What defines fixed blade survival knives? It’s not just that they’re big and beefy, nor that they have a saw toothed spine or even that they have a hidden built in compass. Real, honest fixed blade survival knives are both less and more than that in so many ways.
The Truth About Fixed Blade Survival Knives
They don’t need bells and whistles to make them excellent survival tools, and they certainly do not need Rambo’s signature along the face of the blade. All they need is solid construction and reliable materials, expertly crafted and created by experienced hands.
Luckily, there are several companies producing excellent fixed blade survival knives which are all highly recommended for outdoor use. Without a shadow of a doubt, a good knife is essential in any outdoors man’s arsenal of tools and gear.
KA-BAR produces one of the worlds most recognizable military knives; their 7” bladed model of fixed blade knife has seen extended use in the United States Marine Core since the early to mid 1960′s, and for good reason.
The 1095 high carbon knives are perfectly suited for long periods of outdoor use. In fact, the KA-BAR was originally intended as a wilderness survival knife, perfectly useful for everyday tasks, and even some abusive ones, such as hammering objects with the pommel and batoning through logs to process firewood. Indeed, the KA-BAR has widely been recognized as the set standard for what a fixed blade knife should be. Because of this, competition has sprung up both seeking to imitate and improve upon the already tried and true design.
One such knife is the Cold Steel Leatherneck. This knife is very similar to the KA-BAR in many ways, especially in profile. The handle configuration, blade geometry and overall weight are all very similar; what sets the Leatherneck apart are the very different materials used in it’s production. The steel is Krupp 4116 stainless steel instead of 1095 high carbon steel, which increases stain resistance and slightly decreases edge retention. On the other hand, the handle is mainly constructed from grivory and krayex, which provides a better grip even while the handle is moist or wet.
Another excellent choice from the virtual ocean of fixed blade survival knives would be the Ontario RAT 7; with a 1095 blade that is 7” long with a cutting edge of 6.5”, this larger fixed blade is perfect for long term outdoor activities. Able to chop wood and aid in the construction of shelters, the RAT 7 is also well suited for some more delicate tasks as well due to the generous finger choil. Micarta handle scales provide very tactile grip which will not fade over time. This excellent knife also has a hollow grind, meaning the area behind the edge is much thinner than a conventional blade. This means that the knife can be easily used for shaving wood and preforming more clean cuts than a standard blade.
When considering which of the many fixed blade survival knives to pick up for your own use, it is important to consider what tasks are most important to you; larger knives for larger tasks. However, I would highly recommend any of the above knives for general survival use. When you need to depend on a tool to survive in the wild, make sure that tool is a well made knife.