4 Best Combat Machetes of 2018

Sep 3, 2018 | Reviews, Survival

Combat machetes come in many different forms, from modern bowie designs to the classic Kukri, loved by military history buffs the world over.

If you’re looking to choose a machete specifically for combat or tactical maneuvers, you really want to consider 3 things:

· Weight: It needs to be light, and with a good balance.

·Ease of use: A combat machete should be easy to wield.

· Quality: A good knife is always a wise investment, and can become our friend for life.

Top 4 Tactical Machetes

NameBlade LengthBlade Material 

Ka-Bar

8.5 Inch

HC epoxy powder-coated 1095 steel

Check Price

United Cutlery

16 inch

420A Stainless Steel

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Ontario Knife

18 inch

1095 Carbon steel

Check Price

Condor Tool & Knife

13 inch

Ergonomic Santoprene

Check Price

Ka-Bar

Blade Length

8.5 Inch

Blade Material

HC epoxy powder-coated 1095 steel

Check Price

United Cutlery

Blade Length

16 Inch

Blade Material

420A Stainless Steel

Check Price

Ontario Knife

Blade Length

18 Inch

Blade Material

1095 Carbon Steel

Check Price

Condor Tool & Knife

Blade Length

13 Inch

Blade Material

Ergonomic Santoprene

Check Price

1. Best Overall

Ka-Bar Combat Kukri

Our Rating

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Features

  • 8.5-Inch blade
  • High carbon steel with non-reflective black blade
  • Elastomer handle
  • Polyester sheath

The classic Kukri design is always a favorite choice by survivalists and military enthusiasts worldwide. While it is most certainly a deadly tactical weapon, it’s also quite popular for general brush clearing duties and is one of those ultimate multi-purpose tools people like to carry.

The Ka-Bar is a well-known brand, and this modern take on the Kukri should prove to be a real contender.

The first thing to know about the Ka-Bar is that the quality is perfect. Sure, it’s a modern take on a classic, yet this blade easily compares to the original Kukri that’s manufactured in Nepal.

The weight is low, at 14.4-ounces, plus weight distribution through the blade is good too. We found this blade perfect for camping duties, where it performed well as the multi-function blade Kukris are known for.

The only thing we would have loved to see Ka-Bar do is to improve the handle by making it slightly more ergonomic.

2. Best Value

United Cutlery

Our Rating

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Features

  • United M48 Combat bowie
  • 420A Stainless Steel
  • 16 Inch overall length
  • Impact resistant plastic

The design of the Bowie, with a super sharp blade, backed up with serrated sections for cutting heavy branches is solid. However, the design could be considered too theatrical, and not designed for serious use.

You can use this blade to clear brush, cut firewood and help get the campsite set up. For this use, the United Cutlery is far more useful than you would think, with a blade that’s actually capable of cutting a variety of items and a blade edge that’s extremely sharp.

One of the useful things about the United Cutlery blade, is the two sets of serrated blades, one on the front and one on the back of the machete. These serrated edges are also split between a highly aggressive edge, and a shallower saw.

This means you can tackle the toughest branches, and thick ropes or plastics too. It’s a real shame this blade doesn’t have a hand leash, because it could be perfect as an emergency blade for motorboats that become fouled by fishing lines or ropes.

This blade is quite impressive, it’s a slightly wacky design, yet the Bowie is far more useful than you might think.

3. Best in Blade Length

Ontario Knife Military Machete

Our Rating

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Features

  • 1095 carbon steel construction
  • Hardened to 50-55 HC
  • Molded handle
  • 18 Inch blade

The Ontario blade is aimed more at the budget end of the market. It still manages to offer some quality, yet it’s a much more paired down product compared to either the United Cutlery or Ka-Bar blades.

Even though this blade is a budget choice, it still feels reasonable in hand. The weight is a nice 15.8 ounces, plus the distribution means most of that weight in on the blade end, exactly where you want it. You might recognize this knife from our reviews of machetes, and it’s here for the same reason, it’s a great buy!

Of course, there are issues with the blade, that molded handle has an extremely awkward notch at the end that does nothing but get in the way, plus the drip is poor and doesn’t give you much confidence when using it.

The blade is the best part of this knife and feels really strong. The combined process of hardening the carbon steel seems to have created a machete that can tackle far more than its price would have you believe.

4. Best in Tactical

Condor Combat Machete

Our Rating

CHECK PRICE

Features

  • Handcrafted leather sheath
  • 11-Inch blade
  • Santoprene ergonomic handle

This knife really feels and looks like a combat blade. The leather sheath is solid and the blade itself is one handsome beast! All this is backed up by what looks like a comfortable Santoprene handle.

One thing should be said before we dive into the review, this is a very deadly knife! It’s razor sharp at the point, and is about as menacing as they come!

Even so, it’s not all about the military look with the Condor, it’s a useful blade and even though it misses a serrated section, the blade is sharp enough to take on most tasks. Possibly even consider using it as a go-to hunting blade, not necessarily for skinning, but for protection.

The Condor isn’t the cheapest knife we’ve tested, but its a solid tactical option.

Conclusion

When reviewing these knives, we focused on their ability to serve as both a tool and a military weapon. You want to strike a balance between usefulness, defense, and price.

Unfortunately, this discounted the United Cutlery blade straight away. It’s a superb multi-function knife, and if you’re looking for a quality marine knife it’s worth purchasing one and drilling a tether handle yourself! However, it’s going to prove hopeless as a defensive weapon!

This left 3 knives, and although I want to discount the Ontario 18-Inch Military Machete, the price alone makes it a brilliant budget choice despite the poor-quality handle. For this reason, it’s my recommendation for those on a tight budget.

If you have some extra cash to spare, your choice is between the Ka-Bar Kukri and the Condor. If it was my money, I would take the Condor every time, the only reason you might want the Kukri, is if you already have an affinity for the design.

· Best for tight budgets: Ontario 18-Inch Military Machete.

· Best all-rounder: Ka-Bar Kukri.

Clarence McCall

Editor for Survivalgearexperts.net

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