While exploring some badass fighting knives, a karambit knife comes up as the obvious option. With en ergonomic design, a curved blade, and a safety ring, it is the most incredible knife ever built. 

Though it was originally a farming tool, it evolved into a very useful fighting knife. The history suggests that it was not a major fighting knife for many, but in Southeast Asia, it was a primary fighting weapon. 

Furthermore, the design of the knife gives it a badass appearance and it seems a good weapon for fighting. But, it is a good fighting knife? We are presenting a detailed review of karambit knife as a fighting weapon

But, before learning about its fighting capabilities, first learn what type of bladed weapon it is.

What is a Karambit Knife?

Karambit knife is perhaps the only knife that is more popular due to its shape and design. It is a knife with a curved blade. Well, many knives have curved blades, but karambit featured a little curved handle as well. 

The original design of this knife is based on a tiger’s claw. There is a safety ring installed in the handle as well in order to get a better control over the knife. 

The knife serves in tasks like slicing, tearing, ripping and hooking etc. In the modern days, karambits are used as utility blades, self defense knives and fighting weapons.

There are two types of karambit knives available in the market today, the fixed blade karambits and folding karambits. The earliest ones had the fixed blades, but the folding karambits are the advanced versions.

The folding karambit is majorly used for self defense and utility uses due to ease of carrying it. The enthusiasts today love to own these knives, mainly because of their incredible design and ergonomic handles.

Karambit, a Fighting Knife - Evidences From The History

Before analyzing it as a fighting weapon, it is necessary to dig deep some history to determine how a karambit knife served in the past. As mentioned before, it was originally a farming tool and a utility knife. 

It was originated in Indonesia during the 11th century. However, it was quickly adopted as a utility knife in Philippines, Malaysia and other areas of Southeast Asia. 

The knife was known for its cutting precision, better retention and sustainability. Hence, it was carried as a pocket knife in the ancient days. Not just the men, but the women also used this knife for diverse purposes.

To be honest, it wasn’t a primary fighting weapon in the early days. Rather, it served as a tool for harvesting crops and for accomplishing different everyday tasks. It could be handy in providing precise cuts. 

So, it was intended to be used by the men and women for such specific purposes. However, the knife quickly transformed into a combat and survival knife. 

Knowing the capabilities of the blade, the users realized that it can prove to be extremely advantageous as a fighting weapon. The installation of safety ring was then conducted because the earliest karambits did not essentially feature a ring. 

So, this made it a perfect fighting tool.

The historians have suggested that people were eager to use this as a fighting knife. Many women tended to carry this for self defense. However, men preferred the knife for combat. 

The design and sturdiness of the blade along with the features made this knife a good fighting weapon. The earliest karambit knives of Philippines and Indonesia did not feature a ring but were still effective in combat. 

The knife could inflict severe injuries and was easy to use. It was quite difficult to disarm and offered a great control over the weapon. 

While the history suggests that it was used as a weapon for fighting and defense, but let’s analyze the modern karambit as a fighting knife by weighing both the advantages and drawbacks.

Karambit as a Fighting Weapon - Pros

  • Easy to Carry

Karambit knife is one of the easiest to carry weapons. In a combat situation, you never want your weapon to be uncomfortable to carry. For instance, swords are often too heavy and become difficult to carry. 

Therefore, you would feel uncomfortable as a warrior during fight and end up getting ripped apart. This is where a karambit knife comes up as a useful fighting weapon. It can be kept in the pocket as a secret weapon. 

Also, it would allow you to carry more than one weapons at a time. The modern folding karambits are, in fact, considered excellent for self defense because their blades can be folded inside the handle to reduce the overall size of the knife. 

This enables the users to carry it easily in the pocket.

  • The Safety Ring

The Safety ring was not a necessary part of a karambit knife in the ancient days. However, the modern karambits necessarily feature a safety ring. It is often provided at the top of the handle. 

However, a few include an additional ring at the bottom of the handle as well. These rings work perfectly for the fighters who can secure a good grip on the knife. 

The purpose behind the inclusion of safety ring is to make it a fighting weapon that can be controlled with ease. You can put your finger inside the handle to maintain a strong grip. 

This would make it impossible for your opponents to disarm you. This would be like wearing a ring on your finger that additionally includes a blade. So, this is a perfect feature that makes it a wonderful fighting weapon.

  • No Sheath Required

Remember the earlier karambit knives had fixed blades which caused a slight disadvantage. The users needed to put on a leather protective sheath in order to avoid any self-harm. 

Even today, if you are carrying a fixed blade karambit, you definitely require a sheath. This would make it a less effective fighting weapon because it would lessen the deployment speed. 

An additional minute would be spent in an attempt to uncover it before you draw the blade. However, a folding karambit is just an ideal fighting weapon because it does not require any protective sheath. 

The blade can be folded inside the handle, and hence, you require nothing to cover the blade as the handle has already done the job for you.

  • Quick Deployment

The most significant thing you consider in a fighting weapon is its deployment speed. If your weapon lacks quickness, you would end up losing the fight and getting severely injured. 

This would pose a serious threat because your opponents would be on an advantage. A karambit knife has an edge over all other fighting weapons because it offers quickest deployment. 

Whether you are equipped with a fixed blade or folding karambit, the blade can be deployed at immense speed. In case of a folding karambit, you just need to partially open the blade with some assistance and the blade would get to its position at once. 

So, this is another cool feature that makes it an effective fighting weapon.

  • Durable And Sturdy Blade

Karambit knife is one of the strongest knives ever constructed. The users regard it a”badass knife” considering the sharpness and sturdiness its blade possesses. 

There is an immense power in the blade which allows you to cut, slice, hook, rip and tear. The blade is a durable one which would last longer in a fight than any other knife. 

The users often disclose the strength and durability offered by this incredible knife.

  • No Chance for Self-Harm

The modern karambit pocket knives are outstanding fighting weapons because they don’t cause any self-harm. It has happened on many occasions during fights and combats that the person damaged himself with his own weapon. 

For instance, a warrior while carrying a knife accidentally hurt himself because there was no sheath on the blade. However, a folding karambit comes up as a fighting weapon with no likeliness of such accidental injuries. 

The blade is folded and locked inside under a secure locking mechanism. This mechanism makes sure that the blade does not deploy unless a force is implied to open it. 

Hence, this makes it an ideal weapon in fighting and combat situations.

Karambit as a Fighting Weapon - Cons

  • Small Blade

Keeping in mind the needs of the fighters today, karambit knife isn’t an ideal fighting weapon. The blade is just too small! A small blade would be ineffective because it would not be that threatening for your opponents. 

If they are equipped with larger blades, you are likely to be buried during the fight. I’m not taking anything away from these small blades as stronger weapons, but the size is too small for the likes of a fighting weapon.

  • Restricted Reach

Due to small size of the blade of karambit knife, its reach is restricted. The fixed blade karambits are slightly larger, but still feature smaller blades that have limited reach. 

You would never prefer a weapon like this in an intense fight, especially when the others are equipped with larger weapons.

  • Ineffective Against a Larger Weapon

A karambit knife would be extremely ineffective when you are fighting with the people equipped with larger weapons. In case they are using swords or bigger knives like machetes, your karambit isn’t capable to tackle them. 

They would have extended reach compared to your weapon. Also, it would become difficult to defend yourself in a fight.

  • Less Lethal

Having mentioned the small size of the karambit knife, it proves to be less lethal. In a fight, you would always want a weapon that has lethal impacts. A small blade can’t pose serious threats and can’t inflict severe injuries. 

Against a larger weapon, it stands no chance. The blade is sturdy but not that damaging.

  • Limited Moves

A fighting weapon must have a few capabilities and the most prominent is that it should be good for stabbing moves. A karambit knife is not capable of doing stabbing actions. 

Raher, it can only perform functions like slicing, tearing, ripping and hooking etc. So. this isn’t a multipurpose blade. Also, remember it was just a farming tool in the beginning and was not even a primary fighting weapon. 

So, this makes it a slightly incapable fighting weapon.


I believe many of you are confused about making a decision regarding a karambit knife. Whether it is a good or a bad choice as fighting weapon is still unclear. 

Comparing both its pros and cons, I have concluded that it is a good as well as a bad fighting weapon. But, it still depends upon the situation in which the fight is taking place. 

For instance, in a close quarter combat, karambit would be an ideal fighting knife because you won’t have to worry about its limited reach and moves. 

However, it does not stand any chance in front of heavier blades, such as machetes and swords.

Karambit knife, being an ineffective weapon for stabbing, won’t be a choice for fighters. This is because they would prefer a stabbing weapon rather than the one that is intended for cutting and slicing actions. 

There are some features that are just perfect for a fighting weapon, such as quick deployment, better retention and control, and ease of carry. 

However, its restricted capabilities are still a question mark. If you ask me to dare to conclude, I would still be in favor of using of karambit knives as fighting weapon, considering its key features!