Survival knives can determine life and death out in the wilderness. It is essential to be prepared and have the right type of knife that could be used for multiple purposes, such as chopping wood. Military survival knives best serve this purpose. They are designed from hunting knives and are optimized for offense. When shopping for military survival knives there are a few things that should be considered.
What to look for in a Military Survival knife
Strength – a great knife is designed to be durable and nigh unbreakable. The blade of the knife should extend into the handle – full tang is preferred. The section that is secluded in the blade is known as the tang. For higher quality knives, the tang should extend to the base of the knife. This is called a full tang. Knives of lesser quality may not have a tang, with the blade connected only connecting to the handle. These knives are subject to breaking under stress anddo not make for good survival knives.
Solid Handle – to augment the strength of the knife the handle should be solid and supportive of a full tang. Hollow handles and handles with storage space do not have a full tang. This compromises its strength and integrity. Another thing to consider is that anything stored in the knife is subject to wherever the knife is. So, if the knife is lost, so are the stored items.
The Blade – the blade of great quality knives are made of either carbon or stainless steel. Carbon blades typically are known to stay sharper longer, but rust quicker when in the outdoors. Stainless steel blades are highly durable and will not rust for a very long time, but are known to lose their sharpness quicker than carbon blades.
The design of the blade is important. Blades are usually 6 – 12 inches, but remember anything over 9 inches may become a hindrance. Straight blades are easier to sharpen and are better at jobs such as chopping. Serrated blades or blades with teeth are great for tearing but need to be taken to a specialist to get sharpened. The thickness of a blade matters as well. Blades that can easily bend or be subject to stress, do not make great survival knives.
Rule of Thumb: the thickness of a blade should be 3/16 – 4/16 of an inch.
Sheath – the sheath of a knife should have a belt loop and holes on the tip of the end for low attachment to the leg. This will have the knife sit flush with the body. The knife handle should also have a lanyard. The sheath should fasten at the top of the opening.
Top 3 Military Survival knives
There are generally three great brands out there: Buck, Case, and Gerber.
- The Buck Special Fixed Blade Knife has a 5-inch blade that is very sharp and weighs 4.5 ounces, which is considered light. This allows the wearer to carry it with less fatigue.
- Case knives have been revered for years by many hunters out in the field. Hunters found it easy to butcher and skin prey after a kill using a Case Stockman model.
- The Gerber Gator is a folding knife that has a lock feature. The blade is 3 ¾ inches that features a gut hook. The handle uses a combination of rubber and plastic that makes it dexterous, even in wet conditions.
Military grade tactical knives should be of high quality, have a full tang, be lightweight, and possess a solid handle. The sheath should have lower attachments, belt loop, and lanyard. They should be easy to draw and not be cumbersome while carrying. They should be durable and weather-proof, handling much of anything the elements can dish out. Another honorable mention is the Finnish-made Fallkniven H1, popular in Europe for its strength and functionality.