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10 Best Knives for Self-Defense: A Buyer's Guide & Review

Updated: Jan 25

knife in a boot

Self-defense is a serious matter, and choosing the right tool for protection is crucial. In this section, we'll explore the top 10 best knives for self-defense. However, it's vital to understand the legal landscape surrounding self-defense and knife ownership in Canada. Always check your province and city laws before deciding to carry a knife for self-defense. After the list, I'll outline the self-defense laws to keep you informed and compliant. Now, let's delve into the best knives for self-defense!

10 Best Knives For Self-Defense

Remember, each knife has its unique features and benefits, and what might be ideal for one person may not suit another. Consider factors like ease of carry, blade length, handle grip and overall durability when making your choice.

bigcat roar knife amazon

The BIGCAT ROAR is a strong and dependable self defense knife for protection - but it's also perfect for anyone who spends time outdoors or wants a reliable self-defense tool. It's made with a special kind of steel called Damascus, which is very tough and keeps its sharp edge for a long time, so you won't have to worry about it getting dull. Here's the rundown on this knife:

  • All-Purpose: It's great for outdoor activities like hunting or camping and can handle tough tasks like cutting through thick material.

  • Damascus Durability: A 12.1 cm blade constructed with 288 layers of Damascus steel ensures long-lasting sharpness and strength.

  • Carry with Confidence: It includes a leather sheath with an EDC-friendly belt loop and secure snap fastener for safe and easy transport.

  • Comfortable Handle: The handle is made of walnut wood, which not only looks good but is shaped to fit your hand nicely.

  • Ready to Travel: The knife comes with a sturdy leather cover that you can attach to your belt, so it's easy to take with you safely wherever you go. Check prices on Amazon.

bps knives adventurer

The BPS Knives Adventurer is a bushcraft knife that's ready for any outdoor challenge. Crafted from carbon steel, this knife is designed to maintain a sharp edge through all your adventures. The full-tang construction means the metal extends the full length of the knife, from tip to handle, ensuring strength and durability. Here's a breakdown:

  • Sharp and Strong: The knife comes very sharp and is made from a type of carbon steel that's known for holding its edge, so it stays sharp longer.

  • Durable Materials: With a hardness rating of 56-57 HRC (which measures how hard the steel is), this knife is built to last and keep its sharpness through many uses.

  • Comfortable Handle: The walnut wood handle is not only sturdy and nice-looking but also treated with oil to resist water and dirt. Plus, you can take it apart for cleaning.

  • Practical Size: The knife has a 10-inch length overall, with a 5 1/3-inch blade that's wide enough for tough tasks but not too big to manage.

  • Carry It Anywhere: It comes with a protective leather sheath that has a special rod to start fires, making it a great camping companion.

  • Preparation Is Key: The blade is coated with oil to protect it—make sure to clean it before the first use. And remember, carbon steel does best when kept dry and clean after use. Check prices on Amazon.

This knife isn't just a cutting tool; it's a survival aid, a fire starter, and a dependable piece of equipment for anyone who loves the outdoors. It's a thoughtful gift for the outdoorsman or adventurer in your life, ready to take on tasks from making kindling to preparing food.

fixed knife

The KHU Fixed Blade Knife is one of the best tactical knives designed to stand up to the demands of the wilderness. Here’s a breakdown of its features:

  • Robust Blade: Made with 420HC steel, the blade is crafted to provide a balance of hardness and resistance to wear. It's also known for its ability to stay sharp through heavy use.

  • Blade Specifications: The knife has an overall length of 9.7 inches with a 4.92-inch blade and a thickness of 4.93mm, offering a substantial cutting edge without being overly bulky.

  • Handle Design: Its handle is constructed from CNC-processed nylon plastic, which is shaped to fit the hand and resist slipping, ensuring safety and control.

  • Versatile Sheath: The Kydex sheath is a high-strength yet lightweight material that securely houses the knife and attaches to a belt, with adjustable orientation for ease of access.

  • Additional Features: The knife weighs 311g and comes with a sheath that includes a ferro rod for fire starting, adding to its utility as a survival tool.

  • Maintenance Tip: The knife arrives with a protective coating of gun oil to guard against rust. Before using it the first time, it's advised to clean off the oil and maintain the blade by keeping it dry post-use.

The KHU Fixed Blade Knife is an all-around tool suitable for various outdoor activities, including camping and hunting, and comes with a functional sheath that enhances its practicality for daily carry. Check prices on Amazon.

fixed knife

The Morakniv Companion Black Fixed Tactical Knife is designed for the rigors of outdoor activities. Here's a detailed look at its characteristics:

  • Sturdy Stainless Steel Blade: The knife features a 4.1-inch blade crafted from Sandvik 12C27 stainless steel, known for its toughness, edge retention, and corrosion resistance, ensuring the knife remains sharp and durable through varied conditions.

  • Balanced Dimensions: With an overall length of 8.6 inches and a blade thickness of 2.5 mm, the Morakniv Companion offers a solid presence without being cumbersome, ideal for precision tasks and powerful enough for heavier work.

  • Ergonomic Grip: The handle boasts a patterned, high-friction grip, engineered to fit comfortably in your hand. This design allows for ease of handling and reduces the risk of slippage in adverse weather or when wearing gloves.

  • Sheath Convenience: A color-matched plastic sheath with a belt clip makes carrying the knife simple, providing quick and secure access whenever the knife is needed, a practical feature for those on the move.

  • Lightweight Design: Weighing just 4.1 ounces with its sheath, the Morakniv Companion is lightweight enough to accompany you on any trek without adding unnecessary weight to your gear.

smith & wesson boot knife

The Smith & Wesson 9" H.R.T Double Edged Boot Knife is a specialized tool tailored for discreet carry and quick access, suitable for personal security or as a backup knife for outdoor enthusiasts. Here's what you need to know about it:

  • Compact and Stealthy: The knife measures an overall 9 inches, with a 4.7-inch double-edged blade that provides versatile cutting power for a variety of tasks or self-defense scenarios.

  • High-Quality Blade Material: Constructed with 7Cr17MoV High Carbon Stainless Steel, the knife is engineered for strength and durability. This high-carbon content enhances the blade's hardness and edge retention properties, making it suitable for intense applications.

  • Grippy Handle: A black rubber wrapped around the handle offers a secure grip, reducing the chance of the knife slipping out of your hand in wet conditions or during strenuous use.

  • Portable Design: At a weight of 7.7 ounces, it's light enough for everyday carry but substantial enough to provide a solid hand-feel. The boot knife design is intended for stealthy storage in a boot, strapped to a belt, or tucked away in your gear.

  • Carry Options: The knife comes with a sheath that can be conveniently attached to a belt or boot, offering versatility in the way you carry it. The sheath is designed for quick deployment, ensuring the knife is always ready when you need it.

  • Locking Mechanism: Smith & Wesson's frame lock system ensures the blade remains firmly in place once opened, giving you confidence during use that it won't close accidentally.

law enforcement knife

The Ka-Bar TDI Law Enforcement Knife in Coyote Brown is a specialized tool designed for law enforcement officers facing the most dangerous situations. Here's a look at this knife:

  • Purpose-Built Design: Developed with input from John Benner of the Tactical Defense Institute, this knife is a last-resort option for close-quarter defense, particularly when an officer's handgun is compromised or inaccessible.

  • Blade Characteristics: The knife features a 2 3/8-inch drop point blade made from AUS-8A stainless steel, known for its durability and ease of sharpening. It has a short, sturdy blade that's good for cutting and stays sharp. The blade has a black coating to stop it from reflecting light, which is useful for keeping a low profile.

  • Handle and Grip: The full tang construction, which extends into the Coyote brown Zytel handle, provides excellent strength and balance. The textured handle ensures a secure grip under all conditions, reducing the risk of slippage.

  • Sheath for Concealment and Access: Accompanied by a glass-filled nylon sheath, the knife setup is designed to be discreet when worn on the pant belt, remaining well concealed and easily accessible. The black metal belt clip included is robust and designed for quick deployment.

  • Versatile and Adaptable: With its reversible sheath, the TDI knife can be worn on either side of the body, making it adaptable for right or left-handed users. This feature is particularly useful for officers who require versatility and the ability to draw their knife with the off hand in an emergency.

The Ka-Bar TDI Law Enforcement Knife is more than just a blade—it's a crucial part of an officer's defense arsenal, offering reliability when it's needed most. Check prices on Amazon.

knife self defense

The Buck Knives 0119 Special is a classic fixed blade knife that combines tradition and durability. Celebrating its 75th anniversary, this model has stood the test of time due to its robust construction and practical design:

  • Blade Quality: The knife features a 6-inch clip blade made from 420HC steel, known for maintaining a sharp edge and offering great strength, making it suitable for a variety of tasks.

  • Size and Portability: With an overall length of 10-1/2 inches, it balances size and function, ensuring it's not cumbersome to carry. It comes with a tailored leather sheath that can be attached to a belt or stored in a bag, allowing for safe transport.

  • Design and Use: The leather sheath not only protects the knife but also adds a touch of elegance to its design, making it a piece worth collecting as well as using.

  • Ideal for: Whether you're into outdoor activities such as camping and hunting or need a reliable knife for general utility, the Buck Knives 0119 Special is designed to perform well across all these needs. Check prices on Amazon.

survival claw

The Masalong Outdoor Survival Claw Tactical Knife is a robust tool designed for the adventurer seeking a reliable and sharp companion for the great outdoors. Here's a detailed overview of its features:

  • Compact and Sharp: The knife has a full length of 7 inches, with a blade length of 3.1 inches. This size is compact enough for easy handling yet sharp and efficient for its intended survival and tactical applications.

  • Ergonomic Handle Design: The handle's length of 4.3 inches is crafted to provide a firm grip, reducing the risk of slipping during use. This feature is crucial when performing precision tasks in survival scenarios.

  • Blade Quality: You can choose from high-quality D2 steel, intricately patterned Damascus steel, or the sturdy 5CR variant for the blade material. Each type offers its own balance of blade retention, toughness, and resistance to wear.

  • Durability: With a hardness rating of 58-60 HRC, the knife's blade is hard enough to maintain sharpness through extensive use, yet still resilient enough to withstand the rigors of outdoor use without becoming brittle.

  • Versatile Use: Whether for camping, hiking, or as part of an emergency kit, this knife's design ensures versatility in use. Its claw-like shape and double-edged blade mean it's prepared for cutting, carving, or self-defense.

  • Protective Sheath: The knife comes complete with a sheath that offers protection for the blade and a safe means of transport, making it convenient to carry without compromising on safety.

wild wolf knife

The Wild Wolf X42 is a fixed blade knife that suits outdoors enthusiasts and survivalists:

  • Semi-Full Tang Blade: This design ensures the knife can take on rigorous tasks without the blade becoming loose or breaking. It's ideal for those who need a dependable knife that can endure tough conditions.

  • Solid Grip: The handle is designed to fit comfortably in your hand, providing a secure grip that minimizes the risk of accidents. This is especially important when handling the knife in wet or unstable conditions.

  • Tough Leather Sheath: The knife comes with a leather pouch that not only protects the edge but also provides a convenient carrying option. It's designed to attach to a belt, making it easily accessible while on the move.

  • High-Quality Materials: Featuring a stainless steel blade paired with a rosewood handle, the Wild Wolf X42 combines durability with an elegant appearance. The balance between the blade and handle lengths ensures a smooth and controlled cutting experience.

  • Multipurpose Knife: Whether you're cutting ropes, preparing food, or carving wood, this knife is up for the challenge. Its multipurpose design makes it suitable for camping, hunting, and fishing. Check prices on Amazon.


The Buck Knives 191 Zipper Guthook is a specialized fixed blade knife designed with hunters in mind. Here's an overview of its features:

  • Guthook Blade: The 4-1/8" guthook blade is a unique feature that provides added utility for hunters for skinning game with precision and ease. The drop point design offers control and adds strength to the tip.

  • High-Quality Steel: Made with 420HC steel, the blade promises maximum strength, excellent edge retention, and resistance to corrosion.

  • Compact and Balanced: The knife has an overall length of 8-1/2" and a weight of 6.3 oz.

  • Protective Leather Sheath: A high-quality leather sheath with a snap closure is included. The sheath’s design ensures that the knife stays in place whether you're traversing rugged terrain or climbing a tree stand. Check prices on Amazon.

Canada's Knife Laws: Is A Knife Legal?

Check out our comprehensive guide: "Can I Carry A Knife in Canada?"

In Canada, the law does not prohibit the possession of knives for lawful purposes, such as utility or work. However, the intent behind carrying a knife is a determining factor in its legality.

Understanding Intent and Carry Laws

Canadian law is clear that any knife can be considered a weapon if your intent is to use it to cause harm or if you carry it for the purpose of self-defense. It's illegal to carry a knife if you intend to use it as a weapon against another person, regardless of the type or size of the knife.

This distinction is critical: A knife carried for opening boxes or as a tool while camping is typically legal, but the same knife could be deemed illegal if you carry it with the intention to defend yourself with it.

Prohibited Knives

Some types of knives are outright banned in Canada, regardless of intent. These include automatic knives, such as switchblades, centrifugal knives like butterfly knives, and any blades that open automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring, or other devices in or attached to the handle of the knife.

Are Pocket Knives Or Fixed-Blade Knives Allowed?

Folding knives (like pocket knives) and fixed-blade knives used for daily tasks and recreational activities such as hunting or fishing are generally legal. However, certain municipalities may have bylaws that further restrict the carry of knives beyond federal and provincial regulations.

Can I Carry A Knife in Public?

When it comes to carrying knives in public, discretion is key. Concealed carry of a knife is often where legal issues arise. If you're carrying a knife, you should be prepared to explain that reason if questioned by police.

Border Crossing Considerations

Travelers should also be aware of the rules regarding knives at the Canadian border. Declaring any knives that are part of your gear for outdoor activities is mandatory. Failure to declare them can result in fines or even criminal charges.

By being mindful of these laws, Canadians can ensure they're on the right side of the law while selecting a knife that serves their needs—whether for opening an envelope, slicing through fishing line, or whittling wood by the campfire.

Please note that this article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice. For specific legal guidance regarding knife laws and self-defense in Canada, it is recommended to consult a professional legal advisor.

How Do I Choose The Right Self-Defense Knife?

Choosing the right knife for self-defense is a detailed process that encompasses much more than just the tool's physical characteristics—it's a complex decision with legal, ethical, and personal aspects. Here's a concise guide to help you select the best knife for your needs:

  • Establish Your Mindset: Before even considering a knife's material or design, assess your willingness to use such a tool under duress. A knife is a serious weapon, and using it in self-defense means being prepared for the gravity of such an action.

  • Do Your Legal Homework: Understanding and adhering to local knife laws is crucial. The legality of carrying certain types of knives, like automatic or fixed-blade ones, varies by location. Research and ensure you're within the law to avoid legal trouble.

  • Choose Fixed or Folding Blade: Fixed blades offer quick access and reliability since they have no moving parts. However, legal restrictions may steer you toward folding knives. Choose a folding knife with a reliable opening mechanism if a fixed blade isn't an option.

  • Choose Your Blade Profile: The blade shape should be suited for self-defense while also being legal and practical for everyday carry. Consider drop-point, tanto, or Wharncliffe profiles for their balance of practical use and defensive capability.

  • Choose Your Blade Material: Opt for blade steels that balance toughness, edge retention, and corrosion resistance. You can find quality options across budget, mid-range, and premium stainless steels.

  • Choose Your Handle Material: The handle should ensure a firm grip in all conditions, with materials like G10 and Micarta being excellent choices for their durability and traction.


What are the easiest knives to open?

Knives with assisted opening are typically the easiest to operate, especially if you're dealing with hand mobility issues or need to open the knife with one hand. The built-in spring assists the opening action once initiated, making the knife ready for use with minimal effort.

Is there anything I should do to prep my new self-defense knife? Absolutely. When you first get your knife, practice opening and closing it to wear in the mechanism. This 'break-in' period helps ensure that your knife will open smoothly and quickly, which is crucial in a high-pressure situation where every second counts.

Are automatic knives good for self-defense?

Yes, automatic knives can be very effective for self-defense. Their design allows for rapid deployment with just the press of a button or switch, which means you can have your knife at the ready faster when under stress.

Stay Safe!

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