In the beginning, tactical pocket knives were used by sportsmen and then it became an indispensable part of military personnel because each tactical folder has some unique features and it could do a variety of tasks. Different types of tactical edc knives first became popular in the United States in the early 1990s. In these 30 years, the designs and parts of these knives have been modified and updated. Keeping that continuity, I am presenting the top 15 best tactical folding knives in the contemporary period.
Feature Comparison Table of 15 Best Folding Tactical Knives in the World
Click on Image to Jump on Review
Click on Name to Jump on Review
Blade Material & (HRC)
8Cr14MoV Stainless Steel (59)
8Cr13MoV Stainless Steel (58)
4034 High Carbon Stainless Steel (58)
Sandvik 14C28N Stainless Steel (60)
6061-T6 Anodized Aluminum
9Cr18MoV Stainless Steel (58)
154CM Stainless Steel (61)
1.4116 Stainless Steel (57)
AUS-8 Stainless Steel (58)
CPM S30V Stainless Steel (59)
8Cr13MoV Stainless Steel (58)
CPM-S35Vn Stainless Steel (62)
AUS-8 High-Carbon Steel (59)
Glass Filled Nylon Scales
CPM-S30V Stainless Steel (60)
420 Stainless Steel (58)
CPM-M4 Stainless Steel (64)
15 Best Tactical Folding Knife Reviews in 2021
How to Choose a Best Tactical Folding Knife in 2021 – Buying Guide
When choosing this knife you want to make sure that it will give you ease of use, security, peace of mind, and effectiveness. Make sure that it has a firm, comfortable grip, and a secure blade. If you are looking for an everyday carry multipurpose self-defense knife that will give you an advantage in case you are attacked and will protect you then choose the best tactical pocket knife.
What Makes a Knife a Best Folding Tactical Knife?
When you are wondering to buy a tactical folding knife you should know its major attributes. These types of knives have some unique attributes. Let me describe the top 10 key features.
1. A secure and safe locking mechanism
2. High-quality blade metal with a razor-sharp edge
3. Partially serrated blade for multitasking
4. Modern, durable and composite material handle
5. Handle material like carbon fiber, G-10, plastic, metal
6. Comfortable finger notch with grip skin
7. Almost always have a secure single-hand opening system
8. Pocket clip especially reversible
9. Lightweight, easy to carry, and concealable
10. At least one life-saving feature: glass breaker, strap cutter, fire starter, etc.
Note: You might not be able to find all the features in a particular knife.
What is the Purpose of Your Knife?
Because there are so many different tactical pocket knives in the market; you should first determine what you are going to use it for. This will help you to narrow it down to a few instead of several hundred. This knife can be used as a survival knife, for self-defense, and an all-around utility knife, like a knife for protection, or general use for a camping trip. The more you know what its purpose will be the easier it will be to buy the right model.
Features Have to Consider Before Picking Up One
One of the features you should consider is the opening system, which fits your wants, personal style, and needs, locking system, blade types and functions, and more. Make a list of features you would like so you get what you want in the best tactical knife.
The Blade – Most Crucial Part of Tactical Folding Knife
Before you decide on the tactical knife to buy, you need to consider what type of stainless steel blade you need, the blade edge and the length you need, the number of blades you want your knife to have, and the manufacture of the knife.
Some Recommended Core Materials of the Blade
The core element of the blade is generally high carbon steel or stainless steel. How the steel has been heating treated is a huge factor in the performance of the blade. When looking at the blade core material, the first thing that you should do is look for one with a specific alloy name. Most of the knives will have a specification sheet that will list various compounds of the material of the blade. Under the category of blade material, you may see a compound like 8Cr13MoV, 440C, AUS-8, or other compound numbers.
If the manufacturer does not list the alloy but states surgical steel or stainless steel, you should not pay more than thirty dollars for the knife. The next step is to choose the knife from a respected manufacturer. Some knife owners say that the most popular blades are the 154CM and the S30V, AUS-8, carbon steel because these two are sharper, harder, and tougher than some of the more foreign and exotic blades.
Considering Overall Length of the Knife
Blades of a tactical folder can range from very small two inches blades to large blades over eight and a half inches. The size of the blade can make a big difference even if it is only a few inches. Choose the size for how you are going to use it.
Different Types of Blade Length of Tactical Folding Knives
The first thing that you need to do is to check the legality of the length of the blade that you can have in your area. Next, you need to consider what you are going to use the knife for so you can choose the correct blade length and not get one too small or too large.
• Small Blades: These knives are anything fewer than 2.75 inches and are used for intricate tasks. They are legal in most places, lighter, and easier to carry. The disadvantages with this small knife are that they are not as versatile or strong as larger tactical folding knives.
• Medium Blades: These range from 3 to 4 inches and are large enough to handle various tasks but still small enough to be mobile. These knives also have different locking mechanisms. Most tactical EDC knife users prefer medium size blades.
• Large Blades: These folding knife blades are over four inches and focus more on self-defense and can be more intimidating than the smaller blades. They are also not easy to carry discreetly. They are also heavier and bulkier. In some locales, they may not meet the requirements of the law.
Folding Tactical Knife with Various Blade Edges
Sharpening, cutting elements, cutting style – all these things, and the overall performance of the knife depending on the edge of the blade. So stay very careful about the blade edge.
• Plain Edge: This kind of blade edge is better at doing push cuts and gives you better control of the folding knife. It also gives you a cleaner, more accurate cuts. Plain edges are easier for the owner to sharpen, so you do not have to send it back to the factory to be sharpened. It does not have the ability to do pull cuts and saw.
• Serrated Edge: This type of edge does a good job of cutting tougher materials due to the extra strength that comes from a higher pressure per area. These blades are usually thinner and allow the blade to cut well than other folder knives. They are also difficult to sharpen so you have to send them to the factory to be sharpened.
• Combination Edge: This type of blade edge is both serrated and plain, with the plain edge at the front of the knife. It lets you manage the part of the blade for rigorous cutting and the other division for easy push cutting. Only combining or partially serrated edge knives can give you the ultimate performance of the best tactical folding knife. It will also have to be sent to the factory to be sharpened. It is also not as clumsy as a serrated edge knife.
Blade Number and Its Performance
A folding tactical knife can have a single blade or multiple blades. They may even have tools. A folding knife with more blades may not always be the best. Before choosing the number of blades you want your knife to have looked at the knife’s performance.
• Swiss Army or Multi-Tool Folding Knife: These types of knives have more than blades. It has tools like tweezers, nail files, corkscrews, toothpicks, and more. On the market today, these are the most multi-dimensional tactical pocket knives. It was originally created to meet the demands of the soldiers in the fields. They come in many different sizes and shapes ranging from three tools to 87 tools Giant Swiss Army Knife. They are for those who are the jack-of-all-trades.
• Multi-Blade Tactical Folding Knife: When the knife has more than one blade they will let you do various jobs. They can have from two to four blades. The two-blade knives are very traditional knives, but the three or four-blade knives offer you different blades. There is a blade for skinning an animal. One may let you ‘carve wood. Unfortunately, a folding knife with multiple blades is not as strong or durable but does give you a variety.
• Single Blade Tactical Folding Knife: These come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Their size and simplicity are the best qualities of this type of knife. A single-blade knife focuses on the design of one large blade. They usually are sturdier, lighter, and stronger due to their locking mechanisms so they can be used for more demanding work. They are perfect for being an all-purpose tactical folding knife. One disadvantage is there is a lack of variety.
You May Like: Best Fixed Blade Tactical Knife
Ergonomic Handle Features of Tactical Pocket Knife
The handle is the second most crucial part of any knife. When you are looking for the best folding tactical knife you must be careful of 4 different attributes of an ergonomic handle.
• Handle Length: This depends on how large your hand is. With a larger hand, you would need a longer handle so you can grip it better and not be too close to the blade. Hold the knife in your hand to see how the handle fits.
• Handle Material: There are many different types of material that you can choose. Each one has different disabilities. If you like the look of a classic knife chooses wood, bone, or plastic but if you want a modern sleek knife, choose a clean metal design. Select a composite material (G10, Rubber, Micarta, Molded Plastic) if you want a tactical appearance.
• Handle Design and Structure: This is decided by the user’s carrying preferences and comfort. If you plan to wear gloves when using the knife or have large hands, then you should choose one with a larger handle. Choose a slim handle if you want a compact size and a grip is not an issue.
• Handle Grip: The grip should be efficient and comfortable. It should also feel good in your hand and is easy to grip when you are using it. You do not want one that could slip when you are using it.
Safety Features of Tactical Folding Knife
Secure closing and opening of the blade is one of the essential parts of pocket knife safety rules for everyday carry users. You should make sure that you have the right locking mechanism, so it does not accidentally come open when you are carrying it in your pocket. You need to look at the materials the handle is made of and what type of grip that it has.
Blade Opening Mechanism
When looking at the different opening mechanisms you need to know the speed and mechanism that you want it to open because if you have the knife for protection, it can be a difference between life and death. If you are just using it for doing everyday chores, the speed it opens would not be that important.
• Manual Opening Knife: This type you can use your hands to open it or you can use a thumb stub. On some, there are grooves on the blade that lets your nail to grab the blade to open the folding knife.
• Single-Hand Opening Knife: This kind is usually opened using your thumb to push in a stud to open it. There are some with a hole in the blade. These can be opened quickly.
• Two-Hand Opening Knife: This type is generally opened using your fingernail. It is considered a manual open folding knife. The older generation used one.
• Automatic Opening Knife: This is like the popular switchblades that were seen in the 1950s that automatically opened with the press of a button very quickly. Today they are not legal in most places in the USA. These knives are expensive.
• Assisted Opening Knife: It is a hybrid of two systems. The user initiates the opening with their thumb allowing a spring to kick in and completely deploy the blade. Today they are one of the best tactical pocket knives in most places. Most of the users around the world including the USA prefer assisted opening tactical folder knives.
The Locking Mechanism
This is the part of the pocket knife that keeps the blade open like the fixed blade knife. It also helps to prevent the blade from snapping shut accidentally. If it snaps shut on your fingers, it could cause serious injuries. It is a security feature that will keep it closed when you are carrying a knife. There are several different types of locking mechanisms to choose from.
• Lock-Back Folding Knife: This is one of the earliest and most basic designs of locking knives. Along the spine of this knife is a little notch on the handle. You will need to use your thumb to depress the locking mechanism before you store the blade. It does not suit a one-hand operation.
• Frame-Lock Folding Knife: On this type of locking mechanism one side of the frame will slide under the blade when you have it fully deployed and lock it into place. It is easy to operate with one hand and very secure. It uses the handle to assist in folding the knife.
• Liner-Lock Folding Knife: This locking mechanism basically works in the same way as a frame-lock mechanism. The difference is that one side of the liner shifts and locks the blade. The rest of the handle stays in place. On modern tactical folding knives, they are a common locking system. It is functional and very secure.
Carrying Portion or Pocket Clip
One of the most impotent attributes of the tactical EDC knife is the pocket clip. There are two kinds of pock clips available in the market. One is a fixed pocket clip and another is the reversible pocket clip. The best option is the reversible pocket clip. It keeps the knife vertical for comfort. It also rides higher in your pocket for easy and quick access. If you choose not to have a pocket clip, it will take up less space but can slide all the way down into your pocket.
Best Tactical Folding Knife for the Money
Budget is one of the major factors while anyone willing to buy something. In this case, let me show you what should be your budget according to your user experience and what type of folding knife you will find for the money.
Tactical Pocket Knife Under $30
This is the economical range. Most of these are made with not as much attention to detail and from a material that is cheap, but there are some great pocket knives under $30 range. They are sometimes called flea market knives.
Tactical Folding Knife Under $50
For most tactical folding knives this is the ideal price range. Once you go over thirty dollars, you will see that higher-quality steel is used for the blade. The overall design significantly improves, and better material for the handles is available.
Folding Tactical Knife Under $100
In this price range folding knives under $100, there are small improvements in functionality and design as well as better quality material, including the handle and blade. After purchasing a less expensive first knife most will move to this price range.
Tactical EDC Knife Under $200
You will get the best tactical EDC knife on the market in this price range. All these high quality folding knives under $200 have modified a custom design, good looking, and used extremely high-quality materials. This is the price range of collectors and knives from well-known manufacturers.
Check User Product Review and Rating
There are many tactical knives on the market. Most are found on different sites for sale. Every site offers product reviews and ratings, so one knife that is featured on several sites will have different reviews and ratings. This makes it hard to list a particular knife and give it a product review and rating, stating that this is what the consumer rates it when it could be different on another site.
Some Extra Features You Can Consider
Blade edge angle
Color or finish
Safety features like-
Some Trusted Best Tactical Folding Knife Brands in 2021
There are hundreds of knife manufacturing companies that exist in the world and choosing one is very skilled work. Here I am listing the top 10 good pocket knife brands and if you buy any of their knives, you will never make a mistake.
- Columbia River Knife & Tool
- Zero Tolerance Knives
- Cold Steel
- Smith & Wesson
Some say that for it to be the best folding tactical knife has to be expensive, have a carbon steel blade, and be a certain length and more. To some, it may be the one that was handed down to them by their father. If this is your first tactical folding knife take your time and look at all the features and get the one that suits your needs.
- Tactical Folding Knife 2020
- Best Pocket Knife
- Best EDC Knife 2021
- Best Folding Knife 2021