Best Self Defense Knife: Review, Buying Guide, and FAQs

by Robert Fox

The world we live in can be dangerous that much we can all agree on. This is why it is becoming increasingly popular to find effective ways to defend oneself.

Self-defense tools come in various types and shapes. A knife can sometimes be used for self-defense. However, there is a lot of legal issues with pulling out a knife to defend yourself even in life-threatening situations. This is because knives are classified as deadly force weapons. Hence, you can only use it to defend yourself from life-threatening attacks when there is no other lesser force weapon available. There is also the likelihood of you sustaining a self-inflicted injury while trying to defend yourself with the knife.

Editor's Recommendation: Top Self Defense Knife

That said, the added protection and confidence a self-defense knife offers cannot be overlooked. In fact, this is one of the big reasons why there is a wide variety of them available for sale in local and online stores.

Without further ado, let's get started.

Top 9 Best Self Defense Knife Reviews 2023

Top 9 Best Self Defense Knife Reviews 2023
Top 9 Best Self Defense Knife Reviews 2023

1. Spyderco Civilian Signature Folding Utility Knife - Link

Spyderco Civilian Signature Folding Utility Knife with 4.09
Spyderco Civilian Signature Folding Utility Knife with 4.09

Highlighted features:

  • Blade Length: 4.09 inch
  • Overall Length: 9.29 inches
  • Weight: 6.35 ounces
  • Blade Material: Stainless steel
  • Handle Material: G-10 (Fiberglass)

The Spyderco Civilian Folding knife is one of the oldest models by Benchmade. The model has been around since the 1990s and has received multiple upgrades since then.

The superior quality of the Civilian folding knife is easy to see both in use and even off face value. The knife features Spyderco's patented revered "S" shaped design. This makes it possible to use the knife as an oversized claw. The tip of the knife is ultra-thin and well-grounded.

In terms of versatility, the blade is deeply curved and is made from VG-10 stainless steel. The knife excels in slicing as well as cutting. The handle of the knife is G-10 and the textured design prevents it from slipping while using it.

It comes with a two-position clip that makes it easy to carry the knife around.

2. Spyderco Delica 4 Lightweight 7.15" Folding Knife - Link

Spyderco Delica 4 Lightweight Signature Folding Knife with 2.90
Spyderco Delica 4 Lightweight Signature Folding Knife with 2.90

Highlighted features:

  • Blade Length: 2.75 inches
  • Overall Length: 7 inches
  • Blade Material: Stainless steel
  • Handle Material: Fiberglass Reinforced Nylon
  • Blade Edge: Flat ground

With a wide spectrum of handle colors to choose from, the Spyderco Delica Folding knife features a flat ground VG-10 Steel blade. The steel is well thinned and grounded to feature a refined sharp edge. The blade also features a large 13mm opening hole.

The knife is ultra-lightweight and easy to use. The FRN handle of the knife comes with stainless steel liners which reinforce the overall toughness of the knife without increasing its weight. The knife also comes with slip-resistant jimping along the blade spine. The blade is rust-resistant and would hold an edge just fine.

The knife also features bi-directional texturing that prevents it from slipping while in use. Folding the knife is relatively easy and allows one-handed opening. It is perfect for use as a self-defense tool, for use while camping or hiking, boating, etc.

One drawback users find with the knife is that the scales on the handle are not as durable as the brand markets them to be.

3. Spyderco Matriarch 2 Signature Folding Knife - Link

Spyderco Matriarch 2 Signature Folding Knife with Emerson Opener and 3.57
Spyderco Matriarch 2 Signature Folding Knife with Emerson Opener and 3.57

Highlighted features:

  • Blade Length: 3.57 inch
  • Overall Length: 8.55 inch
  • Weight: 3.52 ounces
  • Blade Material: Stainless Steel
  • Handle Material: Fiberglass Reinforced Nylon (Synthetic Material)
  • Blade Edge: Serrated

The Spyderco Matriarch 2 is largely regarded as a game-changer in the self-defense knife market. This is because the knife was designed as an upgrade of the Spyderco Civilian knife, which in itself, is a great knife.

The Matriarch 2 comes with some of the same designs present on the Spyderco Civilian knife. It is made using a SpyderEdge VG-10 Stainless Steel blade that is scientifically made to allow precise cutting performance.

One cool feature on the Matriarch 2 that makes it such a good buy is its sturdy back lock mechanism. This four-position clip and round hole make it easy to keep the knife. It is lightweight and is foldable making it increasingly versatile and easy to deploy. Due to the unique shape of the handle, matriarch 2 allows ambidextrous operation. The handle is made from a textured fiberglass-reinforced-nylon handle.

Just like other Spyderco self-defense knives, the matriarch 2 is easy to carry and features a small integral hook for that specific purpose.

While handling the knife, we recommend caution as the blade is very sharp. Also, the mechanism of the knife is that it is designed to open immediately you remove it from your pocket. This means you might easily slice off your fingertip if care is not taken.

That said, matriarch 2 offers a reliable and deadly alternative for when you cannot carry a firearm.

HINT: We recommend getting a retention ring before deploying this knife due to its opening mechanism. That way you have more control over the usage of the knife.

4. KA-BAR 7506 - Link

KA-BAR 7506, Jarosz, Folder, Tanto
KA-BAR 7506, Jarosz, Folder, Tanto

Highlighted features:

  • Overall length: 8 inches
  • Weight: 3.53 ounces
  • Blade Material: Stainless steel
  • Blade length: 3.5 inches
  • Blade Edge: Hollow

This sharp knife is small and handy. It is lightweight and features a bevel grind.

NOTE: The bevel grind on the blade of the knife is uneven. Although for its price, it probably should be expected.

The KA-BAR 7506 features a hollow blade edge that is foldable. While the brand is known mainly for producing fixed blades, their foldable entries are just as great. The quality of the materials used is great and the knife offers dogged durability. It is extremely easy to fold the knife and will fit easily into your pocket. It is a Jarosz knife and it comes with a wrench. The wrench is useful in adjusting its pivot tension.

The blade itself is quite sharp and will cut through anything without any resistance. It is also extremely good at slicing and well balanced

Another drawback aside from its uneven bezel is the handle/grip design. The knife does not feature grooves which makes it less secure to hold.

A noteworthy mention of the brand is the KA-BAR TD1 Law Enforcement Straight Edge Knife.

5. Benchmade - Link

Benchmade - Bedlam 860, Serrated Scimitar, Coated Finish
Benchmade - Bedlam 860, Serrated Scimitar, Coated Finish

Highlighted features:

  • Blade Length: inch (clip point shape)
  • Overall dimensions: 2.7 x 2.2 x 10.8 inches
  • Weight: 7.04 ounces
  • Blade Material: Stainless steel
  • Handle Material: Fiberglass (synthetic)
  • Blade Edge: Serrated with a coated finish

The Benchmade - Bedlam 860, Serrated Scimitar is another great self-defense knife, and for good reason. This knife is another great entry Benchmade's top line of tactical knives.

The knife features a tough 154CM stainless steel blade. The blade is rust-resistant and holds its edge well over time. The handle is textured with grooves for easy handling. The handle is also durable and strong which makes it suitable for use over a wide range of temperatures. The blade is also curved in the style of Scimitar swords which makes it suitable for slashing. Hence, it is one of the best tactical self-defense knives.

The design of the Benchmade - bedlam 860 knife makes it fully ambidextrous for better versatility. It is dangerous-looking and solid. The engineering of the folding mechanism is also reliable. The axis lock on the knife is also exceptional so that you can open and close it singlehandedly.

In terms of comfort, the bedlam 860 is large while still being comfortable enough to use.

Suffice to say if you are a fan of Benchmade as a brand, you won't be disappointed with the bedlam 860!

6. CRKT Clever Girl Fixed Blade Knife with sheath - Link

CRKT Clever Girl Fixed Blade Knife with Sheath: Powder Coated SK5 Steel, Upswept Blade, Textured Nylon Handle, Molle Compatible Sheath 2709
CRKT Clever Girl Fixed Blade Knife with Sheath: Powder Coated SK5 Steel, Upswept Blade, Textured Nylon Handle, Molle Compatible Sheath 2709

Highlighted features:

  • Blade Length: 4.6 inches (with powder coat finish)
  • Overall Length: 10.125 inches
  • Weight: 6.3 ounces
  • Blade Material: Alloy steel (fixed blade with hollow design)
  • Handle Material: Fiberglass
  • Sheath material: Nylon with glass fiber

CRKT is one of the most respected brands in the industry for over 25 years. The company has an amazing customer support team that is dedicated to helping the brand build reliability and trust.

The CRKT Clever Girl blade is forged to get things done even in ugly situations. The knife is designed for close-quarters combat and is lightweight enough so you can draw it fast and easily. The blade of the knife is fixed but it comes with a tactical sheath made from nylon and glass fiber.

This self-defense knife was forged by Austin McGlaun of Columbus, Georgia. The basic idea behind the design is that the knife is supposed to act as a deterrent to potential assailants. You can simply grab the knife and take it with you wherever you are going. The small size and sharp point of the knife mean it is more difficult to lose control of the knife to an assailant or potential attacker.

The quality of the knife also means it is suitable for tactical use. The exceptional grip is tough enough to withstand pressure when you use it.

The nylon with glass reinforcement sheath comes with mounting options so you can mount the knife. It also comes with a limited lifetime warranty. The warranty covers any expenses when the blade has a defect in workmanship or material.

7. Benchmade - Link

Benchmade - Griptilian 551 Knife
Benchmade - Griptilian 551 Knife

Highlighted features:

  • Blade Length: 3.45 inches
  • Overall Length: 8.07 inches
  • Weight: 3.88 ounces
  • Blade Material: Stainless steel with Drop point tip
  • Handle Material: Glass-reinforced nylon
  • Blade Edge: Hollow

If you want high quality, you can't go wrong with the Benchmade - Griptilian 551 Knife. It comes with a CPM-S30V stainless steel blade that feels well balanced and is rust-resistant. It has incredible edge retaining abilities that make it durable and tough.

The griptilian 551 is a folding knife and the glass-filled nylon handle it comes with is tough enough for long-term usage. The handle also makes it easy to carry the knife safely around.

Like most Benchmade knives, the griptilian 551 also features the axis lock that is common in the brand's knife. It is a manual knife and it is easy to use. it also supports single-handed operation so you can open and close it easily.

The knife is lightweight and extremely comfortable to use. The handle is textured so it does not slip while you are using it. it also features a reversible pocket clip that ensures ultimate accessibility.

The Benchmade griptilian 551 is a drop point style knife and offers all-around functionality which makes it suitable for everyday use.

8. Cold Steel 13Q 3V Tai Pan w/Secure-Ex Sheath - Link

Cold Steel 13Q 3V Tai Pan w/ Secure-Ex Sheath
Cold Steel 13Q 3V Tai Pan w/ Secure-Ex Sheath

Highlighted features:

  • Blade Length: 7.5 inches
  • Overall Length: 12.75 inches
  • Weight: 3.53 ounces
  • Blade Material: CPM 3-V Stainless steel
  • Sheath: Secure-Ex sheath

While Cold Steel is not that popular as a brand, there is no denying the superior design quality present in the Cold Steel 13Q 3V Tai Pan knife. The brand specializes in making self-defense knives with unique designs and this one is no exception.

The Tai pain knife comes with a razor-sharp, double-edged blade. The handle is textured and feels natural while gripped. It is very comfortable to use and comes with a pointed pommel that makes it highly useful in striking surfaces. The blade of the knife also comes with a DLC coating (black) which is durable and protects it from corrosion and nicks. It also does not reflect light so you can be sure your own blade won't blind you in your attempt to defend yourself with it!

The sheath is also secure and makes it safe to carry the knife around. It is easy to draw the blade from the sheath and overall, it is well designed.

9. Benchmade - Link

Benchmade - Infidel 133 Double-Edge Tactical Fixed Blade Knife with Glass Breaker and Boltaron Sheath, Spear-Point Blade, Plain Edge, Satin Finish, Black Handle
Benchmade - Infidel 133 Double-Edge Tactical Fixed Blade Knife with Glass Breaker and Boltaron Sheath, Spear-Point Blade, Plain Edge, Satin Finish, Black Handle

Highlighted features:

  • Blade length: 4.52 inches
  • Overall length: 9.21 inches
  • Weight: 5.11 ounces
  • Blade Material: Stainless steel (with a satin finish)
  • Handle Material: Aluminum (anodized)
  • Sheath Material: Boltaron

Rounding off the review, we have this fantastic entry from Benchmade. The Infidel 133 Double-Edge Fixed blade knife is a tactical knife. The blade features a satin finish and the blade edge is plain.

The Benchmade Infidel 133 is built for performance. The simplicity and style of the knife mean it is easy to draw even in life-threatening situations against an assailant. It is compact as a whole and its lightweight design means you can take it virtually anywhere.

The blade of the knife is made from D2 stainless steel which makes for improved toughness. The brand markets the knife as being tough enough to cut through steel. It also has great edge retention which makes it suitable for hard use applications. We do recommend having a whetstone or any suitable alternative to help maintain the edge cause the blade is hard.

Another noteworthy feature of the knife is its durable anodized aluminum handle. The design on the handle makes it a fully ambidextrous self-defense tool. The handle also comes with a smooth satin grip which makes it suitable to use the knife in any type of environment.

The blade of the knife is fixed and is completely reliable when using it. Since it is not foldable, it comes with a boltaron sheath so you can carry it safely. The knife also comes with a lanyard hole that makes gives you multiple options to carry it around.

The quality Benchmade is known for definitely shows in this knife and we highly recommend it.

Self Defense Knife Buying Guide

When it comes to buying self-defense knives, it goes beyond simply buying any type of knife. Generally, self-defense knives are not multifunctional in their use. In other words, you can't always find them suitable for domestic use.

Some features differentiate each knife aside from their branding. To help you make informed buying decisions, we will discuss everything you need to look for in a self-defense knife.


How lethal the knife you are buying is should be the first thing you consider. Yes, all knives are lethal but how lethal and effective each knife is categorized varies from one knife to the other.

The general rule is that any knife with a blade that is longer than 3 inches is deadly and such a knife must be considered dangerous.

Blade Type

Another important feature you want to consider before buying a self-defense knife is the type of blade the knife comes with. All knives come with different types of blades. Each blade also features a unique design. Below are the common blade types and their uses:

Blade Type Uses
1. Drop Point They are found on general use knives. Suitable for domestic use.
2. Tanto Knives with tanto blades are suitable for piercing. But they are not great for slicing.
3. Spear As the name implies, knives with spear blades are better suited for thrusting
4. Double Edge They have two sharp edges which makes them excellent for cutting, slicing, and piercing
5. Serrated They are very popular on self-defense knives. They are great for cutting materials such as fabric, belts, etc.


Self-Defense tools are legal. However, the legality of self-defense tools differs from one to the other.

There are different laws about the use of knives as self-defense tools. These laws vary from one state to another. They determine what type of knife can be concealed and what length of the blade is legal to have.

Most states restrict the use of automatic (sometimes referred to as push button) knives. Most States also restrict blades that are 4 inches or above.

Before buying your self-defense knife, make sure the laws in your state support the acquisition of one. That way, you don't break rules should you draw one to protect yourself.


Lastly, you should consider the price. Most self-defense knives come with special features that the brand markets. For instance, some self-defense knives are foldable. To use such knives, you might have to press a button or use some other designated mechanism.

When buying a self-defense knife, make sure the knife fits into your budget and offers great value for money. A good way to confirm this is to check for online user feedback on the knife.

Self Defense Knife FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions:

Should I Carry a Knife for Self-Defense?

Although there are several other self-defense tools, a knife can also be very effective in protecting oneself. The best types of self-defense knives are easy to conceal (usually folding knives) and require little to no effort to use. Fixed blade knives are also just as effectively provided you can conceal them safely without harming yourself in the process.

Are Knives Better Than Guns for Self-Defense?

This is a very controversial topic since guns can also be considered self-defense tools. However, considering most countries have very strict laws regarding owning a personal firearm, people often turn to knives as the best alternative.

There is hardly anyone who would not argue that knives require a bit of skill. There are several cases when the owner of a knife suffered injuries inflicted on them by the assailant after taking possession of the said knife. Guns on the other hand are more effective but at a long and close distance. Also, you can use guns in stealth just as well as knives.

Is It Illegal to Brandish A Knife In Self-Defense?

Depending on your state's laws, it is legal to brandish a knife, firearm, or any other suitable tool as means of defending yourself or another person. This is only legal if you are in danger of sustaining bodily harm.

For instance, it is legal in California to buy and carry your knife (i.e. Switchblades, fixed blade knives, and folding knives). However, they have certain knife laws that must be followed.

Conclusion for Self Defense Knife Buyers

One of the best things about knives is that it is ultimately up to you to decide how you want to use them. You might use it as a throwable to quickly get away from an assailant or you can use it for close-quarters combat. And while it is arguable that all self-defense tools must have an ergonomic design, there is a wide range of tools you can always use to defend yourself other than a knife.

This guide highlights some of the top-rated self-defense knives on the market so you can make an informed buying decision.

About Robert Fox

Rob Fox is a former hydro worker who used to teach self defence in Miami for 10 years. He's currently enjoying his retirement, playing cribbage and golf with his buddies, locksmithing and home security in his spare time. Rob is an avid reader, and has even written a few books on the subject of self defence.

Thoughts on "Best Self Defense Knife: Review, Buying Guide, and FAQs"

You can Get FREE Gifts. Furthermore, Free Items here. Disable Ad Blocker to receive them all.

Once done, hit anything below