The Best Folding Tactical Knife – How To Pick One That’s Right For You

How’s it going guys?  It’s John with another one of my awe inspiring in depth knife reviews.  Today we are going to be examining what it takes to earn the title of the best folding tactical knife.  There is a lot of competition out there, so I wanted to help you hone in on some key factors to look for when shopping for a folding tactical knife.

Tactical knives feature military characteristics; these knives are designed to handle the most extreme situations.  This means this blade can also be used in a self-defense scenario with great effectiveness.  Tactical knives are also sometimes  referred to as fighting-utility knives.   This hybrid name stems from the use of this blade during the bloody trench warfare of WWI.

The Best Folding Tactical Knife – Why you need it

Because of the folding design, this blade is perfect for heavy use scenarios where space is a factor.  I use my tactical knife for cutting thick rope, twine, and in one case a seat belt.  These blades are made to mil-spec standards so they can take a lot of abuse.  I found the best folding tactical knife to fill a precise niche in my collection and I always carry one with me when I’m hunting.  The folding feature does reduce the combat effectiveness, but since the only thing I’m fighting in the woods with my hands is mosquitoes, I think I’ll be fine.

Folding Tactical Knife Characteristics

Folding tactical knives usually have a blade that measures between 3.5″ – 5″ in length.  They are slightly smaller than traditional tactical knives; therefore, they are better suited for scenarios where space is limited.  For example, a downed pilot could cut himself free from his parachute by using his tactical knife, or you could cut yourself free from the seat belt of a wrecked car.  These blades are durable and they are designed to handle a number of tasks.  Folding tactical knives are not so much fighting blades anymore.  Today, tactical knives are used for all types of different reasons ranging from prepping dinner to creating kindling, and everything in between.

Folding Tactical Knife Options to Consider

I prefer a lightweight frame with a stainless steel blade.  This arrangement gives you a good balance between usability and comfort.  The stainless steel doesn’t rust and this can make a huge difference in the life expectancy of your blade.  Some versions of this knife come with a partially serrated edge.  I prefer this because this gives you more options in the wild.  It also highlights the subtle changes that transformed this fighting blade into a utility knife.

The Best Folding Tactical Knife – What to look for

Your tactical knife is going to get a significant amount of use so you want to make sure that it feels right in your hand.  I try to avoid handles that have over pronounced finger molds because this leaves you with only one grip option.

Your purpose is going to dictate what features you need most.  Many tactical knives come tailored for very specific roles.  For example, a scuba diver will use a different tactical knife than an infantryman.

The Top 5 Best Folding Knives in the World

There is literally hundreds of folding tactical knife manufacturer’s to choose from.  Being the nice guy that I am, I already took it upon myself to shave off the fat.  These are the five best folding tactical knives on the market today.

Zero Tolerance 0562CF Hinderer Slicer Knife

 

Zero Tolerance 0562CF Hinderer Slicer Knife

Zero Tolerance 0562CF Hinderer Slicer Knife

 

The Zero Tolerance 0562CF Hinderer Slicer Knife is made in the USA and incorporates a patented ball-bearing opening mechanism to provide you with a smoother opening experience you can feel.  The Carpenter CTS-204P steel gets razor sharp and it retains its edge, even after extended use.  I sharpen mine once every four months or so, and that’s after heavy use.

Pros

  • KVT Ball-Bearing Opening
  • Reversible Carry Clip
  • Frame Lock
  • Lockbar Stabilizer
  • Carbon Fiber Handle

Cons

  • Blade Lock Position

The carbon fiber handle adds to the styling and featherweight design of this folding tactical knife.  I also like the reversible deep-carry clip because it gives me more carry options when I’m out in woods hunting game.  This is a high-end knife that you can get years of use from, without ever worrying about any mechanical failures.  If you are in the market for a folding tactical knife, you should consider this blade.

Spyderco C186TIP SLYSZ Bowie Folding Knife, Titanium, 3.42-Inch

Spyderco C186TIP SLYSZ Bowie Folding Knife, Titanium, 3.42-Inch

Spyderco C186TIP SLYSZ Bowie Folding Knife, Titanium, 3.42-Inch

 

The Spyderco C186TIP SLYSZ Bowie Folding Knife gives you a rugged cutting tool that is designed to outlast the competition.  When you first hold this knife in your hands, you notice the quality put into the high-grade materials such as the titanium handle.  The CTS XHP Stainless Steel blade can cut through thick pieces of cord with minimal effort.
Pros

  • Titanium Handle
  • G-10 Back Spacer
  • Full-flat Ground CTS XHP Stainless Steel Blade
  • Reverse Wire Clip

Cons

  • Large Frame

The ergonomics of this blade are very intuitive with the design giving you excellent cutting angles.  I use this knife a lot when working, but it is a little large for an EDC knife.  It’s the perfect size for camping trips and that is when I get the most use from mine.  If you are a hunter or camper, this blade could be an essential tool in your kit.

 

Benchmade Knife 940-1 Osborne Carbon Fiber Handle

Benchmade Knife 940-1 Osborne Carbon Fiber Handle

Benchmade Knife 940-1 Osborne Carbon Fiber Handle

 

The Benchmade Knife 940-1 folding tactical knife comes with a CPM S90V Super Premium Stainless Steel Blade.  The blade design is a plain edged reverse Tanto that gives you access to better cutting angles.  This is a great folding tactical knife for so many reasons.  The carbon fiber handle keeps the weight of this knife down to 3.7 ounces.  You can’t ask for a lighter more durable blade than this.

Pros

  • Carbon Fiber Handle
  • CPM S90V Steel
  • Reverse Pocket Clip
  • Ambidextrous
  • Tanto Blade

Cons

  • Blade Play

This is one of my favorite EDC knives because of its ultra-sharp blade and how it doesn’t weigh my pockets down.  I did notice a slight bit of blade play while using this knife but nothing that would make me reconsider its place on this list.  This is a professional grade folding tactical knife, which is guaranteed to leave you satisfied.

 

Kershaw S30V Blur Knife with Steel Blade with SpeedSafe

Kershaw S30V Blur Knife with Steel Blade with SpeedSafe

Kershaw S30V Blur Knife with Steel Blade with SpeedSafe

 

The Kershaw S30V Blur Knife utilizes a SpeedSafe assisted opening mechanism to give you instant access to your blade when you need it most.  The 3.4″ S30v steel blade comes razor sharp out-the-box.  I really like the price point of this knife.  This blade gives me a reliable stand-in for my high-end expensive blades.  I like the cutting power and the fact that I don’t have to worry about damaging this blade.

Pros

  • S30V Steel Blade
  • Stonewashed Finish
  • 6061-T6 Anodized Aluminum Handle
  • Lightweight
  • Secure Grip

Cons

  • Not Water Resistant

The lightweight 6061-T6 Aluminum handle keeps this knife a reasonable weight for extended carry scenarios.  I like the stonewashed finish, not only does it add protection to the blade, but it also reduces the reflection of your blade in the wild.  This is a smart choice for someone looking to get a high-quality blade at an impressive price.

Buck Strider 881 881BO Bead Blasted ATS-34 Black G-10 Tactical Military Folding Pocket Knife

Buck Strider 881 881BO Bead Blasted ATS-34 Black G-10 Tactical Military Folding Pocket Knife

Buck Strider 881 881BO Bead Blasted ATS-34 Black G-10 Tactical Military Folding Pocket Knife

 

The best Buck Strider 881 881BO comes with a 2 7/8″ long, bead blasted ATS-34 Steel blade, which gives this knife real cutting power.  When I first got this blade, the clip was a little stiff and it took some time to break in, but now it holds my folding tactical knife firmly in place.  This is of the best assisted opening tactical knives on the market.  The blade moves smoothly into place and the lock is very secure.

Pros

  • Assisted Opening
  • ATS-34 Steel
  • Reversible Pocket Clip
  • Rugged Design
  • Quality Craftsmanship

Cons

  • Stiff Pocket Clip

The design of this folding tactical knife takes a little getting used to but the strength-to-weight ratio is excellent.  If you need it cut, this blade can slice it.  Interestingly enough this knife is a collaboration between two manufacturers, Buck and Strider, both industry leaders.  You can definitely feel their expertise at work in this trusted survival knife.

The Best Folding Tactical Knife – Final Thoughts

Now that you know what to look for when searching for the best folding tactical knife, you are guaranteed to find a blade that fits your needs.  Luckily, today we don’t have to go down to our local blacksmith to get a custom blade made.  We can just log on and hit our favorite knife vendors at will.

There are endless options to choose from, but not every knife manufacturer is equal.  Use this folding tactical knife guide to help you narrow down your search for the best folding tactical knife
Be sure to check in next time, to see what new and exciting blades we will be putting to the test.  Until next time friends, this is your favorite woodsman, John signing off.

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