knife, crafted from high-grade steel. It’s mid-sized, with a 3.6” blade, forged from the hands of reputable craftsmen who’ve been perfecting utility knives since the late 1980s. 


Whether in a zombie apocalypse or wandering the catacombs of downtown Portland, a Benchmade Claymore in your possession will make you feel safe and assured. 


The Claymore is also beloved by hunters, fishermen, and other outdoorsmen. When field dressing a blacktail or fileting a smallmouth bass, this knife does the job. At $260, the Claymore isn’t for the faint of heart, but if you're willing to shell out cash for the most trusted utility knife on the market, then all power to you. 


Best Fixed Blade Knife: Cold Steel SRK 


The SRK by Cold Steel bears a 6” fixed blade, made from Cold Steel’s reputable Black Tuff-Ex steel. Sturdy, balanced, and tested, the SRK remains the Navy Seals’ first choice for underwater demolition training. 


You can rest easy, next time you’re working with aquatic explosives, that the SRK has you back. On a serious note, this knife will perform in extreme circumstances. 


Though utilized by serious anglers and hunters, this blade was forged with survival in mind hence its use by Coast Guard rescue agents, outdoor survival experts, and other extremists alike. At just $70 retail, Cold Steel doesn’t cut corners but provides quality knives at affordable costs –– and they’ve been doing so for decades.


Best Budget Fixed Blade Knife: ESEE Izula 


ESEE’s compact fixed-blade Izula is everything you could ask for in a knife and nothing more. With a 2.75”, the Izula bears the smallest blade on this list, making it portable yet as strong as most fixed knives. 


Although the skeleton handle is intimidating to some knife users, the Izula retains comfortability without the added weight and maintenance of some handles. 


The Izula is crafted with utility and outdoor tasks in mind –– it's not exactly built for self-defense, given its compact size. Nevertheless, it's a prime example of American craftsmanship.

At $60, you're investing in straightforward quality. No fancy extras, just a reliable little knife that gets the job done. Plain and simple. 


Best Foldable Knife: Spyderco Para 3 G-10 


With a 2.9” blade, and just 7” in total length, the Para 3 G-10 by Spyderco is tiny. Perfect for those who like to forget about their knife until it's needed. Spyderco has shaped quality steel out of Colorado since the 1970s, and the Para 3 is a testament to their mastery. 


While not as militarily impressive as other knives on the market, the Para 3 covers the fundamentals of tactical knives at half the size. 


“Ounce for ounce one of the most capable folding knives ever made,” Spyderco claims, “the Para 3 is bound to be a classic.” Based on Para 3’s widespread recognition, this claim might stand true. At $250, this knife is expensive, but if you’re a buy-once type of person then the price tag should be no problem. 

Best Budget Foldable Knife: CRKT M16-01KZ 


The M16-01KZ by CRKT is another knife crafted in Oregon, this time with the foldability of a traditional utility blade. The M16-01KZ features a steel 3.1” blade dipped in black coating for corrosion resistance. The handle is glass-coated nylon making it both light and durable.


Although not the most intimidating blade in terms of stature, the M16 will find a welcome home in your back pocket due to its size, ensuring that you're equipped in any situation. 


Many use the M16 as a standard pocket knife because of its reliability, compatibility, and affordability. At just $50 the M16 is crafted by a reputable vendor of the forging industry. It may seem too good to be true, but it isn’t. The M16-01KZ is plain and simple, a tactical knife in the purest of forms. 


Final Thoughts: Why Buy a Tactical Knife? 

For some, a tactical knife is a handy tool to have in the wilderness. For others, these knives offer protection, without the added baggage of carrying a firearm. 


If you're thinking about purchasing a tactical knife, for any reason, then you should consider this list as a starting point in deciding which knife is best for you and your purposes. All these knives are trusted and made from quality steel, ensuring performance and longevity in a single package.

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