So you know the basics of of defending yourself and now you’re looking for a reliable knife to do the job. I’ve researched a bunch of different knives (and have bought way too many) in my search to find the single best knife for self defense.
Now, if you’re reading this, you probably already know that many studies have reported that people fear knives more than guns. For this reason, they can be a great deterrent from crime or assault.
But for our case, we need something that is more than just a deterrent. We need a knife that’s dependable. One that we can use if we are forcibly put in a life or death situation.
As with anything in life, make sure you know the laws. I can’t speak for every country and all 50 states when I recommend, so do your research. Be careful buying certain knives like switchblades and carrying it around, as it may not be legal in your state.
To grant the title of ‘best knife for self defense’, we have to first establish some criteria.
The knife must excel in all of the following:
- Durable. Our knife has to be able to withstand a lot of pressure and damage without falter. It can’t risk breaking or failing under common wear.
- Reliable and Quick. The chosen best knife needs to be reliable as a common carry object and needs to be able to be quickly accessed. We can’t wait 15 seconds to pull things out and get it ready. Likewise, we can’t have an unreliable blade that might not strike well.
- Intimidating. As we mentioned above, a lot of the knives appeal is strictly psychological. We want one that looks threatening, to hopefully convince an attacker to flee before we have to use it.
- Thick Material. This works in conjunction in with the idea of durability. The thick material of the blade will make sure we don’t break it, and we have control over it should we need to use it. It is also essential to have thick material for the handle, so that way we have better grip over the knife.
- Good Size. Not too big that it is a hassle to carry, but not too small that it won’t penetrate well.
- Affordable. You don’t need to pay $500 for a knife. That’s absurd and you won’t be getting much better of a product. We want to stick with something under $100, so it preserves the right to be labelled “Best Knife” but doesn’t require being a millionaire to afford.
- Penetrating Power. Our knife needs to penetrate deeply to immediately incapacitate someone and make them stop fighting back. It also needs to have the ability to retract out relatively easily. We don’t want to penetrate only to not be able to pull it back out effectively.
So what’s the best knife for self defense?
Best Knife for Self Defense – It’s a Tie
It’s far too difficult to pick just one. So I narrowed it down to my two personal favorites. The options are “The SOG SEAL Pup Elite” and the “Ka-Bar TDI Law Enforcement Knife”.
Both have all the requirements above and more. The principal difference between the two is the blade itself. The Ka-Bar is a curved blade, whereas the SOG is a straight blade. So really, it just comes down to opinion on which style you prefer.
There are some other minor differences, but both stand the test of time and penetrating power. I have tested both on penetration using test-dummies and both excel past other brands within the same price category. Likewise, I have had these brands for years without falter, whereas some of mine tend to break/wear relatively quickly.
First, let’s talk about the SOG Seal
The SOG Seal Pup Elite
This is our “straight edge” variety. The blade is grooved and has a well-designed serrated edge to add impact. One of the biggest benefits is the lightweight feel of it. When you lift it up you won’t believe the potential penetrating power it has because it feels so light compared to most brands.
It also has finger grooves for grip. It fits right in most hands. I gave it to my girlfriend to try—she loved it because the design of the handle was able to cater to a wide audience of users.
It comes with a sheath that is fairly well made. It’s not a shining 10-star sheath worth thousands, but it is custom made just for this knife and you get it for free, so who can complain?
This knife also has a version that is not “elite”. I have tested that one out, and it is also a good knife. However, the price difference is negligible and the benefits this one gives are 100% worth the extra few dollars. The non-elite version isn’t as sharp or as easy to hold. So definitely upgrade, it’s only a few bucks.
This is a great knife for anyone serious about self defense. I definitely encourage you to give it a test run if you need something to protect yourself.
The Ka-Bar TDI Law Enforcement Knife
Now, if you’ve been around the knife industry for a while, Ka-Bar is definitely a name you have heard of. They got their authority for a reason. They make outstanding knives. For a bang-for-your-buck type of scenario, the Law Enforcement Knife option is simply the best choice.
This TDI has a curved blade (drop-point) as you can tell from the picture. To some beginners, this may seem odd. However, it is the preferred style for most types of knife self-defense practices, because of ease of hand-ability and striking potential.
The blade is razor sharp and has shown no signs of dimming in the year I’ve had mine. It’s quick, the serrations are perfectly aligned, and it is reasonably sized so it doesn’t feel bulky while carrying.
Similar to the SOG Seal, it comes with a sheath. However, the sheath isn’t the best in the world. It’s custom made for the knife and will do okay, but I have to recommend that you get your own sheath that you personally prefer after test-driving a few in a store.
This knife is perfect for self defense, and the curved design will surely look intimidating to any ill-informed attacker. Simply, this and the SOG Seal Pup above are the best (and most affordable) self-defense knives around.
Whether you’re looking for a self-defense knife or a knife to use out in the wilderness, The SOG Seal and Ka-Bar are both the best options. My personal experience of owning them both (for over a year) has destroyed any of the competitors I have tried.
No other knife will be as durable and reliable a year after purchasing them like these two. That’s why I couldn’t pick just one knife.
You never know when you or a loved one’s life might be at risk. It’s your responsibility to be prepared and ready for anything the future holds. It’s better to be prepared, rather than seriously injured (or worse).
So, if you’re looking for the best knife for self defense, you need to pick up a SOG Seal Pup Elite or a Ka-Bar TDI LE Knife. That’s my recommendation.