If you live in a crime-infested area or you just want a secondary defense weapon, you should invest in a good self-defense knife that you can depend on when fending off an attacker.
This will greatly increase your chances of surviving an attack and may also save you from getting robbed.
However, you have to keep in mind that not all knives can be used for self-defense, and that is exactly why we have assorted some of the best knives that you can rely on in all combat scenarios.
The knives that we have reviewed below are quality tested and also come with specially designed blades that will allow you to inflict deep cuts on the attacker.
To add to this, most of the blades have ultra-sharp tips that you can use for stabbing applications.
11 Best Self Defense Knives
Our Best Pick: KA-BAR TDI Law Enforcement Straight Edge Knife
- Black metal belt Clip (1480Clip) included
- Designed by john benner, founder and owner of tactical defense institute
The TDI is specially designed for law enforcement officers, making it one of the reliable self-defense blades that you can consider using. It comes with a 2.3″AUS-8A stainless steel blade that can cut deep.
This close-quarters knife is exceptionally tough and will give you an added advantage when fending off an attacker.
Plus, it comes in two different styles, so you can go for the blade with the straight or serrated edge.
The blade is powder-coated to prevent corrosion and is also hardened for your convenience. As such, it won’t bend or break when you are defending yourself.
In addition to this, the blade offers good edge retention, great wear resistance, and is equally lightweight. It won’t weigh you down in any way when striking your attacker.
Despite its size, the blade can inflict serious stab wounds when used correctly. Unlike most fixed blades in its class, the TDI features a uniquely curved handle that is also notched at the choil to give the user a firm grip when in a defensive mode.
Also, the notch will provide your forefingers with a comfortable place to rest, thus preventing fatigue. This will, in turn, enable you to wield the TDI for an extended duration without experiencing any discomfort.
More on the handle, it is made of high-strength Zytel and is also textured to prevent slippage.
The included sheath is equally durable and also has a belt clip that will make your work easier when attaching the blade to your pants.
- Highly concealable
- Can be a good backup weapon
- Ergonomic handle
- The sheath needs improvement
Best Automatic Knife: Cold Steel Spartan CS21SC-BRK
- Super Sharp Knife - The stonewashed blade was designed to echo the aesthetics and cutting performance of the world famous Kukri, a Nepalese knife similar to a machete, cut through meats, rope, bamboo, and aluminum with ease
- Kopis-Inspired Handle - Super thick spine with finger cutouts makes holding the Cold Steel Spartan comfortable and safe, handle is molded out of Griv-Ex with heat treated steel liners for extra security
Coming from a company that has earned a good name in the knife-making industry, the Spartan CS21SC-BRK is a no-nonsense edged weapon that you can depend on in all combat situations.
Forged from AUS10A steel, the blade has great corrosion resistance, thus making it durable. This knife will provide you with maximum cutting power, thanks to its amazing features.
To add to this, the blade features a reinforced spine that is both tough and reliable. Moreover, it has finger cutouts that will allow you to handle the blade without cutting yourself.
The other feature that is worth mentioning is the well-designed Demko thumb plate that allows for quick blade deployment.
With the thumb plate in place, you’ll be able to deploy the blade automatically as you draw the knife from your pocket, thereby putting you a step ahead of your attacker.
When it comes to your safety, the CS21SC-BRK is equipped with a Tri-Ad lock system that will ensure the blade stays tucked inside the handle when it is not in use.
What’s more, the handle is fitted with a strong pocket clip, but it also has a lanyard hole that offers additional carrying options.
You can easily draw this knife from your left or right pocket without encountering any problem.
The blade is just over 4″, and the fact that it is foldable makes it even better. This means you can use the Spartan CS21SC-BRK as an EDC knife.
Nevertheless, it is not as lightweight compared to most everyday carry knives with the same design.
- Sturdily built
- Innovatively designed
- Feels good in the hands
- The blade can be a bit difficult to sharpen due to its shape
Best Neck Knife: MTech USA MT-588BK
If you are looking for a self-defense neck knife, the MT-588BK is one of the best options that you can go for.
The first thing that you will notice when you look at this piece is the unique grenade-style handle, which tells you what the knife is all about.
It features a fixed blade design, so you won’t have to worry about it folding during battle. Additionally, the blade has a spear point tip that can pierce through flesh with ease.
To add to its list of features, it is double-edged, so you can take a swing at your attacker from either side.
On the downside, the cutting edges are not as sharp, so you may have to sharpen them before putting the knife to use. It has a large finger hole that will provide you with a solid grip when in a defensive stance.
The blade is about 2″ long, but the whole knife has an overall length of 4.25″.It comes with a neck chain that you can hang around your neck, thus giving you quick and easy access.
In addition to having a belt clip, the sheath has lashing slots that can prove helpful when strapping the knife to your boot.
To top it all up, the edges of the handle are contoured to maximize grip, so it won’t slip from your grasp.
- Compact and lightweight
- Made of stainless steel
- Easy to carry
- The sheath is made of plastic
Best Serrated Blade: Spyderco Matriarch 2
- GAME CHANGER - The Matriarch 2 is the combination of the Civilian
- SUPERIOR QUALITY - Its SpyderEdge VG-10 stainless steel blade is scientifically designed to maximize cutting performance
The Matriarch 2 comes with a strongly built blade that is made of VG-10 stainless steel. This type of steel is easy to sharpen, has great edge retention, excellent corrosion resistance, and that is exactly why it is commonly used in making kitchen knives.
Thanks to its curved shape, the Matriarch 2 can help you inflict debilitating cuts, thus weakening your attacker with every cut that you deliver.
This is one of the serrated blade knives that you can rely on in defensive and survival scenarios. With that said, it is an effective weapon that won’t fail you, provided that you use it the right way.
Furthermore, the blade features an Emerson Opener, which catches the pocket lining, allowing the blade to deploy at lightning speed.
This will greatly lower your reaction time when you are under attack, making this one of the go-to defense weapons that you can add to your tactical kit.
The dependable liner lock is designed in such a way that you can deploy the blade using one hand.
Also, the serrations along the edge will maximize damage on skin tissue, leaving the attacker in extreme pain. That way, you will have enough time to run or make the next move.
- Quality construction
- Well balanced
- High performance
- Not suitable for EDC
Best Karambit: Fox Knives Folding Karambit
- Superior utility knife featuring the patented Emerson Wave, which allows for quick deployment of the blade
- Tiger claw shaped blade with black teflon coating provides a sharp tip and enhanced edge retention
Featuring the Indonesian karambit blade style, this defensive knife is yet another efficient option that you can use when dealing with an attacker. Its claw-like design makes it a deadly weapon when it comes to self-defense.
Like the Matriarch 2, it features the Emerson wave, which will enable you to deploy the blade effortlessly.
The NC690Co stainless steel blade is exceptionally tough and can cut through flesh like butter.
Aside from being sharp, the blade holds its edge well and is equally resistant to corrosion. This means it can maintain a consistent edge for a long time, thus saving you from honing the blade from time to time.
The surface of the blade is Teflon-coated to ensure that it stays in good condition for an extended duration.
This karambit knife can inflict deep cuts when handled the right way. However, this type of knife may require you to have some skills to get the maximum results.
The handle is designed with your comfort in mind, so it won’t hurt your fingers when the blade strikes the target.
Furthermore, the grip area is textured while the edges are conveniently contoured to give the user maximum control.
There is also a finger hole on the rear side of the handle that provides users with additional security when holding the knife. You can as well attach a wrist lanyard to the handle.
If you are a fan of karambits, this may just be the right self-defense knife for you.
- Quick and easy blade deployment
- Can make a good utility knife
- Comes with an adjustable pocket clip
- Not the cheapest option
Best Everyday Carry (EDC): SOG TFSAT8-CP Flash II Tanto
- Quick Open Everyday Carry Knife: The SOG Flash II Tanto pocket knife serves as a daily carry knife for quick everyday tasks; these folding knives measure 4.5 inches in closed length
- Black Serrated Edge Pocket Knife: Quick release knife with Black Titanium Nitrade (TiNi) coating is scratch- and peel-resistant; features a reversible, low-carry pocket knife clip
Featuring an AUS-8 stainless steel blade, the Flash II Tanto from SOG is extremely durable and can come in handy in all defensive scenarios.
We recommend this knife to users because it has a compact design and is also easy to conceal. As such, you can take it with just about anywhere, so you will always be prepared in case someone attacks you.
Moreover, it is lightweight, meaning it won’t wear you down even after striking the opponent multiple times.
But, that is not all; it has an ambidextrous design, so all you have to do is to flip the pocket clip to match your dominant hand.
As a result, you will be able to draw the blade in a flash, thus increasing your chances of coming out victorious when attacked.
Besides, the blade can be deployed automatically by disengaging the integrated piston lock system.
More on the blade, it measures 3.5″ and also has a sharp piercing tip that can prove helpful in different scenarios.
And since it has a titanium-nitride finish, you won’t have to worry about corrosion. The grip features a durable nylon construction and is also glass-reinforced to maximize its efficiency.
Plus, the pocket clip is not only deep but is also centered, so the knife will stay in the right position at all times.
All these features make the SOG Flash II one of the best pocket knives that you can use for self-defense.
- The blade is fitted with thumb studs for user convenience
- Situation ready
- Quality tested
- Closing the blade using one hand is somewhat difficult
Best Semi-Serrated: Benchmade – Bedlam 860
- HIGH-QUALITY: The 154CM stainless steel blade is tough, rust resistant, and holds an edge well. The G10 handle is durable and stable enough for a wide range of temperatures, making it ideal for tactical use.
- WELL-DESIGNED: Benchmade's AXIS lock is exceptionally strong and fully ambidextrous. The Bedlam 860 is a manual knife that can be opened and closed single-handedly.
Benchmade is one of the reputable brands that is known for designing premium-grade knives.
The Bedlam 860 is no different since it offers good corrosion resistance, excellent edge retention, and great wear resistance. It has all the features that you may look for in a self-defense knife.
Most of the blades that we have reviewed are either plain or serrated, but that does not apply to the Bedlam 860 since it offers both.
To elaborate on this, the rear side of the blade has serrations while the front part is plain. This greatly increases the surface area of the cutting edge, allowing you to inflict deep slash wounds that will render your attacker helpless.
As a handheld weapon, the manufacturer has fitted the blade with an ergonomically designed handle that will give you an added advantage during a knife fight. It won’t shift, and neither will it slip, making it super reliable.
The blade not only has a thumb ramp but is also fitted with a stud that will enable you to close or open the blade with one hand. It has a reliable AXIS lock that is both strong and practical.
- User-friendly design
- Excellent craftsmanship
- A bit heavy
Best Self-Defense Boot Knife: Kershaw Secret Agent (4007)
- 8Cr13MoV stainless steel blade with high carbon is heat treated for performance, hardness and durability
- Handle is reinforced synthetic polymer encased by textured rubber for grip security; reinforcement provides increased strength, stiffness and stability
Are you in search of a concealable boot knife? If so, the Secret Agent 4007 is one of the civilian self-defense knives that can help you fend off an attacker. It has a spear point tip that can assist you in all piercing applications.
Furthermore, the 8Cr13MoV stainless steel blade is ideal for all heavy-duty tactical tasks. And the fact that it is heat-treated makes it exceptionally tough, so the cutting edge won’t dull easily.
It also has a protective black oxide finish that keeps rust and other corrosive elements at bay. This means you can use the knife in wet conditions without degrading the quality of the blade.
Still, you have to ensure that the blade is kept dry at all times since this will prevent the cutting edge from staining.
This carbon steel knife is designed with a strong handle that will allow you to strike your attacker repeatedly without hurting yourself.
The grip area is checkered and is also contoured to increase comfort. Additionally, the sheath has multiple lashing holes and slots that will enable you to strap the knife to your backpack or boot. If you prefer hooking the sheath to your pants, you can use the included belt clip.
- Non-reflective finish
- Built to last
- The blade is not double-edged compared to most knives with the same design
Best Folding: Spyderco Civilian C12GS
- ONE OF A KIND - The Civilian model came to be in the 1990s Spyderco was approached by a specialized branch of U.S. law enforcement about making a knife for their undercover agents.
- SUPERIOR QUALITY - The Civilian has a patented reverse "S" blade that's intended to be used like an oversized claw. The tip is ground to an ultra-thin profile.
The Spyderco Civilian C12GS is somewhat similar to the Matriarch 2 in that both blades are forged from high-quality VG-10 steel and also feature the reverse serrated edge design.
Nonetheless, the Civilian C12GS is larger compared to the Matriarch 2. The blade is curved to increase the knife’s cutting power.
And because the 4.09″ blade is hollow ground, you can hone it without causing damage to the cutting edge.
This knife is not as heavy, thanks to the lightweight materials used in the construction. However, this does not mean that it is not durable.
In fact, it is one of the toughest knives that you can use for self-defense. Attached to the knife is a strong pocket clip, which has a two-position design, so you can adjust it to match your needs.
The tip is precision ground to an ultra-sharp spear point that you can use for stabbing applications.
It has a strong lock-back handle for user safety, so the blade will stay in the exact position that you want it to.
- Professionally designed
- Heavy duty
- Reliable G-10 handle
- Like the Matriarch 2, it is not an ideal everyday carry knife
Best Full Tang: CRKT Clever Girl Fixed Blade Knife
- Dramatic visual: Upswept blade design for superior slicing action
- Exceptional Grip: G10 handle provides exceptional grip in all conditions
Forged from superior quality SK5 steel, the fixed blade knife by CRKT is also another excellent option that you can use to defend yourself.
It comes razor-sharp right out of the box, so you can use it immediately after unboxing the package.
To add to this, it is fitted with a non-slip G-10 handle that you can fully rely on during battle. Moreover, the handle is textured, so it will provide you with a firm grip in virtually all conditions.
The blade has thick a spine, which prevents breakage. Also, it won’t bend when the knife is in use. More to this, the knife features a full tang design and is also riveted at three points to prevent the handle from detaching.
Also, users can attach a wrist lanyard to the handle since it can come in handy during close-quarter combat. With a lanyard in place, you won’t lose your knife even when the handle slips.
The plain cutting edge is slightly curved upwards, so you can even hold the handle in a reverse grip. This piece is specially designed for slicing applications but it can also stab deeply.
- The sheath offers additional carrying options
- Easy to hone
- Adjustable belt clip
- The sheath needs improvement
Best Fixed Blade: Cold Steel Warcraft Tanto
Closing our list is the Warcraft Tanto from Cold Steel. This is a high-performance tactical knife that will provide you with exceptional results in all combat situations.
The blade is made of high-grade CPM 3-V steel, which offers high toughness and excellent wear resistance.
In addition to this, the blade is covered in an oxide layer to limit corrosion. What’s more, it is thicker compared to most blades in its class, making it even more dependable.
It comes with a long handle that is contoured to ensure that users have a firm grip. The chisel tip is extremely sharp and can stab or slice, thanks to its angled design.
When you buy this knife, you will also get a durable sheath that you can strap to your boots or belt. The blade fits flush inside the sheath, so it won’t fall off.
Nonetheless, it will allow you to draw the blade with ease when you want to use the knife. The Warcraft Tanto has a tough spine and is also heat-treated to maximize durability.
On the downside, CPM 3-V steel is not stainless, so the blade is likely to stain if it is not cared for.
- Good edge retention
- Expertly designed
- Not for EDC
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best knife to carry for self-defense?
Self-defense knives come in different sizes and also vary when it comes to performance. As such, ensure that you pick the knife that has all the features that you may need. The above-listed knives are some of the best options that can get you started on your search.
How Long Should a Self-Defense Knife Be?
According to most knife aficionados, a good self-defense knife should have a blade that is between 3 and 7 inches.
Are automatic knives good for self-defense?
Yes. Automatic knives allow for quick and easy blade deployment, so you will stand a better chance of surviving an attack since the blade will allow you to take a defensive stance in a matter of seconds.
Can I carry a knife for self-defense?
Depending on your safety needs, you can carry a knife as a primary or secondary defense weapon.
Are pocket knives good for self-defense?
Most pocket knives are designed with tough blades that you can rely on when fending off an attacker. Nevertheless, not all pocket knives are good for self-defense, so ensure that you choose the right weapon.
The self-defense knives that we have covered above can prove helpful when you are under attack. Besides, most of them are compact, so you can carry them without sparking fear in those that are around you.
To add to this, the knives are equipped with heavy-duty blades that are specially designed for slicing and stabbing applications.
Nevertheless, ensure that you use the knives responsibly and only as a last resort. You should also familiarize yourself with the legal ramifications of using knives in your state.