Our 10 Best Self Defense Knife Reviews (Choose Wisely)

Getting your hands on the best self defense knife means knowing about top rated pocket knives, the best concealed carry knives, why a knife might be better than a gun and where to find the best knife.

What we have here is what we hope will be a wealth of information about buying a knife for self defense and how to use it responsibly. We’re going to avoid the usual advertising and marketing steep in machismo and stick to smart and informative copy.

To start, a knife is a tool, allowing you to safely protect yourself in ways you cannot with your hands and feet. A knife is also a weapon and has the potential to inflict serious harm – and worse! We’re operating under the assumption that you don’t want to hurt anyone, but you’re not looking to get hurt either.

So, let’s dive in and get a handle on knife self defense.

Benefits of Using Knives for Self Defense

Why a knife?

It’s a valid question. Why not a club or even a mace? Why not just go ahead and purchase a .357 Magnum?

Using a Knife

Courtesy of Bart

In the right hands, a benchmade boot knife or fixed blade tactical knife offers advantages best suited for unique situations where other weapons won’t work. Yes, a firearm is probably the most powerful deterrent in a volatile situation, but what if you don’t have a gun?

On the other hand, training in the use of a knife extends to pretty much any sharp object you can get your hands on. No knife? Well, there’s a pair of scissors. Grab a pen or newly sharpened pencil. Any one of these objects can be used to defend yourself if you already know how to handle a knife. Knowledge of the best self defense knives and how to use them provides far more opportunity to switch up defense technique than any firearm.

What Society is Saying

While no one wants to advocate violent acts of any kind, we would be blind to ignore the fact that we live in a dangerous world. Predators are counting on our good nature and our lack of aggression in order to inflict their will on potential victims.

We also live in a society that overall disallows the use of firearms. The same could be said of knives, but regulations in this regard are in no way as restrictive as for guns. As access to firearms seem prevalent, anyone that shoots another person – even in self defense – will likely be arrested if that firearm is illegal. But take the gun out of that person’s hand and replace it with a knife? Society and even the law will probably be a little more lenient about the action.

Ease of Use

Courtesy of Ludovit Kanta

A knife is a defense that’s easily accessible and applied. A gun or baton can be difficult to deploy, especially in close quarters. A Puma Bowie knife can be retrieved quickly and, in the right hands, almost invisibly. Guns are loud. Knives are quiet and clandestine.

Before buying a blade of any kind, consider taking a course in self defense with a knife. Also, go through our self defense knife reviews, tips and advice. Your goal should be to learn all you can about knives, the situations in which you would use them, and how to break down situations and their potential outcomes before ever drawing a weapon. Whether a .22 or the best pocket knife in the world, the user has to keep a cool head as the adrenaline explodes. Their head has to stay clear so that they never forget a weapon is the last resort in any conflict.

The one last thing any knife carrier should know is if you pull a weapon, be ready to use it. You cannot create a situation where a predator realizes you are not prepared to act. In many cases, just seeing the weapon might turn the tide. But if an assailant believes you won’t act, you will have made an already volatile situation worse.

Knife vs. Gun

When it comes to defending yourself in close quarters, one couldn’t do better than the use of self defense knives.

Courtesy of Zorin Denu

With a knife, you’re not constricted by proximity. It can take time to draw a firearm, to aim and then to pull the trigger. This is an intense situation requiring quick action and can put a lot of pressure on the individual with the firearm. Up close and personal, a gun can be grabbed and taken away. Even many police officers carry a knife because studies have shown small self defense weapons provide more choices in a physical attack than a gun.

Guns require a line of fire. The best carry knife does not. In fact, its deployment can consist of several tactical moves. A gun can miss its target. A knife is less likely to, especially in close contact. In fact, when it comes to a knife in a defensive situation, the closer the better. The smart knife wielder laughs when they see a movie with a knife being waved threateningly in the air. Knives are objects of stealth. It is unsheathed and used as quickly as possible.

In a conflict, being aware of the surroundings is critical. The smaller the space, the harder it will be to draw a weapon. Always put as much space between yourself and the predator as you can. Draw your knife and prepare to defend yourself, ending things as quickly as possible.

It’s also important to learn how to properly use your knife. Study and practice will minimize the possibility of hurting yourself, unnecessarily inflicting great harm or having the weapon turned on you.

Best Self Defense Knife Reviews

Kershaw Ken Onion Blur Folding Knife

Made in the U.S.A. by experienced knife makers, the Kershaw Ken Onion Blur Folding Knife is a best folding knife. Its design is slim and light with a strip of stainless steel. There are pre-drilled holes in the handle. They let the owner alter the tip position or the side on which the knife carries. The SpeedSafe feature makes opening the knife with one hand easy and quick. It requires only a push on the thumbstud or a pull on the flipper and – boom – the self defense knife is ready for action. The refined shape of the blade is ideal for slicing and piercing. Its properties promise long lasting durability and corrosion resistance.

  • The Kershaw Ken Onion Blur Folding Knife can be used as a hardworking tool, a special collector’s edition or a hunting knife.
  • The SpeedSafe Assisted Opening feature allows a quick unsheathing of the blade even under taunt conditions.
  • The handle is designed with Trac-Tec grip-tape inserts, allowing for a solid, non-slipping hold.
  • Buyers have complained about receiving defective products.
  • There have been complaints of the blade breaking anywhere between a few weeks and a few months after initial use.


SOG SEAL Pup Elite Fixed Blade AUS-8 Partially Serrated

The SOG SEAL Pup Elite Fixed Blade is the best folding knife for self defense. It has a partially serrated blade, GRN handle and comes with a hard molded nylon sheath. From one of the best pocket knife brands, the SOG SEAL Pup Elite has an ergonomic handle with deep finger grooves, and a noticeably longer cutting blade with a spine for filing, notching and thumb placement. The blade has a fixed 4.85 inch AUS-8 steel blade with a clip point shape. The SOG SEAL Pup Elite’s handle is constructed of glass-reinforced nylon for a more comfortable fit in the hand.

Technical Specifications

Product dimensions9.5 x 1.6 x 0.7 inches
Weight / Shipping weight5.4 / 5.4 ounces
Model numberE37T-K
  • Crafted from strong Zytel, the textured handle promises to be slip free and balanced.
  • The included black Kydex sheath keeps the SOG SEAL Pup Elite safeguarded and close at hand at all times.
  • This resource has become a go-to for the military, law enforcement and industrial professionals that need the best carry knife for tough, adverse conditions and projects.
  • This best tactical knife comes with a lanyard hole, a nylon lanyard and belt loop attachment.
  • It’s been said the handle is too small for precision work and can slip in the hand.
  • The blade is not waterproof and rusts quickly.


Spyderco ParaMilitary 2 G-10 Plain Edge Knife

Engineered from the highest quality materials used in the best self defense folding knife, the Spyderco ParaMilitary 2 G-10 Plain Edge Knife has a four way clip, a nested compression lock, spine and choil jumping construction, and a flat ground CPM-S30V blade. This is the best self defense knife with a DLC coated, para military black and ergonomic curve to improve grip for superior control and tremendous stopping power. The included clip is a black steel pocket for convenient carry and simplified access. It positions the knife tip down and right hand.

Technical Specifications

Product dimensions1 x 1 x 1 inches
Weight / Shipping weight1 / 1 pounds
Model numberC81GP
  • Among the best knives for self defense, this weapon is from one of the most respected brands in weaponry.
  • The knife has G-10 laminated scales on its handles for better gripping power.
  • Spyderco’s proprietary compression lock tech provides superior control and prevents slippage.
  • Besides its CPM-S30V blade, the device has an indexed 14 mm round hole for large or gloved hands.
  • Several distressed customers discovered they had been shipped a knock-off of this knife built of extremely poor quality.


Columbia River Knife and Tool

The Columbia River Knife and Tool is form and function designed to give its user prowess and confidence. The manufacturer ranks high in self defense knife reviews and this blade shows why. Its blade profile is inspired by the designs of legendary knife maker Ken Onion. The blade’s flipper makes actuation efficient and quick. The handle shape creates a stern grip with a nicely developed palm swell profile. This knife has a swept finger groove and overall balance. The sleek, clean look is deceptively tactical with its forged aluminum and checkering for an almost non-aggressive appearance.

Technical Specifications

Product dimensions8.2 x 1 x 0.5 inches
Weight / Shipping weight3.8 / 3.8 ounces
Model numberK495KKS
  • The blade style is a Tanto, hollow grind with triple point serrations and has a high end AUS 8 steel construction.
  • The handle material is designed with a glass filled nylon and a 420J2 liner.
  • Once in play, the knife is intimidating and forceful.
  • The blade is only ground on one side.
  • The blade has been known to chip under the slightest condition.
  • The locking mechanism will not always close completely.


Ontario 9416BM Ranger Ready Detachment RD6 Knife

In the search for good knives for self defense, the Ontario 9416BM Ranger Ready Detachment RD6 Knife keeps popping up. Among its features are a construction of 5160 steel, textured black powder coated blades and multi-colored Micarta handles for one sleek, cool design. A major manufacturer of the best self defense knives for the government and military, Ontario has always delivered unparalleled craftsmanship and an unflinching commitment to provide its customers with quality, producing exceptional cutlery that’s utilized around the world.

Technical Specifications

Product dimensions14.5 x 3 x 2 inches
Weight / Shipping weight16.4 ounces / 1.4 pounds
Model number9416BM
  • The Ontario knife incorporates MOLLE (Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment) tech used by NATO armed forces.
  • Hardened to 53-55 HRC, the blade is designed to prevent scratching or rusting.
  • The manufacturer is a major supplier of defense weapons for governments, military and law enforcement.
  • The more experienced knife user has found the quality control of this device’s blade to be lacking.
  • The knives have shown an uneven grind and provided no sharpness at all.
  • Users have found the handle to be too large.


Columbia River Clever Girl Straight Edge Knife and Tool

The Columbia River Clever Girl Straight Edge Knife and Tool has a durable G10 handle with an exceptional drip and a Persian inspired plain, hollow grind edge blade. This knife is as ready for practical projects as it is combat situations.

If you’re in the market for the best defense knife, the Clever Girl was engineered for a quick but reliable grab. The powder coated up swept blade is all about form and function. It has MOLLE compatible tech, meaning it has a range of carry options. The knife’s entire production was developed by a group of combat veterans looking to create a military grade fighting tool.

Technical Specifications

Product dimensions10 x 1.5 x 0.7 inches
Weight / Shipping weight6.2 / 6.2 ounces
Model number2709
  • This impressive knife was designed to ensure a solider has a tool that helps bring them back home to their family.
  • The design comes from the Forged by War program, a group of combat vets drawing on their combined experiences to create mission ready tools.
  • Forged by War donates 10 percent of its net profits to charities devoted to veteran causes.
  • The Clever Girl promises a fast draw and instinctive use.
  • More experienced users have found the device to be too long for EDC.


SOG SEAL Pup Elite Fixed Blade

Constructed of high performing steel, the SOG SEAL Pup Elite Fixed Blade is an elite tool with a hard case TiNi black blade, deep finger grooves in the ergonomic handle, a longer cutting blade, and an additional spine rasp for filing, notching and thumb placement. This is one best self defense knife with its molded injection glass reinforced handle built with grip lines. This device has been through the U.S. government’s most extensive testing and evaluation programs before becoming a valuable resource for the SEALs program.

Technical Specifications

Product dimensions9.5 x 1.6 x 0.7 inches
Weight / Shipping weight9.9 / 9.9 ounces
Model numberE37SN-CP
  • With a solution of mild soap and water, the removed accumulated debris and dirt prevents corrosion and wear.
  • The weapon has an ergonomic handle, a long cutting edge and deeper finger grooves.
  • The manufacturer uses a cryogenic heat process that maximizes the blade’s durability and wear resistance.
  • The AUS 8 steel blade is a fixed 4.85 inch straight edge with a black TiNi finish.
  • All SOG defense knives come with a guarantee against defects in the product for the life of its original purchaser.
  • The product has been shipped with a dull blade.
  • The sheath has been known to completely fall apart for no reason.
  • Though advertised as made in the USA, this knife actually comes from Taiwan.


Spyderco Street Beat Micarta Plain Edge Knife

The Spyderco Street Beat Micarta Plain Edge Knife belongs on any list outlining the best knife for self defense. It has a deep finger choil at the center of balance which maximizes its use and serves as a hand guard. The choil provides a reliable handguard and precisely manages the device’s responsiveness. The frame is ground VG-10 stainless steel and has a powerful, tang construction. The fully flattened blade offers outstanding cutting performance and edge geometry. The device comes with two lanyard holes and a Kydex sheath with a G-clip that offers a variety of carry options.

Technical Specifications

Product dimensions7.2 x 3.4 x 1.2 inches
Weight / Shipping weight3.2 / 3.2 ounces
Model numberFB15P
  • The Spyderco Street Beat was designed by renowned knife maker Fred Perrin.
  • The handle is polished Micarta scales and contoured to fit comfortably in the hand.
  • Besides a refined edge geometry, the knife has an unsharpened spine swedge to create a capable and strong point.
  • The knife has full tang construction with a significant finger choil along its length.
  • Experienced users have said the price for this knife isn’t comparable for its build and quality.


Zero Tolerance G10 Handle Folding Tiger Striped Blade with SpeedSafe

The Zero Tolerance G10 Handle Folding Tiger Striped Blade with SpeedSafe is an updated version of what was already considered a best self defense pocket knife. The device has a S30V stainless steel finish with a tungsten DLC coating. The handle is a textured matte black G-10. This self defense folding knife is 10 percent lighter and smaller than the original, and has a non-serrated blade with a Tiger Strip finish. The knife has textured, G-10 matte black scales for a better grip. SpeedSafe provides easy single hand deployment even with gloves via blade protrusion or an ambidextrous thumb stud.

Technical Specifications

Product dimensions3-1/4 inches (closed); 7 5/8 inches (open)
Weight / Shipping weight6.2 / 6.2 ounces
Model numberZT0350TS
  • The G-10 is equipped with SpeedSafe which allows for easy deployment of the folding knife even while wearing gloves.
  • This latest version of the tool is both lighter and smaller than the original.
  • The non-reflective Tiger Stripe Tungsten DLC minimizes friction drag.
  • It features a quad mounting system for tipping up, down, left or right handed carrying.
  • It’s been said the coating does not wear well.
  • The opening mechanism has broken easily.


Spyderco Sage Carbon Fiber Plain Edge Knife

This product is part of the manufacturer’s Sage series, considered some of the best tactical folding knives on the market. The Plain Edge has a flat ground blade manufactured with a CPM-S30V steel blade designed for precise cutting. The handle is twill woven carbon and vibrant multi-colored fibers. The deep fibers create ridges and textures that the palm grasps, adding a layer of grip comfort while in use. The blade comes with a silhouette wire pocket clip for ambidextrous carrying.

Technical Specifications

Product dimensions6.5 x 2.5 x 1 inches
Weight / Shipping weight3.2 / 4.8 ounces
Model numberC123CFP
  • The device was engineered with a ground flat bed to manage precise cutting.
  • Among knives for self defense, the Sage offers a superior control performance.
  • The product comes with a reversible silhouette wire pocket clip that supports the left or right hand.
  • The company will donate five percent of sales of this product to the Denver, Colorado chapter of the National Alzheimer’s Association.
  • Customers have complained about receiving knock-offs of the company’s best pocket knives.


Tips on Choosing the Right Self Defense Knife

Not everyone has to be a martial artist or to own a gun to defend themselves. In most parts of the country, you’re not even allowed to have a gun. But if you were to look at the best tactical knives, you’d see they make effective self defense weapons.

Before choosing one of these knives, know a little about your local laws. In some regions, it’s against the law to carry a knife without sufficient reasoning. There may be restrictions on the type of knife you can own. There are regions where you are not allowed to carry a blade that’s concealed completely.

Courtesy of Combat Krav Maga

Once you have a better grasp of local laws, you can begin looking at knife types and which are best for you. And while you can certainly want and use a knife for many practical purposes, we’re going to focus on the best knife to carry for self defense.

The kerambit is considered an excellent option in personal knives. An efficient and small tool, this knife has a blade that looks like a claw. It’s noted for its deep and deadly cuts. It has a good grip, can be carried in the pocket and is a perfect choice for a newcomer. The best folding kerambit is probably the Fox Karambit Trainer.

If you already know about self defense knives, you probably already know about brand names, manufacturers, shapes, wicked points and swept lines. You also know, at the end of the day, none of that really matters. A skilled knife aficionado will have all their favorites, but what will matter most is how a knife feels in their hands. Weight, balance preferences, price, brand, short or long blades, finger grooves, the design of the handle and the comfort in the grip, together these characteristics stand in line behind comfort. Being better off with the best combat folding knife or, if you like, the best stiletto knife will come down to the grip and ease of movement.

For the record, most people don’t need a big knife or the best spring assisted knife. At the very least, understand why you’d want to choose one over the other. Don’t let the final decision be about cool, price or what you saw on a TV show. Whether it’s the best folding pocket knife (Kershaw Leek Knife) or the best knife under $100 (Columbia River Knife and Tool), when it comes to self defense and knives, look for comfort.

Self Defense Knife FAQs

What are the benefits of a using a knife for personal and house defense?

Knives are better solutions as their use can be applied in a range of situations. Guns can be difficult to use. Imagine waking up to hear someone in the home. If your gun is – as required by law – locked up, you have to retrieve it. Once you have, you confront the assailant. If it’s dark, you have to hope the shot doesn’t miss.

On the other hand, a knife can be in the bedside drawer or under the bed. Quick access and you’re ready to go!

How do I choose a self defense knife?

You want to look for a device that has the form, function and comfort that you need. There are too many decisions to consider when selecting the best tactical pocket knife and the answers will be different for every user.

Help me decide once and for all: gun vs. knife.

A knife is a close quarters defense. The gun is best used at a distance. Both are considered lethal force weapons. This means under the eyes of the law, their use and the circumstances of said use can be applied to the same legalities.

Even under justifiable conditions, it can be difficult to use either one. We believe the knife has a lot more options for defending yourself than a gun. Ultimately, we advise you carefully study both sides of the coin, as well as review the laws for both in your region, and make a decision based on your findings, situation and talent.

Where to Buy the Best Self Defense Knife

There are many places where you can buy the best concealed carry knife, but we advise that anyone – especially the newcomer – start at Amazon. From a pocket knife for women to the best folding tactical knife, Amazon is going to give you access to the top rated manufacturers like SOG SEAL and Spyderco. You’ll be able to read about popular items like the Sage series. You will also have access to thousands of customer experiences, both good and bad.

Ultimately, unlike a trip to Wal-Mart, Amazon is a resource where you learn more about knives for personal defense outside of just looking at what’s available on a retailer’s shelves. Another good resource is the manufacturer’s website. This might be a good way to ensure you don’t end up with poor quality knock-offs of extremely popular products that even the most experienced knife shopper has ended up with.


Courtesy of GREGORIUZ

If it’s time to go down the road and buy the best self defense knife, we’re sure the information we’ve gathered here will get you to the right place.

Defense knives are small. They can hang off your belt, fit in a pocket or purse, or be left tucked out of sight between the car seats. When properly trained, you can use your skills with a range of objects if a knife isn’t available.

If you are fixated on getting a knife, understand why and give yourself a cool down period. There is nothing more dangerous than arming yourself out of anger or revenge. Cooler heads make better decisions. Knowing and applying this thinking to your knife purpose will only prove you’re responsible enough to manage its use safely.