Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Scott H. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.
The knife is an essential part of any survival kit. We all know that. We all carry a knife on a daily basis. If you don’t, you need to move to a Free State or start carrying one if it is legal. That said, knives are like vehicles and firearms. Everyone has an opinion on which knife is the best and most economical knife. Today you get mine.
Based off of every day, or at least situational use, my choices have been tested. The following opinion is based on practical, not tactical use of edged tools. All may be used for offensive and defensive purposes, but are not designed for that said purpose specifically.
The pocket knife – Tier 1
Every Day Carry. There are plenty of cool “tactical” folders on the market know. Open-assist is the bomb! I own several, as well as pre-ban switch-blades. There is nothing cooler than flicking a button/scale/lever and having a blade pop out to impress your friends. I have yet (even with the “high end”) to have one not fail in one way or another. So you really need to put some thought into your EDC pocket knife. It is not a “do-all” like a fixed blade. It is the do-most for everyday use.
As a kid growing up on a farm, I had the original “Leatherman”… An “Old Timer” multi-blade folder and a pair of pliers. Later I graduated to a “Buck” lock-back, single blade folder. I still have both of them. 30+ years’ worth of EDC. When pocket clips became the rage, I switched to a Gerber EVO Jr. I carried and used it for many a year. It finally got to the point that the blade would wobble no matter what I did to fix it. So it got retired. I picked up a Kershaw “Onion” as its replacement. Great knife. It is now retired as a Kershaw “Barge” has replaced it. So far, this is the ultimate pocket knife for me. I do tasks with it I would NEVER do with any other pocket knife. Besides everyday use, the wedge end is a fantastic Kubaton and the thick blade is very durable for defense. Check it out.
The fixed blade knife – Tier 2
This is my GHB knife. There are SO many good options in this category that an article unto itself could be written. The main thing I want is a decent steel and full tang construction. Several factors also come into play depending on your AO. I kicked this one around for a couple of years and determined for me, that the blade should be no larger than 7”. Single edged. Light weight. Full tang. Hold a good edge and be easy to re-sharpen in the field.
I tested 3 knives extensively. 1st was the Morakniv. This is a GREAT knife! Unfortunately it did not meet the criteria for me. They are not full tang. While they are strong and functional at most levels, the two I field tested broke at the hilt after a few rounds of batoning. I still keep multiples of this knife around. I really do love it. It just doesn’t fit my needs for a tier 2 knife.
The 2nd test was the Smith & Wesson SW6 Extreme Ops recurve. This dude is a beast. I believe it is 420 steel, so not the best, but it is thick and hefty. I have batoned 100’s if not 1000’s of logs with it for the backyard fire-pit and camping adventures. You do need to Loctite the scales if you want to keep them on if you baton. I use a file to sharpen it as that is the only way I have found to get a good edge on it. Yes, I know how to sharpen a recurve knife. Cheap steel. I beat the crap out of this thing and it keeps coming back for more. Between the steel and the weight, I have placed it in the Plano Box as opposed to regular carry. I have lost one set of screws batonning with it. I am not sure it can retain a decent edge for defensive purposes? It would make a great billy club though.
The 3rd test was the SOG Seal PUP. This is a good, light-weight, all-purpose knife. It retains a good edge, it is easy to sharpen and it comes with a decent sheath. I take this where ever I go. I don’t even know it is there. Mine has the serrated edge which is great for Para cord slicing and general rope duty.
The Kitchen Sink Knife – Tier 3
This is the big boy. A large knife can do everything a small knife can, but not vice-versa. As a proud American, I absolutely LOVE the Bowie knife. It is large and heavy. It really meets all of the requirements if you look hard enough. Decent, full-tang Bowies can be found for around $20. That said, the do all for me is the Kukri. I like the Ghurka House blades. It is an ax. A hammer. A scythe and a terrifying offensive/defensive weapon. If you get one of the budget ones, keep in mind that they are typically good steel. You will need to modify the ceremonial handle to not get blisters. They usually come with a couple of utility knives. Work with them. The sheath is moderate. You can modify it to your needs. Of course other options are available. “Combat” knives usually fall into this category as well. They are typically designed for one reason. I’m not saying that they can’t handle most situations, but do you really want to baton with your $300 “Hisshou”? Or dig a trench with it? Look at your overall situation and make an informed decision. Think about what you need and not what you want because it is cool.
Summary. Get the most bang for the buck. You can go all “Mall-Ninja” and get worthless gear. Survival relies on true and proven gear. I am offering my field tested opinion. Mileage may vary.