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.
With that said, there are certain knife elements that are universally important, across all types of users.
Tactical Knives: Top 3 Considerations
A tactical knife should feel comfortable, balanced, and solid in your palm. Look for a textured handle, for consistent grip even when wet. A sturdy, reversible pocket clip or case will make for easy carrying. Prioritize easy one-handed opening, as a slow or unwieldy knife is an unsafe knife. Look for smooth opening mechanisms, such as the sophisticated blade assist opening on our Rapid Response Knives. Reliable blade locks are also critical; loose or weak locks will fail right when you need them most.
2. Quality of Materials and Craftsmanship.
As with the purchase of any object, material and craftsmanship quality matters. When shopping for top grade tactical knives, consider the knife designer, the grade of stainless steel in the blade, the quality of safety mechanisms including blade locks, and the opening action design. Finally, a strong warranty is a good indication of high quality craftsmanship.
3. The Blade.
A good tactical knife should have a full tang, meaning that the blade extends back for the whole length of the handle. Blade length is another important consideration. Most people find it comfortable to pocket foldout knives under four inches in length. However, a sportsman may prefer a non-folding knife in its own belt loop carrying case. Your own portage preferences will determine the appropriate blade length and design for your needs.
Finally, when in the market for tactical knives, don’t forget to consider your law’s concealed carrying laws. Some states prohibit residents from carrying concealed knives.