Best Tactical Folding Knife Endorsed by Airborne Soldier


Please note that this review does not necessarily reflect the views of Knife Up and that it is purely an opinion expressed by someone who appreciates and knows something about knives.  If the opinion differs from yours, please respect it as what it is; an opinion!  You are free to have yours!

Are you or someone you know deploying soon? Looking for a good knife that would be helpful during a deployment? This article on the best tactical folding knife was submitted to us by John, a KnifeUp fan who was a former infantryman in the 101st Airborne. He served for 5 years and was deployed twice. Not all knives are equal and, for a deployment, you want to have the most tactical knife possible. Having a sub-par knife is only a nuisance and might even be a danger during a deployment.

KnifeUp: What is the Best Tactical Folder?

John: In my opinion, the best folding tactical knife that doesn’t hurt your wallet is the Smith & Wesson Special Ops T6061. If you are looking for a durable, low price, proficient tactical folding knife to take with you on deployment, then the Smith & Wesson Special Ops is the ideal knife.

Large Special Ops T6061 Aircraft Aluminum Black Handle w/Black Finished Coated Tanto Blade

  • 8.0 inches in overall length with longest blade open
  • 4.6 inch handle length with blades closed
  • 3.4 inch blade length

KnifeUp: Why is the Special Ops the Best Tactical Folding Knife?

John: It has an MSRP of around $50 and it is very light-weight, it’s length with blade closed is four and a half inches long and with its blade open it is seven and three quarter inches which makes it small enough to carry around with you without getting in the way but big enough to get the job done. It has a nice comfortable grip handle which also includes a lanyard hole. It has an inline lock that prevents the blade from closing unintentionally which makes it very safe.

The blade is fairly sharp out of the box but after a quick sharpening, it should cut through things like butter!  The knife blade is also made from stainless steel so you do not have to worry about rusting parts.

The handle is made out of a special coated anodized aluminum which is why it is so light-weighting in at four and a half ounces. There is a pocket clip that is stainless steel and it is also a stationary clip that is attached to the back side of the handle so it cannot be reversible. It also features dual thumb studs for a quick and easy blade deployment.

KnifeUp: In What Way is this Knife Good for Deployment?

John: Now, keep in mind that, in my opinion, this is the best tactical folding knife for a deploying soldier. There are numerous things that you can use this knife for overseas. I was actually in the military; the Army to be exact. I served with the 101st airborne division 3rd Battalion 187th Infantry Division on Fort Campbell Tennessee for close to five years and within those five years, I was deployed twice overseas to Iraq for a total of two years.

SMITH & WESSON SWEX2S Extreme Ops. Knife with 40% Serrated Drop Point Blade , black

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One of the more… exciting reasons to own a good durable tactical folding knife while deployed is to open up your care packages of course!

I want to share with you some stories of when a good tactical knife came in handy or would have come in handy. One of the more obvious and more exciting reasons to own a good durable tactical folding knife while deployed is to open up your care packages! You may laugh but I want to show how a good knife can make your life a little bit easier overseas from the smallest use of the knife to the most lifesaving uses of the knife.

Okay, so we know that having a knife comes in handy when opening boxes, cutting ties off boxes or pallets that carry supplies, or even cutting parachute cord for the many uses that parachute cord has. Let’s think about some other more serious uses of a tactical knife.

For one I wouldn’t mind having a good knife when I run out of bullets in a wartime environment. It is a very sensitive subject but a reality none the less that people or soldiers get kidnapped or have been taken for as hostages because they ran out of ammunition or maybe where even just ambushed and didn’t have time to react. This is one of those life-saving scenarios that I was talking about earlier.

[The Special Ops] small enough to conceal… [making] it difficult to detect by the enemy… durable and sharp enough to use as a weapon even if it is your last resort.

Wouldn’t having a knife that is small enough to conceal in your boots (or on the back of your pants or even your leg for that matter) make a huge difference between life and death if you are being held captive without your gun?  This scenario shows how the Smith and Wesson Special Ops tactical folding knife would be ideal for this situation; it is small enough to conceal which makes it a little difficult to detect by the enemy, it is durable and sharp enough to use as a weapon even if it is your last resort and it is lightweight which will prevent you from getting tired too fast if you are using it in a life and death situation.

Having a good tactical knife also has other uses being overseas such as cutting zip tie cuffs off of detainees, detecting traps, skinning an animal for food or even just using them for sport like knife throwing. I know when I was in Iraq I always used my knife and carried it wherever I went.

KnifeUp: How Does the Special Ops Compare to Other Knives?

[Ka-bar knives were] too big and… seemed to get in the way.

John: On my first deployment I purchased a Kabar Knife and took it with me everywhere I went as well but I noticed that it was just too big and it always seemed to get in the way. The blade was extremely sharp but it was just too bulky. Comparing to the Kabar, the Smith and Wesson Extreme Ops is not as sharp as the Kabar but is more convenient as well as tactical as far as the amount of time it takes to get the knife out to use.


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There you have it, you guys. A real opinion on what is the best tactical knife from a former Airborne soldier who has been there and back twice. If you want the best knife for your son or daughter, get an Extreme Ops from Smith and Wesson.

John stated that the MSRP for the Large Special Ops T6061 was near $50 but, right now, Amazon is selling the knife for considerably less than that!  This particular model has a 5-star rating on Amazon and every other knife in the same product line from Smith and Wesson received a 4 to 5-star rating as well.

If you are interested in this, you should check out our review on tactical tomahawks that are a great companion to tactical knives.


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17 thoughts on “Best Tactical Folding Knife Endorsed by Airborne Soldier”

  1. My honest opinion: Smith & Wesson makes (hands down) the worst knives I’ve ever used. I’ve had the misfortune of using a handful of these knives for various tasks, most often for EDC. The clip WILL fall off, as the screws are simply not secured into the frame. Their blades hold a terrible edge. I wouldn’t trust opening a cardboard box with one, and I certainly wouldn’t want this garbage while deployed. I’ve had one blade come completely loose from the frame and fall off while in use. Customers have returned these knives in mass. If you have one, use it for one solid week, and you’ll notice the same problems. S&W is a fine firearm company, but a horrific knife maker.

  2. Smith and Wesson does not make knives. Those with the Smith and Wesson name are made in China for Taylor Cutlery located in Kingsport Tennessee. No argument on the quality of the knives. If you truly want a real Smith and Wesson knife look on ebay for early S and W knives made in the 70’s They are extremely well made and we’re made here in the U. S. They are usually not cheap but worth the money. A model 6060 or one of their Bowie’s are fantastic knives in my opinion.

  3. I own very nice/expensive blades for “serious work” – this S&W extreme ops cheapie was given to me for a Christmas present- and it’s ability to hold an edge has really shocked me over the last 10 years of EDC. It tunes to a hair popping edge with little effort, and then maintains that edge through great abuse. My knives are tools that get used many times in a day- when you lose a benchmade in the woods while working, a decent cheap knife becomes very attractive.

    One task required me to slice up 3500 square feet of carpet into strips that would roll into a trunk for disposal and it was remained serviceably sharp afterwards. A half dozen passes on the strop and shaving sharp was restored. For what it is, I’m extremely impressed.

    And yes, the clip sucks. I have to reapply loctite and tighten the screws every few weeks. And the stainless clip will bend and take a set, requiring a bit of persuasion in the vise to fix it. But hey, it’s a $17 knife- get over it.

  4. Some of the Smith and Wesson knives are re-branded United Cutlery items that are made in China so the quality is questionable. Then again , the prices are low so you get what you are paying for.

  5. What kind of utter nonsense is this? The only way this makes sense is if “Knifeup Magazine” is demonstrating how you destroy a publications reputation and future with one simple statement.

    This isnt even the best knife for under $40 Any one of the Kershaw value line from the Emerson Collaboration to the Hinderer Knives like the Cryo or Thermite. The Tenacious and so on.

    The list of knives for less than $40 that are better than this POS is very long, the list of knives this thing is better than, is very short.

  6. Have to agree with the other comments. I have never handled this exact model, but EVERY S&W knife I have handled is absolute garbage. They are in my never bother with category, along with Schrade, maker of the worst knife I have ever hand the misfortune to own.

  7. No where in this article does he talk about actually using the knife, only what it can be used for and any knife out there can do what this knife can do and chances are it will do it better. I don’t honestly believe any soldier would chose this knife over a Ka Bar. How can a fixed blade fighting knife developed for military use get in the way in a life or death situation like an ambush? Smith & Wesson is a cheap brand. The knife doesn’t even have a good steel, it is some cheap stainless steel. Tanto style blades and serrations don’t make a cheap knife into a dependable tactical knife. Talk to anyone in the military and ask them what knives they have used. I can almost guarantee that no one will mention this knife or this brand.

  8. How ridiculous, a 400 series steel knife? Seriously? You think stainless is the way to go, when it’s brittle compared to high-carbon knives, and harder to sharpen? You are delusional dude.

  9. This is a horrible suggestion for the best folding EDC ever!!!!! If you are going to buy something that might, and even very likely will be, used to save your life, spend more then $50, unless that’s all you value your life at, and buy a Cold Steel or Spyderco. They have soooooo many great options between the 2, in every steel type, blade type and shape, style, size, and girth you could possibly want. Don’t waste your time or life on a cheap knife, if you have to sacrifice beer or fast food for 3 or 4 times then so be it. But be smart about it, your life’s potentially at stake!

  10. As an old grunt Marine from Viet Nam war 1967-1968 nice places like Con Thien, Gio Linh Cam Lo and pretty much every where on the DMZ, I can tell you from experience, If you have to use a knife or pistol you are in a bunch of trouble. But sayinf that I like K-Bars. They never let you down

    Semper Fi

  11. I have in my small collection a Kizlyar Raven 3 and a Kizlyar Phoenix 1 along with some Benchmade folders, Kizlyar Supreme. And various fixed blades (some received as gifts).
    My Camillus (KA-BAR)which was from the film “WindTalkers” and gift from a former Spec Ops individual was in turn given to a friend, neighbor and Viet Nam Veteran with Cancer. He always wanted one and felt compelled to make his wish come true.
    Lots of great blades out there. It comes down to what works best for you.
    Of course, I will always be partial to the blades I make. A few are now with some in the IDF.


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