Do you know how many knives you need to survive should you be in an emergency situation? If you have the right survival knife, you will only need one.
With the current focus being on the collection of survival needs, everyone is stocking up on emergency items. These items are first aid, paracords, and knives, just to mention a few. There are so many emergency articles to choose from. How does one make the decision which is best? The following buyers guide of the 10 best survival knives is meant to make this choice easier
In a Rush? The Winner after 19 hours of testing is:
- KA-BAR Full Size US Marine Corps Fighting Knife
- Buck Knives 119 Special Fixed Blade Knife
- ESEE Knives 6P Fixed Blade Knife
- Smith & Wesson SWHRT9B High Carbon S.S. Survival Knife
- Gerber LMF II Survival Knife
- Gerber StrongArm Fixed Blade Knife
- Bushcrafter 162 Survival Knife
- KA-BAR Becker BK2 Campanion Survival Knives
- Morakniv Garberg Full Tang Fixed Blade Knife
- Cold Steel Recon 1 Tactical Knife
1 KA-BAR Full Size US Marine Corps Fighting Knife
The KA-BAR knife history has been in service since 1898. Our knives have been undergoing the same procedure for manufacturing and review to assure each knife is quality made, and is durable, corrosive resistant, and has a blade that is razor sharp.
Protected Leather Sheath
Your KA-BAR survival knife is outfitted with a durable, protective leather sheath. Unlike other knives of its kind, it will not corrode; it will remain sharp, tough, and durable.
Ideal for Gift Giving
This KA-BAR knife is the official United States fighting knife of the Marine Corps. If you know someone who is celebrating their U.S. Military anniversary or a future retiree; this is the perfect gift for them. It has a brass guard and pommel that is plated gold. The ideal way to show your pride in service of the U.S. Military.
Cost & Value
The value of this survival knife is durably constructed with a 1095 Cro-Van Steel. It has 20 degree edged angles. It has a blade that is 7 inches long and its total length is 11.875 inches! You (or your gift recipient) is going to love the value you get for the minimal cost.
This is why this is voted top for best survival knife.
2 Buck Knives 119 Special Fixed Blade Knife
This Buck Knife 119 Special has a fixed blade and comes with a sheath made of leather. It comes with a blade that is razor sharp and 6 inches in length. The 420 HC Clip Point blade is resistant to corrosion and extreme strength.
Grip is Comfortable
There are swells for the palm created in the phenolic black handle which gives the user extreme comfort. The pommel/guard is made of aluminum which makes the ideal combination of balance and beauty. This product weighs 7.5 ounces and is 10 ½ inches in length.
A Top Selling Item
The phenolic handle and pommel/guard constructed from aluminum is the ideal blend of grace and dignity. The 119 brand is Buck’s best selling product that can be handed down for years to come.
Cost & Value
The value of this product is that it is made in the U.S.A and has a warranty that is basically forever. This brand of knives has been around since 1902 and offers such a magnificent warranty because we trust in the integrity of our brand.
You are going to be amazed when you see how little this Buck knife costs. This survival knife comes with a belt loop that permits you to transport it safely and easily.
3 ESEE Knives 6P Fixed Blade Knife
The ESEE 6P has a fixed blade and polymer molded sheath. It also has a hole for a lanyard and an attachment with a clip plate.
Blade is as Sharp as a Razor
The blade of this knife is made from a 1095 Black-coated, high-carbon steel. This brand of knife is an unsurpassed product that lasts a long time.
This product offers the buyer an exceptional guarantee. It is for multiple uses. Uses such as survival, military, self-defense, tactical, camping, hiking, fishing, hunting (gutting and skinning) and many other outside activities
Cost & Value
The value of this product gives you a lifetime guarantee. There is no receipt or proof of purchase needed. If you say it needs fixing or replacing, that is all you need to do. With a full-tang handle, and a Micarta handle that is stacked, it gives you an ideal balance of safety and comfort.
4 Smith & Wesson SWHRT9B High Carbon S.S. Survival Knife
This Smith & Wesson brand of fixed blade knife is the ideal tool for outside, survival, tactical and EDC. If you are a knife collector or in the business of first response. Or, if you are a prepper with survival as your main game, you can count on this tool.
This Smith & Wesson SWHRT9B High Carbon survival knife is 9 inches (22.9 cm) in total length. The blade has a length of 4.7 inches (or 12.1 cm) and its overall weight is 7.7 ounces.
Strong Product for Preparation
The sheath for this knife product has a security and confidence that the hand will not slip from the guard. The belt and sheath for this knife makes it the ideal answer for everyday use.
Cost & Value
The best part of the value of this fixed survival knife is rapid and simple the boot and belt sheath makes everyday life. This cutting tool makes sure you are always prepared. You have a lanyard hole and a blood groove that is automatically featured.
The price of this survival knife is so cheap, you will be amazed at the quality you get.
5 Gerber LMF II Survival Knife
This Gerber LMF II Survival Knife is made to set an airline crew free when their aircraft has gone down. This knife is strong enough to ensure the aircraft has adequate fuselage during hard times.
Tang and Butt Cap are Efficient
The butt cap and knife’s tang have protection that is insulated from wires that are straying. This also provides excellent hammering absorption from any effective hammering.
Material for Sheath and Handle
The material that the handle is constructed of is a nylon that is glass-filled with an overmold TPV. In addition, the sheath for this knife is made of a fire coated, ballistic nylon material.
Cost & Value
The number one value of this knife is that it is made in the U.S. Another story of its value is that it is resourceful and resilient. The purpose of this knife product is that it comes from a former military man–Jeff Freeman.
The principle purpose of this knife was to free an aircraft crew from an airplane that has become disabled. The price is a little more than the average knife. However, it protects the user from stray wires and any shock that is absorbed from hammering.
6 Gerber StrongArm Fixed Blade Knife
The StrongArm survival Blade Knife by Gerber comes in the color black and has an edge that is finely sharpened. This survival knife has a full tang blade made of 420HC steel.
Rubberized, Textured Grip
The blade of this knife has a ceramic coating and the grip on the handle is rubberized diamond texture. The end of the handle can be used as a pommel for striking and breaking objects with force.
The sheath this knife comes equipped with has four sections for mounting. One can mount the sheath vertically from a MOLLE, or horizontally from a 1.75 inch belt. There is also the option of drop-leg style, or wearing it hung from a belt loop.
Cost & Value
Your new survival knife has been made proudly in the U.S.A. at Gerber’s Portland, Oregon manufacturing plant. It weighs 14.1 ounces and dimensions are 3 x 5.5 x 16 inches. You will love the fine edge style blade made from high-carbon 420HC stainless steel. The price will not bust your budget either.
7 Bushcrafter 162 Survival Knife
The Benchmade-Bushcrafter 162 Fixed Outdoor Survival Knife is one awesome product that is created in the USA. This is a survival tool in which its tough style is coupled by a serious desire to complete any actions. No matter how rough the situation, the Bushcrafter 162 can do it!
CPM S30V Steel
This knife has a blade that is made from the finest CPM-S30V American Made steel. The edge is top-notch for its resistance to corrosion and retention. It is made with a drop-point preciseness which makes it extremely versatile and durable.
Body is Extra Strong
The body of this knife is soaked fiberglass with a resin-coating. This feature makes it moisture resistant and capable of handling a variety of climates.
Cost & Value
A knife with an augmented style of use. The sheath this knife comes with is leather, and has a D-ring belt loop which makes it simple to access. The Bushcrafter 162 is extra versatile, the ideal addition to anyone’s knife collection. It also makes great tackle or hunting gear for the fisherman or hunter on your gift list.
8 KA-BAR Becker BK2 Campanion Survival Knives
KA-BAR makes the Becker BK2 Campanion Fixed Blade Knife with a heavy duty full tang. This survival knife has the capacity for doing any chores it attempts.
Ideal Gift for the Outdoorsy Person
If you have an outdoor lover on your gift list, this survival knife is what you have been looking for. This knife can split kindling wood, act as a pry bar, and clean or skin your catch for the day. It is also an excellent tool to use for chopping vegetables for the campfire stew.
As a safety feature, the knife blade locks in place. This is not an error in manufacturing. The knife was constructed in a manner that requires the user to put pressure in a certain area on the sheath. Only then will the blade come unlocked.
Cost & Value
The value of this knife is much greater than its cost. You are going to love how lightweight this survival tool really is. It has a 1095 cro-van steel blade which is extremely strong.
A MOLLE hard plastic, compatible sheath is included with the purchase of this survival knife.
9 Morakniv Garberg Full Tang Fixed Blade Knife
The Morakniv Garberg fixed knife is a full tang survival tool with a stainless steel blade. It comes with a MOLLE mounting system that has the aptitude and capacity of dealing with difficult tasks without fracture.
MOLLE Mounting System
This type of system for mounting ensures a secure way to adhere the knife to vehicle, clothing, walls or backpacks. The MOLLE mounting system makes sure that whatever it adheres the knife to will increase the accessibility in any scenario.
Sandvik Stainless Steel Blade
The stainless steel blade on this survival knife is top-of-the-line 14C28N. This blade is as sharp as a razor, extreme hardness, and an extraordinary durability and resistance to corrosion.
Cost & Value
The value of this survival knife is much greater than its cost. This tool comes in three variations–all separately sold. One variation has a ruggedly, attractive leather sheath. The other version is the MOLLE multiple mounting system with a sheath of polyamide and permits attachments to adhere knives to certain objects.A polyamide sheath makes it easy to adhere the Garberg survival knife to bags, clothing, vehicles, walls, and even another polyamide sheath.
The Garberg variety of survival knife has extreme value with its MOLLE Compatible Mounts. It also has a derivative locking system that allows the transport of several survival knives, a multi-mount base, a belt loop, one narrow and two wider velcro straps.
10 Cold Steel Recon 1 Tactical Knife
This Cold Steel Recon 1 Tactical knife is vacuum-heat-treated and stainless steel blade that is sub-zero quenched. The finish on this knife is resistant to rust and corrosion, takes away the glare, and easily glides through surfaces that are rough.
The finish on this tactical knife made by Cold Steel is durable and resistant to rust and corrosion. The handle is a G10, contoured, laminate scales. They have a scalloped shape to create a grip that is non-slipping.
The dimensions of this survival knife is a blade that is four inches long. The complete length of this knife is 9-⅜ inches and it weighs 5.3 ounces.
Cost & Value
The value of this survival knife is extreme. From a finish that is resistant to corrosion and gets rid of the glare to the laminate scales of the G10 handle. This knife has a thumb disc which makes opening things much easier. As well as a pocket clip for easier, convenient transport of this knife.
This feature is important because of the straight blade they are capable of maintaining their shape. A survival knife does not have any parts that bend. This ensures they are durable enough to face any elements that come their way. A fixed blade has a blade that goes the entire length of the knife.
A knife that is effective is ready whenever you need it. It has a handle that is ergonomic and is easily reachable when needed. It has rings that are easily that are incorporated for the safety of the user and a blade that is curved. The design of this knife is primarily for the user’s safety, no matter what occasion it may be.
The design of the blade is curved in order to dig, tear, slice, hook, and rip. Making this blade an efficient tool for hunting and survival.
The portability is an important consideration when looking for the best survival knife, it will ensure that it is always capable of working in your favor. The portability of your knife will also ensure how well it can be transported from one place to another. Many survival knives have a nylon sheath that allows it to be placed inside of making it simpler to transport and transport it.
The protection a knife allows its user is an essential feature.In order to ensure round the clock protection may rear it ugly head, one must assure they have a survival blade that assures safety. What does “Round the Clock Safety Mean?”
Round the Clock Protection can mean any number of things. Having a knife that protects you can ensure your safety.
Some of the ways a knife can protect the user is by providing an easier opening which gives less of a glare from the sunlight.
The safety hazards of the equipment you buy for your emergency home kit needs to ensure your home will be protected from any dangers outdoors.Survival knives are typically used in outdoor environments
Consider all the points above and how you intent to use the survival knife. This will help you in your decision in choosing the best survival knife for your needs.
Other Factors to Consider
Every knife needs a little accessory to make it complete. Accessories such as a regular sharpening, a good nylon sheath, cleaning, and even something to hang from your keychain.
The accessories you purchase for a survival knife are essential to making it operate properly.
When you have a good survival knife, it is a feeling like none other. When you catch a fish or kill a sought after game animal, you get a feeling that is of success. When you are hunting or fishing or just out camping and enjoying the wilderness, having a good survival knife is key.
If you are a new survivalist or have been in the business for many years, it is imperative to know how to maintain your knives. Knowing what accessories you require to keep your survival knife in good condition goes beyond sharpening, oiling, and disassembly.
When you take a survival knife apart, ensure to take all the screws out and inspect them carefully. Even though screws look the same, they vary according to thread, length, and bit sizes.
When it comes to screws, never force them! If a screw does not turn, do not force it. Many knives are manufactured with red Loctite used to maintain the screws position. All you need to loosen the Loctite up is a little heat. Either use a heat gun or a hair dryer and in no time at all you will have that Loctite loosened up.
A good survival knife is a great thing to have. The best features of this knife needs to be accommodating to the knife’s ventures as well as its user.
Therefore, there are several features you must seek out when shopping for a survival knife. Features such as strength, durability, and size. About 10 total inches is a good size to look for with a blade that is 4.5 inches.
In addition, you want the knife to accomodate to your needs. It needs to be the correct weight that allows you a good grip so you can take care of business.
Here are some other features to look for when out shopping for the ideal survival knife:
- The best tactical knives have a blade that is fixed. A fixed blade will always be stronger and more durable than one that folds. The reason for this is that any joints that bend also create weak points on the product.
- Another excellent feature of a great survival knife is one that has full tang. When a knife is described as having full tang it means that from the handle to the blade’s tip it is one piece of solid metal. A knife with full tang allows better leverage when doing certain activities like levering, chopping, and batoning. Whereas, a knife with only partial tang these activities could be dangerous.
- A knife that has a smooth, sharp as glass edge is better than one that is serrated. Although there are several advantages to serrated blades (such as sawing and rope cutting) a smooth edged knife has more versatility than the serrated counterpart. There are so many things you can use a smooth edge knife for; and the biggest is self-defense! You can also use this type of knife as a food processor and make repairs to gear. A straight, smooth edge on a knife will prove to be most beneficial to your camping event.
- Ensure the blade is made of an adequate material. The best survival knives are constructed of stainless steel or High Carbon Steel. A stainless steel blade is durable, owning more strength. Yet, they can be difficult to sharpen. However, the carbon steel blades require more care, but they are much simpler to keep sharp.
While each of these features make an excellent survival knife; the greatest feature of all is size. Although knives come in a variety of sizes, this feature is imperative because it enables the user’s skill to be accomodated. The length of a blade must be appropriate to the activities you plan to perform with the knife. Which brings us to the next “other factors to consider” and that being “size.”
Knives, and particularly survival knives come in a variety of blade sizes and lengths. Such as:
The smallest knife on the list is 0-1 inch:
A knife blade this small is generally what is known as a utility knife. You will be amazed at how useful and versatile these knives really are. A utility knife is inexpensive, and makes an excellent all-purpose tool for handling small tasks in the home or garage.
- Opening difficult packages
- As a cutting instrument for paracord or string
- Opening up canned foods (such as pet food)
- To cut paper or cardboard with
- And this is just a small list of the many things you can do with an utility knife
Number 2 is the 2-4 inch range:
Usually this size blade you will find on a pocket folding or small fixed blade tool. There is little legal issue with a knife blade this small. Therefore, you will find many pocket folders adhere to this size.
This size of blade is also a good tool for small game hunting. It also makes an excellent pocket knife because of how easily it fits within one’s pocket.
Next, the 5-7 inch blade:
This is the ideal size blade for a tactical/survival knife to have. This size is not too cumbersome nor small and is perfect for doing some serious bushcrafting. This blade length is ideal as a camping tool; it is very versatile and can accomplish almost anything with it.
Next we have the 8-10 inch blade:
Blades in this size range are made for the experienced, hard-core outdoorsman. These knives are cumbersome and sturdy. The fact that they are so large can be a primary disadvantage to this size blade. However, you can use this knife many ways, chopping wood and butchering game are two ways.
Finally, we have those blades larger than 10 inches:
This is actually called a machete. These blades are not very handy, but they can do some serious business chopping. Some of the things a blade bigger than 10 inches can do:
- Great for chopping cane, certain wood, and bamboo
- They work good for cutting and forming blocks of snow for building an igloo
- Chopping up home-grown crops such as corn
- Making a clear path in a thick patch of forest
- Self-defense tool in a man/beast contest
Expert Tips & Advice Regarding
The Laws on Blade Sizes
When discussing the legal statutes in regards to knives can be a misleading topic. The reason for this confusion is the laws are actually divided into three groups of laws/rules. There are laws on ownership, carrying, and “other” knife laws.
- Laws in regards to the ownership of knives makes it illegal to own a knife considered deadly or dangerous. These laws prohibit the ownership of a knife that is affiliated with groups or individuals believed to be dangerous. An example would be the Bowie knife, which is associated with knife fighting. Therefore, it has been outlawed in many U.S. states.
- Laws against the carrying of certain knives–either concealed or in the open. If a knife has been barred from carrying, it has been deemed a weapon and a potential threat to society. The laws in regards to how a knife is carried is also imperative. Some knives are legal to carry in the open but strictly banned to conceal it.
- The laws that fall in the “other” category are in regards to aggravated crimes committed with a knife. A good example is robbery. If someone commits robbery it is a crime; however, if a knife is used during the robbery it becomes an aggravated crime. The punishment of an aggravated crime is more severe than the crime without the knife.
The laws in regards to the size of a knife blade are different depending on which state or country you reside. Certain knives are forbidden to carry and own. Two of the most popular knives on the forbidden list are Bowie and Butterfly. You can use these knives and own them in Montana and Iowa; however, Wisconsin strictly forbids it.
The legal size of a knife also varies depending on where you live. A blade that is three inches long is legal in most areas. Although, it is not recommendable to carry anything larger in public.
In regards to what is the legal size of knife to carry, you need to follow these basic “rules of thumb”:
- Ensure you do not have ownership of a knife that is illegal in your state of residency
- Do not walk around town with a blade larger than three inches
- Do not engage in illegal activities with a knife
- You should never carry a concealed knife; particularly in public
- Do not go into a government building, school, or airport with a concealed knife
How to Disassemble a Pocket Knife
A pocket knife typically features Torx hardware. The first step to taking apart your pocket knife is to remove all the screws. Be mindful to keep them organized as you remove them. Screws may look alike but there could be variations in thread, bit, or length of each screw.
You can also look up on You Tube for a full lesson on the disassembly of your pocket knife. When removing screws remember to never force them. If the screws will not come loose on their own, do not force it. Some knife manufacturers use a material called Loctite to keep screws together. Not to worry, just apply a bit of heat (using a hair dryer or heat gun) those screws will be out in no time.
However, don’t be too dismayed if you stripped the screws already. If you call and ask you will find the manufacturer will happily replace parts for a small shipping fee.
How to Clean Your Pocket Knife
When it comes to cleaning a knife, they could all stand to be cleaned from time to time. If you are unable or willing to disassemble the knife you can always use compressed air to do the job. You are going to need some paper towels, isopropyl alcohol, and cotton swabs to do the job correctly. You will need the cotton swabs to clean areas that are difficult to get to.
Be extremely careful when cleaning the blade–you don’t want to cut yourself in the process. Also, don’t forget to get rid of the Loctite that may be holding the screws and other hardware in place.
Use an eraser to remove any areas that are discolored or patina that is unwanted on the blade. You will be amazed at what a plain, old rubber eraser can do to remove stubborn stains. Also, if there is any rust, deep pitting, or active corrosion on the blade ensure that you remove it first.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What makes a survival knife?
A: The basic features of a survival knife are as follows:
- The first most essential feature of a survival knife is a full tang.
- 3/16 to ¼ in blade thickness
- 4.5 - 6 in blade length
- D2 or 1095 High Carbon Steel materials of blade
- 90 degree blade spine
- Scandinavian or Flat blade grind
Q: What is a survival knife used for?
A: There are many uses for a survival knife. Some uses are skinning, trapping, wood cutting and carving, as well as a variety of other uses. Outdoor sporting enthusiasts such as hikers and hunters like using a survival knife.
Q: Why do we need a survival knife in a survival kit?
A: The survival knife can be used for other uses besides typical knife uses. For example, it can be used to strike the ferro rod as a method of igniting tinder. It can also be used to make shelter. You can use the blade of your survival knife to trim up branches to make a temporary shelter. You can also use the knife to make notches in the branches before tying them together.
Q: Is a Bowie knife a good survival knife?
A: Yes, a Bowie knife can be very good in the case of survival. This knife is constructed very durably which ensures your survival in the roughest of climates. A Bowie knife has the ability to cut, slash, and chop easily. It is also gracefully slender to be used for food preparation when on a hiking or camping trip.
Q: Why do combat knives have holes in them?
A: The hole in a combat knife is for pushing it open with your thumb. It gives one easier one-handed accessibility. Some knives have holes for cutting down on the amount of friction the side of the blade makes. It also decreases the chance of food sticking to the sides of the knife. Cheese knives are popular for having holes in the blade.
Q: What makes a combat knife?
A: Combat knife is the term used to describe a blade designed for fighting. A combat knife is made to inflict lethal injuries and do the most damage during a knife fight. You can use a combat knife as a tactical knife and it can also serve as a survival knife.
Q: What is a killing knife?
A: This kind of knife also goes by the name “sticking knife”. It is a knife with a slim blade that is used for general evisceration and the killing of poultry. This knife has a 3 inch, high carbon steel blade and a handle made from polypropylene that is texturized to enhance grasp. This blade has the logo of the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) and it is also certified NSF.