What is Your Weapon of Last Resort?

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

We always hear about survival knives for preppers and survivalists but we rarely hear about combat knives for preppers.  A survival knife is meant to be able to get you through every task you would want a knife for in the wilderness.  Usually a survival knife would be good as a combat knife as well but the big issue is that it can’t really be concealed effectively.

There’s no substitute for a gun but you simply don’t know what you’re situation will be.  The two big advantages a knife can have over a gun is that they’re quiet and knives are less likely to fail.  In a SHTF situation someone could sneak up on you and you might be more valuable to them alive than dead.  For instance, they might want to know where your supplies are hidden.  In this instance you’re essentially a hostage and if you’ve got a gun pointed at you and you have to drop your weapons you’d be much better off having a concealed weapon on you.

What is Your Weapon of Last Resort? - The Prepper Journal

You could also be in a situation where things are just starting to unravel in society and things are looking grim but you don’t overtly want to be carrying a weapon.  The possibilities where you need a last resort weapon are endless.  The fact is you just don’t know what situation you’ll be in.  Anything can happen.  All I know is that I’d rather have a weapon of last resort on my person than not have one.  I love military history and it is littered with examples of last resort weapons, generally daggers.  It doesn’t matter at what age through history we’re talking about, whether you were a Roman soldier, a Samurai or a modern day soldier, they always had a weapon of last resort.

Concealed or Not Concealed?

A knife like a bowie knife was very common on the frontier as a fighting knife.  In fact, that’s what bowies were designed for, as a fighting knife.  The problem with bowies is they can’t be concealed easily unless you are wearing a lot of clothing.

Sun Tzu who wrote The Art of War had this to say about warfare – “All warfare is based on deception.  The ancient Greeks also knew this with the Trojan horse.  A concealed weapon is a necessary deception. I would do whatever it takes to protect myself and my family. A concealed weapon in times of trouble to me is a necessity.

We know from Special Forces whether they be military or special police forces all over the world, they often wear a boot knife as a last resort weapon.  We also know that potential assailants can overlook the fact that you have a concealed weapon.

Size of the Weapon

What is Your Weapon of Last Resort? - The Prepper Journal What is Your Weapon of Last Resort? - The Prepper Journal

Size does matter.  If you are in a life or death situation and you’re an innocent person, a victim, I have no sympathy for the perpetrator and if it’s either your or your family’s life on the line or the perpertrators, I know which one I’d prefer.

A small bladed weapon might not do enough damage for you to survive.  If you’ve got a small 2-3 inch blade it could take several attempts to do enough damage for you to be safe.

Combat Knife Options for Preppers

What is Your Weapon of Last Resort? - The Prepper Journal What is Your Weapon of Last Resort? - The Prepper Journal

Push daggers – also known as a punch knife.  Instead of a normal handle that you’d see on a knife, you get a handle shaped like a “T”, that handle is perpendicular to the blade allowing you to punch with the knife instead of thrusting.

What is Your Weapon of Last Resort? - The Prepper Journal

Boot knives – Usually a dagger as opposed to a single edge knife which is attached to the boot.  Daggers have been popular as weapons since the start of warfare.

What is Your Weapon of Last Resort? - The Prepper Journal

Karambit  – a small highly curved blade.  Perfect for slashing.

What is Your Weapon of Last Resort? - The Prepper Journal

Neck knives  – a knife that is hung around your neck and can be concealed under your shirt, especially if you’ve got a couple of layers of clothing on.  Neck knives have been used by Native Americans, Vikings and more recently by Mors Kochanski, the granddaddy of bushcraft.  Most neck knives only have blades of a few inches which makes them less than ideal as a combat knife.

My choice is absolutely the boot knife.  Its blade is long enough, it’s concealed in an area where most won’t look and it’s easily accessible.

The other big benefit of having a boot knife if you’re a survivalist and out in the woods and you lose your knife or your knife breaks you’ll always have a decent blade on your person.  Most don’t carry a decent blade in their Altoids tin because there isn’t enough room.  At best you’ll have a small pocket knife.  If you are in a survival situation and for whatever reason lose your main survival knife, I’d rather rely on a decent fixed bladed boot knife than a small pocket knife.

Obviously every state has its own laws regarding concealed weapons but if the SHTF no one cares about laws, why should you?  We overestimate humanity in that we believe that we’re somehow above animals but without the law to keep people in check, behavior will quickly deteriorate and our animal instincts will kick in

Do preppers and even survivalists need a weapon of last resort?  I believe so.  It’s an inexpensive insurance policy.  It doesn’t take much skill to wield.  Yes, that comment will make some people angry who believe they have exceptional knife fighting skills but in a real life situation you have the quick and the dead.  Either you’ve wielded your weapon or you’re potentially dead.  It’s very difficult to block a knife if someone is attacking you.

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“Most don’t carry a decent blade in their altoids tin because there isn’t enough room”. I agree with that 100%. I wrote an article here on the prepper journal about how altoids survival tins are a joke. But it seems to have disappeared from the website. Along with other comments like one I wrote just recently on the body armor article. A fighting knife should have some criteria. Blade length of a minimum 4” to be able to reach vital organs. Fixed blade with a full tang because it’s the strongest design. A handle and guard or deep finger choil… Read more »

R. Ann

The altoid tin article is up and accessible. It’s under “Guest …” (author or contributor – just can’t remember), so if you searched by author name, it’s not going to pop. It came up 3-4 days ago when I referenced it in a different discussion and just now. The *new* comment system has personality issues periodically, and does not always actually post first time around (I periodically have to re-enter a different capcha) and I have yet to have one with a link in it actually leave “awaiting moderation” phase. – – Knives are hard to counter and take more… Read more »

Wild Bill

As I have mentioned before I did look into “upgrading” the comments portion of the web site but all the upgrades come with the “fatal improvement” of out-of-control AdWare. Long time followers will quickly remember the endless carnival-side-show ads and sexual innuendos to get you to click through to sites that leave malware on your systems. They pay way better than the current solution BUT that is not what we are about. I keep looking….

R. Ann

It’s not that big of a deal (to me). Just one of those things I’m aware of now, like periodically turning a device off and turning it back on to cure its ills or some of the *cute* search-term issues various sites have. There were two points before you and the new-new comment system where SNAFU went into full effect and ate notifications, refused to show comments (block would say 11; 7-10 would be visible at any given moment) or allowed me/us to be tagged from other users (I was propositioned by several Russian prostitutes sure they were the one… Read more »

Wild Bill

I’ll look for the article on the Altoids Tins….I know what happened to the comment on body armor and that I can fix though I wonder if the people who design armored vehicles complain that you can’t use 46100 Brinell-rated steel for vehicles because that will overload the Toyota Prius electric motor I plan to use in this 44,000 vehicle? Just curious 😉


I’ll be honest. There is nothing wrong with an “Altoids knife” in my book. Lost your Ka-bar? Forgot to pack your ESEE-4? Its a knife. Not a primary, not a secondary for fighting, but when the chips are down and you have a choice of clubbing with your altoids can or slashing at arms with that little pocket knife you kept in the can for fishing and what not, I’ll take the little pocket knife.

Sometimes, options are about perspective, not wallet size.


As an observation, somewhere here, we still have a medium sized gerber folder that was my daughter’s first ‘real’ knife. It had a loop in the body for your index finger, presumably to reduce the chance a rookie slices themselves to the bone.

Was only about $25-30, but just about perfect for teaching her proper hold when cutting something. Just thought I’d throw that out for the rookies.


A battling blade ought to have a few criteria. The sharp edge length of a base 4″ to have the capacity to achieve key organs. Settled sharp edge with a solid handle since it’s the most grounded outline. A handle and monitor or profound finger loops to shield hands from slipping onto the edge while cutting.


Not a knife fighter nor have any formal training, but the CRKT Obake to me would make a fearsome ‘last ditch / now or never’ hide-out.


What’s the name of that big black knife on the photo with the banknote?


Found a video online for a spring loaded knife in your boot. Good for close range fighting.

Wild Bill

I have two from Ravencrest Tactical (https://ravencresttactical.com/)- one in my EDC bag and one seldom not in my pocket, even with my weapon of last resort on me. Used it at the movies this past Saturday night when the 14-something kid next to me was unable to defeat the seal on a bag of Sour Worms. I think he kept one eye on me for the entire movie after seeing that thing! Good life lesson.

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