Best Folding Knife for Self Defense

Categories: Outdoor Survival

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Before explaining what makes a good folding self defense knife, we would like to point out that a knife, no matter what kind of knife it is, should not be your primary choice as a self defense weapon. This is particularly true for anyone who has never had any specialist training in how to use a knife for self defense and this belief is often backed up by skilled and expertly trained knife users who say that a knife should only ever be used for self defense as a last resort.

Knives are extremely messy. They require the user to be in very close proximity to the aggressor, which is bad news for the aggressor if the user is proficient in the use of a knife.

It should also be considered that there is the possibility that the aggressor could be even more proficient using a knife, in which case the aggressor could easily disarm and use that knife themselves!

That is not a great situation to be in as it is only going to end one way for you, very badly!

However, regardless of the dangers, sometimes a knife will be the only option you have to defend yourself with.

Spyderco Sage Folding Self Defense Knife


A folding knife, although not the best type of knife for close quarter combat situations, may be the best self defense option you have if concealment is a priority, but picking one out yourself is no easy task as there are so many from which to choose.

It’s practically impossible for us to name one folding knife that could be singled out as being the best for use as a self defense weapon as every knife has certain qualities that other knives will not have; and then we have to consider personal preference also.

There are many respected knife manufacturers, between them offering hundreds of excellent knives and that is why it is so difficult to pick out one knife. What we consider to be the perfect self-defense knife may be totally unsuitable for some of our readers.

The other factor that you should be considering is whether a folding knife is actually your best option.

There are many excellent folding knives currently available all designed specifically with the purpose of self defense, but as good as they all are they all have one major drawback. They all have an opening mechanism of some sort which could and does fail from time to time.

In short, if you could choose any knife for the purpose of self defense a folding knife is not what you should choose!

A fixed blade knife will always beat a folding knife for self defense purposes. Fixed blade knives are always going to be stronger than folders but they are obviously much more difficult to conceal.

However, if you want a knife that can be carried in your pocket or concealed in your EDC bag then a folding knife specifically designed for the purpose of self defense is what you need!

When it comes to selection, not all folding knives are created equal. There are certain boxes that all knives needs to tick before they can be added to a list of possibilities.

Important factors to consider when choosing a folding knife

  • Multifunctional: Although we are primarily concerning ourselves with factors relating to selecting a knife that is suitable for self defense you simply won’t want to carry a whole host of different knives each for a different purpose. It makes more sense to have a knife that is great for self defense but is also more than capable of carrying out other knife related tasks.
  • Blade Material: As with all knives, it is imperative that the knife you select has a blade that has been made from high quality steel. The best steel blades will be strong, hold a sharp edge for a long time, and be rust and corrosion resistant.
  • Opening Mechanism: Every folding knife is opened a certain way and in most cases there isn’t any over-riding leaning towards any method over another. A self defense knife however needs to be opened quickly and to be done so with one hand if necessary. In short, you need to be looking at knives that have a spring assisted opening mechanism or that have automatic opening. Now, in a SHTF type scenario where the rule of law has severely diminished, carrying automatic and spring assisted knives might be fine. However, outside of such a situation you will need to check your state legislation about what types of knives you are permitted to carry.
  • Single Edge Blade: Generally a knife designed for combat alone will usually have a double edge blade but if you want a knife that is multifunctional, as we suggest above, then a single blade is the way to go.

Some of the Best Folding Knives for Self Defense


Folding Knife Video Reviews


Emerson CQC 15

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Al Mar SERE 2000

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Spyderco P’Kal

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Benchmade Contego

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Benchmade Bedlam

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Spyderco Sage

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Spyderco Paramilitary II

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Hogue Knives EX01

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Spyderco Matriarch II

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Ontario XM-1

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Cold Steel Recon I

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CRKT Homefront

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Gerber Fast Draw Tanto

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SOG TAC Mini Auto Tanto

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SOG Escape

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Blackhawk Garra II

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CRKT Shenanigan

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CRKT M16-02Z

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Kershaw Emerson CQC-6K

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Gerber Freeman Guide Folding KAnife

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Schrade SCHA4BG

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Kershaw 1935 Fatback

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Gerber Paraframe Tanto

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Kershaw Kuro

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