Best Knives for Self Defense

After researching, our picks for best self-defense knives include pocket, fixed blade, and multi-use knives.
Best all around
Spyderco Chaparral Prestige
  • pro
    Folding design
  • pro
    All-metal construction
  • con
    No open assist
Best fixed blade
Smith & Wesson Fixed Blade
  • pro
    Fixed blade design
  • pro
    Anti-slip handle
  • con
    Weaker metal
Budget pick
Kershaw Clash
  • pro
    Folding design
  • pro
    Partial serration blade
  • con
    Weaker metal
Best multi-use
Albatross 6-in-1
  • pro
    Folding design
  • pro
    Multiple colors
  • con
    Bulky
Best keychain knife
StatGear Samurai Micro
StatGear Samurai Micro
  • pro
    Folding design
  • pro
    Multiple colors
  • con
    Narrow handle

Knives are one of the best personal safety devces because they’re multifunctional. Even if you never need it to defend yourself (fingers crossed), you can use it to open packages, cut your apple at lunch, and so much more.  

The best knives for self defense are easy to use in high-stress situations and stay sharp throughout whatever else you use them for. The Spyderco Chaparral Prestige meets these criteria and then some, but don’t miss our other top picks.

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Check your state knife-carrying laws

Before you purchase a knife for self defense, make sure to check your state’s knife laws and concealed carry laws. This may determine what type of knife you can purchase and how you can store it. For example, in Texas, you’re not allowed to carry a knife that is over 5.5 inches, but if the length is right, you’re allowed to conceal your self-defense weapon.



Comparison of the best knives for self-defense

Product
Best for
Price
Blade length
Overall length
Type
Learn more
Read review
Best all around 2.80"6.40"Folding
Best fixed blade 5.2"10.6"Fixed blade
Budget pick 3.1"7.35"Folding
Best multi-usel 3.5"8.5"Folding
Best keychain knifel 2"6.25"Folding

Amazon Disclaimer: *Amazon.com price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

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Best knives for self-defense reviews

1. Spyderco Chaparral Prestige: Best overall

Best overall

 *Amazon.com price as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. Read full disclaimer.

The Spyderco Chaparral Prestige (model C152CFP) is our top pick for the best knife for self-defense because, unlike most pocket knives on the market, it’s made from CTS XHP stainless steel.

pro
Pros
pro Durable steel folding blade
pro Tough carbon fiber/G-10 laminate handle
pro One-handed opening
con
Cons
con No extra uses

CTS XHP stainless steel blades are high-quality, sharp blades. They’re tough, easy to sharpen, and the blades tend to not corrode as easily.

The blade material isn’t the only reason we chose the Spyderco Chaparral Prestige as the best self-defense knife. It also has a loop at the top that you can use to flip open the folding blade with one hand. Plus, the carbon fiber/G-10 laminate handle is light and tough. It won’t look beat up in a few years like knives with plastic handles.

2. Smith & Wesson Fixed Blade Knife: Best fixed blade

Best fixed blade

 *Amazon.com price as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. Read full disclaimer.

The Smith & Wesson Fixed Blade Knife is a reliable self-defense knife for people that don’t want to worry about opening and closing folding knives when time is of the essence.

pro
Pros
pro Durable steel construction
pro Easy-grip handle
pro Affordable
con
Cons
con Large size

It’s made from 9Cr17MoV stainless steel, which is durable, easy to sharpen, and resists corrosion well. It also has a handle with a built-in grip, so there’s no worry about it slipping and cutting your hand. It comes with a sheath that can be attached to your belt too.

The only drawback of this knife is it’s on the larger side. It won’t fit in a pocket or a smaller purse.

3. Kershaw Clash Pocket Knife: Budget pick

Budget pick

 *Amazon.com price as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. Read full disclaimer.

The Kershaw Clash Pocket Knife is made from 8Cr13MoV stainless steel. This type of steel isn’t as durable as our top self-defense knife, but the price is right. Plus, it’s still super easy to sharpen.

pro
Pros
pro Easy to sharpen
pro Easy to open
pro Adaptable with partially serrated edge
con
Cons
con Made of less durable steel

The feature we really like about this budget pocket knife is it has assisted opening. With just a slight push on the opening tab, this self-defense knife pops open. This is great for those with one hand, arthritis, or other hand issues.  

The blade is also partially serrated. A serrated edge is perfect for cutting fruit during a picnic.

Love the accommodation for multiple audiences here!

4. Albatross 6-in-1 Survival Knife: Best multi-use

Best multi-use

 *Amazon.com price as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. Read full disclaimer.

The Albatross 6-in-1 Survival Knife keeps you safe in many different situations, whether it’s scary humans or a car crash. While it may not be made of the toughest steel, it has a lot of features that can make up for it.

pro
Pros
pro Comes in multiple colors
pro Includes a built-in light
pro Includes built-in pocket or belt clip
con
Cons
con Less durable blade

This folding knife comes with so many built-in goodies. It includes a seatbelt cutter and glass breaker to help you escape a car crash. The magnesium fire starter is ideal for when you need a fire in a pinch. And the LED light can help unlock your front door when you forgot to leave the porch light on. The built-in bottle opener may not save lives, but it’s a handy addition.

5. StatGear Samurai Micro: Best keychain

Best keychain
StatGear Samurai Micro

 *Amazon.com price as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. Read full disclaimer.

Your keys go everywhere you go, so it makes sense to choose a knife that attaches to your keychain. The StatGear Samurai Micro keychain knife is both beautiful and sturdily made.

pro
Pros
pro Includes pocket clip
pro Offers easy-open design
pro Provides sturdy construction
con
Cons
con Narrow handle

This little self-defense knife looks like a little samurai sword, and for that alone we love it. But it comes with some other loveable features, too. The blade is made from durable 440C stainless steel and has an easy-open design. Plus, you can choose from various color options.

The only downside to this knife is that its handle is narrow, so it might not be as easy to grasp as other knives on our list.

Final word

The Spyderco Chaparral Prestige is our top pick for the best knife for self-defense because it has a strong, easily sharpened blade, tough handle, an easy opening mechanism, and small, easy-to-carry size. It’s rare to find such a well-rounded knife.

FAQ...

Assisted opening knives are the easiest to open for those with one-hand or hand mobility issues because they have a spring in them that pops the knife open with little force.

Yep, but it’s super simple. Open and close it repeatedly. This will make the opening mechanism less stiff so the knife is easier to open in a dangerous situation.

For sure. They are easy to open in a stressful situation.

How we reviewed the best knives for self-defense

""

Image: Alina Bradford, SafeWise

To find the best knives for self-defense, I used decades of safety experience combined with decades of experience collecting and carrying knives. I have carried a self-defense knife with me since the 90s. I’ve only needed them for self-defense once, and luckily just making it appear out of my purse was enough to scare away my potential attacker. 

While there are arguably better pocket knives on the market (like Benchmade brand, one of my favorites) those knives are meant for people that use their pocket knives rigorously. And they come with a steep price. In this review, I opted for knives that come in at a lower price point but still make reliable self-defense knives. I also considered knives for casual use to open mail or slice an orange every now and then.

To learn more about how we review products and services, please see our Safewise methodology page.

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Disclaimers

Amazon: *Product prices and availability are accurate as of post date and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. Safewise.com utilizes paid Amazon links.

Certain content that appears on this site comes from Amazon. This content is provided “as is” and is subject to change or removal at any time.

Alina Bradford
Written by
Alina Bradford
Alina is a safety and security expert that has contributed her insights to CNET, CBS, Digital Trends, MTV, Top Ten Reviews, and many others. Her goal is to make safety and security gadgets less mystifying one article at a time. In the early 2000s, Alina worked as a volunteer firefighter, earning her first responder certification and paving the way to her current career. Her activities aren’t nearly as dangerous today. Her hobbies include fixing up her 100-year-old house, doing artsy stuff, and going to the lake with her family.

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