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Best Self Defense Knife

Best Self Defense Knife

Are you searching the internet for “best self-defense knife” or “best knife for self-defense“? If you are looking for the best self-defense knife for yourself or a loved one, this article will lead you to the best possible self-defense knife you can buy. Your life (or your loved one’s life) is important and, with the right knife, your well being and security can be preserved. Follow along with me as I reveal what is required in a self-defense knife, the history of the best self-defense knife, reviews of said knife, and a buyer’s recommendation.

Spyderco Civilian Handle Serrated Knife

KnifeUp recommends the Spyderco Civilian as the best self-defense knife. Developed for undercover US law enforcement officers, the Spyderco Civilian has a curved S shape serrated blade that makes this knife extremely versatile. The curved handle allows the knife to be used in a number of different ways without worrying about losing grip of the knife. The thin blade tip gives the knife a great cutting tip that can easily cut through thick leather or jeans and the serrated part of the blade makes cutting through anything effortless.

What to Look for in the Best Self Defense Knife

Ask any martial arts expert and he’ll give you a different view on what you should look for in the best self-defense knife. There is no consensus here because, like most things, you have to find what works for you, your body type, and your environment. Because of that, the following features are most important:

  • The knife must have a sharp, thin blade able to cut through materials such as thick leather.
  • The knife must fit securely in your hand.
  • The knife must be easily carried.
  • The knife must be legal. (Learn about the knife laws in your state).
  • The knife must be easily deployable.

Other features such as fixed or folding, serrated or flat edge, or stainless vs. carbon are individual preferences.

Why Not a Pocket Knife for Defense?

A self-defense situation is much different than many other scenarios where you may carry a knife of some sort.  Without getting overly technical and over-thinking the issue, here’s the idea:

If you are minding your own business and not looking for trouble, and you are approached by someone who appears to be interested in causing you difficulty by physically grabbing/touching/hugging/attacking or otherwise dangerously offending you, then you need a tool that will most easily discourage your attacker.  What is that tool?  Well, it’s not just an all-purpose knife.

It could be if you are a Navy Seal and have lots of experience with a blade.  For the rest of us, it would be a tool that requires no skill and not a lot of thinking or strategizing.  If you have a regular “knife†like a hunting knife (which is way too big to practically carry anywhere) or a pocket knife, you’ll have the potential for minimum damage with maximum effort on your part (that’s not a good deal for you).

In other words, those knives are not meant to ward off an attacker as some other, special-purpose knives are.  The Spyderco Civilian is based on the design of a KARAMBIT knife which has a curved blade that is meant for nothing else but to be swung through the air (much like you’d swing your arms in defense anyway if being attacked) but the curved sharp edge would rip and tear significantly into anything it touches.  Even if only a small part of the blade tip catches anything, it will cause a big hurt!  That is especially true if the blade is serrated because it will tear more than slice cleanly.

Karambit is one of the best self-defense knives

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Karambits are so effective, that authorities are concerned the “bad guys” will use them.  Because of this, karambits are most often illegal to carry.  The Spyderco is not “technically” a karambit but its blade is very similar, offering a similar action/outcome.  Other good options for defense knives include the Cold Steel Black Talon II.  It is similar to the Civilian in many ways, but the price is a bit more manageable.  You can see it HERE.

Mini-Review of the Cold Steel Black Talon II

Cold Steel Black Talon II

The Black Talon II’s blade is sinuously curved, needle-sharp blade still features the distinctive down-swept point and pronounced belly of the original, but with all new high-end American XHP super-steel and a re-designed tip for additional strength and durability.

This knife hails from an iconic and very well-respected name in the knife industry.  Cold Steel is offering this knife which is a modified curved Talon blade made from Japanese San mai steel, a sleek titanium frame with G10 scales and a very strong locking mechanism. The original Black Talon was discontinued, but due to some public pressure for such a tool, Cold Steel has announced a newly re-designed knife called the black Talon II.  It’s a design collaboration between Cold Steel president Lynn Thompson and custom knife-maker Andrew Demko.  We think the Black Talon II is one of a few very good tools for personal defense, but only if you have the strength and presence of mind (not to mention composure) to weild it effectively.  If not, it becomes a liability that an attacker could use against you.

By the way, if you question your ability to stand your ground while swinging and wielding the Black Talon or the Civilian, you may be better off with some Pepper Spray!

Pepper spray in addition to best self-defense knife

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Reviews of the Spyderco Civilian

Online self-defense experts stated that this knife is one of the best self-defense knives because of its intuitive design. Individuals without prior knife training can easily use this knife. No years of practice are needed. In addition to that, the ATS 55 steel will stay sharp for ages and, given that the blade’s shape limits the knife’s use to only self-defense, the knife will never become dull from day to day use.

Out of the 165+ reviews on Amazon, reviewers gave this knife 4.8 out of 5 stars. This makes the Spyderco Civilian one of the best self-defense knives on the market, hands down.

Other knives for self-defense on the market lack the design, durability, and power of the Civilian. What’s more, the knife’s folding blade mechanism allows for deep carry within your pocket, making the knife invisible from the outside.

Yet Another Option?

The Spyderco Civilian is a pricey investment that is beyond what many would like to (or be able to) spend.  For about half the price, you can get a smaller version by Spyderco called the Matriarch 2.

Spyderco Matriarch 2 Lightweight Knife with Emerson Opener and 3.57" VG-10 Steel Reverse S Blade - SpyderEdge - C12SBK2W
  • Game Changer - The Matriarch 2 is the combination of the Civilian
  • Superior Quality - Its SpyderEdge VG-10 stainless steel blade is scientifically designed to maximize cutting performance
  • Dependable - One of the vital features of the Matriarch 2 are its sturdy back lock mechanism, four-position clip, and Trademark Round Hole
  • Ergonomic - It ensures unmatched carry versatility and high-speed deployment with either hand
  • Easy To Carry - By adding an Emerson Opener - a small integral hook on the spine of the blade - the latest version of the Matriarch 2 raises the bar even further by offering the ultimate in high-speed deployment


If you are looking for the best knife for self-defense, check out the Spyderco Civilian. Spyderco is a US knife maker based out of Golden, Colorado and is known for making great, high-quality knives. Developed for undercover law enforcement officers, the Civilian is a great knife designed for only one thing: keeping you safe.

Make sure to check our other reviews and buying guides: 

and more!



  1. *sigh* where do these reviews come from….this is not the best for self defense. However, if you are going too EDC this knife, seriously consider a piece of strong leather or para-cord looped thru hole on end of knife. Makes it safer from dropping during use, or having it taken from you. You should also seriously consider a Karambit knife. Watch some knife self defense videos, and practice. Honestly tho….a knife for self defense, especially in a street scenario, a knife is better than a gun. For many reasons.

  2. Being an avid ‘knife guy’ who has many different knives/swords and carries at all times while awake I can sympathize with those who carry EDC and believe in knives as a viable means of self defense. In many cases, especially against an unarmed assailant or an assailant who is armed with something other than a firearm, a knife does have advantage in some situations, but I still respect the wisdom in the saying, ” Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight”! I would certainly not feel safe facing down an assailant armed with a gun when I only have a knife to counter with? If one thinks this is a winnable scenario then I would say that said person has been watching too many Hollywood productions rather than living in the real world. The reality of a knife vs gun is that the knife loses in most instances, there are even video clips of actual incidents where this scenario has played out and thus far the ones I have seen as well as read about have the knife wielder losing almost every time! If I have no other alternative, then a knife is better than nothing, but otherwise I prefer a gun if possibly facing an armed assailant? My firearms which include a Glock 21SF and Sig P250 Compact in .45 ACP for concealed carry can attest to my opinion on this issue.

  3. Any true knife person will tell you that this knife is not good for self defense. Imagine trying to stab with it. A straight blade is a much better option.

  4. Actually Jared, if you are attempting to protect your life or that of your loved ones from deadly assault, delivering a “stab” to the assailant should never be your objective. Stabbing creates a small wound channel that, in most cases, is going to be relatively shallow. While this may ultimately lead to the attacker being disabled or even dead, it probably isn’t going to end a fight quickly.

    You’re much better off with a blade designed for ‘slashing’ which can quickly cut through muscle and tendon. Cutting an achilles tendon or slicing through the dominant arm triceps muscle will give you a much higher chance of ending an attack quickly than will inflicting a ‘straight-on’ stab wound of small dimension.

  5. “Any true knife person will tell you that this knife is not good for self defense.Imagine trying to stab with it. A straight blade is a much better option.”

    ummm.. any “true” knife person wouldn’t go near someone with that thing. A straight blade will cut you, this will tear you open. It’s a defensive slashing weapon not a stabbing weapon.

    The defense part of self defense is important here. The curve allows you to slash and also manipulate your attackers arms and movements by hooking them if need be. It’s not meant to stab, it’s meant to disable an attacker from being able to stab you.

    Try stabbing someone with that thing thrashing around in front of you. Even if you try that claw will hook into you and disable you. It is designed to dig in and go deep as you pull, following the curves of the neck, torso, arms, etc. It wont be a quick slash like a straight blade, it will be a large deep circumferential cut around a large part of you…tearing of all your arteries, muscles, and tendons in whatever part it hooks. You will disable your attacker. No knife fighting skills needed. Thats the point. Stabbing only works if you can get a clean stab in. This works just by making contact with any part of the body.

    I will agree it is not the best offensive weapon, and that is not the mindset behind it, but it is an awesome defensive weapon.

    Personally I’m going to trust that the engineers who design knives for a living, and who designed a knife specifically for self defense, probably know more then a random guy on the internet that thinks stabbing for self defense is a good idea….that and curved blades have been throughout history some of the most effective knives for centuries…karambit cough cough.

  6. “*sigh* where do these reviews come from….this is not the best for self defense.”

    Spyderco disagrees with you. I’m going to go out on a limb and say they probably have moe experience then you.

  7. I like the design of the spyderco, but Cold Steel’s new Talon II seem about the same design but with the Tri add lock, which makes this something I would watch out for when it comes out!

  8. Check Out Spyderco “other” line of blades: BYRD KNIVES. Look thru the Byrd Knife whole line up. After that, compare the prices. Tell me what you really think?

  9. I’ve had this knife for about one year and it has done me so well very sharp and if taken car of it’ll be around forever. Before I had it my cousin had it for about 6plus years he used it as self defense when being attacked by a dog. the spiderco civilian was the last resort and saved him from grater injurys


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