6 Best Pocket Knives For Self-Defense of 2021

Last update: 2021-09-27

Your future safety during emergency cases will be determined by this current choice.

It’s daunting when considering the best pocket knife for self-defense, and it should be. Because aside from your safety, it relates to the local laws which you should strictly follow.

However, as you’ve got many experts here to give you advice, and to help you, just relax. Here are top 6 suggestions our team would like to share with you:

Here are the best pocket knives for self defense (Sep 2021 Update):

  • Best Overall: Grand way Spring Assisted Knife 6681
  • Best For Camping: MTech USA MT-A845BK
  • Best For A Wilderness Expedition: Kershaw Brawler Folding Pocket Knife (1990)
  • Best Overall: KA-BAR TDI
  • Best For Camping: Gerber StrongArm Fixed Blade Knife
  • Most Durable: Kershaw Secret Agent (4007)
Top 6 Best Pocket Knives For Self Defense
Best Overall
Grand way Spring Assisted Knife 6681
    Read Our Review
    Best For Camping
    MTech USA MT-A845BK
      Read Our Review
      Best For A Wilderness Expedition
      Kershaw Brawler Folding Pocket Knife (1990)
        Read Our Review
        Best Overall
        KA-BAR TDI
          Read Our Review
          Best For Camping
          Gerber StrongArm Fixed Blade Knife
            Read Our Review
            Most Durable
            Kershaw Secret Agent (4007)
              Read Our Review


              Best Overall: Grand way Spring Assisted Knife 6681

              Grand way Spring Assisted Knife 6681
              Grand way Spring Assisted Knife 6681
              • The clip point blade is made of durable, sturdy material with a sharp edge for higher versatility and functionality
              • Feature a safety trigger to prevent the knife from opening by accident, saving you from hurting yourself
              • Backed by a 10-year warranty -> buy it with confidence
              • Not extremely sharp right out of the box, you’ll have to sharpen it before use
              • The handle material could be better, at least it should be a gripper

              Grand way 6681 is an all-black pretty good-looking folding knife that packs everything you need for self-defense or even more.

              It is crafted with a 440c oxidize stainless-steel blade, dual thumb studs at the top and an aluminum handle that highlights many little grooves on both sides.

              There are also some little finger slots and thumb ramps so whenever holding this knife, you’ll get a very confident grip for better control in both cutting motion and defending.

              One thing that’s little different on this knife is it has got a safety trigger at the top of the handle.

              How does it work? When you close the knife up, the trigger will be moved all the way to the front to lock the knife in place, as a result, it won’t open by accident and keep everything safe in the pocket.

              Grand way Spring Assisted Knife 6681 Specifications


              4,40 oz

              Full Length


              Blade Length


              Highlight Features

              Excellent balance of hardness and corrosion resistance

              In our view, the Grand way 6681 is a versatile knife with good quality that you hardly get at this incredibly low price point. And for that, it’s awesome!

              Best For Camping: MTech USA MT-A845BK

              MTech USA MT-A845BK
              MTech USA MT-A845BK
              • The most inexpensive pocket knife in this list
              • Can be used for tools bending wire
              • The pocket clip sits highly for more concealed type look
              • It’s a bit slippery when your hand is sweaty
              • Still need sharpening before use
              • Bulky in the pocket

              The Grand way 6681 is currently the best overall self-defense knife on the market but speaking of price, it’s still not the cheapest. For people who are looking for one at rock bottom price point, we recommend this MTech.

              Our experts do like the look of its blade. Aside from the versatile shape design, there is a blood groove on it that you can also take advantage of for tools bending wire.

              Another worth-mentioning feature is its pocket clip does sit super-high, which is a good thing because you will get a more concealed type look.

              During our tests, it works decently in piercing and cutting so for those tasks like cutting ropes, papers, or tubes, this is a nice contender.

              MTech USA MT-A845BK Specifications


              8 ounces

              Full Length


              Blade Length



              3.5 mm

              Highlight Features

              Offers rapid one-handed deployment

              Locks securely into place with liner lock

              Black stainless steel blade with thumb stud for faster deployment

              Overall, the MTech USA MT-A845BK is a cheap self-defense pocket knife that can also fill some camper needs if you don’t mind its appearance.

              Best For A Wilderness Expedition: Kershaw Brawler Folding Pocket Knife (1990)

              Kershaw Brawler Folding Pocket Knife (1990)
              Kershaw Brawler Folding Pocket Knife (1990)
              • It’s very easy to sharpen and maintain, and the edge stays sharp extendedly
              • Ultra-durable handle that can resist abrasion and heat
              • You can open/close it by one hand -> convenient and easy to use
              • Need sharpening before use
              • The thumbscrew is not quite helpful

              When considering a pocket knife for wilderness usage, we particularly focus on the corrosion resistance and sharp edge retention ability of the blade along with its compactness. Out of many strong competitors, Kershaw Brawler gets our highest testing scores.

              It highlights a 3” tanto-styled blade made of 8Cr13MoV stainless steel.

              What’s worth mentioning here is it actually sharpens very well and quickly, and under moderately extreme use, from carving sandstone to breaking down cardboard boxes, it stays sharp excellently.

              Don’t worry about the term “glass-filled nylon” if this is the first time you hear it. This is actually nylon that’s reinforced with fiberglass, known by the brand name Zytel, and considered as one of the most heat and abrasive resistant material.

              Kershaw Brawler Folding Pocket Knife (1990) Specifications


              3.9 oz

              Full Length


              Blade Length



              3.175 mm

              Highlight Features

              3” tanto style blade made of 8Cr13MoV stainless steel

              Highly functional


              If you are looking for a great knife for EDC, Kershaw Brawler is a trusted option to consider.

              Fixed Blade

              Best Overall: KA-BAR TDI

              KA-BAR TDI
              KA-BAR TDI
              • Made of AUS-8A steel – a supreme material, known for superior hardness and edge retention
              • Very small and compact, ideal to be a backup weapon or close contact
              • Include a quality sheath with a black handle for extra convenient
              • The clip is way too much play for a 1.5” belt, which is not true as advertised

              Ka-Bar TDI is a record-breaking small fixed knife that we’ve ever tested before.

              It is just 5 5/8 inches of overall length and the blade is 2 5/16 inches so when in hand, only the blade is visible.

              You might find this blade shape is a bit unfamiliar. It is intended to make cutting paths in the neck area blood vessels or across tendons and ligaments, which means this is a defensive knife only for extremely close contact.

              The blade is particularly hard and durable. It’s AUS-8A stainless steel, highlight hardness of 57-59 HRC, which is super-high. So, to work as a backup weapon, it is excellent.

              KA-BAR TDI Specifications


              7 ounces

              Full Length

              5 5/8 inches

              Blade Length

              2 5/16 inches


              1/4 inch

              Highlight Features

              Drop point edge

              Blade quality- AUS-8A stainless steel blade

              Hardness of steel- 57-59 HRC

              If you want something perfectly combining the decent strength of fixed blades and the compactness of folding knives, look no further.

              Best For Camping: Gerber StrongArm Fixed Blade Knife

              Gerber StrongArm Fixed Blade Knife
              Gerber StrongArm Fixed Blade Knife
              • The handle features a striking pommel at its base to break through hard surfaces with no wear
              • Made in the USA, it lasts you a lifetime
              • Can be mounted on MOLLE, drop-leg fashion, or belt
              • Wish the blade material was higher end for this price
              • Expensive

              Gerber StrongArm is a USA-made knife that gets the job done.

              It has a 4.8” full-tang 420HC stainless-steel blade with ceramic coating and a rubberized diamond handle featuring a striking pommel at the base.

              To help you easily get an image of how tough it is, this beast of a knife can pry off broken fence boards like a prybar or slice paper-like new.

              The handle is very grippy - unlike other cheap full-tang metal models that would slip off your hand when sweaty, and it can break through hard surfaces. The material is also praised by lots of customers for durability that can last for years come with virtually no signs of wear.

              Considering its strength and durability, this is not just a good knife for camping, but also for survival situations, daily tasks, and self-defense.

              Gerber StrongArm Fixed Blade Knife Specifications

              For serious campers or outdoor enthusiasts who thirst for a truly good-quality pocket knife to add to their arsenal, the Gerber StrongArm is our proud pick.

              Most Durable: Kershaw Secret Agent (4007)

              Kershaw Secret Agent (4007)
              Kershaw Secret Agent (4007)
              • Can slice through different materials, from soft, jelly to hard with no damage
              • Despite the thin blade, it isn’t snapping or brittle -> ensure the functionality and ease to maintain
              • The handle is small, which doesn’t fill the palm of big hands

              Kershaw Secret Agent is a thin knife with just 3.1mm of thickness but as the blade is made of 8Cr13MoV stainless steel with heat-treated high carbon, it isn’t snapping or brittle.

              It even passes the torture test seen on Survival Bros and can slice through fiberglass, jellyfish, rope, kelp, aluminum or plastic like a breeze.

              Don’t worry about the handle. It won’t easily chip off, fall apart, or slip off your sweaty hand because the materials used on it are reinforced synthetic polymer encased by high-quality textured rubber.

              There is also a hard-plastic sheath included with slots for straps, holes for the cord, and a clip on the back.

              Kershaw Secret Agent (4007) Specifications


              3 Oz.

              Full Length

              9.5 inches

              Blade Length

              4.4 Inches



              Highlight Features

              High-performing sheath

              8Cr13MoV stainless steel blade with high carbon heat-treated for performance

              Hardness and durability

              At under $20, you can’t find anything more durable and convenient as this Kershaw Secret Agent.

              How To Choose The Best Pocket Knives For Self Defense?

              Pick The Right Type Of Knives For Your Purpose Of Use

              From the review list above, it’s easy to guess that there are two major types of self-defense knives:

              • Folding knives
              • Fixed knives

              Folding knives

              Fixed knives

              Highlight features

              One or multiple blades fold into the handle

              Provide multiple size ranges, from tomahawks to small concealed knives


              More compact than a fixed knife

              Some model provides multiple blade surfaces for different purposes of use

              One blade but covers a wide variety of tasks

              Sturdier, ideal for combat and self-defense


              Not as strong and sturdy as the fixed blades, commonly not ideal for heavy-duty tasks like hunting or combating

              Usually bulkier than the folding knives

              Provide just one blade surface so its functionality is limited in some tasks

              What makes the best folding pocket knives for self-defense?

              If you’re about to choose a folding knife, look for one with an easy-opening mechanism yet sturdy enough to help you in cutting tasks or self-defense, and an ergonomic handle with comfort and reliability.

              It also should have a good locking system when not in use to avoid the knife opens by accident in your pocket or somewhere else, which might hurt or injure yourself.

              What makes the best fixed-blade pocket knives for self-defense?

              Depending in your needs of compactness, choose a knife with suitable dimensions.

              If you focus on a strong fixed-blade without compromising its handiness, the Ka-Bar TDI is our top recommendation. Otherwise, other bigger-sized models like the Kershaw Secret and Gerber StrongArm would give you a comfier hand-feel and grip when holding it.

              To the fixed blade, a protective sheath is important to keep it secure in the pocket so don’t skip this component.


              • For self-defense roles, the knife that functions well in piercing is a good one. It should feature a very pointy and sharp blade tip.
              • Drop-point and tanto-styled blade are your two choices.
              • As such, it will attract more law enforcement attention than other knife blade shapes so don’t forget to follow the local laws in your area.
              • Speaking of materials, we highly suggest the steels because of their edge retention and strength. But take note that there are various grades of steel, such as stainless-steel, plain-carbon steel, and tool steel.


              • For self-defense purposes, the handle of a knife must be grippy and comfortable to give you full control in the emergency cases.
              • We prefer a flat handle with a balance on the forefinger because it’s more comfortable than other shapes. If it is made of steel, choose one with patterned rubberized coating for extra grip or it should feature ergonomic finger grooves.
              • Some common handle materials are cord wrap, micarta, and G-10. They could take a beating.

              Which Brands Make The Best Pocket Knives For Self Defense?


              • Affordable Knife manufacturer Kershaw dates back to 1974, meaning that every product must be of the highest quality. This prestigious brand is mostly known for its solid sound of the blade lockup, advanced materials, and award-winning technologies.


              • Ka-Bar produces some of the most coveted pocket knives in the world. Their first combat knife line was first adopted by the United States Marine Corps and has become their specialty up to now.


              • Famous for its dedication and innovation. Gerber knives are a reputable high-end brand but you’ll never regret buying its products because their quality is extraordinary with many helpful add-ins.


              Why should you carry a knife?

              Why not? As long as the knife is within the local and country laws, it should be carried along with you to anywhere, not just for protecting yourself from bad guys and bad situations, a pocket knife also can:

              • Be a first aid tool in camping or woods hunting
              • Prepare your meal
              • Dig a hole
              • Be a hunting or fishing tool
              • Cut ropes or wires

              Can I carry a knife for protection?

              It’s always advised carrying a self-defense knife for protection in bad situations but following the local laws is also a must.Read here to know more.

              How many knives do you carry?

              Instead of getting one knife to do all, we advise you to carry two – one for finer work, like wood prep, cutting materials, or slicing things and one for emergency situations.

              Should I EDC a knife?

              Yes, you should. Here are the reasons why:

              • An EDC knife helps you a lot of tasks, like preparing fruits, skinning game, cutting ropes, and opening items.
              • It can be used as a self-defense knife

              What is a pocket knife good for?

              Whether they feature one or many blades, pocket knives are a versatile tool that not only works incredibly in daily tasks and EDC purposes but also for self-defense.


              Defense means a good knife.

              And we hope with this brief but adequate guide, you’ve got a thing or two about how to choose the best pocket knife for self-defense.

              Thanks for reading and good luck!

              Bryan Listor
              Bryan Listor

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