You’ll find much more than “just” firearms at Pennsylvania’s Largest Gun Show, and many of our customers visit us because they know they’ll find all types of tactical knives to choose one when picking a blade for their purse, pocket, or glovebox. Knives are a popular EDC (everyday carry) item because they are generally allowed by law in most areas providing a powerful self-defense tool, great utility, and come in a wide selection of styles that let users match the right blade to their needs. Whether you’re looking for a folding tactical knife that’s perfect for pocket or purse, a tactical fixed blade knife that goes with you every hunt, or something in between, you can find it offered somewhere inside the dozens of booths at your local Eagle Shows gun show.

Defining a “Tactical Knife”

One thing that will become apparent as we look at all the features and types of tactical knives available is that the term is extremely broad, encompassing styles that are so different that it’s hard to see the family resemblance sometimes. The loosest definition is probably the most accurate: tactical knives are those knives designed to stand up to tactical use. If you immediately think about the martial arts-laden knife fights in Hollywood blockbusters, you’ve got an idea about what a tactical knife can be, but it’s also the knife used to cut open an MRE pack in the field by a soldier, offer corrosion-free utility to a first-responder, or help a hunter field-clean game before taking it back to their truck for proper skinning and cleaning. Far from just fighting knives, they’ve developed into a tough, no-nonsense bladed tool for anyone in any walk of life.

Getting Down To The Business End

How do you start narrowing down what you’re looking for when it comes to an item that defies easy categorization and apples-to-apples comparisons? With a bladed tool, such as a knife, it helps to start with the primary feature: the blade. After all, we’re not here to talk about tactical clubs or hats. The shape of a blade helps define what and how the knife is best used. While all blades will cut, and most will have a handy tip for poking things, some cuts are easier to make with one style than another based on their shape, edge, or tip. Put together, looking for a blade that has those three items in the correct configuration for your intended use will go a long way toward pointing you in the right direction. 

Close up view of a tactical knife blade


The edge of the blade is meant to cut material as it slides along the knife’s sharpened surface. Some tactical fixed blade knives will have two edges, while most folding tactical knives have a single edge for cutting.


The tip of the blade is usually used for thrusting, however, this isn’t always the case. Some knife manufacturers use the tip to offer additional utility.


Now we’re really going to see some differentiation in the types of tactical knives and their uses. This is where it really becomes important to understand what you want a knife to accomplish and will use it most often for.

Fixed Or Folding

Fixed blade tactical knife with orange handle and plastic sheath

Fixed blade tactical knives are often referred to as sheath knives because that’s how they’re carried, much the same way as folding tactical knives are still referred to as pocket or purse knives by some people.  Fixed blade knives offer greater strength because they usually don’t feature any moving parts. Often constructed from a solid piece of metal, tang to tip, they’ll stand up to heavier use and take more abuse than their folding counterparts.

Folding knives, on the other hand, can be incredibly durable themselves while offering the convenience of easier transport and concealment. You don’t have to be an action hero to not want to advertise to potential assailants you have a self-defense weapon on your person. You also don’t have to carry a full-sized hunting knife everywhere just to have the utility of a good blade close at hand. Folding knives are usually divided into categories based on their mechanism type. To complicate matters, this can include both the mechanism that locks the blade, if any, and the manner in which the blade is opened.

Get A Grip

Your preferred grip is an entirely personal choice. You need to be able to hold onto your knife to use it, but beyond utility, you want a knife that suits your style.

Folding blade tactical knife with black handle

Blade Material

There are thousands of metal alloys being used in all types of tactical knives, and non-metal materials are becoming increasingly popular. There’s no way to cover them all, but there are a few popular materials to be aware of.

While that covers most of the types of tactical knives available, that doesn’t mean that all will be legal to own or carry in your area. Be sure to check your local knife ordinances for legal folding tactical knife lengths, whether fixed blade tactical knives are allowed to be carried, or if you can even possess a knife of the action type you’re looking for without winding up in hot water. While knife laws in some places are wide-open, in others, laws may view some features, such as a switch-blade action or Bowie point, as prohibited. 

Find The Right Knife For You

Whatever types of tactical knives you’re looking to add to your collection or your EDC loadout, you’ll find them at one of our local Eagle Shows gun shows. Our safe, family-friendly environment brings regional and national vendors to the communities we visit while offering local artisans, collectors, and civic organizations a chance to meet with their friends and neighbors. There’s one coming to you soon. Get VIP early access and find your knife when you pre-order your tickets for your local Eagle Shows gun show today.