The 4 Best Fighting Knives – Combat Knife Reviews 2021

best fighting knife, best combat knife

Photo by Bill Bradford / CC BY

Many people wonder what the difference is between a fighting knife and any other ordinary or regular knife. After all, both have a grip and a blade, don’t they? The reality is that while the fundamental design between a fighting and a regular knife is obviously the same, there are still many differences between the two, and any ordinary knife should never be accepted as a fighting knife.

First, let’s go over the 4 of the best fighting knives on the market, and then we’ll dissect the qualities that you should look for in a true combat knife:


The KA-Bar Knife is easily one of the most well-known fighting knives so at the very least it seems fitting that we should include it on this list. The real reason why are including the KA-Bar in our list of recommendations is because it has one of the longest service lives of any fighting knife, first being used in World War 2 and continuing to be used today.

With a seven inch blade (see full specs) made out of 1095 steel, this is a brand new KA-Bar knife that is just as sharp as the models issued to U.S Marines decades ago. This knife also ships with a leather sheath that has a belt loop. The sheath comes in black or brown leather and matches the handle of the knife, which is also available in either black or brown. Brown is easily the more classic look and K-Bar’s best selling model. Due to its longevity, this is truly one of the best combat knives out there.

KA-BAR Fighting/Utility USMC Knife Review: Too Old?

Ontario Spec Plus Raider Bowie

Designed for both sporting and military use, the Ontario Raider Knife is an excellent fighting knife from one of the most reputable companies currently in the business. Ontario, based out of New York State (yes, it’s weird), produces a wide range of knives and other cutlery products, and have supplied products to many companies and governments across the world including the United States military.

What makes the Raider Bowie stand out as a fighting knife is its black coated, steel blade that has also been epoxy textured. In other words, the blade has been hardened to 57 HRC. The handle features finger grooves so that you can get a more locked grip over the weapon, while the Kraton material it is made out of has been proven to take a beating from the natural elements and still work. Last but not least, this knife ships with a nylon sheath. This is without a doubt one of the best fighting knives for the money.

Cold Steel Recon Tanto Knife

Over the past two decades, the Recon Tanto knife from Cold Steel has been firmly established as one of the most effective fighting knives on the market. These knives are expensive, but they are highly regarded in the cutlery world and are well worth the cost.

This knife (see full specs) has a seven inch blade and is constructed out of stainless steel. The Kraton handle is an inspiration from the West but it’s very comfortable and resistant to corrosion and the elements, just like the Marine Raider knife from Ontario we just looked at. The Recon Tanto knife has found favor with military and law enforcement units across the United States, including SWAT teams—exactly the folks who would need the best combat knives.

Cold Steel Recon Tanto

Schrade SCHF37 Frontier Fixed

This high carbon knife from Schrade has a seven inch blade with a handle that almost reaches five and a half inches. You will notice right away how the handle has been ring textured, in contrast to other knives that have a grooved handle. This harkens back to the enduring KA-BAR knife, which also has a ringed handle and gives the hand a lot of traction.

The Frontier knife from Schrade also sells with a ferro rod, nylon black sheath that can fix to the belt, and a sharpening stone to keep your blade sharp and ready for action at all times. You get a lot of bang—or, in this case, stabbing and slice—with this blade, which makes it one of the best fighting knives period.

Standards Your Fighting Knife Should Meet

Just as any duty sidearm or fighting rifle must meet a strict series of high standards, so must your fighting knife. Each of the four fighting knives that we have outlined and discussed in this article meets these standards, but there are many other knives from many different companies that also meet these standards. Let’s find out that these standards are.

The first standard of the best combat knives is that they should be black. This is simply because a shiny or glossy knife can cause you to stand out in dark or dim conditions where you would want to remain hidden. Avoid brightly colored knives at all costs and stick with ones that are either black or at least darkly colored.

The next standard your fighting knife must meet is to have high quality ergonomics. Plain and simple, your knife has to feel like a natural extension of your hand. If you can’t get a firm grip around the handle or if it’s constantly slipping out of your hand, then forget about it. The ergonomics of the handle are just as important as the quality of the blade itself.

Keep in mind also that different people have different preferences when it comes to knife handles. Just because one knife handle feels uncomfortable for someone else doesn’t mean that it automatically will feel the same for you. Your knife just needs to feel like it was made for you, and that’s what matters.

But not only must your handle be comfortable for you to hold, it must also be high quality. A knife handle may be ergonomic for you, but for all you know it could fall apart in a matter of weeks. Handles can be made out of anything from wood to ivory to titanium to synthetic materials to plastic to stainless steel. Stick with something that will resist moisture, such as water and sweat. As a general rule of thumb, avoid wood and bone or ivory like the plague and stick with synthetic materials, as they offer the best combination of comfort and reliability.

Last but not least, we come to the blade itself. The blade must be sharp and hold an edge over the course of time. If you’re constantly having to sharpen your blade, you need a replacement immediately.

Not only should the best fighting knife have a cutting edge, it should also have a strong point at the end that can be used for digging purposes if necessary. If your knife’s tip is as thin as a needle, it’s practically guaranteed it won’t last for heavy duty work. Stainless steel and carbon steel are the two most widely used options for blade materials and they work well.

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