My 5.11 Tactical Karambit Review

5.11 Tactical Karambit Review
Overall Rating: 3/5
Effectiveness: 2/5
Durability: 4/5
Price: $$$

The 5.11 Tactical Karambit is a beautiful take on the traditional East Asian fighting knife.

As a brief history lesson, the Karambit was one of the earliest known weapons having originated nearly 1,000 years ago in West Sumatra, Indonesia. However, instead of offering a Karambit which feels like an ode to the historic roots of this weapon, the 5.11 Karambit feels like a much more modern and futuristic knife with a much shorter blade.

Make no mistake, this is a tactical knife in the defense category. There’s no multipurpose element to this knife, it has one single solitary function and that is to inflict maximum damage and painful cutting wounds.

There are two ways to hold this knife. The hammer grip, where the blade points downward, and the traditional grip, where the blade points upward. The optimal way to hold the knife depends on the situation, but because the 5.11 Karambit has a smaller blade than many other type of Karambits I found it to be less effective when using the traditional grip.

The 5.11 Karambit is very light and easy to handle with AUS8 blade steel. This means it is a true stainless steel, which helps the blade retain its sharpness and avoid corrosion. This is not a blade you are going to need to sharpen regularly assuming you take good care of the knife.

I recommend carrying this knife defensively when, for example, you know you will be in an area prone to muggings, robbing, etc. One of the key advantages a Karambit has over other knives, is that it just plain looks scary. Any attacker is going to be intimidated when they see you remove a karambit from your waistband. Hopefully, the intimidation alone will be enough to force your attacker to retreat. However, if close combat ensues, your attacker can be dispatched.

My biggest gripe about the weapon is the 3.7 inch blade, which is modeled after the Filipino martial arts variety of the karambit. To be effective a Karambit is best used in a slashing motion. However, because the 5.11 Karambit has such a short blade, it is slightly difficult to use this weapon except from very very close range. Some claim that the shorter blade makes it easier to maneuver, but I felt it simply increased the margin for error.

My other gripe is on the price, there are thousands of Karambits in the $10 – $20 range, so it’s kind of hard to justify dropping $100+ on a 5.11 karambit.

Overall this is a fun knife to own. If you are a collector or someone who wants a high-quality close quarters combat weapon that will last a lifetime, the 5.11 karambit is a fine choice. However, because there are so many other karambits in a less expensive price range, those with budget limitations may want to consider alternatives.

– Durable and made with high-quality AUS8 Steel
– Light and easy to grip

– Short 3.7 inch blade
– More expensive than alternatives at $100+

Thanks for reading, please let me know what you thought about this review in the comments below!

2 Replies to “My 5.11 Tactical Karambit Review”

    1. Hi Delgado, that wouldn’t be advisable. As mentioned in the review, this is a single purpose combat knife. If you are interested in multipurpose knives, check out our other tactical knife reviews.

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