Three Important Considerations of a Good Survival Knife

“There is no destiny, there is only the edge of a good blade and the skill of the man wielding it.”

A survival knife isn’t just a knife. It’s one of the most important tools to have on you. Whether you are in back country or packing up your bug out bag – you need a dependable knife. A good knife can cut down branches to make a survival shelter, make traps or skin animals. It can also be used for cooking and defense, if need be. That said, not all knives are the same and understanding this before investing in a knife will help you make the most of your investment.

Before you go out and purchase a survival knife, understand that there are characteristics you must look for before purchasing. As well, keep SOG Fixation Dagger Fi... Check Amazon for Pricing. in mind what uses and environments you plan to use your knife in. Many believe that simplicity is the key – a good blade with a dependable handle is all you need. Inevitably, it all comes down to your preferences, but keep the following points in mind.

The Blade

Most “survival” knives have fixed blade. That is, they have no moving parts. This makes them more durable and less likely to break. Many will argue that folding knives are great because they are compact, but they are more likely to succumb to pressure by breaking. My personal opinion is to take two knives. One folding “buck knife” and a larger fixed blade knife to ensure you can perform duties pertaining to outdoor survival.

KA1214-BRK USA Fightin... Buy New $69.49 (as of 02:55 EDT - Details) Although it is a matter of preference, the ideal blade length for a survival knife is between 4-8 inches. This gives the carrier flexibility for smaller tasks and is large enough to perform jobs that require a little more oomph when you need it.

As well, a straight or serrated blade is another aspect of selecting a good survival knife. Serrated blades perform well and are very useful in cutting rope and vines. That said, it’s very difficult to sharpen – and you want your survival knife to be very sharp. A straight edge doesn’t have the limitations imposed by serrations, but again, it depends on your comfort level with the knife and what you plan to do with it.

You Get What You Pay For

If you want a blade made from quality materials that you can trust, you need to look at this purchase as an investment. You are paying for quality materials that you can depend on.

CRKT HoodWork Karen Ho... Check Amazon for Pricing. A few of my favorite serrated blades are:

SOG FX10N-CP Fixation Dagger

KA-BAR Fighting/Utility Serrated Edge Knife

Columbia River Knife

SOG Tactical Knife

Some of my favorite straight blades are:

SOG SEAL Strike Fixed ... Buy New $84.42 (as of 03:10 EDT - Details) KA-BAR Fighting Knife

Schrade SCHF9 Extreme Survival Knife

SOG Tech Bowie Knife

ESEE Fixed Blade

The Steel

The steel used in making knives is also a fundamental characteristic to a good blade. Many of the better made knives use a combination of KA-BAR Full Size US Ma... Best Price: $59.35 Buy New $63.82 (as of 08:30 EDT - Details) alloy (i.e. a mix) of carbon and iron, and other elements such as chromium, molybdenum, nickel and vanadium to improve the strength and durability of the knife. Here is a chart of the different types of steels for you to turn to.

Essentially, a good blade is the balancing and correct ratio of elements that create strength or hardness with toughness. Most knives are listed as 1095 steel which is a plain carbon steel with 95 points (0.95%) carbon; 1060 has 60 points (0.6%) carbon; while 1050 has 50 points (0.5%) carbon. The thing to keep in mind is the higher the carbon content of a blade, the tougher/harder the blade is and will have a longer lasting edge.  Some of the important properties of blade steel are:

Hardness : A measure of the steel’s ability to resist permanent deformation (measured on a Rockwell Schrade SCHF9 12.1in H... Buy New $39.91 (as of 11:30 EDT - Details) Scale)

Hardenability : The ability of a steel to be hardened (through the heat-treating process)

Strength : The steel’s ability to resist applied forces

Ductility : The steel’s ability to flex or bend without fracturing

Toughness : The steel’s ability to absorb energy prior to fracturing

Initial Sharpness : The sharpness of the blade “out of the box” SOG Tech Bowie Fixed B... Buy New $141.77 (as of 02:05 EDT - Details)

Edge Retention : The ability of the steel blade to hold an edge without frequent re-sharpening

Corrosion Resistance: The ability of the steel to resist deterioration as a result of reaction with its environment

Wear Resistance: The ability to resist wear and abrasion during use

Manufacturability : The ease with which steel can be machined, blanked, ground, and heat-treated (made into a blade)

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Additionally, you also want to consider is how well the knife will withstand normal wear and tear, if it is resistant to corrosion, the blade retention or how well the blade retains its sharpness.

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