When purchasing any knife, the first thing to consider is how you intend to use it. An emergency knife is different than a knife you intend to use as a self-defense weapon. The most basic definition of a tactical knife is one that has a specific intended purpose. Police officers, firemen, hunters, and laypersons will have very different needs in a tactical knife. For instance, a detective who may face an assailant should look for some sort of hand guard, to prevent the hand from slipping down onto the blade. (When a blade hits bone, the gripping hand is likely to slip, especially if the handle is wet with blood.) On the other hand, an outdoorsman will want chip-resistant blades for cutting away hides. Outline your “must have” features or capabilities at the outset of your knife shopping expedition. That way you’ll have an easy test to eliminate knives designed for other purposes.