Reviews & Buyer’s Guide
What makes a tactical knife?
It really comes down to what you use it for.
You know what you want in life and your knife should be no different. Tactical knives should be a well-made, high quality knife with other attributes that help you achieve what you want. It should have some utility function aside from being a tactical knife.
After testing dozens of products, we at RGG Reviews have compiled a best tactical knife of 2018 list that give you the best knife for your needs.
Whether you want the knife to serve as an emergency rescue tool or an entry tool, make sure you think about how you want your new knife to serve you. If you need help with aspects of the knife, there is a best tactical knife buyer’s guide at the end of the reviews that will help you look for the right size, materials and much more.
Comparison table for our top five tactical knives:
|Name||Overall Length||Blade Length||Weight||Blade Material||Handle Material||Price|
|ESEE Izula II||6.75"||2.6"||16 oz||1095 Steel||Micarta||Check Price|
|Grand Way||7.7"||3.4"||4.4 oz||Stainless Steel||Aluminum||Check Price|
|ESEE Junglas||16.5"||10.3"||23 oz||1095 Steel||Micarta||Check Price|
|Morakniv Bushcraft||9.1"||4.3"||8.1 oz||Carbon Steel||Polyamide/Nylon||Check Price|
|CRT Squid Compact||4.5"||2.3"||6.4 oz||Stainless Steel||Stainless Steel||Check Price|
Details on the Best Tactical Knives
ESEE Knives Izula II Fixed Blade Knife with Survival Kit – Best for Survival Needs
Recommended by many knife experts for every day carry, the handle is extremely ergonomic, even for larger hands.
Comfort is this knife’s modus operandi, which is extremely important in a tactical knife.
Equipped with tools like a paracord, fire-starting rod and emergency whistle, this is the ultimate tactical knife for your outdoor and survival needs.
Although a few will find the handle a bit small, the majority of users will enjoy the grip and comfort of the micarta handle. It also comes with a sheath that you can modify for horizontal carry.
- Ergonomic and Comfortable
- High Quality Blade
- Waterproof Micarta Handle
- Includes Firestarter, Paracord and Emergency Whistle
- Some May Find the Handle too Small
Morakniv Bushcraft Carbon Steel Survival Knife – Best Value
From the Morakniv company in Sweden comes its excellent survival knife with a scandi grind which prevents the knife from slipping and digs into any surface easily. There are many Morakniv fans and it’s easy to see why.
This knife is the best bang for your buck. The blade is made of carbon steel and the rubber grip prevents hands from slipping. The knife comes with a fire starter that yields around 7,000 strikes and works in the rain and wind.
Although the sheath seems not as well made as the knife, it does come with an integrated diamond sharpener, making field sharpening easy.
Weighing in at only 8.8 ounces, this knife is made for everyday carry and all your outdoor needs.
- Includes Firestarter
- Sheath is Low Quality
Grand Way Spring-Assisted Folding Tactical Knife – Best Beginner Tactical Knife
Grand Way’s spring assisted folding knife is our choice for best beginner tactical knife. Yes, it’s made in China, which would usually be an automatic out for quality but for the price, it’s a great way to step your foot into the world of tactical knives and see if it’s a fit for you before you make the leap into more expensive, higher quality knives.
Although the belt clips seems to come loose very easily, it will be easy to fix or replace since this knife is so affordable.
Although inexpensive, the blade is made of 440C stainless steel, which lasts and stands the test of time. One of the best aspects of this knife is how lightweight it is – 4.4 ounces – making it easy to carry daily.
- Good Quality
- Belt Clip Becomes Loose Easily
ESEE Junglas Fixed Blade Knife w/Kydex Sheath – Editor’s Pick
You can’t beat the ESEE Junglas Fixed Blade Knife if you love no-frills (no fire starter, emergency window breaker, etc) military knives. This is just a plain ol’ high-quality, enviable tactical knife with a 10.75 inch blade.
As ESEE says, “ESEE Junglas – Pronounced ‘Hoonglas.’The Junglas is named after the Colombian police “JUNGLA” Compañía Jungla Antinarcóticos special operations forces, and was originally designed as a cross between a fixed blade knife and a machete to be employed in Latin American jungle and counter-narcotics operations. It now sees service with counter-narcotics operators, adventurers and woodsmen globally.”
Although it may be too large for everyday carry for some, this knife will easily replace and combine all your other knives into one and also comes with a durable Kydex sheath. It makes up for not having some of the other survival extras. The Junglas is a powerhouse.
- High Quality
- Strong Blade
- Kydex Sheath
- May be too Large for EDC
CRKT Squid Folding Tactical Pocketknife – Best Tactical Knife for EDC
This knife may be little but it packs a punch as a compact tactical weapon. The blade may be smaller than most, but it will take on everything you throw at it.
Aside from stainless steel, the grip is one of best and the 2.5 inch blade deploys quickly by using a thumb stud. Designer Lucas Burnley took inspiration from the compact pistol when he created this knife and the result is a compact, lightweight tactical knife that does not sacrifice quality or purpose. Some may not like the stainless steel handle due to the weight, but according to knife and weapons experts, steel is one of the best handle materials out there.
Many tactical knives are too bulky to carry on a daily basis. With the CRT Squid, you’ll be able to carry your tactical knife in stealth mode.
- High Quality Blade
- Easy to Carry and Deploy
- Steel Handle Adds Weight
Buyer’s Guide for the Tactical Knife
The word tactical has been used a lot lately. Tactical essentially means “of or relating to small-scale actions serving a larger purpose.” It is often used in a military or combat sense but it also pertains to survival – survival in the outdoors or in life in general.
Tactical knives, therefore, are a small component of a bigger goal.
The Bigger Picture
It helps to think about why you are getting the tactical knife – for EDC (every day carry), personal protection or outdoor trips? This will be the greatest influence on what knife you buy.
There are many people out there who believe that tactical knives should be folding knives. If you’re purpose is EDC or personal protection, a folding knife is a perfect selection. But if you’re goal is an effective knife at cutting wood when you’re outdoors, you’ll probably need something more substantial. You may also want to buy one that includes a firestarter.
This is probably the second most important aspect of which knife you select. The knife has to be comfortable when you hold it – in a forward grip and a reverse grip. Here are some things to look for:
- Make sure the handle fits well in your hand – not too big and not too small. Sometimes you have to try a couple of different knives to find the right fit.
- No grooves that force your fingers in place. There should be a place for your grip but it should not be designed where your fingers can’t move freely.
This one is simple – experts everywhere say stainless steel. There are different qualities and levels of steel; it’s up to you whether to worry about it but steel is steel.
Steel will rust, however. Just like any weapon, you have to take care of it. There are many articles and videos on how to clean your knives.
The handles of your knife should be made of a material that is stable and moisture-resistant. We believe metal handles are the best but it may not be comfortable for some. Just like when you’re testing for comfort in your grip, make sure the material is agreeable as well.
Our picks include: titanium, micarta, G10, aluminium, stainless steel