What Are the Best Self Defense Knives?

The idea of the perfect self-defense knife is as individual as the people who carry them. Whether it is a “just in case” knife or if there are threats around you, a self defense knife can come in very handy and allow you to protect yourself from harm. These are not to be used as toys or to go looking for a fight, but rather they should be considered tools one can use in extreme, rare emergency scenarios.

Is the Spyderco Paramilitary 2 G-10 a good knife for self defense?

Below, please use our interactive guide to compare some of the top tactical and survival knives on the market:

Benchmade-GriptillianBenchmade Griptilian$$$
Ka-Bar Fighting KnifeKa-Bar Fighting Knife$$
Benchmade-556Benchmade Mini Griptilian$$$
Mossy Oak Survival Knife$$
Spyderco TenaciousSpyderco Tenacious$$
Spyderco Paramilitary 2Spyderco Para 3$$$

Do We Need Self Defense Knives?

This is a tricky subject, and the true answer is this: only you can answer this question and no one else.  With that said, this article will attempt to provide you with handful of knife models that are not only great knives on their own in terms of their intended use, but can be used to protect oneself or one’s family should an immediate threat present itself while you’re, for example, out in the wilderness on a camping trip.

As mentioned previously, this article is not written for those looking for toys or those who want to start fights. This article is written so that you, the reader, can get a quick look at a few of the options available which will enable you to defend yourself and your family against anything that might cause you harm in an extreme circumstance.

Below, please take a moment to view some of the best-selling knives currently for sale on Amazon:

1) Cold Steel Survivalist
2) Ka-Bar USMC
3) Kershaw Cryo II
4) Mossy Oak
5) Kershaw Knockout

What Is The First Thing You Look For?

The first thing one must figure out when they are looking at self-defence knives is not what they look like, but also what they feel like. You will want to make sure any knife you consider purchasing meets certain standards. The easiest way to figure this out is to ask oneself these three questions:

This is something only you can answer. You need to make sure that whatever blade you are looking at feels comfortable and natural. You will want to make sure you can get a good, firm grip on the handle without it being too big or too small. A knife can be the most popular one on the market or be the most eye-catching, but if it does not fit the person buying it, it may as well be for decoration only.

Poorly fit knives are easily dropped, left at home or even worse, taken from you. A properly matched knife will fit comfortably in your hand with no unwanted movement when you have your hand closed around it.

  • How will this perform in inclement weather?

Different hilts have different materials and textures. This can dramatically make a knife go from excellent to downright poor if it becomes slippery when wet. To avoid this, there are many knives with non-slip handles or grips that have non-slip textures built into them. You will want to inquire on this from someone who is knowledgeable with the knife model itself, although if it is a very smooth wood or resin, you can expect it to be quite slippery.

  • How easy is this knife to use?

This is particularly important when dealing with pocket knives. With these knives, does it have an assisted open? Can you open it with one hand or does it require two? How easy is it to forget the lock?

Nothing would be worse than the blade closing on your fingers as you are trying to focus on your own defense. This does go back to how it feels in your hand, as well. A knife that properly fits you is going to be much easier to use than a knife that is either too big or too small.

Anything above and beyond that is wonderful, but those are the three points you need to make sure you have covered.

Best Knives Over $200

And now, let’s first begin with knives that are over $200.

The Spyderco Paramilitary 2 knife shows exactly why Spyderco is known to make some of the best knives in the world. This folding blade features a 3.438 inch blade, which is less than 5 inches when folded.

This knife is known for its compression lock, as this allows for easy left or right hand opening. The clip can be placed on the top or bottom of either side to enable the perfect placement for you. The handle is textured to ensure no slippage, regardless of moisture, and the blade is plain for easy sharpening even though it holds an edge exceptionally well. This blade is well worth the price asked, and if it is within your budget, it is definitely one to keep in mind.

Best Knives under $200

And now, let’s move onto knives that we think are great value because they fall in the sub-$200 category.

This is a larger fixed-blade knife, which is not very discreet yet will definitely make anyone who is threatening you think twice about approaching any closer. The SOG Seal Pup is almost 9.5 inches long, with a 4.85-inch blade. The grip is both contoured and textured to ensure that once it is in your hand it is not going anywhere you do not want it to. It was originally designed as a Navy SEAL knife, and as such was truly designed to put up with far more than most knives will ever see in a lifetime.

There are a couple of options when it comes to blades; there is a plain blade or a partially serrated blade. For self defense purposes, there is not a lot of difference between the blades as you are unlikely to need anything but the tip of the blade, if anything. If you are out hunting or camping, the serrated part of the blade in the partially serrated option will help out with sawing through firewood and other such tasks.

Best under $100

Here, you can find a quality knife under $100.

The Buck 110 is a smaller, folding hunting knife. This knife fits conveniently in your pocket, purse or on your belt and at less than 5 inches long, does not require a lot of space and comes with a convenient leather sheath. This knife has a smooth edge for clean cuts and a clipped point, which is designed to pierce. This knife is instantly recognizable and very few assailants will challenge this knife if it’s in your hand or known to be on your person.

These knives have been around for over 30 years and many of the originals are still in active use to this day.

Best under $50

If you’re still looking for a bargain, look no further than the TDI Law Enforcement by Ka-Bar.

The Ka-Bar TDI Law Enforcement knife is one with a very unique shape. It is designed to be easy to use without much thought behind technique. This shape forces you to hold it a certain way and once it is in your hand, there is no part of the knife someone could possibly grab to remove it from you without serious injury to themselves. This knife is one that even an inexperienced knife owner could use without question, as there are very few ways you can hurt yourself, yet very few ways an attacker can avoid a trip to the emergency room if you are forced to fight back.

As it has a hollow tantō blade, this can be quite difficult to sharpen correctly and it is suggested to take it to a professional knife sharpener so they can either teach you how to use the tools necessary to sharpen the serrated part of the knife or do it for you.

Best under $30

And finally, here’s a knife under $30 that you may enjoy.

  • Smith and Wesson HRT9B

The Smith and Wesson HRT9B is a very small, lightweight boot knife which is excellent for concealing until it is needed. Weighing in at less than 8 ounces, this knife boasts an impressive 4.743 inch blade and an overall length of 8.843 inches.

It features a double-edged spear point that is very useful, as there is no “up” side to worry about. And because it is a plain edge, it is easy to sharpen to keep it razor sharp.

Due to the fact that it’s a fixed blade knife, it does require a sheath to prevent unwanted and unintended injury to yourself and others, and it does come with a basic boot sheath with an added pocket clip to give you options on where you want to place this knife.

This is a good knife as a last resort, its blade is long enough to get your attacker’s attention and its rubber grip will help glue it to your hand. This is an economical approach to a self defense knife and one that performs well beyond its price range.


Before we provide you with a list of knives that you can consider for self-defense, it should be noted that you should take classes in self-defense first and be always extremely responsible when it comes to using a knife for any task—whether it’s chopping wood, cutting through brush, or opening a can of beans. Remember: a knife is one of the most dangerous weapons available that man can use, and so it always falls upon you to be extremely vigilant of not just your surroundings, but how and why you pull out a knife, let alone carry it on your person.

With that said, here are a handful of some of the better knives for self-defense. Some of them, as you’ll recognize, are knives that have been discussed above:

Knife Brand and Model

  1. Buck 110
  2. CRKT Ultima
  3. Ka-Bar 2K-Acheron Skeleton
  4. Ka-Bar TDI Law Enforcement
  5. Kershaw Cryo G10
  6. Smith and Wesson Border Guard 2
  7. Smith and Wesson HRT9B
  8. SOG Seal Pup
  9. Spyderco Paramilitary 2 G-10
  10. Zero Tolerance 0100

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