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Best Push Daggers: A Knife To A Knife Fight

They go by different names — T-Back Knives, Push Daggers, Punch Knives, Gimlet Knives, or even Palm Knives. They’re primarily designed for self-defense, although a few utility blades for hunting and other outdoor chores make use of this design when you might need better retention.

The retention factor makes these knives great for self-defense. If you can access and deploy it quickly, you can punch your way out of a deadly altercation. 

While the idea has been around for centuries, they became streamlined in the early 19th century in the southeastern states. Favored by city dwellers for their ease of concealment and retention, these designs made their way West as the country expanded, quickly becoming popular with miners, gamblers, and anyone else who needed a concealable, GTF off me blade. 

Typically, the profile for this design resembles a T (or a 7) with the handle as the top bar and the blade as the stem. Historically, most of these blades were designed as a symmetrical dagger or even a spike. 

As we’ll see in this lineup, the symmetrical dagger still rules the roost, but that isn’t always the case; some makers and manufacturers use more utilitarian blade shapes. This may be to work around jurisdictions that outlaw dirks or daggers, or simply ease of manufacturing.

Most of these designs aren’t a great choice if you only want to own one EDC knife. There are one or two that might fill that role, such as the innovative design from WE Knife, but try to think of this as more of a backup or hideout knife when you’re defending against a gun grab, or maybe if you find yourself in an area where guns are prohibited but knives aren’t.

This is the type of knife you carry and hope you never have to use it. As always, research your local and state laws before you start carrying one. 


Toor Knives Thor’s Hammer

Designed by Rich Hansing, a 28-year Navy Seal Veteran and owner of Tridentis Tactical, the Thor’s Hammer serves as an elite non-edged pocket defense tool. 

Deceptive and devastating, this tool is small enough to hang from your keys or a necklace but still provides the ability to punch through dense objects. Thor’s Hammer is made in the USA by Toor Knives and includes a one belt loop mount Kydex holster, perfect for everyday carry. This particular model is more of a spike than a blade. 

But since it’s made of chromoly 4140 and hardened to a Rockwell hardness of 60, it’ll take a beating (or throw one) and ask for more.


+ This is a tool that can be worn covertly and can even pass for a piece of man jewelry.

+ The spike is awesome at penetrating anything you can think of.

+ The sheath is very versatile, and you can wear it in a variety of ways.


– Since this is just a spike, it’s pretty much only good for punching holes in things. Don’t mistake this for a knife.

VZ Grips Punch Ripper

VZ Grips is mostly known for its G10 grips for firearms. But their G10 blades make you realize that polymer can make a more than an acceptable cutting tool.

The Punch Ripper takes an entirely new look at the punch dagger; rather than a pointy dagger blade, you get a 2.5-inch platform of 10 raised serrations that’ll rip and tear your opponent’s face to shreds. The sheath is very minimalist. 

Sewn leather with an eyelet barely covers the blade. Run paracord through the eyelet, attach it to a belt loop, and let the sheath fall away as you draw.


+ The Push Ripper indexes unlike any other due to their handle length and low profile.

+ Serrated G10 is brutal and indestructible at this thickness.

+ A training option for an EDC knife, when intended as a fighter, is a must. Too few makers take care of that.


– This is pretty much a single-purpose hideout defensive tool. You won’t peel apples or open boxes with it.

– Getting it back inside the sheath can be a pain until you get used to it.

DPX Hit Dagger Ti Sandblasted

Robert Young Pelton is a professional author and adventurer — and the design mind at DPX gear. His work is fascinating, as he takes you on tours from war zones to cartel strongholds. He just returned from Ukraine the day he shipped this knife out. 

This is one of the smallest and lightest push daggers we’ve ever seen that’s still fully functional. Its sheath may weigh more than the knife does. This knife is constructed of a billet of titanium and the M390 blade is attached to it. This was done by Lionsteel of Italy for DPX.


+ Extremely lightweight but very effective and usable

+ The edges are a deadly sharp section of M390, one of the toughest and most corrosion- resistant steels.

+ The artistry is superb, with amazing carving on the titanium.


– As with any lightweight design, make sure you don’t inadvertently wear it somewhere you shouldn’t.

– The sheath snaps above the handle, slowing your draw, but you can use it as a neck knife without fear of losing it.

M3 Tactical Tech Ultra Concealment G10 Puncher

M3 Tactical Tech (Modern Mission Mobility) is run by Kevin Moore, a custom maker of knives, tools, and tactical gear. He designed a polymer push dagger that can punch through 55-gallon steel drums due to the knife’s profile and toughness. 

The Ultra Concealment G10 Puncher is aptly named, as you can forget you’re wearing it. The handle fits the hand perfectly. The sheath has a metal clip and wears well on the belt comfortably and unobtrusively. If you find yourself carrying one, always be mindful if you’re going to the airport as you can forget it’s there.


+ This knife penetrates well against all sorts of material, including steel drums. Check out the company’s social accounts for demo videos.

+ The sheath is simple but effective at securing and concealing the blade.

+ Lightweight and comfortable


– As it’s polymer, don’t expect much of an edge for slicing or cutting.

– M3 is a custom outfit, so models may be scarce or only available during certain times of the year.

WE Knife Typhoeus

Most push knives are pretty much designed to be used strictly as defensive weapons and have limited use as an EDC blade. It seems that WE Knife heard that and said, “Hold my beer.” 

The Typhoeus is an innovative push knife with an American Tanto style blade and a titanium handle. Yet, swivel the handle to the rear and it becomes a standard knife for EDC tasks. It’s held in place like a friction folder using your hand to keep it closed. 

As usual, WE doesn’t skimp on quality materials, like CPM20CV for the blade steel and titanium for the handle.


+ It’s like having two knives in one. It carries in push dagger mode and can be instantly converted to a standard knife.

+ CPM20CV offers excellent wear resistance, corrosion resistance, and edge retention.

+ The tanto blade with a high saber grind proved more versatile than you might expect.


– It may just be this sample model, but the rearmost portion of the blade is sharp where it shouldn’t be.

– The friction lock works fine, but some users prefer a more positive locking system.

Mercworx Seraphym

Mercworx Knives has been producing high-end custom tactical knives for a few decades, but seems to avoid the spotlight to do good work in the shadows. 

The Seraphym is one of their push daggers with a great deal of input from real-world operators. Constructed of S30V or 154CM steel, this blade is a one-piece construction, save for its canvas Micarta scales. A lot of thought went into this design, and it’s been in the company’s lineup probably since the beginning. 

The Kydex sheath is extremely well made and keeps it secure on your person.


+ This knife has one of the best push dagger handle treatments we’ve seen and used.

+ The profile and grinds make it excel at penetration.

+ The sheath is next-level greatness in Kydex — it keeps the blade secure yet doesn’t slow it down for rapid deployment.


– Mercworx is a custom manufacturing facility; there’s typically a wait for their knives or a higher price on the secondary market.

– The edge could’ve been sharper, but it didn’t prevent it from penetrating various types of material. 

Cold Steel Safe Maker I

If you’ve ever seen the movie Platoon, this knife may seem familiar. An earlier version was made in Japan using different materials for the steel and sheath, but with the same blade length and profile. 

Cold Steel has been producing push daggers since the mid 1980s with minor tweaks over the years. Compared to the earlier versions, the latest models cover more of the knife’s stem with rubber for comfort. The handle treatment aids in retention and provides leverage for cutting tasks.


+ The blade is AUS8A, a decent stainless steel with hardness, rust resistance, and ease of sharpening. 

+ Although the original had a great leather sheath, the new polymer one is good and excels in retention.

+ Scary sharp edge and insane geometrical plane make this knife excellent at penetration.


– AUS8A tends to lose its edge quickly with a lot of use; save this knife for self-defense.

– The blade is a bit long for concealment purposes.

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