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.


 

1. USMC KA-BAR

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.

Price: $104.90 on Kabar.com.

2. KA-BAR BK7 Becker Combat Utility Knife

KA-BAR BK7 Becker Combat Utility Knife

Image Source: Amazon

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.

Price: $75.34 on Amazon.com.

3. Gerber StrongArm Fixed Blade

Gerber StrongArm, one of the best military knives

Image Source: GerberGear.com

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.

Price: $86 on GerberGear.com.

4. SOG E37SN SEAL Pup Elite

SOG E37SN SEAL Pup Elite

Image Source: SogKnives.com

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.

Price: $124.25 on SogKnives.com.

5. Gerber Mark II

MARK II Fixed Blade Knife

Image Source: GerberGear.com

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.

Price: $133 on GerberGear.com.

6. Ontario Knife M9 Bayonet

Ontario Bayonet Fixed Blade

Image Source: Amazon.com

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.

Price: $94.94 on Amazon.com.

About 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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