Characteristics of Karambit Knives

Karambit Knives

Karambit knives are an ancient style of blade that was first developed by farmers. Over the years it has spread to other countries, each changing it slightly to suit their area and needs. In the US, that change has resulted in a spring assisted karambit knife. Despite this change, there are characteristics which must be there in order for it to be truly considered a karambit.

What is a Karambit Knife

The karambit was developed in Southeast Asia for use in farming. As with all things, it found its way to the military, where it became a weapon of last resort. The blade is curved in a crescent shape, mimicking a tiger’s claw.
Frequently used in a reverse grip, karambits are a standard part of weapons training for many styles of martial arts.

Parts of a Karambit

Karambits have a simple, yet distinct, structure. The inward curve of the blade utilizes the entire length for cutting.
The handle is curved as well, usually at the same ratio as the blade, so it forms a crescent moon. In folding knives, this varies slightly and is dependent on the maker.

Finally, there is the safety ring. This feature is what makes the karambit truly unique. The user can hook a finger – either index or pinky – through the ring for added grip and user safety.


Offers precise levels of control, and uses the entire blade when making cuts. This reduces the effort of the wielder and makes cutting much easier. The safety ring on the handle provides better grip in a variety of situations, including in mud, freezing conditions, or in a fight.

If using a style of karambit such as a folding one with a spring assisted open, you have the benefits of not needing a sheath and quick deployment of the blade. The fighting style of a karambit is vastly different to a straight knife, and as such could take an opponent off guard.

Finally, the knife is intimidating. The wicked curve to it, combined with a grip and stance that claim knowledge of its use, would be enough to deter a number of fights. As every student of martial arts knows, the best fight is the one that was avoided.


Karambits can be difficult to sharpen, due to the nature of the curve. This is easily remedied by finding a shop that has professional sharpening available or taking a class to learn more about proper sharpening techniques.

They are very particular in their uses, which are primarily for agrarian or combat uses. For forest survival situations you would do better checking out other styles of knives.

A manual folder could reduce your time if you’re in a combat situation, and would be better avoided. If you’re truly interested in this style and prefer a folder, it’s best to do a bit of shopping. It would be simple to find a spring assisted karambit knife for sale, especially during the holiday season.

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