Few Knives Are As Immediately Recognizable As The Dagger. It’s An Ancient Design That Still Wows Even In The 21st Century.
The dagger is immortal. Versions have been found dating to ancient times, and it’s a staple in many popular video games today like Elden Ring. It takes a special blade to have that type of longevity, and the dagger has aged gracefully over the centuries.
The dagger remains popular today thanks to its utilitarian nature. The single- or double-edged blade that tapers to a fine point remains as excellent in close combat today as it did in the past, and that doesn’t take into account all the ways that daggers are used in ceremonies around the world. They do, of course, also make great collectibles.
There are few knives as iconic as the dagger.
History Of The Dagger
The first daggers date back many thousands of years. Early man fashioned daggers from animal bone, chipped them from flint and knapped them from obsidian, among other examples. Archaeologists have found copper daggers dating back to the third millennium BC in the Bronze Age. Copper and bronze daggers were discovered dating back to the pre-dynasty era in Egypt. There were even a pair of daggers, one made from meteorite and the other from gold, found in King Tut’s tomb.
Daggers were some of the first objects made after the discovery of the process of smelting iron, with some of the best in antiquity made on the Iberian peninsula.
In the Middle Ages, the dagger was a common weapon carried by European knights into battle. As dagger design evolved throughout the Middle Ages, the thin stiletto dagger became more popular.
In the 17th and 18th centuries, the dagger was popular as a weapon and was even used as a backup blade in fencing. In modern times, especially as military methods became more advanced from the mid-19th century onward, the dagger replaced the more regal sabers used by officers in battle as it was more nimble in trench warfare.
Among other uses, modern bayonets like the M7 and M9 serve as daggers that can be attached to a rifle. However, handheld daggers aren’t as popular today as in the past. A common variety is a boot knife, named for its small size and ability to be concealed in a sheath clipped inside a boot and covered by a pant leg.
More than its military use, daggers, in popular culture, are often associated with assassins, criminals and other rogues. This has affected the laws around owning daggers today.
Where Can I Buy A Dagger?
That simple question has a complicated answer. It is possible to purchase a dagger today, and we will showcase a trio of high-quality daggers below, but there are many laws in place in regard to these knives.
There are 17 states with laws specifically on the books relating to daggers. None outright ban the knife, but many do make it illegal to carry in one way or another. The laws outlawing ownership are usually in regards to convicted felons.
However, many more states have nebulous laws outlawing carrying certain types of “dangerous weapons,” which can include daggers in certain circumstances. So be sure to check your local laws before buying a dagger.
Top Dagger Options Available Today
These daggers are inspired by the centuries of daggers that have come before them. Whether tactical or more classical in design, these knives shine.
Winkler Tactical Dagger
This tactical dagger from Winkler was designed for the military by people in the military. It isn’t a show knife for people looking to cosplay as their favorite action star. This is the real deal.
The 5.5-inch blade is 3/16-inch-thick 80CrV2 carbon steel with a black oxide Caswell finish and has a Rockwell hardness of 59-60 HRC. The blade is made for combat and will handle the abuse you throw at it. Both edges are ground to a razor edge.
A tapered tang runs through the entirety of the wasp sculpted canvas laminate handle to give you a strong, sturdy grip. The piece comes with a custom-lined Kydex sheath for secure carry. Made in the USA, the knife is an absolute winner.
Spartan Les George V14 Dagger
Designed by award-winning knifemaker Les George, the V14 from Spartan Blades is about as high quality as it gets. A Marine veteran, Les knows what is needed from a dagger and puts it all into this one.
The V14 has a beefy 6.75-inch blade of symmetrically ground CPM S35VN stainless steel heat-treated to a Rockwell hardness of 58-60 HRC that provides great edge retention and durability. The handle is 3D-contoured black G-10 that wraps a full tang to provide a strong grip. This knife isn’t going anywhere in your hand, and the blade’s not going to snap in two when deployed. The Kydex sheath is MOLLE compatible.
Blackside Customs P7 Dagger
This piece from Blackside Customs is the smallest of the three knives on our list but no less functional.
The 3.5-inch blade is CTS-XHP stainless steel with an OD green Cerakote® finish. The smaller size makes the P7 more feasible as an EDC if you prefer your standard carry to be a fixed blade. The G-10 grips are double-riveted to the tang for a comfortable grip when deployed.
The Kydex sheath lets you carry the knife easily and discreetly. The smaller blade means a lower weight. At just 3.5 ounces, almost three times lighter than the heaviest knife on this list, the P7 is a sleek piece that moves with grace and ease.
- The M7 Bayonet: From Combat To The Campsite
- Utility Knives: A Worker’s Best Friend
- Gravity Knives: What You Need To Know
NEXT STEP: Download Your Free KNIFE GUIDE Issue of BLADE MagazineBLADE’s annual Knife Guide Issue features the newest knives and sharpeners, plus knife and axe reviews, knife sheaths, kit knives and a Knife Industry Directory.
Get your FREE digital PDF instant download of the annual Knife Guide. No, really! We will email it to you right now when you subscribe to the BLADE email newsletter.