One of the oldest weapons, daggers earned an evil reputation early in history as the favorite tools of assassins and thieves, a theme reflected accurately in today’s video games. Small and easily concealed, the knife’s success depended on surprise. In open combat, warriors of ancient armies carried daggers as backup weapons but depended on polearms for the main attack.
During Europe’s dueling era, daggers became the preferred offhand defense weapon. Parrying daggers with specially designed blade-catching hilts became popular among fencers, but the need faded as firearms took over both the military and dueling worlds. Today’s soldiers carry daggers for the same reasons as their predecessors — it’s a deadly knife that’s easily tucked away in a boot or pocket, something to grab for a last defense or a first strike. For collectors, daggers offer some of the most beautiful styles, since even the simplest still shows the symmetry and primal quality of this most ancient knife pattern. The look has had all of human history to evolve.
Daggers aren’t the most practical knives for ordinary work, so if combat isn’t your reason for knife shopping, consider that a dagger’s double edge provides very poor thumb leverage. If you’re shaping a piece of wood for a shelter frame or dressing out game at the edge of camp you need a knife that’s more controllable. The dagger is more weapon than tool.
A truly amazing functional replica of Old World technology, our choice for the best dagger is the Main Gauche Trident takes parrying to the highest possible levels.
The 1918 Trench Dagger’s brutal efficiency qualifies it as one of the finest fighting knives ever built. It’s everything you need except pretty.
From the Swords of the Ancients series, the Navros Dagger shows the imagination and technical expertise of a fine artist in engraved steel.