What Knife Does The Military Use? Direct Source

Soldiers Shooting

I was a special forces operator. Throughout my service, I worked with plenty of special forces units, and I’ve seen the gear and knives that they use. Thus, I want to share my experience with you. So you know which combat knives are the best available. 

The knives that the military use are of the highest quality. They’re the most reliable, tactical, and durable out there. Therefore, if you want to buy a high-quality knife, you should follow the military. 

Generally, the military provides its operators with Ka-Bar combat knives. However, in different places in the military, operators use other knives. While the Navy-Seals carry the MK-3 Navy knife, other special forces units take a multifunction knife to special operations. 

It doesn’t end there. Operators have different views. Therefore, while some carry a pocket knife, others may have a multifunction knife. Because of that, I’ve gathered data on which knives operators prefer to use, and I’ll share it with you in the sections below. 

What Knife Does The US Military Use?

The US military provides its operators with the best equipment. Therefore, buying the products that its operators use will ensure you have high-quality gear. In this section, we’ll walk through the various knives they use.

Ka-Bar is the leading brand the US military purchases knives. Consequently, if you wish to buy a product of high quality, doing so from Ka-Bar is intelligent. Lastly, there are other types of knives that US soldiers use. 

Specifically, the US marine corps used a Ka-Bar fighting knife. They made it out of carbon steel. As we know, such material is exceptionally durable, of high quality, and lethal. Therefore, I encourage you to check it out. 

KA-BAR US Marine Corps Fighting Knife

Ka-Bar combat knife

From my experience, I can tell that this knife is a fantastic product that you should buy. It’s durable, from remarkable materials, lightweight, and deadly. Therefore, it became to be a popular product amongst knife owners.

In addition, when I review a product, I look at the customer reviews. When there’s a large number of positive ones, I know it’s a consistent company with a high-quality product. If we take a look at this Ka-Bar combat knife, we’ll see that it has 6,000 reviews, averaging 4.9 stars.

Therefore, there’s no more straightforward answer than that. We know that it’s a fantastic product that I recommend you buy.

What knives do special forces operators use?

As you know, I was a special forces operator for a long time. Thus I know plenty in this field. With that, I can recommend the absolute best products out there. 

I’ve asked a few of my friends, active operators, to state their opinions on which knives they use. In addition, to explain why they like the knife they chose. I’ve gathered the data, and I’m sure you’ll learn from it. 

Criteria / PersonABCD
The knife the operator uses Gerber Ghostrike Ka-Bar Combat Knife Gerber Strongarm Smith & Wesson Folding Knife
Favorite knifeGerber GhostrikeCold Steel Recon MiniGerber StrongarmSmith & Wesson Folding Knife
Favorite knife typePocket knifeKnifePocket knifePocket knife
Unfortunately, I am unable to publish their names and pictures. as much as I want to. 

In the table I’ve created, we can interpret a few things. First, 3 out of 4 operators prefer to use pocket knives. The reason is simple. Special forces want to unnoticed. Therefore, using compact, tactical, lightweight equipment is essential. A pocket knife is the one that fits those criteria the most out of all knife types. Therefore, many special forces operators prefer to use those.

Secondly, all of the brands they mentioned are popular. Because of that, we know that a company with a positive and a big name to it will produce the best products. One of the operators owns a vast collection of knives. Therefore, I trust the credibility of his sayings.

Thirdly, the knives are sharp, lightweight, tactical, durable, and deadly. Consequently, they won’t be as cheap as the average pocket knife. In addition, it’ll fit no matter what you do with it. For instance, law enforcement personnel, hunters, or any other activity, will suit this knife.

What makes a knife fit for the military?

The military uses the highest quality knives available on the market. Consequently, following their choices will lead to you owning fantastic products. There are many attributes to a knife, which make it fit for the military.

As a general rule, a knife that’s durable, lightweight, tactical, from high-quality material, and lethal will fit for the military. Operators may encounter various scenarios where they need a close-range weapon. Because of that, the military provides its operators with knives. 

First, it has to withstand extreme conditions. In the military, soldiers need to stay active, no matter what. When it’s raining, the military proceeds as usual. Therefore, the equipment that they use has to be able to withstand extreme conditions. Thus if a knife loses value, the military won’t provide its operators with it. 

Secondly, the manufacturer has to make it out of high-quality materials. The one that the military prefers the most is carbon steel. That said, many other high-quality materials will make a fantastic knife, such as stainless steel. Whenever you see a blade from such materials, you’ll know it’s high-quality. 

Thirdly, it has to be tactical. If you’re unfamiliar with this terminology, tactical gear is the best equipment for operational use. When a product is tactical, it’s lightweight, compact, comfortable, stretchable, and able to withstand extreme conditions. Therefore, the military exclusively accepts tactical knives to its roster. 

In conclusion, a knife that the military uses has to be tactical, lightweight, lethal, from high-quality materials, and able to withstand extreme conditions. 

Should you buy knives that operators use?

Special Forces
Special Forces – Photo by The Times of Israel

Operators need to have the best gear. I’ve worked for endless days to ensure my equipment is ready. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have had my trust in it. That would’ve led to me not performing at a high level.

As a whole, buying knives that operators use is wise. They’re durable, lightweight, tactical, compact, able to withstand extreme conditions, and, most importantly, highly lethal. Therefore, they’re of the highest quality on the market. 

If you’re a beginner in the knife field, you should start with a high-quality knife. If you don’t, you’ll have a negative first impression of knives and their effectiveness. Hence you must start with a high-quality product. I encourage you to read my post on the topic of the best tactical pocket knives.

Additionally, if you’re an experienced knife user, I do still recommend buying the best pocket knife. You’ll have a much better experience with a product that’s high-quality. Consequently, ordering a knife that the military use will be a wise choice. 

Why do soldiers carry knives?

Special forces operator
Image by Dariusz Sankowski from Pixabay

When we picture a soldier, we don’t see him carrying a knife in his hand. Instead, we envision him with a rifle. It’s a far deadlier weapon that the operator can use in long-distance scenarios. Therefore, the general point is that knives won’t benefit the soldier.

There are many uses for knives that operators can use to benefit. Not only is it a deadly close-range weapon, but it’s also a functioning utility tool. Thus when a soldier carries a knife, performing actions such as opening a can or cutting rope will be painless.

First, it’s a fantastic utility tool. There are plenty of actions that having a knife will solve. For instance, opening boxes is difficult. However, with a sharp blade, it becomes painless. In addition, opening cans, starting a fire, cutting rope, and anything you can imagine will become uncomplicated. 

Secondly, having a self-defense weapon is vital for keeping yourself safe. Anyone can get into many unexpected scenarios that will threaten their health. Consequently, having a sharp blade on you will not only intimidate an attacker, but you can also use it to disable the hostile. 

In summary, soldiers carry knives for two general reasons. First, it’s a utility tool that assists the operator in performing many actions. Secondly, in a life-threatening close-range scenario, one can use the knife to defend himself and incapacitate the attacker. 

What Knife Does The IDF Use?

Israeli's special forces unit
Special Forces – Photo by Agilite

Contrary to what you think, the IDF doesn’t provide its operators with pocket knives. As many others believe, they don’t think having a pocket knife is necessary. So, what do they have?

As a general rule, the IDF uses multifunction knives exclusively. Contrary to other militaries, they don’t use pocket knives, nor do they use fixed blades. Multifunction knives are a tool that provides a high level of utility and can assist the operators in many different situations. 

The number of times Israeli soldiers had to use a knife to defend themselves is lower than the world. Therefore, if an operator wishes to carry a pocket knife, he can do so. However, the IDF provides its operators solely with multifunction knives.

A multifunction knife is a multi-tool utility device. Each product has its tools. However, for most of them, they have a few in common. 

  • Folding blade
  • Can opener
  • Scissors
  • A saw
  • Phillips Screwdriver
  • Bottle opener
  • Nail cleaner

These tools all provide the operator with a high level of utility. Therefore, the IDF provides its operators with it. In addition, if a soldier needs a folding pocket knife, he has a compact and a tactical one in the multifunction device. Therefore, it may be ending up assisting him if he needs it. 


A knife is an incredible self-defense and utility tool. Because of that, I always carry a pocket knife. In addition, its popularity has increased throughout the last couple of years. 

Furthermore, many militaries worldwide equip their operators with knives to use. Soldiers, mainly special forces personnel, may encounter unexpected close-range fights. Therefore, while a rifle may assist in such a situation, a knife is notable for these reasons.

Many tactical gear enthusiasts, such as myself, are interested in the different brands that the military use. Because if the army uses it, it’s the highest quality gear out there. They put their trust in their tactical equipment. Therefore, if they use it, I’ll use it. 

For these reasons, I’ve gathered data from operators. That way, you’ll be able to see which brands are the best out there. Again, if they use it, it’s safe to buy it. 

Lastly, while the Navy-Seals use one knife, the IDF provides its operators with a whole different type of knife. What can we learn from that? Every operator and military is different. Consequently, what suits the US military doesn’t fit other armies worldwide. Experiment for yourself to understand which knife you want to have. 


I've served in the military as a special forces operator for 4-years. In that period, I've trained in many martial arts, including karate, MMA, BJJ, boxing, and even Krav Maga. I want to share my passion with you, so here it is!

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