What are the best tactical knives 2018?
The answer to this question is ever evolving, but by comparing some of the most popular tactical knives on the market, we can come up with a better understanding of what is available and make an informed decision on which tactical knife is best for a particular application.
Whether it’s a pocket knife, hunting knife, or a general every day carry (EDC) knife, the best tactical knives offered for 2018 are some of the most reliable on the market.
What factors go into making the best tactical knives?
Factors such as durability, blade length, metallurgy, size, and design all go into ultimately deciding what makes a Best Tactical Knives 2018. Choosing between a fixed blade or folding knife is also a consideration depending on the application. Tactical knives often vary from generic pocket knives due to function, design, and capability. Added features such as glass breakers, seatbelt cutters, bottle openers, and screwdrivers are all items you may find included on tactical knives available on the market today.
State or local laws regarding blade length and operating design should also be taken into consideration when purchasing tactical knives. Knife laws are not universal and can change per jurisdiction, township, or city ordnance.
Best Tactical Knives 2018
We’ve constructed the following list that contains some of the best tactical knives on the market. We have narrowed it down to the Top 10 Best Tactical Knives on the market along with a brief description and review.
Lets examine the Best Tactical Knives 2018.
|Tactical Knives||Overall Length|
|#1 Benchmade Osborne Contego||9.28||3.98||8.8||Yes|
|#2 Zero Tolerance ZT0350TS G10 Handle Folding Tiger Striped Blade with SpeedSafe||7.75||3.25||5.6||Yes|
|#3 Tops Knives Prather War Bowie||12.62||7.25||14.4||Fixed|
|#4 Cold Steel Recon 1 Tactical Knife||9.38||4.00||5.3||Yes|
|#5 SOG Escape Folding Knife||8.20||3.40||4.8||Yes|
|#6 Cold Steel 80PGTK GI Tanto 7" Carbon||12||7.00||15.0||Fixed|
|#7 Spyderco Paramilitary2||8.28||3.43||3.9||No|
|#8 Kershaw Ken Onion Blur Folding Knife||7.9||3.40||3.9||Yes|
|#9 Gerber Swagger Knife||7.55||3.25||4.4||Yes|
|#10 TAC Force TF-705 Series Assisted Opening Tactical Folding Knife||8.38||3.25||4.4||Yes|
1. Benchmade Osborne Contego – Best Tactical Knife 2018
I received this tactical knife recently and could not be more pleased with it’s ease of use, quality, and handling. These are all things we’ve come to expect from Benchmade tactical knives, so it was no surprise to see the same transferred into the Contego Family product line.
The Benchmade Osborne Contego tactical knife is made in the U.S.A (always an added bonus) and contains the highly wear resistant reverse Tanto Cpm-M4 steel blade. All of which should go into some of the best tactical knives on the market.
This is an incredibly sharp tactical knife, you will not be disappointed, and it looks great too. It comes with a deep pocket clip that stays in place,
an axis locking mechanism for quick folding, and ambidextrous thumb-stud openers. The G10 handle allows for a great grip and feels secure in hand.
This tactical knife also boasts a carbide glass break tip for emergency situations.
The Benchmade Osborne Contego is a great all around tactical knife that should provide years of quality use and is the top rated knife in the Best Tactical Knives 2018 list.
#2. Zero Tolerance ZT0350TS – Best EDC Knife
Like Benchmade, Zero Tolerance is another great U.S. knife manufacturer making some of the best tactical knives. They have built quite the name for themselves in the tactical knife market. Focusing on quality products, it’s hard to find a bad product that they produce and the Zero Tolerance ZT0350TS tactical knife is no exception.
This tactical knife is 10% smaller and lighter than previous models. It is equipped with Speedsafe manual assist for easy opening along with ambidextrous thumb studs.
The Zero Tolerance ZToo350TS tactical knife sports the S30V stainless-steel Tiger Striped blade with tungsten DLC coating. The tiger striping really sets this knife apart and it’s quite striking in person if you are used to regular or dull looking blades. It truly has a unique appearance.
The Zero Tolerance ZToo350TS is another quality tactical knife that has very few negative qualities and it’s unique appearance sets it apart from the rest of the Best Tactical Knives 2018 available.
#3. Tops Knives Prather War Bowie Knife – Best Bowie Knife
If someone asked you to name all the famous historical tactical knives, I’m pretty sure most would mention Jim Bowies’ famous Bowie Knife. Since the original is likely lost to time, most will have to settle for something like the Tops Knives Prather War Bowie instead.The Tops Knives Prather War Bowie is an opposing tactical knife with close to an 8 inch blade length with minimal edge bevel on it’s 1095 high-carbon steel and 0.25 inch thick blade. It has a great balance to it and the extended finger guard makes for a good fit. It is a simple, yet practical tactical knife for it’s design. Everything you would expect from a Bowie style tactical knife.
This tactical knife includes a live green and tan braided lanyard. Along with a black ballistic nylon MOLLE compatible belt sheath with hard liner and utility pouch. The sheath is one of the only downsides to this tactical knife in that it’s quality and fit is nothing compared to the tactical knife itself. Purchasing a quality aftermarket sheath to complement the Prather War Bowie may be in order.
Overall the Tops Knives Prather War Bowie offers everything you would hope for in knife of it’s design and why it ranks high in the Best Tactical Knives 2018 list.
#4. Cold Steel Recon 1 Tactical Knife – Best Budget Tactical Knife
The Cold Steel Recon 1 tactical Knife is one of the best tactical knives on the market and the top cold steel knife. It has proven reliability and functionality. Designed for ruggedness and engineered for effectiveness, this cold steel tactical knife is a great entry level knife.
With a Japanese Aus 8A stainless blade and black Teflon finish, this tactical knife takes a sharp edge and is one of the easier knives to sharpen. The black Teflon finish allows for added corrosion protection as well.
The Cold Steel Recon 1 tactical knife sports a solid G10 grip to reduce slipping and insure solid handling. The ambidextrous clip allows for easy and comfortable carrying depending on the user application.
The Cold Steel Recon 1 tactical knife features the Tri Ad locking mechanism designed to eliminate locking failure.
Overall, the Cold Steel Recon 1 tactical knife is a well though out design that provides everything you would expect in one of the Best Tactical Knives 2018.
#5. SOG FF25-CP Escape Knife with Seatbelt Cutter and Glass Breaker – Best SOG Tactical Knife
The SOG FF25-CP Escape Knife is a popular tactical knife with multiple capabilities all wrapped into one package. It includes both the Seatbelt cutter and Glass breaker near the end of the handle. Both handy features should such an emergency arise.
The SOG FF25-CP Escape Knife includes a 9Cr18MoV Stainless steel blade that holds a good edge. 9Cr18MoV Stainless steel is not as high quality as some of the previously reviewed tactical knives, but this is priced into the product and should perform just fine for the average knife enthusiast. Remember when it comes to tactical knife steel blades, the heat treat is just as important as the steel being used. A bad heat treat with good steel can produce a bad knife. So just take that into consideration when reviewing blade material. The SOG FF25-CP Escape Knife does not have these problems and should perform just fine with the 9Cr18MoV Stainless steel being used.
Overall is this tactical knife is priced right and offers extras like the Seatbelt Cutter and Glass Breaker that most other knives do not, and why this ranks as one of the Best Tactical Knives 2018.
#6. Cold Steel 80PGTK GI Tanto 7″ Carbon – Best Cold Steel Knife
If you are looking for a no frills tactical knife than look no further than the Cold Steel 80PGTK GI Tanto 7″ Carbon tactical knife. This tactical knife is the epitome of workhorse and tank all rolled into one. This is a very sturdy knife and well built to the standards we’ve come to expect from the Cold Steel Brand.
This tactical knife comes with a 7-inch 1055 Carbon steel blade and is equipped with handguards on either side. The 1055 Carbon steel does have issues with corrosion, so keep that in mind. But hey, like a little bit of rust or corrosion is going to render a tactical knife like this useless? I think not!
The Cold Steel 80PGTK GI Tanto 7″ Carbon tactical knife comes with a Secure-Ex Kydex sheath which is a premium quality sheath and an added bonus to the Cold Steel offering.
Ultimately this is a thick, bulky tactical knife that you know what you’re getting going in. It’s simplistic design is refreshing to say the least and you can not beat the Cold Steel Brand for the Best Tactical Knives 2018.
#7. Spyderco Paramilitary 2 – Best EDC Folding Knife
The Spyderco ParaMilitary 2 one of the smaller knives in the best tactical knives of 2018 review, but don’t let that deter you, it’s still a great knife by one of the most trusted tactical knife manufacturers on the market today. The Spyderco ParaMilitary 2 builds on the success of it’s predecessor the Paramilitary 1.
The best thing about the Spyderco ParaMilitary 2 tactical knife is that it features a full-flat-ground CPM-S30V high-carbon stainless steel blade. The CPM-S30V stainless is a great blade that resists rust and corrosion. It also takes a good edge and comes super sharp from the factory. Applications requiring a tactical knife that is constantly getting wet, the Spyderco ParaMilitary 2 tactical knife is one of the best. The limited slip G-10 handle scales provide a comfortable and secure grip as well.
The Spyderco ParaMilitary 2 tactical knife makes a great Every Day Carry (EDC) tactical knife due to it’s slim design. This tactical knife is equipped with a compression lock mechanism that uses a leaf-like spring from a split liner in the handle to wedge laterally between a ramp on the blade tang and the stop pin (or anvil pin). Developed and patented by Spyderco, it provides extreme lock strength and ease of use.
Overall, this a very capable and rugged tactical knife that would make a great EDC knife and comes with the quality you would expect from Spyderco. The Spyderco Para 3 is now out, but not included in the Best Tactical Knives 2018 list. Check it out too.
The Kershaw Ken Onion Blur Folding Tactical Knife is one of the top offerings from Kershaw currently. With it’s impressive quality and design, it’s no reason it’s one of the best tactical knives of 2018.
Equipped with the high-performance Sandvik 14C28N stainless steel blade which offers corrosion resistance and hardness, it makes the Kershaw Ken Onion Blur Folding Tactical Knife one of the best tactical knives for EDC currently. While Sandvik 14C28N holds a very nice edge for light-medium work, it will not keep the edge as long as others like S30V. Most users will likely not notice the difference. The Kershaw Ken Onion Blur Tactical Knife also comes equipped with the DLC (Diamond-Like Carbon) coated blade for extra corrosion resistance and enhanced looks.
Kershaw’s SpeedSafe Assist is a really neat function that allows you to quickly flip open the knife and aids in a smooth one handed operation. It may take some practicing, but this a great feature that is must on any folding tactical knife these days. The reversible clip allows you to adjust for right or left wear, and tip up or down.
This a great multitasking tactical knife that would make a good EDC. It has many options that are now the standard in the industry with the quality of Kershaw and why it’s included in the Best Tactical Knives 2018 list.
#9. Gerber Swagger Tactical Knife – Best Gerber Folding Knife
The Gerber Swagger Tactical Knife is a budget tactical knife that, while not containing the bells and whistles, nor the quality of some of the other reviewed tactical knives, it performs well and offers a great entry into the tactical knife market.
The Gerber Swagger Tactical Knife is equipped with a G10 handle for added functionality and grip. The partially serrated Drop Point Blade is stainless steel, but not of the hardness or quality of the previously reviewed tactical knives. However, this tactical knife will still serve it’s purpose as an every day EDC, although with reduced longevity.
The aesthetics of the Gerber Swagger Tactical Knife are top notch and contain both handle and blade Machine Styling for added effect.
The Gerber Swagger Tactical Knife makes the Best Tactical Knives 2018 list because it’s a great tactical knife at a budget price. This tactical knife would make a good entry level knife or gift.
#10. TAC Force TF-705 Series Assisted Opening Tactical Folding Knife – Extreme Budget Knife!
I know what you’re thinking, what is a TAC Force knife doing on a review of the Best Tactical Knives 2018? That’s a great question. If you’ve ever owned a tactical knife you know how easy they are to lose!!! This recommendation is for the people who cannot keep a tactical knife or EDC no matter what they do.
The TAC Force TF-705 Series Assisted Opening Tactical Folding Knife is the ultimate budget knife on the market. It’s the complete mix of functionality and design at an inexpensive price for a tactical knife. The TAC Force TF-705 series boast assisted opening, bottle cap opener, cool designs, stainless steel blade, and glass breaker all in one compact tactical knife. It comes in a series of different models, some of which include Red Camo, Grey, Back, Rainbow, Fall Camo, Grey Camo, Pink, and Pink Camo.
Additionally, the handle features a screwdriver just in case you’ve managed to lose that as well. This tactical knife seems to offer about everything you could cram on a knife these days. While the quality and blade strength is nothing compared to the higher end Best Tactical Knives 2018, it does offer practicality for those not wanting to spend a lot on something they may not use frequently and tend to lose items with a high frequency rate.
Overall, the TAC Force TF-705 Series fills a specific niche in the tactical knife market. It’s inexpensive, looks intimidating, and will serve it’s purpose for however long until it’s misplaced or falls between the seat in the vehicle never to be found again.
#11. SOG Key Folding Knife KEY – Best Key Knife
The SOG Key Folding Knife Key is one of the those specialty knives you see and automatically think “How cool is this”? It’s equipped with a 1.5 inch steel blade that retracts into the key itself. Put it on your key chain and never be without a knife again.
This a great little EDC key knife made with the quality you would expect from SOG. The SOG Folding Knife Key also makes a great gift.
#12. Kershaw 1990 Brawler Folding Knife – Best Pocket Knife
I recently received the Kershaw 1990 Brawler Speedsafe Folding Tactical Knife and wanted to include it in the review since I could not be more pleased with it’s quality and design for the price. Not to mention, it’s a great looking tactical knife with the modified tanto blade design.
The Speedsafe opening mechanism is pure genius for one handed use. If you’ve never used one, it takes very little time to master it. This tactical EDC knife has a crisp opening for a quick lock as well.
The clip is adjustable to any configuration you would like (tip up/down, right/left mount) and clips tight to stay in place.
The handle design is raised and studded to aid with grip. The 8Cr13MoV blade is a Chinese Steel similar to AUS8, so it will likely not hold it’s edge as long as higher quality blades, but it should be easy to sharpen. The blade I received has not lost it’s edge yet though, and it was razor sharp when it arrived.
Overall, this is a great inexpensive EDC tactical knife with a quality design and look. At near 4 ounces it feels sturdy in hand and well built. The Speedsafe mechanism is a great added bonus.
Aside from the Bowie knife, there may not be another tactical knife as well known or visually identifiable than the KA-BAR Full Size US Marine Corps Fighting Knife. Anyone with general knowledge of knives or war history knows what this knife is all about and you may even be able to call the KA-BAR the best tactical knife in the world.
The KA-BAR US Marine Corps Tactical Fighting Knife is equipped with a 7-inch straight edge blade made of 1095 Cro-van steel.
1095 Cro-van steel is slightly more corrosion resistant than standard 1095, but the difference is negligible. The edge retention is less than you would find on higher quality steel blades, but still highly capable.
This tactical knife is well suited for the abuse of outdoor use and provides an opportunity to own a small part of history.
For every great knife, there exists a great knife sharpener. And the Benchmade Mini-Field Blister Sharpener is one of the best knife sharpeners I’ve ever used. The days of using a sharpening block and penetrating oil are over, if you desire something a little more refined and quick to apply that razor sharp edge.
The Benchmade Mini-Field Blister Sharpener comes with a 60 degree sharpening edge. It easily fits on a key chain and secures nicely with the handy lanyard hole. If you know how frustrating it is to have a dull knife, you realize how convenient it would be to have a knife sharpener capable of fitting in your pocket and able to sharpen just about any knife you might have.
The Min-Field Sharpener comes with the renowned quality that Benchmade knife products are known for. It’s a durable little knife sharpener that should last 10 years or more of use, easily. With just 2-3 strokes, the Benchmade Mini-Field Blister Sharpener revives most dull knives back into a dependable and use tool.
Conclusion – Summing it Up
The selection of tactical knives on the market today is pretty extensive and good options are available for just about everyone’s need and price point. The old verbiage of “you get what you pay for comes to mind”.
If you use your tactical knife or EDC a lot or can’t have it fail, then there are many quality options on the market from proven knife manufacturers to meet your needs. If you just want a cool pocket knife to carry around and use occasionally, then there’s many inexpensive knives on the market that with fill that void too. Hopefully this Best Tactical Knives 2018 list helped you decide on your next knife, or identify a product you were not familiar with before.
Furthermore, the tactical knife market is always changing and new additions are sure to come. Stay tuned…
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