Chances are you’re not going to get into a knife fight with a folding knife, but having assorted backup knives within reaching distance of both hands can get you out of some tough situations. So when you’re looking for a knife to accompany the rest of your tactical survival gear, consider the following:
Opening mechanism - If you’re in a situation where you’re hanging upside down, make sure you can quickly open your blade one-handed with no chance of dropping it. Anyone who deals in knives will tell you that the opening system is a personal preference...and then he’ll tell you why his favorite is the best.
Lock - Again, different knives have different locking mechanisms...liner, bolt, lockback. Putting the blade away safely and easily can be just as important as opening it, so make your decision wisely.
Tip - Different tips have different ways of tapering, which isn’t just ornamental...the point and tip determines how the blades penetrates and how it acts afterward.
Steel - You probably won’t need these knives for many knife fights, but you still want your steel to be strong. Don’t trust your life or your job to a Walmart knife or some Kershaw knockoff you picked up in Iraq. It’s important that a knife blade won’t break under pressure, and equally important that it will hold an edge under constant use.
Serrations - How important will serrations be to you? If you’re constantly cutting rope and want to save your straight edge, then serrations might be right. Keep in mind though that serrations are not able to be sharpened in the field or even by most professional human sharpeners. Even if the manufacturer offers free sharpening, serrations are often excluded.
Size - When you’re using a fixed-blade fighting knife for combat (or as a useful threatening tool), blade length can give you an obvious advantage. But when it comes to folding knives, blade length isn't really much of an issue other than to try to impress your friends. You've also got to keep local laws in mind...if you forget to take some blades out of your pocket before you leave the house and you could get in trouble with local blade-length restrictions.
Take a look at what you’ll be using your folding knife for and buy accordingly for an excellent addition to your tactical survival gear.