Top 10 Fixed Blade Survival Knives 2017 Edition

now-thats-a-knife

When TSHTF your knife will be your most important piece of gear. A good knife is versatile and holds many uses in a survival situation. There’s a lot of knives out on the market and finding the right one can be tough. Use this guide to choose the best fixed blade knife for you and your situation. Please note – this list is in no particular order. All the knives discussed have their own unique strengths and weak points. I will illustrate these as we move through the guide.

Also be sure to read my primer on choosing a survival knife so you know what you’re looking for.

Fixed Blade Survival Knife Comparison Chart

 ESEE 5Ontario Rat 5Gerber LMF 2SOG Seal PUP EliteESEE 6 Fallkniven F1Morakniv Bushcraft BlackCondor BushloreKabar Bk7Kabar BK2
Blade TypeFixedFixedFixedFixedFixedFixedFixedFixedFixedFixed
Blade Length5.25 inches5.0 Inches4.84 Inches4.85 Inches6.5 Inches3.8 Inches4.3 Inches4 5/16 Inches7 Inches5.25 Inches
Total Length10.88 Inches10.5 Inches10.59 Inches9.5 Inches11.75 Inches8.3 Inches9.1 Inches9 5/16 Inches12.75 Inches10.5 Inches
Blade Thickness0.25 Inches0.188 InchesNA0.19 Inches0.188 Inches4.5mm3.2mm3mm0.188 Inches0.25 Inches
Blade Material1095 Steel / Sabre Grind1095 Steel / Full flat taper / Drop point420 HC Stainless SteelAus 81095 Steel / Flat GrindVG-10 Stainless SteelCarbon Steel with anti corrosive coatingCarbon Steel with Scandinavian grind1095 Cro-Van1095 Cro-Van
Weight16 oz11.5 oz11.67 oz5.4 oz20 oz6 oz5.7 oz10 oz0.85 lbs1.0 lbs
TangFullFullFullFullFullFullFullFullFullFull
With SheathYesNoNoYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Price$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

10.) ESEE-5

esse-5-blade
The ESEE 5 Survival Knife

The ESEE 5 is a brute force knife designed to crack out of any full blown SHTF situation. It’s original design was to assist a downed pilots escape from his aircraft and out of enemy territory. The ESEE-5 is overkill for most people but perfect for those who want a bombproof knife that will never break. The blade is the thickest on this list and made of time tested 1095 carbon steel. While the blade is thick, it can take and hold a wicked edge. The handle is canvas Micarta. It’s a heavy beast but perhaps the most reliable knife on this list. You could pry, dig, and do anything to the ESEE-5 and it’s not going to show any signs of wear. One final feature I like about the ESEE-5 is the glass breaker pommel on the end of the handle. This is not only a great way to break glass but a formative self defense feature as well.

9.) Ontario Rat 5

rat-5-knife
That’ll do Rat…that will do.

The Rat 5 is the budget version ESEE-5. It’s identical in many features right down to the 1095 carbon steel and Micarta handle. It’s even got the classic glass breaker pommel on the end too. The ESEE-5 is significantly heavier however and still remains the top dog between the two. However, the ESEE-5 is quite heavy and difficult to use for finer tasks such as skinning and making feather sticks. The Rat 5 is a lighter and more agile alternative to the ESEE-5 and many people spring for this knife over the ESEE for this reason. It’s also significantly cheaper than the ESEE which can make the Rat 5 a no brainer for the budget conscious prepper. Without comparison, the Rat 5 can easily stand on it’s own as a competent survival knife.

8.) Gerber LMF 2

Gerber LMF 2...a fully blown survival knife
Gerber LMF 2…a fully blown survival knife

The Gerber LMF 2 is a truly unique blade with one of a kind design features. It was forged by the minds of the U.S. Special Forces who needed a knife that could cut through electrical wire without getting electrocuted. This led to a partial insulated tang design which does not come into contact with the sides of the handle. This allowed troops to hack and slash their way through enemy territory with ease. Staying to their red blooded roots, all Gerber knives are made right here in the U.S.

7.) SOG Seal Pup Elite

SOG-seal-pup-elite-review

This knife is first and foremost a combat knife. Everything from the bowie blade design to the finger grooved handles makes this blade perfect for combat. I wouldn’t say it’s the best bushcrafting knife by any means but it’s a formative combat knife you don’t want to be on the business end of. The handle is extremely grippy thanks to the checkered print and fits your hands like a glove. The serrated edge comes in handy for tearing through cordage and other material. The SOG is a great tactical knife and very affordable compared to some of the other knives on this list.

6.) ESEE-6

esee-6-review

The ESEE-6 is my favorite blade from the ESEE line of survival knives. I find it far superior to the bulky and weighty ESEE-5. This knife is much lighter and features a longer blade – making it very easy to baton wood and carry out general bushcrafting tasks. It’s made of all the same high quality material but designed in a way that makes using the ESEE-6 a joy. The lightness of the knife keeps you agile while the thinner blade lends itself well to skinning and other micro tasks. Referencing the comparison chart above you can see similar materials but very different specs and dimensions.

5.) Fallkniven F1

fallkniven-F1-review

This knife was designed in Sweden and issued to all Swedish Army personnel. Sweden brings not only some of the nicest people in the world, but some of greatest and sharpest knives in the industry. Morakniv knives are also forged in the country so suffice to stay the Fallkniven F1 is one hell of a blade. The knife has a basic look but feels great in your hand. The blade material is a form of stainless steel known as VG-10. The blade features a convex grind which will make sharpening the blade more difficult but not too much. The Convex grind is efficient at batoning wood. The convex curve literally acts as a wedge and makes batoning wood an effortless endeavor. The Fallkniven F1 is a good basic knife.

4.) Morakniv Bushcraft Black

morakniv-bushcraft-black-knife

Another all time classic from Sweden. Morakniv knives are extremely sharp. The Bushcraft Black features a carbon steel blade with an anti corrosive coating. Carbon Steel is a high maintenance material and easily gathers rust if you don’t take care of it. The powder coating does a good job preventing the rust and keeping the blade in ship shape. The handle is ergonomic and fits nicely in your hands. My one gripe about this knife is a partial tang. The tang only runs 3/4 down the handle. While I would prefer a full tang, this knife still feels very solid even when doing serious damage in the bush. The raw sharpness of this blade makes up for the tang. Be careful not to slice yourself when you unbox this bad boy.

3.) Condor Bushlore

condor-bushlore-review-featured-image

A true bush knife through and through. The aesthetics on this knife scream bushcrafting. The handle is wooden and almost looks like a rustic steak knife. Not that I would hesitate to slice into some meat with this thing out in the bush! One thing to note – it’s a lightweight knife. You won’t be batoning anything crazy but the Condor is a fantastic general purpose bush knife. The blade is carbon steel and sharpens up like a straight razor. A solid knife to keep on your belt especially if you plan on bugging out to the woods.

2.) Kabar BK7

The legendary Bk7
The legendary Bk7

Now here is a knife that rivals even the legendary ESEE-5. I give you the Kabar BK7. Some consider this the ultimate survival knife. The blade is long and the 1095 Cro-Van steel sharpens up to a razors edge. This knife also features a glass breaking pommel with which to bash and hammer anything in your way. The Bk7 is a beast when it comes to batoning wood and being an overall bombproof knife. Will it cost more than most of the knives on this list? Yes it will, but the Bk7 is well worth it if you want a knife to stand the test of time.

1.) Kabar BK2

Bk2-wilderness-survival-knife
The Kabar BK2 Survival Knife

 

Perhaps the most popular survival knife of all time is the Bk2 – the little fat brother of the Bk7. Despite having a shorter blade, the Bk2 actually weighs more than the Bk7. This is thanks to the extra thickness given to the blade. Many people note the Bk2’s resiliency out in the bush. You couldn’t break this thing even if you wanted to. I have a post comparing the Bk2 and Bk7. If you have the money these are the survival knives I recommend the most on the site. They’re tough as nails and sharp as a razors edge – a formidable survival companion in the bush or in a fully blown SHTF situation.

Final Thoughts

The preceding knives represent the absolute best of the best. You could go with the cheapest contender and still have a knife that will stand the test of time and do everything you need it to do. The survival knife is one piece of gear you can’t afford to miss if you’re serious about putting together a survival kit. Good luck in your choice and put the knife to good use when you get it!

 

Gerber LMF 2 Review

When you talk about full blown survival knives there are only a handful of knives I can honestly recommend. The Gerber LMF 2 is one such knife. The knife has been hand crafted from the ground up with insights from the U.S. Special Forces – Gerber actually made the blade electric proof on a recommendation from a special forces team serving time in Iraq. The story goes, they ran into problems when slicing electrical lines because the tang of the knife ran the full length of the blade. Gerbers answer? An insulated tang that runs just to the tip of the handle and then stops. This slight gap makes the blade completely electrical proof while keeping all the benefits of a full tang:

lmf2-insulated-shock-proof-handle
The tactical shock proof design for cutting through live electrical wire.

 

Gerber is one of the few blade manufacturers making and forging their knives in America. They are an American Made company who listen intently to real comments and criticisms of those who know what a knife needs to do.

**Note** Gerber has 3 different versions of this knife – The  LMF2 infantry, LMF2 survival, and the LMF2 Asek. These are the exact same knives. The only difference between the models is the handle color and whether or not the knife ships with any accessories. For all intents and purposes, this review will only cover the features of the knife itself.

Specifications

Blade TypeFixed
Blade Length4.84 inches
Total Length10.59 inches
Blade ThicknessNA
Blade Material420HC Stainless Steel
Weight11.67 oz
Tang3/4 insulated
Sheath IncludedYes

First impressions

My first thought was, Gerber? aren’t those the guys that make baby food? Upon further research I realized these are two completely different companies. I ordered the knife. When the knife came, I knew right away this thing was serious. It’s a weighty no-nonsense blade and I know it is fully capable of doing serious work in the bush. On the pommel of the handle is a glass breaker you could easily bust through glass or hammer with. Some knives have this feature but they feel like they would bust if you attempted any serious hammering. The serrated edges are sharp – it’s like having a full blown saw on a knife. I can’t wait to take it into the bush for proper testing. Out of the box it was sharp enough to shave the hairs right off my arm.

The blade

gerber-lmf-2-blade

The blade itself is wide and smooths down nicely into a drop point tip. Drop point tips are ultra strong by nature. The blade is perfectly suited for serious tasks like chopping and batoning. The spine is flat allowing you to crack down hard straight over the top for wood chopping, and, makes it easy to use with your ferrocerium rod. The material in question is a stainless steel known as 420HC. Stainless steel is virtually indestructible. While it won’t take an edge like carbon steel, I found the Gerber LMF2 sharpened up quite nicely and held an edge over a long period of time. Stainless steel is also extremely resistant to rust so don’t worry about getting it wet.

The signature feature of the LMF2 is the serrated edge. I found this portion of the blade to be quite useful for sawing smaller pieces of wood and slicing off those last little bits of chopped tree. I know a lot of guys don’t like the serrated edges. I never understood the philosophy behind that. A serrated edge will saw through cordage and branches faster than a flat edge. And contrary to popular belief, serrated edges are actually quite easy to sharpen with a diamond sharpening rod. Lastly, the blade is coated with a black residual oxide. This makes it tactical (shiny blades give away your position) and also adds an additional layer of protection from rust and wear.

The handle

gerber-lmf-2-handle

The handle is fashioned with a glass filled nylon material. It has a rubber feel rather than a hard plastic one felt on many knives. Great for wet weather grip. One thing I enjoy about the handle is the built in lashing holes. You could attach this blade to a stick and make a spear with only a bit of paracord. Also integrated into the handle is the glass breaker pommel. This thing feels extremely reinforced. I’m not afraid to go full bash mode on anything needing a solid hammering. Overall, the handle is strong and well suited to life in the bush.

The sheath

lmf2-sheath
The Gerber LMF2 sheath with included leg straps

 

The sheath material is made of Ballistic nylon with a fire retardant coating. With many knives, you usually get a junky sheath. I like the sheath for the LMF2. The blade snaps securely into place and doesn’t wiggle around while it’s on your belt. It’s designed for both a left hand and right hander and completely MOLLE compatible. It also features a built in blade sharpener. I never use these as I opt to personally sharpen my blade with quality tools. I’ve found these built in blade sharpeners are largely a marketing gimmick. None the less, the sheath is solid and does the job. Oh yeah, it also comes with a secondary strap for attachment to your leg or calf.

Field testing

As always, I take every knife I review straight out into the bush for a proper field test. Having reviewed many other knives before, I already knew how this blade was going to perform just by feeling it in my hands. Regardless, the field test is where the rubber meets the road and I always like to see how each knife stacks up in the bush. Primarily, I want to know if the knife can chop/baton wood and how well it slices. I also like to see how long the blade retains its edge before I have to take a sharpening stone to it.

On all accounts, the Gerber LMF2 performed just as well as I thought it would. Here you can see how easily it chops straight through a small tree:

Gerber-lmf2-chopping

To test the edge I like to make feather sticks. The knife had no trouble make find wood shavings from a whole piece of wood:

Gerber-lmf2-making-feather-sticks

Let’s do a bit of prying:

LMF2-blade-prying-test

Overall the blade performed very well in the bush and retained its edge throughout the day. The serrated edges also sawed through everything I could throw at it. I know a lot of people will say “but a knife aint supposed to be used to chop and baton.” I always say, in a survival situation your knife is gonna have to do many things. Often times you do not have the luxury of having all the best equipment on hand. In survival cases, your knife is the end all be all and its good to know it can handle the job. I have no doubts this blade can handle anything you throw at it.

Final thoughts

The Gerber LMF2 is a full blown survival knife. It is not an every day carry knife, nor a knife I would take out on a one day camping trip. This is a beefy knife designed to blast you through even the most fully blown survival situations. When there is serious bush work to be done or you are down behind enemy lines, this is the knife you want to have on your belt.

 

SOG Seal Pup Elite Review

SOG-seal-pup-elite-review

In this review I crack straight into the highly affordable SOG Seal Pup Elite. This blade brings in a lot of updated changes from the original model, making it an obvious choice for folks who had problems with the first product. Crucial features like blade material and design were changed completely in order to make a more competent knife. This blade has seen a lot of action over in Iraq and makes for not only a decent utility knife, but tactical combat knife too. Take a look at the specs below and read on for my full review.

Specs

Blade TypeFixed
Blade Length4.85 inches
Total Length9.5 inches
Blade Thickness0.19 inches
Blade MaterialAUS 8
Weight5.40 oz
TangFull
Sheath IncludedYes

First impressions

My first impressions of the SOG Seal PUP Elite are promising. For one, the balance of the blade is phenomenal. Something I had problems with in the original model was how unbalanced it felt in hand. The handle threw the entire blade off kilter, giving off a hard-to-use feel. The balance on the SPE is nothing short of perfect. This time, SOG has lengthened the handle to a length that’s easier to grip. The blade feels good in hand and I can simply grab it and go to work without fumbling around for a decent hold.

I don’t necessarily enjoy the grind of the blade but as you’ll see later this isn’t a big issue. I personally like to see a full flat grind but at the end of the day it comes down to functionality. The SOG PUP Elite brings a lot to the table.

The blade

SOG Seal PUP Elite blade with serrated edge
SOG Seal PUP Elite blade with serrated edge

 

The blade material in question is a steel known as AUS 8. If you know anything about the original model, SOG used AUS 5 which was a soft steel and didn’t hold an edge very well. AUS 8 is a harder steel and takes/holds a wicked edge. While it might not hold an edge like some, the edge is quickly sharpened up with any fine grain sharpening stone. Out of the box I could shave the hairs right off my arm! The bowie shape of the blade makes the SOG Seal PUP elite a formative self-defense/tactical blade.

The handle

New checkered handle grips even when wet
New checkered handle grips even when wet

 

The entire handle is made from a glass reinforced material known as Zytel. The blade gets a checkered upgrade and also features a nice set of curved finger placements. Some like the checkered grip while others can do without it. I personally enjoy the checkered grip and feel it has a solid grip even when wet. As I mentioned, SOG lengthened the handle which makes this blade MUCH easier to grip especially if you have larger hands. The thumb ramp could be a little more pronounced in my opinion – this would make for much more controlled cuts and would do more to prevent your hand from sliding onto the blade. The lanyard hole is also very small, almost too small for even a length of 550 paracord. These are small details though.

The sheath

sog-seal-pup-elite-sheath

This is one sheath I can honestly say does its job very well. If you’re an avid knife owner, you know the sheaths that come with most knives are downright horrible. With this sheath however, the blade snaps in perfectly, fits like a glove, and doesn’t rattle around while you’re walking. In this sense it’s very tactical. It’s also completely MOLLE compatible so you’ll have no problems attaching it to your pack or whatever else. Slim profile. A small feature I like is the retention strap – many sheaths use a nylon retention strap that slowly slices off as you pull the blade in and out. The SOG Seal PUP Elite uses some kind of synthetic material which is very resistant to slicing.

Field Test

You can gawk at a blade all you want but at the end of the day it better be usable in the field. I put every blade I review through a number of field tests. I like to know how well the blade slices and whether or not it can handle basic bushcrafting tasks. Being a survivalist site, I try to review knives suited to survival situations.

Let’s start with the obvious – this knife is light. I knew right away it would never function as a full blown survival knife. I would not choose this knife if you’re looking for a bushcrafting knife or something you’d need to “Rambo” your way out of a survival situation. But, as a camping, hiking, or general utility knife? Absolutely. The Seal PUP Elite handled lightweight wood batoning with zero problems and sliced cordage and other items with ease. This knife is my go-to when I go hiking or camping for short periods of time.

Doing some light wood batoning with the SOG Seal PUP Elite
Doing some light wood batoning with the SOG Seal PUP Elite

 

I do think the knife is perfectly suited as a great every-day-carry blade. It’s large enough to handle most tasks while light enough not to feel like you’re carrying a damn brick on your hip. I’ve got one in the car and one in a small bug out bag. The knife is definitely one you don’t want to be on the business end of. For a tactical self defense blade I can’t say I’ve come across something better suited for close quarters combat. Perhaps the Cold Steel SRK. If you got a man on top of you this blade is the perfect size to create a little breathing room, and not to mention, sharp as hell.

Final Thoughts

Is the SOG Seal PUP Elite right for you? Well, what do you plan on doing with the thing? Like I said, this is a lightweight knife well suited for lighter tasks. It’s not a full blown bushcraft knife like the ESEE 5. All that steel also increases the cost of the knife significantly. Last time I checked the SOG Seal PUP Elite was going for about $36 bucks on Amazon. Most knives I own are on the business end of $100 dollars and I can say only a few of them outperform the SOG. This blade truly delivers the most bang for your buck. Not to mention – the included sheath is second to none! Good luck finding a quality sheath on any other blade without shelling out more money!

I hope you enjoyed this review and I’ll see you next time.

 

 

 

Ontario Rat 5 Knife Review

rat-5-knife

Looking for a solid survival knife you can take into the bush? Looking for a full blown SHTF knife you can crush skulls with? The Ontario Rat 5 delivers the goods. I like this knife for a lot of reasons. First, the blade is the perfect length to perform all the critical tasks required of you out in the buck wild. You see, if a blade is too short you can’t properly baton wood. Too long and smaller tasks like skinning and carving become a cumbersome endeavor. The Rat 5 strikes a perfect balance between these two extremes.

Let’s crack STRAIGHT into the specifications.

Critical SPECS

Blade TypeFixed
Blade Length5.0 inches
Total Length10.5 inches
Blade Thickness0.188 inches
Blade Material1095 steel / Full Flat Taper / Drop point
Weight11.5 oz
TangFull
Sheath IncludedNo

The blade

rat-5-knife-blade

The blade on the RAT 5 is constructed out of time-tested 1095 steel. This type of steel holds a wicket edge. Be careful pulling this thing out of the box…it’s sharp as a razor and you can easily slice deep into flesh. You may notice I say this about ALL knives that use the 1095 carbon. The steel is samurai sword level sharp. I mentioned the blade is the perfect length. At 5 inches it can do a lot of things very well. I baton the daylights out of wood with the RAT 5 all day long with zero problems…I then turn around to slice straight into a nice summer sausage with zero problems. The blade really is perfect in every way.

A lot of knives go balls to the wall. Take the BK7 for instance. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great knife but certainly not a knife you can do a lot of things well with. The RAT 5 does a lot of things very well.

the handle

rat-5-knife-handle

Once again we observe RAT using the TIME TESTED canvas micarta handle. What I love about RAT is they have found something that works and they’re consistently rolling out knives that deliver the best experience. Too many companies attempt to get fancy with their knives. I don’t need or want a knife made out of some dull steel and shaped to look like a dragons tail. I have a post on budget survival knives if that’s what you want. Give me the best. GIVE ME THE RAT 5.

On a side note, do you have what it takes to shank your way through a fully blown SHTF situation? Do you know where all the critical organs are located on the human body? Did you know you’re only 5 inches away from penetrating any major organ? Coincidence that the RAT 5 blade is 5 inches long? I don’t know. I will tell you this – I’m not sure if I could shank a man if it came down to it.

I would much rather CRACK EM with the pommel. The butt end of the handle on the RAT 5 features a skull busting glass breaker. You can use this to crack your way out of a wrecked car or CRACK your way through an attacker who wants your bug out bag. Crack em hard with the pommel and then say “not today BUCK-O, not today.” Ultimate self defense.

Performance

Up to this point I’ve basically given you a load of bullshit. Who cares about one mans opinion about the RAT 5? Specs don’t matter unless they have ACTION to back them up. Most people are TALK TALK TALK. You want to know if this knife has the balls to deliver results. You want to know if it can slice deep into summer sausage. You want to know if you can beat the crap out of this thing and whether or not the RAT 5 will come back for more.

Let’s take the RAT 5 into it’s natural habitat…the bush.

Making feathersticks – I’m telling you, it barely took any pressure at all for this blade to get a good bite into the wood and smooth down for a nice nest of feathersticks. Living TRUE to the RAT, this thing creates a NEST of feathersticks out of even the hardest woods. As you know, feathersticks are an essential camp task and make getting a fire going very easy. Not surprisingly, the RAT 5 gets 5 stars out of 5 in this area.

rat-5-feathersticks

Batoning wood – I’ll tell you right now, I came down hard over this knife with CRUEL INTENTIONS. My goal was to see if I could bend the blade using as much force as possible. I knew the knife was weighty. I knew the knife was quality. I didn’t, however, know if the spine of the blade would be able to withstand the rage I was about bring down upon it. I’ll tell you this – I was exhausted well before the RAT 5 showed any signs of slowing down. There I was, completely tuckered out in the middle of the bush, laying down on my back to rest. I look over to see the RAT 5  sliced deep into a log. It was as if the RAT was trying to say something. Was I hallucinating? It was like the RAT was saying “I WIN.”

RAT-5-batoning-wood

That will do RAT, that will do.

Final thoughts

Is the RAT 5 worthy of your belt? If my experience tells me anything I would say this is the wrong question. The question is, are YOU worthy to carry the RAT 5? Let it be known – this is the Excalibur – masterfully crafted, a force of steel to be reckoned with and used with extreme caution. A powerful blade that will see you through even the most fully blown SHTF survival situation.

Snatch up the RAT 5 today.

 

 

 

Top 5 Budget Survival Knives

If you’ve done any research on survival you know the knife is the most important piece of gear in your kit. The knife is versatile enough to cut cordage, baton wood, and protect you from attackers. But if you’ve looked at the knives many people recommend, you might find yourself saying one thing – “damn, these are expensive!”

And you’re right. The best of anything is going to cost you a pretty penny. But don’t worry, there are actually some quality blades you can get for relatively cheap. Read on for a list of my favorite budget survival knives.

US Marine Core Military Knife

budget-survival-knife-1

Price: $11.76

Licensed by the military and used throughout the USMC training course. This is a beastly looking blade. In fact, I’m not even sure if this is legal in all states. It’s a weighty knife, not a cheapo blade by any means. The blade itself is sharp as hell and locks securely into place. I have no doubts that in the right hands, one could easily Rambo their way out of any full blown SHTF situation. If you’re looking for a budget survival knife you got to check this one out for sure.

TAC-FORCE Black Sheriff LED

cheap-survival-knife-2

Price: $10.90

Shank your way through the dark with a no-nonsense survival knife made for CRITICAL OPS. The LED on this bad boy is surprisingly bright and effective. The blade is also something you don’t want to handle unless you know what you’re doing – it’s sharp as razor wire and has a mean bite indeed. This the black sheriff and it’s here to add a little justice to your survival kit. The price of this blade will satisfy even the most frugal meiser.

RAMBO Tactical Hunting Knife

inexpensive-survival-knife-3

Price: $12.99

Can you imagine smashing through a full blown SHTF situation with a knife that looks like this? I’ll tell you right now, nobody is going to mess with you. This blade is big and bad, and stands up to the stressors of even the most hairest survival situations. Baton full size logs and then turn around to shank your way through a hoard of ISIS terrorists. Serious stuff.

The Survivor HK

cheap-survival-knife

Price: $7.49

A serious survival knife that brings loads of value to the table. It’s a full on fixed blade survival knife with paracord and a ferrocerium rod included. What more could you ask for in a survival knife? At less than $10 bucks, you would have to have been dropped on your head not to see the value in this. This is a great bargain buy because of all the included gear. Don’t pass up on this deal.

Tac-Force TS-705

tac-force-survival-knife

Price: $9.04

Another blade that is possibly illegal depending on your state (don’t tell daddy.) This is a “spring assisted” blade, otherwise known as a switch blade. I like this knife because you can keep it in your pocket unlike a fixed blade. At a moments notice you can bust this thing out and switch the blade. If you things get hairy this is a great knife to have on hand. It also has a built in bottle opener so you can crack open a brewski after a long day on the apocalyptic plains of DOOM.

Conclusion

Well there you have it. All of these blades are under $15 dollars. It really doesn’t get any more budget than this. If you’re still looking for something cheaper I suggest spending the money on a psychologist who can diagnose why you’re always trying to cheap out on stuff. If you could kick your coffee addiction for even a month you would have enough cash for a full blown bug out bag or survival kit. Anyways…

Thanks for reading!

 

Bear Grylls Survival Knife Review

bear-grylls-knife

Bear Grylls is well known for his hit television show “Man vs Wild.” In the show, Bear Grylls takes the viewer on extravagant adventures through all kinds of survival situations. Critics say that Bear Grylls is just a showman. They say he is only in for the entertainment value.

Despite this criticism, he managed to produce one hell of a knife. The Bear Grylls survival knife is a no-nonsense blade that deserves a spot on your belt. In this review, I take a look at the Bear Grylls survival knife and the reasons why it is indeed a competent and worthy blade.

Specs

Some of the specs I couldn’t find data for and I don’t have the proper tools to test myself. Specs I couldn’t find are denoted with two question marks.

Blade TypeFixed
Blade Length4.8 inches
Total Length10 inches
Blade Thickness??
Blade Material??
Weight13.7 oz
TangFull
Sheath IncludedYes

First impressions

When you’ve handled many blades you can easily tell the quality knives from the cheap ones. Quality knives have a certain weighty feel. Crappy ones feel like a plastic trinket that belongs in the trash. The Bear Grylls knife is weighty and serious – something I didn’t expect from a guy who willingly drinks his own piss. The blade itself looks wicked, as if it was forged someplace dark and serious. I love the look of the blade especially with the orange accents on the handle. The rubber handle is extremely grippy.

Expensive knives use Micarta which is nice but expensive. The rubber is just as functional and perhaps even favored over pricey Micarta alternatives.

The blade

bg-knife-blade

Let’s talk about the blade itself. The blade is just under 5 inches and features a drop point. This is a point I enjoy for carving and skinning. You can really get a fine carve on if you know what you’re doing. The material in question is a mystery. I think it’s some kind of stainless steel or a mix between different types of metals? The documentation doesn’t say.

Regardless, the blade is sharp and holds an edge. Sure, it’s not going to be as sharp as an ESEE 3 or Morakniv, but what do you expect for a sub $40 blade? The blade has serrated edges which appear to hack half way decently. You can tell they won’t last forever but they will stay functional for a while.

The handle

bg-knife-handle

The handle is truly something else. It’s a grooved rubber which has orange accents and bears Bear Grylls’s initials (no pun intended.) The pommel appears to be strong but I wouldn’t attempt busting any windows or something. Attached to the pommel lanyard is a survival whistle that would do the job if need be. Functionally, the handle is very grippy even when wet. I actually prefer a rubber handle but you usually don’t see rubber used on most knives. It is what it is.

The sheath

bear-grylls-sheath

I always say the sheath is almost as important as the blade! You need something to protect yourself from the blade while you aren’t using it. The sheath should not dull the blade. It should keep the blade secured right to your belt while you are busy doing other things. When it comes time to use the blade you should easily be able to retrieve the knife from the sheath.

I got to say, the sheath is basic but it does the job in a way that leaves no complaints. The sheath implements a patented friction lock system to lock the blade in a secure position when you are not using it. Towards the handle is a velcro strap to further secure the knife. It’s designed for either a right or left handed person and has a water drainage hole at the bottom – in case you decide to go swimming with your knife on. It also comes with a built in blade sharpener! Good stuff indeed.

Performance

Okay, so the knife looks cool but how does it perform in the real world? I took the knife out into the bush to see how it stacked up against a variety of survival tasks. Common tasks include skinning, chopping, batoning wood, etc. I was surprised to see this blade held well to everything I put it through. It chopped wood like some of the better knives I’ve used. It skinned well due to the blades fine edge. It batoned straight through all the wood I could throw at it. In the end, I came away very impressed with how this knife performed.

bear-grylls-knife-chopping
A little chopping action

 

bear-grylls-survival-knife-slicing
A little slicing

 

Final thoughts

The Bear Grylls survival knife definitely took me by surprise. For the price I believe it’s unmatched. If you’re on a budget this is definitely the knife you want to invest in. I see a lot of people talking crap about this knife. This is mainly because they don’t consider Bear Grylls a real survivalist. If these people were honest however they would see that this is a quality knife for the price despite the “fake” reputation of Mr. Grylls. It’s too bad people can’t see beyond the surface of things but that’s the world we live in

Anyways, do yourself a favor and order one today. Your belt won’t regret it and neither will you!

~until next time~

Ontario Rat 3 Knife Review

Today it’s time to crack into one of my favorite knives. I’ve always said the Rat 3 is the budget friendly version of the infamous ESEE-3. Both knives have similar specs but the RAT 3 is less expensive. It’s a win for the wallet and a win for your belt. The Rat 3 is an extremely competent knife and handles itself well in the bush. In this review I take an in depth look at the Rat 3.

Specs

Blade TypeFixed
Blade Length3.9 inches
Total Length7.9 inches
Blade Thickness0.125 inches
Blade Material1095 steel / Plain edge / Drop point
Weight5.3 oz
TangFull
Sheath IncludedYes

The blade

rat-3-blade

The blade comes in at 3.8 inches and is made of time tested 1095 carbon steel. Carbon steel holds a wicked edge. I had zero problems doing everything I needed to do with this knife. Everything from skinning to carving was an absolute breeze with the Rat 3. With the carbon steel you do have to keep up on the maintenance. The metal is prone to rusting if the blade is exposed to moisture over a period of time. A few swipes on a piece of leather does the trick. Just make sure to keep it dry and sheathed when you aren’t using it.

On a final note, this blade came razor sharp straight out of the box. Many cheap knives require a good sharpening after you unbox them. Not so with the Rat 3! Be warned, many a knife enthusiast has sliced themselves deep straight out of the gate.

The handle

rat-3-handle

The Rat 3 implements a Micarta handle. The handle is extremely ergonomic. I have medium sized hands and the handle molded straight into them. It’s curved in all the right places and very easy to find the right grip depending on what you’re doing with the blade. Micarta is quickly becoming my favorite handle material. The ESEE line of knives almost always use Micarta for their handles and for very good reasons – this material is strong, grippy, and easy to shape into a mold that feels good in hand. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – The Rat 3 is basically a high quality ESEE knife disguised as a budget friendly version!

Performance

Enough talking about raw specs. How does the Rat 3 really stack up in the bush? It’s time to take the Rat 3 out into the bush for a proper beating. A good knife at the very minimum should be able to make feathersticks and do some light batoning.

Making feathersticks – Very easy to make feathersticks with the Rat 3. The 1095 carbon steel means this blade has a razor sharp edge. Making the feathersticks was only a matter of placing the blade on the wood, and then smoothing my way down. With very little pressure I was able to create very fine feathersticks with the Rat 3.

rat-3-feathersticks

Batoning wood – Can you baton wood with the Rat 3? The answer is yes, however, with the short blade it’s not the most ideal wood batoner. You can indeed produce some nice kindling with smaller pieces of wood. I would not recommend the Rat 3 if your plan is to produce a nights worth of wood in a short amount of time.

Final thoughts

Is the Rat 3 a competent knife to take into the bush? Absolutely. I was surprised to see how similar it was to the ESEE 3 and if I was to be perfectly honest, it’s practically the same knife but almost half the price! At this price point the Rat 3 is an obvious choice for your belt. Grab one today and let us know what you think.

 

 

ESEE 3 Knife Review

esee-3-review

The ESSE 3. A short chode style blade with mighty power in the hands of a true survivalist. The ESEE 3 catches a lot of flack for having a shorter blade. Does this mean the ESEE 3 can’t be used as a full fledged survival knife? Let’s crack straight into the review and discover the true power of the ESEE 3.

Specs

Blade TypeFixed
Blade Length3.88 inches
Total Length8.19 inches
Blade Thickness0.125 inches
Blade Material1095 steel / Plain edge / Drop point
Weight5.2 oz
TangFull
Sheath IncludedYes

The blade

esee-3-blade

The ESEE 3 once again sticks with ESEE’s tried and true blade material – 1095 carbon steel. This steel is extremely sharp. You’re not gonna have any problems slicing through seat belts, making feather sticks, or cutting cordage. Super sharp. One of the sharper knives on the ESEE line of knives. This is partly due to the blades thinner profile. A thinner blade means a sharper edge. Definitely sharp as hell compared to the ESEE 5 – which is sharp but nowhere near the sharpness of the ESEE 3.

The handle

esee-3-handle

Again, we’re talking about the standard Micarta handle you see on all the ESEE knives. Rock solid handle. It’s got a nice little choil indentation to really get a solid handle on the blade. This knife was made for carving and skinning. The handle feels very natural in hand. Well balanced.

Performance

This is the part where I take the blade out into the wilderness for a proper pounding. I put each knife through a rigorous set of tests out in the bush. If a knife doesn’t survive I leave it at home where it collects dust forever. I’m excited to report the ESEE 3 did quite well on all the tests except wood batoning.

Making feather sticks – This blade is extremely sharp. It took very little pressure on my end to make feather sticks from hard wood. All you need to do is angle the blade and simply smooth your way down the wood. Watching the wood simply curl over and feather is one of life’s greatest pleasures.

Making feather sticks with the ESEE 3 is a breeze
Making feather sticks with the ESEE 3 is a breeze

Batoning wood – batoning wood is one of my all time favorite things to do around camp. There is something so satisfying about coming down hard over the spine of your knife, and watching a piece of wood split right down the path of the blade. Can the ESEE 3 baton wood? The answer is yes, you can. But it’s not going to be easy and you’re limited to only batoning smaller pieces. The shortness of the blade on the ESEE 3 doesn’t make this the greatest knife to baton wood with. It’s much better suited to carving, wood working, skinning, and cutting.

Final thoughts

It’s a true pleasure working with this knife. Much more so than with the big and bulky ESEE-5. If you’re looking for a true to form survival knife in a smaller profile, this is your blade. Sharp as a razor and very easy to handle and maneuver. Oh yeah, I really enjoy the modified glass breaker pommel on this blade. You could easily bust through a window shield or defend yourself if you had to. That’s going to do some serious damage to anything it comes into contact with.

Do your belt a favor and pick this knife up today. It even comes with a sheath!

ESEE 4 Knife Review

ESEE-4-review

Welcome to the ESEE 4 review. Thinking about grabbing yourself an ESEE knife? The ESEE 4 is a solid option and boasts a number of features that make this blade a very competent companion in the bush. As always, I take every knife I review out into the bush for a proper pounding – this is the only way to gauge the true effectiveness of a survival knife. Let’s crack straight into the specs.

Specs

Blade TypeFixed
Blade Length4.5 inches
Total Length9.0 inches
Blade Thickness0.188 inches
Blade Material1095 steel / Plain edge / Drop point
Weight8 oz
TangFull
Sheath IncludedYes

The ESEE 4 blade

ESEE-4-blade-pic

The blade itself measures in at 4.5 inches. The material in question is the infamous 1095 carbon steel common to ESEE knives. The blade came razor sharp straight out of the box. Carbon steel is well known for taking a wicked edge but requires more maintenance. Carbon steel is more prone to rust than stainless steel and must be cleaned and maintained to prevent damage to the blade. It sounds as if carbon steel is delicate but that couldn’t be further from the truth. You’ll know what I’m talking about when you go to slice into a nice summer sausage – I’m talking razor sharp.

The ESEE 4 handle

esee-4-handle

ESEE uses a micarta handle on the ESEE 4. This stuff is durable and feels good in hand. I found I could easily grip the ESEE 4. Having medium sized hands the handle feels perfect. One thing I didn’t like about the ESEE5 was the monstrous size of the handle. It was hard to get a grip which made it hard to use the blade. The handle on the 4 is perfect and I wouldn’t change a thing.

Performance

What good is a knife if it only looks cool? When I take I knife into the bush I need to perform a variety of tasks. Wood needs to be batoned, game needs to be skinned, wood needs to be carved etc. If a knife can’t live up to these tasks then you need a better knife. I put the ESEE 4 through a brutal regiment of testing. I went full mad man mode on this thing, doing my best to inflict as much damage as possible to the blade. I only use the knife in this way for reviews. Obviously you would not stress a knife out this much on a day to day basis.

Let’s crack straight into the stress test.

Making feathersticks – making feather sticks is a great way to test a blades sharpness. If a blade has a decent edge it will smooth alongside the wood and create beautiful feather sticks for fire making. The ESEE 4 performed well in this test. Running the blade alongside a piece of dry wood yielded very fine wood shavings. It took little pressure on my part to produce these shavings. This is a big win for the ESEE 4.

esee-4-making-feather-sticks

Batoning wood – my favorite part of any knife review. I came down over the top of the spine with brutal power. I must have looked like a mad man to anybody watching. It chopped straight through even the hardest wood and always came back for more punishment. I was worn out quickly far before the blade gave any signs of slowing down. I will say that it isn’t the best for batonng wood. Because of the shorter and thinner blade it won’t baton as well as, let’s say, the ESEE 5 or the ESEE 6. It comes down to basic physics. A longer thicker blade will simply baton better than a shorter thinner one. With that said, batoning wood with the ESEE 4 can be done – and done quite well.

Final thoughts

The ESEE 4 is a great blade. I can see this blade being a great knife for smaller tasks like feather sticks, carving, and skinning small game. I wouldn’t call this the ultimate survival knife. It’s a competent knife with a sharp as hell edge. Really, what more could you possibly want in a knife? I think the ESEE 4 stacks up well in the bush and you’d be doing yourself a huge favor by snatching one up as soon as possible. It will serve you well as a constant companion in the bush.

 

 

Ultimate Showdown – ESEE 5 vs ESEE 6

esee-5-vs-6-review

The ESEE 5 and 6 are two badass knives similar enough to warrant a showdown. Both of them are super high quality blades but differ in a few key areas. The ESEE-5 is an absolute beast of a blade – thick and strong. The ESEE-6 is thinner and lighter making it a solid choice for ultralight survivalists concerned about weight. So, which one is right for you? Let’s crack into it.

The ESEE 5

esse-5-blade

The ESEE-5 is a true brute of a blade. The entire knife weighs a whole pound. This is largely due to the ESEE-5’s 0.25 inch blade. That’s a thickness you don’t see very often. The knife was designed as a straight up survival knife for downed pilots. The idea being if a pilot ever got shot down he would have a knife he could go full Rambo mode with. I have no problems using this blade to chop, slice, dig, pry and a host of other survival tasks you’d need a knife for. This is not a carvers knife or a cute little pocket knife to whip out when you’re unboxing Christmas presents. This is a knife to handle the seriousness of life in the bush.

Because of its nature as a survival knife the ESEE-5 does many things well. It batons wood like an animal. The heavy blade with a sharp carbon steel edge slice through wood like a hot knife through butter. I like this knife. However, my only gripe is with the weight and size of this blade. It is indeed a heavy knife and difficult to handle without large hands. My hands are medium size and getting a good grip is sometimes difficult. It’s not a knife I always carry into the bush. However, there have been many times when I’ve wished I had it on me when other knives just weren’t cutting it.

Pros

  • Absolutely bombproof
  • Well rounded survival blade
  • Glass breaker pommel (you don’t usually see this on knives)
  • Thick blade allows for prying (increased versatility)
  • Sharp edge despite thickness
  • High quality sheath

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Difficult to handle with small hands
  • Not suitable for fine carving or skinning

The ESEE 6

esee-6-review

The ESEE 6 is everything I love about the ESEE 5 but slightly better. For one, the ESEE-6 is much lighter and offers a longer blade. The lightness and length of the ESEE-6 make it much more agile in the bush. I can pick it up and not have to fiddle around with my grip on the handle. Both the blades on the ESEE 5 and 6 are made from 1095 carbon steel but they differ in grinds. The ESEE-5 features a sabre grind while the ESEE-6 features a flat grind. The differences between these two grinds is worthy of post in itself but here’s the short of it – a flat grind is more durable than a sabre grind but a sabre grind is more suited to carving and skinning.

Going back to the ESEE-5 being a survival knife, you can see why it features a grind that promotes strength over all else.

Pros

  • Longer Blade
  • Easy to handle
  • Lighter
  • Flat grind makes skinning and carving easier

Cons

  • Not as bombproof as the ESEE 5

ESEE 5 vs ESEE 6 Specifications

 ESEE-5ESEE-6
Blade typeFixedFixed
Blade length5,25 inches6.5 inches
Total length10.88 inches11.75 inches
Blade thickness0.250.188 inches
Blade material1095 / sabre grind1095 / flat grind
Weight16 oz12 oz
TangFullFull
Handle MaterialMicartaMicarta

Final thoughts

So who wins in this showdown? There isn’t a winner because it comes down to your own personal requirements. I would say go with the ESEE-5 if you need a bombproof knife that’s never going to break on you. If you’re the type of guy that goes balls to the wall with everything, this is your knife. You can still get the blade sharp as hell with a little work and it’s an absolute beast of a knife. The glass breaker pommel is a nice feature I really like – even though it’s unlikely you would ever need to use it. I could see it being used as an excellent self defense weapon as well.

Get the ESEE-6 if you prefer a more agile knife that’s going to have an easier time with carving and skinning. The 6 is still one hell of a knife. The longer blade makes the entire knife much more usable. It feels better in my hands than the 5. Really balanced in comparison to the 5. For that reason alone I recommend the 6 over the 5.

What do you think about these two knives? Drop a comment below before you leave.