Knife

8 Best Self Defense Knives of 2020

Best Self Defense Knife

Photo: Smith & Wesson

It is always good to be well prepared in case you might need to defend yourself and your family against attackers.And while there are many things that you can use for self-defense, nothing beats having the best self-defense knife.

Not only is it highly effective in neutralizing the enemy but is also concealable and both easy and legal to buy.

But, there are lots of self-defense knives in the market and unless you are professional knife combat trainer, it is not always easy to determine the best self-defense knife from these many options.

Below we look at some of the top personal self defense knives out there and the important things to consider when shipping for one.

You can also read other product reviews of machete, hunting knife, fixed blade knife, butterfly knife, neck knife, survival knife, bowie knife

8 Best Self-Defense Knives – Review

IMAGE

​PRODUCT

​FEATURES

Ka-Bar KA-BAR1480

1. Ka-Bar KA-BAR1480 (Best Overall)

  • Small and easily concealable
  • Razor sharp stainless steel blade
  • Dee quillon handle
  • Glass-filled nylon sheath
CRKT M16-14ZLEK

2. CRKT M16-14ZLEK (Best Folding Design)

  • Convenient folding design
  • Premium quality high carbon steel blade
  • Glass reinforced handle
  • Serrated edge included
Tac Force Spring Assisted Self Defense Knife

3. Tac Force Spring Assisted Self Defense Knife (Best Budget)

  • More affordable self-defense knife
  • Sharp and partially serrated blade
  • Spring-assisted opening
  • Sturdy aluminum handle
Smith & Wesson SWBG2TS

4. Smith & Wesson SWBG2TS (Versatile & Multi-Functional)

  • Highly versatile and multifunctional knife
  • Reliable high carbon stainless steel blade
  • Convenient pocket clip
  • Dual blood grooves
  • Glass breaker and strap cutter included
Smith & Wesson SWMP4LS

5. Smith & Wesson SWMP4LS (Secure & Dependable)

  • Secure liner and safety locks
  • Quick and easy access for increased dependability
  • Durable high carbon stainless steel blade
  • Black aluminum handle
Kershaw Emerson 6034

6. Kershaw Emerson 6034 (Precise & Functional)

  • Precisely engineered design
  • Versatile and functional blade
  • Safety frame lock
  • Modified clip point blade
QSP Pangolin Self Defense Knife

7. QSP Pangolin Self Defense Knife (Lightweight Design with a Convenient Pocket Clip)

  • Lightweight design for easy carry
  • Convenient pocket clip and ball bearing
  • Non-slip G-10 handle
  • Razor sharp blade
Defender Tactical Military Self Defense Knife

8. Defender Tactical Military Self Defense Knife (Heavy-Duty Fixed Blade Design)

  • Heavy-duty stainless steel blade
  • Long and versatile 7-inch blade
  • Easy to handle and lightweight design
  • Tough sheath provided

PRODUCT

1. Ka-Bar KA-BAR1480

(Best Overall)

Ka-Bar KA-BAR1480
  • Small and easily concealable
  • Razor sharp stainless steel blade
  • Dee quillon handle
  • Glass-filled nylon sheath

2. CRKT M16-14ZLEK

(Best Folding Design)

CRKT M16-14ZLEK
  • Convenient folding design
  • Premium quality high carbon steel blade
  • Glass reinforced handle
  • Serrated edge included

3. Tac Force Spring Assisted Self Defense Knife

(Best Budget)

Tac Force Spring Assisted Self Defense Knife
  • More affordable self-defense knife
  • Sharp and partially serrated blade
  • Spring-assisted opening
  • Sturdy aluminum handle

4. Smith & Wesson SWBG2TS

(Versatile & Multi-Functional)

Smith & Wesson SWBG2TS
  • Highly versatile and multifunctional knife
  • Reliable high carbon stainless steel blade
  • Convenient pocket clip
  • Dual blood grooves
  • Glass breaker and strap cutter included

5. Smith & Wesson SWMP4LS

(Secure & Dependable)

Smith & Wesson SWMP4LS
  • Secure liner and safety locks
  • Quick and easy access for increased dependability
  • Durable high carbon stainless steel blade
  • Black aluminum handle

6. Kershaw Emerson 6034

(Precise & Functional)

Kershaw Emerson 6034
  • Precisely engineered design
  • Versatile and functional blade
  • Safety frame lock
  • Modified clip point blade

7. QSP Pangolin Self Defense Knife

(Lightweight Design with a Convenient Pocket Clip)

QSP Pangolin Self Defense Knife
  • Lightweight design for easy carry
  • Convenient pocket clip and ball bearing
  • Non-slip G-10 handle
  • Razor sharp blade

8. Defender Tactical Military Self Defense Knife

(Heavy-Duty Fixed Blade Design)

Defender Tactical Military Self Defense Knife
  • Heavy-duty stainless steel blade
  • Long and versatile 7-inch blade
  • Easy to handle and lightweight design
  • Tough sheath provided

1. Ka-Bar KA-BAR1480 – Best Overall

Ka-Bar TDI Fixed Blade Self Defense Knife

Photo: Ka-Bar

  • Blade Length: 2-5/16 inches
  • Blade Material: Stainless Steel
  • Type of Blade: Fixed
  • Overall Length: 5-5/8 inches
  • Weight: 9.6 ounces

The shape and size of this self-defense knife are enough to show that it will be a great buy as they make it easy and convenient to carry an is completely concealable.

Its AUS-8A stainless steel blade is super sharp and ready to use immediately you get the knife, and it will also retain the edge for long enough.

The equally tough handle also has a deep quillon that helps to ensure that you get an excellent grip and also prevents your finger from sliding onto the sharp blade.

Although the 2-5/16 inches blade is one of the shortest on out hunting knife reviews, it is still long enough to do a lot of damage when facing attackers.

While at first the sheath might seem a little to remove from the belt it should become easier as you break it in and get used to it.

Pros:

  • Easy to conceal
  • Super-tough stainless steel blade
  • Ergonomic and very comfortable grip
  • Highly durable handle
  • Sharp and ready to use blade

Cons:

  • Relatively shorter blade
  • Sheath is a little hard to remove from belt

2. CRKT M16-14ZLEK – Best Folding Self Defense Knife

CRKT M16-14ZLEK Self Defense Knife

Photo: CRKT

  • Blade Length: 3.75 inches
  • Blade Material: AUS-8 High-carbon Stainless Steel
  • Type of Blade: Folding
  • Overall Length: 9.25 inches
  • Weight: 6.2 ounces

Folding knives are always more convenient as they are easy and safer to carry. The CRKT M16-14ZLEK is a top-notch folding self-defense knife that comes with a premium high carbon steel blade that has both a razor sharp and triple point serrated edge for versatility.

This fantastic self-defense knife also has a high-quality glass reinforced handle that is not only comfortable on the hand but also highly durable.

There is also a 4-position and low profile clip that makes the knife easy to carry on your belt. And the design also includes a tungsten carbide window breaker and a seatbelt cutter.

The 9.25 inches long self-defense knife is backed by a limited lifetime warranty to give you some assurance that it will last.

There is no blade lock when the knife is closed but the blade is designed to remain rightly in place and hence this is not a big concern. Also, the relatively higher price tag is a reflection of the superior quality.

Pros:

  • Convenient folding design
  • High-carbon steel blade
  • Triple-point serrated edge
  • Tough glass reinforced handle
  • Low profile pocket clip

Cons:

  • No blade lock when closed
  • Relatively pricey

3. Tac Force Spring Assisted Self Defense Knife – Best Budget Self Defense Knife

Tac Force Spring Assisted Self Defense Knife

Photo: Tac Force

  • Blade Length: 3-1/4 inches
  • Blade Material: 440 Stainless Steel
  • Type of Blade: Folding
  • Overall Length: 7-3/4 inches
  • Weight: 5 ounces

Tac Force Spring Assisted self-defense knife is one of the cheapest on our list, and it uses a spring mechanism to make folding and unfolding easy and quick.

With its 3-1/4-inch 440 stainless blade that comes with both a sharp and partially serrated edge, you can always be sure that you have a reliable weapon.

The aluminum handle is also highly durable and it should last for almost as long as the blade. And it comes with an attractive two-tone design and with a handy pocket clip.

And apart from being one of the best budget self-defense knives on our list, it is also available in various other styles including hunting and fancy designs for collectors.

While the seat belt cutter on this knife does not seem very sharp and takes quite some effort to use it still gets the job done and is still a lifesaver. 

Pros:

  • Relatively more affordable
  • Sharp and serrated edge
  • Durable aluminum handle
  • Assisted opening
  • Pocket clip included

Cons:

  • Seat belt cutter not sharp and takes a lot of effort to use

4. Smith & Wesson SWBG2TS – Versatile and Multi-Functional

Smith & Wesson SWBG2TS Border Guard Self Defense Knife

Photo: Smith & Wesson

  • Blade Length: 4.4 inches
  • Blade Material: 7Cr17MoV High Carbon Stainless Steel
  • Type of Blade: Folding
  • Overall Length: 10 inches
  • Weight: 8.8 ounces

With a multi-functional knife like this one you may not even need to carry any other knife as it is not only good for self-defense but various other outdoor applications.

It has a 4.4 inches long high carbon steel blade that combines with the black aluminum handle to make this a highly durable self-defense knife.

Also, it includes a secure liner lock that ensures the blade does not slip and it also comes with a pocket clip and ambidextrous thumb knobs for quick and easy access.

There are also dual blood grooves on the blade, a seat belt cutter and glass breaker to ensure you are always prepared for emergency situations.

This folding knife might not be spring-assisted but opening and closing it should be quick and easy which is just what you want for self defense.

Pros:

  • More multi-functional knife
  • High carbon black oxide stainless steel
  • Secure liner lock
  • Dual blood grooves
  • Convenient pocket clip

Cons:

  • Not spring assisted

5. Smith & Wesson SWMP4LS – Secure and Dependable

Smith & Wesson SWMP4LS Self Defense Knife

Photo: Smith & Wesson

  • Blade Length: 3.6 inches
  • Blade Material: 4034 Black Oxide Stainless Steel
  • Type of Blade: Folding
  • Overall Length: 8.6 inches
  • Weight: 7.6 ounces

Smith & Wesson is one of the companies that you can always trust to have a good self-defense knife and their SWMP4LS is enough proof of this.And you can be confident that this blade will not slip when using as it has both liner and safety locks.

The company makes it with a reliable black oxide stainless steel material that ensures that it lasts for long and also maintains the edge.

It is a spring assisted folding knife which means that you can open it with one hand. The 8.6 inches long knife also comes with a handy pocket clip and finger actuator.

Other features that make it one the best self-defense knives include the partial serration, glass breaker, and a thumb plate.

When you get the knife it does not appear to be very sharp but sharpening it is quick and easy and hence this should not be the deal breaker.

Pros:

  • Secure liner and safety lock
  • Reliable black oxide stainless steel blade
  • Assisted opening
  • Handy pocket clip and a finger actuator
  • Durable aluminum handle

Cons:

  • Not sharp enough from the box

6. Kershaw Emerson 6034 – Precise and Functional

Kershaw Emerson CQC-6K Self Defense Knife

Photo: Kershaw

  • Blade Length: 3.25 inches
  • Blade Material: 8Cr14MoV Stainless Steel
  • Type of Blade: Folding
  • Overall Length: 7.75 inches
  • Weight: 5.1 ounces

Kershaw should always be one of the first brands to consider when shopping for a Personal self-defense knife as they have some high-quality ones like the Kershaw Emerson CQC-6K.

The 3.25 inches long blade knife combines precision engineering with functional design to create a versatile knife that will be useful for a lot more besides self-defense.

This fantastic knife also comes with a safety frame lock that prevents the blade from accidental closure when not in use. And although it is a manual opening knife it is still quite easy to deploy thanks to the small wave-shaped tab.

There is also a reversible pocket clip that you can place on both the right and lefts sides, and a textured G-10 handle for a comfortable grip. And these features also help to make it one of the best folding self-defense knives out there.

And although the G-10 handle is just on one side it will still be comfortable enough.

Pros:

  • Safety frame lock
  • Reversible pocket clip
  • Excellent fit and finish
  • Convenient wave shaped opening
  • Textured G-10 handle

Cons:

  • G10 is only on one side of the handle

7. QSP Pangolin Self Defense Knife – Lightweight Pocket Knife with a Convenient Pocket Clip

QSP Pangolin Self Defense Knife

Photo: QSP

  • Blade Length: 3.74 inches
  • Blade Material: D2 Steel
  • Type of Blade: Folding
  • Overall Length: 8.44 inches
  • Weight: 5.32 ounces

Despite this being the second priciest item on our list is still one of the best pocket self-defense knives as it is both lightweight and comes with a convenient pocket clip.

Opening and closing this knife are both quite quick and easy thanks to the ball bearing system. Also, the 3.74 inches long D2 steel blade comes sharp enough for immediate use straight from the box.

For the handle, you get non-slip G10 that is both durable and comfortable and if all this does not impress you, the top-notch overall workmanship definitely will.

Price seems to be the only notable drawback with this nice as it is one of the priciest on our list but you can be sure you will get what you pay for.

Pros:

  • Lightweight and with pocket clip
  • Sharp D2 steel blade
  • Ball bearing opening system
  • Non-slip G10 handle
  • Top notch workmanship

Cons:

  • Relatively pricey

8. Defender Tactical Military Self Defense Knife – Heavy-Duty Fixed Blade Self-Defense Knife

Defender Tactical Military Self Defense Knife

Photo: DEFENDER XTREME

  • Blade Length: 7 inches
  • Blade Material: Stainless Steel
  • Type of Blade: Fixed
  • Weight: 4 ounces

If you prefer the fixed blade self-defense knives here is a relatively affordable and high-quality option for you. It is also quite a versatile 7 inches long knife that will be great for various outdoor tasks.

It features a heavy-duty steel blade that is tough and durable and although it is not very sharp when you get it, you can still sharpen it easily.

This fixed blade self-defense knife also comes with a large finger hole to make it possible to get a tactical grip. And carrying it should also be easier thanks to the tough and highly durable sheath.

The blade is quite dull when you get this knife but this is hardly an issue given that it is always recommended to sharpen your new knife before using it.

Pros:

  • Heavy duty stainless steel blade
  • Highly versatile outdoor knife
  • Lightweight and easy to handle
  • Large finger hole
  • Tough and durable sheath

Cons:

  • Blade is quite dull

Why Should You Choose a Knife for Self Defense?

Why Should You Choose a Knife for Self Defense

Photo: Smith & Wesson

Having a self-defense weapon in case of an external attack or aggression can in many instances be the difference between life and death.

Here are some other reasons why knives seem to have an edge over guns when it comes to self defense

  • Convenient carrying- Most self-defense knives are small and easy to conceal and this means that you can carry them almost anywhere without anybody else noticing.
  • Easy to get- Unlike guns, self-defense knives are easy to get and purchase as you will not need to fill in a lot of paperwork. And they are also way much cheaper.
  • No permit required- While guns seem to be a more effective tool for self-defense, you will need to get a permit to own one but this is not the case for a self-defense knife.
  • Easy to access in confined space- You do not need a lot of space to access and use a self-defense knife and so it will still be useful in case you are attacked in a confined place.
  • Minimal training- While it is still important to get some self-defense or knife combat training before buying and using a knife, it takes little training to figure things out. Knives are easy to apply and you can understand the basics in just a few hours of training.
  • Not reliant on size/strength- You do not have to be a huge and strong person to use a knife effectively. Anyone can use a knife to inflict injury as it takes little pressure to drive the blade into the skin.
  • Multipurpose tool- A self-defense knife is also a versatile and multipurpose tool that can help you with many other things at home and in a survival situation. From helping you hunt animals to preparing meals, the list of the thing it can do is endless. It might not be the best knife for these other tasks but it will still get the job done.

How to Buy the Best Self-Defense Knife

How to Buy a Self Defense Knife

Photo: QSP

If you want to make sure that you get a a good self-defense you need to consider the following things when shopping.

1. Accessibility

You need to have good access to your knife at all times if it is going to help you when you are in dangerous situations.

Whether it is a folding or a fixed blade knife it should be easy and quick to draw because even a few seconds of delay will make a huge difference.

For the fixed blade knives, you should look for something that will fit discreetly and comfortable at the place you prefer to keep your knife while still allowing for quick release and access.

Kydex sheaths are often the best option when it comes to accessibility as they provide a glove-like fit for the knife and do not have straps to hold the knife in which often hinder access.

With the folding knife types, you will not only need to consider the sheath but also the speed and effectiveness of the folding mechanism in deploying the blade.

2. Blade

The blade is what does the damage, and so it is a vital factor to consider when looking for the best self-defense knife.

When it comes to the blade, you will need to consider the length, design, and material as they will all determine the effectiveness of the knife and durability.

For the blade material, you will need to choose good steel as there are quite many options. Some of the best are high carbon steel and Japanese stainless steel.

Also check out for steel numbers like 440C, D2, and AUS-6 as they indicate the quality and toughness of the steel based on the content of carbon and other elements

Blade length will depend on your preferences and also what your local laws allow. But, a tactical self-defense knife should have a long enough blade to make deeper stabs to hit vital organs and neutralize the attacker.

Knives with a blade that is at least 3.5 to 5 inches should be good enough. But a 7-inch one like Defender Tactical Military Self Defense Knife is even better. However, also check the blade-to-handle length ratio to ensure you get adequate leverage.

3. Handle

It is vital to make sure that you have a firm and secure grip when using your self-defense. The handle material, length, and shape are what determine the quality of the grip.

There are many options for the handle material but G10 like what you get on the QSP Pangolin Self Defense Knife and rubber seam to the most popular options as they are tough and provide a firm and non-slip grip.

For the handle shape or design, the right one for you depends on how you hold the knife but also watch out for things like finger grooves as they help to support your fingers.

And when it comes to the handle length, go for something that fits your hand well enough and also feels comfortable.

4. Lock Mechanism

The locking mechanism is another important factor to consider when choosing a self-defense knife but it will only be applicable if you are buying the folding types.

It is a particularly important factor because with a bad or poor lock mechanism you can end up injuring yourself.

There are three main types of lock mechanisms which are Lockback, Frame Lock, and Liner Lock.

Each of the lock mechanisms will have both advantages and disadvantages which you should know. For example, the Lockback types will require two hands to open and close while the Liner Lock mechanism only requires one hand but most tend to malfunction after a while.

5. Weight

Self-defense knives are often lightweight and compact to make them easy to carry around. But, there are also some that can be quite bulky.

It is always important to consider the weight of the knife, and this is more so if you intend to be carrying it on your belt or boot every other day.

But, even as you look for a lightweight knife also make sure that you never compromise on the quality of the steel or handle.

Conclusion

As most neighborhoods continue to become unsafe and crime rates increase, you need to find a way to defend yourself if you need to. And a good self-defense knife will always be one of the best tools for this.

Our self dense knife reviews provide amazing recommendations and from these reviews the Ka-Bar KA-BAR1480 is our best overall model as it is small and easy to conceal and also made from tough blade and handle materials.

The Tac Force Spring Assisted Self Defense Knife makes a good buy for budget shoppers as despite being highly affordable it is still well-built and durable.

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