Soldiers, law enforcement, good guys, bad guys, and all those in between wear concealed carry knives as primary or backup self-defense weapons.
Sometimes guns and other weapons are not practical or available so having the best concealed carry knife as part of your self-defense arsenal is a smart choice.
I put together this thoroughly researched list of the best concealed carry knives available in 2023 so you can pick one up and always be prepared.
I also include a short buying guide below so you consider all pertinent points before deciding which concealed carry knife is your best option.
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- Top 13 Best Concealed Carry Knives 2023
- KA-BAR TDI Law Enforcement Knife
- Benchmade SOCP Dagger
- Spyderco Street Beat Fixed Blade Knife
- Tops Knives California Cobra
- Spyderco Native Chief Folding Knife
- Buck Knives OPS Boot Tactical Knife
- CRKT Special Forces Folding Pocket Knife
- SOG Instinct Boot Fixed Blade Knife
- Cold Steel Double Agent Series Knife
- Smith & Wesson SWF606 Fixed Blade Knife
- SOG SEAL Strike Tactical Fixed Blade Knife
- Cold Steel Counter TAC Series Boot Knife
- Boker Apple Gate Fairbairn Combat II Knife
- What is the Purpose of Concealed Carry Knives?
- How to Choose the Best Concealed Carry Knife?
- Article Summary
Top 13 Best Concealed Carry Knives 2023
KA-BAR TDI Law Enforcement Knife
The KA-BAR TDI knife is perfect for IWB (Inside the Waistband) Concealed carry. This knife comes with a holster. It has a short blade that is set at an ideal angle for stabbing and penetration should you need it for that.
The unconventional angle may look odd but it is actually easily and quickly accessed so long as you put in a little time training with it.
The size and look of the knife is not too overwhelming or intimidating, so it will not draw unnecessary attention and can be sold as a knife to open boxes and packages.
- Designed by Tactical Defense Institute for extremely close quarter encounters.
- Hard plastic 2” IWB sheath with reversible left or right carry clip.
- Fast easy deployment from the sheath.
- Small and easy to conceal.
- Blade angle designed to do the most damage in a knife fight.
- The included sheath is not great.
Benchmade SOCP Dagger
The Benchmade SOCP (Special Ops Combatives Program) single piece dagger set comes with the one piece sharpened dagger, a sheath, and an unsharpened practice dagger.
I really like the sheath, it has good retention while still allowing an easy draw. It is lightweight and low profile. It can be worn IWB and is easy to access.
You draw the knife using the finger ring at the end. The finger ring allows flexibility and means you can grab other objects without dropping the knife if need be.
- Set includes a sheath, one sharpened dagger, and one red training dagger.
- Finger ring allows you to keep the knife even if you need to grab other objects.
- Sheath is slim, sits low and has good retention.
- Strictly a self-defense tool that is not suited for ordinary tasks like opening packages.
Spyderco Street Beat Fixed Blade Knife
The Spyderco Street Beat, designed by French Army commando and martial artist Fred Perrin is a well-balanced responsive knife for concealed carry.
There is a finger choil and the blade and handle joint that serves as a handguard and leverage.
This knife carries close to the body and is quick to deploy.
It comes with a sheath with a clip that can be worn on a belt or pocket and the sheath has great retention.
- 5 inch blade with a thin profile that lays close to the body.
- Includes injection molded snap sheath with clip.
- Innovative finger choil serves as a handguard and leverage.
- The hard plastic handle could use more grip.
Tops Knives California Cobra
The Cali Cobra by Tops Knives is a great knife for self-defense and works well as a utility knife, thanks to its compact size.
The California Cobra was designed by a Law Enforcement trainer as a self-defense tool. It has a recurved blade that is sharp on both sides two-thirds of the length up the blade.
The innovative finger guard is designed for self-defense with a sharpened spike protruding from the tip of the guard, giving the wielder an effective, but a less lethal option.
This knife can be worn on a belt or around the neck, on a belt, or inside a waistband thanks to its slim profile. It comes with a sheath with an adjustable clip and this knife is made in the USA.
- Includes Black Kydex sheath.
- Made in the USA.
- Small tactical fixed blade knife, under 6 inches length.
- Ultra compact.
- Re-curve blade can be used at multiple angles and grips.
- The sheath needs better retention.
Spyderco Native Chief Folding Knife
The Native Chief is a popular choice for self-defense because for a folding knife it’s pretty long, yet it is slim, fits easily in your pocket, and should go unnoticed.
It has an index finger choil for leverage and the Spyderco trademark hole allows you to easily open this knife one handed using either hand.
The clip is reversible and sturdy so you can configure it to carry it in the orientation that works best for you.
- Relatively large, long blade for its compact, slim folded dimensions.
- This slim folding pocket knife is easily concealed.
- Very sharp out of the box.
- Easy to open with one hand.
- Reversible clip.
- The blade hole is partly covered when folded, but its position keeps the knife compact.
Buck Knives OPS Boot Tactical Knife
The Buck Ops fixed blade concealed carry knife comes with an adjustable sheath for wearing in your boot, on your calf, neck, or belt.
It is easy to get to when you need it. It is small and lightweight, just 2.5 oz and 6-1/4″ making it one of the smallest CCW on this list.
I love the tanto blade which makes this small knife a powerful puncturing tool.
- Sharp piercing 3 inch Tanto blade.
- Full tang fixed blade boot knife.
- Made in the USA.
- Deep finger groove choil.
- This is one of the smaller knives on this list with a total length of just 6-1/4″.
CRKT Special Forces Folding Pocket Knife
The CRKT M21-14SFG Special Forces knife is a large folding knife with a dual locking mechanism that gives you absolute security that the knife will not fail you in your moment of need.
It has a hefty belly spear point and arrives extremely sharp.
The dual hilt blade guard on this knife keeps your fingers secure and safe by preventing slippage and allowing the best grip.
It holds an edge well and the veff serrations at the base of the blade make it easy to saw through larger objects.
- Affordable folding knife.
- Dual hilt for leverage and protection.
- Good for both self-defense and everyday use.
- Larger folding knife.
- Easy to open with one hand but not easy to CLOSE with one hand.
SOG Instinct Boot Fixed Blade Knife
This is a great little knife that is easy to conceal. The SOG Instinct Mini is designed for use as a boot or neck knife and comes with a 14 inch dog chain so you can wear it.
The knife also comes with a hard molded adjustable sheath that has great retention.
If you want to wear the knife on your belt, the sheath clip is reversible for left or right wear. Wherever you conceal this knife, you will appreciate its small compact size and how thin and easy it is to hide.
I love the three finger grooves for superior grip and the price can not be beaten.
- Full tang fixed blade knife is 5.9 inch total length.
- Very inexpensive.
- Includes multi angle adjustable sheath.
- Slim, small, and easy to conceal.
- The handle is small and thin which makes it easy to conceal but harder to grip.
Cold Steel Double Agent Series Knife
The Cold Steel Double Agent fixed blade knife is curved with a ring for your index finger in the karambit style. This knife is designed to hand around your neck.
The hard plastic sheath has excellent retention and can hold the knife, point up, on a chain or cord around your neck. The knife is lightweight and slim, so it is easy to conceal under your shirt.
This knife has a hole for both index and pinky finger for a fortified iron fisted grip.
Best of all, the price is accessible for just about anyone looking to carry a self-defense weapon daily.
- Very affordable.
- Karambit style curved knife designed for self-defense.
- Knife for concealed neck wear, thin and lightweight.
- Quality sheath and neck chain included.
- No clip for belt or boot – this knife is designed to hang from a chain or cord around your neck.
Smith & Wesson SWF606 Fixed Blade Knife
The Smith and Wesson fixed blade boot knife is a long knife, just short of 8.8 inches, with an impressive 4.25 inch long blade.
The blade is made from high carbon stainless steel which resists corrosion and holds an edge longer for less maintenance.
The sheath has a sturdy metal clip that suits a boot mount. The clip is strong and stiff and stays put as you draw the knife.
All in all, this is the perfect boot knife for budget buyers and is well worth buying.
- Long 8.6 inch full tang fixed blade boot knife.
- Extremely affordable.
- Includes boot or belt sheath.
- Secure not slip grip thanks to the dual hilt.
- Considering the knife’s overall length, the handle is a bit small.
SOG SEAL Strike Tactical Fixed Blade Knife
The SOG SEAL Strike tactical knife field-tested combat knife with a long fixed blade knife with a belt carry sheath. It is easy to conceal and may be worn IWB carry.
The blade is sturdy and sharp, the knife is well balanced and feels right in your hand, and I like the extra features the sheath has, like a built-in sharpener and cord cutter.
This knife can be used as a boot knife as well, and due to the size and design, makes a great hunting knife. The Clip point design is superior for piecing cuts and the partially serrated blade is handy when sawing force is needed.
- Long knife, 9.6 inch overall length with 4.9 inch clip point blade.
- Can be used for self-defense and also good for camping and hunting.
- Extra features of the sheath include a built-in sharpener & cord cutter.
- The knife does not disengage easily from the sheath, two hands must be used.
Cold Steel Counter TAC Series Boot Knife
This small Cold Steel Counter TAC concealed carry knife is great for those looking for a neck carry knife.
It’s lightweight, with a high quality blade and an easy to conceal size.
The grip is excellent. It’s aggressively textured and has a dual hilt to prevent your fingers from slipping.
The sheath can be used as a neck, belt or boot carry as the clip is removable.
- Great price.
- Dual hilt fixed blade neck carry knife.
- Excellent grip.
- Neck chain and hard plastic sheath included.
- The blade is flat on one side.
Boker Apple Gate Fairbairn Combat II Knife
This Boker Applegate Fairbairn Combat knife is a dagger style knife designed by Col. Rex Applegate, a military close quarter’s combat expert.
The knife comes with a Kydex adjustable form fitted sheath and tek-lok belt clip.
The 6 inch 440c stainless steel blade has a plain sharp edge on both sides.
The handle is fiberglass reinforced Derlin with a dual brass hilt. The blade and handle combined give this dagger knife perfect balance.
- Form fitted Kydex sheath included.
- Brass dual hilt cross guard protects fingers from slipping.
- 10 and ¾ inch Long length improves your reach in close-quarter combat.
- German made.
What is the Purpose of Concealed Carry Knives?
A concealed carry knife makes a decent self-defense weapon when a gun or other weapon is not practical, legal, or available.
Knives are affordable, and they serve many purposes, in addition to self-defense, making them handy to have just in case.
Carrying a knife with you always is just smart, and is simply part of always being prepared.
The cost of a knife, compared to a gun, means there is no excuse not to own one, just about anyone can invest in a decent self-defense concealed carry knife.
How to Choose the Best Concealed Carry Knife?
How is a concealed carry self-defense knife different from an everyday carry EDC knife?
In some cases, one knife will work as a CCW and EDC at the same time.
But a true self-defense concealed carry knife requires some specific features. It needs to be slim and easy to conceal. It needs to be accessible with one hand and needs a sheath that is easy to access and deploy the knife from.
It needs to have a dual hilt, finger choil, or finger guard to prevent your hand from slipping as you stab or puncture.
With that out of the way, let’s look at the features of a concealed carry knife one by one.
Concealed carry knives come in a variety of blade shapes.
Here are 5 blade shapes to consider when choosing your concealed carry knife.
Tanto blades have a flat unsharpened back edge, with a nearly squared off angle at the tip which is sharp, and a sharp cutting edge. The tanto tip causes the blade to be thick at hearty at the tip, superior for puncturing hard objects like sheet metal since the tip will not break.
The Buck Knives 0616BKS Tactical Knife is an example of what a tanto blade looks like.
Clip Point blade
The clip point blade has an unsharpened concave back that curves up toward the point. This upward curve makes the belly of the blade quite long and provides an ample cutting surface.
Since this type of blade comes to a fine point, the tip is prone to chipping off with heavy use. If this style is used as strictly self-defense, heavy use should not be a problem and the benefit of an extended cutting surface should outweigh the fragility of the tip.
The SOG SEAL Strike Tactical Knife is a decent clip point blade knife.
Drop Point Blade
The drop point blade is very popular among folding knives and EDC knives of all types. It has an unsharpened back with a light curve, and a belly with a greater curve and longer cutting surface, and a sharp point.
It is easy to sharpen, relatively straight so it’s easy to design into a folding knife and the sharp fine point tip is good for piercing. The fine point is, however, prone to breaking.
The dagger is a time-honored self-defense style blade for close-quarters combat. A dagger is a straight blade with two very sharp edges that come to a fine point.
This style blade usually also has a dual hilt or finger guard that prevents your fingers from slipping as you thrust or stab. A dagger is a fixed blade style and is not found on folding knives. The dagger blade style is usually found on longer knives.
The Benchmade SOCP Dagger is one of my favorite knives for concealed carry.
Karambit or Talon Blade
The Karambit or Talon blade has a strong curve or hook, similar to the shape of an eagle talon. This blade is sharpened on both sides and comes to a fine point.
While it is a superior blade style for combat, it is not very useful for everyday tasks like opening boxes.
While you want a knife that is small enough to conceal, the blade should be at least three inches long so you have at least some reach, and the length is long enough to do some damage.
The length of your concealed carry knife will also be determined by what is legal in your area.
Folding or Fixed Blade Concealed Carry Knife?
Many times people buy a folding knife for concealed carry because the law prohibits other style knives. A folding knife is also easier to pass off as a tool at work or other places people might freak out by seeing a large fixed blade knife.
For self-defense, a fixed blade is superior. A fixed blade deploys faster and is ready to use right away. Plus with a fixed blade, there is no chance of the knife folding in on itself while you use it.
How Does the Knife Open?
If you MUST choose a folding knife for self-defense, you want a knife that is easy to open.
Ideally, you should be able to open it with one hand. A thumb stud, hole, or an assisted open knife are ideal.
The CRKT M21-14SFG Folding Knife is an example of a knife with a thumb stud for easy opening.
Do You Want High Edge Retention or Ease in Sharpening?
Blade steel can range from extra hard to soft steel. Choosing which you prefer depends on what you want.
The harder the steel, the longer the blade retains a sharp edge.
The tradeoff is harder steel is more difficult to sharpen and may require a knife pro to get the job done.
How Will You Carry and Conceal Your Knife?
Think about how you plan to carry your concealed carry knife.
Waistband IWB Concealed Carry Knife
If you want to carry in on your waistband, make sure the knife comes with a sheath and clip, and that the knife is thin enough to fit comfortably inside your waistband.
If you want to carry the knife around your neck, smaller, lighter knives are preferred. Look for knives that come with a chain or lanyard and sheath with good retention so you can carry the knife with the point facing up.
The Cold Steel Counter TAC Series Knife is the ideal size and design for neck carry.
Boot knives require that you wear boots, and they need a sheath with a strong clip that securely attaches to your boot without sliding up as you deploy your knife. They also need to be thin and comfortable so you don’t feel them in your boot.
The Smith & Wesson SWF606 Knife is a good budget-priced boot knife that stays in place.
While we are talking about how to carry your knife, have you thought about how you might carry your other tactical gear?
We have two great resources here for gear storage and transport. The guide to the best tactical backpacks and the guide to the best tactical sling bags will give you the best options for storing your gear so you always have access to what you need and are prepared at all times.
What Size, Shape, Length Knives are Legal where You Live?
The laws where you live are one of the most important factors for choosing a concealed carry knife.
Some places that don’t allow guns might also prohibit knives. Switchblades, fixed blades, double edges blades, assisted open knives and daggers may be illegal for concealed carry in some states.
You must look up the laws for your locality before you decide on the best concealed carry knife for you.
For a brief overview of the laws in your state, start your search here.
What is the Best Concealed Carry Knife?
My favorite concealed carry knife is the KA-BAR TDI Law Enforcement Knife. It is used by law enforcement for a reason. The blade angle is ideal for self-defense and it is thin and compact so it is easy and comfortable to conceal.
That wraps up this buying guide and list of the best concealed carry knives out there today. I hope you find the knife that fits your self-defense needs and puts you one step ahead and always prepared.
Part of being prepared is having a good jacket. A tactical jacket can be a godsend for carrying mission critical gear, and even better if the jacket does not look tactical so it won’t draw attention. If you need a good tactical jacket, follow that link.
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