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Best Karambit Knife

Written by:
Dr. Braide Honest
Updated:
January 22, 2024
best karambit knife

Welcome to our custom knife website! Today, we spotlight the Karambit, a knife that has intrigued enthusiasts and professionals alike with its distinctive curved blade and tiger-claw inspiration. Ideal for collectors, martial artists, or anyone valuing both functionality and aesthetics, our guide to the best Karambit knives offers insights into their exceptional qualities. Dive into the history, versatility, and craftsmanship of top Karambit knives with us, helping you choose the perfect blade with confidence.

best karambit knives

 

At first sight, it is crystal clear that the Karambit Knife is unique as it looks like none other.

The Karambit knife is considered the Ultimate combat/self-defense pocket knife. They are designed with curved blades and also possess a finger hole (ring), which are two significant features of this knife. These features make the knife very helpful in situations of close combat. 

This combat knife is available in four main variants: Automatic, Neck Knives, Folding Knives, and Fixed Blades.

custom karambit knives

History of the Karambit Knife

The karambit knife originates from Western Sumatra, Indonesia. They were primarily utilized as farming tools, and the ring design was made for safe handling.

The modern Karambit knife surfaced in the 11th century. The thriving trade industry of Indonesia made way for the quick spread of the knife all through Southeast Asia

The Karambit knife is very popular in Indonesia and Asia in general. It’s designed to look like the claw of a tiger. Many states and countries consider the Karambit as a legal knife, especially since they were designed and commonly used for agricultural and hunting purposes. These knives are indeed versatile and can meet the everyday needs and requirements of their users at any point in time.

The knives are well utilized for combat, self-defense, and martial arts. Its design provides a very good grip, compared to similar knives. The grip also makes for comfortable deployment.

The karambit is also considered an art piece by knife lovers and many love to have a piece or the other of the karambit in their knife collections.

Different variants of the karambit exist, according to their regions. The blade length sometimes varies from one blacksmith or one village to the other. Some feature two blades and some do not possess finger guard.

karambit knife

What to look out for in a Best Karambit knife

Some key features must be assessed when choosing a Karambit Knife, such as:

1. Blade Material

The blade of the karambit knife is really sharp and different from other blades. The blades are made of different steel materials. The most popular is the 440 stainless steel. It doesn’t corrode easily and is very sharp.

Materials like Damascus steel, Carbon steel, Tungsten carbide, and D2 steel are also used to manufacture the blade of a karambit knife. The cost of a karambit knife can vary depending on the blade material. (read our blog post:  Cost of a Damascus Karambit).

2. Blade Shape

The karambit features a short, curved blade resembling the claw of a tiger. It has a very sharp tip and a really wide base.

3. Handle Material

When choosing a Handle for your Karambit knife, you want to take into consideration materials that are durable, comfortable to handle, possessing good grip, swift, and easy to deploy. These factors make for a good combat knife piece.

The best materials used for Karambit handles include:

Hardwood: Wood handles provide a natural feel and aesthetics. Luxury hardwoods are also used, giving a touch of excellence to the weapon and providing a comfortable grip.

Precious Metals:  Some karambit handles are designed with luxury metals like gold, silver, or platinum. These metals make the knife classy and durable.

G10: Lightweight and durable material. The G10 is also a high-strength composite material. It is resistant to extreme temperatures, chemicals, and moisture. Despite these advantages, it’s not an expensive material and many people prefer the G10 karambit handle.

Carbon Fiber: It’s another lightweight, durable, strong, high-tech material. It’s highly resistant to wear and tear and has a good grip.

Micarta: Micarta is made by the layering of paper or fabric with resin. When handled with wet hands, the grip of the knife remains good and firm, providing the user with all the advantages required for combat and utility. This is a value-for-money material.

4. Ring Design

The Karambit comes with a safety ring. This ring provides stability, control, and a firm grip. A skilled user is hardly disarmed and has an advantage during combat and self-defense due to this ring design feature. The ring also helps to increase weapon retention, so the user doesn’t depend solely on the strength of the grip.

The ring also comes in helpful if the user’s hand is slick or wet, as it makes for a secure hold.

karambit knives

The Top of Karambit Knives

Our top picks present a curated list of the best karambit knives available in 2024, featuring models distinguished by superior craftsmanship, innovative design, and optimal functionality. This selection caters to the diverse needs of practitioners, and outdoor enthusiasts, showcasing advancements in karambit knife technology and aesthetics.

CRKT Provoke

The  CRK PROVOKE  is a First Responder Folding Knife. Is a unique innovation knife piece. The blade has a kinematic deployment mechanism, with the push of the thumb. The D2 blade makes for excellent performance and edge retention. It’s useful on the go and a handy tool around the house as well.

Features:

Foldable, Aluminium handle, D2 Blade material, Traditional style knife, Blade length of 4.41 inches, Made in Taiwan.

Price range: $214 – $225

CRKT Provoke karambit

 

Cold Steel Tiger 

The  Cold Steel Tiger is a tactical modern karambit knife. The steel tiger was specially designed to have the best features of the famous hooked blade and also seamlessly integrate these features, using modern styles and materials. The knife doesn’t slip even if the user’s hands are wet or cold.

Features:

A vacuum heat-treated AUS 8A stainless steel blade, Stonewash finish –providing maximum strength, Cutting power, Good edge retention and performance, Kray-Ex shelf and a very distinct finger ring, Non-slip grip.

Blade length: 4 inches, Handle: Alloy steel, Total length: 8.75 inches, Weight: 0.23g, Made in Taiwan.

Price range: $85 – 120

cold steel tiger karambit

 

Fox Knives Karambit

FOX 479 G10 Black Emerson Wave Folding Karambit. This knife has a genius design and is useful for several other functions. It is a special tactical knife.

This knife has the advantage of quick deployment in any situation.

The  Fox Knives karambit has proven itself over and again as a unique karambit knife worth every penny of its cost price.

Features:

Emerson wave opener, Liner lock mechanism, Black hawksbill blade of NC690Co steel, Black G-10 handle, Steel pocket clip.

Blade length: 3 inches. Overall length: 7.50 inches. Handle length: 5 inches, handle thickness: 0.50 inches. Made in Italy.

Price range: $170 – $210

Fox Knives Karambit Folder Knife

Schrade SCH111 Karambit

The  SCH111 Karambit is a tactical design knife, it’s a fixed blade karambit, very easy to carry about due to the lightweight skeletonized build. The SCH111 is easily concealed cause of its small size. The oversized finger grip makes for a secured grip and can be drawn faster from its polymer sheath. 

The paracord length and ball chain features make it possible to carry on the neck.

Features:

Knife type: Full-tang fixed blade, Color: Gray, Material: 9Cr18MoV Stainless steel, Handle length: 3.50 inches, Handle thickness: 0.19 inches, Sheath: Polymer, Overall length: 6.50 inches, Weight: 2.22oz. Made in China.

Price range: $26 – $45

Schrade SCH111 Karambit

 

Smitt & Wesson M&P Extreme Ops Karambit

The Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops Karambit is relatively new on the block. The blade is straight edge reverse tanto. The back of the knife has a prominent jump. It also has a thumb ramp which helps to control and makes cutting precise. The pocket hook makes it easy to deploy when needed.

The over-sized ring makes it convenient for users with bigger hands. This knife is an everyday carry utility and combat knife.

Features:

Assisted opening, Ambidextrous pocket clip, Finger flipper, Finger ring, 

Blade material: 8Cr13MoV stainless steel, Blade length: 3.0 inches, Overall length: 7.8 inches, Handle material: Tan G-10, Weight: 0.38 lbs, Made in China. 

Price range: $35 – $55

Smith Wesson Extreme Ops Karambit

Emerson Combat Karabit

The Emerson Combat Karambit by Emerson Knives, Inc., is a larger, enhanced version of the original, known as the Super Karambit. Featuring a 3-inch 154CM stainless steel blade, this folding knife is ideal for tactical use. Its distinctive design includes a G-10 handle with dual titanium liners and an efficient Emerson Wave deployment mechanism.

Features:

3-inch 154CM stainless steel blade, Patented Emerson Wave feature for quick deployment, G-10 handle reinforced with titanium liners, Versatile for both forward and reverse grip, Stonewashed blade finish, and black G-10 handle. Made in the USA.
Closed length: 5 inches.

Price Range: $235 – $285

Emerson Combat Karambit

Boker Magnum Spike

The Boker Magnum Spike is a robust folding knife known for its reliability and sleek design. It features a durable stainless steel blade paired with a comfortable and secure handle, making it suitable for various tasks.

Features:

Durable stainless steel blade, Secure and comfortable handle design, Foldable for easy carry and storage, Versatile use for everyday tasks.

Price Range: $64 – $77

Boker Magnum Spike

Best Neck Karambit – Bastinelli Diagnostic Fixed Blade

The Bastinelli Diagnostic Neck Knife is a compact and versatile tool, renowned for its functionality and ease of carry. It features a high-quality Bohler N690 steel blade with a black finish, complemented by a minimalist handle design for secure grip and handling.

Features:

High-grade stainless steel blade, Minimalist design, Neck knife configuration for quick access and discreet carry, Suitable for a variety of tasks, from everyday use to tactical applications, Overall Length: 3.75 inches, Blade Length: 1.75 inches, Made in Italy.

Price Range: $100 – $110

Bastinelli Diagnostic

Best Folding Karambits

This video review offers an in-depth analysis of the top folding karambit knives in the market. This review provides viewers with comprehensive insights into the design, functionality, and practical applications of these unique, curved blades. Aimed at enthusiasts and professionals, the review highlights key features, ergonomic aspects, and the versatility of folding karambits, aiding in informed purchasing decisions.

YouTube video by: KnifeCenter.

paracord beads

FAQ’s on Karambit Knives

The FAQ corner provides essential information addressing common queries about karambit knives, covering aspects from their unique design to practical usage. This section offers insights into brands, handling techniques, maintenance, and legal considerations for enthusiasts and users.

Who makes the Best Karambit knives?

Several top brands make quality karambit knives:

Fox Knives – Renowned, especially models with Doug Marcaida.
Benchmade – Premium karambits like the 599 series.
Spyderco – Features the modern Karahawk.
Emerson Knives – Popular in the tactical community.
Cold Steel – Known for the robust Tiger Claw.
CRKT – Affordable options with some by Doug Marcaida.
Bastinelli Creations – Striking and functional designs.
Custom Makers – Unique, high-standard karambits.
Decide your karambit’s purpose (tactical, EDC, collector’s) and check local knife laws before purchasing. Always buy from trusted sources.

Are karambits better for self-defense?

The karambit is primarily designed as a fighting tool/It is highly regarded as one of the very best combat knives.

Do soldiers use karambits?

The features and build-up of the Karambit knife make it a very viable and easily utilized tool for the Military, Police, Paramilitary, and other defense agencies.

An officer can securely hold his riffle, while also holding a karambit knife securely, as well as his torchlight and another tool.

Conclusion

Having reviewed the top 5 karambit knives together in today’s blog post, I’m sure deciding on the most suitable variant for you has become much easier.

We looked at the CRKT Provoke with its appealing features with a D2 blade and excellent performance, starting for $214, next was the Cold Steel Tiger made with modern-style material and good grip even with wet hands, starting for $85. We proceeded to the Fox knives karambit, which provides the advantage of quick deployment in any situation.

Schrade SCH11, a fixed blade, lightweight, and easy-to-carry knife at a modest price of $30, and we concluded with the review of Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops Karambit, which is another lightweight easy to deploy karambit at a starting price of $35.

The karambit knife remains relevant amongst shape blades because of its articulate design and constant innovation. It is common knowledge that the Karambit knife continues to spread in the 21st century because of continuous improvements, modifications, and redesigns.

However, the Karambit is a deadly weapon and must be utilized with discretion at every point in time.

Thanks for being with us on today’s blog post. See you next.

Author: Braide Honest | Connect with me on LinkedIn

References:

Proyek Pembinaan Permuseuman Jakarta (Indonesia). Koleksi pilihan museum-museum negeri propinsi. Proyek Pembinaan Permuseuman Jakarta: 1989. 65 pages

 D. Christo (2014).  “Karambit FAQ”.  Karambit.com.

Tarani, Steve (2002).  Karambit:  Exotic Weapon of the Indonesian Archipelago. Unique Publications. pp. 15–22. ISBN 978-0-86568-206-1.

 Sheikh Shamsuddin. The Malay art of self-defence: silat seni gayong. North Atlantic Books, 2005 ISBN 1-55643-562-2, ISBN 978-1-55643-562-1. 247 pages. pp234

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  • Jordan T.

    I’ve been searching for the perfect Karambit for my collection and this post just made my decision so much easier. The detailed comparisons and focus on what makes a Karambit effective for both utility and self-defense provided great insights. I’m particularly interested in the ergonomic handle designs you mentioned. Could you recommend one that combines both style and grip comfort?

  • Taylor R.

    I’ve been considering adding a karambit to my collection due to its unique design and functionality. Out of the options you’ve listed, which one would you recommend for someone new to karambits but wants a balance of quality and affordability?

    Noblie

    Hey there! Karambits are indeed a unique addition to any collection. If you’re dipping your toes into the karambit world and want something that won’t empty your wallet but still holds its own in quality, I’d suggest the Smitt & Wesson M&P Extreme Ops Karambit. It’s user-friendly, especially for newcomers, and gives you a good feel for what karambits are all about. Hope this helps, and enjoy your new blade when you get it!

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