What’s the Best Self Defence Knife? Generally the One You’re Carrying

If you’re just learning how to be a survivalist, you should probably start out with a knife. Because if you don’t have one, then you’re stuck with only the tools from your car, which is a bit of a bummer. And did you know that a knife is one of the best ways to defend yourself against a violent attacker?

Self-defence is a big issue for many outdoor enthusiasts, and while we can’t expect a knife to protect you from an active shooter, it may help to protect you from a more common threat, such as the increasingly common bear attack.

When you’re heading out into the wilderness and you don’t have the luxury of stopping at the local hardware store, there is only one way to get the job done. That is to take a look at what you have on hand, and make the best of it. This article will cover some of the best knives to carry whilst out in the wild, and what to look for when you acquire one.

Justin Mastine-Frost is a member of the Mastine-Frost family. is a member of the Mastine-Frost family. 06.03.21

I’ve spoken about the “best self-defense knife” with everyone from ex-Army/military soldiers and women to bodyguards, knife manufacturers, and police enforcement, and there isn’t really a “good” answer, despite what some websites claim. The truth is that the vast majority of individuals will not be adequately educated to utilize a knife as a main fighting/defence weapon. Filipino martial arts, also known as Kali, Escrima, or Arnis, are complicated yet powerful defense methods that primarily rely on blades, but this isn’t the sort of thing where viewing a few YouTube videos would turn you into a master.

For this reason, when we’re searching for the finest self-defense knife, we want one that’s simple to use, fast to deploy, small enough to carry, and effective in circumstances when your life is in risk.

Apart from a breakdown of the finest self-defense knife choices, you’ll want to check out the section below, where we go through the legality of using a weapon for self-defense. It’s critical to be aware of the relevant local, state, and federal legislation. Just because you believe you’re in danger and decide to draw a blade as a last resort—and it should always and only ever be a last resort—doesn’t mean you can’t or won’t be charged with self-defense.

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Contents Table of Contents

1. Hogue Knives EX-A05 Automatic Spear Point Knife

Hogue Knives EX-A05 Spear Point Automatic Knife

Starting with something a little larger, Hogue’s quick automatic spear point folder has enough size and weight to offer a little intimidation if it has to be pulled. With a 3.5-inch blade and deep carry clip, it’s not too heavy to carry on a daily basis, and a safety lock button keeps the owner secure from inadvertent deployment. You can trust the ergonomics of the EX-A05 because of Hogue’s experience in pistol grip manufacture.

Pros/Large blade, quick deployment, and concealed carry

Cons/Depending on state legislation, it may be very expensive, and it’s not inexpensive either.

Bottom Line/If you’re not put off by its size, this is a good stretch purchase.

2. Godson Automatic Knife by Pro-Tech

Pro-Tech Godson Automatic Knife

The Pro-Tech Godson is a sleek and simple automatic-deployment folding knife with an aggressive spear point (nearly dagger shaped) blade that is a little more inconspicuous than the Hogue. The Godson is a smaller version of the brand’s huge 4-inch Godfather automatic, but its 3.15-inch blade is sufficiently big for utility and self-defense if necessary. Though it comes in a variety of colors and finishes, we went with the all-black version with matte black anodized metal scales for additional stealth.

Pros/Affordable quality with a useful blade shape

Cons/a It’s little expensive.

Bottom Line/good It’s to have on hand for everyday use, and it’ll defend you if you need it.

3. Banter Liner Lock Knife by WE Knives

WE Knives Banter Liner Lock Knife

In this list, choosing the WE Knives Banter relates to our opening remark about having a single knife that you’re very comfortable with in all circumstances. The Banter has a blade that is little under three inches long and is the classic daily folder that you can take anywhere and use for everything. These are the characteristics you want in a knife if you ever find yourself in an emergency scenario, rather than some fancy combat knife that you only use once in a blue moon.

Pros/Well-made, with a deep carry, a comfortable size, a reasonable price, and enough performance for most jobs

Cons/not It’s as large as some may like it to be.

Bottom Line/Without specialized training, a decent EDC knife will always beat a “combat knife.”

4. Simply put, don’t do that.

Just Don't Do It

It’s not our position to tell you what you’re capable of, but in many instances, carrying a knife into a fight—whether with an armed or unarmed opponent—is a big risk that should not be taken lightly. You probably have no idea who your opponent is or what they’re capable of. There’s a possibility that pulling a knife may scare them into backing off, but there’s no assurance. There’s also the possibility of a strike catching you off surprise, as well as the knife changing hands. It’s also a terrible situation to be in. Beyond that, if police enforcement becomes involved (which is likely if a knife is pulled), you stand a good possibility of being arrested, regardless of who or what initiated the fight in question.

The idea is that your blade is your LAST resort, and it should remain there. If you really must defend yourself, do so, but only if you are certain and committed to your choice.

Advantages/Fewer chances of being stabbed or handcuffed

Cons/You’ll have less “war stories” to tell your friends over a drink.

Bottom Line/Be cautious, be wise, and avoid being injured.

5. Lerch Shrill Boot Knife by CRKT

CRKT Lerch Shrill Boot Knife

OK, I know some of you are yelling at me to give you something more tactical/combat oriented, so here it is. The Shrill is a thin, sharp piece of hardware that can be tucked into a boot or under a belt without drawing attention to the fact that you’re carrying it. It rides deep in its provided leather sheath, so a short paracord lanyard may be useful for east of access. This weapon features a 4.8-inch dual-edged blade, making it the most powerful and offensive weapon on the list.

Advantages/Intended to cause harm

Cons/mostly It’s a tactical instrument with a particular function.

Conclusion/The police may have a problem with this one.

Knife, Civivi Dogma Liner Lock

Civivi Dogma Liner Lock Knife

The Civivi Dogma fits into this list rather nicely. Its general design is more on the daily carry side of things, with a flipper tab opening rather than a pushbutton automatic, but its 3.46-inch clip point blade is more than capable of inflicting harm when needed. It’s also one of the most budget-friendly choices on the list, which is always a bonus.

Pros/The hollow grind clip point blade is excellent for slicing and puncturing.

Cons/D2 steel isn’t the greatest for long-term corrosion resistance, so make sure you take care of it correctly.

Bottom Line/A fantastic value for money purchase that checks all the boxes in this area.

7. Kershaw Introduces the 1st Automatic Knife

Kershaw Launch 1 Automatic Knife

The Launch 1 is Kershaw’s newest automatic entry, and based on its specifications, it’s a good choice for a safety and self-defense carry. With a blade length of little over three and a quarter inches, it’s another excellent midrange choice. Its two-piece aluminum design provides an intriguing integrated backspacer, and it’s completely manufactured in the United States, despite the low retail price. Despite having a swappable clip for left or right hand carrying, the placement of the deployment push-button would make it difficult for a lefty to use.

Pros/Good value for money and manufactured in the United States

Cons/For a lefty, it’s a little crooked.

Bottom Line/For states that allow it, this is a good easy-to-carry vehicle.

8. Karambit Folder by Fox Knives

Fox Knives Karambit Folder

If you have any formal blade fighting experience on your resume, the Fox Knives folding Karambit may be a useful weapon. The combination of its grip ring and hawkbill blade design makes it a unique carry for any scenario other than combat, not to mention the fact that if you bring it out to open packages or do other menial chores, it’ll probably make non-knife folks around you look at you funny. On the top of the blade, you’ll notice an unique Emerson Wave deployment hook, which is designed to grasp the inside of your pocket and snap the knife open as you draw it—a smart and efficient method to get the knife out and ready in a minute. The Karambit’s ring is designed to offer additional hold/security in the event that an attacker tries to knock the weapon from your hand. It is most frequently used in reverse grip (blade facing the pinky finger rather than the thumb).

Advantages/Intended for combat/self-defense

Cons/When mistreated, its design may be hazardous, and it’s also not very practical.

Bottom line/We won’t stop you if you want/need it.

This is a difficult question to answer since the laws differ so drastically from one state to the next. Thankfully, there are groups out there who have compiled a helpful database of information on what is and isn’t deemed “legal carry” in most parts of the United States. They also fight on behalf of knife and tool manufacturers to ensure that regulations do not further restrict your right to carry than they currently do.

It’s unlawful in certain states and counties to carry a knife for self-defense purposes in the first place. You should check into it locally, including at the municipal and state levels. Even before considering the situational implications, if an officer stops you and you claim that the knife you’re carrying is for self-defense, you may already be in danger. This is another another argument for carrying a “EDC Knife,” since you will be carrying a personal tool that you will use for work or other everyday activities. Yes, it may be used for self-defense if required, but the purpose is crucial.

Did you know that in New York City, you are not allowed to have an exposed knife of any kind? That is to say, even if a pocket clip is visible outside your pocket, if an officer chooses to give you a hard time, you may be arrested. You’re safe if your knife blade is less than four inches long and fully hidden while you’re out in public.

Texas carry regulations, on the other hand, are much more lenient, despite the fact that a recent effort to alter restrictions failed to pass at the start of June 2021. The present legislation makes it illegal to carry any blade longer than 5 1/2 inches into a variety of public places, including schools, hospitals, and other places. The amendment was meant to eliminate the ban from pubs, houses of worship, and amusement parks (a strange pick, to say the least), but it was temporarily quashed.

Visit KnifeRights.org for additional information on the legality of carrying a knife in your state or locality.

The Risks of Using a Knife for Self-Defense

When we first considered this area, our main worry was the legality of everything. I’m not talking about what you can and can’t carry any more; I’m talking about what happens after you decide that your knife is the only route out of a hazardous scenario. Expect charges, or at the absolute least a legal battle, regardless of how the situation develops from there.

In the perspective of the law, a knife is a dangerous weapon. As a result, justifying the use of a knife as a defensive weapon necessitates overcoming a number of obstacles, which is a good thing. Having a legal climate where anybody who feels slightly threatened (or simply angry) may draw a knife would result in a lot of unnecessary damage.

The “stand your ground” legislation is essentially what we’re looking at here. If you’ve come to this page, there’s a good chance you already know something about how the law works. The fundamentals are easy even if you’re rusty. When a person reasonably thinks it is necessary to use force, including lethal force, to avoid death or severe bodily injury to himself or another, or to prevent the conduct of a violent crime, the law permits them to do so. (Note that the law’s exact wording may differ from state to state.)

In certain jurisdictions, a prospective victim is not protected by the law if they had the opportunity to escape the circumstance but did not. The rules for where and when this regulation may be applied in different states will differ. Know your local status once again.

The surrounding building, on the other hand, is mostly unchanged. You must first be able to demonstrate that you were “outgunned” in the scenario. Was the attacker bigger, stronger, or more skilled in fighting than you? Was he already carrying a weapon with which he planned to attack you?

Was/is there a clear chance for the attacker to hurt you right away? Is the guy in front of you holding a bat? This is particularly important since there are many instances when the attacker does not have a clear route to harm (shouting threats from a passing vehicle, or from within a home or other premises, for example), and if you go to them to confront them, you will have created the possibility.

Finally, does the attacker seem to be trying to hurt you? This may range from having a pistol pointed at your head to receiving violent verbal threats. There doesn’t have to be a first act (he who swung first began the conflict), but there must be a clear intent/imminent threat present. When it comes to the legal aspect of using a knife (or any other weapon) in self-defense, things become a little hazy if it’s a one-on-one confrontation in a dark alley with no witnesses, but intent is still a big factor.


At the end of the day, we hope that none of our readers find themselves in a situation where they need to use their knife in self-defense, but knowing that the world isn’t perfect, we hope we’ve been able to provide some insight into all the factors to consider before making such a life-altering decision.

Author Information

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Justin Mastine-Frost

Justin Mastine-Frost, the site’s new resident knife expert, offers a lot of expertise to a very specialized area. Justin is well-versed in the worlds of engineering and manufacturing, as well as being an ardent knife collector, despite not being as outdoorsy or well-seasoned in hunting and fishing. With a background in automotive, powersports, and timepieces (an odd combination, we know), he has quickly gained a thorough understanding of the sector. Apart from overall knife design, he understands that the devil is in the details—ergonomics, steel type and hardness, bearing materials, and other important aspects will all factor into the assessment of each knife presented here, as well as its worth and intended purpose. He’ll do his best to point you in the proper direction, whether you’re searching for a large field knife for dressing and gutting or a tiny pocket folder for everyday use.

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Self defence is not a joke. When people carry a knife into a country where people have guns, they’re not just making a fashion statement. A knife, more often than not, is a means to an end, or at least a convenient tool for defending yourself. For this reason, it’s important to choose the right one for you. Here’s a few things to consider when choosing a knife.. Read more about best folding knife for self-defense 2020 and let us know what you think.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it smart to carry a knife for self-defense?

It is not smart to carry a knife for self-defense. Knives are extremely dangerous and can cause serious injury or death.

What is the best concealed carry fixed blade knife?

The best concealed carry fixed blade knife is the Cold Steel Recon 1.

Can you pull a knife on someone in self-defense?

Yes, in certain circumstances.

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