Fighting Knives: Knife Basics


Fighting knives are a type of knife that are designed to be used for fighting – self defense, military, law enforcement, etc. If you are planning on purchasing a fighting knife, there are a few characteristics that you will want to consider:

Blade Length

Most fighting knives have a blade between 5” and 8″ long. This length is short enough to be easily controlled and handles with one hand, while long enough to be effective and deadly.

Blade Shape

The two primary blade shapes used for fighting knives are Tanto and Clip. The tanto blade has an angled point (instead of a curved one) and is primarily designed for stabbing and piercing. A good clip blade can be used for slashing/cutting or stabbing/piercing.

Blade Material

Usually, you want a knife made of a quality high carbon steel. Choose a steel that is strong and holds an edge well. Usually, you will not need to the blade to be stainless steel. Just keep it oiled.

Handle Construction

Fighting knives usually need to have a quillon, or other guard to keep your hand from accidentally sliding up onto the blade of the knife. The handle should be easy to grip firmly and use in a variety of positions.


You don’t need to go broke to buy a good fighting knife. Most good knives run anywhere from about $40 to $150. You can find a few for less than this, and there are quite a few more expensive ones, but you certainly don’t need to spend over $100 or so to get a good knife. A good example of a popular, quality fighting knife is the US Marine Corp Fighting Knife, which is made by Kabar. You can this knife for well under $100.


You should be aware that laws regarding knives vary from area to area. You should check your state and local laws before your purchase a fighting knife.