The Best Karambit Knife: Review of the Top Blades for Tactical, EDC, and More

Last Updated: by Aiden Williams

A karambit knife is one of the best self-defense tools anyone can have in their arsenal. This knife was designed for close-quarter combats. And for easy access, they are usually carried on the belt, shoulder, or neck.

These knives have hooked or curved blades with ergonomic handles and a safety ring. Karambits can be a perfect upgrade from a normal pocket knife. These EDC tools can serve as a self-defense knife.

Inspired by tiger claws, a karambit knife is one of the world’s oldest knives. It is believed to have originated from West Sumatra. Karambit was originally used to plant rice and cut thick roots. But, they were later weaponized after they were introduced in the Indonesian trade routes.

Besides being a weapon, karambit can also be used in fishing, hunting, or as an EDC tool. But, I know you already knew that. What you may not know is the difference between the many karambits in the market, and what is the best option for you?

That is why we have prepared a list of some of the best Karambits.

So let’s dive in…

Our favorite karambit is Fox 479 G10 Emerson Wave, as it comes with a tiger-claw shaped sharp blade. Fox 479 G10 Emerson Wave is made using Teflon-coated steel that has high edge-retention and rust-resistant levels. This tool features the Emerson wave technology that allows for fast deployment.

The Best Karambit Knives Are…

ProductDetails
1. Fox 479 G10 Emerson Wave

  • G10 handle with wide finger slots and huge protrusion ring
  • A 3-inch blade
  • Teflon-coated steel blade
  • Adjustable pocket clip
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2. Magnolia Gear CSGO Karambit

  • Stainless steel blade coated with titanium
  • Beautiful sheath
  • ABS handle
  • Blade Sharpener to keep your knife sharp
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3. Vulcan Gear Tactical-Hawkbill Knife

  • Fixed blade with a sharp edge that occupies 95% of the outer part of the blade’s length
  • Sheath with mounting nylon cord
  • 4 inches long stainless steel blade
  • Non-Slip and firm rubber handle
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4. Spyderco Karahawk Folding Karambit

  • G10 handle with a perfect grip
  • Emerson opening feature which allows for quick deployment
  • VG-10 steel construction
  • Sharp non-serrated blade
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5. Schrade SCH112 Karambit Knife

  • A 5.2-inch blade
  • A thermoplastic sheath that can fit in your belt
  • High carbon steel blade
  • Thermoplastic elastomer handle
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6. Hosana Karambit Knife

  • Ergonomically designed handle
  • 3.5-inch long blade
  • Plastic sheath with a nylon strap
  • Rustproof stainless steel blade
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7. Masalong Outdoor Survival Claw

  • A 3.1-inch long blade
  • D2 stainless steel blade
  • Serrated blade top
  • G10 handle
  • Leather sheath
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8. MTech MX-8140BT Karambit

  • G10 handle with a huge finger hole
  • A 4-inch long thick blade
  • Black nylon sheath
  • Stainless steel with brownish coating
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9. Cold Steel FGX Karambit

  • A 4-inch long steel blade
  • Plastic handle that is reinforced with fiberglass
  • Hawkbill blade style
  • Durable handle
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1. Fox 479 G10 Emerson Wave — Best Karambit Folder

FOX 479 G10 Black Emerson Wave Folding Karambit

Fox 479 is a tactical weapon that is used by campers, fishermen, and hunters who are always prepared for anything. Fox 479 is an elegant karambit that comes with the patented Emerson wave that allows for fast deployment of the blade.

Its tiger-claw shaped blade has high edge-retention capability. Fox 479’s blade is made from Teflon-coated steel that has high corrosion-resistance levels. For perfect grip, the Fox 479 comes with a G10 handle with a huge protrusion ring and top-notch clasp on the backside.

Fox 479’s blade has a large divot that you can use when retracting the blade. Therefore, you can have this knife unfolded within seconds in case of any danger.

This karambit comes with a fully adjustable pocket clip for easy carrying. The only drawback with this tool is the fact that it doesn’t come with a sheath.

Specs

  • G10 handle with wide finger slots and huge protrusion ring
  • A 3-inch blade
  • Teflon-coated steel blade
  • Adjustable pocket clip

Pros

  • Portable
  • Durable
  • Sharp blade
  • Easy to use
  • Comes the Emerson wave feature

Cons

  • Can be quite costly
  • Doesn’t come with a sheath

Overall rating – 5 out of 5

Conclusion

Fox 479 karambit is a well designed, durable, and sharp knife that can be an ideal everyday carry tool. Plus, the fact that it allows for fast deployment makes it a perfect tactical weapon.

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2. Magnolia Gear CSGO Karambit — Best Fixed Blade Karambit

Karambit and Huntsman Knife 2 Piece Set | CSGO Skins | Karambit With Neck Knife Sheath and Sharpener | Huntsman with Whetstone and Fire Starter | Perfect Military Knife or Hunting Knife (Crimson)

CSGO is the most efficient self-defense tool that is used in martial arts. This Magnolia Gear karambit comes with an extremely sharp blade and molded ABS handle.

Weighing about 4.2 ounces, this beautifully designed blade is quite light and can be a perfect EDC tool. Its blade is made from high-quality steel that is coated with titanium.

Magnolia Gear added a blade sharpener to help keep the blade sharp. For easy carrying, this tool comes with a sheath and a lanyard hole.

Its unique sheath has some tiger stripes on both sides. For full control, this tactical blade comes with a finger hole. CSGO’s durable blade has a full tang.

This Magnolia Gear won’t slip when being sharpened or wet thanks to its hardened ABS handle. This knife has a total length of about 7.5 inches and a 4 inches long blade.

Magnolia Gear CSGO Karambit comes with a lifetime warranty. For a tactical karambit that is loved by experienced martial artists, this knife can be quite light.

Specs

Pros

  • Durable
  • Beautifully designed knife
  • Sharp blade
  • Comes with a blade sharpener
  • Perfect grip
  • High edge-retention rate
  • Rust-resistant
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Feels very light for a tactical tool

Overall rating – 4.3 out of 5

Conclusion

This Magnolia Gear karambit is for tactical and self-defense use. CSGO is best suited for individuals who already know how to handle this type of knife. This durable everyday carry tool is ideal for hunting and fishing.

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3. Vulcan Gear Tactical-Hawkbill Knife — Best Budget Karambit

Vulcan Gear Tactical Karambit Hawkbill Knife

The Hawkbill Karambit is one of the best and surprisingly affordable karambit in the market. This tool has a high edge-retention capability. Therefore, it can serve you for a very long time without many sharpening sessions.

The Hawkbill is a 7.5 inches long knife that comes with a 4-inch steel blade. Hawkbill has a single-sided sharp blade that can serve as an excellent combative or defense tool. The Hawkbill Karambit comes with a solid rubber handle that provides you with a perfect grip.

Like all the other Karambits, Hawkbill’s safety ring can also function as a glass-breaker in an emergency situation. For easy carry, Hawkbill comes with a sheath with a nylon cord that you can use to hang around your neck. The Hawkbill is a great blade, but unfortunately, it isn’t a double-sided blade.

Specs

  • Fixed blade with a sharp edge that occupies 95% of the outer part of the blade’s length
  • Sheath with mounting nylon cord
  • 4 inches long stainless steel blade
  • Non-Slip and firm rubber handle

Pros

  • Razor-sharp blade
  • Blade with high edge-retention capability
  • Rustproof
  • Perfect grip

Cons

  • It is a single-sided blade.

Overall rating – 4.4 out of 5

Conclusion

The Tactical-Hawkbill knife from Vulcan Gear is a great combat knife that can serve you for a very long time. However, its standard-sized handle works perfectly with individuals with small hands.

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4. Spyderco Karahawk Folding Karambit

Spyderco Karahawk Folding Blade Knives

Just like other folding blades, the Karahawk is easy to carry, compact, and safe. This karambit comes with a G-10 handle and a sharp blade that is made from VG-10 steel.

Karahawk has a sharp 2.35 inches long blade with no serration. The VG-10 steel gives this knife a long-lasting blade with less sharpening sessions. The Karahawk is on the lighter side as it weighs about 3.84 ounces.

For fast access and use, this karambit comes with the Emerson opening feature. Plus, its non-slip and rigid G-10 handle is impervious to chemicals and temperature changes.

This knife comes with a reversible tip-up pocket clip for easy carrying. However, its finger hole is too wide at the base.

Specs

  • G10 handle with a perfect grip
  • Emerson opening feature which allows for quick deployment
  • VG-10 steel construction
  • Sharp non-serrated blade

Pros

  • Durable
  • Easy to use
  • Fast deployment of the blade
  • Lightweight
  • Sharp blade
  • High edge-retention level
  • Rust-resistant

Cons

  • Finger hole is wide at the base

Overall rating – 3.9 out of 5

Conclusion

Karahawk is a highly durable knife with high edge retention capabilities. And the fact that it is a light and small in size makes it an ideal EDC tool.

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5. Schrade SCH112 Karambit Knife

Schrade SCH112 8.4in High Carbon S.S. Full Tang Fixed Blade Knife with 5.2in Hawkbill Dual Edge Blade and TPE Handle for Outdoor Survival, Tactical and EDC

Schrade is known for producing high-quality cutlery, and the SCH112 is no exception. SCH112 Karambit is a perfect knife for anyone who is looking for a reliable and long-lasting blade.

SCH112 has a full tang blade that can handle a wide range of tasks. This 8.4 inches long Karambit comes with a 5.2 inches dual-edged blade. Its dual-edged blade is made from 8Cr13MoV high carbon steel. This steel alloy has high edge retention and corrosion resistance levels.

SCH112 has a thermoplastic elastomer handle with a thumb hole for extra security when using it. The thermoplastic elastomer is stronger, durable, and pleasant to use.

Yet, it’s not the strongest handle in the market. Weighing about 8.2 ounces, this knife can be quite hefty for some users. The SCH112 has an uncomfortable protrusion ring.

Specs

  • A 5.2-inch blade
  • A thermoplastic sheath that can fit in your belt
  • High carbon steel blade
  • Thermoplastic elastomer handle

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Sharp blade
  • Reliable sheath
  • Strong grip

Cons

  • Heavy for some users
  • Uncomfortable protrusion ring
  • A high maintenance knife

Overall rating – 4.2 out of 5

Conclusion

Schrade SCH112 is a robust dual-edged blade that can tackle any task that can come up both indoors and outdoors. Plus, its thermoplastic sheath and small size make it a perfect EDC tool.

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6. Hosana Karambit Knife

HOSANA Karambit Knife Stainless Steel Fixed Blade Tactical Knife with Sheath and Cord Nice Knife for Hunting Camping Fishing and Field Survival (Black)

This karambit is an unbelievable and affordable blade that has several outstanding aspects. Firstly, this hosanna knife comes with a 3.5 inches long blade that is actually legal in most U.S. counties.

Therefore, you can carry this powerful tool in most states without violating the law. Weighing about 3.8 ounces, Hosana is a light knife that feels great in your hand, thanks to its unique handle. For maximum grip, Hosana added some diagonal patterns on this karambit’s handle.

For easy carrying, this tool comes with a plastic sheath with a nylon strap that you can use to strap it to your leg or boot. However, the sheath is made from a weak material that won’t serve you for a long time.

Specs

  • Ergonomically designed handle
  • 5-inch long blade
  • Plastic sheath with a nylon strap
  • Rustproof stainless steel blade

Pros

  • Hosana karambit is available in five different versions which vary in color
  • Affordable
  • Lightweight
  • Great handle
  • Strong and sharp blade
  • Comes with a sheath

Cons

  • Poor sheath

Overall rating – 4.4 out of 5

Conclusion

This karambit is ideal for camping, fishing, and EDC thanks to its perfect grip, sharp blade, and lightweight.

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7. Masalong Outdoor Survival Claw

MASALONG Outdoor Survival Claw Tactical Teeth Knife Double Edged Sharp Fixed Blade Knife with Sheath (Stone wash Version-kydex Sheath)

This outdoor survival claw is a unique knife that was designed for rough users, and its serrated blade can saw through anything. This double-edged karambit featured a razor-sharp edge at the bottom part of the blade and a serrated edge at the top.

Masalong is known for producing durable knives, and that is because they use only D2 steel in all their blades. Therefore, you will never have to worry about bending this blade when driving it through a piece of timber.

The survival claw has a 3.1 inches long blade, and it has a total length of 7 inches. The only problem with its sharp edge is that it has to be sharpened frequently. Weighing about 6.7 ounces, this knife can be quite hefty for some users.

Specs

  • A 3.1-inch long blade
  • D2 stainless steel blade
  • Serrated blade top
  • G10 handle
  • Leather sheath

Pros

  • Durable high
  • Corrosion-resistance level
  • Leather sheath
  • Available in four versions
  • Double-edged with a serrated top edge

Cons

  • Can be a bit hefty for some users
  • Requires regular sharpening

Overall rating – 4.7 out of 5

Conclusion

Masalong outdoor survival claw is a durable knife that was designed for a rough user. Plus, its serrated top edge and sharp bottom edge makes it a perfect EDC tool.

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8. MTech MX-8140BT Karambit

MTech USA Xtreme MX-8140BT Fixed Blade Knife, Brown Hook Blade, Black Handle, 9.25-Inch Overall

MX-8140BT is a beautifully designed knife that is ideal for individuals who love spending time in the wilderness. It is a durable tool that was designed to rough users thanks to its sturdy handle and high-quality blade.

MX-8140BT has a 4 inches long fixed blade that is 0.2 inches thick. Its brown blade merges with a gray and black handle to give this tool a length of about 9.25 inches.

For better control, this tool also comes with a large finger hole. And for easy carrying, MTech USA added a black nylon sheath. For such a thick knife, this karambit can be quite light as it weighs about 3.52 ounces.

A new MX-8140BT doesn’t have a very sharp blade. Therefore you must be ready to sharpen it before you start using it.

Specs

  • G10 handle with a huge finger hole
  • A 4-inch long thick blade
  • Black nylon sheath
  • Stainless steel with brownish coating

Pros

  • Durable
  • Rust-resistant
  • Perfect grip
  • Beautifully designed knife
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Must resharpen the blade regularly
  • Poor sheath for quick deployment

Overall rating – 4.2 out of 5

Conclusion

MX-8140BT fixed blade can slice through most materials, and it’s great for self-defense. This tool is perfect for survivalists or people who love spending a lot of time in the wilderness.

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9. Cold Steel FGX Karambit

Cold Steel FGX Karambit

Cold steel FGX is one of the thickest karambit on the market with a thickness of about 0.3 inches. The FGX merges a 4 inches long blade with a 4.5 inches handle.

This lightweight tool comes with a plastic construction that is reinforced with fiberglass. FGX’s handle is heat, and Ultra-violet stabilized; therefore, it can serve you for a very long time. Weighing about 2.3 ounces, this knife is quite light and can be a great everyday carry tool.

For extra grip, it comes with a deeply checkered handle that guarantees the user a slightly tacky and superior grip. This durable knife can withstand extreme weather, moisture, cold, and heat. However, a plastic handle isn’t suitable for a cutting tool.

Specs

  • A 4-inch long steel blade
  • Plastic handle that is reinforced with fiberglass
  • Hawkbill blade style
  • Durable handle

Pros

  • Perfect weight distribution
  • A durable and sharp blade
  • Perfect grip
  • This knife can withstand extreme weather, cold and heat
  • Lightweight
  • Rust-resistant
  • High edge retention levels

Cons

  • Plastic handle

Overall rating – 4.1 out of 5

Conclusion

FGX is a self-defense knife, so if you are in need of an EDC knife that can function as self-defense, then this is for you.

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Buyers Guide: Factor To Consider When Purchasing A Karambit Knife

When buying a karambit knife, there are numerous factors that you must consider before finally selecting one. Some of these factors include blade length, budget, and design, among others.

Before you even start your search for the best karambit knives, you should find out if it is illegal in your jurisdiction. Remember, an ideal karambit knife incorporates several unique features.

Here are some of the most crucial factors you must take into consideration when buying a karambit knife.

Karambit Laws

Generally, Karambits are not illegal in the United States. But, the federal government has banned anyone from carrying a knife with over 3.5 inches long blade.

However, the size of the blade that anyone is allowed to carry legally varies from country to country. So, if you plan on carrying a Karambit as your EDC tool, you should purchase one whose blade is less than 3.5 inches long.

Types Of Karambits

There are three types of karambit knives in the market, which vary in size and means of deployment.

Butterfly Karambits

Just like automatic knives, this type of karambits open right from the top. However, since the blade is curved, you must deal with the curvature every time you open it.

Fixed Blade Karambits

Fixed blade karambits do not fold like the others of its kind. These knives don’t come with a folding mechanism, so their blade remains in the same position.

This type of karambit is perfect for martial artists. However, they are not the best EDC knives for fishermen or hunters.

Manual Folding Karambits

Like all the folding knives in the market, the blades of these karambits fold into the hilt. Manual folding karambits are perfect self-defense blades. But make sure its legal in your area before purchasing one.

Since manual-folding karambits don’t have a spring-loaded feature, you will have to learn how to open it quickly. Manual folding karambits are not the best option for martial artists since they are less reliable.

Blade Material

A karambit is more than just a decorative knife. This tool can handle a wide range of outdoor tasks, from camping to hunting.

Therefore, it must have a solid blade that can be easily sharpened and cannot break. So make sure you get a sturdy knife.

The best materials used to make karambit’s blades are stainless steel alloys and high-grade iron. Steel is relatively easy to sharpen, sturdy, and rust-resistant.

The best thing about steel is that it can be used outdoors since it is waterproof and weatherproof. In fact, several manufacturers have coated the blades of their karambits to make them more pleasing and durable.

Blade Length

The length of the blade you choose is usually determined by your purpose and needs. However, if you plan on carrying it around, you should consider what the law says. Remember, some states have the maximum size of the blade anyone is allowed to carry legally.

Karambits for outdoor activities such as hunting or camping should always have longer blades. The blades for outdoor karambits should be at least 4 inches long. Remember, with a long blade; you will apply less pressure when making cuts.

Looks

One of the main things that make this knife such a cool tool is its elegant and beautiful design. Other than functionality, you must consider the entire design of the karambit knife.

And many top karambit manufacturers incorporate several aesthetic features in their products. Some of these features include particular coloration, ridges, or grooves. So, look for a beautifully designed karambit that appeals to you.

Handle

One main distinction this knife has over all the other types of knives is the handle groove. Karambits come with great grooves that accommodate your fingers and make it easier and fun to use this tool.

Other than the grooves, you should also consider the thickness of the karambit’s handle. If you have small hands, you should look for thin ones. And if you have big hands look for karambits with thick handles (something over 0.24 inches thick is ok).

Look for a brand that has incorporated fiberglass in their handles. Fiberglass increases the durability of the handle, plus it can feel more comfortable in your hand.

Protrusion Ring

As the name suggests, the primary purpose of a protrusion ring is to help you manipulate the knife when using it. All you have to do is insert your finger in the ring and use it as a pivot.

The protrusion ring provides a perfect way to use this blade. And the good thing is that most karambits come with protrusion rings. Just make sure it is not too big for you. Since operating a karambit with a big protrusion ring can be quite challenging.

Accessories

Another thing to consider is the accessories a specific karambit brand comes with. Some of the most common accessories which most manufacturers include are the lanyard and sheath.

A lanyard can help with accessibility while the sheath helps with storage. So, make sure you consider the quality of the sheath. A low-quality sheath can get damaged easily, and this will force you to purchase another one.

Other producers include a blade sharpener as part of the accessories. Remember, the more accessories a karambit comes with, the better.

Size of the Karambit

The length and weights of karambits vary with the brand. Some folding karambits have long handles, while others have short ones. Therefore, if you are looking for an EDC, you must consider the weight and closed length of the knife.

Choose a karambit that feels comfortable in your hand, a knife that you can easily manipulate without hurting your hand.

Price

The many karambit models from different producers vary in price depending on the size and material used to produce it. If cash wasn’t an issue, we could all purchase the most expensive karambit in the market.

However, since you have to consider your budget, make sure you look for the best option within your price range. After all, the most expensive knife might not necessarily be the best.

Another factor that can dictate your price range is your plans for the knife. The best tactical karambit can be quite costly as compared to normal EDC karambits.

Final Thoughts

Karambit knives come in a wide variety of shapes, weights, and lengths. Karambits are unique combat tools that can make a perfect EDC tool. Most karambits are double-edged with the top part of some being serrated.

These double-edged karambits can handle a wide range of outdoor tasks. Therefore, carrying this tactical tool in your next survival trip can be beneficial. However, karambits with long blades are illegal in some jurisdictions. So, find out the legal blade length in your area.

Nevertheless, most karambit enthusiasts have a hard time when looking for a reliable EDC knife. That is because there are numerous unique karambit knives in the market. Therefore, we have done the research for you and created this exclusive list of the best karambits.

From our research, we have concluded that the best karambit knife is Fox 479 G10 Emerson Wave. It is a sturdy karambit knife that can function as both a tactical and EDC tool.

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