Date Published: 2021-12-15

The Top Ten Functional Daggers

The Top Ten Functional Daggers

By Adelia Ladson

A Little Dagger History

Daggers are one of the oldest weapons of man. Having evolved from simple weapons to becoming intricate and thoughtfully designed tools. Daggers, in one form or another, are weapons that can be found in almost every culture throughout the world, many surviving and relevant after thousands of years in existence. There are as many types of these long knives as the cultures who designed and carried them.

Functional Dagger Characteristics

Today, we’re focusing on functional style daggers, which are going to be constructed with materials that offer resiliency and durability with less focus on visual appeal. Look for blades made of high carbon steel, D2 tool steel and stainless steel. Finishes on the blade like black oxide coating and titanium coating can increase the rust-resistance and reduce the wear on the steel. Stay away from Damascus because, although it’s a tough steel, it is less rust-resistant and requires constant maintenance. This makes it less suitable for outdoor and survival use where there could be wet conditions. When it comes to handle materials, look for TPU, ABS and hardwood. Handles that are twice-injected and rubberized are excellent choices as they are usually also heavily textured or ridged, making them grippy in any environment. If you’re looking at a dagger with a wooden handle, make sure that it’s finger-grooved and not just a smooth, straight profile. Obviously, it’s absolutely crucial not to lose your grip when using your dagger.

The Top Ten

When it comes to functional daggers, there are a ton of choices out there. This top ten list may help you narrow it down. As always, when shopping for a knife, consider where you’ll be using it the most and for what purpose.

Honshu Crusader Quillon Dagger

I want to start out with the perfect example of how traditional daggers have evolved into sleek and modern tactical weapons. Nobody knows how to fuse traditional ideals with modern innovation like Honshu. The Crusader Quillon Dagger is based on a traditional parrying dagger design that was used in partnership with a sword in battle. It has a 1060 high carbon steel blade that’s just under a foot long, extending from a cast 2Cr13 stainless steel handguard. The handle is textured and ridged, injection-molded TPR, giving you a secure, slip-free grip even when the conditions are wet, and the knob pommel is cast 2Cr13 stainless steel. The dagger is a little over 18” overall and can be carried at your side in its genuine leather belt sheath.

M48 Cyclone Push Dagger

A wicked little beast, the M48 Cyclone Push Dagger is the next level of fierceness in United Cutlery’s M48 Cyclone line. The push dagger has a just under 6” blade, cast of 2Cr13 stainless steel, with an open, twisted design, giving you multiple razor-sharp edges. When you grab ahold of the T-handle, you know it’s not going anywhere. The molded TPR rubber has deep grooves, so that the handle is slip-free and secure in your hand even if your hand is sweaty or wet. The push dagger can be securely carried in its specially designed Vortec belt sheath.

Combat Commander Gladius Dagger

Taking its design from the Roman gladius, the Combat Commander Gladius Dagger is a masterful reinvention of a historical weapon. It mirrors, in shape and design, the weapon made legendary by gladiators but in a dagger-sized version. The dagger is a tactical, non-reflective black from tip to pommel, making it well-suited for covert missions. The double-edged blade is made of 1065 carbon steel and the rubberized, TPR handle provides a comfortable, slip-free grip. The handle features an extended lanyard hole pommel with a sharp point. A nylon belt sheath with reinforced leather tip is included to house the 9 1/2” overall Gladius Dagger.

Gil Hibben And Paul Ehlers Gremlin Push Dagger

Now for something that’s completely one-of-a-kind! From a collaboration of legendary knife maker Gil Hibben and fantasy weapon designer Paul Ehlers, the Gremlin Push Dagger really pushes the envelope of design. A radical interpretation of the push dagger profile, it has a completely unique, full-tang 5Cr15MoV stainless steel blade with four, razor-sharp edges and a penetrating point. The black linen Micarta handle scales are secured to the blade’s tang with heavy-duty steel pins. The handle has a finger-grooved grip, giving you a secure hold on the aggressive weapon. The one-of-a-kind push dagger is over 9 1/2” in overall length and it can be carried in its premium, leather belt sheath.

Timber Wolf Leather Fighter Dagger

A more traditional style, the Timber Wolf Leather Fighter Dagger is a combat-ready knife that you can rely on in any situation. It has a razor-sharp, 8 1/2” stainless steel blade with a penetrating point, which extends from a hefty stainless steel guard. The handle is crafted of thinly banded leather in variations of rich brown tones, accented with brass spacers and the stainless steel pommel is flat. The 13” overall dagger fits like a glove in the included premium leather belt sheath, which has a snap strap closure.

V42 Military Stiletto Dagger

Another traditional, leather-handled dagger, the V42 Military Stiletto Dagger was the trademark weapon of the Devil's Brigade, and its members were trained extensively in the use of the fixed blade. The stacked leather handle made it easy to handle the dagger in cold weather and it has been faithfully reproduced with this functional replica. The razor-sharp, double-edged, stainless steel stiletto blade pierces through even the toughest materials with ease, and it has a black, non-reflective coating. Thumb notches are cast into the handle above the guard to keep the knife from slipping when wet or wearing gloves. A leather belt sheath is included to house the 12” overall historical dagger.

M48 OPS Combat Dagger

What I really love about the M48 OPS Combat Dagger is that it’s crafted of one, solid piece of CNC-machined D2 tool steel. It’s a nice compact 8 3/4” overall, allowing you to carry it discreetly and use it effortlessly. The handle is ridged, making it extremely grippy, and it has thru-slots to reduce its weight. The combat dagger snaps securely into a Kydex sheath that has a sturdy metal belt clip and stainless steel lashing holes so that it can be attached and carried anywhere.

Gil Hibben Silver Shadow Dagger

I’ve included another Gil Hibben on this list because, afterall, he is a knife-making legend. The Silver Shadow Dagger has also become a legend since its release in 1990, crafted especially by him for United Cutlery. The dagger has a mirror-polished, stainless steel double-edged blade, which features Hibben’s signature stamp. The handle is wrapped in stainless steel wire, complemented by a mirror-polished, stainless steel handguard and pommel. The highly capable dagger is a little over a foot long and it can be carried in a leather belt sheath.

Undercover Twin Push Daggers

Double your self-defense strength with a set of Undercover Twin Push Daggers, the ultimate compact defender set! Each of the two push daggers is one, solid piece of stainless steel with a black, non-reflective finish. The 2” blades are razor-sharp, and the curved T-handle has a zipper-tooth edge for a no-slip grip. The 3 3/4” overall push daggers feature weight-reducing thru-holes and cut-outs. Assuring that the set of self-defense weapons are readily available, they snap into an adjustable, impact-resistant TPU sheath that’s equipped with lashing holes and a nylon arm/leg strap with Velcro closure.

B.M.F. Red Tri-Edged Baton Dagger

Rounding out the list, the B.M.F. Red Tri-Edged Baton Dagger is one of the most non-traditional daggers you’ll ever see. You get double defense action, using it as a hard-hitting impact baton or twisting it open to access the tri-edged spear blade. The 10 1/4” cast 2Cr13 stainless steel, tri-edged blade has a red, metallic finish and a sharp, penetrating point. The shaft, which houses the blade, is a heavy-duty steel tube with a black oxide finish and a textured and ridged grip. The tube can be screwed onto the end of the blade handle to increase the length of it. The 16” overall tri-edged baton dagger can be carried in its tough, nylon belt sheath. The B.M.F. Red Tri-Edged Baton Dagger is a beast of a self-defense weapon in your hand!

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