Rescue knives represent their own unique class of blades. They incorporate specific design features you won’t see in other blades. A good rescue knife must be up to the task of rescuing a person or persons from a range of life threatening situations. The knife must easily cut through seat belts, rope, and other restraining material. It must be able to punch through glass, slice, and easily be retrieved and deployed. The rescue knife is strong, locks securely into place in the case of folding rescue knives, and is ultimately more useful than not in a rescue scenario.
Here are a few things to look for in a good rescue knife:
- Serrated edges (good for cutting through seat belts and other cordage type material.)
- Prominent thumb studs for easy opening even with gloves
- Shorter blade 5″ MAX. Longer blades quickly become cumbersome and difficult to work with.
- Blunted tip. Especially crucial for EMT’s and firefighters working around moving humans and animals. You don’t want to stab anything.
- Comfortable handle
- Glass breaker pommel
- Corrosion resistant coating especially if used frequently around water
- Stainless steel (less prone to rusting and extremely durable)
- Full tang
The quality of the knife is also most crucial. What if you roll your car off a bank straight into a lake and your seatbelt locks up? Are you trusting your knife to one of these trinket knives that are going to bust as soon you as you go to do something useful? When you buy a high quality knife, you are buying it for life.
Let’s take a look at the contenders.
1.) SpyderCo Assist Combo Knife
- Overall Length: 8.375″ (213 mm)
- Blade Length: 3.687″ (94 mm)
- Steel: VG-10
- Closed Length: 4.875″ (124 mm)
- Edge Length: 3.188″ (81 mm)
- Weight: 4 oz (115 g)
- Blade Thickness: .125″ (3 mm)
The SpyderCo Assist rescue knife is the knife chosen by professionals time and time again. Take good note of the features. The blade itself is made of time tested VG-10, a material very resistant to corrosion while also retaining a good edge. It’s a big knife with a lot of handle but a shorter blade. When cutting anything it’s crucial to have a firm grip. If you notice, the dull top edge of the blade is grooved out. This is so you can squeeze the serrated blade and handle together making for a relentless rope or cable cutting tool. Extremely ergonomic. The bright orange color makes it easy to locate if dropped in the dark or in a place with a ton of debris, it sticks out like a sore thumb and that’s exactly what you want. The blade also features a prominent hole for drop dead easy opening. SpyderCo was the first to pioneer this unique design. The SpyderCo Assist is a durable trustworthy companion.
2.) Benchmade Triage 916 Rescue knife
- Blade Length: 3.40″ (8.64cm)
- Blade Thickness: 0.124″ (3.15mm)
- Open Length: 8.25″ (20.96cm)
- Closed Length: 4.85″ (12.32cm)
- Weight: 5.24oz: (148.55g)
The Benchmade Triage 916 is another all time classic rescue knife and a staple for emergency personnel around the globe. This American Made rescue knife packs loads of features and delivers above and beyond the call of duty. The blade hits all the spots – partially serrated with a wicked sharp edge, bright orange, built in seat belt/cordage ripper, and a fully functional glass breaker on the butt end of the pommel. The knife easily opens with a single hand thanks to the ambidextrous thumb stud and securely locks into place, ready for deep action. The grip on this handle is ultra aggressive – people often complain about the texture wearing down their pockets. For the serious knife user this is not a problem and in fact, a solid advantage. This blade grips extremely well even in wet weather. The blade is made of N680 stainless steel and treated with anti corrosion coating making it well tasked for water work. Another great knife.
3.) Cold Steel SRK
- Weight: 8.2 oz.
- Blade Thickness: 5.0 mm
- Blade Length: 6.0″
- Handle: 4.75″ Long Kray-Ex
- Overall: 10.75″
- Steel: Japanese SK-5 High Carbon Steel w/ Black Tuff-Ex Finish
The Cold Steel Survival Rescue Knife is a fixed blade knife designed as a general purpose survival and rescue knife. It’s seen heavy use in the military and a directly issued to the Navy Seals for combat training. It’s sharp as hell, durable, and non-slip. It’s a solid general knife that does a lot of things well.
4.) Kershaw Funxion EMT
- SpeedSafe® assisted opening
- Liner lock
- Thumbstud and flipper
- Single-position pocketclip; deep-carry
- Carabiner clip, cord cutter, screwdriver tip, hex wrench, glassbreaker tip
- Steel: 8Cr13MoV, black-oxide coating
- Handle: Glass-filled nylon, K-Texture™ insert
- Blade length: 3 in. (7.6 cm)
- Closed length: 4.25 in. (10.7 cm)
- Overall length: 7.25 in. (18.4 cm)
- Weight: 4.8 oz. (137 g)
The Kershaw Funxion EMT packs all the features of a solid rescue knife into a value bomb dropper. If you want a halfway decent survival knife but don’t want to spend the big bucks, you can pick this bad boy up for less than $30 bucks. Kershaw is a solid brand but cheap does come at a price. This particular blade uses an inferior form of stainless steel known as 8cr13MoV. It’s a weaker metal but still does the job. Just don’t expect it to last a lifetime or never break.
5.) Gerber LMF 2
- Overall Length: 10.59″
- Blade Length: 4.84″
- Weight: 24.28 oz. (w/ Sheath)
- Weight: 11.67 oz. (w/o Sheath)
- Blade Material: 420HC Stainless.
- Blade Style: Drop Point.
- Blade Type: Serrated.
- Handle Material: Glass-filled nylon with TPV overmold.
The Gerber LMF2 infantry knife was specially designed to assist downed aircrew pilots and personnel in the event of a crash landing. It’s strong enough to cut straight through the fuselage of an aircraft and versatile enough to assist in a range of survival oriented tasks. It has a partially serrated blade and a unique tang design allowing you to hack straight through electrical wire without getting shocked. This is a fixed blade knife. The back of the knife features one of the hardest glass busting pommels you’ll find on a knife.
6.) Kershaw Blur
- Made in the USA
- SpeedSafe® assisted opening
- Thumb stud
- Inset liner lock
- Reversible pocketclip (tip-up/tip-down)
- Lanyard hole
- Steel: Sandvik 14C28N, DLC coating
- Handle: 6061-T6 anodized aluminum, Trac-Tec inserts
- Blade Length: 3.4 in. (8.6 cm)
- Closed Length: 4.5 in. (11.4 cm)
- Overall Length: 7.9 in. (20 cm)
- Weight: 3.9 oz. (110.5 g)
The Kershaw Blur is a tactical folding knife with Kershaws signature Speedsafe opening mechanism. This blade flings open at a moments notice. The steel in question is 14CC28N, a stainless steel mix which sharpens up to a razers edge and fairly anti-corrosive characteristics, not to mention the coating. The blade is serrated and the glass breaking pommel is standard on all models. This is a solid knife with an aggressive grip well suited to rescue situations.