The purpose of your knife tells you which knife to get as a detective would need another type of knife than a door kicker.
A police officer might need a different tactical knife than a SWAT officer. Furthermore, you can get a tactical knife looking like a regular one, with higher performance.
What your tactical knife needs to do has also a say into its design. Specific tasks ask for a specific design so it’s one thing when your knife needs to cut the trapped soldiers free and a totally different thing when you need to use the knife in an International Space Station.
The size of your knife is also deeply related to the task of your tactical knife. A police officer knife has to be comfortable to carry around and easy to fold back after use. A folding knife with a 4inches long and 9 inches’ overall length is the size for a tactical knife for a police officer, for instance.
As far as it goes for the materials on your tactical knife, we should mention the blade and the handle. You’d want a good stainless steel for the blade and don’t go cheap when choosing a stainless steel tactical knife. The plain old W1 tool steel it the no.1 choice and the only downside to it is that it rusts over time.
When it comes to the materials of the handles, they can go from plastic to G-10, Titanium and Stainless Steel. The handle has to be stable and protecting from moisture. A good handle doesn’t shrink, check or crack.
Typically, stabilized materials are waterproof and keep away water, oil, gasoline and sweat. Stay away from Kraton which feels comfortable but it doesn’t last.
Nowadays, there are so many polymers and composites that give good, forever lasting handles, along comfortable as well. You get more traction if the handle has a checkering or textured surface, especially in wet conditions.
Note that the materials don’t give the good tactical knife, though, but the design.
Ergonomics also matter a lot when it comes to the tactical knife design. A good tactical knife feels comfortable in your hand especially when you’re under stress. No pinch points, no sharp corners or unusual feel to the handle are allowed on a good tactical knife.
The feel in forward grip has to be the same as the one on reverse grip and there should be no convoluted contours or sculpturing of the handle either.
Over-pronounced finger grooves force your hand into a pre-fixed position so try to stay away from them.
Your tactical knife shouldn’t be neither too small or too large for your hand; just right is the best feel.
All in all, the tactical knife should fit you in size, shape and weight, just like it was made especially for you.
Half way there…
Your tactical knife should have a cutting edge and a point, which translates into a good thick point. A couple of inches of cutting edge is more than enough and blades should be at least .125 inches thick for lateral strength.
Any good blade dulls at some point and you need to be able to sharpen it even with a rock, this is why a too thick blade is not a good choice.
Get the serrated blade no matter what as it cuts even when dull.
Think about if you want a fixed blade or a folder. The fixed blade is stronger than a folder so you need to know exactly why you need the tactical knife in the first place.
Your tactical knife might have locks also. A folding knife folds, therefore, doesn’t depend on the lock. As for the fixed blades, they may come with locks but none of these locks are unbreakable.
Take a look where you’re gonna carry your tactical knife. Most of the tactical knives come with a spring metal clip, directly mounted onto the handle. Choose a place for your tactical knife to clip, just like you did for your tactical watch. The most important thing is to pick an easy and clear access for your tactical knife, in the same place all the time.
No matter if you go for the branded tactical knife or not, keep in mind that a good brand always take care of its products, before and after the use. So, take a look at the brand you’re getting your tactical.