Special operations forces are comprised of soldiers trained to be some of the most lethal and intelligent human weapons on the planet. They’re unflinching heroes tasked to execute any objective despite the chaotic curve balls fired their way. Special forces soldiers can be rescuers, protectors, and when needed, grim reapers with silent precision. They transform into whatever the mission needs them to be to protect our freedom, so every piece of their gear needs to be doomsday ready, especially their last defense knives.
A well-designed blade can be a worthy companion and savior for any soldier. Designed specifically for combat, the knives on this list are built to operate in the lowest depths of hell. In our search for the best special forces knives, we considered the design and versatility of each blade, as well as each knife’s reliability on the battlefield. We also found the civilian equivalent for most of the special forces knives on this list so you can own some of the finest military steel on the market. Unfortunately, a couple of the blades are too dangerous for mere mortals. Each one of these knives is well-suited to be a reliable self-defense or survival tool and is worthy of a place on your belt.
At first glance, the Ari B’Lilah looks like a beastly blade from a Rambo flick. Well, this knife is definitely a legitimate weapon of war and it’s used by the YAMAM (Yeḥida Merkazit Meyuḥedet) Israeli Counter-Terrorism unit. Formed after the 1974 Ma’alot massacre, the YAMAM specialize in hostage-rescue operations and take-over raids. Dealing with high-stakes operations all day, it makes sense they need a knife that looks intimidating merely sitting on the table. The blade is made of vanadium-niobium stainless steel with jimping on the spine and a G10 fiberglass handle. The Ari B’Lilah looks like an everyday carry knife for the Predator and, as you might have suspected, has no civilian equivalent.
Type of Steel: Vanadium-niobium stainless steel
Blade Length: 6 inches
Developed for the Spetsnaz Russian special forces, the ballistic knife is a badass hybrid blade and projectile. The blade of a ballistic knife can be fired with the push of a button and travel about five meters at around 40mph, just in case a Spetsnaz soldier isn’t able to chase down the enemy. Some ballistic knives utilize compressed air or even gas propulsion for more power, making them even more destructive. The Spetsnaz are known to train in throwing knives like whispers of death, eliminating their target in one swift, quiet movement. They also trained in using the ballistic knife, which was a silent killer as well. It’s not a one-and-done projectile either, as you can reload a blade by sliding it back into the spring. It’s probably a smart idea that this knife isn’t available to the general public.
Type of Steel: Stainless steel
Blade Length: 5 inches
The Brigade of Gurkhas is an umbrella term referring to all the units in the British Army made up of Nepalese Gurkha soldiers. Raised in a harsh environment, Gurkhas developed to become pretty much close to superhuman. You can witness their skills at an annual race called the Trailwalker 100km which is typically finished in 12 to 13 hours. Gurkhas win it every year, clocking in at about eight hours. The Kukri (aka Khukuri) is their weapon of choice and it’s just as sharp as they are. The Nepalese Gurkhas grew up sharpening tools and hunting animals with the curved blade, allowing them to build a relationship with this weapon of war. You can acquire a CRKT Kukri made of 65Mn carbon steel with a thermoplastic rubber overloaded handle.
Type of Steel: 65Mn carbon steel
Blade Length: 15-17 inches
KA-BAR US Marine Corps Fighting Knife
Since 1942, KA-BAR’s U.S. Marine Corps Fighting Knife is one of the sharpest tools in the shed. It’s a knife that’s been stained red many times for our freedom, especially in WWII, and continues to be the preferred knife of many U.S. Marines today. The 7-inch fixed blade is made from 1095 Cro-van steel and has a 56-58 HRC, meaning it’s tough enough for any down and dirty mission. The American-made blade is considered by many to be the most revered fixed-blade knife design in the world. The legendary knife continues to serve our country well and will probably do so for many lifetimes to come.
Type of Steel: High carbon steel
Blade Length: 6-8 inches
Sheffield Fairbairn-Sykes Dagger
Founded in 1941, the British Special Air Service (SAS) has exercised their versatility by taking on missions dealing with counter-terrorism, covert reconnaissance, hostage rescue, and direct action. Many of the SAS actions and operations are highly classified, but at least we know what knife they use. Probably the most elegant blade on this list, the Sheffield Fairbairn-Sykes British Commando Dagger started its tour of duty in WWII. Birthed from the minds of William Ewart Fairbairn and Eric Anthony Sykes, this slender blade was designed specifically for surprise attacks and close-quarter combat. The double-edged blade with a vase handle can easily slip between the ribs for critical damage. It also has a well-balanced design, fitting properly in your hand without feeling heavy while in action, making it one of the best combat knives on the field.
Type of Steel: 440A stainless steel
Blade Length: 6 inches
Ontario MK III
Out of all the blades the U.S. Navy SEALs can receive as standard issue, the Ontario MK III Knife is the winner. It meets the requirements to be worthy of the elite unit and is still being used today. The 6-inch 440A stainless steel blade with a black oxide finish is built to endure and perform in the most trying times. It has a polypropylene high-impact handle for a comfortable, reliable grip and a sheath with a brass belt loop and hanger so you can keep it close at all times. The blade has a saw-tooth back and a reinforced curved point, making it durable for almost any job. It’s a versatile knife that can also be used as a hammer and prybar.
Type of Steel: 1095 Cro-van steel
Blade Length: 7 inches
Gerber Mark II
Designed by retired U.S. Army Captain Bud Holzman, the timeless Gerber Mark II fighting knife was based on the Mainz Gladius, a famous ancient Roman sword. The blade first saw action in the Vietnam War and was used by many soldiers, including U.S. Special Forces. It was actually deemed too savage and was discontinued in the ‘70s until Gerber designer Al Mar added sawtooth serrations toward the hilt to reimagine it as a survival tool instead of a fighting knife. It gained more popularity in 1981 thanks to the cult classic film The Road Warrior, the popular sequel to Mad Max. With a sturdy ankle and a blade designed to pierce, this knife can do quite a bit of damage in close-quarter combat. The black oxide-coated 420HC double serrated blade with a die-cast aluminum handle is still being sold by Gerber today.
Type of Steel: 420HC
Blade Length: 6.5 inches
SOG SEAL Team Elite
The SOG SEAL Team Elite knife is an updated version of the original SEAL knife. It went through an extensive and intense evaluation program by the U.S. government and passed with flying colors. Many Navy SEALs looking for a blade alternative turn to this sharp piece of equipment to use as a field companion. The Team Elite knife is constructed with AUS8 steel and a glass-reinforced nylon handle. And, the blade has both straight and serrated edges for versatile functionality. Like its predecessor, it’s also powder coated for improved durability and rust-resistance.
Type of Steel: AUS8 steel
Blade Length: 7 inches
Emerson Combat Karambit
Joint Task Force 2 is a Canadian elite operations force considered to be one of the best special forces units on Earth. They are molded to specialize in hostage rescue, foreign internal defense, and direct action, carrying out many counter-terrorism missions. The karambit knife from Southeast Asia with a curved raptor-claw silhouette is their blade of choice. Originally a farming tool, the karambit knife is also perfect for gutting and slashing. There are plenty of karambit designers out there but Emerson’s Combat Flipper Karambit is one of the better models. It has a 154CM single-edged blade and a G10 handle all finished in black.
Year: 11th century
Type of Steel: 154CM
Blade Length: 4+ inches
Green Beret Knife
The U.S. Special Forces go through a grueling amount of training and have a reputation for being absurdly tough. Each graduate receives the Green Beret Knife (aka Yarborough Knife) designed and engineered by the famed Chris Reeve. The blade has a dorsal-tapered profile with 55-57 HRC and a contoured canvas micarta handle. You can get it directly from Chris Reeve’s site with or without serrations and choose from two blade length options.
Type of Steel: S35VN stainless steel
Blade Length: 7 inches
Created especially for the first SOCOM (United States Special Operations Command) unit of the U.S. Marines, the Strider SMF (Strider Military Folder) is a tactical folder for the War on Terror. It’s made with S30V steel with a G10 handle and an oversized bull pivot. The latest version of this drop point blade features a lock bar stabilizer built to preserve the frame-lock, ensuring the reliability and extending the life of the blade. The knife has gone through exhaustive field testing, including parachute jumps. According to Detachment One’s Commanding Officer, Colonel Robert Coates, the knife was chosen, built for, and issued to the Marine Corps SOCOM.
Type of Steel: CPM S30V steel
Blade Length: 4 inches
Glauca B1 Tactical Knife
France’s GIGN (National Gendarmerie Intervention Group) is a counter-terrorist unit of the French National Gendarmerie established in 1974 after the tragic Munich massacre. They’re mentally and physically equipped to handle hostage rescue, protection of government officials, and national threats. They’ve rescued over 600 hostages and are known to be one of the most efficient counter-terrorism units around. Their blade of choice is the Glauca B1 Tactical Knife with a blade tip designed for fierce penetration. The Böhler N690 steel blade also has a window breaker and handcuff cutters if you find yourself in a bind.
Type of Steel: Böhler N690 steel
Blade Length: 4.4 inches
The Bladed Hand: 6 Best Knife Fighting Styles
You’re now aware of the blades special forces soldiers use, but what makes these knives deadly is the way they’re used. Check out the best knife fighting styles on the planet and gain some knowledge of the art of the bladed hand.
They specifically designed the Ontario 497 Mark 3 Navy Fixed Blade Knife to handle the elements. During operations, Navy SEALs need to rely on their equipment to get the job done. The Mark 3 has several features that make it ideal for special operations.
What began as a single commemorative model soon became a full line of innovative tools - field-proven by US Special Forces, even honored as the Navy SEAL knife of choice. Today, SOG knives are carried with confidence into the most demanding situations.What knife do Green Berets carry? ›
This knife is known to the U.S. Army Special Forces as "The Yarborough" and to everyone else as "The Green Beret Knife". It is a no-nonsense, hardworking tool, designed by renowned knife maker and designer Bill Harsey, with function and manufacturing input from Chris Reeve.What knife is issued to Army Rangers? ›
The Trench Knife M3 has been developed to fill the need in modern warfare for hand-to-hand fighting. While designated for issue to soldiers not armed with the bayonet, it was especially designed for such shock units as parachute troops and rangers.What knife does Seal Team 6 carry? ›
The Emerson Commander knife is a battle-tested blade and approved by the Navy SEAL Teams as an edged weapon. Originally this knife was developed with input from members of Navy SEAL Team 6 and later made available to the public beginning in 1998.What knife do Marines carry? ›
The Marine Corps issued Ka-Bar fighting utility knife throughout Marine forces, with early deliveries going primarily to elite formations.What knife did the Navy SEALs use in Vietnam? ›
The SOG Knife was designed for, and issued to, covert Studies and Observations Group personnel during the Vietnam War. It was unmarked and supposedly untraceable to country of origin or manufacture in order to maintain plausible deniability of covert operators in the event of their death or capture.What branch of military is SOG? ›
Activated in January of 1964, SOG was a joint services unit composed of members from all four branches of the armed forces, including Navy SEALs, Marine Recons, Air Force Special Operations pilots of the 90th Special Operations Wing, but predominantly Army Special Forces.What is the marine seal equivalent? ›
The Marine Raider Regiment (MRR), formerly known as the Marine Special Operations Regiment (MSOR), is a special operations force of the United States Marine Corps, which is a part of Marine Corps Special Operations Command (MARSOC).What knife is on the Delta Force patch? ›
USASOC's shoulder sleeve insignia worn by Delta operators, depicting the historical Fairbairn–Sykes fighting knife inside the outline of an arrowhead.
The 499 Survival knife is a classic. Once the US Air Force's official Pilot Knife, this is the essential knife built for egress. The Carbon Steel blade is a tough blade that can withstand use.What knife do Air Force pilots carry? ›
The Ontario 6150, 499 Air Force Survival Knife has an overall length of 9.5". The Ontario 6150, 499 Air Force Survival Knife carries on a belt loop with a brown leather sheath with a sharpening stone. The 499 pilot's survival knife has been accompanying members of the US Armed Forces for Generations.What is the most used knife army? ›
Ka-Bar. The Ka-Bar is in the number 1 spot because of its expansive issue, beloved reputation, and overall handiness. The Ka-Bar is both a highly effective fighting knife and utility tool. The Marine Corps originally issued the Ka-Bar to be fighting knives and utility knives.What kind of knife did Cowboys carry? ›
The cowboys of yore nearly all carried a folding pocketknife. They were called “Stockman's Knives” and usually had three blades. You can still find these useful tools and I can usually find one in my pocket. You may not cut yourself out of a wreck with one, but for opening a bag of fritos they're perfect!What is the famous army knife? ›
The Swiss Army knife is a multi-tool pocketknife manufactured by Victorinox. The term "Swiss Army knife" was coined by American soldiers after World War II after they had trouble pronouncing the German word "Offiziersmesser", meaning "officer's knife".What Winkler knife do SEALs use? ›
This knife is a collaboration between Daniel Winkler and Kevin Holland, US Navy SEAL (ret.) and US Army Special Operations (ret.).What knife does John Wick use? ›
Balisong Knife: Also known as a butterfly knife, this weapon is recognizable by its two handles that rotate around the tang of the blade. John Wick uses this knife in films for quick and precise cuts.What Tomahawk do Navy SEALs carry? ›
The Winkler Combat Axe soon gained popularity among his comrades and eventually a Navy SEAL team asked Daniel Winkler to outfit their squadron with his combat axes. Winkler Knives Combat Axes are for more than just hand-to-hand combat.Do Marines still use KA-BAR? ›
A Standardized Marine Corps Knife
The Marine Corps purchased a number of different knives of varied design from multiple manufacturers, but by far the most popular and best known was the Ka-Bar. The USMC Ka-Bar is still being produced today in standard and commemorative versions that are true to the original.
The USMC KA-BAR was adopted by not only the Marines, but also the Army, Navy, Coast Guard and Underwater Demolition Teams.
Marines often privately purchase the blade and carry it to war and back without complaint.Why is there a hole in a military knife? ›
The hole on the heavy-duty blade makes cutting through bone easy. The hole enables you to hold the upper part with your fingers.What knife is issued to Swiss soldiers? ›
For over 100 years, Swiss soldiers have carried Victorinox pocket knives. And the latest iteration is even stronger, lighter and more functional than before.What weapon did Green Berets use in Vietnam? ›
Nearly all United States-allied forces were armed with U.S. weapons including the M1 Garand, M1 carbine, M14 and M16. The Australian and New Zealand forces employed the 7.62 mm L1A1 Self-Loading Rifle as their service rifle, with the occasional US M16.What unit saw the most combat in Vietnam? ›
The 199th Infantry Brigade is most notable for its participation in combat operations during the Vietnam War.Is task force 88 real? ›
TF 145, or TF 88 as it may now be known, was commanded by a colonel (the commanding officer of Delta Force) and is based at five locations across Iraq.What is the most elite unit in Vietnam? ›
The People's Army of Vietnam Special Forces Arms (Vietnamese: Binh chủng Đặc công), officially the Special Operation Force Arms or Special Operation Arms, is the elite combat armed service of the People's Army of Vietnam, led by the General Staff of the Vietnam People's Army.Which is harder to be a SEAL or Marine? ›
Yes. Navy SEAL training is more difficult than Marine training. There is quite a difference in the Navy SEAL completion rate from the Marines. Marines complete their 13-week boot camp training at a success rate of 85%, roughly three times higher than the success rate of seals.Are Marines higher rank than Navy SEALs? ›
U.S. Navy SEALs are an elite unit, more exclusive and harder to be admitted to than the U.S. Marines. The United States Marine Corps (also known as USMC or Marines) is one of the 5 branches of the U.S. military under the Department of Defense.Can a Marine switch to Navy SEAL? ›
You can apply to become a Navy SEAL as a civilian, a Navy sailor or even as a service member from another military branch. Both new recruits and active-duty military candidates must pass a battery of physical, technical and psychological exams.
A pantographic knife or paratrooper knife is a folding knife whose blade is opened by a unique scissors method. The blade has a slightly longer tang than a folding knife heel. The handle is symmetrically segmented and articulated to fold away on both sides to grip the longer tang.What are the hardest badges to get in the Army? ›
"It's called the Expert Field Medical Badge for a reason." Army medical personnel have to complete the same tasks as their infantry brethren but take it several steps further.What knife does Army Infantry use? ›
The traditional KA-BAR marked for Army personnel. Blade features U.S. ARMY tang stamp. Leather sheath included. We are KA-BAR, or more formally, KA-BAR Knives, Inc.What is a military grade knife? ›
A tactical knife is a knife with one or more military (martial) features designed for use in extreme situations. In popular usage the terms "fighting knife" and "tactical knife" are frequently employed interchangeably, although tactical knife is principally designed to be used as a utility tool, not as a weapon.What is the longest knife blade allowed on an airplane? ›
TSA in the US allows knives with blades that are 2.36 inches (6 cm) or less in length in carry-on baggage, but any knife with a fixed blade or locking mechanism is prohibited.What folding knife do Navy SEALs carry? ›
A Navy SEALs Folding Knife: Benchmade D2 Griptilian | SOFREP.What do Blackhawk pilots carry? ›
Each station can carry any combination of fixed forward 50-cal (12.7mm) gun, 7- or 19-shot Hydra 70 rocket pods, or air-to-ground missiles. Additionally, pilots can control two forward firing 7.62-mm mini-guns mounted to the cabin windows (when not crew served).What is the most famous combat knife? ›
It is arguably the most famous fixed blade in the world. The Ka-Bar USMC fighting/utility knife has served U.S. troops for decades and is still just as robust a combat/utility piece as it has ever been.
The ZT 0562 is one of the most popular tactical knives by Zero Tolerance. The blade is known for its fast open, and quality steel.
The Geneva Convention set many of the rules of war, and in response to bayonets it prohibits “bayonets with a serrated edge” (International Committee of the Red Cross).What kind of knives did Vikings carry? ›
Deeply Rooted In Scandinavian History, The Seax, AKA “Scramasax” Or “Sax,” Was The Blade Shape Of Choice For The Much-Feared And Revered Vikings. Typically the Norsemen were associated with their famous axes, but, truth be known, they also carried a knife that saw more general use: the seax.What kind of knife did pirates carry? ›
The long pike or halberd was essential in case the enemy was equipped with them and so many pirate ships carried an arsenal of these in a handy rack on deck.What is a gentleman's knife? ›
A gentleman's knife is a type of pocket knife designed to be small, light and elegant. These knives are usually made from high-quality materials such as damascus steel, wood or carbon fibre. The gentleman's knife is intended for formal occasions and is considered a fancier tool than a regular pocket knife.What is the Green Beret knife? ›
Description: This knife is known to the U.S. Army Special Forces as "The Yarborough". It is a no-nonsense, hardworking tool, designed by renowned knife maker and designer Bill Harsey.What knife do Russian soldiers use? ›
The NR-40 has a 152 mm blade with a clip point, a large ricasso, a black wooden handle, and an S-shaped guard. The guard is "inverted" (unlike most S-shaped guards, it curves towards the edge) because standard Soviet Army grips called for holding the knife with the edge upwards.What knives does the Special Forces use? ›
- Kukri. Brigade of Gurkhas (Nepal) ...
- Karambit. Joint Task Force 2 (Canada) ...
- Ontario MK 3 Navy Knife. Navy SEALs (USA. ...
- Fairbairn-Sykes. Special Air Service (UK) ...
- Glauca B1. GIGN (France) ...
- WING-Tactic. GIGN (France) ...
- Strider SMF. ...
- Ari B'Lilah.
|Place of origin||USSR|
The USAF Pilot Survival Knife is the best and most versatile survival knives. This iconic survival knife is carried used by US Armed Forces for generations. The 5 inch carbon steel blade is Parkerized to eliminate glare. The blade also has zinc phosphate finish to prevent rust.What knife did the Green Berets use in Vietnam? ›
The SOG Knife was designed for, and issued to, covert Studies and Observations Group personnel during the Vietnam War.
In Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, the knife was a 8" Victorinox Forschner With Rosewood Handle. In Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later, the knife was a 14" Wusthof chef's knife. In Halloween: Resurrection, the knife was a 12" Victorinox Forschner with Rosewood Handle.What knife did Davy Crockett carry? ›
Bowie Knife that belonged to Davey Crockett. On display with other antique bowie knives at the Historic Arkansas Museum in Little Rock, Ar.What knife did Jack the Ripper use? ›
A Liston knife was the weapon of choice of the infamous Jack the Ripper, a London serial killer, in 1888. It is thought Jack the Ripper may have had some surgical and anatomical knowledge due to the way he mutilated his female victims.What knife does German Special Forces use? ›
The KM2000 (KM designates Kampfmesser, literally "combat knife") is the standard combat knife of the German Bundeswehr, mostly used by the German Army.What knife can shoot a bullet? ›
A ballistic knife is a knife with a detachable blade that can be ejected to a distance of several meters/yards by pressing a trigger or operating a lever or switch on the handle. Spring-powered ballistic knives first appeared in books and press reports on Soviet and Eastern Bloc armed forces in the late 1970s.