If you've been here several years you've probably seen many threads/arguements on what is a tactical folder, does it actually exist or is it just a buzz word, etc.
What, exactly, does tactical actually mean? I've been on the forums for a few years now, and have yet to come across what I feel is an adequate answer. Can you provide a list of attributes that you are looking for?
If you're a mall ninja then 'tactical folder' means a bad ass looking knife that you can use for self defense against terrorist and gang members.
For most folks a 'tactical folder' is a folder with the following characteristics: One handed opening, a locking mechanism, single blade, modern materials (ie macarta, carbon fiber, not jigged bone).
But, everyone will argue this one for the next couple of decades.
As not to steal the thread, short answer I'd go with a Benchmade. Emersons have never appealed to me for some reason. I have a ZT300 and while it's an awesome knife it's also extremely large for EDC use. I also have a Stride SNG and the blade profile is way to thick for EDC use (in my opinion at least). I'd like to get one with a slicer grind, I think that would work a lot better. Maybe if you can pick one of those up, they're solid well made knives as well.
All that being said, there are a lot of custom makers who can get you something almost or as cheap as a Strider or good Emerson. Check the custom knife maker for sale forum. Check the individuals selling custom knives. David Mosier, John W. Smith, Todd Begg, Kirby Lamber, there are a lot of great tactical folders out there for a reasonable price.
WTB annual Sebenza or Mnandi with ivory. Needs to be the large white ivory as I would like to have it scrimshawed.