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-defence 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: The Automatic, Neck Knives, Folding Knives and Fixed Blades.
The karambit knife originates from Western Sumatra, Indonesia. They were primarily utilized as farming tools, and the ring design 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 are able to meet the everyday needs and requirement of its users at any point in time.
The knives are well utilized for combats, 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 as an art piece by knife lovers and many love have a piece or the other of the karambit in their knife collections.
Different variants of the karambit exists, according to their regions. The blade length sometimes varies from one blacksmith or one village to the other. Some features two blades and some do not possess finger guard.
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. Having 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 provides natural feel and aesthetics. Luxury hardwoods are also used, giving a touch of excellence to the weapon and providing 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 temperature, 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 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 firm grip. A skilled user is hardly disarmed and has an advantage during combat and self-defence due to this ring design feature. The ring also helps to increase the 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.
The Top 5 Karambit Knives are listed below and we shall review them right away.
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 handy tool around the house as well.
Foldable, Aluminium handle, D2 Blade material, Traditional style knife, Blade length of 4.41 inches, Made in Taiwan.
Price: $214 – $225
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 integrate these features in a seamless manner, using modern styles and materials. The knife doesn’t slip even if the user’s hands are wet or cold.
A vacuum heat-treated AUS 8A stainless steel blade, Stone wash 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: $85 – 120
FOX 479 G10 Black Emerson Wave Folding Karambit. This knife has a genius design and 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 themselves over and again as a unique karambit knife worth every penny of its cost price.
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: $170 – $210
The SCH111 Karambit is a tactical design knife, it’s a fixed blade karambit, very easy to carry about due to the lightweight skeletonize 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 makes it possible to carry on the neck.
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: $26 – $45
The Smitt & 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 jumping. 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.
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: $35- $55
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.
The karambit is primarily designed as a fighting tool/ Its highly regarded as one of the very best combat knives.
The features and build up of the Karambit knife makes it a very viable and easily utilized tool for both 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 a torchlight and another tool.
Having reviewed the top 5 karambit knives together on today’s blog post, I’m sure making a decision 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 at a price of $214, next was the Cold steel tiger made with modern style material and good grip even with wet hands, starting at a price of $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 Smitt & 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 blade 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 been with us on today’s blog post. See you on the next.
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
Author: Dr. BRAIDE HONEST