From every day carry folders to burly fixed blades, knives are integral aspects of the lives you folks lead. A good knife is useful for every day cutting tasks, personal defense, or in the most extreme circumstances, rescuing people out of hairy situations.
But you probably know that already. You’ve likely got your one favorite knife that you just can’t be caught dead without. If not, here’s a selection of knives in six different categories, complete with reviews from warriors and patriots like you.
FOLDER: DPX – HEST/F 2.0
Our friends over at DPX know all about making heirloom-quality knives, and the HEST/F 2.0 is a perfect example of the integrity and curation that goes into this brand. Called the Hostile Environment Survival Tool, this folder is designed for use in extreme situations. Created by adventurer Robert Pelton, who has found himself in the toughest places on Earth, this knife is as worldly as he is: A German D2 blade is married to an American-made titanium alloy frame with G10 scale, assembled by LionSTEEL craftsmen in Italy, and shipped out of the DPX warehouse in GovX’s hometown of San Diego. This brutal, beefy folder’s hidden talents include a ¼” hex driver, wire stripper, and MOLLE compatible Kydex sheath. According to our friends at DPX, Navy SEALs at nearby Coronado regularly stop by their warehouse to check out the goods and sing the praises of these unique, carefully created knives.
This is the best knife I’ve ever owned. I bought this on a chance and have quickly been amazed by it. It quickly moved into my everyday carry and I can't ask for a better knife. The blade is amazing and I don't feel like I have to worry about using it on anything. I would recommend this knife to anyone who asks. – Andrew K.
AUTOMATIC: Benchmade – Auto Stryker
The model 9101 Auto Stryker is a formidable automatic, incorporating a redesigned locking button that's larger and stronger than anything else the acclaimed Washington knife company has made. The design has an open back spacer, which is useful for easy maintenance, and even gives the knife an increased amount of spring force. The Tanto blade flicks open easily and confidently, and is available in straight or serrated edge. It’s only a half-inch wide, making this an ideal EDC knife, and the black anodized aluminum handle resists moisture for a sure grip.
This is the best knife I have ever owned. 10 years and this joker is still going strong. Use it for everything. Highly recommend and the auto open button is just perfect. - Patrick P.
FIXED: Gerber – Strongarm
Gripping the rubberized diamond-texture grip on the Gerber Strongarm makes you feel powerfully ready to tackle any task. This fixed blade beauty is perfect for combat and survival applications, with a full-tang 420 HC blade available in either fine edge or serrated. It’s not too heavy, it’s not too light—it’s the goldilocks of combat knives. You can even have this handy for rescue situations, with a striking pommel on the end for shattering glass. And let’s not forget the included modular sheath, arguably as important as the knife itself. Carry it vertically on a MOLLE system, or in traditional drop-leg belt mount fashion. Plus, with the incredible price, you’re getting a hell of a knife without letting too much coin go.
This combination of knife and sheath system is a bargain you seldom find. The knife can be worn many ways and the retention system is high tech and real world functional. The knife feels like your favorite tool in your hand, it will be your favorite knife upon opening the box when you get one. This is the deal you've been looking for. This knife is one well thought-out, practical as hell, strong unit. – Mike L.
PERSONAL DEFENSE: Emerson – CQC-15 Knife
Within the tough and textured handle of the Emerson CQC, also known as the Tant-Com, lies a gleaming gorgeous recurve blade with a wicked edge. One of the more unique entries on this list, most Emerson knives feature the patented “wave shaped opening feature”; draw it out swiftly and the hook on the spine catches on the edge of your pocket, releasing the blade. It takes a bit of practice but once you master it, you’ll wonder why you ever used other folders. Available in black or stone-washed satin blade. Oh, and did we mention this is a 100% Made-in-America knife?
Two knives for the price of one! This Emerson hybrid is one capable mutt! It's got the piercing power of a Tanto and the slicing ability of a food processor! The G10 scales stick like glue and the handle fit my large hand just right. This is one serious blade! It's hefty, not heavy, but I suppose its pommel could crack a nut or two as well! It's American made and arguably a knife for the 21st century! The whole century, since this one's quality might realistically last a few generations! – Daniel L.
OUT-THE-FRONT: Benchmade – Infidel
If you’re already a frequent GovX visitor, chances are you know about the Infidel. This is the best-selling knife on the site, and for good reason. As far as OTF knives go, this is the smartest man in the room. As a nonbeliever in traditional knife thinking, the Infidel lives up to its name, with fierce out-the-front opening action that might be all it takes to scare off would-be attackers. The double-edge spear point blade is available in satin finish or black coated. Rely on the shark gill texturing on the grip, and ambidextrous handling for a confident feel. Perfect for law enforcement work, military deployments, and personal security.
(Looking for a similar OTF at a lower price point? Check out Benchmade’s increasingly popular Pagan.)
We all love our knives, right? I love this knife. It IS very well made— we expect not much less from Benchmade— and very sturdy. Between my Stryker Auto and the Infidel, the Stryker (Tanto, w/ serrated blade) is definitely my duty knife while the Infidel has been more of my personal off-duty knife. It comes across as more refined and elegant than the Stryker. Its OTF movement is precise with zero hesitation from the switch when activated. Although it comes with an awesome vinyl case with snap closure and MOLLE webbing on the back, I honestly feel this should arrive in its own little tuxedo—just my humble opinion! Read your instructions and care of use! – Eric S.
EMERGENCY: Stat Gear - T3 Tactical Auto Rescue Tool
Don’t let the affordable price point fool you into thinking the T3 is poorly made or cheap. As a proven life-saver, this unique rescue tool is supposed to be affordable and accessible to regular motorists and the first responders who may be called upon to save them. Included in this package is a 3.25-inch serrated stainless steel blade, a 440C seat-belt cutter, an LED light, and a spring-loaded window punch. It’s the all-in-one of rescue tools, and comes packaged in a durable pouch that fits easily on any duty belt.
This tool is great for fire/EMS/police personnel or any other likeminded individuals. As a firefighter, I have used all the components of this tool. The knife blade is like any other standard knife blade. It cuts everything. The seatbelt cutter is equally good when you want to slash rope or nylon webbing without an exposed knife blade or point. I've used the window punch on both automotive and plate glass and it works terrific. Be sure and wear PPE when you break glass. My only complaint is that the LED light is easy to turn on and will drain the battery if it stays on. But overall, I love this tool and would highly recommend it! – David F.