Performing some basic research on stiletto knives will reveal to you that it is an Italian blade popularly referred to as the Italian stiletto. This is because it was first invented in Italy in the 15th century. However, it is not the only form of a stiletto, as this knife is made in different countries of the world.
The main reason for this worldwide popularity is its versatile uses. At present, a stiletto knife is used for utility purposes, thrusting, stabbing, and for self-defense. The Italian models have been popular as a street armament and infamous as a killing weapon.
Still, this does not stop other users from using a stiletto for self-defense and utility purposes. It is known for its easily distinguishable and distinct design, although many structural changes have been introduced over the years without affecting its essential features. Let’s find out more about this knife.
The term ‘stiletto’ is derived from ‘Stilus,’ which is a Latin word. This Latin word refers to anything that is built like a needle and is thin.
A stiletto knife is a smart knife with a sleek design, typical short length, and a slim blade terminating at a pointed tip. The thin and narrow blade ending at a tip contributes to the knife’s slender look.
This knife sets itself apart from other knives through its unique features, namely sharp and narrow blade, slim build, pointed tip, and a comfortable grip. Although thin, the blade is pretty sharp due to which it has a blood-stained history.
The blade and tip are responsible for making this knife effective in stabbing, as the narrow design and sharp end aid in curtailing the friction force at the time of the stabbing. As a result, the knife’s penetrating capacity rises despite its short length and enables the blade to enter deeper into the target.
As per the general inference, a stiletto knife is similar to a dagger whose blade is narrow and razor-like sharp, and the endpoint looks like a needle. You can effortlessly hide it because of its light build and compact size.
Currently, a stiletto knife is highly preferred as a reliable weapon for defense. The credit goes to the lightweight design and sharp edge, the combination of which can guard anyone in any emergency. You can keep it in your wallet, purse, or pocket and save yourself from any assault.
2020’s 3 Best Stiletto Knives
Amazon doesn’t let manufactures of stiletto knives to list their items in the market place. The knives given below are close to the classical stiletto knives.
Boker Plus 02BO1942 V-42 with Sheath
This knife is derived from the Fairbairn-Sykes stiletto that British commandos used in England. It is especially for those who fear close-range fight or want a classical stiletto with a fixed blade.
The 7-inch long black blade is coated with SK-5 carbon steel to resist abrasion and sustain the edge at the time of confrontation wherein a higher edge is essential. The double-edged design makes both the sides sharp.
The leather handle features thick leather padding and a grooved thumb rest that contributes to an excellent grip. Further, at its end, a sharp, curvy pommel is sufficient to harm the attacker. Your hand is ensured full protection due to the crossguard connecting the handle and the blade.
Furthermore, the total length of 12 inches is both suitable and exceptional.
- Creative design
- Easy to open
- Longer and heavier for better efficiency
- Matchless balance
- Quality sheath
- Not very sharp
TAC Force TF-719BK Assisted Opening Folding Tactical Knife
Consider this assisted-opening stiletto if you want to invest in an extremely durable and stable stiletto. The drop-point, surgically-graded blade made up of stainless steel is 3.25-inch long and 3 mm thick. It features a half-serrated design.
With the simple one-handed deployment, this folding stiletto locks firmly into place via the liner lock. When fully opened, the overall length is 8 inches.
The handle is strong and made up of aluminum. It comes with a glass breaker and a seat belt cutter on end, which are useful tools in an emergency. Both the blade and the handle are resistant to corrosion and rusting. There is also a pocket clip for easy carry in this folding tactical knife.
- Legal blade size in many states
- Fine window breaker
- Value for money
- A bit dull blade
CRKT M16-01S EDC Folding Pocket Knife
If you are looking for a small-sized stiletto, this pocket knife can be your best bet. The blade of this popular knife is made using the highly stainless AUS 8A steel. The edges are as sharp as a razor and culminate at the sharp pointed ends.
A few more interesting features include the aluminum handles with superb grip, sleek bead-blasted surface, and a finished coating forming an electric discharge cladding. Above all, this knife is legalized due to which you can take it almost everywhere. It operates via a leaf-like lock implementing the spring mechanism and opens only with your control.
- Easy to open with pocket or thumb
- Firm grip
- Not that suitable for left-handed users
A stiletto knife is believed to be a new form of a dagger. This is because the design looks much similar to the dagger. The pointed edge and sharp blade match with that of the dagger.
Due to these uses, stilettos were popular in the Medieval period during which the soldiers used it to slay down the enemies. They were dependable tools, as they could easily get through the hard, armored body where a sword failed.
During this era, knights used to keep these knives as backup tools on top of their major swords. This was because of the narrow blade that could effortlessly fit through the gaps in heavy armor.
For several years, stilettos have played the role of a stabbing weapon due to its simple yet efficient design. It is essential to note that they are not made for cutting, slicing, or slashing.
During the early to mid 20th century, gangsters used stilettos. Several switchblades designed later are now actually folding stilettos. Earlier, these knives were available as only fixed-blade tools. The narrow and slim blade design was common, but the cross-sections of these tools were usually round, square, diamond, or triangular.
Although comparable to daggers, stiletto knives tend to differ significantly. While the former comes with double-edged blades, the latter has blades of a single edge.
Today, stilettos are concealable self-defense tools.
Benefits of Stilettos
The best stiletto knife is such that it can meet all your requirements without any hassle. Following are some of the most commendable benefits of stiletto knives:
- Light and small enough to be carried anywhere but powerful enough to hit an attacker
- Cleanly and professionally cut herbs and veggies possible although stiletto is not meant for cutting
- Legally acceptable in many regions
- Durable enough to work in any rough and tough situation
- Easy to use
- A versatile tool to help you in various situations
- Reliable if the knife has the right grip, as it will then not slip out of your hand when in use
- Safe, as the knife will not harm you if it is perfect for you.
The Difference between Stiletto and Other Similar Knives
If you look at the World Wide Web for stiletto knives, do not get surprised to see the results of switchblades and automatic knives. This is because many stilettos are categorized as switchblades or automatic knives instead of the more conventional assisted opening knives.
These two knives are legal to possess and carry in some American regions but do not mix them with assisted opening knives. However, their interstate trade is still banned based on a law passed in 1958.
It is vital not to use stilettos and assisted-opening or automatic knives interchangeably, as both have separate application niches. The former tools are knives in which the blade comes out of the handle when you push a button made for initiating this spring functionality. A spring applies tension on the knife once you close it.
On the contrary, for using an assisted-opening knife, you need to push the blade open by applying your force. When closed, nothing exists to hold it.
Well, there are automatic stilettos whose blades are ideal for self-defense, thrusting, and stabbing. Assisted-opening knives cannot perform these tasks efficiently. They are better suited for slashing, cutting, and heavy-duty tasks.
To differentiate between the two, take a glance at the blade’s resting position. If the blade inclines to open without any interruption, it is undoubtedly an automatic model. However, if there is no hurdle for the blade when closed, then it is likely to be an assisted-opening knife.
In the case of an automatic switchblade model, a thumb stud or some button exists. This is something that will not be present on any assisted-opening model.
In short, the best stiletto knife belongs to a distinct niche and is more suitable as a self-defense tool that can go well with a hidden carry handgun.
Types of Stilettos
Right since the initiation, stilettos have evolved significantly. Let’s explore each of their versions.
- A stiletto was originally introduced as a fixed blade knife with a needle-pointed end and a narrow blade. This design restricted its use for offensive and deadly purposes while on the battleground or in a harmful situation.
- Later, due to the matching look, some stilettos were classified as automatic, mechanical knives or switchblades. These stilettos were further classified into Out-The-Front (OTF) and spring-loaded knives. The former ones open manually by coming out from the handle’s front or taking the benefit of gravity to release the blade from the front by pushing a button. The spring-loaded ones tend to open mechanically from the side and have a sharp, pointy blade due to which they are now considered as stilettos.
- Currently, all stilettos available commercially have double edges as well as needle-like tips.
Both these automatic knives come into action when the users are aware that they will be able to use one hand to push the blade out. Thus, all they need to do is press a lever or a button for unleashing the blade. This is perhaps the reason why these forms of stilettos are termed as switchblades.
Nevertheless, this does not mean that the OTF knives featuring drop-point blades are rare. They, too, are widely available on sale; it only demands a smart look to get founded.
Depending on the different mechanism in use, stilettos are classified into the following categories:
- Firing button as the most common automatic stiletto knife with a button for unleashing the blade
- Lever mainly is seen in Italian stilettos whose blades open when the lever is pulled
- Hidden release in which the blade opens from the handle’s front bolster (Several variants are available in this category)
- AXIS pull release with AXIS locks on manual folders, and a thumb stud on the handle’s every side playing the role of a locking mechanism
Types of Build Materials in Stilettos
Usually, stilettos are made using steel. However, when it comes to stilettos, knowing the type of steel in use does not matter much, as there is no need to retain an edge. As they are not for cutting but puncturing, knowing about the cutting edge is of no use.
These knives need just two features: Not so soft such that they bend and not so tough such that they get brittle. Just for knowledge, stilettos are made usually of one of the following types of steel:
- SK-5 carbon steel with manganese as well as a higher carbon content for retaining the edge longer than usual. Although the sharpening time is longer than usual and is prone to rust (the modern knives come with some anti-rust coating to prevent rusting.)
- AUS 8A stainless steel with less carbon content but more vanadium to make it stronger and highly resistant to rust, although not meant for heavy-duty tasks.
- 1095 steel with higher carbon content to retain the edge for a longer time and resist wearing out.
Stilettos, originally made in Italy, are available in different designs and variations. Their main use these days is self-defense. Before buying any of them, check whether it is legal to use it in your region.