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Best Self Defense Knife: Definitive Guide 2022

September 3, 2021 // 27 minute read

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Best Self Defense Knife: Definitive Guide 2022

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Walk with confidence and a sense of security with a self-defense tool that can actually protect you – and so much more besides.

Best self-defense knife review: 

Thinking of turning to self defense knives to ensure your safety while walking the streets at night? Unsure if they’re effective and safe enough for you?

There are many different kinds of knives out there, and in case you didn’t know, not all of them can be used as self defense knives.

So what makes the best self defense knives, you wonder?

In this article, we will show you all that you need to know about them as we cover:

    • The best self defense knives for different kinds of situations and users;
    • Their pros and cons;
    • What tactical knife is best for you;
    • What makes a good and effective fighting knife;
  • Lots more!

While carrying a cold steel knife in your pocket can give you a feeling of security and confidence, owning one can still be a bit tricky. 

So if you’re feeling unsure about what to pick out, this article is for you.

Draw your weapon.

And let’s begin.

Introduction

I’m sure most of us have this memory of being you, going out of the house in the wee hours of the night and carrying a butter knife in the pocket for protection….or maybe just a sense of security.

Little did we know that not all knives can be effective in fighting off the goons and the bad guys.

Yes, you read that right.

Not all knives are created equal.

While they’re all blades, some are made solely to be a utility knife; opening packages, letters, or chips.

Some are made to just scare people off but not really lethal.

As a matter of fact, there are defense pocket knives being sold that look lethal but are actually fakes. Yes, they look like sharp wicked steel blades but are actually just there to scare your assailants off.

Table Of Contents

Table of Contents

Best Self Defense Knife - Bugoutbill.com

While that would work as well, most of us want a self defense pocket knife that can actually save us when the attacker decides to go for it and touch us.

Right?

And that is why we’re producing this review for you.

The wrong choice of self defense pocket knife can lead you to a far worse scenario, with you being overly confident about having a knife for it to just fail you when you need its penetrating and slicing powers.

For your information…

You just can’t buy a knife in the local home depot and expect it to protect you. There are things you need to consider when getting one.

For one, the shape of the blade matters. Some are strategically curved inwards or outwards depending on the goal you want to achieve.

Some are also made with rings so you can better hold them in times of distress, as knives tend to slip in our fingers, especially if the holder is in a state of panic.

Aside from defending you…

a good self defense pocket knife is also made with the consideration of your safety in mind. 

If it can wound and hurt your assailant, then it can hurt you, too. That’s why it’s also important to choose one that’s made to be safe even if you’re using it during confusion and panic.

Now, these are just a very few things amongst all that you have to take into consideration.

A self defense pocket knife is an investment because it can take care of you in the long run. 

It’s like choosing your own sidekick!

That’s why we didn’t take anything for granted for this review.

We went out, gathered all the best-rated self defense knives on the market today, and tested them all out ourselves.

And no! No one was harmed during our testing – if you’re wondering!

So sit back and relax as you learn what is the best knife for self defense and equally what’s the best for you.

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1 - Best Self Defense Knife For Women - Editor’s Choice Award

SPYDERCO MATRIARCH 2

Editors Choice - Bugoutbill.com

Value for Money

10

Blade Quality

10

Features

10

Handle Quality

10

Safety

9

Overall Score
98

Bottom Line: Called the self defense EDC blades, this Matriarch 2 folding knife is lightweight, easy to deploy, and very intimidating and scary-looking to boot.

Pros

Cons

SUMMARY:

Spyderco. If you’ve been using an EDC knife for a long time now, you would most probably know this name.

In case you didn’t know…

Spyderco has been around since the 1970s and through the years, they’re the one who popularized and developed the concept of an efficient and convenient pocket knife with features such as a pocket clip, one-hand development or opening capability, serrated blades, and many more.

In short, they’re the OGs, the revolutionaries.

So if you’re a brand-conscious consumer, you’d love the reputation Spyderco has.

But apparently…

They’re not all names and titles. Up to this day, the quality of their folding tactical knives doesn’t fail…

As evidenced by this another gem, the Matriarch 2. Pretty cool name, eh?

We’ve expected this already, but this knife is this review’s Editor’s Choice for one too many reasons. 

In case you’re looking for a good combat knife or a great self defense weapon for your wife, sister, daughter, or just any female loved one, this guy is the best one you can ever get.

Let me tell you why.

Most of us here have owned our own Spyderco folding knives for years now. I, myself, own a Matriarch for some time now. It’s not one to be discarded as it’s durable and made for longtime use.

This self defense blade is the more economical and easier to use version of Spyderco’s Civilian while also sharing some features from the crowd-favorite Endura 4 with the exception that the Matriarch is more lightweight, making it a great weapon for women, especially younger ones.

Starting from the handle…

It’s designed ergonomically so you can easily hold it even if it’s your first time holding a sharp blade for defense.

Best Self Defense Knife - Bugoutbill.com

Aside from that, it’s also crafted to be an ambidextrous knife, so you can definitely use it even if you’re left-handed- or just whenever and wherever the need arises.

Another thing that makes this a really good self defense knife is its easy to deploy capabilities.

With its Emerson- style opener, you can open this cold steel in just a couple of seconds.

But take note…

That it takes a little practice to get it right, especially if you’re not used to holding defense knives. My sister had to practice a whole day opening this up speedily and the next day, she’s able to deploy her Matriarch in just about 2 seconds. 

Very handy in times of emergency.

Another thing I love about the Matriarch is the steel blade itself.

The blade shape is serrated and it’ll be an understatement to say that it looks plain badass. Just opening this baby up would most probably scare the heck out of any goons surrounding you- hopefully keeping you from actually using this knife in combat.

Aside from its reverse ‘S’ shape, the grip is also textured so there is a slim chance that it will slip through your fingers. 

Maybe you’re wondering…

Since it’s a folding knife, how safe is it in my pockets?

Well, I haven’t experienced it yet, but some users say that you should be careful in taking this guy out of your pocket as it can open there and might cause injury. 

As for me, my Matriarch is well-screwed enough not to open in my pocket- so far.

It’s got a perfect score for all the metrics we’ve set, except for the safety because of this tendency.

But overall…

The Matriarch EDC knife isn’t dubbed as the “Queen of self defense EDC knives” for nothing, making it a very deserving Editor’s Choice.

2 - Best Self Defense Knife For Money - Best Value Award

FOX KNIVES FOLDING KARAMBIT

Best Value - Bugoutbill.com

Value for Money

10

Blade Quality

10

Features

9

Handle Quality

10

Safety

9

Overall Score
98

Bottom Line: The Fox Karambit blade steel knife for self defense is an innovative piece of weapon made to be convenient and easy to use, and it’s very affordable, as well.

Pros

Cons

SUMMARY:

If you’re looking for flexibility in your cold steel for self defense but don’t want to splash out yet on an expensive knife, you can still have a great automatic knife, our chosen Best Value awardee, the Fox Karambit folding knife!

Much shorter than the Matriarch earlier, the Karambit is a force to be reckoned with, with all its revolutionary features all at a very friendly price.

One of the most noticeable and unique features of this folding knife is its tiger claw-style blade that’s designed to lacerate or puncture. 

Because of this curved design, it can get confusing to use, especially for beginners.

In addition to this…

I also love its retention ring, which other knife models lack.

It lets you hold your defense knife securely whatever happens. You just need to practice holding it and learn which finger is the right one to put through the ring.

Pro tip: You’d want to use your index finger for the ring as it’s the strongest finger you have and you’d have more control and flexibility with your weapon. Don’t use your pinky finger, as it’s not only the weakest finger but the awkward positioning might also break your pinky.

This Karambit also features an Emerson wave opening but this one is patented.

How is it different?

Well, this Emerson wave design will catch on your pocket so upon taking it out, it will automatically open and all you’ll have to do is use it!

It comes very, very convenient and handy in a very unexpected and crucial situation.

On the other hand…

Some users have a different say when it comes to Karambit’s one unique feature: the liner lock that keeps the knife deployed.

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3 - Best Self-Defense Knife For Runners - Top Pick Award

KA-BAR TDI

Top Pick Award - Bugoutbill.com

Value for Money

9

Blade Quality

8

Features

10

Handle Quality

8

Safety

9

Overall Score
88

Bottom Line: A fixed blade knife that’s smaller and lighter than most, designed to be highly concealable and meant to be used as a “last option” weapon, especially for law enforcement officers.

Pros

Cons

SUMMARY:

Looking for a knife that’s way smaller, lighter, and generally inconspicuous that it won’t look and feel like you’re carrying one under that shirt?

This fixed blade knife by Ka-Bar might be the answer to your dilemma.

A favorite among law enforcement officers, this fixed blade self-defense tool that’s designed by John Benner, the founder, and owner of the Tactical Defense Institute, is made to be the “last option” when you’re left with nothing else.

Do you want to carry protection with you but your local laws prohibit the possession of a gun? Or maybe you just want to feel secure as you walk your dog or get home every evening through a sketchy neighborhood? This knife’s concealable design is your best friend.

As a matter of fact…

This is a standout among other fixed blade knives that we’ve gathered and tried as every curve is crafted to fit your holster or even just the waist of your pants or shorts like a glove.

It comes with a rectangular sheath that you can attach to your holster, inside or outside, you’re the boss.

Now, you may hear some comments saying that the sheath is too tight, causing some difficulties in taking the fixed blade out, slowing the deployment.

But let me tell you this:

Actually, I’ve also just learned that the sheath has a thumb grip to help you in removing your knife speedily and instantly.

All you have to do is press it after which you should hear a clicking sound and that means your knife is now released. 

I’ve practiced it about 50 times the first day and after that, I was able to pull the knife ever so breezily in a matter of seconds!

Now to the handle.

Its handle is curved at a 15-degree angle and while this may seem like an unimportant design, it was actually quite useful as it lets me hold the knife perfectly fit within my palm, so the handle is concealed and the blade is the only thing sticking out.

And speaking of the blade…

The blade is also a bit curved away from my hand when I’m holding it so it’s safer for the user.

I just love how it’s very light so I had quite a blast swinging it around practicing.

All these features amazed us and we didn’t hesitate to award this Ka-Bar baby the Top Pick award.

4 - Best Hard-Molded Self Defense Knife

SOG SEAL Pup Elite Fixed Blade Knife with Sheath

Value for Money

9

Blade Quality

10

Features

9

Handle Quality

8

Safety

8

Overall Score
88

Bottom Line: Called the self defense EDC blades, this Matriarch 2 folding knife is lightweight, easy to deploy, and very intimidating and scary-looking to boot.

Pros

Cons

SUMMARY:

If you’re looking to be practical and you want a knife that can be used for a self defense situation as well as for camping, hiking, and other purposes, then this hard-molded SOG SEAL Pup Elite Survival Knife could be your best bet!

One of its highlight features…

Is its razor sharp semi serrated blade. Apparently, it underwent SOG’s cryogenic heat treatment to harden the razor sharp steel that’s even more durable than the regular push dagger.

We’ve tested all the knives by cutting through a log of wood, and surprisingly, this one actually sliced through without breaking!

Moreover, it’s coated with a black Titanium Nitride to prevent it from rusting- not to mention, giving it a really, really cool dark look.

It comes with a sheath that’s literally tailor-made for this semi serrated edge shape, which may be a pro or a con, as it means a secured covering for the knife but can also be hard to remove. 

Now, what I love about this…

Is the different mounting locations it offers. You can even tie it up in your backpack!

We just love how it’s advantageous not only for self defense purposes but for survival, too.

5 - Best Self Defense Knife Fighting

Clever Girl Straight Edge Knife

Value for Money

9

Blade Quality

9

Features

8

Handle Quality

9

Safety

9

Overall Score
88

Bottom Line: A crowd favorite among other self-defense knives, this elegant-looking knife was crafted by actual war veterans, with a thin but razor-sharp blade that’s perfect for self-defense

Pros

Cons

SUMMARY:

In an ugly situation, you won’t want something pretty. You want something clever.

And that’s where the Clever Girl comes in.

Just an FYI…

This self defense tool was crafted by Austin McGlaun, one of the RMJ Tactical’s actual combat veterans that have returned from war with different degrees of PTS. 

To help fight PTS, they designed self-defense tools they wished they had in the field. 

And this is how the Cleve Girl was made. Some cool story to talk about your knife, huh?

But aside from its poignant story…

This knife is beautiful on its own. And I mean literally beautiful with an elegantly curved tip and thin, sleek design.

Now, it’s lightweight and very thick, but that’s also what keeps it from being useful in more heavy-duty purposes. In short, you can’t use this as a chopping knife. 

But aside from that, I love how the shape of the blade is strategically made to achieve a superior slicing action. Yes, the upward curved design will make it easier to hurt an attacker, should the need arise. 

But we hope not.

6 - Best Self-Defense Knife With Strong Lock

Cold Steel Black Talon 2

Value for Money

8

Blade Quality

9

Features

8

Handle Quality

8

Safety

9

Overall Score
84

Bottom Line: A folding knife with a reliable locking mechanism and thumb plate to ensure safety, comfort, and stability when in use.

Pros

Cons

SUMMARY:

Let me introduce to you one of the strongest locking folding blades on the market today- the Cold Steel Black Talon II. 

At first glance, this guy may look plain. But this is not one to underestimate. 

This not so tiny blade boasts of its famous Tri-Ad locking mechanism that locks this deadly weapon in place, offering more security and stability as you use it.

Aside from this…

Comfort is clearly the name of the game of this Cold Steel as it also features a thoughtful thumb plate along its spine, which can act as either a thumb rest or a catch wave to enable its self-opening capability.

Talk about practical features!

This wicked sharp knife is also famous for being thin and dangerous.

This 4-inch blade extends to a whole 9 inches when deployed.

7 - Best Folding Knife For Self-Defense

Spyderco Harpy Single Blade

Value for Money

9

Blade Quality

10

Features

8

Handle Quality

8

Safety

8

Overall Score
86

Bottom Line: A low-maintenance serrated knife that looks as good as it performs. Good for self defense but even better with utility purposes.

Pros

Cons

SUMMARY:

Now, this is an underrated foldable knife, but upon testing, we concluded that this Spyderco Harpy is one of the best folding knives on the market today.

One of the most unique among all blade shapes, Spyderco was the first of its kind to develop the hawk bill blade profile into the serrated blade design, resulting in a revolutionary knife that looks dangerous as it works.

The whole of this knife is made of stainless steel.

But in case you’re wondering…

It does have a linear slot along its handle to enable the blade to dry much quicker in case it gets wet. 

And another great thing about this blade is low maintenance that after having it for years, one of my teammates realized that never once had he had to sharpen it out!

Another thing that I love about this guy is the finger ring along its blade which aids a  perfectly speeding opening. 

And in case you find yourself in a dark place…

This locking folding knife has a dent on the side so you’d still know where to hold it even if you cannot see it. 

And hey, let me just mention that its stainless steel design was a favorite among the ladies!

8 - Best Fixed Blade Knife For Self Defense

Benchmade Turret 980 EDC

Value for Money

9

Blade Quality

9

Features

8

Handle Quality

10

Safety

8

Overall Score
88

Bottom Line: A good fixed knife that’s basic and straightforward but does the job.

Pros

Cons

SUMMARY:

If you want a straightforward knife without much fuss, this good-looking Benchmark turret knife is for you.

We graded it one of the best self defense knives with fixed blades on the market today thanks to its attractive grip that’s contoured with an ergonomic design that makes this knife easy to hold on to especially in critical situations.

Moreover, its unique dual thumb studs enable its user to deploy the blade speedily and close it back just as instantly. Be careful, though, as it’s very sharp right out of the box!

If you’re looking for a lightweight knife…

This could pass, too, but it’s much heavier compared to the other knives on this list. 

And the best thing I love about this? Well, it’s the knife’s beautiful visuals thanks to its black powder coating.

9 - Best Self Defense Neck Knife

Fox Knives G10 Karambit with Emerson Wave

Value for Money

9

Blade Quality

10

Features

8

Handle Quality

9

Safety

9

Overall Score
90

Bottom Line: A very lightweight folding knife complete with a retention ring, Emerson wave, and a well-textured grip that makes it perfect for protection and self-defense.

Pros

Cons

SUMMARY:

Further proving their authority when it comes to self-defense knives, Fox gave us yet another wicked little knife to make the bad guys run for the hills. 

At first glance, this tiny blade is certainly a clear warning waiting to be noticed with its pointy and thin blade with nice contoured wedges. 

Just like the first Fox blade we reviewed, this one also has a patented Emerson wave that helps with fast deployment that you can accomplish within a matter of seconds!

It also has an adjustable pocket clip that you can unscrew and install on the other side. 

I tried playing with it with wet hands and its textured grip proved to be very dependable as it didn’t slip one bit, and with the help of its improved retention ring, it felt like it’s all I need to protect myself when the need arises.

10 - Best Self Defense Knife Under $200

Spyderco Yojimbo 2 Pocket Knife

Value for Money

10

Blade Quality

10

Features

9

Handle Quality

9

Safety

9

Overall Score
94

Bottom Line: A sleek and beautiful knife for self-defense that’s under two hundred bucks.

Pros

Cons

SUMMARY:

If looks could kill, this stunning combination of beauty and functionality takes the bag for being one of the best self-defense knives we’ve ever had.

A secured and safe grip is ensured with the big hole along its blade to ensure this baby won’t slip through your fingers however strong you swing it. 

Moreover, its handle may look simple but it’s cleverly shaped to complement your hands’ natural contours so when I held it, it fitted like a glove.

But my favorite thing of all?

It’s its attractive aesthetic. From top to bottom, it’s been coated black, and the blade is made to be non-reflective, which makes it super concealable.

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

Q - Can you use a knife for self defense?

A - Of course, you can. You can use it to scare an attacker off or in a worst-case scenario, to wound them and catch them off guard.

Q - Is it OK to stab someone in self defense?

A - It varies to different countries’ and states’ knife laws but generally, if you’re defending someone in a fistfight with a knife, it is considered unlawful. Another thing is, using a knife or push dagger for self-defense can only be valid in most states like California, if a user reasonably believes that they’re in danger of death or bodily harm.

Q - Where can I stab for self defense?

A - You’d want to stab in the major muscle of your attacker’s arms to keep them from grabbing you or making any more major blows.

Our Analysis. Comparisons & Test Results

Value for Money Rating

So how did we come to this conclusion? Below are the metrics we used to rate and grade the 10 best self-defense knives on the market today. 

So how much value and benefit do you get from its price? We’re very glad to have seen that our time and money weren’t wasted as the lowest grade in this metric is 8, which means that all of these babies are certainly worth the money- and more.

SPYDERCO MATRIARCH 2

100%

FOX KNIVES FOLDING KARAMBIT

100%

Spyderco Yojimbo 2 Pocket Knife

100%

KA-BAR TDI

90%

SOG SEAL Pup Elite Fixed Blade Knife with Sheath

90%

Clever Girl Straight Edge Knife

90%

Spyderco Harpy Single Blade

90%

Benchmade Turret 980 EDC

90%

Fox Knives G10 Karambit with Emerson Wave

90%

Cold Steel Black Talon 2

80%

Blade Quality

Thankfully, no blade was broken in our series of tests and we’re happy to tell you that all these blades are also forged excellently. No wonder, though, because most of these brands are known as innovators in the knife industry.

SPYDERCO MATRIARCH 2

100%

SOG SEAL Pup Elite Fixed Blade Knife with Sheath

100%

FOX KNIVES FOLDING KARAMBIT

100%

Spyderco Harpy Single Blade

100%

Fox Knives G10 Karambit with Emerson Wave

100%

Spyderco Yojimbo 2 Pocket Knife

100%

Clever Girl Straight Edge Knife

90%

Cold Steel Black Talon 2

90%

Benchmade Turret 980 EDC

90%

KA-BAR TDI

90%

Features

It’s always nice to find out that your purchase has more extra features besides the basics, don’t you agree?

SPYDERCO MATRIARCH 2

100%

KA-BAR TDI

100%

FOX KNIVES FOLDING KARAMBIT

90%

SOG SEAL Pup Elite Fixed Blade Knife with Sheath

90%

Spyderco Yojimbo 2 Pocket Knife

90%

Clever Girl Straight Edge Knife

80%

Cold Steel Black Talon 2

80%

Spyderco Harpy Single Blade

80%

Benchmade Turret 980 EDC

80%

Fox Knives G10 Karambit with Emerson Wave

80%

Handle Quality

A knife’s handle is almost always the most overlooked part. But with these knives, they’re given much consideration upon crafting with great contours and ergonomic designs to fit your hand comfortably and securely.

SPYDERCO MATRIARCH 2

100%

FOX KNIVES FOLDING KARAMBIT

100%

Benchmade Turret 980 EDC

100%

Clever Girl Straight Edge Knife

90%

Fox Knives G10 Karambit with Emerson Wave

90%

Spyderco Yojimbo 2 Pocket Knife

90%

KA-BAR TDI

80%

SOG SEAL Pup Elite Fixed Blade Knife with Sheath

80%

Cold Steel Black Talon 2

80%

Spyderco Harpy Single Blade

80%

Safety

SPYDERCO MATRIARCH 2

90%

FOX KNIVES FOLDING KARAMBIT

90%

KA-BAR TDI

90%

Clever Girl Straight Edge Knife

90%

Cold Steel Black Talon 2

90%

Fox Knives G10 Karambit with Emerson Wave

90%

Spyderco Yojimbo 2 Pocket Knife

90%

SOG SEAL Pup Elite Fixed Blade Knife with Sheath

80%

Spyderco Harpy Single Blade

80%

Benchmade Turret 980 EDC

80%

Our Final Verdict: Best Self Defense Knives

We’ve done the rigorous (and rather fun) tests and observed each knife by the metrics. Below are the final scores and where each knife stands. 

Interestingly…

The Fox and Spyderco knives took the top spots, though it wasn’t so surprising because these are also the knives our parents had, testifying to their great quality. 

And more interestingly enough, the rest ended up with the same scores. 

But that doesn’t mean they’re all the same. As always, they cater to different needs and situations.

SPYDERCO MATRIARCH 2

96%

FOX KNIVES FOLDING KARAMBIT

96%

Spyderco Yojimbo 2 Pocket Knife

94%

Fox Knives G10 Karambit with Emerson Wave

90%

Spyderco Harpy Single Blade

86%

KA-BAR TDI

86%

SOG SEAL Pup Elite Fixed Blade Knife with Sheath

88%

Clever Girl Straight Edge Knife

88%

Benchmade Turret 980 EDC

88%

Cold Steel Black Talon 2

84%

Conclusion: Best Self Defense Knives

Best Self Defense Knife - Bugoutbill.com

While a few hundred bucks sounds like a lot for a knife that you’ll most probably never have to use, the peace of mind will always be worth it.

And if you’re willing to spend that much for a self-defense tool, the best choice is our Bugout Bill Editor’s Choice, the Spyderco Matriarch 2 with its very well-thought-out design and menacing blade.

Meanwhile the Best Value Fox Knives Folding Karambit surprised us with its features befitting an expensive premium knife while it comes at a very affordable price.

But whatever your choice may be…

Always remember that sometimes, it also depends on your handling – so make sure to get to know your new knife – by training and practicing with it.

I hope this review and guide helps you in getting a self-defense tool to give you confidence and security to face the world.

From the team at Bugout Bill – thanks for reading…!

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