The karambit is an ancient agricultural tool created by the Minangkabau people of Indonesia and modeled after the claws of big cats. These days, the karambit has entered the knife realm as a versatile self-defense tool that allows for different fighting techniques, thanks to its curved design and finger ring.
While karambits are probably best known for their self-defense qualifications, they can also make great everyday carry tools. Not only do they have comfortable, ergonomic designs but the blades also sometimes work much better than straight edged blades in certain situations (like cutting rope, for example).
While you may want to carry a secondary straight-edged knife for good measure, these five folding karambit knives have worked well as EDCs for many people.
1. Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops Karambit
I’ll start things off with one of the most understated folding karambits. The Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops Karambit features a 3.5-inch blade with less of a curve than other models. This gives the blade more versatility than a pure karambit style blade and reduces the overall “scare” factor.
The knife still retains the claw-like design with G-10 handle scales and a stainless steel finger ring. The blade opens via ambidextrous thumb studs and stays engaged with a liner lock. There’s a reason this knife is a best-seller at Knife Depot.
2. Cold Steel Tiger Claw
Sure, Cold Steel is known for its aggressive designs and focus on self-defense, but this Andrew Demko creation is actually made with everyday carry in mind. The Cold Steel Tiger Claw was designed after Demko aimed to make a multipurpose folder that could perform while he was on the job as an electrician or engineer.
The Tiger Claw features a 3-inch blade made from quality XHP steel with G-10 handle scales. It uses the Demko thumb plate, which allows for ambidextrous opening or opening from the pocket with a swift pull. The latter is a great luxury in any EDC. It also uses the Tri-Ad locking system. It’ll definitely stand up to any EDC task you can throw at it.
3. Boker Plus CLB Karambit
The next few knives have decidedly tactical appearances, but that doesn’t make them much different than a Spyderco or SOG. This Boker Plus CLB Karambit has a sub-3-inch blade made from 440C stainless steel with dual thumb studs and black coating. The blade has a recurve and a straight portion to add some versatility to the knife.
The finger ring also doubles as a sort of carabiner so you can affix the knife to a backpack or belt loop.
4. Fox Folding Karambit
The Fox Folding Karambit boasts an aggressive design that may be too intimidating to take to work (if you’re conscious about that sort of thing), but its bona fides as a self-defense tool also works in its favor as an EDC. The knife is optimized for quick and easy opening in one of three methods: the drop-shaped cutout, the patented Emerson wave feature, or the flipper.
The blade is 3.14 inches and made of N690Co steel, which takes a nice edge and resists corrosion. G-10 handle scales are grippy and ergonomically designed for a variety of carry techniques.
5. 5.11 Tactical Tarani Tactical Karambit
This is a knife that many people have said they’ve carried as an EDC, and it’s not hard to see why. The Tactical Karambit from 5.11 Tactical is an update on the popular C.U.B. Master knife and features a design by one of the most renowned blade experts in Steve Tarani.
The knife was undoubtedly created with an eye toward self-defense, but it has a lot of elements that make it a solid EDC. The blade is 2.87-inches and uses AUS8 stainless steel. The oval cutout in the blade allows for easy, one-handed opening, and the steel pocket clip is reversible for some customization.