The 5 Best Fighting Knives to Buy in 2018

Whether you’re in a dark alleyway, a parking garage, or your home, when facing an attacker, you want only the best tools on your side. Choosing the right fighting knife can give you the edge that may ultimately lead to winning a fight. While even the best combat knives are no substitute for technique and practice in a self-defense scenario, having the best fighting knife is an obvious advantage.

We’ve poured over countless amounts of fighting knives available on the market and selected the top five best fighting knives and gave our reviews. We’ve selected based on criteria including effectiveness, durability, manufacturer warranty, value for the money and overall rating.

As an added bonus, we’ve also included our top picks for knife fighting books at the end of this post.

KA-BAR's TDI Law Enforcement Knife is comfortable, razor sharp, wicked deadly,  and convenient to carry in any scenario – our top pick for the best fighting knife.

Cold Steel's Ti-Lite 4-inch Folding Knife features a sleek profile, fast deployment, and lightweight design to deliver lightning fast strikes that are sure to ward off any attacker.

KA-BAR's Classic USMC Fighting Knife is tried and true after being carried by generations with proven reliability, toughness, and effectiveness. For a more modern rendition, KA-BAR also has an updated Fighting Knife/Utility 1211 Knife.

Gerber Mark II Knife delivers massive firepower with its double bladed serrated design intended to stop any attacker in their tracks. This product is great if you are worried about larger, more resilient threats.

We’ve searched far and wide for the best fighting knives. Here’s our top 5 picks.

KA-BAR TDI Law Enforcement Knife

ka-bar tdi law enforcement knife

Effectiveness

Great for fast and damaging strikes

 

Durability

Durable AUS-8A stainless steel prevents corrosion and maintains edge

 

Warranty

Limited Lifetime Warranty

 

Overall Value

Best fighting knife for self-defense with included sheath

Pros

  • checkAble to be carried nearly everywhere
  • checkLightweight small design is perfect for fighting
  • checkSmall handle makes it hard to rip from your hand
  • checkIncreases effectiveness of regular punches and strikes

Cons

I cannot say enough about how useful this knife is as a self-defense weapon. Whether it’s a backup for your pistol or your first choice, this is an excellent piece of equipment to carry, The blade is only 2-1/2 inches long, allowing you to take it just about anywhere. Do not underestimate its damage potential due to its size. The following video goes over the potential and effectiveness of KA-BAR's TDI Law Enforcement Knife,

The handle design allows for quick strikes such as punches to stab, and hooks to slash. The TDI is a real fighting knife, and it increases your typical fighting effectiveness by at least ten fold. Your strikes will be as fast as you can punch and cause much more damage to deter any potential attacker. The handle is small and light, fitting in hand perfectly, making it hard for a potential attacker to pull away from you.

If you carry a pistol, this is a perfect backup to be drawn from the hip in case you cannot get to your pistol or cannot take it someplace. It fits on the belt easier than even the smallest carry guns due to its lightweight and flat design.

While the included sheath works OK, the after-market retention sheath is more comfortable to wear and allows the knife to be drawn faster, unlike the included clip-sheath which can snag. The caveat of the aftermarket sheath lies in not wearing a belt because the sheath will have no way to attach. Because of this, if you go running, to the gym, or someplace not wearing a belt, plan on using the included clip sheath. If you consider buying this knife to carry every day like many others, I would highly recommend the after-market sheath.

Overall, this knife makes excellent work of any attacker, as its ease of use, lightweight, and potential for rapid scoring strikes make this a deadly weapon. Combined with the ability to carry it everywhere, all the time? Yeah, this one is a no brainer. The TDI Law Enforcement knife is the best fighting knife.

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Ka-Bar TDI Law Enforcement Knife Fixed Blade
591 Reviews
Ka-Bar TDI Law Enforcement Knife Fixed Blade
  • Complete length- 5 5/8 inches, Blade length- 2 5/16 inches
  • Drop point edge
  • Blade quality- AUS-8A stainless steel blade
  • Hardness of steel- 57-59 HRC
  • Includes a black handle and sheath

Cold Steel Ti-Lite Fighting Knife

cold steel ti lite fighting knife

Effectiveness

Light, fast and wicked sharp. These knives don’t play around.

 

Durability

Built with high-quality materials & stress tested to no end

 

Warranty

Covers defects of workmanship and manufacturing

 

Overall Value

Amazing carry knife that can be deployed fast and used effectively.

Pros

  • checkDeploys extremely fast
  • checkRazor sharp from factory
  • checkEasy to carry in a pocket
  • checkHigh quality construction and locks

Cons

  • Folding mechanism needs to be broken in
  • No thumb pin for left-handed people

Cold Steel is a household name in the self-defense knife industry known for their grueling product quality assurance tests. Their Ti-Lite video features stress tests from abusing the locks well beyond any ridiculous scenario you might encounter during use. Both the  4-inch and 6-inch models are stress tested their YouTube video.

The weight of the 4-inch version is 3.5 ounces, allowing for swift and agile strikes against an opponent. Japanese AUS 8A Stainless Steel holds the razor edge very well and prevents corrosion. The 4-inch version is the perfect size for carrying around in any scenario at 4-3/4 inches closed. Sleek, fast, and sharp, you will be able to count on it for defending yourself against an attacker.

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Cold Steel 26SPZ Ti-Lite 4 in. Folding Knife Black
451 Reviews
Cold Steel 26SPZ Ti-Lite 4 in. Folding Knife Black
  • Category name: locking-knives
  • Country of origin: taiwan
  • Brand name: Cold Steel
  • 4-inch tactical folding knife with Japanese AUS 8A stainless-steel blade
  • Bead-blast finish, razor-sharp edge, and sturdy needle-sharp point

KA-BAR USMC Fighting Knife

kabar usmc fighting knife

Effectiveness

Proven fighting knife over generations of marines and hobbyists

 

Durability

 Durable 1095 Cro-Van steel. Leather handle and sheath require extra care

 

Warranty

Limited lifetime warranty for original owner

 

Overall Value

High quality knife that comes with leather sheath

Pros

  • checkLeather handle wraps & sheath
  • checkBlood groove to eliminate suction from stabs
  • checkHigh quality steel made in USA
  • checkGood hand feel and weight

Cons

  • Leather will need oiling to prevent drying out
  • Leather sheath requires breaking in
  • Factory edge could be sharper
  • Bulky for everyday carry

KA-BAR is a name that has generations of history within the United States and the Marine Corps with their fighting knife first becoming standard issue in WWII. Made in the USA, the design is tried and true, with its use becoming popular around the world due to how versatile of a knife it can be. This knife is a real fighting knife and bred for the sole purpose of self-defense and utility from its inception.

KA-BAR’s 1095 Cro-Van steel is a carbon steel with small amounts of chromium, vanadium, nickel and other elements incorporated to retain all the positive qualities of a carbon steel while offering better corrosion protection.

The 7-inch blade made from 1095 Cro-Van sharpens as quickly as regular 1095 carbon steel and holds an edge great combined with better corrosion resistance. The rat tail tang gives this knife a slightly forward balance allowing for quick strikes, stabs, slashes and chops. The blood groove of the blade allows for cuts in more rapid successions by preventing suction when pulling out of the tissue.

leather sheath

The leather wrappings help keep a sturdy grip on the knife, even when wet. KA-BAR’s leather sheath for this knife is made in Mexico however, which can be a negative factor for some. The sheath is also hard out of the box, and due to its leather nature similar to the handle wrappings, both will require oiling to prevent dry rot.

Everything about this knife screams mean, lean, fighting machine. Everything has a purpose, and you’ll find no shortage of avid fans who swear by this knife from military personnel to hobbyists.

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KA-BAR Full Size US Marine Corps  Fighting Knife, Straight
1,961 Reviews
KA-BAR Full Size US Marine Corps Fighting Knife, Straight
  • 1095 Cro-van steel. Edge Angles - 20 Degrees
  • 7" Straight Edge Blade
  • The most famous fixed blade knife design in the world
  • Overall length 11.875 inches
  • 1095 Cro-van steel

KA-BAR Fighting/Utility 1211 Knife

KABAR 1211 Fighting Knife

Effectiveness

Updated version of one of the best fighting knives of all time

 

Durability

1095 Cro-Van Steel, Kraton G nonslip handle

 

Warranty

Limited lifetime warranty for original owner

 

Overall Value

High quality knife that includes leather sheath

Pros

  • checkExtremely durable and proven knife
  • checkKraton handle & nylon sheath more durable than leather version
  • checkBlood groove for quicker stabs
  • checkGood hand feel and weight

Cons

  • Factory edge could be sharper
  • Bulky for everyday carry

KA-BAR took their near-perfect knife and upgraded it into a meaner version of its grandfather. It’s younger, lighter, faster, and more durable. KA-BAR’s updated fighting knife gives the nod to the classic USMC version while adding utility and sacrificing nothing. The Kraton G handle makes it lighter and more durable than the leather version by preventing rot from drying out. The included improved leather sheath fits the knife nicely and feels comfortable and natural at the hip.

All the classic feature are included such as the iconic drop tip point, blood groove, guard, pommel and more. Weighing in at 11.2 ounces, it’s light enough for quick strikes, yet can still chop, hack and stab with its 7-inch 1095 Cro-Van blade.

nylon sheath

The only caveat of this knife is easily solvable. The blade isn’t as sharp as it could be from the factory. However, this is quickly taken care of with a quick sharpening job.

You cannot go wrong choosing this knife as your fighting knife, period. Pick up a Kydex sheath and sharpen it, and you’ll never look back. This knife that demands respect from those who give it and earns respect from those who don’t.

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Ka-Bar 2-1211-6 Blk Fighting
195 Reviews
Ka-Bar 2-1211-6 Blk Fighting
  • Made in: USA
  • Category name: knives
  • Made in USA or imported
  • Features seven-inch, 1095 carbon steel blade and rugged, nonslip Kraton G handle
  • Constructed of 1095 powdered carbon steel, with 0.65-pound weight, seven-inch blade, and 11.75-inch overall length

Gerber Mark II Fighting Knife

gerber mark ii fighting knife

Effectiveness

Good for home-defense, not so good for every day carry

 

Durability

420HC Stainless Steel, Aluminum Handle

 

Warranty

Limited Lifetime Warranty

 

Overall Value

Made with quality materials and includes nylon sheath

Pros

  • checkOver 12 inches in total length with 6.5 inches of serration
  • checkIncredibly sharp out the box
  • checkOnly weighs 8 ounces for its size
  • checkVery deadly

Cons

  • Large size makes it hard to everyday carry

Gerber’s Mark II is just as scary as it looks. Made in the USA with over 12 inches total in length with a 6.5-inch serrated blade and black oxide finish, this thing is the definition of bad to the bone.

First produced in 1967, it has captivated fans and followers ever since. While not practical for everyday carry and mostly collected by fans, this knife can fight. If an attacker is threatening you on your turf, you can trust this knife to help protect yourself. The Mark II is a gut sticker, anyone who is on the unfortunate end will be sorry they ever showed up.

Its stainless steel composition gives excellent corrosion resistance, you need not worry about having to oil it often and prevent rust. You can just stick it in it’s included nylon plastic sheath and hope some unlucky soul will never have to end up on the other side of it.

Due to its large size, this knife is not meant going to be as easily carried as a pocket knife. The Mark II is can be carried if you’re willing to deal with it’s size, however it’s also perfect for a truck knife or home defense knife. Due to its double bladed nature, it’s legal being considered a dagger in several municipalities where a similarly large single-edged knife is illegal.

If you need the absolute most firepower on your side, you can’t go wrong choosing the Gerber Mark II.

Sale
Gerber Mark II Knife [22-01874]
288 Reviews
Gerber Mark II Knife [22-01874]
  • Black oxide coated blade combats corrosion and diminishes reflection
  • Die cast aluminum handle is sturdy in hand for combat and survival applications
  • Double serrated blade offers unbeatable function for piercing, can also act as a spear
  • Includes ballistic nylon sheath
  • Overall Length: 12.75"; Blade Length: 6.5"

Books on Knife Fighting Technique

Learning proper knife fighting technique is critical to stopping threats and defending yourself. Several fighting styles exist with various methods and amounts of skill required, but you may be wondering which one to choose.

My answer to you would be to read books on knife fighting techniques. It may be hard to find a knife fighting instructor in your area, and the knowledge able to be gained from knife fighting books is invaluable.

Two of my favorite books are Knife Fighting: A Practical Course and Contemporary Knife Targeting: Modern Science vs. W.E. Fairbairn’s Timetable of Death.

Knife Fighting: A Practical Course

knife fighting - a practical course by Michael JanichThe first concrete and practical book on knife fighting come from Michael Janich who has trained countless numbers of special forces, police and street fighters on the techniques and art of knife fighting. Janich breaks down the practical implications of knife fighting and how it applies to the real world.

Janich also writes about the use of leverage, striking, stabbing and proper timing of knife fighting in great detail. Also drafted in the book are possible legal implications of knife fighting and how you should approach a dangerous situation.

Overall, this book is an excellent read that applies all the realities of knife-fighting to ensure that you all have the knowledge you need and no-nonsense made up fluff that you don’t. This book is the real deal.

Knife Fighting: A Practical Course
65 Reviews
Knife Fighting: A Practical Course
  • Michael Janich
  • Publisher: Paladin Press
  • Edition no. 0 (11/01/1993)
  • Paperback: 108 pages

Contemporary Knife Targeting: Modern Science vs. W.E. Fairbairn's Timetable of Death

contemporary knife fighting book coverChristopher Grosz began studying W.E. Fairbairn’s Timetable of Death, a famous knife fighting book and noticed incorrect information. He started pouring over the information and fact checking, researching and getting expert opinions on the information.

Later Grosz and teamed up with Michael Janich, author of Knife Fighting: A Practical Course, to write his own factually correct knife fighting book and included opinions from recognized experts in the medical and tactical fields.

The final result is a production of a modern masterpiece that is an anatomically and medically corrected version of the renowned Timetable of Death with added practical self-defense techniques and scenarios. The wealth of useful information in this book has led it to become a commonly cited resource for all students studying edged-weapon tactics.

Contemporary Knife Targeting: Modern Science vs. W.E. Fairbairn's Timetable of Death
22 Reviews
Contemporary Knife Targeting: Modern Science vs. W.E. Fairbairn's Timetable of Death
  • Christopher Grosz, Michael Janich
  • Publisher: Paladin Press
  • Paperback: 152 pages

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