There are a lot of knives on the market today claiming to be tactical, but it takes more than a blackened blade and some flames on the grip to make it so. If you’re looking for truly tactical everyday carry knives, there are a few features you should keep an eye out for.
Since this list is for EDCs, we decided to limit the features to those found on folding knives, as fixed blades have a few different specifications.
The blade should have a relatively strong, sharp tip and a belly for cutting. While clip points have a sharp tip, they’re thin and more prone to breaking. Your best bet is to look for a tanto, reverse tanto, drop point, or spear tip.
These knives all have pretty strong tips, with the tantos being the strongest. Drop points don’t have as strong a tip, but they have more of a belly, making them better suited to slicing, or skinning game. Spear points are preferred for a survival fixed blade and work equally well for folders as they have a sharp point, a belly, and a fairly strong tip.
The knife should have a blade lock to prevent the blade from closing on your fingers. You’ll most likely be performing tasks that require a tight grip on the blade and switching angles on the knife.
Having a blade close on your fingers can cause severe damage, and if you are in a survival situation, you can’t afford an injury that may become infected. There are several types of locks, and the quality of the lock is decided by the quality of the knife itself.
The knife handle should be synthetic, as natural ones can be difficult to keep clean. We’re not germaphobes, but there’s just a good chance you’ll be using the knife for food prep as well. Food poisoning is difficult to deal with in a comfortable environment, much less in the field.
The handle should also be textured so you can grip it even in cold or muddy conditions. Make sure the handle is ergonomic and relatively straight. Too often people purchase a knife with curves for their fingers only to find that their hand doesn’t fit. This can create hand fatigue which is a leading cause of knife injuries.
The edge should be either straight or partially serrated. Serrations aren’t multi-functional enough to make them a viable option for a tactical knife.
Having a semi-serrated edge allows you to easily cut tough materials like rope. While the serrations are sharp after the straight edge has dulled, it will reduce the amount of cutting edge available.
If you want to buy tactical everyday carry knives online, make sure to read the specifications thoroughly before purchasing as well as the reviews. Customer reviews are one of the most valuable tools available for potential buyers, giving you a real idea of the product.
Pearl Collins is a freelance journalist and copywriter. Her work has been published in the International Business Times, The Guardian, and CNBC. She’s also written for startups such as Focal Point etc..