Gallery: Fixed-Blade Survival Knives

posted on May 27, 2015

Few tools are as useful to outdoor enthusiast in an emergency as a sturdy fixed-blade knife. Reliable full-tang survival knives are constructed using a variety of steels, blade shapes and handle materials to meet the buyer's specific needs. Some of them are designed to straddle both the hardships of wilderness bush craft and the daily challenges of the concrete jungle. Although some folks will choose to spend more, trustworthy knives are available at reasonable prices. Here are a few solid options that I've had an opportunity to work with.  

1. Benchmade 162-1 Bushcrafter EOD undefined
This knife's name is derived from a growing trend of adventure seeker’s blending modern wilderness survival techniques with ancient survival skills. But the rigors of bush craft demand a different kind of knife. One that can fill multiple rolls while withstanding all kinds of use and abuse. Designed by Shane Silbert, the Benchmade blue class 162-1 is made from a 0.164" thick piece of premium CPM-S30V stainless steel (58-60 HRC). The high-ground drop point blade is 4.43" long. The grip consists of tan G10 scales held in place at three points by pressed titanium tubing. Weighing in at 7.72 oz. with an overall length of 9.20", this version arrives in a molded Kydex sheath with a reversible belt loop.
MSRP: $215

2. BLACKHAWK! Gidion Drop Point undefined
BLACKHAWK! provides law enforcement and military personnel with a wide variety of gear and tools, including heavy duty fixed blade knives. The Gideon Drop Point (15DP00BK) is fitted with a multipurpose blade which allows the user to employ the entire edge for a variety of jobs. Constructed of AUS8A stainless steel with a black Ti-Nitride finish, the 5" plain blade features a textured spine, a finger notch, glass breaker, and three lanyard attachment points. The scales are made of textured CNC-machined G10 secured with four hex-head screws.  The injection-molded nylon sheath arrives with mounting plates for use with PALS/MOLLE or a drop-leg platform. MSRP: $132.95

3. Buck Knives
Are you looking for a long bladed knife with classic styling or a svelte survival blade with modern sensibilities? Whatever your tastes may be, Buck has an option for you. The Frontiersman (top) is a traditional hunting knife with a 6.25" satin finish 420HC stainless steel blade. The handle consists of beautifully crafted, riveted black Micarta with a polished steel butt cap. This knife arrives with a genuine leather sheath. The new Selkirk (bottom) has been built with survival situations in mind. In addition to the strong, easy to sharpen 4.625" 420HC steel drop point blade, this knife features a comfortable contoured Micarta handle with steel bolsters. The rear bolster is designed to be used as a hammer. The heavy duty injection molded nylon sheath can be configured for horizontal or vertical carry. This knife arrives with a combination fire starter rod and emergency whistle that attach to the sheath.  MSRP: Frontiersman $200; Selkirk $85


4. Columbia River Knife & Tool  undefined
Outdoor knives come in all shapes and sizes. Columbia River Knife & Tool covers the full spectrum. The Ritter RSK Mk5 (top) is a clever no-fat knife based on the philosophy that "if it isn't with you, it can't save you." Designed to fit into small spaces (like the interior of an Altoids tin), this knife is constructed of stone washed 2CR13 stainless steel with a high flat grind on the 1.75" drop point blade. Gripping the attached lanyard properly provides stability comparable to a full length handle. This knife arrives with a polymer sheath, a small storage tin, and information on assembling a pocket sized survival kit.  Designed by Karen Hood, the USA-made Hoodwork (bottom) is purpose built for outdoor survival. The 6.13" 1095 high-carbon steel modified drop point blade features Veff Serrations and a corrosion resistant clear Cerakote coating for harsh conditions. The comfortable G10 scales can be removed to make the knife lighter. This tool arrives with a leather sheath and a bright orange 550 paracord lanyard.
MSRP: Ritter RSK Mk5 $29.99; HoodWork Survival $295

5. Fremont Knives Farson Tools  undefined
The shape of Freemont Knives Farson survival blade (bottom) was inspired by Native American stone tools that filled multiple roles. Available in 4cr15 stainless steel or Titanium Nitride coated 1095 carbon steel, this single piece tool provides 7.75" worth of cutting edge to work with. The curved portion of the blade is ideal for skinning or to shave and shape wood. Turned with the top edge facing down, it can be used to split firewood. The 8 ft. of 550 paracord wrapped around the handle can be used to lash the blade to a stick to form a hatchet. For those who would prefer to have a handle pre-installed, the Farson Hatchet (top) is available in 1095 carbon steel with a braided paracord wrapping on the handle. MSRP: Farson Blade $39.95 - $59.95; Farson Hatchet $55

6. Gerber Strongarm undefined
Gerber has been in the business of providing the U.S. military with knives since 1968. The new Strongarm is the company's latest offering for combat and survival applications. Constructed from 420HC stainless steel, the full tang 4.80" drop point blade is treated with a non-reflective black coating. The fixed handle is formed of glass-filled nylon with textured overmolded rubber. The multi-purpose modular sheath system arrives with snap-together components that allow the knife to be mounted vertically on MOLLE, horizontally on a standard 1.75” tactical belt, or in a traditional drop-leg belt mount. Customers can choose between plain or partial serrated blades with black or Coyote Tan grips. MSRP: $86

7. Hoffner Beast undefined
Originally designed to meet the daily challenges faced by rescue workers and law enforcement personnel, the Hoffner Beast is the definition of a heavy-duty tool. The full tang and spine of this 440C stainless steel knife is 0.312" (5/16") thick. With an overall length of 11.88", the 7" drop point Tanto blade is designed to handle the hard work of chopping, prying, hammering, trenching and batoning while providing the balance and handling qualities of a standard knife. The removable textured G10 scales are available in a variety of colors. The tough Click-Lok Kydex sheath arrives with an ambidextrous belt mount. It's an exceptional tool that's ideal for camping, emergency, and bug-out kits alike. MSRP: $119

8. KA-BAR Knives undefined
KA-BAR offers a diverse selection of fixed blade knives in various shapes, sizes and steel compositions to meet their customers’ needs. The heavy-duty Becker TacTool (top) features a 0.250" thick, 7" long chisel ground 1095 Cro-Van steel blade designed for hammering, prying, and chopping. This knife also provides a glass breaker and cord cutter. The Johnson Adventure Gamestalker (center) has a 4" long 440 stainless steel recurve-style blade. The multi-position textured handle makes this knife and ideal choice for finer outdoor tasks and skinning. It arrives with a MOLLE compatible nylon sheath. The wide 0.250" thick 1085 carbon steel blade of the Warthog (bottom) makes it an ideal all-round outdoor knife. The 6.75" long hollow ground edge can be used to skin, slice, shape, or chop. The TPR handle provides a sure grip in cold and wet conditions. MSRP: Becker TacTool $167; Johnson Adventure Gamestalker $68; Heavy Duty Warthog $76

9. Medford Knife & Tool - Bonfire
Some professions and situations require the strength and features which can only be found in a hand-crafted custom knife. Medford Knife & Tool, founded by Greg Medford, is a small-scale operation dedicated to providing its customers with made-to-order blades that can withstand daily use in rugged outdoor environments. Recently the company added the Bonfire model to their lineup. The basic version is made with a 0.300" thick, 7.50" long, full tang drop point blade constructed of D-2 steel with a matte-black oxide finish. D2 is a hard semi-stainless, high carbon steel that holds a fine edge at a microscopic level. Other steel options include 3V and S35VN. Contoured G10 scales are available in OD Green (shown), black or Coyote Tan. The Bonfire arrives in a padded zipper case with a nylon belt sheath. MSRP: Starting at $450


10. SOG Specialty Knives & Tools
SOG provides edge tools for tactical, industrial and everyday applications as well as outdoor survival. The new Instinct Mini (top) is a small multi-purpose knife that can be comfortably carried around town or tucked into a backpack. The 1.9" 5Cr15MoV steel clip point blade, G10 scales, lanyard hole, and adjustable clip-on sheath makes it an ideal backup to larger knives or a primary blade for small survival kits. This year SOG has added the new SEAL Strike (bottom) with deluxe sheath to the company's popular line of SEAL survival knives. The 4.90" AUS-8 steel blade features a clip point, partial serration, and weather resistant powder coating. The handle is made of glass-filled nylon with a stainless steel bracket. The tang extends beyond the lanyard hole for hammering. The hard-molded nylon sheath is loaded with features, including an adjustable belt clip, sharpener, fire starter, and cord cutter. MSRP: Instinct Mini - G10  $39; SEAL Strike Deluxe Sheath $127


11. Steel Will Knives undefined
Steel Will knives are a product of SMG Inc., an American company established in 2008. Although this company is relatively new to the market, their knives clearly show the company's dedication to high quality and attention to detail. The recently released Chieftain 1620 (top) features a 7.48" long, 0.24" thick 1095 carbon steel clip point blade. The tang extends from the handle to form a multi-purpose hammer and glass breaker. The brightly colored Micarta handle provides a sure grip and makes it easy to locate the knife if dropped. The Chieftain arrives with an adjustable nylon sheath for belt or tactical gear carry. The Druid 230 (bottom) offers a design that is as simple and elegant as it is useful. The 9.06" long, 0.20" thick drop point blade is formed of 9Cr18MoV steel, which is a high-carbon chromium bearing metal that is both easy to sharpen and corrosion resistant. The long blade can be put to work chopping and clearing, or used for finer cutting tasks. The synthetic TPE handle provides positive traction in a variety of working conditions. This knife arrives with a leather belt sheath. MSRP: 1620 Chieftain $199.99; 230 Druid $129.99

12. Work Sharp KO Knife Sharpening System undefined
Even the best of knives can be blunted in the field. Whether a blade needs a little honing or to be reshaped after bouncing off of an unseen rock, The Work Sharp Knife & Tool Sharpener Ken Onion Edition is up to the task. Using a fully adjustable precision sharpening guide, variable speed and flexible abrasive belts it sharpens blades of every length. The sharpening guide adjusts from 15° to 30° so you can sharpen any knife to the angle you desire. The variable speed control provides the optimal belt speed for the task at hand. The WSKTS-KO Blade Grinding Attachment is a horizontal belt system for knife shaping, which comes in very handy for heavily used and abused blades. This four-pulley attachment is fully adjustable from 10° to 35° (in 1° increments) and includes 1” x 18” engineered abrasive belts including a Norton ceramic P120, Norax X65 (P220), X22 (P1000), X4 (P1000) and a Micro-Mesh 12000. Clear, easy to understand instructions are provided. MSRP: Ken Onion Edition Knife & Tool Sharpener (WSKTS-KO): $149.95; Ken Onion Edition Blade Grinder (WSSAKO81112): $99.95


Colt Single Action Army
Colt Single Action Army

Favorite Firearms: A Mystery Colt Single Action Army

Perusing an expired paper-edition Gun List several years ago, I came across an ad for this old 1880-1881 Colt Single Action Army. Can’t remember what I paid, but at that time, it was too cheap to believe it was still for sale.

New For 2024: Inglis High Power Pistols

Inglis Mfg. has been reborn under the SDS Imports brand, and the company is now making classic versions of the venerable High Power pistol.

Preview: Negrini Hybri-Tech RMR Ready Handgun Case

A major supplier of OEM shotgun, rifle and handgun cases for many of the firearm industry’s biggest names for more than 40 years, during the last decade or so, Negrini Cases of Italy has also started putting more of an emphasis on selling its high-quality products directly to consumers.

Gun Of The Week: Tokarev USA TT 12

A 12-ga. semi-automatic shotgun that feeds from detachable box magazines, the Tokarev USA TT 12 provides some familiar features to fans of the AR-15.

The Armed Citizen® May 24, 2024

Read today's "The Armed Citizen" entry for real stories of law-abiding citizens, past and present, who used their firearms to save lives.

Preview: Herrington Arms HCPDP

A micro compensator designed specifically for use with threaded-barreled versions of Walther’s superb PDP, the HCPDP from Herrington Arms is machined from durable 6061 aluminum to perfectly match the contours of the pistol’s slide.


Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.