The karambit is a popular choice of weapon for those looking for self-defence knives that can be easily concealed. These curved knives originated in Indonesia, where the precursors to the weapon were originally used as a farming implement. Basic karambit knives include a curved knife and handle that can be concealed within a sheath, while more contemporary variants incorporate a folding mechanism. The ergonomic curve of the karambit makes it particularly easy to wield and it is becoming increasingly popular as a self-defence tool. Our buying guide explores the key things to consider when selecting a karambit to keep you safe from harm.
While most karambit knives share a fairly similar appearance thanks to their curved profile, there is a great deal of options currently available. Folding karambit blades are becoming very popular. This style of karambit knife features a blade that can be deployed and retracted at the touch of a button. They are a good option for those looking for a self-defence weapon that can be easily concealed, but can still be almost instantly retrieved in an emergency.
Fixed blade karambit knives are also commonplace. Although the blade length of such knives is comparable to folding designs, the overall size of the weapon is larger. They are usually stronger than folding varieties as the overall design is seamless. However, the larger profile means they must be carried in a sheath and they are harder to conceal.
If you are unfamiliar with knives and do not know how to handle them properly, you should think about purchasing a karambit that includes a safety ring. These rings are found on the handle and allow the user to maintain a much better grip on the knife when using it.
Blade & Handle Materials
The best karambit knives are made from premium materials. When selecting a suitable karambit, make sure the blade is made from high-grade steel. This material is incredibly durable and you will not have to worry about sharpening the blade to ensure the edge is retained. Thicker blade material will also make for a stronger knife.
The handles of karambit knives are often made from a different material than the blade. Fixed blade knives may feature a handle made from the same material as the blade itself, however. For better control and comfort, look for fixed blade knives that include an ergonomic handle with a thermoplastic covering. Folding knives will almost always feature a handle made from a different material, with aluminium a particularly popular choice. Alloy handles are beneficial as they reduce the overall carrying weight of the self-defence weapon.
Sheaths & Storage
If you are looking to purchase a fixed blade knife, make sure you purchase a suitable sheath if one is not already included with the weapon itself. This will allow you to carry the self-defence weapon with you safely. Folding karambits do not necessarily need a sheath, as the blade will be safely concealed within the handle. Most folding knives will include a clip so the blade can be attached to a belt loop.
Best Karambit for Self Defence | Product Reviews
Looking for an effective self-defence solution? These karambit knives are certainly something to consider adding to your arsenal.
CRKT Provoke Kinematic EDC Folding Pocket Knife: Morphing Karambit, D2 Blade Steel, Kinematic Pivot Action, Integrated Safety Lock, Low Profile Pocket Clip 4040
The CRKT Provoke Kinematic is a user-friendly choice of karambit knife that will give you the edge when it comes to self-defence. This knife allows for rapid deployment of the blade, with quick release that requires minimal effort. This is also an incredibly safe knife to handle, with the handle design ensuring that your digits never cross the path of the blade when using it. This blade is also very easy to control, with the handle large enough to allow you to grasp the weapon with four fingers. This means you can wield the blade with substantial force, without ever losing your grip. When released from the handle, the blade is held securely in place thanks to an integrated lock lever.
This knife has been produced to a very high standard, with premium materials to ensure it lasts for a long time. The blade itself is made from first class steel, providing you with a powerful cutting edge that will maintain its sharpness for a long time. The handle is made from high-grade aluminium, which makes this a lightweight choice that can be worn discreetly in a scabbard or holder. If you are looking after a reliable self-defence weapon that will last you for a long time, the CRKT Provoke Kinematic is worth the premium price tag.
Schrade SCH111 6.3in High Carbon Stainless Steel Full Tang Karambit Knife with 3in Blade and S.S. Handle for Outdoor Survival, Tactical and EDC
Although it lacks the folding mechanism of many contemporary knives, the Schrade SCH111 is a reliable choice of karambit for those looking for reliable protection. This knife has a total 6.3 inches, with the blade element measuring 3 inches. Mae from quality carbon material, this knife benefits from being both lightweight and powerful. It can be wielded comfortably and effectively, allowing you to put considerable force into slashing and cutting motions.
A durable sheath is included so you can keep your knife holstered and close to hand. The thermoplastic sheath material means you do not have to worry about the blade causing accidental injury, while the smooth interior allows for instant retrieval. A breakaway necklace chain is also included if you would prefer to keep your weapon worn around the neck. The sleeker design of this necklace may take some getting used to, but the dual thumb knobs and single finger hole make it fairly easy to to wield after a little practice.
If you are seeking a more ornate choice of karambit to add to your self-defence arsenal, this Masalong Unicorn knife is something to think about. This knife is one of the larger options in this list, with a total diameter of 8 inches. Most of this is down to the large handle, however, with the 3-inch blade falling in line with what you can expect from most karambits. Although it looks fairly fierce, the Masalong Unicorn is a user-friendly option. The large handle is made from serpentine wood, with a textured finish to improve grip performance. This handle material is also fairly lightweight, meaning you do not have to worry about a bulky grip affecting how you wield this weapon. The handle exterior can also be removed thanks to two screws, which makes maintenance and upgrading incredibly easy.
The blade itself is made from D2 steel, which makes this a particularly heavy-duty choice of karambit knife. This quality steel is also very durable, offering excellent edge retention. A sheath with belt clip is included so you can keep this knife at your hip for instant retrieval. A large thumb makes retrieval and handling of this blade particularly simple, even if you have little experience with karambits.
The Fox 599 G10 might look a little smaller than other karambits on the market, but you can expect premium cutting power and superior handling with this premium knife. This karambit boasts an Emerson Wave design, which allows for faster blade deployment. This makes it particularly effective for those looking to upgrade their self-defence arsenal. The cutting ability of this knife is also impressive. The tiger claw shape of the blade has a particularly sharp tip, while the Teflon blade coating means you can expect incredible blade retention.
This folding knife is certainly on the small side, with the blade measuring around 2.25 inches. This falls short of the 3-inch blades found on many karambits. However, the superior shape and razor-sharp edge more than makes up for its compact dimensions. The more compact design of this knife makes it particularly well-suited to those with smaller hands and female users. This folding karambit also comes with an adjustable pocket clip. This not only allows you to keep your weapon close to hand for quick retrieval, but also allows it to be used ambidextrously.
Smith & Wesson ExtremeOps CK33 7.9in S.S. Karambit Folding Knife with 3.1in Hawkbill Blade and G-10 Handle for Outdoor, Tactical, Survival and EDC
This Smith & Wesson ExtremeOps CK33 is a good choice for those after a reliable karambit. Although it looks fairly simple when compared to other options in this list, this folding karambit will not disappoint when it comes to handling and cutting performance. When fully unfolded, this knife has a total length of almost 8 inches. The blade itself measures just over three inches, which makes it more substantial than many other karambit models out there. Despite the larger blade and reassuringly large handle, the total weight of this knife is a relatively light 192 grams.
This karambit knife is also robust and effective when it comes to protection. The durable blade is blade from high-carbon stainless steel, with excellent cutting ability and superior edge protection. The G-10 handle is also very durable, offering superb grip and requiring minimal maintenance. Ambidextrous thumb knobs mean anyone can use this knife effectively, while an integrated pocket clip makes it easy to wear this karambit on your belt. The folding mechanism also makes this a good choice for those looking for a self-defence knife that can bc concealed discreetly. A liner lock also makes this a safe and secure choice, with no need to worry about accidental injury.
CRKT Provoke Earth Kinematic EDC Folding Pocket Knife: Morphing Karambit, D2 Cerakote Blade, Kinematic Pivot Action, Integrated Safety Lock, Low Profile Pocket Clip 4040E
This CRKT Provoke Earth Kinematic karambit knife is a premium choice of self-defence weapon. The unique deployment design of this karambit knife means you and trigger the blade with a gentle touch of the thumb. Although the blade is fairly short when compared to other karambit knives, with a total length of just 2.41 inches, the first-rate build quality of this knife makes it a powerful option. The D2 steel of the blade is particularly durable, providing you with incredible performance and excellent edge retention. The cerakote blade finish further extends the life of this premium blade, particularly as far as corrosion resistance is concerned.
This karambit is not the cheapest option out there, but it is a good idea for those looking for something easy to handle that will provide maximum peace of mind. The thumb knobs and ergonomic handle allow for intuitive control of this knife, allowing the user to use it effectively with minimal practice. The Kinematic deployment system will also appeal to those looking for something that can be concealed with ease, but ready to be used in a second.
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
The Schrade SCH112 looks like it means business and will make a fine addition to your self-defence arsenal. With its hawkbill blade shape, this karambit is a contemporary update of a classic blade style. Although larger than many other knives, this karambit has a very impressive blade length of just over 5 inches. This is significantly larger than many karambits on the market. The blade itself is constructed from high-carbon stainless steel. This bevelled blade edge not only provides you with impressive cutting and slashing performance, it will also maintain its sharpness for a long time with very little maintenance. Although the handle looks fairly simple, the thermoplastic handle is an ergonomic one and delivers a reliable grip.
While this knife does not have a folding mechanism, the large thumb knob and included sheath make it easy to retrieve this knife from a concealed position. The thermoplastic sheath is also very durable, meaning you will not have to worry about the sharp blade causing accidental injury to yourself.
The Tac-Force Speedster looks more like a conventional tactical knife than a karambit model, but it combines the best of both for a truly reliable self-defence tool. This folding knife has a 2.5-inch blade that curves gently for ergonomic handling and control. The blade is made from stainless steel, with an impressive thickness and sharp blade edge that provides dependable cutting performance. The integrated handle is made from aluminium, which keeps the overall weight of this knife light when folded and carried at the waist.
In addition to ambidextrous thumb knobs, this knife features four finger holes at the handle. This provides you with more flexibility when it comes to handling and wielding this knife. The superior handle design also makes this a knife a good fit for the novice and experienced user alike.
Key Things to Remember When Purchasing a Karambit Knife
The best karambits for self-defence are those of the folding variety. These compact knives can be more easily concealed, without you needing to invest in a bulky sheath. The best folding karambits allow for one-touch blade deployment and retraction, allowing you to ready your blade to defend yourself almost instantly. When selecting a suitable karambit, make sure the blade is made from high-grade steel. The handle should also be made to a high standard, with the option to remove the outer grip and replace it down the line.