What is a Tactical Folding Knife? Well, that can be open for many interpretations, however, for us, a tactical knife is a versatile tool. It can be used to carry with you every day and become useful when hunting, cleaning wild game, camping, fishing, and pretty much anything in between. For some, a tactical knife is one that they desire for self-defense or personal carrying. At the end of the day, a tactical knife can have many uses, but it has to fit your needs. With the abundance of tactical knives, it’s quite difficult to find which is the best tactical folding knife for yourself.
To help make the best decision based on your needs we have put together our favorites and the best folding knives for you to pick from.
Best Tactical Folding Knife – Hunting
Owning a knife for hunting is one of the main reasons I have a knife in my pocket. It’s become a tool that is necessary to clean birds, deer, and all wild game. However, when I’m not hunting I want to have a knife that can do more than just clean wild game. I need something that has versatility and can be used to carry every day. As a result, we have listed the best tactical folding knife models that can dual purpose as a great hunting knife.
Benchmade Grizzle Ridge – Best Tactical Folding Knife For Hunting
Blade Length – 3.5″
OAL – 7.84″
Closed Length – 4.34″
Weight – 3.77oz
The Benchmade Grizzle Ridge is a member of the Hunt Series. Therefore, this knife is designed for avid hunters and outdoorsmen and women. However, it easily can dual purpose as a tactical folding knife. The handle is made of Grivory which is fully ambidextrous and it has an inlaid orange inner grip to give added non-slip grip. The handle also features a lanyard hole for various carrying needs. With an overall weight of less than 4 ounces, this knife is perfect for an everyday tactical knife that can hit the outdoors while hunting without the need to own multiple knives.
The Benchmade Grizzly Ridge is an American Made CPM-S30V steel knife. What does this even mean? To put it simply it’s hardened powder-made and corrosion resistant stainless steel. Meaning no matter the conditions rain, snow, or sunshine this knife’s blade is designed to be corrosion resistant and not rust. The blade is a drop-point, with this design it’s perfect for tasks such as cleaning wild game when carving, skinning or butchering. A drop-point is typically thicker making this a more versatile point and stronger than a clip-point.
The overall length of the blade is a compact 3.5″ in length. Therefore, as you can see it’s a perfect length of hunting or carrying with you everyday. It’s a very compact and versatile blade. Not to mention the blade is backed by a lifetime warranty from Benchmade, see more details here.
Folding Mechanism –
The Benchmade Grizzle Ridge is made with the AXIS lock mechanism. The mechanism is made to be ambidextrous to open or close the knife. It’s one of the most secure ways to lock a knife. Therefore, you won’t have to worry about it opening in your pocket for the potential of causing an accident. The mechanism gives you the ability to open the knife with a single hand, which is another reason why this dual purposes as the best tactical folding knife for hunters.
If you’re looking for a blade that is going to offer you versatility and function outside the parameters of just a tactical knife. The Grizzly Ridge is our number one choice. This compact blade can easily be carried with you at all times, but when you’re looking to clean some birds or a deer. This knife is going to outperform others in this class.
CRKT Homefront Hunter – Best Tactical Folding Knife For Hunting
Blade Length – 3.57″
OAL – 8.25″
Closed Length – 4.74″
Weight – 4.2oz
When it comes to finding the best tactical folding knife for hunting there is quite a bit to keep in mind. However, the one thing that CRKT does better than any other knife is the ability to clean the knife. Considering when you are out in the field and you need to gut or quarter an animal it can get all over your blade. As most folding knives have numerous knocks and crevices that are hard to clean. The CRKT Homefront Hunter can be field stripped with no tools, thanks to the design of Ken Onion.
This is the first hunting knife that offers the field strip technology offering easy cleaning. When you need to maintain your knife in adverse situations there is no better hunting blade. With a few simple steps, your blade will be fully cleaned and ready to clean more wild game.
The CRKT is designed with the 1.4116 stainless steel blade, which is perfect for preventing corrosion and rust. The blade is an attached to a glass-reinforced nylon handle that offers plenty of grip. The nonslip features make it exceptionally safe and secure when cutting up wild game. Plus the Realtree Xtra in green camo is a nice aesthetic touch.
Folding Mechanism –
The CRKT Homefront Hunter has a locking liner that secures the blade in place. The built-in design makes it extremely safe and secure when open and in use. With a simple movement of your thumb on the locking mechanism, you can unlock the blade and fold it with one hand.
If you’re looking for the best tactical folding knife that you can carry every day and get right out into the woods hunting. The CRKT Homefront Hunter is my number one choice. It’s a simple no fuss type of knife. It has limited pieces, therefore, there are fewer things to go wrong or break with this knife. Not to mention the field strip is perfect when cleaning out lint from your pocket or wild game meat.
Best Tactical Folding Knife – Fishing
Spyderco Endura4 – Best Tactical Folding Knife For Fishing
Blade Length – 3.8″
OAL – 8.78″
Closed Length – 4.98″
Weight – 3.7oz
When looking for a knife that dual as a tactical folding knife and a fishing fillet knife, that’s very difficult to find. However, after plenty of trail and error and some testing we’ve narrowed the best tactical knife for fishing to be the Spyderco Endura 4. It offers a lightweight carrying feel that folds into a compact closed position. However, as soon as you need to cut a line, dice up some bait, or fillet a fish it has a very comfortable handle feel. Not to mention the handle is made of a soft nylon that has a distinctive bi-directional texturing ensuring a firm grip when wet.
When looking at the overall appeal it has a very tactical look. However, its looks have functions. Take the small 13mm hole in the blade. Of course, it looks cool but it’s designed to allow your one hand to open the blade.
The blade is a bit more unique when compared to others. As it boasts a very thin and sharp edge that works perfectly for filleting fish and yet it serves its tactical purpose as well for cutting or puncturing just about anything. The blade is made from VG-10 steel, which is a grade of stainless steel that was originally made in Japan. The steel was originally made for Japanese chefs, however, it was quickly found by Spyderco and used because of its strength and quality.
Folding Mechanism –
The folding mechanism is rather simple for this tactical knife. There isn’t a lot of flare or added parts. It lacks an assisted folding mechanism, however, what that does mean is that it’s very slim. As a result, when carried in your pocket or on your belt it can go unnoticed.
If you want a very durable tactical folding knife, there are none better then Spyderco. They may not have the overall aesthetic appeal as other tactical blades do, however, it makes up for it with its durability and versatility.
Benchmade 320 Precinct – Best Tactical Folding Knife For Fishing
Blade Length – 3.8″
OAL – 7.78″
Closed Length – 4.48″
Weight – 3.42oz
The Benchmade 320 Precinct is a member of the Black class, these are designed for more tactical professionals. If you’re looking for a blade where quality is the difference between life and death, the Black Class is your go to. Anyone from law enforcement to public safety officials use the Black Class Benchmade knifes. Now most of the time when you’re fishing it’s not life or death. However, I’m someone who likes to have one tool that does the job for all. Therefore, if your looking for the best tactical folding knife that you can carry every day, but take with you on your evening or weekend fishing trips. The 320 Precinct has to be your go-to knife.
I know when we tested and used this blade is was hard to put this knife down. It has a textured G10 handle that seemed to mold into your hand. The weight of the blade and handle combination was one of the most comfortable. Plus with the ergonomic handle design, it just felt right when you picked it up.
Benchmade selected their Drop-point 154CM stainless steel blade for the Precinct. This holds an extremely sharp edge over constant use. Therefore, if your cutting up bait, filleting fish, or simply using it around the house to cut up a box. Benchmade has designed this blade to hold it’s edge.
Folding Mechanism –
A staple for Benchmade knives is their Liner lock that holds the blade firmly whether open or shut. With this type of system, you get a solid safety feature that makes it function like a fixed blade knife. Overall, this is one of the safest and most secure locking folding blades available. Considering you’re looking for a tactical knife that can be carried every day, this type of safety is necessary.
Overall, the Benchmade 320 Precinct is an extremely nice knife that will function for the lake or everyday carry seeker out of the box. Benchmade includes a thrust bearing washers and a reversible tip-up deep-carry clip to accommodate everyone’s specific needs. I know for me this knife was one of the best feeling knives when I used it. It may not have the full tactical appeal, but as soon as you use it the knife is a sturdy and durable construction.
Kershaw ZT Sinkevich – Best Tactical Folding Knife For Fishing
Blade Length – 3.7″
OAL – 8.9″
Closed Length – 5.25″
Weight – 3.7oz
Leave it to Kershaw knives to make one of the coolest looking knives. Well, really it’s designed by Dmitry Sinkevich for Kershaw knives. Dmitry has some of the coolest knife design when it comes to tactical knives. To many, they are actually more of a work of art. Hence, why Kershaw specifically chose Dmitry to design their Zero Tolerance folding knife.
Even though this knife has an almost sword-like appeal, it’s ability to perform for fishing is unbelievable. At first glace, you’d think it’s not true, but this knife has the feel and shape to cut up fish, cut line, or even chop up some bait. The most noticeable aspect about the knife is the humped handle. This lightweight carbon fiber handle provides plenty of room for your hand when filleting a fish. Most straight blades don’t offer the room and you tend to be scraping your knuckles to your cutting board. However, with the Zero Tolerance, this knife is perfect for it.
The blade that was selected is a premium CPM-20CV stainless steel. It’s selected for its superior toughness and hardness. It comes at a bit of a premium price, but Kershaw and Dmitry had to match the premium stainless blade with the lightweight high-grade carbon fiber handle. The blade holds an extremely sharp edge due to its extreme hardness.
Folding Mechanism –
The Zero Tolerance has been constructed with a frame lock feature that is made from hardened steel. As a result, you have a blade that will be secure as it remains open. The last thing you’d want on such a sharp knife is for the lock to break. As for the opening and closing of the knife, it’s built with a KVT ball-bearing design. With this style, the knife can be opened and closed with extreme ease. It’s also quite quick, making it the best tactical folding knife for fisherman. Last, this knife is designed to be fully reversible meaning whether you’re left or right-handed you can use this knife with ease.
If your first goal for finding the best folding tactical knife is to find a cool knife, the Zero Tolerance is the one. The slate gray and red carbon fiber handle is one of the coolest looking models we used. Even though this knife has a great aesthetic appeal it still functions as a great knife for fishing.
Best Tactical Folding Knife – Outdoors
Benchmade 555HG – Best Tactical Folding Knife For The Outdoors
Blade Length – 2.9″
OAL – 6.8″
Closed Length – 3.9″
Weight – 2.6oz
If you’re looking for the best tactical folding knife that can master the great outdoors, then the Benchmade 555HG. It’s hard to find a knife that can master the outdoors, but the Benchmade 555HG is a versatile knife that you can take with you while camping, backpacking, hunting, or fishing. It’s a durable inexpensive knife that is matched with Benchmade quality. The knife is designed to be an everyday carry tactical knife, but as soon as you need to hit the outdoors, it’ll be your number one tool. It’s designed with a long-lasting performance blade that will be sure to not break the bank.
The Benchmade Mini-Griptilian is a Sheepsfoot knife that is made of durable 154CM stainless steel. Now one of the main reasons we picked the Mini-Griptilian as the best tactical folding knife for the outdoors is the Sheepsfoot blade. There are numerous advantages to a blade shape like this for the outdoors. For example, with a point like this, it’s perfect for carving. Therefore, if you need to carve a stick to make a campfire rotisserie sticks or a spear. The Sheepsfoot blade is perfect for these types of tasks. They also have a modified point that makes it harder to stab yourself. Hence, if you need a knife for any task to carry every day, a knife that prevents some pokes or slices is always a plus. Lastly, a Sheepsfoot blade provides the ability for finesse and rescue situation where poking could cause injury.
Folding Mechanism –
The Benchmade Mini-Griptilian is made with a Valox handle that is durable and strong so you can trust it in the outdoors. The handle leads to the AXIS locking mechanism that is suitable for either left or right-handed people. The AXIS lock is the safest locks on the market. Therefore, if you’re cutting, chopping, or filleting you’ll know that the folding blade will stay locked.
I found this knife to be the best knife when you’re just unsure where to start with your first tactical blade. It offers so much versatility and when most people look at Benchmade knives they find it hard to spend that much money. However, with the Mini-Griptilian it’s half the price of most Benchmades yet it still has the quality and performance.
Kershaw Knockout – Best Tactical Folding Knife For The Outdoors
Blade Length – 3.25″
OAL – 7.75″
Closed Length – 4.6″
The Kershaw Knockout is the perfect example of the best tactical folding knife for the outdoors. As soon as you pick it up its appeal and feel screams tactical outdoors. The handle is made of light-weight anodized-aluminum finished in a flat green olive color. The blade itself is coated with diamond-like carbon which gives it the black finish. Not only does it look great but between the handle and blade, the finish is designed to not corrode or rust. The overall size of this knife is very versatile, it’s small enough to carry in your pocket, yet large enough to cut branched, small trees, and other big jobs.
Kershaw designed this blade to be customizable in many ways. With numerous holes on the outer handle, you can position this to carry as a tip-up or tip-down. It’s four-way reversible to accommodate right-hand or left-hand, overall just a great feature.
The blade is made of 14C28N stainless steel, which was chosen for its corrosion-resistant properties and strength. The blade as we mentioned before is also coated in Diamond-like carbon to help protect and keep its edge and integrity. The point is a modified drop-point, making it very versatile for cutting, carving, or chopping. The Knockout blade is a very solid durable blade perfect as a tactical blade to take outdoors.
Folding Mechanism –
Kershaw designed this knife with the Speedsafe folding/opening mechanism. Therefore, allowing you to open and close with one hand. There are actually two ways to deploy the knife, first are the ambidextrous thumb studs, and the second is the flipper on the back of the blade. It’s quite convenient to have the black flipper on the blade, it makes for a very quick and easy opening of the blade. It’s actually one of my favorites, due to the ease and efficiency.
If you are in the market for a blade that can be your everyday tactical folding knife, but moonlight on the weekends as a great outdoor blade. The Kershaw knockout is my choice for you. It’s a great looking slim blade that is super easy to handle and safe enough to use on anything.
Best Tactical Folding Knife – Camping
Kershaw Shuffle – Best Tactical Folding Knife For Camping
Blade Length – 2.4″
OAL – 5.75″
Closed Length – 3.25″
Weight – 2.8oz
When it comes to finding the best folding tactical knife for camping there are numerous options. However, considering how much camping gear can cost and the numerous items you may need. We decided to find a budget-friendly knife that offered plenty of versatility and yet still a great quality blade. The Kershaw Shuffle was our number one choice, this compact blade is the perfect tool for carrying and camping. Plus for less than $20 dollars you can get a blade that helps cut kindling, rope, camping, or backpacking. Plus not to mention it has a trusty bottle opener. So you can grab your favorite six pack and know you won’t be without a bottle opener.
Considering that the Kershaw Shuffle is a small compact short blade. It actually seems much larger than it really is. As Kershaw designed the blade to be tall giving you plenty of cutting surface for larger jobs. The tall blade is coated with black-oxide BlackWash which helps to extend the life and corrosion that can damage a knife. The blade doesn’t hold the same qualities as a premium blade would, however, for the price you can’t beat a knife like this.
Folding Mechanism –
The Shuffle knife is an easy folding knife that can be done with one hand. However, it doesn’t have an assist mechanism like some of Kershaw’s higher-end knives. Instead, it’s a fully manual opening and closing mechanism. It does lock once opened, preventing any injuries or accidents. For the price, the function and folding mechanism is quite simple and works great.
For a simple knife that fits as being the best folding tactical knife for camping and backpacking, there is no better choice. The compact knife offers plenty of versatility and in the event you are camping and lose one, they are inexpensive enough to purchase a backup.
SOG Escape – Best Tactical Folding Knife For Camping
Blade Length – 3.4″
OAL – 8.2″
Closed Length – 4.8″
Weight – 4.8oz
If you’re an avid camper or backpacker the SOG Escape is the best tactical folding knife for camping and every day carry. The SOG Escape is a more than just aesthetically good looking. It’s constructed with a rugged and durable hard-anodized aluminum handle. The handle even has an integrated line cutter for cutting rope when rigging up a tent or tarp. It may seem a bit unnecessary at first, but once you give it a few uses on ropes it a quick and safe alternative to opening up the blade. The handle even includes a wire stripper and a glass breaker.
The SOG Escape is a very affordable knife for anyone looking to head outdoors camping. Plus with SOG’s offer of always taking care of the blade for life. It’s hard to find a more affordable knife that if it ever breaks or fails will be replaced by the manufacturer.
The SOG Escape comes in a 3.4″ black stainless steel knife blade. What really makes this blade perfect from other camping knives is that it has a straight blade and serrated edge as well. Therefore, you can carve and cut, but when you need to saw a thick branch the SOG Escape is capable for that too. For a knife that is this well priced it’s unheard off to find one that is made of such high-quality stainless steel. Designed to not corrode or rust over time, therefore, making it the best tactical folding knife from SOG.
Folding Mechanism –
Built with a one-hand opener and Lockback, the SOG Escape is a very safe and secure blade. Located on either side of the blade are thumb-studs giving you plenty to grip when opening the blade. With the SOG Lockback it is one of the most secure blades on the market. Sure to not fold or break when cutting, chopping, or carving.
If you want a knife that is worth every penny when it comes to a versatile camping knife. The SOG Escape is our number one choice. It may not hold the quality of a $100 or $200 blade, but in all reality who needs a blade that expensive when camping. As long as it offers plenty of versatility and can cut when needed it’s the perfect knife. The SOG is a great knife and it even looks cooler in person.