Braving The Great Outdoors: 5 Of The Best Tactical Knives Of 2017

The best tactical knife can get you through the toughest of situations, whether it be at home or the great outdoors. Tactical knives play a multitude of roles for self-defense, various cutting tasks (from fending off a bear to cutting ropes), and other utility purposes.

If you’re an outdoor enthusiast or you simply enjoy hunting or fishing, then chances are you already have a tactical knife.​

Tactical knives were long used by the military or law enforcement to aid in carrying out life-or-death operations and such. Combat fighters also utilize these solid knives, but we don’t recommend using it for that particular circumstance; rather, use it purely for self-defense.​

The term "tactical" is very fluid. Some knives claim to be tactical when in fact, they’re anything but tactical. Tactical knives bear a standard feature – a sturdy built meant to withstand action and abuse. They should have the ability to weather into the teeth of the storm and come out unscathed.​

So, what makes a tactical knife?​

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Characteristics Of Tactical Knives

Most campers would rather stick to a regular knife or utility knife even if tactical knives are the most suitable for outdoor use simply because they don’t see the differences between these knives.

But unless you know what those differences and subtleties are, you also won't be able to tell the difference between a tactical knife and other knives.

On that note, let’s take a look at what tactical knives has to offer.

Purpose​

5 Of The Best Tactical Knives

Are tactical knives weapons? Utility tools? Emergency tools? In our opinion, tactical knives are designed to be carried and used for daily utility chores but are also capable as defensive weapons.

Most people label tactical knives as "cop knives" because of the way they look. With a shiny metal blade and sleek matte metal frame, one can quickly identify a tactical knife.​

However, looking at the appearance alone is misleading because we know some undercover tactical knives that have pastel-colored handles that did not have that distinct "cop" look.​


Ergonomics

Tactical knives should possess ergonomic handles and blades that are easy and comfortable to hold, even under stressful conditions.

There must be no protruding points, convoluted contours, sharp corners, or any unnatural feel when you handle it. It must feel natural and comfortable in both forward and reverse grips. Simply put, the handle should be sculpted as if it’s customized for your hands.

Moreover, a tactical knife’s handle should have what they call a “finger groove” or a grooved contour where the fingers go when gripping the knife. This part should not be over-pronounced or uncomfortably force your fingers into a pre-fixed position.​


Size

The knife’s size should be just right for your hands - neither too large nor too small. Some knife manufacturers offer small, medium, and large versions of a particular model, so sizing won’t be a problem if the tactical knife of your choice comes in different sizes.​

However, if there’s no sizing available, the knife size you ought to pick should be reflective of the task you’re frequently faced with. We’ve seen 15” tactical knives complete with leather sheaths that you can also use to hammer a nail. We’ve also seen smaller folding types that are meant to be stashed away in the pocket.

If you’re just an ordinary camper, we suggest a folding knife with a 3.5 - 4.5" blade and an overall length of about 8-9". On the other hand, a fixed blade tactical knife with a length that ranges from 6-7".​


Blade Design And Material

Characteristics Of Tactical Knives

A high-quality stainless steel is the way to go if you want a durable and long-lasting tactical knife.

With regards to the blade design, it doesn’t really matter as long as the blade has a sharp cutting edge that tapers to a point. It’ll be helpful to look for knives featuring relatively thick points for poking or digging purposes and semi-thick edges for lateral strength.

Often, you’ll see tactical knives bearing either a straight or curved cutting edge. Well, choosing between the two is up to your personal preference but if you’re always doing cutting activities, curved cutting edges are ideal because they can efficiently cut through anything, even cloth and webbing.​


Fixed And Folding Blades

Some like folders while some prefer fixed blades. Since fixed blades lack any moving parts, they’re inherently stronger and sturdier. On the other hand, folders present unique advantages too. So, what are you going to use?

Again, choosing between the two knife types should be purpose driven. What are you going to use it for? Do you need it to work like a cleaver when chopping wood branches? Do you rarely use it but always want to keep it by your side just in case?​

Based on experience, when it comes to camping, hiking, or trekking, you’ll be needing both. Always carry a folding knife in your pocket and a fixed blade strapped on your pack.

You can use both types for just about anything, say for emergency reasons, chopping vines and branches ahead, and poking through walls.​

Choosing The Best Tactical Knife

The video below primarily discusses all the things and features you should take into consideration when selecting a tactical knife.

Now, the video is a bit long but bear with it because it’s every bit as helpful as consulting a knife guidebook.​

Product Reviews: Out Top 5 Picks For The Best Tactical Knives

Nestled in the top spot of our little list of the best tactical knives is the rugged and gorgeous-looking TAC Force TF-705.

This tactical folding knife bears a lot of advanced and useful features. First, it has a good-sized blade and blade thickness, at 4.5" and 3 mm, respectively. Second, it has a unique blade design - half of it is straight, and the other half is serrated.

Do you still recall earlier when we said that both blade edges have their own advantages? That’s exactly what you’ll be getting from this fantastic blade - a clean cut with the straight edge and a smooth downward cutting with the serrated edge.

Furthermore, this knife offers an easy and fast one-handed deployment, thanks to its spring-assisted opening. It also sports an aluminum handle with built-in bottle opener, belt clip, a pointy glass breaker.

We especially loved the glass breaker features of this cool knife which you can use to punch out a car’s window in case of an emergency.

If you have an eye for aesthetics, this knife model comes in various designs and colors, so there’s something for everyone. It makes a perfect gift too!

We purchased one of these several months back, and we’re happy that it’s still sturdy, durable and sharp. The TAC Force knife is indeed ideal for camping, fishing, cutting things, poking, stabbing bad guys, opening Amazon prime boxes, and…. making you look like a badass.


Pros

  • Good length
  • Right blade thickness
  • Durable and sharp
  • Comes with thoughtful features (e.g. Bottle opener, glass breaker)
  • Easy to fold and unfold (courtesy of the spring).

Cons

  • You may need to put oil on the spring to make it work smoothly.

Our runner up in the list, MTech’s A845, is also a brilliant tactical knife that resembles the TAC in so many ways.

Like the TAC, it is spring-assisted, has a thumb stud for easier and faster blade deployment, and features an aluminum handle with a glass breaker. The main difference lies in the blade's design. This one sports a super sharp straight blade with an inner curve that can cut through anything cleanly and with ease.

We were skeptical at this blade’s shape at first, but after carrying it around for several months, we began to appreciate it. Its tanto point and sturdy frame make it perfect for self-defense, but the inner curve of the blade is the real hidden gem.

Functionally, this blade part makes this knife work great for random daily utility activities, carving, etc.

Among the things we loved about this knife includes the heavy-duty spring assist that can effortlessly blow knives out of the water, the belt cutter works that works seamlessly, and the deep pocket clip that conceals the knife well.


Pros

  • Good length
  • Right blade thickness
  • Durable and sharp
  • Comes with thoughtful features (e.g. Deep pocket clip, belt cutter, glass breaker)
  • Easy to fold and unfold (courtesy of the spring).

Cons

  • You may need to put oil on the spring to make it work smoothly.

If you’re looking for a tactical knife with an extra mean and badass look, MTech’s MX-8054 sure fits the description. And it not’s all looks too because this is one of the finest tactical knives in the market.

MTech’s MX-8054 has a rugged appearance and flat black color. It has the following features: a 6” 440 stainless steel blade (11" including the handle), a non-slip handle, a 5.5 mm-thick blade, finger grooves, a full tang for finger protection, and finally, a meaty 6-toothed backsaw.

To be honest, the tooth’s length is a little short for any real use, but it definitely adds to the overall combat look of this beautiful knife.

A blood groove complements the 5.5” straight blade which is ideal for carving and chopping activities while the backsaw feature opposite the cutting edge is meant for more precise cutting of wood.

You can also tuck this knife inside the black nylon sheath with a leg strap feature that it comes with for an easy and safe transport.

The knife seemed sturdy to us. The only problem we had was with the grip and the first finger loop guard. Maybe our hands were just too big that our knuckles scraped the guard constantly, making it very uncomfortable.

Additionally, the grip had some pointy edges that you may have to ground and smoothen out.


Pros

  • Right blade thickness
  • Good length
  • Durable and sharp
  • Beautiful blade design
  • Has a full tang handle for added safety
  • Comes with a sheath.

Cons

  • The finger grooves run too small for large hands
  • The handle has some pointy edges that you have to smoothen out
  • The leg strap is too small for men’s thighs.

This stylish looking assisted-opening folding knife may look subtle, but the blade can slash through anything with ease.

Featuring a 4” straight-serrated blade, this knife can give you either a clean or teared-up cuts.

This knife also has the perfect thickness and balance that make it comfortable to hold and use for longer periods. The best thing about this product seems to be the ergonomic handle designed with contoured finger grooves, a characteristic feature of fixed blades, rarely of folders. The grooves are wide enough to fit larger fingers and provide a comfortable grip.

With regards to the aluminum handle, it also sports the usual trio -- the glass breaker, belt cutter, and pocket clip. This knife also features a locking mechanism that keeps the blade folded down when not in use.

We can say that this knife is well built and the color looks nice. It doesn't require much pressure at all to slide out the blade; it can be easily done with one finger.

What surprised us was the lock feature of this handy knife. We’ve used a lot of tactical knives with very tight blade locks which can cause you to close the blade on yourself. The lock on this one is very easy to push over just with your thumb.


Pros

  • Right blade thickness
  • Durable and sharp
  • Comes with thoughtful features (e.g. Deep pocket clip, belt cutter, glass breaker)
  • Excellent locking mechanism
  • Has finger grooves.

Cons

  • You may need to put oil on the spring to make it work smoothly
  • The screws on the knife tend to loosen up over time.

The black matte look of this tactical knife is just sick -- It looks like it’s made for superhero combat!

Apart from its stunning form, this knife is pretty basic. It has all the essential features of a folder such as a spring-assisted opening, an automatic blade lock, a straight semi-thick blade that tapers to a point, and an aluminum handle with accessories.

We wish this model were a little better. This medium-sized straight-edged blade lack serrations or saw notches which allow one to push on the back of the blade if you need additional cutting pressure.

We also want to warn potential users that this particular knife is meant to be quickly flipped open, similar to a switch blade.

Pull on the lever attached to the blade, and with the spring action, it will instantly flip open. If you instead, decide to pull this knife open like a typical folding knife, you need to be careful to pull it all the way to engage the locking spring. This ensures that your fingers are safe from the blade.


Pros

  • Right blade thickness
  • Durable and sharp
  • Comes with thoughtful features (e.g. Deep pocket clip, belt cutter, glass breaker)
  • Has an overall beautiful appearance.

Cons

  • The blade design could be better
  • The blade length is too short.

The Verdict

Our top picks for the best tactical knives are TAC Force’s TF-705 Series (best folding knife) and MTech’s MX-8054 Series (best fixed blade knife).

We’ve chosen these powerful knives simply because nothing can rival their individual performance in the field. Moreover, they have the right lengths and thickness. Most importantly, they have excellent blade designs, useful accessory tools, and durable built.

Hey, badass camper! What tactical knife brand are you using? Do you think we missed some great stuff in our roundup list? Hit the comments section below if you have any thoughts or suggestions. And hey, don’t forget to share this post before leaving. Cheers!​

Read more: 5 Best Multi Tool On The Market.​

Braving The Great Outdoors: 5 Of The Best Tactical Knives Of 2017
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