Knives were the first equalizer among men. No matter how strong you are, there will be someone stronger, or even worse, multiple adversaries. No matter how big you are, you will find someone bigger … the knife helped to even the odds before Sam Colt made all men equal. Edged instruments subconsciously awakens our primal instincts when a cutting edge meant the difference between survival or perishing.
No Quarter Given: Today’s Best Fighting Knives
Sharp-edged objects have been part of human existence soon after we discovered how advantageous our thumbs are; thus, separating us from most other animals. Objects such as flint and bones were sharpened and enhanced so we could stand a chance against critters with large fangs, along with other roaming bands of Neanderthal or Homosapien cousins. Our superior brain power and evolution did the rest. Based on this, our connection to firearms is a mere blip on our timeline compared to knives/edged weapons.
There is a primitive appeal to an edged weapon that is hard to deny. It resembles our fascination with the dancing flame of a fire. Each represent a primordial sensation placed in the deepest regions of our brain stem. Every advancement in material technology up to our modern day steels were applied to edge weapon production. The goal being sharper, stronger and more durable weapons.
Fighting blades take many shapes and forms, dictated by individual need and mission. Below is an assorted list of production battle blades of various sizes, designs, and price point that proves this point—pun intended.
Cold Steel GURKHA KUKRI PLUS
The Cold Steel GURKHA Kukri is created from high end CPM-3V tool steel allowing for hard usage. The Kukri has numerous survival applications from brush clearing, creating shelter, wood chopping, quartering game, etc. Cold Steel decided to offer their version of the Kukri, showcasing its full potential beyond just a chopping weapon with piercing, slashing, and smashing also possible. Cold Steel’s Kukri Plus features a longer, narrower point with more distal tapering to the spine. This resulted in a thinner, sharper point, which penetrates better than more traditional Kukri blade styles. The blade is almost an inch wider near the tip than at the handle, shifting the knife’s balance point forward to allow a substantial blow to be struck with minimal effort, using inertia alone to complete the cut. The Cold Steel GURHKA Kukri combines the chopping power of a hatchet with the finesse of the knife. (coldsteel.com)
SPECIFICATIONS: Cold Steel GURKHA KUKRI PLUS
- Blade Length: 12-inch
- Blade Thickness: 5/16-inch
- Overall Length: 17-inch
- Steel: CPM-3V High Carbon Steel
- Weight: 9.5 oz.
- Handle: 5-inch Long Kray-Ex
- Sheath: Secure-Ex
Spyderco GENZOW Hatchethawk
The GENZOW HatchetHawk combines Spyderco’s state-of-the-art materials and engineering experience. The head has a classic bearded profile that is complemented by a raised toe and a slightly canted edge angle. The design provides a long working edge allowing it to both chop and perform more detailed cutting chores. The underside of the beard is beveled to create a working surface for scraping. For maximum versatility, the opposite side of the HatchetHawk’s cutting edge has a hammer poll that allows the HatchetHawk to be used for driving tent stakes, nails, and spikes.
For someone concerned with getting the most use out of an implement, albeit soldier, civilian, survivalist, the GENZOW HatchetHawk supplants the large knife and hatchet. You can dig, pick, punch holes, use it as pry bar and a host of other things you would not want to use your primary cutting edge for. The tomahawk has certain advantages over the knife. It is consoling and a real morale booster to know that your tomahawk outclasses most knives in terms of utility, power, reach and lethality. (spyderco.com)
SPECIFICATIONS: SPYDERCO GENZOW HatchetHawk
- Overall Length: 15.82 inch
- Blade Material: 5160 tool steel
- Edge: 2.76 in
- Weight: 25.1 oz
- MSRP: $269.95
Benchmade 175 Adamas CBK
Benchmade literature mentions that the 175 Adamas CBK dagger was inspired by law enforcement request for discrete fixed back-up blade. The Adamas is made from 440C stainless steel with a double-edge spear-point with chisel-ground edge. The blade measures 2.5 inches and overall length is 5.47 inches. The Adamas was designed by Shane Sibert. It has vinyl-coated integral full tang shaped to reside in your palm and extend from between your fingers. The Adamas profile and handle indicates that it is meant to be used like a boxer throwing a punch. You can imagine the amount of damage the Adamas blade will create when launched at intended target with the force of a punch behind it. The Adamas push dagger comes with a thermoplastic sheath with 1 inch integral belt slots as well as steel spring belt clip for maximum flexibility in carry style. (benchmade.com)
SPECIFICATIONS: Benchmade 175 Adamas CBK
- Overall Length: 5.47-inches
- Blade Length: 2.50-inches
- Blade Material: 440
- Weight: 2.32 oz.
- MSRP: $110
Microtech COMBAT Troodon
The Microtech Combat Troodon is the battleship of the Microtech’s OTF lineup in that it is the largest with its 3.8-inch blade and 9.5-inch length. A pocket clip allows for right-hand tip down mode of carry. The Microtech OTF knives can have the pocket clip reversed for left-hand carry if desired. The carbide glass breaker on the butt is a nice touch. Weight is 5.12 ounces. Not trying to be shallow or dramatic, but the double-action Microtech Combat Troodon OTF is flat-out intimidating. Cold double-edge steel appearing in the blink of an eye is hard to deny.
Microtech utilizes premium M-390 steel–ideal for a tactical knife. It is the blessed with the ability of holding an edge for a long time while still being easy to sharpen. You usually do not get both. The version evaluated for this article was tan version with 6061 T6 aluminum G10 handles. The blade was a double-edged dagger with top being fully serrated. The Combat Troodon’s serrated edge makes short work in terms of cutting any rope or sawing through other mediums. To ease your curiosity, Troodon was a North American bird-like dinosaur similar to a raptor in profile. The blade design of many Combat Troodon make it clear it is as a tactical knife albeit offense or defense; not for camp chores, opening boxes, etc. One of the benefits that OTF knives bring over their folding auto brethren is no need to shift or alter grip after opened. (microtechknives.com)
SPECIFICATIONS: Microtech Combat Troodon
- Overall Length: 9.50-inch
- Blade Length: 3.80-inch
- Blade Material: M-390 stainless steel
- Blade Style: Dagger
- Handle Length: 5.75-inch
- Weight: 5.80 oz.
- MSRP: $550
The CRKT Hissatsu puts on no airs of being anything other than a fighting knife. The tanto blade style chosen by designer James Williams is Osoraku-Zukuri, typified by long point. The point section on an Osoraku-Zukuri-style blade is actually as long or longer than half the blade’s length. James Williams’ bio indicates he is a former Army officer and martial arts practitioner/instructor with over 50 years of experience. The Hissatsu is his vision of what a CQB blade should be with its 7.13-inch blade culminating in a lethal point. After all, Hissatsu rough translation is to finish opponent with one blow. The aesthetics of the CRKT Hissatsu instill a certain martial flare. Hell of a lot of knife for the price. After all this is CRKT’s way. (crkt.com)
SPECIFICATIONS: CRKT Hissatsu
- Overall Length:12.25-inch
- Blade Length:7.13-inch
- Blade Material: 440A
- Blade Style: Tanto
- Weight: 8 oz.
Cold Steel Natchez Bowie
The Cold Steel Natchez is a knife you can easily see Jim Bowie carrying. He would appreciate its design, high-end material manufacturing, and more importantly heft in his hand. The Natchez Bowie is large and aggressive in its aesthetics. The Natchez features an 11.75-inch blade made from 5/16-inch of CPM 3V steel. The archetypical Bowie-style clip blade is in full effect. The Natchez well represents the original Bowie knife thought process. It can slash as well as thrust with equal efficiency. This is the main reason for the Bowie’s popularity as a fighting knife. The Natchez Bowie is razor sharp out of the box, including the sharpened back edge of the clip point.
Within the car genre there is an aphorism stating, “there is no substitute for horsepower.” The Natchez Bowie represents this for fighting knives. Short sword is a fitting description with dismemberment not far-fetched when swinging a blade like the Natchez when full of adrenaline. (coldsteel.com)
SPECIFICATION: Cold Steel Natchez Bowie
- Blade Material: CPM 3V
- Handle Material: Black Linen Micarta
- Overall Length: 17-inch
- Blade Length: 11.75-inch
- Weight: 22.4 oz.
- Extras: Coffin style handle
- Origin: Taiwan
- Includes: Kydex Sheath
- MSRP: $629
Steel Will Fervor Dagger
The Steel Will Fervor’s styling harkens back to medieval times. The Fervor is made in Italy, the birthplace of the stiletto dagger. The Fervor’s aesthetics are centered on the sleek 6.69-inch, .22-inch-thick double-edge blade created from Austrian N690Co steel. This European steel is similar to US 440C stainless in terms of corrosion/wear resistance, strength and hardness. The Fervor features a 58-60 RC hardness. The key with knife steel is the consistency and uniformity in its heat treatment.
N690Co is a good choice for hard use applications and provides increased point strength, something important with a dagger, while allowing for superior edge geometry. A cannelure runs does the center of the blade. Created by a tool called a fuller, often referred to as a blood groove, the cannelure is a forging technique that serves to strengthen the Fervor’s blade. A good analogy is to think of the fuller groove serving as an I-beam reinforcement allowing for strength to be achieved via less material. This translates into penetration power. (steelwillknives.com)
SPECIFICATIONS: Steel Will Fervor 1201
- OVERALL: 11.81 inches
- BLADE: 6.69 inches
- WEIGHT: 8.16 ounces
- Blade Type: N690Co
- MSRP: $319
Bear SONG VIII Butterfly with Bowie Blade
Before the ascendancy of spring-loaded folders, butterfly knives offered the convenience/potency of one-handed opening capability. Being able to deploy your weapon efficiently is crucial. A balisong can be quiet and simple to deploy by simply dropping the bottom handle and rotating wrist. Even closed the balisong offers some utility as a blunt weapon similar to a Kubotan, enhancing striking or applied to pressure points.
The Bear OPS Bear Song VIII Butterfly features a 4-inch Bowie-style 154CM blade with taper-ground edge. The handles are Cerakoted stainless steel. Pivot bearings keep the knife moving from closed to open, etc. The Bear Song measures 5.25 inches closed to 9.5 inches when open with a weight of 5.1 ounces. The Bear OPS Bear Song VIII is a more traditional looking balisong. (bearandsoncutlery.com)
SPECIFICATIONS: Bear OPS SONG VIII
- Blade Material: 154CM
- Handle Material: Stainless Steel with Cerakote®
- Handle Color: Gray
- Open Length: 9-1/2-inches
- Closed Length: 5-1/4-inches
- Blade Length: 4-inches
- Weight: 5.1 oz.
- MSRP: $183
- CRKT Kangee T-Hawk
CRKT Kangee T Hawk
The CRKT Kangee T Hawk is a “do-it-all” tomahawk that typify the genre as both tool and weapon. The Kangee was designed by Ryan Johnson and uses one piece of SK5 Carbon steel with RC of 54-55. Two-piece handle scales are attached on either side of the steel body. Flat-grind edges are used on the axe head front and Kangee’s rear spike. Overall length of the CRKT Kangee is 13.75 inches, weighing 1 pound, 8 ounces.
Tomahawks have become a mainstay of utility in the military for a long time with the same features attracting civilians and to a lesser degree law enforcement. For many tasks, such as clearing, constructing shelter, digging, breaching, and fighting tools, tomahawks such as the CRKT Kangee have earned their place as gear worthy of having around. A favored feature of the CRKT Kangee is the excellent sheath providing both retention and quick access. The Kangee comes with a Molle equipped form-fitting Kydex sheath that slips over the tomahawk’s head and secures with a buckled strap. (crkt.com)
SPECIFICATIONS: CRKT Kangee T-Hawk
- Blade Length: 2.93-inches
- Blade Edge: Axe w/Spike
- Blade Steel: SK-5
- Blade Finish: Powder Coat
- Overall Length: 13.75-inches
- Weight: 24 ounces
- Spyderco Ronin 2
Spyderco Ronin 2
The Spyderco Ronin 2 is based on an earlier Michael Janich design. The Ronin 2 features a 4-inch Wharncliffe profile blade. The Ronin 2’s Wharncliffe blade style is typified by a straight cutting edge with the spine rounded convexly downward to meet the point. Also, the Ronin 2’s spine profile guides thumb placement, enhancing ability to apply downward pressure. With a Wharncliffe style blade, one can dump power into the cut regardless of whether they are stabbing, slashing or chopping with the knife—it doesn’t matter. A multi-adjustable sheath with G-Clip attachment supports belt carry and clip-style inside-the-waistband carry. The G-Clip is also configurable for vertical, horizontal, or diagonally canted carry and can be attached to both faces of the symmetrical sheath. (spyderco.com)
SPECIFICATIONS: Spyderco RONIN 2
- Blade Length: 4.08-inches
- Blade Edge: Wharncliffe
- Blade Steel: CTS BD1N
- Blade Finish: stainless
- Overall Length: 7.84-inches
- Weight: 3.9 ounces
Want more blades? Then check out our full run down of all the knew jabbers we saw at SHOT Show for 2023:
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