A fighting knife has a blade designed most effectively to inflict injury in short-range physical confrontation. The combat knife and the trench knife are examples of military fighting knives.Fighting knives were traditionally designed as special-purpose weapons, intended primarily if not solely for use in personal or hand-to-hand combat. This singleness of purpose originally distinguished the fighting knife from the field knife, fighting utility knife, or in modern usage, the tactical knife. The tactical knife is a knife with one or more military features designed for use in extreme situations, which may or may not include a design capability as a fighting or combat weapon. Since World War I, the fighting knife in military service has gradually evolved into a dual-purpose or "fighting-utility" knife, suited for both knife fighting and utility roles. As a consequence, the terms "fighting knife" and "tactical knife" are frequently employed interchangeably.

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