Best Military Knives for Close Combat Fighting

When it comes to close combat fighting, the one thing that can quickly turn the fight in your favor is a knife. Finding the right one is a  though task, as there are dozens of military knives on the market, many of them serving different purposes. Some are strictly combat-focused, while others are more survival-based, capable of doing multiple things.

In this article, we’ve narrowed our focus on the top six combat/tactical knives. These all have distinct features meant to give you an edge in close combat situations.

Best Military Knives Reviews


KA1218-BRK USMC Fighter Serrated
  • Made in: USA
  • Category name: knives
  • Made in USA or imported
  • The most famous fixed blade knife design in the world
  • 1095 Cro-van steel

One of the most iconic military knives worldwide, this is identical to those issued to U.S. marines during WWII. It still serves personnel faithfully to this very day. Features include a pommel and gold-plated brass guard. The handle is cut with grooves to make it easier to grip even when wet. It comes along with a leather sheath for safe keeping. The steel is durable, sharp high carbon that, with proper upkeep, can last for years.

  • Overall Length: 11.875″.
  • Blade Length: 7″.
  • Blade Thickness: 0.165″.
  • Weight: 0.70lbs.
  • Blade Material: 1095 Cro-Van Steel.
  • Handle Material: Leather.
  • Edge Type: Straight.

KA-BAR BK7 Becker Combat Utility Knife

KA-BAR BKR7-BRK Combat Utility , Black, 7-Inch
  • Combat utility
  • Category name: knives
  • Made in USA or imported
  • Sturdy, lightweight all-purpose utility knife
  • Easy-to-sharpen 1095 Cor-Van steel blade

The Becker BK7 was designed in an effort to bring a more affordable, lightweight, yet still effective tool to troops. The knives are seen to be multipurpose, excellent for all-around use in the wilderness. With an easily sharpened blade, these are sturdy military knives that are built to withstand hard use over time. It comes with a heavy-duty polyester sheath.

  • Overall Length: 12.75″.
  • Blade Length: 7″.
  • Blade Thickness: 0.188″.
  • Weight: 0.85lbs.
  • Blade Material: 1095 Cro-Van Steel.
  • Handle Material: Ultramid®.
  • Edge Type: Straight.

Gerber Gear Strongarm

GERBER StrongArm Fixed Blade Knife with Fine Edge - Black
  • StrongArm tactical knife features a black handle and a fine edge, full tang 420HC steel blade
  • Durable survival knife has ceramic blade coating and rubberized diamond texture grip
  • Break through hard surfaces in emergencies with the tactical knife’s striking pommel
  • Four mounting pieces and sheath can be used for mounting on MOLLE, belt, or in drop-leg fashion
  • Gerber gear is proudly made in USA at Gerber's Portland, Oregon factory

In the business of making survival knives since 1968, Gerber continues to impress with the StrongArm Fixed Blade. It’s designed around military survival needs with features like a striking pommel. The ceramic coating fights corrosion so it lasts longer. Its diamond-textured, rubberized handle, grants a solid hold in various situations, wet or dry. It also has a multi-use modular sheath. This can be mounted on a horizontal belt, vertically on a MOLLE, or vertically in a traditional drop-leg belt.

  • Overall Length: 9.8″.
  • Blade Length: 4.8″.
  • Blade Thickness: 0.19″.
  • Weight: 10.9 oz.
  • Blade Material: 420 High Carbon w/ Black Ceramic Coating.
  • Handle Material: Glass-filled Nylon w/ Rubber Overmold.
  • Edge Type: Straight.

SOG E37SN SEAL Pup Elite

SOG Fixed Blade Knives with Sheath - SEAL Pup Elite Survival Knife, Hunting Knife w/ 4.85 Inch AUS-8 Bowie Knife Blade for a Tactical Knife (E37SN-CP)
  • 4.85 INCH BLACK TINI AUS-8 SHARP KNIFE BLADE: The SEAL Pup Elite outdoor knife is a perfectly balanced camping knife, hiking knife & belt knife w/ sheath; measures 9 inches overall length
  • 5.4 OUNCE WT. W/ GRN HANDLE: This stainless fixed blade military knife includes a nearly indestructible field knife handle; glass-reinforced nylon offers great grip w/ zero maintenance
  • MOLLE-COMPATIBLE SHEATH ATTACHMENT: Easily carry this versatile rescue knife, back pack knife, bushcraft knife and Bowie knife with the nylon MOLLE knife sheath
  • FULL TANG & TITANIUM NITRIDE-COATED: SOG’s cryogenic heat treatment hardens steel at the atomic level for stronger steel than most fixed blade knives
  • A SOG KNIFE FOR LIFE: Take care of your tactical knife and we’ll take care of you; SOG fixed blade hunting knives are built to last, and we consider all repair and replacement requests

These military knives are common amongst Navy SEALS. As such, it’s not only a great combat knife, but it’s designed to hold under extreme conditions like water. Like other SEAL knives from SOG, this has gone through extensive survival testing. It’s a high-quality, resistant combat knife with a good overall balance. The newly designed handle is longer with deeper finger grooves. In addition, it includes a nylon sheath with MOLLE/belt attachment capabilities.

  • Overall Length: 9.5″.
  • Blade Length: 4.85″.
  • Blade Thickness: 0.19″.
  • Weight: 5.4 oz.
  • Blade Material: AUS-8 Stainless Steel.
  • Handle Material: Glass-Reinforced Nylon.
  • Edge Type: Straight.

Gerber Mark II

Gerber Mark II Knife [22-01874]
  • Black oxide coated blade combats corrosion and diminishes reflection
  • Die cast aluminum handle is sturdy in hand for combat and survival applications
  • Double serrated blade offers unbeatable function for piercing, can also act as a spear
  • Includes ballistic nylon sheath
  • Overall Length: 12.75"; Blade Length: 6.5"

Having been produced since 1966, Gerber has updated the beloved Mark II. Even though collectors love having this in their arsenal, it’s still specifically built for combat. It is double-serrated for optimal piercing, and it has an aluminum handle for a stronger grip. The knife can even act as a spear. Coming along with it is a ballistic nylon sheath.

  • Overall Length: 12.75″.
  • Blade Length: 6.5″.
  • Blade Thickness: Approx. 0.24″.
  • Weight: 8 oz.
  • Blade Material: 420 High Carbon Stainless Steel.
  • Handle Material: Aluminum.
  • Edge Type: Partially Serrated.

Ontario Knife M9 Bayonet

Ontario Knife Company, M9 Bayonet and Scabbard, Black , Overall Length: 12.25"
  • Features A Maintenance-Free 420 Stainless Steel Blade Far Less Prone To Rust, With Saw Teeth Milled Into The Spine
  • Lock Type: Fixed
  • Blade Grind: Flat Bevel
  • 7 Inch Plain Edge Blade
  • 7 inch plain edge blade

This is another multipurpose knife, which is one of the reasons it’s so sought after. It works great in close combat just as well as it works for wire cutting, sawing, etc. Currently, it is still issued in the military. It’s a hefty, sturdy blade that’s rust-resistant with a decent edge. Since it’s touted as a bayonet knife, it works better for thrusting rather than slashing.

  • Overall Length: 12.25″.
  • Blade Length: 7″.
  • Blade Thickness: 0.24″.
  • Weight: 16 oz.
  • Blade Material: 420 Modified Stainless Steel/Zinc Phosphate finish.
  • Handle Material: Textured Thermoplastic Nylon.
  • Edge Type: Straight.

About Military Knives

best military knives

Otherwise known as a combat or fighting knife, a military knife is primarily designed for hand-to-hand and close combat fighting. In the early military days, particularly WWI, they were also known as trench knives. Across militaries, some of them differed in designs, but all were made to be used in close-quarters.

During WWII, several militaries began training more troops regularly in the use of these types of weapons. However, they were built more as multi-use knives, adapted for combat and utility purposes. Some of the more popular military knives used in previous wars have held their notoriety today. They remain in-use from military personnel to everyday citizens. Some of the leading manufacturers include KA-BAR, SOG, Ontario, Gerber, Zero Tolerance, and Smith & Wesson.

When you’re shopping for military knives to be used in close combat, there are several features to look for. In terms of blades, both carbon and stainless steel have their pros and cons. Carbon is sharper, but is susceptible to rust, while stainless steel is more durable, but can lose its sharpness. Handles are important also. You want to have a solid, sturdy grip in various situations, and one that keeps the knife balanced.

Final Thoughts

Military knives come in various sizes and are made with different blade and handle materials. The majority of knives made today are built with survival in mind, so they’re designed for use in a multitude of situations beyond close combat fighting. Even so, a combat knife means nothing if it’s not durable, which raises the price of these compared to others. It’s all worth it if it means protecting yourself in a nasty close-quarters situation.

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