The Best Bushcraft Knife: Finding the Optimal Tools for SHTF

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What is your favorite knife for bushcraft? It is surprising how many people have different tastes when it comes to a tool as simple as a knife. We strode out to determine the best bushcraft knife using our own experience and the input from those that do it daily. Trimming the list down to just …

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11 Best Knives to Have in a Disaster (and Why)

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A tool that has been around since mankind first began chipping rocks into weapons, few items are more essential to an outdoorsman or survivalist than a quality knife. As with any versatile tool, though, knives serve a wide range of purposes – some better than others, depending on the blade you choose. From skinning an […]

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Combat knives

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A combat knife is a knife used for combat.  Pretty simple really.  A combat knife is the same as a fighting knife.  Many people use the term tactical knife to describe a combat knife but this is incorrect.  A tactical knife is not a combat knife.  A tactical knife can be a folding pocket knife which is something I wouldn’t want to use in combat.

A dagger could be a combat knife.  Middle age daggers were generally long and thin and were designed for piercing through chain mail (a type of medieval armor) which means they had a sharpened tip but may have been blunt along the edge.  It would be useful as a stabbing weapon but not as a slasher.  There are two types of daggers though – ones that are long and thin and designed to pierce chain mail and ones that look more like a spear.  The ones that look like a spear can be useful as combat knives.

Types of Combat Knives

So many different civilizations have used combat knives and most of them are completely different.  Below I’ll list the most well known combat knives from history.

  1. Seax – was a combat knife.  It was used by Germanic and Nordic tribes to great effect. Seax - Northmen 1
  2. Bowie knife – was designed to be a fighting knife and was used in the Wild West.

    circa 1830 bowie

  3. Kukri – was used by the Nepalese army.Condor Heavy Duty kukri in leaves
  4. Boot knife – could be used because it’s easily concealed.
  5. Neck knife – Used by Native Americans and Vikings.neck-knife
  6. Push dagger – Is obviously designed for combat.Stealth Defense Push Dagger 1
  7. Karambit – small curved blade used in South East Asia.TF-816 Series Folding Karambit by Tac-Force
  8. Tanto – Used by the Samurai.Hira Zukuri tanto

Key characteristics of combat knives

How can you have a karambit which is a combat knife and also a bowie when they’re so completely different?  All combat knives should share some similar key characteristics though:

  1. Good steel – What type of steel is going to be used?
  2. Weight – you want reach but you don’t want it to be too heavy
  3. Speed – how quickly can it be deployed and used?
  4. Reach – does one weapon have a further reach allowing you to keep someone at arms length?
  5. Guard – If used for thrusting, does it have a guard?
  6. Purpose? To stab or slash or both?
  7. Amount of damage caused – is it going to lacerate or is it going to do more damage?

Combat knives – the most effective style

How effective a weapon is depends on a number of factors such as is the other person armed or are they wearing some type of body armor? 

Karambit – You’ll find heaps of cool looking karambit fighting techniques everywhere as shown in the youtube clip below.  They look great but in reality the reach of them isn’t long enough for my liking.  If the other person is armed you’d want to be highly skilled.

Tanto – It was used for centuries by the Samarui and I love Japanese blades but the guards are so small on them that they couldn’t effectively be used as a stabbing tool without cutting your hand.  Put a guard on a tanto and it’s an awesome combat knife.

Neck knife – Used by the Viking and American Indians but the only way it can be effectively used in combat is if it’s on the outside of your shirt and secured to your body.  If it’s on the inside of your shirt it will be hard to get to when you need it.  If it’s on the outside of your shirt it will dangle around which is fine if you’re doing bushcraft or if you’re using the knife for survival but if you want it for a combat situation you’ll need it secured to your body.  If it’s secured to your body then it can get in your way if it’s secured vertically and you bend over, the best way to do it is to secure it horizontally.

Boot knife – A really good option because they’re mainly designed as daggers.  It takes a little longer to access because it’s not within arms reach but overall it’s a really good option.

Seax – As much as I love the seax, most didn’t have a guard.

Push dagger – Can’t be used all that well for slashing and the reach on them isn’t great.

Bowie knife – Usually has a decent size guard and heaps of reach, is extremely durable and can be used for thrusting as well as slashing so it’s a great combat knife.  The only issue is the weight.

Kukri – Another awesome option.  It’s got reach and the blade is very durable.  It is awesome for slashing and can also be used effectively for thrusting.  The kukri is my favorite combat machete

Best Combat knife

Obviously if you can handle a weapon you’re better off than someone who can’t or isn’t willing to. My favorite types of combat knives are the bowie, the kukri and boot knives.  If you put a decent guard on a long tanto then that would be my favorite.   It’s lighter than other options, can thrust and slash and is durable.  For the record even though I love Japanese blades I’m not a fan boy who thinks they’re the greatest blades of all time and have magical mystical properties. 


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The seax is the knife that was common place among the Germanic tribe, the Anglo Saxons and was popular from the 5th century until the 11th.  It’s popularity spread all over northern Europe.  The Vikings also had a very similar tool which is commonly referred to as a Viking Seax but it was the Anglo Saxons who were historically first to develop the knife that we know today as the seax.  The Anglo Saxons conquered Britain and it’s where we get the English language from.

It was an everyday knife, it was a hunting knife, fighting knife, a general all round knife.  The reason it’s so famous, even today is because if you’re a knife enthusiast you can’t help admire just how spectacular seax knives look.  Here are some modern recreations:

Seax - Northmen 3

Seax - Northmen 1 Seax - Northmen 2seax and sheath
The most famous type of seax is the broken back seax as shown in the image below:
broken back seax

Seax types

Below you can see all the different types of seax’s. They varied in size, design and blade point significantly but when you see a seax, you know it’s a seax and you can’t really mistake it for anything else.

The first image is the best explanation.  It shows the broad seax categories of:

  • Narrow longseax
  • Longseax
  • Heavy Broadseax
  • Light broadseax
  • Narrow seax
  • Short seax

It also shows the different types of blade points:

Seax classification

seax types SeaxTypesDefined..

Seax – key characteristics

I’m just going to put the key characterists of seax’s below because that’s the easiest way to understand the similarities between the blades.

  • Blade length 18-80cm
  • No false edge like a bowie knife.
  • No sharpening notch
  • No ricasso
  • No distal taper
  • Blades were thick 1/4-3/8″
  • Blade geometry was a full-flat grind and sometimes slightly convex
  • Blade edge was not perfectly straight, there is always some curve even if it is a slight curve
  • The blade is widest at the ‘hump’ of the blade and then tapering from there in both directions
  • Some were pattern welded which is another reason why they have so much visual appeal. 
  • No guard
  • Hidden tang
  • Metal handle fittings were rare
  • Handles were generally very long

Seax Handle

There are few surviving in tact handles but what we do know is this, they were hidden tang just like swords of the era and just like early bowie knives.  Metal handle fittings were rare.

The other thing about the handles was that they were extremely long by modern standards.  The Aachen seax which is often referred to as the knife of Charlemagne has a handle of almost 9″ which is massive.  Most modern knife handles are about 5″.  The handle was made of horn (bovine),

Seax sheath

What’s interesting is how the seax was worn.  It was worn horizontally or at an angle with the blade edge facing up on the front side of the body.  Why is this the case?  Because the blade is so long, if you had it by your side it wouldn’t be very practical unless you were actually fighting and seeing as it was an everyday tool it was more practical to have it in front.  It actually had brass rings which were attached either via leather or chain to the belt.

This is an awesome video showing how to make a seax sheath:

How the seax was worn

seax worn out the front Wearing a seax how a seax was worn Seax worn out the front in art

Seax – chopper or thrusters?

No one really knows but the seax knife has no guard so as a stabbing knife, it would have been very dangerous to the user.  Once you’ve got one in your hand and feel the weight balance, you’d have to say that it was a chopper.  There are some continental examples with guards but they were so small they were more likely to be just a measure to stop your hand riding up onto the blade in general use, the guards were just too small to be used as a guard to protect from stabbing.  If you were to thrust and hit any type of armor, you would end up cutting your own hand.



bowie knife

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The iconic bowie knife is a favorite in America and around the world.  It symbolizes the frontier, the wild west.  The knife was created by James Black for Jim Bowie in the early 19th century.  Jim Bowie went on to become a notorious knife fighter who died at the Alamo.  Other than those facts the original bowie knife has been lost to time and Jim Bowie is a character shrouded in mystery.  No one really has any hard evidence about him other than the facts I’ve stated above and that he was involved in the infamous “Sand Bar” fight on the banks of the Mississippi River on September 19, 1827.  What we do know is that knives inspired by the bowie knife were what we’d consider to be a bowie knife these days.

Bowie knife design

Usually 8” plus in blade length, 1.5-2 inches broad and about 1/4 inch thick, fixed blade with a clip point.  Most frontier knives at the time were only 4-6” so as a survival knife, that’s all you really need.  If they could manage to survive back then with only a 4-6” blade I’m pretty sure we can manage today.  The reason a bowie knife was so much bigger than a trade knife was that the bowie knife was also a fighting knife.

In close quarter combat obviously speed matters but so does reach.  If you’ve got a longer weapon than your opponent (excluding guns) you should be able to win the battle.

bowie in the trenches
bowie in the trenches – courtesy of

Here are some great pics of some old style bowie knives courtesy of

Frontiersman circa 1830 bowie Different bowies Bowie knife

The bowie knife these days is great for survivalists because it’s so robust.  It can be used in a very similar fashion to a kukri which is also another great fighting knife.  If you’re out in the woods and don’t have an axe or a hatchet, the bowie can be used to chop through small trees if necessary and is a great option for a knife.

The other consideration is this, the knife just looks awesome.  It’s a great feeling swinging a big bit of steel around, it’s heaps of fun as long as you’re careful!

Bowie knives were generally hidden tang

Hidden tang can be fine for knife construction.  Yes, I know most people prefer full tang but swords and kukris used to be hidden tang as well and a sword that’s a few feet long smashing into a shield or armor will have to take more force than a bowie knife trying to chop down a small tree.  The moral of the story is if a sword can handle being hidden tang, so can a knife because a sword is subjected to greater force at the critical point which is where the blade or ricasso meet the handle.  That’s where knives generally break if they’ll break because of them being hidden tang.

Here’s an example of a viking sword with a hidden tang:

Viking sword with hidden tang
Courtesy of

Avoid cheap bowies

You’ll find a lot of bowie knives under the $30 mark.  That’s all good and well and you think you’re getting a bargain but you’re not.  Generally these knives are made with a cheap stainless steal instead of high carbon steel like 1095.  Bowies were designed to chop and as soon as you start chopping with a cheap stainless steel knife it will go blunt very quickly and a blunt knife is a dangerous knife.  They can get sharp easily, that’s not the problem, the problem is edge retention, it just won’t stay sharp.  If you’re knife goes blunt quickly, you’ll spend more time sharpening it than using it.

Not only is the quality of the steel poor, the hidden tang is usually really poorly constructed because it’s cheaper to weld a small tang onto another piece of metal than to have one continuous tang piece.  Check out the pic below:

poorly made bowie
Bowie knife tang that’s cheaply made

A bowie knife with a hidden tang should have a tang design more like this:

proper bowie tang
proper bowie tang

Bowie knife handles

Handles can come in a variety of shapes and sizes.  The one second from the left is known as a French pistol handle and the one on the right is known as a coffin handle.  Personally seeing as I use a bowie to chop with I prefer a flared out handle towards the pommel like in the image on the left.

bowie handles
bowie handles

Buying a decent bowie knife

You just have to pay up.  If you just want a cheap showpiece that won’t really get used much then sure, a cheap bowie knife will do the job but if you  want something that will actually be a useful tool, you’ll just have to pay because you’re buying a big piece of steel.  The steel used in a bowie knife could be 2-3 times as much as a 4-6 inch blade so it stands to reason that if you want a lot of quality steel, you’ll have to pay extra for it.


Best knife sheath? We review the Jenna Martin Vehement Knives design

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A really, really important part of a rigid blade knife is the sheath. A good one will be safe and comfortable to carry and get used. A poorly-designed sheath is dangerous and encourages you leaving the knife behind. This design by Jenna Martin is incredible!

Survival Gear Review: Camillus Carnivore

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Survival Blade

There is a reason that knives are lumped into named categories, and that is because the knife profile of that best survival toolparticular category has been honed (pardon the pun) over decades or even hundreds of years. Whether cutlass or cleaver, Bowie or barlow, choice of shape, thickness, blade steel, edge, and hardness have all been chosen to support the mission of the knife. But what happens when a knife design crosses between categories? Well, compromises have to be made, and the user of such a tool must work within the constraints of those limitations. An such is the case with the Camillus Carnivore.

By Doc Montana, a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and 

The Company

The Camillus Knife Company has been in business, in name anyway, since 1896. It has been a supplier of manyCamillus_About_image military contracts including the famous four-blade folder used by U.S. Forces. Basically is it a metallic version of the iconic Boy Scout pocket knife.  While Camillus might push the All American Company image, it cannot claim all American made. Most of the product line seems to be made in China now, with a few high dollar blades forged in upstate New York. The Acme United Corporation, an even older conglomerate, bought Camillus in 2009 rolling it into their portfolio of “innovative cutting, first aid, and sharpening products.” So much so was the innovation that in 2011 Camillis signed up with world famous survivalist Les Stroud, aka Survivorman, to design and market survival tools. However the Camillus Carnivore, as yet, is not one of them.

Knife-like Thing

By combining the traits of a large machete-like blade with that of a diverse survival knife, the Camillus CarnivoreCamillis_Carnivore_titanum_X_X2_both_in_hand can run double duty as long as you abide by the rules of limitation. Most machete-sized edged tools utilize a spring steel of moderate hardness (or softer hardness to use an oxymoron) that gives great physical flexibility and ease of sharpening. Stainless steels, on the other hand, don’t like to be bent, and resist the sharpening stone more aggressively than carbon steels. In the case of the Camillus Carnivore, a “Titanium bonded” stainless steel, presumably a 440 Chinese variety. The bonded property presumably is an inexpensive way of hardening the very edge of the blade. It is common among disposable edges like razor blades, but presents issues with actual hand knives in that the resharpenability of the blade is more difficult. But that might not really be an issue with a knife like the Camillus Carnivore since it seem to be more of a here-and-now survival tool that might have limited use in the long term. But it was never designed as such, nor should you expect it too. That’s the difference between a $25 knife and a $250 knife. Both work as advertised.

Also Read: The Ultimate Survival Arm

For a large blade that sells for between $20 and $30, one should not have high expectations for the handle. And with the Camillus Carnivore, you might be surprised…or not. The grip of the Carnivore is hard plastic covering with an exposed tail section that ensures that all accurate pounding will skip the grip and focus the force completely on the blade. That’s a good thing, and something I’ve stressed with expensive knives like most of the Fallkniven variety.

Related: Timahawk Review

The featured-filled blade has multiple tools from it’s long sharp edge, to the gut hook/cord cutter, to the tanto-Camillis_Carnivore_titanum_X_X2_handlesesk blade end, to the serrated saw section, to the prybar tip. But it that very tip that has created some of the issues that has given the Camillus Carnivore more than its share of negative reviews in the past. Remember that difference between spring steel and stainless? Well a blade of stainless does not like to be used in a prying fashion and tends to snap rather than bend. A spring steel blade might go up to a 90 degree bend before giving up. So some users of the Camillus Carnivore bent the prybar, which is easy given the foot between the handle and wedged tip, thus snapping the blade and then lopping a whole pile of stars off their review.

Another defect that isn’t is the inability of the tip to penetrate. I figured the case, but in the field I repeatedly triedCamillis_Carnivore_titanum_X_X2_can_stabbing to puncture a rusty tin can. No go. But you could say it more of a feature than a bug. By providing a solid prying surface, in order to avoid tip breakage, there best not be a tip to break. And thus had the Camillus Carnivore. A blunt-nosed long-beaked cutting/chopping tool.

Related: Crovel Elite Review

My field tests of two versions of the Camillus Carnivore, the X and the XZ, in two different lengths, has proved them worth their price. As choppers they both excel and the blade-forward weight provides a great platform for aggressive and precision wood striking. Of course, the blade works well for blade stuff like cutting and slicing as long as it’s sharp.

Surprisingly, the sawback of the Camillus Carnivore really does work well as a saw. I’ve tried many other saw-back Camillis_Carnivore_titanum_X_X2_choppingblades including Gerber, SOG and others, but most fail spectacularly. They cut no better than a serrated knife, and mostly just scrape the wood and clog their teeth.

BOB Worthy

As a survival tool, the Camillus Carnivore is worthy of bug out bag carry. Not everything has to be heirloom quality and serve the next generation with the same vigor as a decade ago. So for a unique edged chopping hand tool that you will use within its limitations, then the Camillus Carnivore is one to consider. Seriously.

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Survival Gear Review: Fällkniven MB Modern Bowie

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Trigger Alert: This article is about a very big knife. If that scares you, then click here.  March 6, 1836 was aFallkniven_MB_Modern_Bowie_Knife_Cobalt_posing-survival bad day for Jim Bowie. In fact the two weeks prior weren’t much better since the small mission building in which Jim and a hundred others took a stand was under attack.  Remember the Alamo? But long before that fateful Sunday morning James Bowie was famous for his knife prowess whether true or not. In 1827 Bowie (pronounced BOO-ee) was involved in a skirmish known as the Sandbar Fight where Jim Bowie essentially won a gunfight with a knife. A very large knife. And, as they say, the rest is history.

By Doc Montana, a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and 

Modern Sporting Knife

The Bowie Knife is a pattern much like the AR15 is a pattern. The so-called Bowie Knife is general form withfallkniven knife review some characteristics, but there is no one type of Bowie, nor any particular feature that makes or breaks a Bowie Knife. In general a Bowie Knife is a large blade, something eight or more inches, an overall length more than a foot, a crossguard separating the blade from the handle, and a clip point blade tip. Finally, there is the appearance of a false edge running along the top of the blade from tip through a curve ending at the spine proper. The false edge may or may not be sharpened, and thus the Bowie might cut both ways. Today, however, most Bowie Knives are not sharpened on the upper portion of the blade due to weapons laws in many jurisdictions. But originally as a fighting knife, that was the point.

Related: CRKT Redemption Knife 

The origin of the Bowie Knife is a little tangled in lore and opinions. Even the facts depend upon which story Fallkniven_MB_Modern_Bowie_Knife_Cobalt_Granfors_Bruks_hand_hatchetyou subscribe to. But in the end, and even with all the unknowns, the Bowie Knife is one of the most recognizable and famous blades in the world. And just as the initial Bowie Knives were evolving and upgrading as each one was pounded into existence on the blacksmith’s anvil, the Bowie is evolving even today some 187 years after James Bowie brought a wooden model of his ideal knife to an Arkansas blacksmith named, of all things, James Black who then pounded Bowie Knife life into an old file. So a blacksmith named Black made a Bowie for Bowie. Even more, David Bowie, the famous rock star, took his stage name “Bowie” from the knife because, as David noted in an interview, the Bowie Knife “Cuts both ways.”


In addition to the famous Rambo blades of Hollywood fame, the silhouette of the Bowie Knife can be found inBest Rambo Survival Knife real life in the popular Buck 119 hunting knife, the famous leather-handled USMC KA-BAR fighting knife, and in a smaller form factor, the SOG Seal Elite, Seal Pup and their multitude of versions. However, the rich history of Bowie Knives and its variants are pretty much still using historical designs and antique blade technology. Until now, that is. At the moment, the most modern, the most durable, and the sharpest Bowie Knife in the world is the Fällkniven MB or Modern Bowie.

Although Jim Bowie did not travel much beyond the southern territories of a fledgling United States, the Bowie Knife is a worldwide phenomenon and therefore fair game for all knife makers. But with that fame comes a majority of so-called “Bowies” that are more art than substance, or those versions that substitute size for quality. For Fällkniven to produce such a monster knife rich in American history and then to openly name it a Modern Bowie takes guts. And confidence. So I’m very happy to announce that the Fällkniven Modern Bowie truly honors Jim Bowie and adds yet more cutting magic and lore to the never ending supply of tall tales that Bowie Knives generate. I certainly intend to add my own Bowie adventures to the story line.

Also Read: Review of the SOG Pillar Knife

A Muscle Blade That Would Make Jim Proud

The MB version is not completely new for Fällkniven, but in fact building on both their large Northern LightsFallkniven_MB_Modern_Bowie_Knife_Cobalt_A2_compare series of knives crossed with their professional survival knives. An NL1 crossed with an A1 Pro to be more specific. And the result is bigger, thicker, and certainly badder. The Modern Bowie, abbreviated MB by Fällkniven, is a true Muscle Blade (abbreviated MB by me) . Borrowing heavily from the Survival Pro series, the MB including cobalt steel, a convex edge, a protruding tang, and a Thermorun handle. Even the presentation box and included DC4 diamond sharpener are straight out the Pro playbook. However, three notable deviations with the Modern Bowie include a larger, thicker handle, a double sided guard, and a mild index finger groove just aft of the stainless steel crossguard.

Dynamite in the Hand

The balance of the Fällkniven Modern Bowie is exceptional. The grip provides both the comfort and control necessary to wield such a large blade with elegance and precision. This is especially important since a key feature of the Bowie concept is a sharp and deadly point effective for stabbing and piercing. In reality the point of the clip point blade is to move the blade point lower and more line with the grip when thrusting the knife like a sword. Unfortunately the clipped nature (almost like a bite (clipped) was taken out of the spine of the blade) causes some limitations in daily work. Fällkniven preserved the spirit of the Bowie clip point but tempered it with the wisdom learned from the A1 Pro blade.

The original Bowie was from a time before multi-shot handguns existed. Once a holster full of bangs replacedThe Answer Water Bottle Filtration Solution 300x250 a sheath full of large fighting knife, the Bowie spirit moved on to embrace the rest of its original list of tasks. Those other chores, by the way, include work as an axe, a machete, a sword, a razor, and even a canoe paddle. Some add being a mirror to the list since a variant of Bowie Knives had a huge girth of shiny steel. But also notice on many of those deep shiny walls of metal in that they often have spine covering of a softer metal like copper, bronze, or aluminium. The metal blanket covering the back of the blade is not for trapping an opponent’s blade during a fight, but rather preventing one’s own blade from breaking during a strike due to brittle or poorly forged iron. The mirror polish on those knives is, at best, lipstick on a pig.

Related: The Mora Camp Axe

The brute thickness of the Fällkniven MB is a staggering 7.4mm or a few hundredths shy of a third of an inch! Survival SHTF Fallkniven Knife Bowie The blade length is a full 10 inches and the overall length of the Modern Bowie exceeds 15 inches. Fällkniven’s laminated cobalt steel uses an incredible edge steel sandwiched between durable and stain resistant stainless steel faces. Laminated steel can be much stronger than solid steel. Fällkniven also uses its famous convex edge profile adding further strength and sharpness to its world class supersteel composition. Add a beefy stainless steel crossguard that is effective without being a tripping hazard, a swollen Thermorun grip, and a full tang that is bigger than some knives and you have a Muscle Blade worthy of proudly wearing the name Bowie.

Bring It On

The Fällkniven Modern Bowie cuts with dangerous impunity whether a small task or massive challenge. WhileBest Fallkniven Survival Knife the Modern Bowie sadly lacks as a canoe paddle, it does chop wood like a beast, and behaves very well when batoning. You can shave arm hair with care, and clear brush with reckless abandon. You can lunge and slope and long point without embarrassment, but when the MB is sheathed on your belt you will be conspicuous.

The Modern Bowie is a vastly different experience than carrying the Fällkniven A2 Wilderness Knife. In factFallkniven_MB_Modern_Bowie_Knife_Cobalt_A2_grip_compare the MB is almost as large as the A2 is when inside its overbuilt leather sheath. And the MB is certainly longer. The A2 seems a perfectly reasonable camp knife when compared to the Modern Bowie, yet in proximity of popular knives the A2 is eye-openingly large on its own.


The sheath the Fällkniven Modern Bowie sleeps in is a four-layer double stitched leather dangler that wouldFallkniven_MB_Modern_Bowie_Knife_Cobalt_in_hand double as a canoe paddle. Perhaps that’s what Mr. Bowie wanted given that swinging a two pound sharpened steel blade back and forth in the water might be a dumb idea. The blade slides into the sheath in either edge direction, and the single leather snap strap is reversible by rotating it vertically. The stern end of the sheath has two grommet holes that are necessary for using a leg strap which is not a bad idea for field work since the Modern Bowie dangles just north of my knee. On the A2 sheath, there are also two grommet holes on each end of the insertion slot of the sheath. On the MB sheath, east and west of the insertion slot are removable screw bolts opening similar holes but without grommets presumably for some more creative mounting options.

The Third Century

Knives claiming to be Bowies range in price from $10 to $10,000 with the extremes for show only. To get a Bowie that actually performs like the Bowie you will need to spend something much closer to four figures than two.  The Fällkniven MB Modern Bowie is a brand new knife with deep and rich history. If you have a weakness or need for a Bowie-class knife, then the MB should be your starting point. And for everyone else, the Bowie Knife will be waiting right here for you just as it has for the past two centuries.

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Epic Water Filters

ESEE 5 review

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I purchased this knife last April and I am just getting to really telling about how great this blade is. Since day 1 I have really done a number on this blade with numerous trips into the woods. For the last year, the ESEE 5 has been my primary knife because of just how versatile that it is. There isn’t a whole lot that it can’t do. I will get straight to the point, I am a big ESEE fan, so I am going to try to be unbiased as possible, but I am not so in love with the brand that I don’t appreciate other knife makers or blades.

Who uses it?

Normally, I would give a list of details and stats about this knife, but this knife is pretty well known, so I will skip over the boring stats. Here is the thing about an ESEE knife, they are a no-nonsense type of blade that is designed for hard use and abuse in a whole lot of different environments as possible from Amazon jungles to the deserts of Afghanistan. Their products are actually marketed towards military and law enforcement and most of their blades are made with specific military functions in mind.  Because of these reasons, it’s really popular with survivalists.

The test

The look and mods

ESEE blades look more like “tacti-cool” blades than practical knives but this couldn’t be further from the truth.  They do look “cool” but they’re also highly functional.  They have a modern look and feel to them, with the Micarta scales and the blade is powder coated black.  These knives make a great “blank”, it’s practically like a “blank” canvas, for those of us who appreciate modding and decorating our blades and making them more one of a kind to us. Some of the best looking non custom made blades I’ve seen are modded ESEEs.  There are a huge number of pictures out there of modded ESEE blades of different sorts, from the Candiru to the Junglas. Indeed, even with the current arrival of the JG3 close to a month or so back there have just been a few mods, particularly of the handle scales.



The ESEE 5 was my first ESEE blade. After much angst of which ESEE to choose (they’re not cheap!), I chose the 5, and after a lot of usage, I’m sure I made the right decision. If I had a time machine, I would still purchase this blade again.  All things considered, is this blade for everyone?  My answer is no. I don’t have massive paw hands, however they’re not precisely little either – and I discover this blade extremely agreeable to hold and utilize.

ESEE 5 benefits

So what are the benefits of the ESEE 5 in respect to similar, alternate blades?

To begin with is its size, by which I mean its measurements, and the general ergonomics. By and by, I think the length/width/thickness proportion is flawlessly on point.  At precisely five inches in edge length, this blade is sufficiently short for great control and having your elbows locked in  yet it’s long enough and at 1/4 inch thick it’s sturdy enough to split even the hardest of logs for your fire.  It fits great in my hand but I can’t say if it will be comfortable if you have massive hands or small hands. 

The grind

The next thing to look at is the grind of the knife.  The grind is a saber grind.  Because the blade is so thick at a 1/4 inch and the blade is wide, it allows for long bevels which means it’s easier to with without losing any strength in the blade.  I know many of you don’t like batoning, but this knife batons easily. 

The cost

You get what you pay for and the cost of buying this blade is fair.  I don’t consider it to be overpriced at all.  The price incorporates the Kydex sheath with movable pressure screw, belt clasp, and mounting equipment – also the unconditional lifetime warranty.  I consider it to be great value for money because this knife will outlast you!  You can hand it down to your children if you wanted to and the knife would still be good.

Overall rating

There’s no such thing as 10/10 perfect but this blade comes close.  The blade is great, the ergonomics of the handle are great but I’m just not a fan of micarta. 

The top 10 blade types

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Buying a new knife isn’t as simple as just buying a knife. You need to have a plan.

There is something intriguing about a knife. It doesn’t matter if it is a butter knife or a throwing knife. There is a history behind them that just captures the imagination. If you are looking to buy a new knife then you need to ask yourself some questions about what yo are expecting that knife to do for you. After all, not all knives are the same and if you have a specific use in mind for your knife, then you need to plan ahead to make sure that your knife does the right kind of job for you. Let’s take some time to look at the most popular blades that you can have for your knife of choice.


knife types pic
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  1. A clip point blade has a standard form except that the back near the point is “clipped” so that it is curved as well. This second edge can be sharpened as well if the owner decides to put in the effort. The sharp point can be used as a pick as well. 
  2. A drop point blade curves in on both sides to a single point. These are often found on a Swiss Army knife. The point on this blade is stronger then the point on the clip point blade, but is less suitable for piercing.  This type of blade is a favorite for survival knives because it is so robust.
  3. If you are using a Westernized tanto style knife, then you have a blade that is very strong because of how it is designed. It has a chisel point that is thick near the point and on the surface quick close to the the points on traditional Japanese blades like the katana and the wakizashi blades.
  4. The spear point blade is symmetrical blade that has a spine that runs down the center of the blade. They may be sharpened on one or both sides depending on your interest. Most throwing knives are designed with a spear point blade as the foundation for their design.
  5. A curved trailing point knife. While this knife also has a flat edge until you reach the curved portion, you will find that this type of blade is best for slashing and slicing because it has a larger belly than many of the other knives you might see.
  6. The standard curved edge with at straight back. This is the kind of blade that you will often see, especially for kitchen knives because it not only provides you with a cutting edge, but with the straight blunt edge on the back, you can provide extra pressure on that flat edge to help you with cutting. They are so common because they are so useful for everyone.
  7. With a needle point blade you have a symmetrical blade that is extremely tapered. These double edged blades are often found on many forms of fighting blades. The narrow point is great for stabbing, but is also very likely to break if it is abused. Along with being called a knife, it can also be considered a stiletto.
  8. The spay point was a blade that was traditionally used for spaying animals before more modern tools were developed. It has a single almost completely straight blade that curves upward at the end to meet a straight clip. While spay point blades are not good for stabbing, they are great blades for skinning purposes.
  9. A sheepfoot knife is a tool that is designed for delicate work such as whittling and trimming the hooves of sheep. It has a straight edge and a dull straight back. It is finished with a dull, curved edge as well. The straight edge is sharp enough for cutting with the assistance of pressure from the curved edge.
  10. Finally, we have the Warncliffe blade. This blade is very similar to a sheepfoot knife, but you will find that the curve on the back edge starts closer to the handle of the blade. It also has a much thicker blade than most other knives of similar size.


What kind of a knife are you looking for your needs today?


Now that you are aware of the many different kinds of blades that are available, you will be able to get a better idea of what it is that you need for your next knife purchase. Each of the blades that we discussed has a purpose that it is best suited for so you will want to make sure that you are able to find the best knife for you purposes. Within each of these categories, you will still find a wide variety of options so that you can find a look that works best for you as well as giving you the best blade to meet your needs.

Becker BK2 Companion by Ka-Bar Review

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When you live in the southern areas, you will know that there isn’t a lot of seasonality. Normally most people are wearing shorts and flip-flops during December. Whenever the air starts to turn cool, people begin to get ready for those fall camping trips and that is where a fixed blade knife comes in handy. We will be covering the Becker BK2 by Ka-Bar.

Becker BK2 Companion by Ka-Bar-1

This blade is made within the USA by Ka-Bar by a true Renaissance man, Ethan Becker. The BK2 is a widely accepted blade as a go to for camping or survival blade for many years now. I am not sure why I am just now purchasing this blade. There are a lot of blades that I would love to own, but I just have not found the time to purchase them. I can officially scratch the BK2 off of the list. This is one that I love as I have put it through some harsh use and I am glade that it was a purchase that I made in then end.

Knife size

The BK2 is almost 11 inches long and has a 5-inch blade. It only weighs 16 ounces so it is quite lightweight for the use that I put it through. The BK2 is actually a pretty chunky type of blade and the pictures of it really did not do it justice at all, as the proportions actually suggest that the knife is smaller than what it is. This was something that I was quite surprised about. This is a great tool for a camp site, back yard use, or in your truck, but it isn’t something that you would want to constantly carry for miles and miles when you are out hiking.

Becker BK2 Companion by Ka-Bar-3

The blade is 6.35 mm thick of high carbon steel. For whatever reason, whenever I ordered the knife, I thought it would be interesting to compare it to my other blades. It turned out that the thickness of the blade is almost comical. When compared to my other blades, they may have been made out of aluminum foil when I compared the thickness to the BK2.The BK2 has a classic drop point shape that comes with a high flat grind with a pretty sturdy tip. The blade is also powder coated and it is heavily textured. The coating actually provides a bit of rolling resistance when you are trying to cut into things until it manages to get smoothed down when being used.


The BK2 is pretty interesting when it comes to accomplishing different things with a small footprint. It is great for splitting wood and I was able to successfully prepare a stack of wood for a few bonfires. I was actually able to split 4 inch diameter logs easily. You can even carve with this blade. I managed to use the BK2 to whittle some shavings and tinder to start my bonfire, and even carve a few stakes that I used for cooking. Even though the blade is a bit thick and a little clumsy in my hands when it came to serious carving, I was still able to get the job done the first time around. Another great thing is that the BK2 is a great chopper as a well considering the size. This is a shorter knife, so it doesn’t chop like a big fixed blade or axe, but if you have some small chopping that needs to be done, it can do that. For instance, I had to chunk up some large and quite frozen sardines for a fish trap that I had been using. The BK2 cut right through them easily. It is for these reason that the BK2 is great for camp chores such as prepping food, building fires, and any other odd job around the camp site where you need to use a sharp object that could come in quite handy.

What’s the downside?

The only main downside is that the BK2 doesn’t really excel at anything. If you need an ultra fine carving blade or a dedicated chopper, then look elsewhere. If you want a tough, do everything around the campsite type of blade, then the BK2 is a really great selection.  Check out my article on different types of knives.

The handle

The BK2 has a high density plastic handle that is over a full tang (check out my article on knife tangs). This is a super basic type of handle design but it is great for a workhorse type of blade. Ka-Bar spent time with Becker to really get this handle shape to be right, which is why you find it on all of t Becker’s blades. The handle material is lightweight but pretty humble, and quite tough. The finish work that is on the handle is pretty nice as well. There aren’t any sharp edges and all of the hardware is really sunk deep down into the handle. There is also an oversized lanyard hole that really rounds everything out on a generous exposed pommel that you can use to crush or hammer things around your camp site. This is a pretty clean and super high functional handle design. It is really well made.

The sheath

Becker BK2 Companion by Ka-Bar-2

This blade comes with a nylon and plastic sheath. The sheath is really simple, sturdy and even lightweight. It has great retention, and yields a very great snapping sound whenever you put the knife in place. There isn’t blade rattling at all and I am not worried about my blade coming out of the sheath, not to mention there is also a drain hole.


The BK2 is a really great knife, especially when you start to consider that they sell for less than $100. This is a great high quality blade for the price. It has a simple design, high quality materials, and a high level of finish which makes the BK2 great. Not to mention that it actually works. The handle is comfortable, the sheath is functional and lightweight and it is a product of the USA. This is a highly recommended product for anyone who needs a use all type of blade.

Push Daggers

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A push dagger is a dagger that has a short blade and that has a T-shaped handle design that is meant to be held in your hand so that the blade is protruded from your fist especially between your index and middle finger. Over the centuries, the push dagger has rose and fell in terms of popularity as a close combat weapon for certain military forces and even civilians. There are some countries that have prohibited or banned selling and owning push daggers such as Canada and the United Kingdom. There are many laws within certain states in the U.S. and even nations that have prohibited or banned the sale, purchase and possession of knuckle knives or push daggers.

Push Dagger History

The push dagger is believed to have originated from the Indian subcontinent and is often believed to be related to the 16th century katar or punching sword. Starting in the early 1800s, the push dagger was adopted by American women and men of all sorts of walks of life to be used a defensive weapon and an item that was part of their daily wardrobe. Politicians would often wear them into federal and state buildings, including the U.S. Capitol buildings. Since, this weapon was easily concealable, the push dagger was a favorite choice of those who wanted to own a discreet knife that would be able to be used as a weapon for personal protection. Before the big development of super reliable pistols such as the derringer, the push dagger was very popular among those residents of large cities and towns of the Southwest and riverboat gamblers, and especially those emigres and gamblers that came from New Orleans, Louisiana.

Check out how a push dagger works

Gimlet knives

The New Orleans styled push dagger was called the gimlet knife. This knife has a quite short 2-inch blade with a T- handle or gimlet. This was a common weapon within the city during the 1800s and was often slipped inside of a boot like a boot knife or hidden within coat sleeves otherwise it would hang on a waistcoat button by a strap that was attached to a leather sheath for the blade. The push dagger was used in a lot of murders, riots and fights, that in 1879, the city of New Orleans passed an ordinance that would continue to prohibit anyone within the city limits from offering, showing, or selling a push dagger for sale. Eventually this blade would become a favorite weapon for 19th century San Francisco, California. This type of push dagger had a bit longer blade than the New Orleans styled push dagger and it often had a t handle that was made from ivory gather from walrus’.

Push daggers in Europe

Eventually, the push dagger would make an entrance during the later half of the 19th century in Germany, Central Europe and Britain for a brief period of popularity. Here it would be called the Faustmesser which basically meant push dagger or fist knife. The push dagger is believed to have been introduced into Germany during the 1800s by sailors from foreign countries who were visiting the Northern German ports. Eventually, German knife makers would begin to make a domestic version of the design which was often set within nickel silver mounting. The Faustmesser was mainly sold to be a self defense weapon for travelers, salespeople, and those who needed to have a compact yet concealable type of weapon. The push dagger would be continuously sold within Europe and Britain until the end of the 19th century, when the availability of inexpensive handguns and more effective police forces caused a huge decline in the usage and sale of push daggers as well as other types of specialized fighting knives.

Use in War

Because of the reality of static trench warfare during World War I, it managed to cause a need for handy, short close combat weapons that would be able to be used during the confines of a trench. Because pistols being in short supply, a wide variety of knives as well as other types of stabbing weapons were created and then issued to the troops that were serving within the trenches. Originally, many of these weapons were created and made within the field from materials that were readily available such as various types of metal stakes, but eventually factory made examples of push daggers would appear at the front lines and throughout the trenches and would be used by both fighting sides within World War I. Within Dudley, Worcestershire, Britain the Robbins-Dudley Co. a metal working company would be one of the first commercial producers of the push dagger and specialized knuckle knives to be sold privately to individual officers and soldiers. The average Robbins- Dudler push dagger, often called a punch knife by the company used aluminum T-shaped handle castings onto a 3-inch heat treated steel blade or a 5-inch metal spike that would be blackened to prevent any type of reflections in sunlight or moonlight.

Then during World War II, the push dagger would then reemerge, where it would be first issued as a combat weapon for British SOE, SAS, Commandos and other types of specialized guerrilla or raiding forces that required a very compact and easily concealable weapon for close quarters fighting or sentry elimination.

The Best Push Daggers

While there are other types of knives such as folding knives or some fixed blades, are still considered useful tools, a push dagger is arguably considered a self defense weapon. They were originally carried around to be a defensive weapon because they are easy to conceal and are quite lightweight. It is for that reason that they are in fact banned in certain areas. Still, if you are a knife collector and you are looking for a solid push dagger, then check out the best picks below.

#1 Best Pal Push Knife by Cold Steel

If you are looking for a well made push dagger, that is not only great for everyday use and is versatile, then you need this push dagger. It has a very secure grip that will allow you to open your hand while still maintaining full control over the blade. They are great for every day uses besides for self defense such as opening boxes and much more. It is light enough that you can wear it around your neck like a neck knife or being hung from a purse or key ring, but it still has enough cutting power that would really challenge some competitor’s larger knives, this Cold Steel blade is a great last resort self defense type of tool. The handle was expertly designed to offer any user a comfortable and secure type of grip, with padding for your fingers when you are making big cuts or slashes. This is a great knife that is quite sturdy and has a sheath and black bead lanyard chain. The blade is almost 3-inches long, but with the handle it is closer to 4-inches. It is made from 8A stainless steel and weighs only 1.9 ounces, so you know it is light weight.

#2 Tecpatl Push Dagger

Tecpatl Push Dagger 1

This is the blade that states anyone can throw a punch, but not everyone can make it count if it is a last resort type of knife. This blade was actually designed by a military veteran who used experience from combat situations to design a great push dagger. It was thoughtful in terms of ergonomics, and in the heat of the moment, it is actually hard to determine where you hand ends and where the blade actually begins. The blade itself is black powder coated that has some laser markings. It has multiple hand deployment options that you can use. It also comes with a sheath and a spring loaded gear clip that is actually MOLLE compatible.

Tecpatl Push Dagger 2

Not to mention it has a lifetime warranty, which should help you to seal the deal with this blade. The blade is almost 4-inches and it is made from SK5 Carbon steel. It is a bit on the heavier side being 5.6 ounces

#3 Punch Knife by Ghostrike

Punch Knife by Ghostrike 1

This specific blade is specifically designed for self defense type of situations. The T handle has a fixed blade attached and it also has a unique rubberized type of handle that really gives you plenty of control over you steel blade that is made from 420HC steel. The nylon sheath is actually made from glass-filled nylon which will let you hang it around your neck or worn on your belt for easy access during tactical situations.

Punch Knife by Ghostrike 2The blade itself is almost 3-inches long, but with the handle it is more like 5-inches long. It is pretty lightweight being only 3.2 ounces. It comes with a lifetime warranty and not to mention that it is an American made product will certainly help with the choice.

#4 Stealth Defense Push Dagger

Stealth Defense Push Dagger 1

If you are a first responder, in a tactical situation, or on the battlefield, discretion will be important. Being able to have your knife on hand can really make the difference between keeping your life or dying, and this was something that push knife manufacturers have kept in mind when designing these blades. Being able to have a concealed blade to carry is really based on the design such as being lightweight, easy to access, and slim looks which allow to be transported discreetly in your belt, boot, around your neck or in your pocket.

Stealth Defense Push Dagger 2

8 Types Of Knives Every Prepper Needs

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The knife is one of the most important, versatile, and practical tools ever invented by man. As such, it is an invaluable item to have for survival and disaster preparedness. In fact, a case can be made that if you could only have one tool in a survival situation, a knife would be the one […]

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Different Types Of Knife Tangs

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A tang is the most significant characteristic on a fixed blade knife. In simple terms, it is the bottom part of a blade extending down into the handle. A  tang is a knife’s backbone that holds everything together therefore without it the fixed blade will fall whenever force is applied. Below are the various types of knife tangs;


Full Tang

This extends and covers the entire handle length. It is the strongest of all the tangs as it incorporates the whole steel into the handle meaning failing or bending while the knife is in use is unlikely.

Partial Tang

This is also another major type of tang that encompasses all the other tangs that are not full. It is a kind of tang that does not cover the entire handle. It is sometimes referred to as a three-quarter tang, stub tang, push tang or even half tang.

Push Tang

Sometimes known as rabbeted tang, a push tang is a type of tang that is normally pushed into an already made handle then fastened with adhesives. It doesn’t cover the entire handle length but it can be found on both partial and full tang knives.

Encapsulated Tang

Unlike the push tang that is pushed into the handle, enscapsulated tang is when a handle material gets molded around the tang.

Hidden Tang

These are tangs which are not easy to see as they have been fastened to the handle in such away that one cannot be able to distinguish the tang and the handle or even tell how they have been held together.

Stick Tang Or Rat-Tail Tang

Stick tang, also known as a rat-tail tang, is among the most extreme knife tangs. The tangs is normally narrower compared to the balde which essentially gives the handle a rat-like look. The blade becomes the thick part of a rat while the narrow blade resembles a rat’s thin tail. This tang is often fastened into the blade using a threaded pommel or bolts.

Tapered Tang

Sometimes knwn as narrowing or tapering tang, this is when the tand gradually becomes narrow. It can be said as the thinning of the tang’s width.

Skeletonized Tang

This is when portions on the tang are missing. The tang material is minimised however its structural framework is maintained to a high degree but it’s not as strong as a full tang knife as can been seen below.

Broken knife

Extended Tang

Since most tangs end before or at the end of the handle, there are tangs that continue past the handle and these are known as extended tangs.

And these are the major types of knife tangs!


Types of Knives

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Knives have been in existence ever since the existence of man. They can be used to dress game, prepare food, for work and also game. Based on this broad categorization below are the different types of knives.

Outdoor knives


This is a middle Asian knife weighted at the front. They are great for chopping tasks. Large kukris knives can be used to cut down tree branches since they have a more downward power.  Find out more about kukris.


Used by those in the woods for bushcraft purposes.


Also known as butterfly knives, these are Philippines traditional work knives. They allow the user to open the knife single handedly. They are mostly used for recreation as their flipping action is fun.

Hunting Knives

These are knives used by hunters to gut game. They are painted in camouflage a times


This is a long and heavy knife used to cut limbs, coconuts and tress. It can be used in the kitchen and also to gather firewood. They are very popular and vary according to regions they come from.  There are many different types of machetes.

Pocket Knives

These are small pocket size knives that people carry around in their pockets. They have blades that fold into the handles.


These are knives used outdoors. Some of them have compartments where one can store survival gear such as a whistle, small reflective devices or a fire starter.  Find out more about survival knives.

Neck knife

A neck knife is a knife that hangs around your neck for easy access.


Also known as leathermans or gerbers, this knife combines several tools into one. They have pliers, openers, screwdrivers etc

Combat Knives

Fighting knives

Light and strong.

Trench Knife

This is a hybrid between a brass knuckles and a bayonet. It allows one to slash, punch and stab with a single tool. They were mostly used during WWI.


These are knives attached to the front of rifles. They give soldiers a sword like rifle to thrust with. They are not very good for slashing as most damage it can bring is from thrusting. It was mostly used by the British army when they were fighting Afghanistan rebel forces. They took zero causality.

Boot knives

A dagger attached to your boot.  Check out my boot knife guide.


Small, highly curved blade originating in Asia.  Check out the best karambit.


The traditional Japanese knife which in modern times has changed significantly.  Check out my Tanto knife guide.

Push daggers

Can be used to punch

Tactical Knives

These are modern day fighting knives that have also been designed to do other utility roles.

Assisted opening knife

You open the knife to a certain point before the opening mechanism will do the rest of the work for you.  Check out the best assisted opening knife.

Recreational Knives

Throwing Stars

These are a range of throwing knives. They are normally shortened and circular in shape.

Throwing Knives

This is a very popular sport. The knives are balanced and not sharp however they have sharp points.

Cooking Knives

Chef’s Knife

This knife is also known as a cook’s knife. It is used for almost every job in the kitchen. It is good for cutting, chopping, dicing and slicing. It has a gentle slope so that one could rock it back and forth during chopping. They are non-serrated.

Boning Knife

If you are not a vegetarian, this is the second basic kitchen knife you should be having. It looks like the chef’s knife but a bit smaller. It is used to remove fish filet, meat from bones and also cut up meat chunks. Some people have been using this knife to chop vegetables because it gives them more control.

Clever Knife

This knife is used by butchers to cut through bone and meat. It is very big with a tall blade. Its weight is meant to add power to the swings. Clever knife is great to tasks such as cutting through thick bones, cutting fish heads off and some people use its back side to mince garlic.

Bread Knife

These knives are long and serrated designed to cut bread without having to force it down. Unlike when using normal knives to cut bread, the bread knife cuts bread without squishing it and producing a lot of crumbs.

Paring Knife

This is a small knife with a blade approximately 3-4 inches. It is used to prepare vegetable, fruits, and garnish. The knife is very light and can fit easily in the hand.

Carving Knife

This knife can be automatic or mechanical. It is normally long and serrated. It is used to carve turkeys, breasts and roasts. It is the least used knife in the kitchen.

Specialty Knives

Besides kitchen knives, there are other types of knives used around the house or on the job site. They include;

Diver Knives

These are very sharp knives with sturdy and heat resistant handles. The handles go into a sturdy sheath which has a strap for attachment to the leg. They are mostly used underwater.


This is a knife used in medicine during surgery. The knife is made of high carbon steel and is very sharp.

X-Acto Knives

These knives are used to do detailed cuts in arts. They are also popularly used in architect to make miniature models.

Electrician Knives

The knives are insulated to protect a user from electrical shock. They look like a pocket knives

And those are all the major types of knives!


Best boot knife

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What is a boot knife? The term boot knife basically is telling you everything that you need to know about these particular types of knives. It is a blade that was designed to be quite suitable to carry on or in your boot. They are also called gambler’s knives. Truth is, many people actually prefer to carry these knives in other types of places now, and reaching into your boot to get access to a knife isn’t really that comfortable or even convenient. There are many other ways that you can carry small knives, so there is only going to be a small group of people that will use this type of boot knife to keep with the name. It doesn’t really matter how you choose to carry the knife, because it comes in handy in a lot of different ways.

Boot knife key characteristics

Boot knives are normally daggers and they are mostly a fixed blade design. When it comes to the overall size, they are smaller than your normal blades but that is the calling card for this knife category, and you can find a lot of knives that will fit this description from a lot of the top manufacturers who are in the knife business. Depending on the needs that you have, you will want to find a knife that has a right combination of features and size that will let it function perfectly whenever you decide to or need to use it.

Boot knife features to consider

Whenever you decide to purchase a boot knife, there will be many points that you will want to actually keep in mind. The first thing that you need to think about is the size of your blade and how many blades you are going to need, and just how big of a knife are you going to want to carry. This will help to narrow down all the possible knives that you are looking at. Many boot knifes are quite small but there are some that are much smaller than the average knife. You also need to think about the material of the handle and blade need to be taken into consideration for any concerns about durability. Lastly, you are going to need to think about how much you are wanting to spend on this boot knife, which will help to narrow the list of blades down even more.

Below are some of the best boot knife options that are on the market right now. Each one can be categorized as being a boot knife, but there are some differences between the models. Be sure that you take your time and really review all the options out there and pick one that you actually like the best.

The top boot knives for 2017

1. SWHRT9B Black HRT by Smith & Wesson

SWHRT9B Black HRT by Smith & Wesson 2 To begin this list, we will go with the well known and well respected Smith & Wesson Brand. Although they are better known for all of their firearms, this company actually produces a lot of quality blades, including options for boot knives. This particular blade weighs only about 7 ounces, this knife is quite easy to carry around and it has a blade that is made from a coated stainless steel. The handle of the knife is made from a black aluminum and it comes with a booth sheath to keep your blade in.

SWHRT9B Black HRT by Smith & Wesson 1The blade does come with a double edged spear point, which make it a great option for many different reasons. The whole knife is just under 9 inches long, and the blade makes up just over 4.5 inches of that 9 inches. There are a lot of really great reviews, that state that the knife will come to your residence pretty sharp, it is the perfect compact size, and it has really great construction, so it is pretty sturdy. Not to mention that the purchase was a great value. If you are looking for a standard type of boot knife that has a really solid reputation, the Smith & Wesson boot knife is a top contender for a lot of people.

2. 4007 Secret Agent Fixed Blade Boot Knife by Kershaw

4007 Secret Agent Fixed Blade Boot Knife by Kershaw 1

When you a name that is cool like secret agent, then you know that this is going to be a really great knife. The name actually has very little to do with the quality of this blade, but it is still a pretty cool name nonetheless. Even though the secret agent name doesn’t actually indicate quality, the name Kershaw normally will. Kershaw knives are well known and well received by a lot of customers over the years, and this is another type of model that has made a heck of an impression.

4007 Secret Agent Fixed Blade Boot Knife by Kershaw 2

The knife is similar to the Smith & Wesson blade when it comes to size, as it is just under 9 inches long. The blade is made from 8Cr13MoV steel that has a black oxide coating, and the handle has a rubber coating that allows you to have a really secure grip. The blade weighs about 3 ounces, it is a super light to carry around and you could even forget that you are carrying it around because it is that light. Many people have stated that it is quite comfortable to hold and they are really impressed with the quality of the blade. If this is your first Kershaw blade or you have owned some before, the Secret Agent blade is a model boot knife that really stands up quite well when it is compared to the other types of boot knife choices.

3. Boot Knife by Fury Tactical

Boot Knife by Fury Tactical 1

This is more of a traditional boot knife that really offers you a compact design, light weight with a sheath that really works for both convenience and comfort. This knife is a unique blade that actually comes in 2 different sizes, so you are able to pick the one that will work best for you and your needs. You can get this blade in the 9 inch and 7 inch options. It has a fixed blade just like you would expect fro ma boot knife, and it has a handle that has been coated in a non-reflective rubber. The blade will come to your home sharp, and it is a low price but a great value, and it has an easy to hold handle. The size is also another plus to this blade. If you are looking for a great boot knife that has convenient dimensions with a low cost, then you will want to try out the Fury Tactical Boot Knife.

4. SCHF19 Small Boot Double Edged Fixed Blade Knife by Schrade

SCHF19 Small Boot Double Edged Fixed Blade Knife by Schrade 1

If you are not wanting to break your bank in order to be able to purchase a really great boot knife, if that is the case, then you need the Schrade blade. This is a brand that has been on display for a while and it always receives great reviews from its buyers. There are have been plenty of owners that have really been impressed by this blade that has a high carbon stainless steel in order to create this double edged spear pointed blade. The knife comes with a textured handle coated in TPE with lanyard hole.

SCHF19 Small Boot Double Edged Fixed Blade Knife by Schrade 2

This particular knife is 7 inches long, which means it is a bit on the shorter side for a boot knife. The overall size is great and it does come with a sheath that has helped to give it positive reviews when being purchased. The balance of the knife is another big point that is loved about this blade and not to mention that the value is perfect when matched with the low purchase price.

5. Boot Knife by Colt

Boot Knife by Colt - black

This is going to be a pretty expensive blade, and many would agree that it is the best looking boot knife out there right now. It has a striking appearance from the stainless steel blade to the stacked leather handle. The pommel and guard of the blade are also made from stainless steel. Not to mention just how durable this blade really is. Similar to the Smith &Wessen, the Colt name is associated with top brand firearms, but they also offer blades such as this boot knife.  There are only a few reviews about this blade but they are mostly positive.

Boot Knife by Colt

The blade is quite sharp and it is well contoured. The blade is pretty lightweight, and that makes it easy to handle when it is used. If you are looking for performance with looks within a great quality product, then you need to check out the colt boot knife.

If you are looking for a good boot knife that you plan to carry around, then these are the best that are out there. Each one comes with a quality sheath, and the options above are the best of the best. Many fall within the same price range, so you will need to base your choice based on the features and designs that are offered. Be sure to check out the reviews to help you to find the blade you are looking for.


The ultimate neck knife guide

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What is a neck knife?

A neck knife is a small to mid sized knife that you can wear on a chain or string around your neck that provides you with a blade that’s always on you and it can be a form of protection without it being obvious to those around you.  Your neck knife would just be a necklace to most people that see it, but would still give you something to provide a sense of security when you are out and about.  However because most neck knives are small, if you truly want a self defense knife you’re best off with a bigger blade like a tanto knife.

I find neck knives really interesting because they’ve been in use for hundreds of years but have only just come back into fashion.  You’ve got several choices to make when buying a neck knife such as type of necklace, type of blade (fixed or foldable), type of sheath and whether you wear it on the inside or outside of your shirt.  I’ll go over all the pros and cons of neck knives and neck knife options below.

Pros of a neck knife

  • If you wear it outside of your shirt it’s one of the most accessible of all carry systems
  • If you wear it on the inside of your shirt it allows you to carry a fixed blade basically in stealth mode and it can be quite comfortable.  Just bear in mind that if someone hugs you, they’ll know you’re carrying something under your shirt.
  • It frees your pocket for something else
  • Most are small, light weight and comfortable.  If you’re after a small blade check out the best karambit
  • Generally the neck knife is small so you can carry it anywhere without taking much space, not just the neck.
  • Can be easily switched to belt or pocket carry.
  • You might not have pockets or a belt on if you wear say athletic shorts or are walking through a stream and don’t won’t to get your pants wet so a neck knife might be your best option
  • Good for canoeing, kayaking, etc.
  • Because they’re so small, they’re easy to sharpen with a pocket knife sharpener.  The neck knife and pocket knife sharpener combination is a really light and reliable combination for hikers, hunters, backpackers etc.  Check out my guide to the best pocket knife sharpener.

Cons of a neck knife

  • Having something dangling around your neck can be annoying
  • Bead chain can pull chest and neck hairs
  • If you hug someone, they’ll know you’re concealing something under your shirt
  • Not all that sheeple friendly
  • If you wear it outside of your shirt it’s very obvious you’re carrying a knife and that can freak some people out
  • If you wear it on the inside of your shirt it’s hard to extract quickly
  • Most are pretty small so if you need a bigger knife, a neck knife isn’t for you
  • They can be a choking hazard if you don’t have a break-away type of chain or cord
  • If you have a breakaway chain, it might do exactly that at the worst possible time if you’re hunting, hiking or fishing.
  • You’ll need two hands to resheath
  • A lot of people don’t want razor sharp steel near their throat or heart
  • If you fall heavily onto your chest area you would want to make sure you have a quality sheath
  • Even if you carry it under a baggy shirt for stealth purposes, if you lean forward it will press against your shirt making it obvious you’re carrying something.  Mercop’s tactical harness is a fix for this.
  • If you carry it under your shirt and someone sees you wearing a necklace, they might ask to see your necklace.

Best neck knife

Below are the 5 best neck knives. Each has great reviews, so before you make your choice, check out what we have to say about them. There are a lot of neck knives on the market right now, and a lot of great options, so do your research.

4008X Dune by Kershaw

4008X Dune by Kershaw-02

As you may know, Kershaw is a big name for top brands in the blade industry. This particular model is a great neck knife that comes with a sheath that is molded and a strong lanyard to make it easy to carry on your neck. The knife has a full tang and is made from steel with a black finish made from oxide. The blade is almost 4 inches long while the whole knife is almost 8 inches total.

4008X Dune by Kershaw-03

You are going to be getting quality when you get a Kershaw blade, and that is certainly the case with this knife. This blade has plenty of positive reviews and most of them are about how awesome it is that it is sharp right out of the box. It definitely lives up to the quality standards that have been set up by Kershaw. There is just one little issue, if you have big hands, this blade has a bit of a small handle, so keep that in mind. But as a quality neck knife, this is a great brand that has an amazing reputation for quality products and the Dune is perfect for most.

SCH406N Neck Knife by Schrade

SCH406N Neck Knife by ShradeAnother big name in the blade business is Schrade. This particular model is one that definitely needs to be considered. It has a short blade of just under 3 inches, which allows the whole knife to be compact which helps with convenience. The handle is under 3 inches as well, so this knife isn’t going to take up a lot of space when it is hanging from your neck. The blade is a big part of the knife, and it is only made from stainless steel. This particular knife gives you a quality blade for an inexpensive price. Many of the Schrade items will have plenty of great reviews, and this knife isn’t any different. Many people love how sharp it is, as well as the strong and sturdy design. It also has a sheath that goes with the knife nicely, which is kind of important when you are wearing a knife. If you are looking for a knife that is smaller than a Kershaw, then check this model out.

MU-1119 Tactical Neck Knife by Master Cutlery USA

  MU-1119 Tactical Neck Knife by Master USA-01

If you have been looking for a lengthy but affordable neck knife, this this blade will check both of those boxes for you. For a small investment, you can get this knife. You will be getting an almost 7 inch knife (including the handle) that is made from black stainless steel. It comes with a super hard, plastic sheath that comes with the blade. This sheath will hold the knife around your neck and it is attached to strong lanyard.

MU-1119 Tactical Neck Knife by Master USA-02There are a lot of positive reviews, especially for an item that is kind of cheap. Although it doesn’t have some of the high end features like other knives, it serves the market quite well. It is quite affordable which comes sharp and is actually quite sturdy for regular use. There are plenty of people who are surprised just how sturdy it is for the price, even though it may be a bit bigger for regular use as a neck knife. If you are wanting a great knife, with a low price tag, then look at this model.

MT-20-30 by MTech USA

MT-20-30 by MTech USA-01

If you are looking for an average neck knife, then check out this one from MTech. It is just under 5 inches with 2 inches being for the blade. The blade is stainless steel but it has a nice stonewashed finish. It comes with a sheath made from Kydex, which comes with a ball chain to hang it on.

MT-20-30 by MTech USA-02The sturdiness of this knife is great, and that is why they decided to go with a full tang construction which keeps it strong for regular use. There are plenty of great reviews about this blade, most talking about the value and how useful it is for basic things like fishing and hunting. If you are looking for an inexpensive knife, then MTech is one that you should go for.


Overall, neck knives aren’t an item that will work for all people, but they are great to have when a situation calls for one. The knives listed above are the ones on the market right now that will give you a run for your money and is a great investment that you would not even expect it to be.





Assisted Opening Knives

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One of the first things you may ask yourself is why you want an assisted opening knife. This will be the most important question that you will ask through the whole buying process, as having a knife for show doesn’t need to have everything that a daily use knife will need.

If you are searching for something for self-defense, then you will know that you need a practical knife that can take some abuse instead of a pretty blade that is more for showing off than actually doing something. The same will go for a knife that has an assisted opening mechanism.  Other options for self defense are a karambit or a tanto knife.  I wouldn’t use an assisted opening knife as my primary survival knife though.  The reason is that the more complicated a knife or any other product is, the more likely it is to fail.


There are a few options when it comes to an assisted opening knife. They all will require you to open the knife to a certain point before the opening mechanism will do the rest of the work for you. This works by using a spring to open the blade, as opposed to gravity which would have it classified as a switchblade which is illegal in a lot of places. Many blades will have a safety lock on them, this isn’t always the case so be sure to check it out so that there isn’t any issues with an accident with the new knife.

You will need to check out the durability to ensure that the blade is what you want. This is normally the one thing that you will hear a knife owner complain about with knives that aren’t quality. Knife owners are quite vocal about if the blade doesn’t live up to the hype. Check out reviews by checking forums, talking to other knife owners and even checking how long the knife has been in production.


Just like with other knives, you want to figure out what type of edge you wan on your blade, all which will have a certain purpose and they all have pros and cons.

A plain edge is great for smooth cuts and slicing. These are great for self defense, and all purpose knives that you don’t want or need the knife to grab anything, but just want it to go through easily.  It’s easy to maintain a sharp edge for an assisted opening knife even out in the field because the blades are usually small so you only need a small sharpener.  Check out my guide to the best pocket knife sharpener.

A combo edge is often the best. It lets you use a plain edge or serrated edge depending on your needs. This is a jack of all trades type of knives.

A serrated edge is great for sawing through things when it needs to shred and grip. This is not the type of edge you want for a self-defense knife.


You will also need to look at the size of the blade. A normal assisted opening blade will be around 3 inches. It is small enough to be carried around and light enough to open easily, but heavy duty to deal with some abuse. Assisted open knives are quite fast, if not faster in the hands of an experienced blade user, to be opened like an automatic open knife, but completely legal to a broader market. This is one of the main reasons that it is liked so much as it is good at what it does while keeping accessible, legal and compact.

Best Assisted Opening Knives 2017

Scallion by Kershaw

Scallion by KershawIf you have been looking for an assisted opening knife, then the Scallion by Kershaw is one of the best types in this category. It has a 2.4-inch blade that will deploy instantly through the flipper enhanced speed safe torsion bar. Although it is an older model design, it is still quite popular today. There are new productions of this particular model that have a frame lock which gives you better reliability.

0350 by Zero Tolerance

0350 by Zero Tolerance

If you have been searching for a bit bigger blade that has Speed Safe on it, then you need this blade. Everything about this knife will really maximize the overall ability to really perform needed cutting tasks quite easily and much more safely. It also has a modified blade that has a huge belly that helps it cut more like a larger knife.

585 Mini Barrage by Benchmade

585 Mini Barrage by Benchmade 
The take on an assisted opening blade by Benchmade has added energy storage within the lock system. Once you have opened the blade with the thumb stud flick, you will notice that there is not any to very little blade play. The blade on this Mini Barrage is quite sharp right out of the box. It has a thin grind that keeps it pretty sturdy simply because its made from surgical stainless steel.

Argus by CRKT

Argus by CRKT

This unique blade from CRKT is a really interesting assisted opening blade system that has a safety lock as part of the thumb wheel in the overall design. The Argus opened will let you rotate the thumbwheel naturally and then the safety will be disengaged. Using this safety will keep you from accidentally opening it while it is in your pocket which could cause a nasty wound or some serious issues for you.

Twitch II by SOG

Twitch II by SOG_2

If you have been looking for a classy yet clean looking assisted open knife on the market right now, then you need the Twitch II by SOG. This has a thin blade that has a full flat grind. The unique flipper will allow you to open it with just one hand by using the unique assisted technology for SOG. It also has a special guard to protect your hands so you don’t worry about slicing your self when you are using it.


When you are out to purchase an assisted opening knife, it is just like any other type of knife. It is all about your preference, what you want it for, and ultimately your overall budget. Before you purchase the knife of your choice, be sure that it is legal in your city or state, that way you don’t get yourself into a heap of trouble.


Tanto blades

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The Tanto was originally developed in Japan. It’s a knife that be a double or a single sided dagger. The blade was usually around 6-12 inches in length.  It was used by Japanese Samurai as slashing and stabbing weapon.  Another famous knife to come out of Asia is the Karambit.


During the Heian Period (794-1185), the blade was developed as a killing weapon.  During this period, the Fujiwara family rose to power and had control over Japan. They needed protection form dissidents and rebels and the soldiers that served the Fujiwara became known as Samurai and they carried the Tanto blades into combat with them.  Being specifically designed as a weapon, Tanto’s do not excel at bushcraft activities like wood carving.

Originally the long tachi sword was used which was suitable for outdoor combat, but next to useless in a narrow hallway or for house fighting. The Tanto served this purpose ideally as it was strong, but thin at the same time and it could be used as a stabbing and killing weapon in close quarters combat situations.

The Tanto was forged so the sides of the weapon have no ridge lines which is different from the Katana blade. Japanese women carried a smaller version which was called the kaiken and they used this blade for self defense. There’s two main categories of Tantos which are called koshiraetantos and Sugutatantos.

During the years 1185-1333, there were more artistic Tanto blades being developed.The blade went from a weapon to more ornamental in nature in both function and appearance. Bladesmiths developed new blade types, syles, and widths of blades. There was real development in the blade at this time, but it wouldn’t last. Japan went through a lot of fighting between 1336-1573, as the Kamakura Shogunate fell so the artistic Tanto blades diminished and they were mass produced to fuel the needs of the Japanese soldiers. The blade became narrower so the excess material could be made into more blades for combat. They bladesmiths dropped the ceremonial aspects of the blades and began to produce them on mass to keep pace with war needs.

After WWII, the use of blades was banned in Japan, but the efforts of American and European blade enthusiasts saw a resurgence of these weapons in the 1960s and today we see new Tanto inspired blades from companies such as Cold Steel in the USA.

Various Designs

There’s various Tanto blade designs. There’s also a whole host of other blade styles and options with both short and long blades being offered. Here’s a few of the Japanese styles which are as follows:


This is the most common Tanto style blade. There’s a triangular cross section since the edge bevels form the back to the edges of the blade and there’s no flat pints in between this. The blade is a simple one to made and it’s a single-sided blade.


These have a wide and long groove which runs halfway up the blade from the back to the front. The back half of this blade is usually not sharpened on the second edge. This is not a very common Tanto blade.


This is a rare double-sided Tanto. This blade tampers off to a longer point and there’s a diamond cross section shape.


This is a very rate Tanto blade and it’s a curved blade. Only the inside of the curve is sharpened and there’s not sharp point to it can’t be used as a stabbing weapon to any great effect.

American Tanto Blades Today

The Tanto blades today are based upon the older Japanese design. it’s still a short blade and inspired by the Samurai of old that used to wield them. The Tanto knife today is a little more decorative than those of old, but they are very functional and some militaries around the world use these blades as a secondary combat weapon.


The traditional blade is around 6-12 inches. There’s two bevels with a shorter vertical one at the front and a longer straighter bevel the goes to the hilt. There can be both a single or a double-sided version, but most of the ones designed in the USA now are single sided as they are preferred over the double-sided design. The popular designs today are made by the Cold Steel company. The main difference in this blade form the Japanese version is that it has a stronger tip. There’s two separate edges and an angular tip. The American version also has many different options to choose from.

Advantages of Tanto Blades

There’s a lot of metal at the front of the blade and a bevelled tip so there’s more penetration with the Tanto is combat situations. These blades are designed for combat and to penetrate. The Tanto blade excels in this area. The blade is also well suited to provide adequate defense.

  • Good piercing blade
  • Strong tip
  • Unique look and design

Disadvantages of Tanto Blades

There’s tow primary bevels with these blades so it’s harder to sharpen them. There’s also two flat edges and no belly on the blade so it can be difficult to slice with this weapon.

  • Not good for slicing
  • Harder to get sharp


The Tanto has a long history. There’s many different Tanto blades to choose from and options in knives so you should find something that suits your needs.

The best modern Tanto blades

The 3V Recon Tanto by Cold Steel

The Recon Tanto is going to be the best type of tactical Tanto out there. It has a 7 inch fixed blade, full tang, and is almost a foot long. The Recon is widely used by law enforcement officers and special forces, especially the SWAT teams. It has done many field tests over the years and has even been used in active war zones around the world like Iraq and Afghanistan. This a knife that many soldiers will put their lives on.  It is now a standard issue blade for Navy Seal candidates during BUDS training.

It is super durable. The full tang design has a pretty strong handle that is textured and shaped to really ensure that you have a maximum grip. The way this grip is, it won’t just slip out of your hands during a moment that you really need a blade. It even has a pretty unique fastening that will keep the handle from moving. The blade is made from steel and since it is CPM-3V steel, it is going to be one of the hardest steels out there for regular use. It has been made so that your blade can pierce armor without losing the edge or deforming the blade. An interesting fact is that Cold Steel actually test this knife by repeatedly stabbing steel drums. So you know that this blade can take a whole lot of abuse.

The 3V Recon Tanto by Cold Steel

One of the drawbacks to this blade is that the knife is going to be a bit hard to sharpen unlike other blades made with a different steel. Then again, this isn’t your average hunting tool, it is actually a tactical weapon. When it comes down to have a great defensive weapon, The Recon Tanto is the way to go.

Black 1245 Tanto by Ka-bar

For decades the military has been using Ka-Bar combat knives and the Ka-Bar USMC fighting knife is one of my favorite survival knives. so there’s no surprise that the The 1245 is considered to be the best combat Tanto out on the market right now. So, what makes it so great? It has an 8 -inch steel blade. The steel is a carbon steel that will actually hold its edge when it is being abused, which also means when you need to you can easily sharpen it. It is a defense and attack knife, and the thick blade really gives it some hardcore piercing power. It is also a blade that is well used by law enforcement and soldiers. This blade is actually only a partial tang blade, so the tang is pressed inside of the pommel. This widens the tang so it will be held much more securely. This makes better balanced and gives it a way more comfortable grip. If your hands are wet or you are wearing gloves, it will still stay in your hand without any type of issue.

Black 1245 Tanto by Ka-bar in sheath

The handle is made from Kraton G. This is a newer and more advanced rubber. It is shaped, textured and grooved to ensure that you get the best grip. It also has a cross guard and large pommel, and this is really needed when you are trying to prevent cutting yourself when you are stabbing things. It has a unique sheath that you can attach to a MOLLE bag or even to your belt. Fair warning though, the button on the sheath can scratch your blade. This is just a little issue, but you can use this sheath for other types of Ka-Bar blades as well. Another cool thing about this blade is that it is USA made and its done in New York. So when you get yours, check out the stamp on the blade.

Black 1245 Tanto by Ka-bar-01

If you plan to carry this knife around, you may want to check the local laws in your area. Places like California you can carry an 8-inch blade as long as its not concealed, but if you live in Boston, it is very illegal to carry it.  So keep this in mind, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t keep it in your home for home defense. For the price, this Tanto is a great weapon that just might save your life.

Prodigy Tanto by Gerber

If you have been searching for a tactical blade that is super comfortable to carry, easy to grab when needed and is silent, then you need the Prodigy. This is literally an urban carry or military deployment weapon. It has a full tang and it is about 10 inches long with about 5 inches being the blade itself. It is big enough to be used during combat, but small enough to use in a tight space, where using a full blade is a real disadvantage. This blade is also super light being under 8 ounces, so you can carry it with no problems for long periods of time.

 Prodigy Tanto by Gerber in sheath

It has a super sharp edge made form stainless steel. It is a very durable steel but it takes an edge and holds it easily. It also has a black oxide finish that keeps it resistant to corrosion and it keeps it from being reflective like other blades. The handle is on a full tang and has a contoured, grooved and textured grip that means its not going to slip out of your hand when you need it most. The grip is made from TacHide which is almost like rubber but it is more durable, and even flame resistant and works great in all temperatures and environments.

Prodigy Tanto by Gerber

It also has a really nice nylon sheath. You can attach it to your MOLLE equipment, belt or just carry it. It has some pretty versatile carry options with the sheath and it is super quiet when you pull the blade out. You can also use the pommel to hammer things. Gerber claims its for breaking windows, but its more of a blunt trauma weapon if that need ever happens.

The only thing that some may not like about this blade is that is partially serrated. Think about it, this is a survival knife. 2 inches on a 5-inch blade isn’t going to work best for a saw, but you can use it to sharpen sticks to make arrows with, so its better than nothing. Minimal serration doesn’t stop the slicing power. The Prodigy is a really great Tanto that you won’t even realize that its there when you carry it. It has a low price, and it will give you a run for the money. Not bad and plus its made in the USA.


Karambit guide

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When it comes to self-defense, the karambit is a nifty little tool designed for safety and work. Simply because of the popularity in battle, you can find both folding and fixed blade karambits. There is even custom made ones that you may want that you can add to give it a touch of personality around your karambit.  I’ve been asked before if karambits are survival knives.  No they’re not, they’re self defense knives. 

The origins of the karambit come from Indonesia, back in the 11th century. The earliest designs were based on the curvature of a tiger’s claw, which made the knives best for hooking, ripping and tearing. The razor sharp, curved blade was mean for those tasks that needed to be carried out with very little effort and a lot of efficiency.

The karambit is still an everyday carried weapon in Southeast Asia and was mainly used in ancient times as a utility blade for carrying out farming chores. It has had the same type of design for thousands of years being hooked or curved with a handle that had at least 1 safety ring.

Now in Indonesia, the karambit is considered to be a traditional weapon of the combat art PencakSilat. The knife is really great for combat and self defense. Southeast Asia has a really long tradition of knife fighting and these particular techniques are becoming really popular in the west. The karambit is still used by law enforcement, are considered to be a beautiful yet functional tool. Even though the blade length is quite short, the karambit is still deadly and effective.

If you have been thinking about purchasing your very own karambit, then you will need to keep some things in mind. Making an educated choice will depend on you being able to compare the features like amount of curve, material quality, and blade length against the price.

No worries. I have done all the research for the most available karambits. Now ask yourself why do you want to own a karambit?

The karambit is a very deadly tool. If you are wanting an effective, yet small self defense tool then a karambit is going to be the best option. The curved blade is supposed to offer you protection in any type of environment, even if you are in a pretty cramped up space. A karambit will fit in your pocket easily, and can be grabbed in just seconds. They look quite intimidating to your attacker. These are the sexy knives that have a variety of styles that are available in a variety of great looks. You will need to consider about adding a karambit whether it is just as a collector’s item or to be carried around daily.

Types of Blades

Simply because of the curved design, a karambit for a short blade is very intimidating as well as effective self defense tool. The length will impact how well that it will fit in your pocket and how well it can remain hidden. That will need to be a deciding factor on how you plan to use it as a concealed carry weapon. You also need to consider just how easy it will be to draw the knife. In a self defense emergency, time is going to be an important factor. Having a fixed blade karambit will be more sturdy and easier to access than one that folds out, but it will be harder to conceal.

Many experts have agreed that a double edged blade for a karambit doesn’t do anyone any good. They are actually dangerous for the user of the blade. Although it isn’t suited to be multipurpose, there are some karambits that have a serrated edge that can really increase their utility.

Instead of going for the jack of all trades type of blade, it is better to focus on a karambit that will excel in the type of use that they were meant for which is close quarters combat.

Next you will need to determine the type of knife quality that you are wanting. A cheaper knife needs to be designed to last for a long time. A good blade should not rust or warp, and the handle will need to be durable and comfortable to hold. Many karambits will have a ring that allows for more weapon retention. If you plan to get an assisted opening knife, then you need to test to ensure that the mechanism is sturdy, because the last thing that you will want to deal with is a faulty spring when you are in the middle of an emergency.

Just like other tools, the karambit will need to fit your taste and style. There are some karambits that are functional and tactical while there are some that are meant for decoration.

Before you invest in a karambit, you will need to figure out if you want an assisted opening or fixed blade karambit. It is quite important to really figure out the quality of the blade and the company’s reputation about the blade. Be sure to also look at the overall design of the blade. It needs to fit your needs and your personality. Below are some really nice options.

Best Karambits

TDI Law Enforcement Fixed Blade by Ka-Bar

This blade was designed by John Benner who happens to be the founder of the Tactical Defense Institute. This karambit is a great final option type of blade. Most law enforcement officers have stated just how easy it can be concealed, how effective and just how high quality it is. Although it is small, it is great for that final option type of situation, like when you cannot reach your hand gun. It is faster to get than a folding blade, but it is still secure and safe to carry when you use the sheath. It is also great for those who are left handed or right handed. It can be carried on both the strong and weak side of your body.

TDI Law Enforcement Fixed Blade by Ka-Bar_2 TDI Law Enforcement Fixed Blade by Ka-Bar

Most of the complaints about this knife are just about the sheath. It has been updated, so it is a much better version now. For a well-respected company, Ka-Bar has created a great self-defense karambit with the help from the Tactical Defense Institute. It is also at a very affordable price, although it isn’t the cheapest model out there this is a knife that will really stand the test of time.

Spring Assisted Open Skull Skeleton by Tac-Force

This interesting folding karambit is actually really cool looking, it is made to really show outstanding quality- especially when you realize just how cheap it is. This 3.5-inch blade is spring loaded which makes it a pretty fast assisted open blade that opens efficiently and smoothly. There are some people that really do not like the skull design on the knife, but the texture handle actually gives you a better grip on the knife. Many people love the look of the blade, but those who dislike it often associate it the skull handles as a cheap blade from over seas that are often sold at a flea market. This particular karambit, is actually a study, quality blade that is for a really low price.

Spring Assisted Open Skull Skeleton by Tac-Force_2 Spring Assisted Open Skull Skeleton by Tac-Force_22 Spring Assisted Open Skull Skeleton by Tac-Force

TF-816 Series Folding Karambit by Tac-Force

This particular karambit is often advertised as a hawksbill knife, it is in fact a 6 inch closed karambit. Tac-Force is one of the best companies for a blade, and the quality of this particular blade is actually hard to beat for the price. It is a self defense blade that many people are quite happy with. Most people talk about the speed for the spring assist opening, simply because quick opening is quite important in a self defense situation. It is a comfortable blade that is a nice size to keep in your pocket, although it really depends on your size, size of your pockets and your actions. This is very great for daily use as an everyday carry type of blade.

TF-816 Series Folding Karambit by Tac-Force

E419-PP by BladesUSA

Although this particular blade isn’t best for a self defense situation, it is a great knife to train with if you are beginning to prepare for a knife fight. There are a lot of people who are quite happy to use this blade to train with. The hard plastic blade is quite high quality built and strong. It can withstand a lot of hard training against punching bags are a person, but just be sure you are using protection with a plastic blade. One of the downsides to this blade is that is isn’t a folding blade and it is a bit lighter than an actual blade. But, if you are using it for training purposes, it is really well built and very suitable to be practicing with.

E419-PP by BladesUSA E419-PP by BladesUSA_2


The Karambit is a very deadly but beautiful blade. They are great to be used every day or even as a back up if you are unable to get to your hand gun. It is as effective as a tiger’s claw, but you can conceal it easily. These are great weapons for any type of self defense type of situation.  I don’t believe in using force unless absolutely necessary.  The best thing you can do is to avoid the situation if you can.  Unfortunately in life, you can’t always avoid situations like that.  Read this guide on what to expect after lethal force has been used.


Survival Knife Review: The Swiss Army Knife Classic?

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In many emergency situations, all you’ll have are the tools in your pockets. And a tiny knife is better than no knife at all. A Classic can be an important part of your survival kit.

Survival Gear Review: The Fallkniven S1 Pro Knife

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1_Fallkniven_S1_Pro_review_blade_mark_polishThe quest for a Goldilocks Knife, or one that’s just right, is less a journey and more of a marriage. To trust one’s fate to one single blade especially for survival situations, there must be a commitment to making the best of the situation regardless of the challenges. Thick and thin, sickness and health, and all that.

By Doc Montana, a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and

In additional to personal preferences, there is a small handful of knife characteristics that can be adjusted by blade makers including those addressing the grip such as size, thickness, materials, guard options, and shape. And for the blade there is steel type, length, thickness, grind, shape, and overall size. Of those eleven characteristics, even if each one only had two options, that would be 2 to the 11th or over 2000 combinations. But of course each option has many more than two possibilities, with some nearing an infinite number of choices.

Quest for Perfection

2_Fallkniven_S1_Pro_review_winter_snow_handleGoldilocks might be a fairy tale, but the Fallkniven S1 Pro Survival Knife is very real and very sharp. Even in its own lineup of Pro Knives, puts it right down the middle. Not too much. Not too little. Flanking the S1 are the larger A1 Pro and the smaller F1 Pro. With the A1 being noted for its large size and the F1 a designed for smaller cockpit carry, something in between should be just about right. But “just about” is not enough to be “right” when looking for the perfect knife.

Related: The SOG Banner

Looking at the features of the Fallkniven S1 Pro, it is clear that while this particular knife is smaller in some aspects, but no less potent. For instance, the blade thickness of the S1 is an amazing six millimeters or just shy of a quarter inch. And that’s on a blade only 5.1 inches long.

5_Fallkniven_S1_Pro_review_meat_slicingSpeaking of the blade on the Fallkniven S1 Pro, it’s a cobalt steel convex edged masterpiece. The steel is amazing from both the standpoint of overall sharpness and durability. In the never ending search for the perfect steel, blade steel makers have been dabbling at the atomic level with chemistry, crystal structure and the optimum blend of edge shape and cutting performance. The best steel can be neutered by a poor choice of grind, and a marginal steel can be given superpowers with the right shape and grind. But ultimately, one wants the the best of all worlds; the best steel with the best grind, and the best performance characteristics. And it seems the Fallkniven S1 Pro has come as close to this Goldilocks formula as anyone ever has.

Convex Grind

4_Fallkniven_S1_Pro_review_wood_choppingFallkniven uses an enhanced convex grind on the Fallkniven S1 Pro as well as its other Pro blades. The convex grind is an advanced grind with no simple characteristics or ease of manufacturing which is why the convex grind is not a common option among knifemakers. The convex grind is a graceful arc from blade side to blade edge. Most designs transition the blade from flat side tapering linearly to a point where a sharper angle dives towards the absolute edge. It’s an effective strategy for 99% of the uses, but what about the 1% that really matter when it matters? That’s where the convex edge shines.

Check Out: Islamic State Barbarity

The heavy blade chops like a dream. A small dream, but one nonetheless. And the S1 Pro can slice all day long without a sharpener in sight. For a perfect sized knife, the Fallkniven S1 Pro as close to perfect as perfect can get.

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The Quintessential Survival Knife

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1_knifeLet’s get real here.  Is there really an ideal or “best bet” survival knife?  Well, no for the purposes of a general description, but then, yes, for the individual that selects a knife that does all of the tasks they need done.  For them, that knife or likely knives is ideal.  So, what makes an “ideal” survival knife?

By Dr. John J. Woods, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

Ironically, years ago when the series of Rambo movies were in vogue, the huge radical saw-back bladed knife used by the character John Rambo sort of became the iconic poster boy of survival knives.  Later on, copies of the blade had the huge cutting edge, the saw tooth cutting back blade spine and a compass in the handle cap.

Defining the Survival Knife

Screw off the cap and there was storage space in the cylinder styled handle for matches, cord, fishing hooks, a sewing kit and other emergency goodies.  Why that knife became the “face” of survival knives is a mystery to me.  It was more of a combat-tactical knife, but really it was just a movie knife.

1_rambo_knifeHowever, after that movie series, the knife catalogs were replete with dozens of choices of Rambo-like knives.  In fact, you can still find a modern day copy of the Rambo-ish survival knife at Harbor Freight Supply listed as a survival-hunting knife for the huge price of $8.99.  I’ll let you decide on the relative quality of such a knife for real survival work.  Tons of these types of knives can be seen at every gun show.  I guess knife collectors or blade enthusiasts want these blades, but certainly the cheap end versions are not really serious survival knives.

Despite that off the reservation discussion of a more familiar than real survival knife, there are many other types of survival knives intended for serious survival tasking.  They can take all kinds of shapes, sizes, blade types, configurations and price ranges.  

Likewise these blades come in a variety of design names which can also be somewhat confusing.  These tradenames include Bowie, bush craft, hunters, camp knives, frontiersman, woods knives, woods craft, or just plain survival knives.  Remember these are often just proprietary brand names and may or may not actually fit the blade type for actual survival work.  

Check Out: Let’s Talk Knives

Also a survival knife does not have to be a fixed blade version though that is often the case.  If so, pick one with a comfortable handle, a weight you can handle easily and hang on to, has a good sheath, and a blade shape designed for craft work.  Keep in mind though, that a lot of good folding knives can be useful for survival work, too.  Ideally, I think most survivalists are going to have one or more of both styles.  Even pocketknives can perform a lot of survival tasks.  

Tasks of a Survival Knife

2_SOG_Banner_Knife_assist_folder_pivot_S35VNSo, realistically what are our task and work expectations that a knife labeled “survival knife” ought to perform?  Again, everyone is different, with differing survival circumstances and needs or wants.  If you Bug In, then you may need a different knife or knives than if you are huddled out in the wilderness in a tent camp for a Bug Out. Generally though, our survival knife orientation is more toward the Bug Out camping issues than working around the home or kitchen.  It is sort of like having a big gun to take care of everything for lessor needs as well.  So, let’s consider the maximum end uses, assuming we can then use a bigger blade to slice tomatoes or cut up wild onions for a salad.  

For Bug Out tasking we would want a knife to take on any kind of bush craft work, making up camp, clearing paths, making shelters, trimming out kindling wood, and everything else a larger, stronger knife can handle.  This knife is not for cutting down big trees, but it might be for limbing out a log or branches to make a lean-to.  A survival knife is not an ax or a saw in the traditional sense.  A heavy survival knife would be ideal for cutting evergreen boughs for creating shelter layers.  

The survival knife could be used for food preparation such as field dressing game or fish, but I highly suspect from experience there are better, smaller knives for this processing type work.  Certainly a survival knife could be tasked with a lot of cooking work including chopping, slicing, mincing, and such food preparation work.  

The SHTF camp survival knife could also be used for cutting vines and bark strips for various woods craft projects such as fabricating ropes, lashing, and tying straps.  These knives would be good for cutting down wild cane poles for building structures, camp furniture, hanging poles, and such.  

external_belt_rig_holster_campknifeNaturally there are untold more uses for a classic survival type knife.  If you have one, then I suspect it will be used for most anything around the Bug Out camp or around a residential home.  You certainly don’t need a “do” list for trying to decide if a particular knife can get a job done.  You simply grab the knife and go to work.  If it falls short, or is too much knife, then you trade it for another useful blade or another tool and go back to work.  

In terms of self-defense, certainly a survival knife could be deployed as such.  This takes special training to be effective, but that is beyond our purpose here.  Perhaps a knife fighting expert will join in here later if the SHTFBlog audience is interested.  

Where to Find Survival Knives

2_knife_2As written here before there are all kinds of knives available in the marketplace.  There are many good knives that are “cheap” that being a relative term, but there are few really cheap knives worth having.  I guess the term “inexpensive” would be a fairer descriptor.  Like I tell preppers about riflescopes, “Do you really think that $35 scope is worth having?”  Not! Likewise, if you buy one of those $3 knives in the big plastic jug at the checkout cash register, then don’t expect much from it for very long.  At the same time, you can spend $1000 or more for a super duper, custom made knife with a noted blade grinder’s name on it.  Only you can decide what value (or money) you want to put into a knife for survival work.  

Related: Pandemic is an Inevitability

There are many knife brand names to look into and many knife sources for shopping them.  Knives with good reputations include Browning, Remington, Ka-Bar, Kershaw, Boker, Case, Buck, Cold Steel, Benchmade, Gerber, CRKT, Al Mar, Spyderco, and Schrade to mention just a small list among many, many more.  

Where to shop for survival knives?  Well, yeah, anywhere knives are sold of course.  I find many at gun shows, hardware stores, outdoor stores, hunting supply shops, and gun stores.  Big knife shops and on-line sources include the Smoky Mountain Knife Works, A. G. Russell Knives, Bass Pro Shops, Academy, Dicks, and related type supply sites.  There are hordes of small shop custom knife makers, too.  Buy a knife magazine to find some of those or just do a universal Internet topic search.  

A true survival knife is in the eyes of the beholder.  What works really well for you might not for somebody else and vice versa.  I like mid-sized knives with fixed blades with a good gripping handle.  I never go far from our Bug Out camp without a sheath knife, a folder and a pocketknife.  There are usually several in my camp pack, EDC, and BOB.  A really good survival knife certainly keeps you on the cutting edge.  You know I had to say that.  

Survival Gear Review: The SOG Banner USA Made Knife

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1_SOG_Banner_Knife_assist_folder_folded_in_hand_grip_billboardSOG knives in general need no introduction, but there are three new players in the SOG folder lineup that do deserve some special attention. All three are solid black. All three lean heavily towards the tactical side. All three use springs to deploy the blade. And all three are made in America. There is a lone fixed blade in the American made SOG line and it is an outstanding knife named the Pillar and featured here.

By Doc Montana, a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and

Of the three American made SOG folders, the Banner is the only assisted opening knife, while the Tac Ops and the Strat Ops are both auto opening at the push of a button. The SOG Banner requires a nudge to fire the blade to attention, but after  quarter-inch of movement, the blade fires out of the grip with force and determination all the way to it’s positive lock in the fully open position.

Full Assistance

2_SOG_Banner_Knife_assist_folder_pivot_S35VNMany assisted opening folding knives have a spring mechanism in the grips that launches the blade from the handle but once the initial impulse is over, it is pure momentum that carries the blade the rest of the way. In fact some assists are more like a baseball bat whacking the ball. The punch is short and half-hearted leaving the blade to its own for more than half its journey. With the Banner, the mainspring is around the blade pivot point so there is a near-uniform amount of deployment force on the blade to the very end of its rotation.

Read Also: Let’s Talk Knives: 12 Things You Should Know

To wander in the weeds a little more, SOG calls this feature it’s SAT or SOG Assisted Technology. SOG describes it as a, “balance of opposing high-tension coil springs.” What this means in real life is that the blade only has two natural positions; fully seated in the grip and fully deployed. There is no in-between. Even when fully deployed, the blade remains under tension. The SOG SAT is a solid deployment mechanism that has proven itself more than enough times in other SOG blades including the famous SOG Flash.

Comparing the SOG Banner to the Zero Tolerance 0770CF I reviewed here, the ZT spring applies force to the blade for only one-half of its intended journey while my Benchmade assists are spring loaded to about three-fourths of their rotation. What this all translates to in terms of knife-feel at deployment is the SOG Banner doesn’t just have a satisfying click as the blade rolls to a stop. Instead the SOG Banner’s blade slams home more like the bolt on an AR15 or the slide on a Glock. There is absolutely no ambiguity about where the blade is on the deployment spectrum.

The SOG Banner has a pair of beautifully machined flat-black anodized aluminum scales with non-skeletonized stainless steel inserts. In another break from traditional conformity, the SOG Banner’s inserts appear to be screwed to the scales from inside the knife, and then the scales are screwed together with three torx bolts on the rear, and with the oversized pivot covers on the frontend of the grip. It’s almost as if the SOG Banner was built from the inside out. Perhaps it has to do with the dual-spring action of the knife, but the design is a welcome change from convention. And don’t worry, SOG hasn’t forgotten that the user may want to adjust the play in the blade so a T8 Torx driver will make any desired adjustments in the pivot. But like all auto and semi auto knives, do not disassemble them without eye protection and full knowledge that you will have to send in a bag of whatever parts you can find back to the company for service since there are often special knife-specific tools used in the assembly and reassembly of the knives as well as intimate knowledge of how they all go together and in what order.

Running the Numbers

4_SOG_Banner_Knife_assist_folder_overall_onrockAll that aluminium and steel gives the SOG Banner a weight that SOG lists as between 4.5 and 4.6 ounces, but my scale says is actually 4.370 ounces. Not that anyone could tell the difference. Regardless of the weight, the SOG Banner has an open-spine design meaning you can look right through the grip. This design avoids the pocket lint scoop shape that collects all manner of debris into the blade shell. And should detritus find its way into the handle, the open action gives plenty of cleaning access. Additionally, the external strength of the handle does not require a standoff in the middle of the spine. A standoff is the fancy name for those little internal pillars that give support and structure to the grips. Instead the spine standoff in the SOG Banner is far back in the open spine.

The overall length of the SOG Banner is seven and three-quarters inches from blade tip to outside curve of the pocket clip. The usable blade length is about three inches, and the overall closed length is four-and-three-quarters inches, again to the far end of the pocket clip.

5_SOG_Banner_Knife_assist_folded_MOLLEThe average thickness of the handle is about three-eighths of an inch making this as svelte as the ZT in carbon fiber. Adding to the low-profile pocket carry stature of the SOG Banner is a deep-carry pocket clip. In fact, the catch loop at the far end of the pocket clip is a full eighth-inch beyond the nearest handle scale meaning not just the bulk of the knife rides below the pocket line, but the entire SOG Banner can disappear into the pocket while still securely hooked onto the fabric seam. Pocket clip depth varies, but many knives including Benchmade can leave up to half an inch of knife above the pocket clip. While having the knife ride high can speed deployment, it also makes it more noticeable, and even a little top heavy allowing for unintentional extraction from the pocket whether by active drift or inverted momentum (also known as falling down).

Full Clip

6_SOG_Banner_Knife_assist_folder_pocket_clipAlso unlike most other blade makers, SOG has chosen a more complex reversible pocket clip design for the Banner that actually bolts on the clip to the inside of the knife rather than to the outside of a scale the same way a flagpole is bolted onto the side of a building. While certainly making the engineering of the knife more complex, the payback is substantial. So not only does the pocket clip lower the knife deeper, but it also takes itself out of the thickness equation leaving absolutely nothing between the knife handle and the inside of the pocket. Further, the SOG’s SOG logo is a prominent metal stencil machined into the clip providing just the right amount of texture on the clip to aid in retention as time and deployments smooth out the clip. But, of course, that same SOG logo announces to the world that you have a SOG in your pocket.

The anodized aluminum handle scales are smooth but not slippery. I own a handful of aluminum scaled knives and like to joke that the manufacturers should have applied a coat of teflon to really make the handle slick. I can see the need for a slick housing when the knife will spend almost all of its waking hours deep in the smooth lines of a gentleman’s slacks, but the SOG Banner is no gentleman and certainly won’t be happy in a pair of office trousers. I’d guess blue denim and Carhartt cotton canvas are about as soft a pocket life as this particular SOG Banner will ever have in my world.

A lanyard hole is on the spine-side of the grips base, but it emerges half under the pocket clip. As far as I can tell, the SOG Banner will run well with either the pocket clip or a lanyard, but not necessarily both.

Maximum Lockup

The locking mechanism is single round button on the left side of the frame just above the pivot. The single button on the left is a for a right-handed thumb activation. So while the assist feature is activated from either right or left thumb-stud on the blade spine, the unlocking is natural in the right hand and a touch awkward in the left hand using the index finger to compress the button.

3_SOG_Banner_Knife_assist_folder_lock_button_lockOn the knife’s spine directly above the locking button is a secondary locking slider that will keep the blade from deploying. It will not keep the blade from retracting like many other lock locks do. This lock lock moves out of the lock position when the blade is being closed. But if the lock lock is activated while the blade is closed, the entire system is on hold until the lock slider is pushed forward. And like a gun safety, there is a red indicator painted on the slider giving a visual sign which way the lever is positioned. Red means unlocked.

Check Out: Tree Bark as an Emergency Food

One minor irritation I have with the lock slider is that it is a thin metal nub with three aggressive jimps for traction. However, due to the thinness of the metal, it is much easier and safer to manipulate with a fingernail rather than rubbing precious thumb skin over it. Add the fact that the switch rises a thirty-second of an inch above the spine proper, you will notice the lever under your thumb during normal blade use.


7_SOG_Banner_Knife_assist_folder_thumbstudThe blade on the SOG Banner is a lightly drop pointed and lightly reverse curved razor sharp slicer. A minor unsharpened swedge or false edge rides the top of the blade two-thirds of the way back to the handle. The blade had no thumb ramp to speak of, but does have some aggressive jimping just beyond the handle. The aggressiveness in not in size, but in sharpness and amount. The jimps are almost like mini saw teeth rather than ridges or notches.

The blade is a hair over one-sixteenth of an inch thick which is a fairly common size. But with the flat-black CeraKote finish, you could say that black is slimming because the blade looks thin. The flat grind gives plenty of wide open featureless space on the blade adding to the blackness, and it’s not until you reach the final business side of the edge that any shiny metal is exposed with nothing but a millimeter of secondary bevel reflecting light.

The mild reverse curve of the blade provides more cutting edge and workpiece focusing compared to a straight or convex belly. Which is exactly why reverse curves are used. They also come in handy when fighting by maintaining more contact with meat and bone during the slice. Yes, ouch.

The tip of the blade is a paper-thin surgical instrument that would have no trouble puncturing any softer material or getting the attention of anyone needing some encouragement to focus. However, the tip would not last long if used as a prybar or screwdriver, two common blade tip uses that really should be at the very top of your Knife Do-Nots.

8_SOG_Banner_Knife_assist_folder_rope_cuttingAll this blade goodness is made with a supersteel named CPM S35VN. In addition to all the bigger, better, and badder qualities of the supersteel, it is an American made product of exceptional performance. According to Crucible Industries, the steel’s maker, S35VN was designed to improve one of my favorite steels, the S30V by substituting niobium carbides for some of the vanadium carbides creating a tougher steel yet one that is easier to machine and polish. If all this chemical rebalancing and letter/number steel names makes your head spin, then just remember that like ammo performance, optics technology, cell phones, and flashlight LEDs, knives might look like their ancestors, but that’s pretty much where the similarities begin and end.

The blade is not designed for woodworking although the handle is exceedingly comfortable in almost all positions. Except for the locking slider on the spine, the smooth handle slabs and melted corners make the SOG Banner a joy to hold. The flat grind is a good choice for food prep, wood shaving, and general use. Plus it is one of the easier edges to sharpen especially in the field with minimal tools. Like nothing but a rock.

The single index finger groove in the handle profile has a stout forward lean providing added slip protection for when this knife is wet or your hands are cold. Aluminium is an excellent conductor of hot and cold so if using this outdoors in freezing weather with bare hands, you will notice its. Additionally the density of the grips with its steel and aluminum shells will hold the cold longer than more gentlemanly pocket knives. But in my freezer tests, the assist mechanism worked the same even when the knife was below zero.

The SOG Banner retails for $254 and street prices will of course be less. But it and its auto siblings are running with the other American big boys now so expect to pay for American made quality and American made performance.

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Let’s Talk Knives: 12 Things You Should Know

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kk_skeleton_review_fallkniven_survival_knifeNo survivalist’s kit is complete without at least one knife, and there’s always an open space in the collection for just one more perfect specimen. (I know many who refuse to leave the house without theirs: When going hiking or camping, you’ll almost always have a use for one.) A knife is the one thing you’d rather have and not need.

By Alex Coyne, a contributing author of Survival Cache & SHTFBlog

Here’s what you should know about buying, using, maintaining and owning your knives…

1. You should never buy cheap.

Aron Ralston, better known as the subject of ‘127 Hours’, was forced to amputate his own arm after getting trapped in a canyon. After the event, he stated that the knife he had bought was nothing more than a standard cheap gas-station pocket knife – dull, at that. Don’t buy cheap knives. Always buy the best you can possibly afford: Something that’s going to last you a long time, something that’s not going to rust, bend or break. You never know what you’re going to need it for, and that’s a perfect example.

2. Know what to look at for quality.

Article_SOG_PIllar_Knife_USA_Made_hand_choil_full_viewJust what makes a quality knife, then? Consider brand-name manufacturers rather than something you’ve never heard of that costs half the price – sadly, that is a good rule of thumb if you’re going to need your knife for life-and-death. Generally, buy something that comes recommended: Ask around. Try several in your hand before you buy one. You want to purchase a knife that feels right – something that’s too small or too big for your hands is going to be more of a danger and annoyance to you in the long-run.

Read Also: The SOG Pillar

3. Flashy is not always better.

A lot of people pick a flashy blade for their first (or carry-on) for no other reason than… It looks flashy. Don’t do this. Buying a knife because it looks flashy and cool assumes you’re going to have a situation come up where you’re going to want to flash it. (That, if you’ve seen anyone come out of a knife fight recently, is a terrible idea.) Buy a knife for practicality, never for show. (If you want to buy a piece simply for its beauty, that’s fine, but in the case it goes!)

4. Know the laws about knives in your state.

Laws on knives (and the concealment thereof) vary by state and country: Familiarize yourself with what you’re legally allowed to carry (especially in terms of blade length) and how you’re allowed to carry it before you take your knife out on the road. It can land you in far more trouble than it’s worth.

5. Always handle your knife with care.

Zero Tolerance EDC KnifeKnives are sharp; if not, they should be sharpened accordingly. Handle your knife with care (always!) and teach anyone you give a knife to as a gift to do the same. There have been far too many accidents involving knives, and we don’t want to be responsible for any more. (Note: When storing knives in your pocket, make sure that it’s one that won’t fly open and stab you in the leg by accident.)

6. Knives can be an heirloom; consider a customized piece.

Customized pieces are available online from many excellent, specialized knifemakers. Consider this as a long-term goal, especially if you’re a keen collector or would like to pass something like this down.

7. There’s a knife for almost everything.

knives_cheap_good_average_bargainAsk yourself what you’re going to need from your knife: Is it something exclusively for preparing food when camping? Is it something for taking plant samples? Are you going diving and need a good diving knife to take along? Do you need a knife with a built-in flashlight or compass? (At this point, you might have realized that there’s a knife for almost everything and that you might need to get several to fit your needs.)

8. Learn how to sharpen a knife properly.

Fallkniven_A1-Pro_survival knife_batonSharpening your own knives is a skill that both comes with time and is best practiced on one of the cheaper knives (trust us on that!). If you don’t yet trust your own hands, have your knives sharpened professionally – it’s not as expensive as you’d imagine and it’s much better than ruining your grandad’s favourite hunting knife. For those who want to learn how to do it themselves, there are great guides on YouTube, like How to Sharpen Kitchen Knives and How to Sharpen a Knife with a Flat Stone, or you can take a look on for knife sharpeners.

9. What knives can and can’t do.

Never over-exert a knife: Know what kind of pressure your knife can handle. I’ve seen people try to do excessively stupid things with their knives, and well, put simply… You really shouldn’t.

10. The danger with knife-fighting.

Knife-fighting is an art unto itself, and not one that should be practiced lightly. Ever. (Open up your search engine and look up “injuries from a knife fight” if you’ve got the stomach for it; your entire perspective on knife-fighting should change right about there). If you want to learn how to fight with a knife (or take a knife off of someone in self-defense), your best bet is to take classes from a professional in the field. (Anything, and we mean anything else is bound to lead to serious injury.)

11. Knife-throwing: The cool stuff.

You might want to learn knife-throwing as a way to show off your skills, improve your dexterity or simply demonstrate that you can be bad-ass with a knife. It goes without saying that safety applies (never practice this near children, animals, other humans; anything you can hit that you shouldn’t, basically), never indoors (no matter what you’ve seen on tv) and always with proper knives (not all knives are throwing knives). There are some great lessons available on YouTube, check out these from Tim Rosanelli for starters.

Check Out: Mora Knife

12. Using knives in the kitchen, too.

chef_knifeKitchen knives deserve a special mention, as you’re going to want special knives for food preparation. Chef’s knives can be expensive, but they are guaranteed to last a lifetime if taken care of properly. Again, there are several varieties so you should shop around: From stainless steel to ceramic. There are also paring knives, scaling knives and a range of others, each suiting your individual needs.

Use the comments to tell us about your favourite knife or some handy skills you’ve picked up over the years.

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Survival Gear Review: The SOG Pillar – A USA Made Knife

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Article_SOG_PIllar_Knife_USA_Made_hand_choil_full_viewSOG Knives in general need no introduction, but a few SOG blades in particular do require a few minutes of your attention. And one such knife is The SOG Pillar.  The SOG Knives company takes its name from a Vietnam-era covert US Special Ops unit known as Military Assistance Command, Vietnam-Studies and Observations Group or MACV-SOG. But the real story here is that the SOG part of the MACV-SOG was a cover name to hide the real nature of the entity. Soon SOG began to be shorthand for “Special Operations Group” which was a little more descriptive and honest given the nature of SOG work.

By Doc Montana, a Contributing Author of Survival Cache and SHTFBlog

Many know SOG knives to be of good value and often of excellent performance. The Washington-based company named SOG began in 1986, but can trace its inspirational roots to special operations during the Vietnam War. The SOG Speciality Knives company began as the dream of Spencer Frazer who, as a UCLA math/science graduate, worked in the aerospace defense industry. The first SOG knife was the SOG Bowie, a commemorative nod to a fighting blade Frazer could feel was magical when he held one.

The SOG Bowie was the extent of the entire SOG knife line for a while and retailed for $200. And that was over 30 years ago. Sometimes events in a corporation’s history are not so much circular but spiral in quality and design while maintaining a familiar form. And thus is the case of The Pillar.

SOG began its journey into our hands with fixed blade knives and USA-based manufacturing. As time went on their designs diversified, so did their manufacturing options. In 2016, SOG had its blades and multitools manufactured in forges and tool factories in Asia. But 2017 brings some of that knife forging and construction home. So in a twist of inevitability, SOG presents a USA-made fixed blade of exceptional steel and design.

A Pillar of Society

The Pillar is the single fixed blade in the USA-made release of knives. There are three folders, all automatics, that also carry the USA pedigree. But the Pillar represents a homecoming of sorts, to the point it first caught my fancy, and then my desire, and finally my loyalty.

Related: The Fallkniven Professional Hunting Knife

As many readers know, I have a fondness for super steels and cutting edge designs. And I am happy to say that the SOG Pillar is a knife worthy of the respect any top-shelf knife deserves, whether custom or off the assembly line.

The Pillar, and note that I choose to capitalize “The” out of respect, is a blade of the highest performance and sharpness. The Pillar is a 7.4 ounce, 10-inch masterpiece of stonewashed S35VN steel. The five and a half inch blade is all business, and the canvas Micarta scales form a near-perfect union between human hand and tool.


Article_SOG_PIllar_Knife_USA_Made_choil_close_jimpingOn the blade-side, the clip point is classic SOG with a traditional edge belly, but an embellished spine carrying forth three transitions from aggressive jimping at the grip end, to a graceful dip in the spine-flow, to a classic focus to the tip. While SOG does get creative with its spins including full rasps, the treat The Pillar shares with us is what I believe to be the sharpest 90 degree spine bevel in recent memory. Corner turning on the spine of The Pillar will strike fear in firerods the world over. In fact, you can just wave The Pillar close to a fire steel and sparks will fly. It’s that sharp.

The choil just forward of the index finger guard (where all choils are found) is pronounced enough for functional use, but not so deep to interfere with full blade-length cutting tasks, or large enough to impede with precision grip-close bladework. Some knives have a chasm between grip and blade causing trimming and paring work to suffer due to the leverage distance between hand and true edge. This is exactly why the sharp edge most kitchen knives begins immediately where the handle ends, and even sometimes flows back under under the grip to get a headstart on the slicing chores.


The balance point of The Pillar is distinctly within the handle. The fore-aft flow of the knife centers just behind the index finger in a regular forehand grip. Many blades of this stature have skeletonize steel under the scales that moves the balance forward. Not The Pillar. The only absent steel out of sight under the grips are the two small holes where the fasteners bolt the Micarta scales to the blade. A balance behind the index finger makes for a very solid feel in-hand. The tradeoff of a balance-back design is found in a decreased chop force for a knife of this weight. Batoning with the The Pillar is a real treat however, especially with the plentiful flat shelf running from the midsection of the spine to the tip. But using The Pillar for such crude tasks could be viewed as an insult to the intelligence of this blade. However, that did not stop me from splitting some pine rounds with a diameter three-fourths the length of the blade.

The overall grip size of The Pillar falls somewhere between medium and small. Unlike Gerber’s blocky LMF or KaBar’s Becker series that leans on the circular, the greying canvas Micarta scales on The Pillar provide a firm handshake without making themselves the life of the party. This means they do not attract undue attention during use. Some blades have grips that consider themselves more important than the overall knife. Grips and scale must know their place in the knife dynamic. For grips and scales, serving the human hand is, as Ford says, job one.

Popular handle materials for fixed blade knives these days include good old wood and a pile of synthetics and composites including various plastics, G10, and Micarta. For the record, Micarta is a layered composite that could contain linen, canvas, paper, fiberglass, carbon fiber or other fabric which is then pressed and heated into a strong plastic that feels great in the hand. Micarta can trace its roots back to 1910 when its properties of electrical non-conductivity, temperature insensitivity, and disregard for moisture were new in such a strong material.

Rounding out the back end of The Pillar is a protruding tang with both pronounced jimping and a large diamond-shaped lanyard hole. The curved steel on the back end of The Pillar presents a viable surface upon which pressure can be applied, and even blows if absolutely necessary. But pounding on the knife might constitute abuse under the SOG Lifetime warranty, as it should.

Steel Valor

Article_SOG_PIllar_Knife_USA_Made_Scales_removedSo what’s up with the fancy steel? S35VN is a powder steel from Crucible Industries (CPM) that abbreviates stainless (S), Vanadium (V) and Niobium (N). This precision mix of elements including carbon, chromium, and molybdenum makes of a blade of exceptional durability, sharpenability, and resistance to chipping and folding. The S35VN steel is tougher than even the famed S30V that I’ve sung the praises of in other reviews. Furthermore, The SOG Pillar’s Rockwell hardness of 59-61, and a glorious mix of metallurgical alchemy in the steel, The SOG Pillar is about as stain resistant and corrosion resistant as a fine knife steel can be given our current mixes of earthly elements.

Read Also: Swedish Steel Mora Knife

The SOG Pillar leans more towards the tactical/combat side over a survival/bushcraft blade. The Pillar has hints of that mean look we love about the SOG Seal Pup but with better steel, a more refined finish with less of the black special ops persona, and a vastly stronger handle design using scales above a solid steel frame over the Seal Pup’s glass-reinforced nylon handle. Fully enclosed handles are necessary to reduce the chance of electrocution if the blade encounters a hot wire, and also to reduce the thermal conductivity to a bare hand of hot or cold, but mostly cold.

A Sheath Done Right

Sheath_Article_SOG_PIllar_Knife_USA_Made_sheath_tech_lock_pmagThe Pillar comes with an outstandingly well engineered friction blade cover complete with locking mount that will clamp securely to a belt up to 1.5 inches wide and a quarter inch thick. In the field, The Pillar is as fast to deploy as to stow, all one-handed. And about the only way to knock The Pillar free from its sheath would be to fall about six feet landing on your head. Needless to say, that would likely negate your need for a knife, possibly forever.

Removing The Pillar from the sheath is a real treat. The highest grommet hole on the spine-side of the sheath has jimping on it and is an excellent thumb ramp allowing, the extraction of The Pillar in one clean safe move.

The Pillar and I have made several trips now and it’s still dangerously sharp. I’ve come to appreciate the handle size even more, and enjoy The Pillar’s fluid ability to slice with precision. Despite its tactical leanings, The Pillar works wood very well and shaves fire sticks with ease. The Pillar is just as comfortable working in the kitchen slicing meat and veggies as it would be, and this is just a guess, separating life from a bad guy during government sanctioned wet work.

On a more domestic tone, The Pillar is presented well in its box at point of sale. When you open the cardboard, The Pillar is floating in space centered in the rectangle. In actuality, The Pillar is secured in transparent plastic. Compare this to being stuffed in a sheath and wrapped in a piece of paper, then stuffed again in a box. Presentation of the knife might end the moment the knife goes into service, but the pride of workmanship comes across even before you touch the knife.

When it Matters

Article_SOG_PIllar_Knife_USA_Made_baton_woodAlthough the tactical edginess of The Pillar might scare some hunters and outdoorsmen away, I can say with confidence that the classic lines and proven clip point are more than capable of cutting up whatever needs cutting up whether bush or beast. Those folks with survival bends might find The Pillar alluring as a bug out knife or primary resident in the Go Bag. And I would certainly agree. In fact, The Pillar is like a stick of cutting dynamite that can sit quietly on belt or pack, and does basic work without complaint. At a moment’s notice, The Pillar can step up to be the most aggressive and angry knife in the room. Instead of pushing a lesser knife to work above its pay grade, The Pillar hedges your bets towards the Big Survival side, which is exactly where they should if you’re serious. Mall ninjas need not apply.

The SOG Pillar is not an ordinary knife. The Pillar can play well with the little jobs yet jump to the front line and charge into battle when things go bad. Spencer Fraser, the founder of SOG has said about his company, “We don’t settle for ordinary. “We never did, and we never will.” And The SOG Pillar proves that. Again.

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Survival knives

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Survival knives have received great coverage, probably more than any other survival tool.  I’ll be reviewing all of the below soon and creating an in depth page like I have for Survival Axe’s and Survival Machetes.  For the time being I thought I’d just show you some of my favorite survival knives that I either own or have used.

Morakniv knives

There are so many different brands out there for knives it’s amazing.  You can spend hundreds of dollars and get an incredible knife but many of us have a tight budget and want a great knife at a great price.  If you want THE BEST VALUE KNIVES ON THE PLANET, you can’t go past Morakniv (Mora) knives.  They are made in Sweden, have a Scandi grind making it easy to resharpen them, comes razor sharp, retains an edge exceptionally well, comfortable handle and has a limited lifetime manufacturer’s warranty.  You just can’t go past these knives.

Morakniv Companion


  • Blade length: 4.1 inches (104 mm);
  • Blade thickness: 0.08 inch (2.0 mm); Overall length: 8.6 inch (218 mm); Weight w/ sheath: 3.9 oz. (110 g)

Check price and further details of the Mora Companion.


Morakniv Companion Heavy Duty Knife


Pretty much exactly the same as the knife above BUT there is one major difference and that’s that it is 3.2mm thick compared to 2.0mm thick.  I prefer a thicker knife as I feel more confident that it won’t break on me and I can do more heavy duty tasks so I prefer the Mora Companion Heavy Duty Knife.

  • Blade Thickness: 0.125 inches (3.2 mm), Blade Length: 4.1 inches (104 mm), Total Length: 8.8 inches (224 mm), Net Weight: 4.8 oz. (135 g)

Check price and further details of the Mora Companion – Heavy Duty.


Morakniv Allround Multi-Purpose Fixed Blade Knife with Sandvik Stainless Steel Blade

For those that want a big More knife, this is the knife for you as it has an 8.1 inch blade.


  • Fixed blade knife with stainless steel blade
  • Blade Thickness: 0.10″ (0.25cm), Blade Length: 8.1″ (20.5cm), Total Length: 12.5″ (31.7cm), Net Weight: 6.5 oz. (185g)

Check price and further details of the Mora Allround Multipurpose 8.1 inch blade knife.


This page structure

This page will be split into two main sections – Multi-functional Survival knives and Not Multi-functional Survival knives.  Different people want different things from their survival knives, some want an all in one type knife and others just prefer a good quality knife like a bowie knife.  We all have different budgets so within the two main sections I’ll split it up into inexpensive, mid-range and Highest price.  Keep in mind, you get what you pay for.

High price means $70 plus.

Mid priced means between $15 and $70.

Inexpensive means less that $15.

The best Survival Knives for 2017

The best Multi-Functional Survival Knives for 2017

Knife Extra functions Rating Price
CDS-Survival MOVA-58 Stainless Steel Survival knife
CDS Survival 2Check Today’s Price
Sharpening Stone & Firesteel 4.8 $$$
BlizeTec Survival Knife: Best 5-in-1 Tactical Pocket Folding Knife
BlizeTec 5 in 1Check Today’s Price
LED Light, Seatbelt Cutter, Glass Breaker & Magnesium Fire Starter 4.6 $$
BlizeTec Survival Fixed Blade Knife: 3-in-1 Full Tang Hunting Knife
Blizetec Fixed knifeCheck Today’s Price
Magnesium Fire Starter, LED Flashlight & Belt Pouch 4.5 $$
BlizeTec Pocket Folding Knife: 5-in-1 Survival knife
BlizeTec Pocket Folding KnifeCheck Today’s Price
Liner Lock, Thumb Stud, Clip, Seatbelt Cutter & Glass Breaker 4.5 $$
OutNowTech VANTAGE Multi-Purpose Folding Pocket Knife
OutNowTech Vantage Multi-Purpose knifeCheck Today’s Price
Magnesium Fire Starter, Belt Cutter & LED Light 4.2 $$
SE KHK6320 Outdoor Tanto Knife with Fire Starter
Outdoor Tanto knife 2Check Today’s Price
Magnesium-alloy fire starter (with lanyard), 4.1 $
Survivor HK-106280 Fixed Blade Outdoor Knife, Tanto Blade
Survivor HK-106280 Fixed Blade Outdoor KnifeCheck Today’s Price
Magnesium alloy fire starter, nylon cord (it’s not paracord) 4.1 $
OUTXPRO 6 in 1 Multi Rescue Survival Knife
OUTXPRO 6 in 1 Multi toolCheck Today’s Price
LED Light, Seat Belt Cutter, Glass Breaker, Magnesium Fire Starter, Bottle Opener, Saw Blade 4.0 $$
Rogue River Tactical 6-in-1 Multitool Knife
Rogue River Tactical 6-in1 Multi toolCheck Today’s Price
Flint Fire Starter, LED FlashLight, Bottle Opener, Belt Cutter and Windows Breaker Black 4.0 $

Multi Functional Survival knives


Multi-Functional – Best quality


CDS-Survival MOVA-58 Stainless Steel Survival knife

Features a sheath, Sharpening Stone & Firesteel.  Check price.


CDS Survival 2 CDS Survival in action CDS Survival



Mid-priced, multi-functional


BlizeTec Survival Knife: Best 5-in-1 Tactical Pocket Folding Knife

Features LED Light, Seatbelt Cutter, Glass Breaker & Magnesium Fire Starter.  Really great value.


BlizeTec 5 in 1 show what knife does BlizeTec 5 in 1 Blizetec fires starter BlizeTec in Box

BlizeTec Survival Fixed Blade Knife: 3-in-1 Full Tang Hunting Knife

Features Magnesium Fire Starter, LED Flashlight & Belt Pouch

The BIG advantage this has is that it’s a fixed blade, full tang knife.  It doesn’t have as many features of the others but is around the same price.


Blizetec Fixed knife

OUTXPRO 6 in 1 Multi Rescue Survival Knife

Features LED Light, Seat Belt Cutter, Glass Breaker, Magnesium Fire Starter, Bottle Opener, Saw Blade all at a great price.

OUTXPRO 6 in 1 Multi tool

BlizeTec Pocket Folding Knife: 5-in-1 Survival knife

Features Liner Lock, Thumb Stud, Clip, Seatbelt Cutter & Glass Breaker.  Very good value multi tool knife



BlizeTec Pocket Folding Knife all features BlizeTec Pocket Folding Knife



 OutNowTech VANTAGE Multi-Purpose Folding Pocket Knife

Features Magnesium Fire Starter, Belt Cutter & LED Light.  I don’t rate this as highly as the knives above but it is a bit cheaper.

OutNowTech Vantage Multi-Purpose knife



Multi-functional – inexpensive

Rogue River Tactical 6-in-1 Multitool Knife

Features Flint Fire Starter, LED FlashLight, Bottle Opener, Belt Cutter and Windows Breaker Black.  It’s really cheap but you get what you pay for.


Rogue River Tactical 6-in1 Multi tool

SE KHK6320 Outdoor Tanto Knife with Fire Starter

If you’re looking for a full tang super cheap knife, this is a great option.  Under $10, doesn’t come sharp but for what you pay it is good value.

Outdoor Tanto knife 2 Outdoor Tanto knife sheath Outdoor Tanto knife




Non multi-functional Survival knives


Best quality


Cold Steel Natchez Bowie 01 Steel Knife

This knife is pretty much indestructible and is my favorite fixed blade knife.  It is high priced though.

Natchez Bowie

Ontario 8628 RTAK II Knife (Green)

You can trust your life to this knife.  Check price.

Ontario 8628 RTAK


Non multi-functional, Mid Priced Survival knives


Timber Rattler Western Outlaw Bowie Knife

11 3/8″ razor sharp stainless steel blade for under $30. This is the best value bowie knife on the market.  Absolutely sensational value.

Timber Rattler

Gerber Winchester Large Bowie Knife

I think my bias for bowie knives is coming through…  This model is a classic, old fassion version.  Under $30.



Ontario Spec Plus Marine Raider Bowie

This knife is designed to exceed military standards.  Full tang, quarter-inch thick 1095 high carbon steel blade that has a coated with anti-corrosion powder.  It is a bit more expensive though.


Ontario Spec Plus Marine Raider Bowie





Jungle Master JM-001L Fixed Blade Hunting Knife

Features – Straight Edge Blade, Rubberized Handle,12-Inch Overall.  For under $15 you can’t exactly expect great quality, but for the price you pay it’s good.


Jungle Master


Ace Martial Arts Fixed Blade Tactical Combat Knife 13-Inch Overall

It looks great, is razor sharp and very cheap.

Ace Martial Arts HK-1036



Condor Kephart Survival Knife Review

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The Kephart is another quality, budget offering from Condor.  It’s based on the original design from Horace Kephart, who was an avid woodsman and author for the early days of Field and Stream magazine, as well as several books shown here. Specs and Review Link Blade Length: 4 1/2″ Blade Thickness: 1/8″ Overall Length: 9″ Blade […]

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10 Bug Out Bag Essentials

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bug_out_essentials_stuffCall this back to basics, or getting started from the get-go, but there are as many varieties of opinions on bug out bag contents as cats have lives.  And then some.  Then there are the definitions of exactly what constitutes a bug out bag, but no two preppers or survivalists bags are the same much less their contents. So, up front, let’s politely agree to disagree if this suggested list varies from yours.  After all, my bug out bag is not your bug out bag.  Your circumstances are not the same as mine. 

By Dr. John J. Woods, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

You may live in a congested mega-city.  Others live in rural areas or in the suburbs.  All of these conditions allow for differences in what we put in a bag to grab on the way out of the house, office, or vehicle.

Bag for Bugging Out or a Body Bag?

My idea of a Bug Out Bag is a single source medium sized bag with the bare minimum of supplies to last 24-48 hours with some potential stretch.  This bag was created to last long enough to get out of Dodge to an alternative secure location or to a pre-determined supply cache or a more permanent pre-supplied bug out location.

Related: More Tips for your Bug Out Bag 

This Bug Out Bag is not intended to be a long-term supply resource.  It will not weigh a hundred pounds or contain long range subsistence or gear for a camp out in the wilderness.  Your bag may be designed for other types of missions or alternative plans.  That is fine.

Bug Out Bag Priorities

handgun_bug_outThis is where the fight of opinions usually starts.  What to pack first and what items are most likely to be needed initially with other bag items being needed or available as the bug out ensues.  It is easy to argue that the choice of any self-protection defensive weapon, most likely a handgun and ammo should be readily available for access or as appropriate worn in a weapon ready condition.   Let’s accept this as the first item in a bug out bag.  

Sure, when you grab your bag to jump in your escape vehicle or head down a long flight of stairs to evacuate a work site or other location, you may be darn thirsty or maybe even needing a boost of energy from a bar, but first, you’re going to want to secure your mode of personal protection.  From there the other items in the bag don’t matter in terms of priorities until they are needed.  So, grab a drink, but go slow on it.  Some of the items in your BOB you may not end up using at all, but it is nice to have them along just in case.  

Read Also: Knee Deep in Bug Out Vehicles

So, here are the ten items of basic need or utility I place in a BOB.  Other than the pistol, no particular order of priority.  Also, note, there is no suggestion of which specific item or brand to get or have, just the categories are listed here.  You figure out what you want on your own.  

The Other Nine Essentials

Meds or OTC.  If you have to have certain medications to live, then you best have them.  This goes for diabetic supplies, heart meds, or any other life essential medicines.  Support that with over the counter pain medications, antacids, antiseptics, etc.   You can keep these in the original bottles or boxes, or get a little personal med kit to store them.  Just organize them so you can find what you need quickly.  This could include a small, basic first aid kit, too.  

Water.  Have several bottles of water or a canteen.  Have more in your vehicle, but always carry some along.  Make the judgement on how much to carry balancing weight and volume in the bag with your hydration habits.  

Food Items.  Pack energy bars, not candy bars.  These should provide carbs, but some real nutrients as well.  Small bags of nuts, trail mix or other snacks that are not junk food.  Check the contents and calories ahead of time so you know how much to take along.  Again, you can store additional food in your vehicle, assuming you get to it.  

knife_handgun_bug_outKnife.  Have some sort of cutting instrument.  You choose, but be practical.  Remember, reliability and function are absolutely crucial. You may not need that huge Bowie knife on a bug out.  A good, solid, sharp folding knife that locks for safety works.  Multiple blades are great, but not the 87-blade-tool version.  I could be talked into a multi-tool that has a good cutting blade.  

Flashlight.  Gotta have one or two.  Pick a light that is super durable, extra bright, uses standard batteries, and has shock resistance in case you drop it, which is likely.  Some like to add a red or green lens cover for clandestine hiding or in vehicle use at night to reduce drawing attention to your location.  

Cell Phone/communications or News Radio.  A way to call or get calls is important, so long as the towers function.  Add to that a good basic emergency radio even a hand crank variety.  You need to get news and government broadcasts if there are any.  Ironically, even being able to get a music channel can add some comfort factor during a stressful situation.  

Firestarter.  If your travel plans get waylaid for any multitude of reasons, you may have to stop over and spend the night somewhere.  A fire can be a great comfort and under some conditions a lifesaver.  So, have a selection of ways to ignite a fire from simple matches, butane lighter, or a strike stick.  Pack a tiny bag of wax soaked cotton balls, too.  

bug_out_clothingSeasonal Clothing.  Pack a jacket, preferably a rain jacket that doubles with some insulation with a hood.  Depending on the season, add items like a warm hat and gloves, or a lightweight shirt, jeans or shorts, hiking shoes-boots and socks.  Of course, pack according to your environment. If you are in more northern environments, be sure to have warmer clothing. Additionally, more clothes should be kept in your vehicle.  

Cover Tarp and Cord.  Finally, if you have to camp out, have a temp-tarp.  Staying in the vehicle may or may not be comfortable.  A good cover will give you extra options.  

There, that’s one BOB equipped and ready to run.  Is it perfect?  Hardly.  Some can do with less, others will admittedly want to add more.  That is why we are all individuals.  Regardless, have one, supplied, packed, and ready to grab.  

Photos Courtesy of:

Dr. John Woods

Fallkniven A1 Review

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Today, I’m going to be reviewing the Fallkniven A1. I don’t normally review stainless steel fixed blade knives, because I was a die-hard high carbon steel guy. Don’t get me wrong – I still love high carbon steel, but this knife is a wonderfully crafted and insanely strong cutting tool that would be right at home […]

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Ontario RAT 5 Review

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Quick Company History The Ontario Knife Company was formed by three gentleman in Ontario County, New York in 1889. Their early production knives were manufactured with a water-run grindstone, loaded up in a pushcart and sold throughout the neighboring countryside. In 1902, the company moved to it’s current location in Franklinville. The company went through […]

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TOPS Dragonfly 4.5 Review

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Quick Company History TOPS Knives was founded in 1998. They set out with a mission to create the highest quality knives around. They classify their knives as “tools designed and built using the extensive knowledge and real life experiences of many Operators with backgrounds in Military, Law Enforcement, outdoor professions, and Martial Arts”. They have […]

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TOPS BOB Fieldcraft Review

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Quick Company History TOPS Knives was founded in 1998. They set out with a mission to create the highest-quality knives around. They classify their knives as “tools designed and built using the extensive knowledge and real life experiences of many Operators with backgrounds in Military, Law Enforcement, outdoor professions, and Martial Arts”. They have worked […]

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Schrade SCHF51 Review

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I have to start out by saying, that I really respect Taylor Brands – the current owner of Schrade knives. Since their acquisition of the company, they’re really listening to the consumer and they’re constantly improving design. What’s more impressive, is the fact that they’re keeping the price LOW! The new 2016 line could be the […]

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Mora Bushcraft Black Review

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Mora’s are definitely one of the most popular knives in the bushcraft and survival scene – and for good reason. The most important reason, for anyone, is the cost. Every model that they offer is super affordable. They’re also insanely tough, even though they’re not a full tang knife. They even feature some of the […]

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Becker BK2 Review: The Best Survival Knife?

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Since I’ve been on such a knife kick lately, I thought I’d write up a Becker BK2 review. Ethan Becker is an avid outdoorsman and the man behind this popular design. The Becker line is also manufactured right here in the USA by Ka-Bar, which is an iconic and reputable company. The BK2 is claimed by many to […]

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The Fallkniven Professional Hunting Knife: When Quality Really Matters

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fallkniven_phk_professional_hunting_knife_closeAs knife designs evolve they have to overcome the traditions and stereotypes of the past. In an effort to drive knife sales, manufacturers have produced more versatile, creatively inspired blades. While this has yielded a multitude of blades, some manufacturers have missed the mark entirely with poorly designed, gimmicky knives. Others, like Fällkniven, produce modern blades that are just as useful as traditional blades. In 1984, Fällkniven opened its doors to the world and pushed blade technology to new limits. 

By Doc Montana, a Contributing Author of Survival Cache and SHTFBlog

There seems to be very few constants in knife making these days. I can think of two constants: human strength and cutting capacity. The ideal blade isn’t too dull, flexible, or blunt. If you will, the ideal blade is a ‘Goldilocks Blade’. Beyond that, there are few rules. With this being said, there are many traditions and these must be properly navigated in order to innovate.

The Hunted

fallkniven_phk_professional_hunting_knife_blade_profileSince the mid-1980s the Fällkniven Knife Company has served the needs of those who might find themselves floating to earth under a parachute, or working their way back home after a crash landing. The Fällkniven F1, also known as the Swedish Pilots Knife, is a small package of cutting dynamite. With the F1, hunting is on the menu, but the menu is quite large with many vegetarian options. I carried the F1 in my hunting kit, but often found myself looking around for something better when it came to hunting tasks and game processing. Fällkniven, in usual fashion, answered the call.

Read Also: Survival Gear Review: Fällkniven A1 Pro

The Fällkniven Professional Hunting Knife, or PHK, is a gorgeous upswept-point blade of mildly larger proportions than dusty traditions would specify. Frankly, the moment I saw the design of this blade, I knew it would be good. There was just something so right about it. It carried forward the belly of a skinner with the rigidity of a wilderness blade while offering the user more control. The Fällkniven Professional Hunting Knife has an upsweep-drop point which seems like it could be an oxymoron, but in fact it’s the best of both worlds. Perhaps it is the best of all worlds.

The potentially contradictory blade shape of upswept-drop point is an irony of iron that really works. Traditionally upswept designs are elegant but small slicers are arguably more effective. When the blade exceeds the distance between palm and index finger, the whole hand must move beyond the grip. This motion compromises safety and is simply inefficient. It’s a dangerous move that requires practice especially when done quickly or blindly. On traditional larger drop point blades, the tip of the blade rides below the index fingernail meaning it’s easier to poke a hole into the skin or membrane during a slice. The pros can drag the tip precisely like a surgeon’s scalpel, but anything done in the field or elements is risky. And the more blood and sweat in the mix, the more likely the game won’t be the only one skinned. However, on the Fällkniven Professional Hunting Knife the upswept drop point allows fairly precise driving even from the back seat. The thick spine provides firm control and the added length in front of the fingertip is user friendly.

Iron Maiden

The iron coursing through the veins of the Fällkniven Professional Hunting Knife blade is a 3G laminated steel scoring a 62 on the Rockwell hardness scale (HRC). The tang is a broad protruding one that, like Fällkniven’s survival blades, pops out the back of the grip completing the solidity of this package. A single grommeted hole graces the far end of the kraton grip allowing a lanyard to be attached.

Related: Fallkniven A1 Survival Knife

fallkniven_phk_professional_hunting_knife_archeryBut with change comes controversy. If mildly noticeable deviations from the blade norm raise eyebrows, then drawing your PHK from the sheath will leave mouths agape. Without knowing it, most survivalist and hunters are carrying on a tradition that began long ago. The camo-clad crowd spouts “two is one, and one is none.” Big blades and little blades have been complementing each other for millennia. Big jobs are for the big knife and small jobs are for the small knife. A further refinement of this concept did develop further prejudice and that is with the sacrificial blade and the primary blade, or the Pawn and the King, if you will. In hunting circles, there is the hunting knife that is cared for, babied, and often rides safe and warm in the hunting pack instead of on the belt. Then, there is the working knife that does all the daily maintenance and dirty jobs far below the noble duties of the king. I admit that I practice this bit of favoritism, but in terms of survival, the OO knife (double-oh knife), or Only One knife concept is very real when the hunting gear must be high speed, low drag.

Traditions Change

I think hunting knives began to evolve when hunting moved from an out-the-backdoor activity to a pseudo-military expedition into the untamed wilderness. There’s not a lot of hardware to carry when popping a Bambi off the back porch. You gut the beast right there donating the innards to the predators that keep the place clean and tidy. Afterwards, you drag the carcass back home and string it up on a tree to cool. When ready, you head to your  kitchen for some meat and bone-specific cutlery. 

All is fine and dandy until you are miles into the woods and your quarry might not go down willingly like the whitetail snacking on your hedges. Enter the big hunting knife. When money and carry-weight is tight, items seem to gain more uses. Military knives moved from BDU belt accessory to top-tier hunting wardrobe. The knife needed to run triple-duty as a camp knife for those lifetime adventures in the national parks, off-grid hunting expeditions, and self-defense.

Like all evolutionary change, as one critter specializes, another pops up to capitalize on the available niche. So as the hip-hugging hunting knife moved away from the detailed work and more towards bigger cruder jobs, little knives moved in like tiny mammals taking over the mini-landscape left behind as the dinosaurs grew bigger. Then, when the mighty asteroid dirtied up the place 65 million years ago, the little furry warmbloods made their move. And here we are, more or less.

fallkniven_phk_professional_hunting_knife_gutting-birdSpecialized knives started to weigh down the hunter who might actually carry a combat blade for general outdoor use, a razor-sharp cutting knife, a skinning knife, a bone saw, and perhaps even a hunting hatchet to split open those pesky big game rib cages and detach bony limbs. What drove this equipment frenzy was the search for exactly the right tool for the job, and not the best tool for many jobs. While at home, you can have all the specialized tools and blades you want. Carrying them on your back and belt is a different story. Especially when you know you will need to use the knife for many other non-hunting chores and rarely for the chore it was designed for.

Small is Big

In a strange twist on a perpetual theme, there was a movement that started out with good intentions but ended up causing a mess. That movement was fueled by the belief that the better a hunter you were, the smaller the knife you needed. This was the opposite of the Bowie and Tennessee Toothpick persona. Imagine Rambo whipping out his Spyderco Ladybug. Maybe let’s not. The issue rose to epic proportions when a hunting knife could be mistaken for a scalpel complete. Of course, another knife was needed for regular camp tasks, and an even larger blade was carried for the traditional forest duties. So add to the growing pile of knives the sharpening tools and extra blades necessary to keep the knives in the fight.

Further Reading: Three Excellent Survival Knives for Under $100

But the same evolutionary rules that lead to the population explosion of knives can also lead to extinction. Blades were staying home and hunters were squeezing more performance and specialized jobs out of knives obviously not designed for such work. As the proverbial pendulum began a healthy swing back towards center, so started another renaissance of sorts with hunting knives. The short ones got a little longer, thin ones got a little thicker, the pointy ones got a little more dropped, and knives of all kinds implemented the full belly of the skinner.

fallkniven_phk_professional_hunting_knife_carvingTaking advantage of this enlightenment in hunting knives was none other than Fällkniven. By creating an obviously unique take on the philosophical concept of a hunting knife, the Fällkniven PHK has hints of many different blades from Samurai Sword, to Tanto fighting knife, to skinning blade, to wilderness knife, to survival blade. In fact, the PHK is like a piece of contemporary art that assumes the preferences of the viewer as much as standing on its own. In other words, the PHK does it all, and most things well. At five millimeters thick, the PHK blade shares a level of strength uncommon to traditional hunting knives. And its blade length exceeds the hunting industry standard by about an inch. Further, the attention Fällkniven gave to hygiene is something more in line with the butcher shop than the killing field. The stainless steel and kraton grip clean up nicely and provide few homes for bacteria.

In general, the PHK guts like a gutter, skins like a skinner, chops like a chopper and slices like a slicer. It does none of these things quite as good as a blade specifically designed and dedicated to such tasks, but the PHK is well within the margin of error for modern task-specific cutlery. Adding to this list, the Fällkniven PHK also worked great as a minor clever as it crunched through upland game bird wings and legs with skill and finesse. The full belly rolls smoothly through all things aviary, and breaks the bones of any fish you can lift. But big game is another story. Processing hundreds of pounds of animal requires some seriously edged firepower so pushing eight inches of blade length around a carcass is a task well within the Fällkniven Professional Hunting Knife skill set.

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Some Top Survival Uses for a Multi-Tool

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Not all multi-tools are made the same. This would be obvious if you were to conduct a comparison and put several tools through their paces.

Leatherman® probably comes to mind when talking about multi-tools, and that’s because they are the innovators when it comes to multi-tools. Leatherman now has what they call the Leatherman OHT®, “one-hand-operable multi-tool”.

We are not reviewing any particular multi-tool here, nor do we have this particular model, nor are we endorsing any specific model or manufacturer, that’s up to you to decide which one you buy. We mention it simply because the Leatherman OHT can be used one-handed. If one of your hands is injured or otherwise occupied and you need access to a knife blade, pliers, strap cutter or saw then a one-handed operational tool could be a lifesaver.

The blades can be opened one handed, and the pliers are spring loaded so they are easily used one handed as well, just something to think about when choosing. Regardless of model or manufacturer, make sure your multi-tool is a quality one because the “cheap ones” are cheap in quality and performance. In a survival situation, you don’t want to leave anything to chance.

There are tools and blades for every occasion. Any multi-tool out there comes with a pair of pliers and usually wire cutters built in. The cheap tools will cut thin wire but heavy gauge wire is not getting cut and when you feel the pliers springing back when cutting wire you know your tool is not up to the job.

You need pliers. Pliers can help fashion fishhooks out of metal or wire, help break down, adjust and help field clean your firearm and they can be used to pull hot cooking utensils from the fire as well. The uses are endless and you don’t know you need a set until you really need a set of pliers. Think survival fishing and imagine the number of tasks a set of good pliers could perform.

Small pliers are ideal when you are using a heavy needle and thread. Use the pliers to push and then pull the needle through heavy canvas, nylon webbing or when repairing tent seams and sewing leather.

You can get needle nose or regular pliers, so decide which one would be more valuable to you. Is your multi-tool going to help you with your job, or used for small tasks around the house and of course a multi-tool is invaluable in a survival situation?

Wire cutters, of course, cut wire and can be used to snip small rubber tubing and in some cases crimp wire or electrical connections. Wire cutters are self-explanatory and most tools will have cutters, but you want to make sure they are quality. You may need to cut snare wire, wire for makeshift camp alarms systems or for cutting wiring out of your disabled vehicle, wiring that has multiple survival uses by the way.

There are normal and hard wire cutters available, and some models allow you to replace and exchange the blades as needed.

Knife blade, of course, you need a sharp blade for any number of tasks, and again most tools would have a blade for cutting rope, rubber hoses and so on. A small blade is ideal for carving fishhooks out of wood or even bone in some cases, and they come in handy when repairing clothing or gear with needle and thread.

Can opener/bottle opener. This is where quality counts because the cheap bottle openers do not work and the can opening blade can fail halfway around the can rim. The can opener on a multi-tool uses the same concept as a military issued P-38 or P-51 can opener. The P-38 typically came with cases of C-Rations. Never leave home without one.

Saw blade, used to cut plastic tubing such as PVC, shape wood and in some cases cut metal if the multi-tool has a metal cutting edge, you have to look for this type of saw blade specifically if you want to cut metal. The saw blade is different from a serrated blade which some knives have. A serrated blade is ideal for working through heavy cordage, vines and for heavy nylon or canvas webbing, and for seat belts.

Options you may want to look for include an oxygen tank wrench blade and strap cutter. In an emergency, you may have to administer oxygen to yourself or others. You need a wrench that fits the tank’s valve to turn the oxygen on. You can use pliers but they can be awkward, and you stand a chance of ruining the valve using pliers.

A strap cutter can be used to slice through heavy webbing, leather, and canvas and for cutting packaging straps off boxes and crates.

Phillips and flat head screwdrivers, again these tools are self-explanatory. In some cases, you can use a dime for flat-headed screws but it is very hard to find an alternative for removing or screwing in a Phillips head screw.

Some tools do come with a threaded port that fits a small-bore brush for your firearm. There are multi-tools designed especially for firearms, which have many or the tools needed for sight adjustment, removing scopes, and other accessories from the mounting rail. You might want to consider having a standard multi-tool and one for firearms in some cases.

Shop around and compare options and purchase based on your lifestyle, job, or personal preference, but always keep survival in mind, because you may just get to use your multi-tool in a survival situation and you want one up to the task.

The post Some Top Survival Uses for a Multi-Tool appeared first on Preparing for shtf.

Survival Gear Review: The Mora Camp Axe

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Mora knives are the paracord of survival blades. Their utility is unquestioned, but not so much is their reliability as a true survival mora_axe_riverinstrument. Having a partial tang, thin blade, plastic sheath, and average steel, the Mora Knife is more of an inexpensive convenience, but by no means the last word in survival blades.  However, the Mora Knife is just the beginning of the Morakniv tool offerings to those with a survival bend. Among other things, Morakniv carries axes.  One particular axe caught my eye for review, the compact Mora Camp Axe.

By Doc Montana, a Contributing Author of Survival Cache and SHTFBlog

The Morakniv company began its journey in Mora, Sweden in 1891, with knives being little more than a product diversification to their lineup of timber sleds. That’s almost a century-long head start in front of Fallkniven, another well known Swedish blade maker. After 125 years of changing names and products, the formal company of Morakniv was born on January 1, 2016. No more timber sleds, no more ice drills, just knives, hatchets, and a few other things.

Small Bites

Speaking of Mora Hatchets, I thought it a good time to take one for a SurvivalCache spin. The Mora Camp Axe has much of the flavor of the famous Mora Knife with a plastic handle, thin blade, and utilitarian steel. One of the packaging options is a combination box that includes both the axe and a matching Mora knife.

Also Read: Why the Tomahawk?

The hatchet-sized axe is 12.5 inches long with a 3.5 inch blade face. The quarter-inch flat steel axe head does some things well, while others not so much.  Lacking the wedge head of classic hatchets, wood is only mechanically forced a sixteenth of an inch in either direction off center. This makes for better slicing. The remedy is to vary the pitch of the blade during strikes.

Featherweight Fighter

Another variable here is that this hatchet weighs in its entirety just an ounce over one pound. That certainly makes for easy carry, but also severely limits its multiplied force as a tool. So of course, there are tradeoffs. For smaller camp and survival chores, the Mora Camp Axe is a fine little worker.

The plastic handle of the Mora Camp Axe is described as “reinforced” but I have no idea what that really means in this case. mora_orange_hatchet_and_knifeModern reinforced plastics are polymers with low modulus strands and high grade plastics. At the moment, I will just have to take Mora’s word since the handle of the Mora Camp Axe feels and looks like basic plastic to me. When I hold the handle up to a bright light, I cannot see any enlargement of the metal head within the plastic so the plastic’s grip on the head as is is all she wrote. However, I do see a couple quarter-inch holes in the metal where light gets through, along with a half-inch notch at the top. I assume that these holes and the notch are filled with plastic infill securing the head to the handle.The hatchet head is painted with a black epoxy that protects the steel from rust. It seems fairly durable, but you will need to touch up the exposed steel blade.

Related: Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe

The steel is listed as a boron steel which I find unusual for a common camp hatchet. Boron steels are special purpose steels found mostly in automotive applications. This steel can be incredibly strong, but also quite susceptible to heat tempering. Mora seems to have done this boron steel well since it remained quite sharp even after repeated chopping events. The poll or back end of the axe head is a quarter-inch by two-and-a-half-inch rectangle; hardly enough to do much work. This is worth consideration since the Mora Camp Axe costs about twice that of the $25 Fiskers X7 hatchet.

Test Driving

Two of my many field trips with the Mora Camp Axe were eventful. One was an outing with some high school boys, one of whom was infatuated with hatchets. When a ten-inch thick tree crossed our path, he was initially happy to clear the trail. What would have been a two-minute job with a full sized forest axe (something in in the 20-inch handle range and a two pound head) took more than 10 minutes with the Mora Camp Axe. And as fatigue set in, the number of misstrikes increased to the point I had to intervene on his technique for safety reasons.

Related: Good, Cheap Knives

Another trip had the Mora Camp Axe tucked into my belt while fly fishing. A small creek I like to wander up has some great little holes with cutthroat and brook trout. High winds in the area had created plenty of trees we call “widowmakers.” They are the dead or dying trees that lean at obscene angles just waiting for an unsuspecting hunter, hiker or fisherman to pause under it, then crash. Wind, rain, and time will bring down the tree. So, when a leaner was shading a fine looking Brook Trout hole, I decided to assist the tree in its suicide. Slipping the Mora Camp Axe from my belt, I surveyed the hazards of felling this tree and went to work.

With a larger axe, the job would have been much faster, so with the tiny bites the Mora Camp Axe took out of the tree’s base, I could sense the will of the tree giving in as it lost circumference. So much so that I was able to step away and film the trees last moments.  Here it is on my first of many Youtube videos for Survival Cache and SHTFBlog.

The Final Chop

The Mora Camp Axe has a place in the survival pack primarily in that it can be in a kit that would normally exclude a larger, heavier hatchet. The simplicity of this tool is that it takes up little space and never complains. It chops wood better than a knife, and does lighter blade work duties much better than a larger axe. Another area where the Mora Camp Axe excels is with smaller hands helping out. Larger tools take larger muscle and larger hands to work with them safely. So smaller tools can shave weight, open opportunities, and be darn handy around camp.

All Photos Courtesy of:
Doc Montana

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Good, Cheap Knives

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The prepper survivalist can never really have too many knives. And of course, there are more knives to be knives_cheap_good_average_bargainhad than the Clinton Foundation has mysterious dollars in their bank account. By the way, just curious, but where exactly is that bank account? But, then again, your everyday bug in or out blades do not have to bear such names as Loveless, Randall, Dozier, Morseth, Randy Lee or so many other well recognized blade masters with retail pricing to match, not to mention waiting times for their products. Average, good knives can serve you well.

By Dr. John J. Woods, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

Nope, us everyday folks can obtain and use a slew of good quality, multi-purpose blades and tools at the fraction of the cost of a custom fabricated knife from a named maker.  Right now I bet you can search your kitchen drawers, workbench, tool bags, and cases and probably find a dozen decent knives that will serve you well and do all the cutting jobs you need done.

A Blade Goldmine

So, to prove it, I did just that. I started opening drawers around my man cave, plastic storage boxes, and other hidey places just to see what would turn up. Like most preppers, I tend to horde and, from time to time, I have to do a reassessment inventory just to see what I have picked up since the last accounting.

Related: Three Excellent Survival Knives For Under $100

And, yo ho, what a treasure trove.  Category wise I found pocket knives, hunting blades, multi-tools with cutting blades, a box cutter, an electricians blade, a kitchen paring knife, a cook prep/garden harvesting knife and a handmade knife I got on a fishing trip to Homer, Alaska.

These few do not even scratch the surface of my odd collection of blades. Any and all of these suit me fine as a prepper. You just have to dig around to see what you have on hand now, then fill in the gaps if something in particular is really needed for specific projects or jobs.

Blade Investments

As I hinted early on you don’t really need a $500+ Randall knife to do the majority of prepper work. If you have one or want one, fine, but all it will give you is an elitist edge, which doesn’t really cut cheese. That pun was not intended, but it did work out well.

Common propriety brand knives work well, too, but shop around and make sure they are not the low end, foreign made junk. That stuff is creeping into what was once fine lines of knives, so be careful. Blade brands like Remington, Browning, Kershaw, Ruger, Schrade, Gerber and many others are still selling some decent knives even though they may be made in China. Not everything from China is junk. Remember what Japanese-made used to mean?good_cheap_knife_budget_prepper

All of the blades shown in the accompanying photos cost under $100, most of them well under $50. The most expensive was probably the IISAKKI Puukko knife I bought at a hunting and fishing shop off the main square in Helsinki, Finland years ago on a moose hunt with Sako firearms. The Puukko is a classic Scandinavian blade of high quality, and fine workmanship. That company has been making such knives since 1879.

Also Read: Cold Steel Pocket Bushman Knife Review

The common tools like a box cutter, a very useful and necessary cutting implement, can be bought at any hardware or building supply store for under $10. Buy several of the disposable ones for just a couple bucks apiece. These blades are razor sharp so don’t take them for granted.  Same can be said of the electrician’s blade used to trim insulation off wiring. I talked an electrician out of that one at a trade show job fair. It has turned out to be a very handy little knife for many jobs around the house and campsite.

Other Blade Applications

Again, this is just a sampling but a good cross section of what every prepper ought to consider having in their Bug Out Bag, EDC, SHTF tool box, house, camp or escape hideout.  A multi-tool like this little Gerber is a must.  This one was on sale for $25 at a big box store during hunting season.  It has a couple cutting blades, small tools like screwdrivers, and when folded out, it is a set of pliers.  I use these all the time for a variety of jobs.  Preppers should have several of these in different sizes, and one to carry on their belt at bug out camp.

See Also: DMT Diamond Sharpener Review

The pocket knives are just that.  They are useful for cutting nearly anything from gutting small game, to cutting rope, twine, string, tape, rubber tubing, gasket material, you name it.  I suppose a good pocketknife is just about the quintessential cutting tool that every prepper must own.  In fact, it’s a good idea to own several of different sizes with different blade configurations, shapes, and locking mechanisms. Small ones can easily be carried.  After all, one should always be at hand.

The hunting-camp curved skinning blade by garage knife maker Maynard Linder of Homer, Alaska is a multi-use caribou_knife_good_cheap_budget_toolblade.  I went to Linder’s house years ago to watch him make knives with his trademark native Alaskan animal bone handles, mostly Caribou but other types as well.  He makes all types of hunting, camp, cooking, kitchen and utility knives.  They are reasonable in price, durable, and well made.  His wife made the leather sheaths.  The whole point here is that there are a lot of good, decent quality knives out there for a wide spectrum of uses for preppers, and survivalists. Whether it is for food foraging, repair work, building projects, general cutting and trimming, food preparation, or whatever, you need to assemble a good selection of knives for multi-tasking around your bug in residence, a bug out tent camp, or an SHTF escape domicile. There are plenty of good, cheaper blades available that do not have to slice up your prepper budget. Take care of them and they will take care of you for a long, long, time.

All Photos Courtesy of Dr. John J Woods

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Survival Gear Review: DMT Diamond Sharpener

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A person is only as good as the tools they use and the tools they use are only good if you take care of them.  My dad Best Knife Sharpenersaid this a lot to me when I was growing, especially if he caught me not properly taking care of a tool. The circle has come around as I now find myself saying this to my kids.  In the case of knives, taking care of them means keeping them sharp and ready to do work at a moments notice.  I found the DMT Diamond Sharpener to be up to the task of keeping almost any knife ready for the fight.

By Tinderwolf, a contributing author of Survival Cache & SHTFBlog

My Experience

Hands down, the most important tool that I have on my person at all times is a knife. I like to keep my knives as best knife sharpenersharp as possible at all times. There are two reasons why you want a sharp knife. Reason number one, a sharp knife cuts better, a no brainer I know.  Reason number two, a sharp knife lowers the chance of a person hurting themselves.  This might seem backwards but just think about it for a minute. A sharp knife cuts items easily and smoothly.  A knife that is dull takes more work for you to cut the same item which means you are pressing harder and are more likely to lose control of the blade. I have experienced this many times in my life and have the scars to prove I know what I’m talking about.

Also Read: Primal Gear Unlimited Bow

Recently I came across the DMT Diamond Sharpener.  It has a very unique design that I wasn’t sure if I was going to like.  The shape of it, is rectangular but the sharpener sits in between two pieces of plastic that act as a cover.  On one end the two pieces of plastic are secured to the sharpening stone by two rivets.  When you want to use the sharpener the plastic folds out to one end of the sharpener, just like a butterfly knife, and they become the handle. I was afraid this was going to be flimsy but so far it has proven quite sturdy. Having extra length with the handle also helps in sharpening the blade at any particular angle that you want.


What is nice about this system is that you  are not stuck with just two levels of coarseness as there are four different Best way to sharpen a knifesharpeners that you can purchase giving you a total of eight different levels for sharpening.  There are four different configurations that the sharpener comes in that you can purchase for your two sharpening sides. They are, Coarse/extra coarse, extra extra fine/extra fine, fine/coarse and fine/extra fine. There are two different sides to the sharpener which allows you to have two different levels of sharpening for your blade.

Also Read: Food Storage With Food Saver

Given its compact size the DMT Sharpener tucks away nicely in my front shirt pocket just behind the notebook I always carry. The instructions on the box inform you that you can use the sharpening block either dry or wet by simply using water. I have been using it dry to sharpen my knife and I clean the block afterwards with plain water and a paper towel. The company also says that there is an initial break in period for the sharpener though they don’t say exactly what that entails other than the surface of the sharpener may seem rough until used for a period of time.

Also Read: Smith’s Pocket Pal Knife Sharpener

I have been using the DMT sharpener for about one month now and I would say that the surface of the sharpener smoothed out within about five uses. The most frustrating thing about sharpening knives is how many strokes it can take to get a good edge. Thus far in my experience it takes significantly less strokes on the DMT sharpener to obtain a good edge versus any other pocket sharpener I have used.


Due to its convenient size, affordability, ease of use, sharpening ability and ease of clean up, I would highly recommend the DMT sharpener to anyone who is serious about maintaining the edge on their knives.  Put this on your prepper check list next to your emergency food storage and bug out bag.  The DMT sharpener can be found on ranging in price from $26-35 depending the coarseness you choose.

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Survival Gear Review: Zero Tolerance 0770CF Knife

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Most who consider themselves prepared would rank the humble pocket knife as a survival essential of the highest Survival Knifedegree.  In fact, the sharp blade often exceeds even fire and water in immediate importance.  So having a sharp edge ready to go no matter the situation means carrying a quality blade with you 24/7 or at least whatever part of 24 fits your lifestyle.

By Doc Montana, a contributing author of Survival Cache and SHTFBlog 

Therefore the place to cut costs is certainly not with your EDC blade.  Everyday Carry is code for that which we have on us as much as possible. Not a tent or sheath knife, or even water bottle, EDC means right here, right now, and everything you have with you when you take off running.

A Lightweight Heavyweight

Zero Tolerance has generated a reputation on above average knives that not only vastly exceed traditional quality Best EDC Knifeand performance, but actually set the bar high for everyone else. In other words, unlike many other brands, Zero Tolerance, or ZT, starts at the high end of knives and goes up from there.  The problem, however, was pretty much the entire line of Zero Tolerance knives were huge and heavy, not to mention expensive. Now while ZT did address the huge and heavy with their 0770CF knife, they kept it expensive if you consider ~$200 for a factory folder.

Also Read: 6 Tools To Survive Anything

ZT began its journey back 2006 when, as they say, “We saw a place in the market for a Made-in-the-USA line of Best EDC Survival Knifehard-use knives that would meet the needs of professionals in the military and law enforcement, as well as other first responders, such as firefighters and emergency medical personnel.”  Considering themselves “Proudly Overbuilt,” I just had to see for myself with their lightest, smallest, thinnest offering.

Of the Zero Tolerance knife lineup, most of them overlapped what was already in my EDC stable. For a new ride to tickle my fancy, it must occupy a empty space in my knife quiver. The ZT I chose was a carbon fiber scaled assisted opening flipper with great steel and a most importantly a blade profile that I can really use for the ED part of EDC.

The USA, well Tualatin, Oregon to be specific is where ZT knives are born. American manufacturing by American workers is a significant selling point of ZT. For me, I have to wonder what is it with Oregon? Not only are there a couple dozen popular custom knife makers inside the Oregon borders, but also a company named Benchmade. Heard of them?

Although ZT traces its roots to its 2006 KAI Cutlery spinoff, many consider it a premium brand of Kershaw knives. But it’s more like the smarter better looking sister of Kershaw.  Kai USA Ltd. is the parent company and in turn the Kai Group is the grandparent. Regardless of the Japanese connection, Zero Tolerance claims all its knives are built in Tualatin, Oregon which happens to be the headquarters of Kershaw. So you can see how some confusion could arise.

Crash and Burn

The Zero Tolerance 0770CF is a super tough lightweight assisted flipper with ELMAX steel and carbon fiber scales. Zero Tolerance vs BenchmadeThe 0770CF is essentially the new and improved version of the short lived and ultimately doomed Zero Tolerance 0777 which was an amazing folder of mythical features. So much so that when the “Triple Seven”  went from computer screen to factory floor, there were just too many design obstacles and engineering overlaps to overcome. Hype turned to horror and the knife disappeared almost as fast as the Remington R51.  Or in Zero Tolerance parlance the 0777 was a “very limited-run.” And to further hide the past, ZT released the 0770CF with the added feature of being, “much more generally available.” Either way, the 0777 was a $475 unicorn, and the 0770CF is a glass of icewater in the face at less than half the price.

Phoenix This

The shape of the 3.25 inch blade on the 0770CF combines several useful design elements including a slightly full Survival Knifebelly, a gentle interpretation of a Wharncliffe tip, aggressive jimping for thumb purchase on the back spine, and an effective swedge riding the spine before expanding to full thickness just prior to tapering to the tip.

Related: Survival Knife vs. Hatchet

A Wharncliffe blade, as described in Wikipedia, is “similar in profile to a sheep’s foot but the curve of the back edge starts closer to the handle and is more gradual. Its blade is much thicker than a knife of comparable size.  Wharncliffes were used by sailors, as the shape of the tip prevented accidental penetration of the work or the user’s hand with the sudden motion of a ship.” I’ve also read that the Wharncliffe shape makes for better penetration into an opponent’s muscle behaving more like a can opener than a slicer. But the 0770CF, not quite so much. Instead the 0770CF blade profile scores high in daily slicing, but benefits from a precision tip while maintaining Wharncliffe strength.  The overall length of a deployed 0770CF is 7.5 inches, and when in the pocket, the handle alone takes up 4.3 inches of space. The thickness of the knife is a hair over 3/8ths of an inch, and the blade at its thickest is 1/8th inch thick.

Flipping Out

As with most flippers, the deployment lever of the Zero Tolerance 0770CF doubles as a finger guard which in my Zero Tolerance EDC Knifeopinion is over half the reason to carry a flipper. The SpeedSafe® assisted opening spring assist mechanism rockets out the blade with minimal effort, and the inset-liner lock snaps into place with a satisfying click. A added bonus with the 0770CF is that the assisted opening mechanism is completely isolated from the locking bar. Some assisted blade designs package the deployment and locking as one unit meaning that if the spring fails, so might the lockup. In the case of the 0770CF, complete failure of the spring assist would not render this useless as a locking knife. I do notice, however, that the longer the time between blade deployments, the more force needed on the flipper lever. Sometimes I am quite thankful for the heavy duty jimping on the lever as it digs into my index finger when trying to wake up the knife after a long sleep.

Related: Neck Knives For The Masses

The oversized and overbuilt pivot is the only obvious ornamentation on the naked carbon fiber scales. Three small  Good EDC Knife black screw heads grace each side of the scales on the in a row along the palm-side of the handle connecting the scales to a steel spacer that occupies the rear portion of the grip spine. The foremost portion of the grip spine is fully open completely free from obstructions making the removal of debris painless whether dried blood, bone fragments, or more likely pocket lint.

The deep carry pocket clip is reversible, but only in the tip-up (when folded) configuration.  Out of the box I found the pocket clip to be a little weak.  After removing it and rebending the clip to my specifications, I now find the clip worthy of the rest of the knife.  The blade is billboarded with the ZT logo on one side, and four lines of info on the other including a serial number.

Related: Fallkniven Jarl Knife Review

With a weight of three ounces soaking wet, the 0770CF fights much harder than it’s weight class. By using ELMAX Zero Tolerance Knife Thicknesssteel, Zero Tolerance provides an in-house super steel choice that claims the best of all options. In my experience, the edge retention is on par with Benchmades house iron 154CM.  The ELMAX seems not quite as durable as S30V steel but resharpens more easily.  But we are splitting hairs here.

The balance point of the 0770CF is just where it should be, right at the index finger point behind the guard.  Because the balance is where you hold the knife for precision work keeps the blade on task with little fight from gravity.  Heavier blades can drop or twist when lightening or adjusting your grip.

A Knife in the Hand

The Zero Tolerance 0770CF is decidedly angular with pool table-flat scales that turn corners just barely slower than Zero_Tolerance_0770CF_Benchmade_Volie_EDC_Knife90 degrees with one flat bevel splitting the difference between across and down. But that’s a good thing.  The platform that houses the blade leans more towards the carry side of the EDC equation.  The 0770CF disappears into your pocket barely printing even in dress pants.  Considering that nearly 100% of the knife’s service life will be awaiting orders while tucked discreetly along a pocket seam, it is easy to overlook the lack of ergonomic elements when drawing, deploying and dissecting with the blade.

Better Than Two in the Bush

Any EDC blade worth its salt is a knife you can count on for daily hard use, as well as being worthy as a survival tool. EDC is as entertainingly controversial as is the contents of one’s bug out bag.  Everyone has an opinion based on some fantasy of what will be needed when you really need something.  As card-carrying EDC aficionado, I have carried folding knives from the lightweight Fallkniven PC, to the heavyweight Benchmade Adamas 275. So for me, the Zero Tolerance 0770CF is truly a lightweight heavyweight.

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Survival Gear Review: Fällkniven A1 Pro

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Best Survival Knife

Being a restless survivalist, I find the endless pursuit of the best single knife to be both a noble Fallkniven_A1-Pro_survival knife_river-work_teotwawkione and and endless one.  Or so I thought.  The Fällkniven A1 Pro may have brought an end to my quest for the perfect survival knife, and become the life-long quest of other like minds.  Could the Fallkniven A1 Pro be the best survival knife?  The knife to end all survival knives?  Let’s consider it.

By Doc Montana, of Survival Cache and SHTFBlog 

Is the Fällkniven A1 Pro the Ultimate Survival Knife?

The Fällkniven knife company has decades of experience at the unique and effective intersection Top Survival Knifebetween necessary traditions and technological innovation. Some knife brands lean so far to the innovative side that they never quite fully bake an idea while others swing the pendulum too far the other way and hold a knife design to archaic steel and features that work well, but are far from what’s possible.  Not that I’m encouraging the use of performance enhancing chemicals, but I am thrilled that Fällkniven has put its indomitable and proven A1 knife on steroids. And the results are astonishing.

Department of Redundancy Department

What makes the A1 Pro survival knife so amazing is that Fällkniven took an already amazing knifeTop Survival Knife and made it even more amazing.  And as one who considers himself an aficionado of survival knives, I don’t say this lightly.  The Fällkniven A1 Pro is related to the A1, but kind of alike a tough kid that has a Navy SEAL for a big brother.  The A1 Pro  is a complete and total upgrade of already high performance option.

Taking a step back, let’s look at how the Fällkniven A1 Pro came to be, and why the A1 Pro will not have be a serious contender for the World’s Best Survival Knife for a long time.  Fällkniven began building on the Swedish blade traditions back in the early 1980’s.  It’s F1 knife was chosen as the singular survival blade for the Swedish Air Force.  And the F1 also gained respect and notoriety as an excellent solution when a smallish survival knife is needed.  What makes the F1, and later the A1 and now the A1 Pro such definitive blades is their steel technology.  And a few other things.

Now this is a Knife

Jumping ahead, the Fällkniven A1 quickly became a survival success story by providing the Best Bushcraft Knifeessentials and much more.  By laminating two supersteels, into a configuration that makes it not only outperform most other high end blades, but its combination of blended steels in a single blade puts the Fällknivens out of reach of other knives in overall strength, raw performance and technical prowess.

Also Read: Fällkniven F1 Survival Knife Review

But what happens when a purveyor of extremely high end blades takes a step back and assesses the performance of its own best edges, then turns up the volume on one of its best sellers and highest achievers.  Well, I guess you get the A1 Pro. So it’s official. Fällkniven goes to 11!

The Fällkniven A1, the original one, was a test bed for all things survival.  It pushed the limits of laminated steel giving the serious knife user a glimpse of what’s possible when performance outweighs tradition. From that point on, the world got a taste of things to come.  Now imagine Fällkniven taking everything good about the A1 and pumping it full of steroids.  The passing similarities between the A1 and the A1 Pro are only apparent from a distance.

While the grip size is the same, the material is different and the sometimes-debated finger guard Fallkniven_A1-Pro_survival knife_diamond-stone-DC4shape is reversed. And best of all, the already thick blade is even thicker and made of a ultra-high end cobalt-laminated steel.  The sheath is beefier and stronger.  The edge is a more refined convex shape. And the knife comes in a presentation box that doubles as a waterproof container complete with Fällkniven’s professional quality diamond sharpening stone, the DC4.

Brass Tacks

The A1 Pro contains a core of cobalt steel rather than the VG10 of its father.  Cobalt steel (CoS) Top Survival Knifecontains about 2.5% Co, along with a slightly higher chromium content. This magic mix of alchemy provides a better edge that stays sharp longer while hovering around 60 on the Rockwell (HRC) Scale.

Related: ESEE 6 Knife Review

Cobalt steel is not a recent phenomenon for Fällkniven. It was experimented with in prior Fällkniven knives including the KK and the PC.  As the results came in, it was clear that cobalt steel was the next go-to steel when the best was desired.  Add to that an “Improved Convex Edge” and you are on the literal and figurative bleeding edge of cutlery technology.  Cobalt steel blades truly are playing with sharpness at the molecular level of steel, not just the crystalian level.  In other words, sharp is a cousin, and cobalt steel is your filthy rich uncle.

Thick as a Brick

Seven is the new norm.  At seven millimeters thick the blade has added strength beyond the already ridiculous strength of the regular A1.  And that strength has extended into the grip with a thicker and wider tang that, like the A1, extends the all the way through and out the other end.

Consider the Bar Raised

Fällkniven admits that to claim something “professional” requires a corresponding and honest Best Survival Kniferaising of the bar. And Fällkniven delivered to an astronomically high level.  At the time of this writing, the Fällkniven website shows the A1 Pro as “sold out.”  Think about that for a moment.   In a world hip-deep in survival knives priced from the same as a couple gallons of gas to more than a car.  Then Fällkniven comes along and makes survival knife along with its dozen other survival knives already on their resume.  And this newcomer sells out before most folks even hear about it.

What’s in the Box?

The Fällkniven A1 Pro arrives inside a black watertight plastic box complete with foam liner and Top Bushcraft Knifeembossed lid.  Inside the box is the Fällkniven A1 Pro knife, it’s sheath, and Fällkniven’s DC4 diamond sharpening stone.  The box is a nice touch and Fällkniven encourages its use for storing other things like electronics. It’s not quite a Pelican but certainly more than a Plano.

The stone is an excellent choice. In addition to high end survival knives, Fällkniven also makes top notch kitchen cutlery and the tools to keep them razor sharp. The DC4, or Diamond/Ceramic 4-inch stone has a gold diamond surface of 25 micron grit on one side and a synthetic sapphire ceramic stone on the other. In addition to being able to sharpen the hard laminate supersteels, no lubrication is needed for smooth sailing.

Also Read: Smith’s Pocket Pal Knife Sharpener Review

The zytel sheath is an upgrade over the standard A1 model.  The Pro sheath is beefier with more Survival Knife Reviewpronounced strengthening fins. It also is more adaptable to MOLLE and other attachment systems with its inch-wide wings that will accept horizontal straps.  The Pro sheath uses the same riveted strap for a belt loop and friction retention.  In lieu of the thumb ramp present on the classic A1 sheath, the strap’s ear has the job now.

And the Knife

Even a cursory glance at the A1 Pro says this knife is all business.  From the grip to the guard to Best Survival Bladethe blade to the frighteningly thick spine, this knife demands respect.  At 11.2 inches overall length, the A1 Pro is not for the faint of heart or for those with low muscle tone.  The 6.3 inch blade, while not the longest tool in your bug out bag, is actually plenty for any confrontation with a human or larger critter outside those of the Grizzly variety.

Unlike the regular A1 knife that used a Kraton plastic for a grip material, the A1 Pro takes a cue from the Fällkniven F1 and runs Thermorun plastic on the handle of the A1 Pro. To quote myself in my review of the F1, Thermorun, “As an olefin thermoplastic material it is extremely durable, and has great properties for a survival knife grip. Thermorun is an electrical insulator, resistant to weathering, impervious to most chemicals that a knife would encounter, and pretty much ignores temperature changes. It feels great in the hand with just enough rubbery texture to keep the blade from sliding around, but still firm enough to avoid that tacky feeling of softer plastic grips.”

Also Read: Parry Blade Knife Review

Like the regular A1, the tang of the A1 Pro extends throughout the grip and out the top.  However, Fällkniven did upgrade the tang by making it larger, thicker and tapered.  But the real change is in the finger guard.  On the regular A1 the guard was covered in the same Kraton plastic as the grip, and leans just slightly back towards the hand.  The finger crossguard on the A1 Pro is polished, stainless steel, thicker welded to the frame, and opens out towards the blade.  Why this is important is due to some index finger strain when using the regular A1 for repetitive long-duration woodworking tasks.

Sorry About That

Fällkniven is apologetic about the price of the A1 Pro.  They defend the higher cost of the A1 Pro A1 Pro Knife Review(presumably compared to the regular A1) because of the more expensive steel, more expensive grip and guard, and more expensive containment and sharpening solutions included with the A1 Pro.  But frankly, if one compares the A1 Pro to anything custom, the A1 Pro seems mainstream in its pricing.  Either way, at the time of this writing, Fällkniven lists the A1 Pro as “sold out” so discussion about price are somewhat recreational.  Personally, I find the price of the A1 Pro completely reasonable, but like any pro-level piece of equipment, it only seems expensive if you don’t have the skills to extract the benefits from it.

Riding Into The Sunset

Like many preparing for SHTF events and the likely WROL that will follow, I’m always looking Best SHTF Knifefor the next big thing in bladeware.  Until now I was restless, always looking over my shoulder to see what else was out there.  But with the A1 Pro in hand, a calm settled over my quest for the ultimate survival knife.  Fällkniven’s Pro version of one of the world’s best survival knives, their own A1, as moved the bar so high that most general arguments are moot. With the Fällkniven A1 Pro on the scene, the quest for perfection is now simply a question of preference.

All Photos By Doc Montana

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Video: Ten things to look for when choosing a pocket knife

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You made the first decision in knife-buying, and opted for a folder over a rigid-blade knife. What else do you need to consider before investing in a quality folding knife?

by Leon Pantenburg

If you look around, you can find any pocket knife variation under the sun. But what works well in an urban boutique might not fill the bill on a farm or ranch.

Here are 10 things to consider when choosing a folder. These are based on my prejudices, biases and decades of everyday knife carry.

pocket knives

Trying to decide on which pocket knife to buy can be challenging. Knowing what to look for can make this easier.

Steel: A pretty knife with crappy, inferior steel is a waste of money. The Buck folder I carried for years was made of 420 stainless, and the edge-holding ability was very good. My Benchmade Griptillian is made of 154CM.

Check out which steel will work for your needs, and that can help narrow down your choices.

Not too big: For years, I carried a large Buck folding hunting knife in a belt pouch. That Buck rode on my hip the length of the Mississippi River, (Check out the book!) and did everything I needed. But, it dawned on me one day, that if I was going to carry a knife on my belt, it could just as well be a rigid blade.

A pocket knife should be small enough to be carried conveniently in your pocket, but be large enough to be useful. Don’t get carried away with the idea of a large, bulky folder. It will soon prove to be inconvenient to carry.

Lockblade: I think lock blades are highly over-rated, and may give a false sense of safety. I know of two instances where locks failed, resulting in serious injury. Nothing can completely guard against stupidity. But remember, a lockblade, no matter how well-designed, is inferior, safety-wise, to a rigid blade knife.

The correct, safest attitude, according to Derrick Bohm, owner of, is to use the lock blade folder as if it doesn’t have a lock on it.

No serrated edge: I don’t see the value in a serrated edge. If you think you’ll need one for cutting a seatbelt, rope or something like that, then get a specialty knife with a serrated blade.

Otherwise, you’ll find that serrated edge is a specialty grind that doesn’t get used that much. It will, however, take up one of the most useful parts of the blade.

Ergonomic handle: Your pocket knife is your whittler. Make sure you can use the knife for long sessions. The handle needs to fit your hand, not get slippery when wet, and carry well in your pocket.

Not too thick: A thick pocket knife usually can’t be carried comfortably in a pocket. My personal comfort level is two layers thick. Any thicker and the knife will probably end up in a belt pouch. If you’re in an urban setting, you may not want to advertise that you have a knife. A belt pouch is a giveaway.

Blade design: You can get anything you want, so decide what tasks you may use the knife for most often. My most-used everyday carry knife is a Swiss Army Tinker, with a three-inch spear point. My woods rambling pocket knife is frequently a Puma stockman model, with three blades: a large clip point, and smaller sheep foot and spay. This is an excellent small game knife and one I reach for when skinning squirrels and rabbits.

dad's pocket knife

My Dad’s pocket knives lead short, hard lives. When they wore out, they were replaced with inexpensive, quality tools. Dad had this knife in his pocket when he passed away.

Price: You usually get what you pay for, but a quality pocket knife doesn’t have to be expensive.

My dad wore out pocketknives. He was a carpenter and farmer, and used his knife multiple times every day. Dad carried a medium-sized stockman pattern knife, bought at the local tractor supply store. He felt no brand loyalty – if a knife didn’t work like he thought it should, it would be relegated to a tractor tool box. Dad probably never spent more than about $15 for a knife, and didn’t give much thought to his everyday tool.

Stick with name brand, quality companies, and you can find an inexpensive, practical knife.

Handle material: I love pretty knives. But a beautiful knife with a cheap blade is a waste of money. I like micarta for durability and stag for pretty. Decide how important appearance is to you.

In some instances, appearance is everything.


My son’s Benchmade Griptillian, top, and my daughter’s Mini-Griptillian don’t appear “Tacticool” and that helps them blend in to an urban environment.

My daughter works part-time at an upscale boutique that sells expensive, trendy clothing. She is required to dress appropriately. But she also must use her pink-handled Mini-Griptillian regularly for opening boxes, cutting string and tape and other stocking chores.

The cute, pink knife looks like a fashion accessory clipped in her hip pocket, but it is also a working tool and could prove to be a formidable self-defense weapon. A “tacticool” folder wouldn’t fit in this environment.

Convenient carry: Do you need a clip on your knife? Maybe.

My son, a touring rock musician, needed a benign-looking utility knife for stage and sound system setup that could be opened with one hand. He opted for an orange-handled Griptillian after seeing his sister’s knife. (The Griptillian, incidentally, is the recommended folder of choice for several Search and Rescue teams.)

The orange knife  looks inexpensive,  harmless, and kinda nerdy. The knife clips into my son’s side or hip pocket and he can open it one-handled while carrying or positioning a speaker or amp. For his pocket knife needs, the Griptillian is perfect.  Both my kids’ knives work extremely well for their intended purposes.

Regardless of where you are, in an urban or wilderness setting, IMHO, you need a knife. Pick the right folder, and you’ll enjoy carrying it. That means when you need a knife, you’ll have one.

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Survival Gear Review: Cold Steel Pocket Bushman Knife

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Survival Knife

It seems that everyone’s favorite piece of gear to carry and discuss are knives. With the variety of survival knifestyles, shapes, sizes and the jobs they can perform, it is easy to see why they are a favorite piece of gear. When it comes to folding knives, I am very particular and will not carry an old pocket knife. I have seen a lot of guys carry those five to ten dollar knives that are piled in a box on a gas station or sporting goods counter top.  Those guys always love to show off that new, shiny, cool looking knife.

By Tinderwolf, a contributing author of Survival Cache & SHTFBlog

Of course within a week or two, the blade locking mechanism has broken, the edge of the blade is Survival Knifeas dull as a butter knife and some of the screws or rivets are falling out. Those guys might as well have thrown their money into the garbage can because that is where their cool new knife ended up anyway.  For most of my life I carried a Schrade Old Timer, Swiss Army knife, or a Gerber Paraframe.

All three of these knives held up well, never broke, kept an edge and paid for themselves time and time again.  The only down fall of folders, is that they generally don’t stand up to the activities I would use a fixed blade for.  I know that I should not expect that kind of strength and durability from a folding knife as it is a completely different from a fixed blade.  However, I always wanted that out of a folding knife, and I think I have finally found a folding knife that will perform as closely to a fixed-blade knife as possible.

Also Read: Fallkniven Jarl Knife Review

Over the years I have owned a few fixed, full-tang knives from Cold Steel and have always been Survival Folding Knifevery happy with their products and their prices. So, a few years ago I decided to purchase a folder from them and I decided on buying the Pocket Bushman. It is probably one of the plainest looking knives you can buy, but boy is this knife a BEAST! The blade measure in at 4 ½” inches long with an overall length of 10 ¼”! All the reviews said that this knife was big and it did look big in the photos, but I really didn’t appreciate how big It was until I was holding it in my hands.

It felt more like a fixed blade knife than a folding pocket knife. Unlike other pocket knives, the Cold Steel Pocket Bushman does not whiz open with a flick of your thumb. It is rather slow and you need both hands to properly open it and shut it. When closing the knife you have to be extremely careful.  The knife has a rocker lock which is tough as nails but it is a bit different to close than other folders.  In order to close the knife safely and properly you need to place one hand on the spine of the blade and the other hand needs to pull the paracord lanyard at the bottom of the handle.  The first time I tried this it was a bit awkward and I almost cut myself. After opening and shutting it a few times the motions became very natural.

The handle has a very large and deep groove for your index finger.  This helps in keeping your hand from slipping forward to the blade when working with the knife.  The handle is probably the only downfall I can find with this knife.  While I like the smooth steel finish, it makes it a bit tough to use the knife if your hands are wet.  It would have been nice to see some kind of textured finished on the handle.  However, there have only been a few times that I have tried to use this knife in wet conditions and most of the time when I am using this knife I am wearing gloves, which I highly recommend.

While this is a folder and it fits well in my pocket, I love that it can handle the big jobs as well.  I have used it for making tinder, cutting cardboard, tape, ropes, tie downs, zip ties, carpet, to baton wood, gutted fish, and even split small logs.  I still remember the first time I showed it off at work. The guys thought I had wasted my money on some big knife just to be a show off.  While they were chuckling I bent down and picked up a broken piece of wood from a pallet.  I then commenced beating the back of the blade into a very tall, thick stack of cardboard. Once I got halfway down the stack I turned to a pallet that was leaning against a nearby shelf.

Also Read: Benchmade Bushcrafter Knife Review

The Pocket Bushman easily took chunks out of the pallet and after a few minutes it came out the Bushcraft Survival Knifeother side of the board.  I turned around to the guys, showed them there was no damage to the knife and no wiggle in the blade, folded it up, placed it in my pocket and walked away.  A few years have passed and I have used this knife so much, yet there is still no movement between the blade and handle, and it still sharpens very easily.  I have added paracord to the loop hole in the lock release slide at the bottom of the handle.  This is by far, hands down, the best folder I have ever purchased and would recommend it to anyone looking for a new tool.  I believe, when I bought this knife it was forty dollars.  I checked out the knife out on Amazon the other day and it was listed for fifty nine dollars.  I have been thinking about getting another one and I would not think twice about paying that price for this knife. If anyone else has used this knife I would love to hear about your experience with it.

Photos By:
Dan P
Matt Coz

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25 Ways You Can Arm Yourself For Survival

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For many people, self-defense after a disaster is a frightening topic. It’s much more fun to think about food, water, survival gadgets, and so forth. But the reality is that your chance of being attacked, robbed, or worse after the SHTF will be significantly higher than it was before. People will be desperate, so you […]

The post 25 Ways You Can Arm Yourself For Survival appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

Survival Gear Review: Kershaw OSO Sweet Pocket Knife

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pocket knife review

I have never owned an assisted opening pocket knife before but have always wanted one. From the outside they Best EDC Pocket Knifeseemed like they would be flimsy and their action was all for show.  Most of the people I had met that brandished an assisted opening blade, were of the “mall ninja” type. I had no real basis for that thought process but it was a gut feeling I had from secondhand experience.  Since I love a good knife and I’m always looking for a new one to try, I decided to take the plunge to find an assisted opening blade for my EDC.  I did not want to spend a lot of money on something that I had never tried before.

By Bryan, a contributing author of Survival Cache & SHTFBlog

Under $20 Bucks

I found the Kershaw OSO Sweet Assisted Opening Pocket Knife on Amazon for under $20 and figured I couldn’t go wrong for that price for this particular brand.  The first thing I noticed when I took the knife from the box was how lightweight it felt. At 3.2 ounces you almost don’t even notice the knife in your hand, let alone your pocket.  At four and one-eighth inches long this knife fits diagonally in the palm of my hand with the blade closed.  I felt a bit like a kid in a candy store the first time I engaged the assisted opening.  The quick hard snap of the blade opening and locking up, was quite impressive.  Shutting and opening the blade one handed is very easy and requires almost no practice as long as you are familiar with pocket knives.

Related: Smith’s Pocket Pal X2 Sharpener & Survival Tool

Normally I am not a huge fan of stainless steel blades but this particular knife came razor sharp out of the box.  Yes, EDC Pocket Knife Reviewit shaved hair off of the top of my arm.  Thus far the blade has held its edge quite well through extensive use every day for months.  I have used the Kershaw OSO Sweet Assisted Opening Pocket Knife to cut everything from cardboard, carpet, rope, to shaving tinder from branches.  This knife wasn’t really meant for the use I have put it through because it is not a survival knife, nor is it a utility knife but the stainless steel blade has held up well and I like to test my blades outside of their normal use parameters.  The Smith Pocket Sharpener does an Ok job putting an edge back on the blade but I have much better results if I put in the time with some Arkansas stones at home.


SpeedSafe® assisted opening
Liner lock
Reversible (tip-up/tip-down) pocketclip
Steel: 8Cr13MoV, satin finish
Handle: Glass-filled nylon
Blade length: 3.1 in. (7.9 cm)
Closed length: 4.1 in. (10.5 cm)
Overall length: 7.25 in. (18.4 cm)
Weight: 3.2 oz. (90.7 g)

The black injection-molded glass-filled nylon handle has held up extremely well to the abuse I have put it through.  I cannot count how many times I have dropped this knife onto the concrete or how many times it has rubbed up against other tools and there is not a scratch on it.  In some customer reviews that I have read they have negative opinions of the handle, though, from an aesthetics standpoint rather than functional one.  Personally I like the “spider web” look of the scales and the feel of it in my hand.  All knives are slippery to a degree when they are wet and this knife is no different.  The few times I have used it while wet, the slippage was not great enough to be a concern.


Out of all the EDC knives that I have owned over the years this knife beats them all hands down.  For the price, the Model 1830 Kershaw  OSO Sweet Pocket Knife cannot be beat.  I love the balance of the knife when it is deployed, especially when transitioning from a standard forward position to a reverse hold position. It is just as fast to deploy as it is to put away which I think is an important aspect to note.  One other EDC knife that I owned had an additional safety lock on it.  I can see why they would put such a feature on a knife but it did make it difficult to close and place back in my pocket.  I think Kershaw did an outstanding job on this model as I have zero complaints and would not change a thing.

All Photos by Bryan

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Neck Knives For The Masses

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Best Neck Knife

The definition of a neck knife pretty much begins and ends with it being a blade worn on a Best Neck Knifelanyard around one’s neck.  Rather than in a belt sheath, pocket, pack clipped anywhere else, the neck knife offers a deployment option and carry strategy that opens some doors especially during specific activities and positions.  Neck knives can be tiny and as small as an index finger, usually carried tip-up.  Or they can be near full sized and carried tip-down on a substantial neckstrap.  Those are the small size can take many additional forms depending on anticipated use from EDC to the edges of survival.

By Doc Montana, a contributing author of Survival Cache and SHTFBlog 

The larger end of the spectrum are more for daily use and easy access during general outdoors Best Neck Knifeand bushcrafting tasks. The particular reason I wear a neck knife is two-fold; first as a sport-specific knife, and second, for survival applications when things might-could get dark (using some small-town parlance).

Four situations I wear a neck knife over a knife in my pocket (or in addition to) include skiing, mountain biking, watersports like paddleboarding, and backpacking and hunting.  A main reason I got into neck carry is because I either am not wearing any pockets, or I may need to deploy the knife in a partially immobilized or even inverted state.  And I have different neck knives for each activity.  For downhill skiing, I wear a Boker Magyar.  It’s a stout little beast with a large finger hole and a thick drop point blade. The 440-C stainless steel is a must, like the mountain biking knife, because it will be soaked in salty sweat.  I like the finger hole to keep the Boker Magyar under control when hands are cold or a drop in the snow might as well be overboard in the ocean.

Related: Tops Brothers of Bushcraft Knife Review

For mountain biking, I like the Boker Grasshopper.  It has more handle than blade and is of a Survival Neck Knifemore traditional look as if just a small belt knife missing its scales.  The Grasshopper has a titanium-coated 440-C stainless clip point blade that can drill and stab better than drop points. It can also be held comfortably in a reverse grip as needed even though it weighs less than an ounce. And it’s near weightlessness makes it almost invisible even when bouncing down the trail.

Backpacking is another matter.  I prefer a workhorse of a neck knife because I will be using it ESEE Candiru often. The previous two are more for emergencies, or for that occasional extra-strength food wrapper.  For camping trips I want a neck knife that will get some daily if not hourly use.  I prefer the ESEE Candiru with G-10 scales.  It’s a tiny little critter, both the knife and its namesake, but the tales of it swimming up your, well, private part (the critter not the knife) are overblown (pun intended).  However, as a carbon steel the Candiru will rust if left alone, but the powder coating protects all but the very edge of the edge. After a day of wear, tiny orange flowers start growing on the shiny metal.  But the quality ESEE 1095 tool steel touches up beautifully with little effort to kiss the oxidation goodbye until next time.  Of all my neck knives, the has the best grip, but also the thickest footprint.

Also Read: Fallkniven Jarl Knife Review

And for paddleboarding and sea kayaking, I like the Boker Gnome.  Why?  Well, partially I justTop Neck Knife like the Boker Gnome and am always looking for a reason to wear it.  It’s a funny little knife with an apt name.  The Gnome has a very thick blade for it’s size and two of the cutest little micarta scales you’ve ever seen.  It is the best prybar of my neck knives and it’s 440-C steel resists rust better than most, even in salt water.  The knife is held only between the thumb and index finger because that’s all there is to hold.  So you could say that this is not a high leverage knife even with a 2 ⅛” long and ¼ inch thick blade.  But where the Gnome does shine is in brute strength if you have to pound on it like a piton.

…And Eat It Too

The question as to why a tiny fixed blade instead of a robust folder is a good one.  Especially since folding knives today are better and stronger than ever.  But not at under two ounces, or even under one ounce.  Hinged blades require robust parts and dual reinforcement in the handle.  Locking mechanisms, by nature, can never be as strong as as a solid shaft of steel for the same weight.  And even given the added weight, deployment still requires gravity, muscle or a more complex spring system.  The simplicity of a tiny fixed blade cannot be argued within those parameters.

Gallows Humor

A neck knife has only three parts: a knife, a sheath, and a loop of cord that allows the sheath to Survival Gear Neck knifebe worn around the neck.  There are no size or weight restrictions.  The blade can point up or down.  And the sheath can be molded Kydex, or elegant leather or even bland plastic. In my case, I prefer the uneventful durability of nylon-like scabbards.  A durable, but breakaway neck cord should be a must, but we put many strong cords around our necks quite often, so I’m not really worried that my last breath will be a swear word directed at a loop of paracord around my trachea.  Especially when the point of a neck knife is a rapid and convenient deployment of a blade that will easily cut through paracord.

Chains of small balls like the pull-chains on floor lamps are popular neck knives lanyards.  They will break away before killing you.  At least that’s the plan, but I haven’t personally tested it in all cases.  So use your brain.  But more important that lanyard strength is blade retention. While easy extraction is important, should unintentional deployment happen you will find a sharp blade wandering around your belly region just looking for something to cut.  There is no happy ending to that story except relief when you find it before it finds you.

Related: Benchmade Adamas Knife Review

As neck knives gain popularity it becomes clear that the design is still in its crude phase of evolution.  Not that the knives are rough, but like early days of powered flight, the designs are all over the place.  From mostly handles to almost no handles.  From full-bellied blades to narrow scalpels.  From finger holes to featureless grips.  And from skeleton to scaled. All of these differences give the wearer plenty of options for job-specific carry even when the particular feature set seems oxymoronic like the Boker Gnome.

All Photos By Doc Montana

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12 Preps For Under $30 Bucks

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Low cost emergency preparedness gear

I’m willing to bet that at least 90% of the people reading this article have to function under a budget of sorts.  Bills cheap survival gearneed to be paid, houses need to be heated, cars need to be maintained, stomachs need to be fed.  It’s a fact of life and how we have to operate on a day-to-day basis.  As much as any of us would love to go out and blow five grand on preps we would really love to have, reality dictates that we just can’t do that and make ends meet.  I know I have to save up to obtain things I want – preps included.

By Drew, a contributing author of Survival Cache & SHTFBlog

While operating under this self-imposed budget, I’ve used, carried, and tested a LOT of low-priced new or “previously-enjoyed” items for lower prices.  Yes, some of them were complete and utter crap, but there have been several shining stars that really enhanced my life on a daily basis; so much so that I have complete confidence that they will serve me well under more extreme, post SHTF-type scenarios.

All of the items I’ve listed here are great.  I personally own and use them all (save for one, but I will explain my rationale when I get to it.) on a semi-daily basis, and they all work.  The kicker?  They all work well for under thirty bucks. So whether you’re under a budget, or looking for stocking stuffers, or just need good gear, these will all function without breaking the bank.  Let’s check them out.

Streamlight Microstream

The Streamlight Microstream is a tiny (3 ½ inches long by 9/16 inch in diameter, 1.04 ounces with battery) C4 LED flashlight that is powered by a single AAA battery.  It has a run time of over two hours on a fresh battery, and the bulb is rated to 30,000 hours of use with a surprisingly brilliant 35 lumen output.  It has an IPX4 water resistance rating, and it is sealed with O-rings.  The light has a spring steel bi-directional clip that allows you to fasten it in your pants pocket like a folding knife, or you can clipp it onto the brim of a baseball cap for a head lamp.  The case is black hard-anodized aluminum, and shrugs off drops onto hard surfaces from waist-level with aplomb.

Also Read: DIY Alcohol Stove

Specs aside, I have been carrying Microstreams almost every day of my life since I got my first one a couple years ago.  I have one (of several) riding clipped to  my weak-hand pants pocket, opposite my folding knife, and extraction and quick deployment is a breeze.  I’ll tell you now: you’ll be amazed how much you use a small light once you have it on you all the time.  Drop something behind your desk into a maze of computer wires?  No problem, instant illumination! Need to dig out the booster pack to jump start your car?   A handly light is already with you. Walking in a dark parking garage and need to identify a threat?  It’s there for you.  The only, and I mean ONLY, problem I’ve ever had with these lights is that they are small and easily lost if you take them off.  That’s why I mentioned I have several – if I lose mine for whatever reason, I’ll run to the store and grab another – which, of course, means I instantly find the one I lost. So I now have Streamlight Microstreams in my cars, bedside stand, and a spare at work. You can never have too many of them, and I can’t recommend these lights highly enough. Drop the $20 (or less) for one and never look back.  Absolutely perfect EDC gear.

Gerber Evo Jr Folding Knife

This is the aforementioned knife I wear opposite the Microstream in my EDC carry. The EVO Jr. is a very small (3 Good Survival Knife5/8 inches by 5/8 inch) folding pocket knife with a 2 5/8” titanium-coated “Fine Edge” blade that discourages corrosion.  The handles are machined anodized aluminum, the blade high carbon stainless steel, with a fast-opening thumb stud and integral finger guard that deploys with the blade opening.  A non-reversible stainless steel pocket clip is screwed to one of the handle panels.

Gerber knives have always had a pretty good reputation where I’ve come from, so when my $80 H&K folder broke before I headed out to a hunting trip, I stopped at the local Cabela’s and saw this baby on sale, for I think $29.99.  It fit the bill dimensionally (I hate having items with too much weight and size in my pockets), the price was good, and I knew Gerber stuff was pretty okay.  I purchased the EVO Jr. and promptly forgot about the H&K folder.  I’ve used this knife to gut deer, open bottles, chisel (yes, with a hammer) door strike openings in wood jambs, cut old caulking out of windows, and shred cardboard boxes – and the EVO Jr. has come up swinging. The blade is just a touch bent, but still 100% functional.  I don’t feel bad at all about not owning a spendy Spyderco or Benchmade with this little beast clipped to my side.  I’m sure it’s not invincible, but it’s really good for the price.  They are available on Amazon for dirt money (I found this one for just over $23!) but I’m told Gerber may have discontinued this model, so grab one if you can…even if its just a backup.

ASP Key Defender OC Spray

Non-lethal threat deterrents are always valuable, whether you do or don’t carry a firearm, knife, etc.  Non-lethal pepper/OC spray is almost always legal to carry anywhere, making it a choice method of protection if you must venture into the lands of the “gun free zone”.  ASP makes the Key Defender, which is a small and slender method of deploying 2 million scoville units of OC love directly into a bad guy’s mug.  The ASP Key Defender OC Spray is about the size of a Mini-Maglite, (6” long by 5/8” diameter) has an easily-utilized and secure flick-off safety, and it’s almost impossible to spray yourself if used properly.  The release valve actuates like a flashlight with a tailcap switch, so it’s intuitive and easy to point in the correct direction.  The knurled aluminum casing is shaped and sized nicely to do double-duty as a kubaton if things get up close and personal, and the key ring means you can attach it to your key chain if that’s your thing. Refills and inert practice cartridges for the spray are readily available as well.  Shop around and you can find a Key Defender in many different colors, for right about the $30 mark on Amazon, with a two-pack of refills dinging the wallet about $15.00-$18.00.

Related: DIY Fire Starter

Funny story about my Key Defender: I was riding back home with my son from a visit with our very own Jarhead Survivor.  I  had to pull over to the side of the road answer the call of nature in the woods, and upon my return in the truck, I was greeted with a fierce, immediate stinging in my eyes.  I looked at my son, and he was coughing and his face and eyes were red.  He was holding the Key Defender, which I kept in my shifter console. “WHAT IS THIS?!?” he cried between coughs.  It seems he decided to screw around with the Key Defender, and sure enough, shot a blast of it right out my driver’s side open window. None of it actually got on either of us, but the fumes alone made us vacate the truck cab post haste, while we sat on the side of the road coughing and laughing like lunatics. I’m sure anyone driving by must have wondered what these two gagging, red-faced buffoons were doing, sitting on the side of the road and laughing.  I made a mistake of scratching my eye and rubbing my nose after touching the steering wheel.  It was ferocious, and I didn’t even get sprayed.  I can just imagine being on the bad end of one of these, and it must be a very effective deterrent indeed.

Real Avid AR-15 Micro Tool

I stumbled across this neat little rig at a local Cabela’s for $17.99, and grabbed it to bring home and try on my AR. Best AR15 Mini ToolIt’s a small, light, all-steel tool meant for taking care of most of the functions you’d need to strip your AR and clean off carbon in the field.  The Real Avid AR-15 Micro Tool has many functions and tools built-in to it: three sizes of bolt scraper, a 5mm, 1/8”, 3/16”, 1/4”, 5/16”, and 3/8” wrenches, a bottle opener, a front sight adjustment tool, a cutter, and a takedown pin punch. It comes with a short web attachment to a keyring.

Also Read: 5 Dollar Preps

While I have no delusions of this not being an absolutely terrible 3/8” wrench, the Real Avid AR15 Micro Tool is worth every penny for other functions: the pin punch, scrapers, and front sight tools all work really well.  I haven’t tried the bottle opener – mainly because I’m not exactly popping open Sam Adams bottles when I’m working on guns – but it looks like it’d do the job fine.  I fastened this tool to my AR grab bag as a lightweight scraper tool pretty much.  It’s no Leatherman MUT but it will work to get the carbon buildup off your bolt and firing pin well enough to get you back in action and to your cleaning kit.

Rechargeable Auxiliary Battery

Cell phones seem to run the world this day, and in many cases, they are better than any took you have in your LED Flashlight for survivalbug-out bag to get you out of trouble.  However, they are definitely battery-dependent, and the bigger and more beautiful your smartphone screen is, the faster your battery will drain.  When I’m out in the woods on a deer stand, I like to have my phone to send messages to any hunting partners, check the weather forecast, read articles to keep me awake, use the GPS, etc.  However, the battery is only good for about 2/3rds of the day under frequent use, generally.

I went up to my brother’s house a while ago to do some deer hunting in an area I was unfamiliar with, and I knew we were going to put on the miles, so I stopped at a Target on the way up and snagged a cheap 3,000 mAH auxiliary battery back for $24.99.  Once charged, it had enough juice to give my cellphone a complete charge, and had a small LED flashlight built in. It stows in a pocket, is rubber-armored, and recharges in an hour.  While I know it’s on the cheaper side and there are far better units out there on the market that sport much larger batteries, solar panels, and USB ports, this one serves me well.  I know that if I have to walk home, I have a full charge ready to go to be able to contact others if I have reception.  Shop around, there are lots of options under $30.

Inspiration Book

My father had this idea, and I think it’s a great one.  He went out and bought a good, sturdy, 4” x 6” notebook and filled it with information and small items to keep him going if he’s in a bad spot.  His notebook contains pictures of his grandchildren that have been laminated and glued to the pages, bible verses, and quotes from authors he likes, or passages that inspire.  Also in the book are helpful bits of information and formulas that will prove helpful in survival situations:  Angles of declination for given areas, bleach:water purification ratios, important phone numbers, photocopies of important documents, and the like.  Fill one of these out and stow it in a plastic bag for when times get rough.

Clear Safety Glasses

Imagine walking through the woods at night with little or no illumination and you’ll get the idea of why a cheap pair of safety glasses is a good thing to have in your bug-out bag.

WISR Custom Paracord Bracelet

This is the one item on this list I don’t personally own, but I do have a really awesome item from Valkyrie War paracord survival braceletCord that I reviewed: The Survival Frag. There are millions of “survival” paracord bracelet designs out there, but Chris, the owner of VWC, will let you select colors and survival items from an online list, and then he will custom build your personal WISR (Wearable Integrated Survival Rigs) with your chosen items and ship it to you. The WICR-CUSTOM starts at $10.00 and goes up from there based upon your selections. Some interesting choices are: a handcuff key ($3.00), a 1” firesteel rod ($3.00), iodine tablets ($2.00), and a buckle whistle ($3.00).

Related: 5 Dollar Preps Fishing & First Aid Gear

If you have a few extra bucks at your disposal, at $50 the Survival Frag remains a really great all-in-one emergency kit. Chris is a full-time student, EMT, and all-around really nice guy. He does top-quality paracord work, and it doesn’t stop at bracelets and Frags. His online store can be found here. Free shipping too! While I don’t have one of these – YET – I have no doubts that VWC’s products are good to go.

Liberty Gun Lube CLP

Does your current gun lube keep machine guns running for hundreds of continuous rounds under high heat Best Gun Lubeconditions?  Okay, it very well may; that’s a common property for a good gun lube. But how does it function at 84 degrees F below zero? For all you guys without calculators, that’s 116 degrees below freezing, and that means that your Liberty Gun Lube-treated gun will function on the -60 degree F surface of Mars if needed.  Liberty Gun Lube’s CLP (Cleaner, Lubricant, Preservative) boasts an ultra-low freezing temperature, and the ability to keep guns working in high heat situations too. Jeff Zimba, renowned author of “The Evolution of the Black Rifle: 20 Years of Upgrades, Options, and Accessories”, did a serious battery of tests of Liberty Lube’s CLP with full-auto rifles, as well as freezing pistols in blocks of ice, chipping the pistols out, and shooting them: Liberty Lube worked slick (pun intended.). Check out just one of the test videos with Liberty Lube here…and check out the rest of his channel while you’re at it.

Spoiler Alert: I have a review of Liberty Gun Lube’s CLP as well as their solvent coming soon, so I won’t get too deep into the product here.  But Liberty Lube’s CLP has replaced all my other gun oils, it works so well. 1-oz bottles go a long way and  take up very little room in your out-the-door gun bag.  If you need to keep your guns running in adverse conditions, this is your first step. 1-oz bottles of the CLP run $10, the non-toxic, biodegradable solvent runs $9.


This universal “fix-it” has been around for ages, and for good reason: it does its job, and it does it well.  WD-40 is marketed as a lubricant, penetrating oil, preservative, and seemingly every household has one of the ubiquitous blue and yellow spray bottles kicking around somewhere.  WD-40 should also be on the radar of anyone with a prepper’s mindset, too. A small 3-oz bottle doesn’t take up much room in packs, and can be used to lubricate whetstones while sharpening knives, keep guns from rusting in wet environments, free rusted locks, nuts, bolts, bike chains, etc., and since it is quite flammable, can also be used as a fire accelerant to help start a life-saving fire in wet conditions. It also works as a starting fluid for tough-to-start motors. It is available anywhere for cheap. Everyone needs WD-40 in their lives.

Grip Tape

Grip tape is one of those products that solves a problem that you didn’t know you had.  I’m guessing that grip tape Grip Tape for survival gearis a natural evolution of shooters wrapping their pistol stocks in skateboard tape to improve grip in sweaty, muddy, and bloody conditions.  Many products are marketed with the same goal: to make an easily-applied surface that doesn’t permanently alter firearms, yet provides a vast improvement in gripping traction.  I bought HI-TEC GT5000 tape on a whim one day, and it turned out to be a great product.  I originally applied it to a S&W M&P, and it spiraled out of control from there:  I’ve since applied the tape to rifle magazines, knife handles, flashlight housings, cellphone cases, even my mouse at work…anything that could use more “grip” when things get sweaty or greasy. It’s very easily cut to size and shape, and it has an adhesive backing that grips most surfaces very well if they are clean – a little touch with a heat gun doesn’t hurt either. There are lots of choices out there, and I’m sure most of them do the same job well.  My sheets of GT5000 cost a whopping $6.99 through Amazon.

Mechanix Gloves

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ve heard of or seen “the tool that fits like a glove”:  Mechanix Gloves. mechanix gloves for survivalThese gloves have made an enviable name for themselves as hard-wearing dexterous gloves that will protect your hands, yet let you pick a penny off the floor without having to take your gloves off.  There are easily 50 different designs of gloves that Mechanix puts out, from gardening to tactical protected to cold-weather gloves.  I discovered Mechanix gloves about 8 years ago while working construction and needing warm gloves that would let me pick individual screws out of a box. They’re not impervious and the fingertips will wear out, but not after they give you a long life of hard service.

I’ve run a few different styles of Mechanix gloves, but I really like the Fleece Utility gloves for when cold weather sets in, as they are very warm, and dry out quickly. I appreciate them because I can safely flick the safety off my Winchester 70 and manipulate the trigger well, without having to take my gloves off. When it gets warmer and I need added grip and hand protection but would really not appreciate warm hands, The Tactical Vent Covert setup is hard to beat. A pair of rugged gloves for a Get Out Of Dodge setup makes a lot of sense, and a pair of Mechanix gloves will generally run under $30 unless you go for the really high-end tactical gloves.

Wrapping It Up

As you go down the list, I’m sure you can think of other items that offer similar high “bang for the buck” values, or are just good, simple ideas for anyone who might find themselves in a tough situation with just their gear and knowledge to get them by. What budget ideas or products do you know of that you’d add to this list? Sound off in the comments – we all appreciate good ideas and products that don’t require a second mortgage!

Stay Safe!

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Survival Gear Review: Fallkniven A2

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Top Survival Blog

Peter, the head of Fällkniven knives told me that a big blade can do everything a small blade can do, but a small Best Survival Knifeblade cannot do everything a big blade can do.  Or thereabouts.  In theory, I agree with him. But in practice…well, that would take field testing.  Big is not a measurement, it is a value judgment.  If you need a 22mm wrench, then you need a 22mm wrench. The tool is not too big, it is just right. However, if you have no particular job in front of you, then carrying around the wrench for no particular reason would make it seem “big.”

By Doc Montana, a contributing author of Survival Cache and SHTFBlog

Carry Enough Knife

The same is true with the Fällkniven A2 Wilderness Knife.  If you have no real need for a knife such as the A2, then you might as well carry a smaller, lighter knife. Heck, or even no knife at all.  Heresy you say?  Well that is my point. You carry a knife that matches your anticipated duties. So it follows that a Wilderness Knife such as the Fällkniven A2 is the properly sized tool for the great big outdoors found just past the “great outdoors” common in movies and national parks.

Beyond the usual depth that most folks ever venture into the woods is an entirely new, bigger, and often scarier set of woods.  It is the uninhabited, trail-less frontier where the only certainty in the equation is that your survival skills must outweigh the survival challenges.  And while tools don’t equal skills, the lack of tools can certainly subtract from your skill set.

Size Matters

The absurdity of the so-called “Rambo blade” comes more from attitude and knife design than knife size and Top Survival Knifeintended use.  Nobody pokes fun about the size or length of kitchen knives because they are the right tool for the job. Yet compared to most outdoor knives, kitchen blades are downright huge!  Especially the pro-level cutters.  The Rambo knife moniker is often reserved not for just the knife but instead a knife too big for the tasks at hand. So a true wilderness knife like the Fällkniven A2 is actually the right size for the job so therefore it is not a Rambo knife. The A2 is a properly sized tool for the bigger pieces of the big picture.  Of course, that means it’s not for everybody.

History Lesson

Over a decade ago, Fällkniven took a page from the Swedish history book and explored the strength of laminated steels. For the same reason plywood is so much stronger than a similar thickness solid board or laminated glass windshields are intensely durable compared to household window glass, the layered steel in the Fällkniven A2 is massively stronger than most any other steel of similar thickness.

Fällkniven worked with a famous Japanese steel mill to perfect a laminated metal suitable for the highest quality knife blades. Well, not just any knife blades, but really big knife blades. The Fällkniven NL1 was the first to employ the new laminated 420J2 – VG10 – 402J2 steel and it stands taller than even the A2.

High carbon tool steels such as D2 or O1 are popular for outdoor knives due to their ease of sharpening and resistance to snapping when bent.  Stainless steels have many fine points including edge durability, but can chip or break much easier. So you can do the math.  The ideal steel would have the cutting prowess and durability of stainless, but the bending strength and sharpening ease of high carbon steel.  By laminating steel types, you get the best of both worlds. Plus the additional raw strength that lamination provides on its own.

Dog Inches

The Fällkniven A2 is not the biggest Fällkniven to ship from Sweden. But it’s close.  With a overall length of 12.8 Best Survival Knifeinches and all but 4.9 inches of that being stainless steel VG10 laminated goodness, the A2 is definitely one of the big boys in the sandbox.  The 7.9 inch blade is a full 1.7 inches longer than its famous little brother, the A1. And those 1.7 inches are like dog-inches when you get out to knives like this. It might seem like the added reach looses it’s effect as the blades get longer, but it is not just length where the A2’s blade grew; its also in depth.  Like football players, their height tells only part of the story.  You really need their weight in order to appreciate their potential on the field. Some players weigh half again as much as others of the same height.  For instance on the Denver Broncos lineup, the difference in height between William Sylvester and Aqib Talib is about the same as between the A2 and the A1.  However, Sylvester weighs 108 pounds more than Talib. Which player would you want to be facing off against on the scrimmage line?

But the Fällkniven A2 is not strictly an offensive blade. Instead it is proportioned for the big tasks of Big Wilderness and Big Survival. Especially where you need to wear a big coat, big boots, big gloves and a big hat. When the temperature drops so do our fine motor skills and our grip strength. The A2 helps compensate for the losses by beefing up its contribution to the workload.

When I passed my A2 around the campfire, more than a few folks have commented that it is too big. Avoiding a Best Survival Blogverbal fight, I usually let the comments slide. But what I really want to ask is “Too big for what?”  As Fällkniven notes in their description of the A2, “When you are far from inhabited areas, you need to be able to rely on your equipment.”  I think that make it pretty clear that the A2 was not designed for public carry, or even public campground carry.  So when someone is packing an A2, they are probably no where near you.  And if you do run into an A2 in the wild, you won’t be making any snide comments about it.

The Usual Suspects

For the record, the blade length of the Fällkniven A2 is only one inch longer than the KA-BAR Marine fighting knife.  You know that famous clip-point-leather-washered-grip-soft-steel knife that has multiplied force all over the world.  Other comparables include the big Beckers, the big ESEEs, the big Rats, and the big Cold Steels.  Where most of these knives differ from the A2 besides price is in the steel. Most of them are high carbon steel, spring steel, tool steel or common stainless steel like 420.  Nothing wrong any of those unless you want something different. In order to answer the question of the best steel, one must define the landscape where the knife will live.

As a wilderness knife, the A2 needs to hold an edge as long as possible, but also provide realistic sharpening options.  As a chopper, the convex grind provides good wedging for a knife yet resists as much pinching as possible allowing for easy retraction from the wood.  As a thick-bladed fighter, the system of handle and blade must be stronger than any man who carries it.

Oddly, however, the A2 would look right at home in the kitchen.  As noted before, kitchen knives that dwarf the length of the A2 are available for sale in grocery stores.  Quality is a concern, but the size hardly raises any eyebrows.  Unfortunately the city dwellers think you have a Crocodile Dundee Complex when you pack a kitchen-sized blade on your hip.  Another friendly juxtaposition is with gardening tools.  Most every serious gardener I know rarely ventures into the backyard with a Hori Hori strapped to their pleated cotton shorts.

A Hori Hori, or soil knife, is a heavy duty, wooden handled, double-edged, half-serrated blade averaging seven inches long with an overall length exceeding a foot with some up to 15 inches long. And the Hori Hori is considered a “Leisure Knife.” The smooth blade is to be kept razor sharp and the serrated side acts like a root saw. Hori Horis are worn in sheaths just like other belt knives and when sheathed are indistinguishable from wilderness knives like the A2 at a short distance. But up close, it’s obvious why the price of a quality Hori Hori is one-tenth or less of the Fällkniven.

Can You Handle It?

The A2 has exactly the same handle as the A1, as well as sharing the same blade thickness, convex grind, and SHTF Knifeprotruding tang.  So if you love the A1 grip, you will be just as happy with the A2.  Of course the inverse is true as well. or maybe worse. The typical issues with the A1 grip are its length, thickness, texture and direction of the quillion (finger guard).  The usual complaints are the grip is too short, too narrow, and too rough.  Sure, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but that opinion should be based on something. For instance, the “too short” complaint is a comparison between the A2 and something else like another knife.  I prefer to appreciate the minimalism of the A2’s grip in that my large/XL hands almost swallow the A2 handle completely, but not quite.  So the argument about grip length is really more of “how much extra” is needed since the absolute grip amount is sufficiently matched to a large hand.

In a direct comparison, the Fällkniven A2’s actual usable grip length is longer than the Gerber LMF, the Boker Orca, the Spyderco Bushcraft, and the Benchmade Bushcrafter.  And the A2 gip is exactly the same thickness as the Gerber LMF.

The diameter of the grip is also something noted as in need of adjustment.  The diameter is a function of both grip depth and thickness.  The Gerber’s depth is about a quarter-inch more than the A2, but in my hand feels more like a pistol grip due to the position of my finger joints.  I would describe my grip on the Gerber LMF as more of bending around the handle, while gripping the A2 is decidedly wrapping my hand around it. It is similar to squeezing a trigger or pulling a trigger.  And in my hand, I cannot squeeze the Gerber’s handle because it is proportioned inefficiently for the biomechanics of my hand.

I think the complaints about the size of the Fällkniven A2 grip are more of visual perception clouding the actual feel of the knife. If grips were proportioned to blade size, then a machete would have a flagpole-sized grip. And a utility knife would have a pencil-thin handle.  Instead, the grip is proportioned within a narrow range where the human hand works best. Same with hatchet handles, hammers, and other hand tools.  Cutting tools rapidly become useless when designers venture out of that range.  So an average handle on an large blade looks small and can psychologoically “feel” small.

Regarding the texture of the grip, that is a personal choice.  But I will make two comments.  The first is that if you have soft office hands you will get blisters after 10 minutes of heavy use.  But you will also get blisters from a smooth hickory hatchet handle the first time you do some heavy chopping.  Once the tool is part of your routine, your skin will adapt with calluses.  Better yet, wear gloves.

Weight For Me

The weight of the Fällkniven A2 is 13 ounces, or 2.3 ounces more than the A1.  Thirteen ounces is not a small Best Survival Knifenumber for a knife, but it is small compared to many outdoor tools.  A 13 ounce handgun would be an unloaded Glock 42, the smallest Glock made.  A 13 ounce hatchet would be a Gransfors Bruks Mini Hatchet.  A can of lite beer weighs about 13 ounces.  And 13 ounces of Big Macs is less than two of them.  Yet when a 13 ounce knife shows up on a belt, people run around in circles with their hair on fire.  Again, a good reason to only wear the Fällkniven A2 in uninhabited areas.

Match Making

An area in need of mention is that in any planned wilderness adventure the Fällkniven A2 will not be traveling alone.  Most carriers of the A2 supplement its skills with a smaller knife of both the folding and straight variety.  You will get no argument from me about the necessity of a smaller blade, but neither will I let knee-jerk comments blasting big knives go unchallenged.  Survival tools fall along a continuum from small to big, light to heavy, cheap to expensive, and feeble to durable.  And those tools can be supported through their combination and contribution to the overall capabilities of the kit.  Every tool is a trade-off that establishes boundaries of use.  Where the wilderness knife fits into the scheme of things is that the finer, more delicate points of civilization are absent in the wilderness.

The 800-Pound Gorilla

The thing that always seems to change the course of the discussion about knives is the price. In this case, the price is the similar as other blades within this same knife space of size and quality.  A common knife of this size that is often compared to the Fällkniven A2 is the Cold Steel Trail Master, but at one third the price. It is easy to question the A2 as a sensible decision with that kind of dollar discrepancy, but what you don’t often read is that Cold Steel makes a high-end Wilderness Knife called the Trail Master but with VG1 steel and a better grip.  Not surprisingly the upgraded Trail Master price is the same as the Fällkniven A2.  You see quality and performance cost real dollars regardless of how similar the knife looks to others.  If you plan on carrying a knife but never pushing it to its survival limits, then go ahead and carry anything. But when the ball drops and what you have is all you will ever have, then now is not the time to be a poser.

Pass the Baton

Using a knife and a club to beat apart a wooden branch is the popular target task for survival knife tests. The Forge Survival Supplyproblem is that a survival knife is capable of so much more, and busting up firewood is something almost anything can do…until it breaks.  However, a true wilderness knife such as the Fällkniven A2 is exactly designed to baton firewood.

The advantage of batoning over using a hatchet is that the swinging of a hatchet or axe blade is only as accurate as the skill and luck of the user.  However, if one can place the cutting blade exactly where it’s needed and then apply the force, every cut will be as precise as the desired.  For those of us who use use a mechanized hydraulics to “chop” firewood, we know that surgical precision is possible when working around knots, and making custom sized wood for a particular stove or fire application.  Batoning is similar but certainly more crude than a smooth well-greased steel wedge sliding gracefully along a track with 20 tons of force behind it.

The A2 has a convex grind meaning that its slight outward bow towards the cutting edge preventing much of the pinching and binding a flat-sided chopping knife experiences.  The curved blade surface just beyond the cutting edge splays the wood apart as the knife sinks in deep, but leaves little metal on the table for the wood to stick to.

Some worry about the sharpening intricacies of a convex grind, but if all you have are rough field sharpening tools or smooth river rocks to polish up the edge, then the convex grind is happy with a gentle roll in the grit as the stone surfs across the blade (or vise versa).  As a wilderness knife, the Fällkniven A2 expects a long time between civilized visits to the dentist.  Living outdoors is the A1’s happy place.  Again, this is the difference between a survival knife and a wilderness knife.

Under Cover

The leather sheath for the A2 is of ambidextrous operation with the single securing snap strap snapping free to the wilderness_survival_knife_review_fallkniven_a2rear when in right-hand carry.  Overall, I really like the sheath.  It is unassuming and quite functional the dangler easily fits up to three inch belts.  The presentation of the grip while in the sheath is slightly outward from the body meaning it easy to grab.  The leather snugs up to the blade holding it in place just fine without the added snap strap for all but the most aggressive gymnastics.  Note that Rambo’s blades in the movies never had extra straps to overcome when deploying his power blade.  But also note that the first major knife deployment in the movie First Blood, Rambo yanked his knife free from the sheath and threw the sheath away behind him.  Yea, I get that he was in a hurry, but still.

The balance point of the A2 falls about an inch forward of the grip while the A1 balances right at the forward end of the grip.  Not a big difference, but certainly noticeable when chopping into a thick branch.  The A2 is a deliberate chopper and behaves as such.  While hacking through branches should be on the resume for all knives, the size of the branch is limited to about two-thirds the length of the blade, and often closer to one-half.

Sweden, home to the Nobel Prizes, should seriously consider opening a category for Cutlery.  But seriously, the degree to which Fällkniven dives into significant knife spaces is impressive not just in scope, but that they pull no punches in quality and performance.  Many blade companies, produce a rich line of edges, but with varying degrees of quality (cough, cough, SOG) and performance (ah-choo, Buck, Kershaw, a-hem).  Not that the major brands are lacking, but one cannot simply extend the capabilities of mass-market knives to pro-level survival and wilderness blades.  The difference must be experienced to be believed.

All Photos By Doc Montana

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19 Ways to Use a Knife in a Survival Scenario

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19 Ways to Use a Knife in a Survival Scenario Every prepper has at least one survival knife in their supplies (good preppers have two or three). Buy why? What makes knives so important? Someone once asked me what I expect to do with my knife other than sharpen sticks and skin animals. The answer: …

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The post 19 Ways to Use a Knife in a Survival Scenario appeared first on SHTF & Prepping Central.

Ten things to look for in a survival/bushcraft knife

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Everyone has different ideas about what they need in a  survival/bushcraft knife. Here’s my preferences.

by Leon Pantenburg

One of the most popular posts on the YouTube channel is Survival knives: Five things to avoid when choosing a survival/hunting knife.

These knives are carried by the elk hunters I hunt with. The designs and style reflect a variety of opinions on the subject of the best hunting knife!

These knives are carried by the elk hunters I hunt with. The designs and styles reflect different opinions on what makes the best hunting knife!

But this has lead several viewers to comment: “Well then, what things do you look for in a survival/bushcraft knife?”

Let’s start by deciding what this conversation is about.

In this case, we’re considering that mythical, all-around, “If you could only have one” knife that would be able to do everything.

It should be a good bushcraft knife. You may be whittling sticks, cleaning fish, processing tinder, stripping back etc. for long periods of time.

The knife must also be able to handle survival tasks, such as field dressing animals, building shelters, cutting rope and whatever comes along. In the worst case scenario, the knife would have to be an effective weapon.

This perfect, jack-of-all-trades knife doesn’t exist. What works for me might be a bad choice for you.  The best advice might be to consider possible survival scenarios, what tasks might arise from it and what knife would work best. That being said:

Here we go:

Folder or rigid blade?
I carry a folder every day. I carried a Buck folding hunting knife on my 1980 end-to-end Mississippi River voyage and it worked just fine. Later, I used that same Buck to field dress my first deer. To date, that knife has processed thousands of fish and many small game animals.

But I won’t carry a folder as my backcountry survival knife. The weak point of any folder is the hinge. Break that, and you end up with two pieces.

As a cooking knife, the folder’s hinge and blade slot could get all sorts of disgusting stuff in it that you don’t want in food.

I choose a rigid blade knife, but that doesn’t mean it is the best choice for all situations.

In an urban environment, discretion during a disaster might be the best course. A folder with a decent-sized 3-1/2-to-4-inch blade can be more easily concealed than a rigid blade knife. And, a non-descript looking pocket knife is a lot less threatening looking to some people than a rigid blade.

Steel: At some point, the blade will need sharpening, and you must be able to do it easily. There are many fine carbon steels and they are usually easier to sharpen than many stainless varieties. The downside is that carbon steel can rust in humid climates, and over time, they will build up a patina.

My preferences in blades runs toward 1075 and 1095 carbon steel, CPM 3V and A2. A reputable knife maker must use good steel. Ask around and see what other knowledgeable users recommend.

Full tang: This refers to a blade that runs completely through the handle. This is the strongest option and what I prefer.

The Bark River Aurora, top, and Liten Bror are high end bushcraft knives that can get the job done.

The Bark River Aurora, top, and Liten Bror are high-end full-tang bushcraft knives that can get the job done.

Blade length: A blade between four to six inches works for me. Now, don’t write in and tell me how you’ve field-dressed all sorts of big game with your pocketknife! Sure it can be done – legendary outdoors writer Jack O’Connor used a basic pocket knife for most of his big game field work.

But for a big game hunting  knife, a four-inch blade is all you need. I prefer about a five-inch blade in an overall knife. (Check out blade length.)

Blade thickness:  Many professional butcher knives have relatively thin blades, because their purpose is to slice effectively. I like about a 1/8-inch thickness. For me, it is the best compromise, and it will slice, whittle and cut, without being so thick  as to be ineffective.

For a fillet or boning knife, you want a thin blade with some flexibility. For a hunting knife, a sturdy blade that can take the hard twisting and cutting of field dressing a large animal is best.

Spine: I  want the spine to be ground like an ice skate, with 90-degree angles. This allows you to scrape a ferrocerium rod to make sparks, shave pitchwood for tinder and other tasks that save the edge.

The L.T. Wright GNS, Genesis and Next Gen are all really good choices for a bushcraft, do-everything knife.

The L.T. Wright GNS (top), Genesis and Next Gen  all  have understated,  well-designed handles.

Handle: One of the more overlooked design features is the handle. In a survival/bushcraft knife, you may need to use the knife for long periods of time to process tinder, carve wood, make shelters etc.  How well the handle fits your hand is more important than what it is made of.  I have knives with smooth, well-designed handles that are safer than others with soft, squishy handles.

The last time I cut myself with a knife was because of a handle failure and stupidity on my part. I was using a name brand bread slicing knife with a slender, skinny handle. It fits my wife perfectly, but the handle twisted in my hand and caused the blade to slip.

Choose the handle by physically trying it out if possible. If you order a knife from a reputable company, they will allow you to exchange it. Don’t put up with a handle that doesn’t feel right.

Bravo sheath

This Bark River Bravo LT sheath carries the knife safely and comfortably.

Sheath: A well-designed sheath secures the blade and keeps it from being dangerous. It also must be convenient to carry. In an emergency situation, you may be wearing your knife all the time, and it must ride comfortably.

Point design: This is another aspect you’ll have to decide. In this case, I narrow point design down to drop, clip and spear. Any of these will work well. The drop point is my favorite for an overall knife, but I really like clip points, just because of the looks. (For more info on point choices, check this out.)

Blade grind:  I don’t want serrations or any other specialty grind. For a do-it-all, choose between a convex, Scandi or flat grind. Any of these will serve you well. In this case, I lean toward a Scandi. The Scandi grind creates a good wedge, which works well for splitting wood. It’s also easy to sharpen.

But most of my favorite user knives have a convex grind. I find the convex stays sharper longer, and makes a better skinning knife. Either a convex or Scandi will work fine.

That was ten, here are two bonus things to look for:

Warranty:  The only warranty I’m interested in is the unconditional, lifetime type. A manufacturer can’t afford to replace a lot of knives regularly, and a lifetime warranty shows credibility. I like knowing there is a no-hassle clause in my investment.


My daughter’s pink  Griptillian doesn’t appear very threatening.

Not tacticool: The fast-opening, black-colored combat knives don’t do much for me. And a knife designed primarily for fighting probably won’t be the best all-around user knife.

I go for urban camouflage when possible. I got my daughter a  Benchmade Griptillian with pink grips and my son a Griptillian in orange. They  look cute, but are solid, dependable knives.

So in the final analysis, for a do-it-all survival/bushcraft knife my needs will best be met with a four-inch, 1/8-inch thick, Scandi grind rigid blade, drop point knife. It must be full tang, with a well-designed handle. The knife will come with a safe, well-designed sheath that is comfortable to carry. It will be unconditionally guaranteed, and preferably, made in America.

This type of knife works for me. Hopefully, you can use my choices as a place to start your own shopping.

Bottom line, to quote navigation expert Blake Miller: “It has to work for you.”

Please click here to check out and subscribe to the YouTube channel, and here to subscribe to our weekly email update – thanks! Widgets

Survival Gear Review: ESEE-6 Knife

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Best Survival Knife

ESSE knives are the real deal.  In fact, they are so darn good and in such high demand by users on the front lines Best Survival Knifethat people have started trying to counterfeit them.  Let’s say up front, if you intend to shop for an ESEE knife on line in particular, buy it from a reputable dealer with established business credentials.  Steer clear of generic populous sales sites that individuals use to scam buyers with knock off junk.  ESEE does have authorized dealers, too.

By Dr. John J. Woods, a contributing author to Survival Cache & SHTFBlog

The Catalog Profile

Both preppers and survivalists seem to like to know “just the facts, ma’am” when it comes to presenting or reviewing a product of interest.  So, let’s cover a little history on this company.  ESEE under the direction of president Jeff Randall, has been creating gear and training for survival in some of the most hostile and remote areas on Earth.  They have been doing this for some eighteen years.

They build among other things some of the finest, heavy knives in the world that can withstand the most demanding punishment.   The company resides in Alabama, but the American-made knives are forged in Idaho Falls, Idaho.  You can check them out completely at

Related: 7 Things You Should Consider Before Buying A Survival Knife

There you will find all sorts of specialized survival gear, kits, ESEE knives, and much more.  They also offer a SHTF survival knifecomprehensive survival skills training school for which you can find courses and schedules on their web site.  It is all very impressive.

The ESEE-6 knife I have to review was obtained via the local authorized dealer David Graves of Brandon Sporting Arms in Brandon, Mississippi, not as a prop or select loaner direct from the company.  They have no idea I have one of their knives and I doubt they care.  They stand behind every knife with a lifetime warranty on all 1095 steel blades.  If you break it, just return it for a replacement.  The warranty is transferable and is warranted no matter how many times the knife has traded hands, no sales receipt required.  It is not guaranteed against rust, normal wear and tear, loss or theft.

The No.6 knife has an overall length of 11.75 inches with a cutting edge length of 5.75 inches.  The total blade is 6.5 inches in length.  The blade width is 1.56 inches making it hefty, strong, and authoritative.   The handle end is fixed with a rounded pommel with a lanyard hole.  The knife weighs only 12 ounces without the sheath, which by the way is a molded ploy with an optional clip plate that can be installed by the owner with provided attachment hardware.

The 1095 carbon steel with a 55-57 Rc produces a fine blade for multi-task cutting, chopping and blade work.  The Best Survival Knifegrip handles are made of Linen Micarta.  There are four models of the ESEE-6 based mainly on blade colors, blade edge type such as plain or serrated, sheath color, and handle colors.  Other options are available, too.  The ESEE-6 retails for around $150 at their network of authorized dealers, but can be found elsewhere if shopped around.
The ESEE sheaths are special as well.  The knives are shipped with a fully ambidextrous molded sheath, a clip plate, paracord with cord lock, and hardware, screws, rubber washers and barrel nuts to attach the clip to the sheath.  The sheath is made with lashing and cord storage holes, hole spacing for MOLLE locks, and a drainage port.  The knife is held in the sheath by friction retention with a thumb grip surface used to withdraw the blade from the sheath.

One additional feature to this knife is the information provided on the knife packing container.  The ESEE boxes include survival, navigation, and emergency signaling information printed on the box sleeve.  The sleeve information could be cut out, folded, and stored in a bug out bag or out the door bag.

Handling and Use

For me first impressions are lasting and my initial handling of the ESEE-6 was positive.  The Micarta handles are a Best Survival Knifegreenish-grey with a fine gripping texture though the surface is slick.  Handling with Mechanix gloves would be advisable as you work with the knife.  The full tang blade is heavy making the butt end pommel substantial.  The knife feels hand fulfilling, stocky, but not overly heavy.  The blade thickness and weight is well proportioned throughout.

In my hands it balances very well and swings with authority.  The steel is coated with a black, grainy textured finish which adds some rust and stain resistance and extra use durability to the blade. All this sweet talk is flattering, but does the ESEE cut it, pun intended?   I took the ESEE to Bug Out Camp this past weekend to wield it in person.   I cannot imagine any other knife in this size and weight category performing any better.  It chops through saplings with dedication so it would be good on camp establishment work, and such.

I walked out into the thick briar section of woods and though the ESEE-6 is not machete, it hacks right through vines and trash.  We have a particularly tough, clingy, green sticker vine in the south and the ESEE waded right through this.  Also this is with the factory edge as I did not even attempt to sharpen it further.

Again, the weight and balance of this knife is great.  I confirmed that gripping gloves are best with this knife doing tough work as the knife’s handle is smooth without an aggressive texture.  For an all round camp knife from cutting meat or foods, and such it would perform very well.  Same for rope work, and such.

The snap-in sheath is sturdy, and holds the ESEE knife with authority.  I don’t see this knife ever falling out of the sheath.  In theory it could be grabbed by woodland vines or such and pull the knife free, but that would be unlikely in my estimation.  The ESEE is good to go.   Whatever size ESEE you pick, I think you’ll be completely satisfied.

All Photos By Dr. John J. Woods

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How to Choose a Survival Knife

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One of the most common yet misunderstood survival items is the survival knife. When I first started prepping, I thought all knives were basically the same and that it didn’t matter what kind I got. But the more I learned about knives, the more I realized there are […]

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4 Amazing Multipurpose Blades For The Outdoors

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If we’re talking preparedness and prepper conduit, we have to agree on one thing: there’s no such thing as being too prepared! And this is because so many things can go wrong at any time. It’s extremely important to be both physically and mentally prepared for when it really hits the fan; and it will hit the fan hard. You’ll need to counteract everything life throws at you, and it won’t be easy. But you have only so much time to do it, your resources are finite and there’s only so many things you can keep around the house or on you. Owning any sort of multipurpose blades is the way to go; the more you can get done with a single object that you can easily store in a small space is the key to surviving in a hostile environment. When it comes to pocket blades, the sky’s the limit. There are many companies that have followed in the footsteps of Victorinox (the producer of the Swiss Army Knife) and have released many competitive products, which are equipped with a lot of useful gadgets alongside a well sharpened blade. Owning such a tool will get you out of many tight spots; it’s only a matter of finding the right one for you. Let’s have a look at some of the finest multipurpose blades on the market.


The Swiss Army Knife

It’s only fair that we start with the most renowned name in the business, with the brand that started it all. The Swiss Army Knife is the most common product that Victorinox has to offer. And its reputation is well deserved. This tiny gadget is so much more than just a “blade-in-a-box”, it comes equipped with many tools and gadgets to help the wielder’s cause in so many situations. There are various models with a different combinations of features. The most multifunctional model comes with a can opener, a screwdriver, a compass, a pair of pliers, a nail file, a pair of scissors, magnifying glass, a toothpick and more. More recent models also offer a USB flash drive, a small digital clock and even an LED flashlight. The economic design makes it easy to fit in a small pocket and easy to use in any situation. The price will vary, depending on the model and the amount of features it has.


The Leatherman Skeletool

Leatherman have taken the idea forwarded by Victorinox and are trying their best to take it even further. This company have released a very serious model that’s giving the Swiss Army Knife a run for their money. Their “flagship” blade is called the Skeletool, and what’s sets it aside and makes it shine is the carbon fiber version. Not only is it small, compact and easy to use, but it’s also light and very durable at the same time, thanks to the carbon frame. In the tools and gadgets department, the Skeletool has all the necessary appliances you could need in a SHTF situation: a bottle opener/ carabiner, a bit driver, a pocket clip, a screwdriver, a pair of pliers and of course, a sturdy and sharpened blade. Based on the model, you’ll spend somewhere in the range of $80 – $100 if you decide to go with the Skeletool.

The CRKT Guppie Multi-Tool

The Guppie Multi-Tool is a device released by Columbia River that can also be attached to your belt, in case your pockets are full The clip gate makes it easy to attach to any sort of belt or D-ring. The gadget is made up of very durable 3Cr13 steel. The knife blade is made from high-carbon stainless steel and it can be opened with one hand. It also has a powerful enough LED light, a wrench, a bottle opener, a jar opener. The wrench jaws are adjustable and open half an inch, making it very efficient for small assembly or repair jobs. This tool is so much more than just a blade, and it will be very useful in case you’ll find yourself in a pickle.


The Buck 301 BKS Stockman

The Buck 301 BKS Stockman is one of the most elegant pocket blades on the market. This folding knife is not exactly what you’d call “small”, as it reaches an overall length of 4 inches. This all-American pocketknife has 3 very durable blades, made out of 420HC stainless steel, which will stay sharp for a very long time. It has a sheepsfoot blade, a Spey and a 3-inch clip point. To attest to the product’s quality, the Buck 301 BKS Stockman comes with a lifetime warranty. The handles are made of plastic, but they’re made in good taste and out of a strong plastic, that will last forever.


There are so many products to choose from, so making the right choice won’t be an easy task. The beautiful thing is that you don’t have to settle for just one multipurpose folding knife. You can get as many as you like, just make sure that the tools you decide to equip yourself with are complementary. No use in carrying too many identical knives on you. The more diverse their features are, the more options you’ll have in a survival scenario.


By Alec Deacon



The post 4 Amazing Multipurpose Blades For The Outdoors appeared first on My Family Survival Plan.

Survival Gear Review: Fallkniven PC Folding Knife

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best survival pocket knife

Let’s cut to the chase. The point of an everyday carry (EDC) knife is to always have a sharp blade just a pocket awaybest pocket survival knife (sorry for the triple pun).  And with apologies to restrictive jurisdictions, the choice of an EDC knife is wide open and up the the carrier.  For me, I am an unabashed Benchmade user.  I have a dozen different Benchmade folding blades, and every morning I savor the choice of what blade will ride with me matching my edge to my calendar.  But I’ll be the first to admit that I need to get out more.

By Doc Montana, a contributing author of Survival Cache and SHTFBlog

Beyond Benchmade

Not partying on the town, but enriching my carry options to better understand the the intersection of knife, Best Survival Pocket Knifelifestyle and cutting job. For starters, let me put a finer point on my Benchmade preference by saying that in particular Axis Lock drop point knives really tickle my fancy with prejudice towards those knives that contain artistic elements that prove that Benchmade loves me and wants me to be happy. Sadly, Benchmade has it limits and there are other outstanding knife makers in the world that I need to spend more time with.

“Fallkniven” Means Folding Knife

As I stared at open the Fallkniven PC folding knife in my hand, the first thing I noticed is that it required using a pinch grip or the fingernail groove to open it. Wow. I had not carried a knife that that in years. It was Spyderco that opened my world to something other than nail grooves and thumb studs. The so-called Spyderhole was revolutionary and I carried a Police model, a Delica and a Rescue for years, with a Ladybug and Assist for special occasions. I drooled over any of the pricy Spyderco designs and carried some of them more as pocket art than for their cutting talents since I considered their steel often robust but still pedestrian. But while the Spydercos still required a blade deployment not to far evolved from a thumb stud, which in turn was still in earshot of a fingernail grove, the Benchmade Axis deployment, especially their assist and partial assist won me over. And until now, I’ve never looked back.

Also Read: Fallkniven F1 Review

I quickly warmed the dual-sided nail notches, and realize that my prejudice towards that type of blade deployment was due to a childhood of chipping fingernails on Swiss Army and Buck knives. And don’t get me started on that Swiss Army knife awl!  But no pocket clip? I could see that the Fallkniven PC was going to be a challenge to my personal paradigm, but I was going to pack the PC everywhere and find out more.

Is That A Scalpel In Your Pocket?

Now that I am many months into carrying the Fallkniven PC, I realize that I may have overlooked some things. It’sbest fallkniven pocket knife a tall order to outperform 154CM or S30V alloys. Super steels are, well, super. But just as the super steels raised the bar more than just a notch or two over the 440 stainless series of irons, Fallkniven’s Cobalt superduper steel has lifted the bar yet again forcing me to reassess my evaluation methods. Imagine using your knife everyday, yet only needing to sharpen it once year or so. Sure that might be a stretch, but the simple fact of considering that possibility required me to rethink my EDC principles since I can noticeably dull a 154CM edge in a single outing.

As I type this I am packing a Benchmade 300 as well as the Fallkniven PC. For those uninitiated in the Benchmade nomenclature, the 300 is their first attempt at a flipper. It has a wide but slightly short full-bellied clip point 154CM satin blade with scales graced with three finger grooves of sandstone-colored and textured G10 including the index finger depression supplemented by the flipper trigger. To me the knife has hints of Native American style steeped in early Americana. The layered G10 is exposed like sedimentary rock stratification common to the Grand Canyon or the Morrison Formation in Utah where I love to experience the hostile desert surrounded by dinosaur bones. Yes, the 300 is thick and heavy and expensive and marginally a flipper, but like the Macbook Air I am typing this on, I love using it. So much so that I literally seek out uses to launch it into action.

Superman Is Made Of Cobalt Steel

Fallkniven literally means folding knife, and the PC is Fallkniven’s second version of its P-series folder. Anyone best pocket folding knifenew to the PC folder is understandably stunned into silence by sticker shock. Yet anyone familiar to Fallkniven would be surprised by the low cost of this ubersteel folder with it’s street price barely topping a single Benji. Like Apple Computer, Fallkniven is not interested in the mass market appeal of low prices. Fallkniven is interested in the highest quality, most technically advanced steel blade available on earth. In hindsight, the PC is quite affordable and has a street price much less than most Benchmade Blue Class knives (which are their working “blue collar” blades, not their fancy Gold or tactical Black classes).

Also Read: Parry Blade Hunter Review

Many knives come out of the box “shaving sharp’” but Fallkniven PC arrive “scary sharp.” It was more like a surgeon’s scalpel than a pocketknife. Which the more I think about it, is a good thing. A really good thing. Where the problem lies is that many other knives simply cannot hold such a sharp edge, while the rest simply don’t want to put the time or risk into taking their edge to razor sharpness. Literally, with the Fallkniven PC we are talking the molecular metal limit of sharp steel here. The theoretically maximum knife blade sharpness possible by ferrous metal alloys! To get any sharper, you need smaller molecules.


My Benchmade Mini-Griptilian is a select version with S30V supersteel. I’ve got a lot of miles on it and it performssurvival knife wonderfully. But head-to-head with the Fallkniven PC, the S30V blade loses a few tenths of a percent of sharpness well before the PC’s cobalt steel does. But of course, sharpness is only one half of the equation; edge retention is just as important. If retaining a razor edge was easy, we wouldn’t be clogging our landfills with disposable razor blades. To kick a dead pun, razor-sharp is barely a comfort when you know it’s a short-term phenomenon.

Although the Benchmade is much faster to deploy through its Axis lock release or thumb stud flick, once both blades are ready for action, the Fallkniven PC is a noticeably more precision instrument. Not that the Griptilian is blunt by any stretch of the imagination, it’s that the PC is more like a tool of surgery and the Benchmade is a little more like a crowbar. Just kidding. The BM mini’s blade is fairly traditional for a folding knife. On the other hand, the PC looks traditional, but cuts far beyond its apparent pay grade.

Related: Sypderco Bushcraft Knife

The PC’s scales do have one flaw I’ve noticed. If you pack the parallel lines embedded within the scales with cheese, it is hard to remove. And frankly, this happened more times than I care to admit since I too was surprised at how much cheese cutting I do in the wilderness.

The Nuts and Torx

The locking mechanism of the Fallkniven PC is a traditional liner lock of spring steel. The knife would probably survival shtfhave to break for the lock to fail. The teflon-bearing blade pivot his held in place by a T10 Torx screw making the deployment tension adjustable, and easy to keep the scales snug against the blade.  The five-bolt stainless steel blade housing is skeletonized allowing for easy cleaning and drying; something very important for a knife that lives among pocket lint. And the black fiberglass reinforced Grilon scales are secured with two T5 Torx bolts in addition the pivot bolt.

As to the lack of a pocket clip, I grew used to the Fallkniven PC in my pocket. If it migrated horizontal, I would simply run my finger along the outer fabric of my pants and return the PC a vertical position snug against the right hand seam of the pocket. With narrow side down, it would generally remain there. And either way, the 2.3 ounces (66 grams) was hardly going to make a pocket dent no matter which way it rides.

At the end of the day, the Fallkniven PC is an exceptional yet simple knife. It rivals my Benchmade 470 in size and look, but the PC costs only half to two thirds as much, has arguably better steel, fewer moving parts, and a stately grace about it that just makes you want to carry it. But If I had to ask for more, it would be for handle colors other than black. Orange perhaps? Seems Fallkniven already heard my suggestion. Before this article even published Fallkniven released PCs with grips in orange, blue, red, military green, with gold highlights, oh, and black.

So before you jump on the tactical train with your EDC blades, give some thought to the grand tradition of high performance in an understated package. There’s some serious blade happiness with the Fallkniven PC.

All photos by Doc Montana

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23 Survival Experts Share Their Knife Of Choice

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Knife Planet recently asked 23 preppers what knife they would want with them during a disaster if they could only choose one. Since I happen to be one of those preppers, I thought I’d share their infographic. I chose the M.A.K.-1 (Multiple Access Knife) because unlike most knives, it was […]

The post 23 Survival Experts Share Their Knife Of Choice appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

Survival Gear Review: CRKT Redemption Knife

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Best Survival Knife

The CRKT Redemption knife designed by Ken Onion is one, big, knife!  The Redemption is not for carving little Best Survival Knifewooden characters out of balsa wood, or cutting up hot dogs for the kiddie table at the neighborhood barbeque.  It has one clear mission, to clear trees from the Redwood and Sequoia National Forrest and to use that wood to build the ultimate shelter! And it can do both before having to be sharpened.  If you are squeamish about large blades in any fashion you may want to avoid this article.

By Bryan, a contributing author of Survival Cache & SHTFBlog

Part of EDC is a pocket knife and a multi-tool.  So, I always have two fairly small blades on me at all times.  I figure that between these two blades I can get by with all the small tasks I might encounter, i.e. game processing, food preparation, etc.  Since those tasks are covered, I want to start my quest of finding a large blade to have in my pack ready to go for the heavy duty work.  I decided to check out what kind of large knives CRKT had to offer as I have always been happy with their smaller tools.  I won’t lie, when I first saw the photo of the Redemption Knife I thought that it looked bad ass and really wanted to try it out just for that feature. I figure if I can find a knife that can handle the heavy work and look wicked, well that is a win, win situation.

Also Read: Ontario Falcon Knife Review

Let’s start from the outside.  I love the sheath that comes with this knife.  The external part of the sheath is high Survival Knife Reviewstrength nylon with a formed thermal insert that the knife slides into.  There is a fairly large Velcro pocket on the lower half of the sheath.  I like the size of this pocket.  I have found that most sheaths that have a similar pocket, are quite small and only large enough for a small sharpening stone.  I was able to fit a sharpening stone and a fire rod into the pocket with some room to spare. Of course, you can customize the items you want to carry in the pocket, a fishing kit, cordage, whatever you want.  Sometimes I have found with newer sheaths, especially ones with formed inserts, inserting and removing the blade from the sheath isn’t always smooth.  The blade can rub tightly against or even get caught up on the form of the insert and when trying to pull the knife out all you are doing is lifting the sheath up with it.  I have even had some sheaths rub the finish off of a blade.  The Redemption sits snugly in the sheath and is removed with ease.

Also Read: Parry Blade Survival Knife Review

On the top of the sheath are two belt loops for attaching to your person.  I really like that there are two loops instead of just one. With one loop I have had knives flop about when I was walking or running.  One leg loop also doesn’t’ provide enough anchor support for removing a large knife from the sheath smoothly.  The two loops coupled with the nylon leg strapping and clip on the bottom of the sheath, makes the knife feel very secure when I am carrying it.  There is also a length of paracord that threads around the outer portion of the sheath and hangs off the bottom.  I like having the extra paracord handy but I might end up braiding it a bit more. The loop that the paracord makes seems a bit too large and I don’t want it to get hung up on anything when walking about. I could just cut it off but I don’t want to lose the extra cordage to have on hand and I do like the appearance it gives the sheath.

The first thing I always test on a knife is its sharpness right out of the box.  I do not recommend my method of testing this to anyone else.  I picked this method up from some “old timers” and now it has become a habit for me. I see if the knife can shave the hair off the top of my hand or arm (it is a good thing that I don’t test out new knives every day!)  The Redemption knife was razor sharp and easily shaved hair from my hand. I have encountered new knives that are not uniformly sharp which is very annoying to run into on a new blade, and some have even had chips of metal missing from the edge. To me this is unacceptable of any new knife, especially an expensive one. This knife was sharp from top to bottom and on close inspection the edge was perfectly finished. Here are the specifications of the knife taken from CRKT’s webpage.

Open Overall Length: 15 inches
Weight: 20.8 ounces
Length: 9.5 inches
Thickness: 0.26 inches
Material: 01 Tool Steel
Blade: HRC: 56-58
Finish: Black Powder Coat
Grind: Flat
Style: Modified Drop Point
Edge: Plain
Material: Black G10
Carry System: High-Strength Nylon Sheath with Formed Thermal Plastic Insert
Weight: 10.7 ounces

There are some reviews out there on the Redemption, where people don’t like the balance of the blade.  Personally, Survival Knifeit suits me well.  Like most large knives, the balance of the blade is obviously going to favor the blade portion of the knife; simply because there is more material past the handle.  When holding the knife, I was able to let the blade to “fall” onto a piece of wood and it sliced very nice tinder curls.

I like the feel of the G10 handle, however, due to the design there is really only one way to hold it. Most knives with “straight” handles give you the option of multiple holds. The CRKT Redemption has more of a formed handle.  This is one downfall of the knife as it will not give universal hand placement.  The other issue I had was the top curve of the handle.  When I was using the baton method to split wood, the handle would buck upwards, driving that top curve of the handle into my palm.  That was very uncomfortable so I had to move my hand placement around a bit until I found a hold that would work for me. Even though I had to fiddle with my hand placement I was still able to find a comfortable and safe hold when splitting wood.  I was afraid that with the handle lacking texture, it would be prone to slipping when wet.  While splitting some wood I doused the handle several times with water and found that my hold on the knife was never compromised.  The contoured handle proves to aid a solid hold.

Related: Fallkniven A1 Survival Knife Review

After I found a good hold, using the baton method was very easy with this knife.  Because of its size and sharpness it went right through a log after about five good hits.  The tips of some knives that I have tested have become very dull or even broke when I have used them for a baton test.  This knife had no issue with this particular test. Also, during this test I found out something else that was quite interesting.  About halfway down the blade on the top, the form goes from straight flat metal to a beveled edge.

When I noticed this I looked at the piece of wood I was using to hit the top of the blade and found that there were Best Full Tang Survival Knifesignificant cuts made into the wood.  I decided to flip the knife over and tried using this part of the knife to cut into some wood.  It did very skinning the bark and small pieces off a log. If I was desperate I could make deeper cuts with this section of the knife.  I like that the Redemption has this capability because you could use this part of the knife for certain duties while saving the edge of the blade for more important work.  When my short term testing was complete I was a little dismayed.  The spine of the blade that I was hitting to split wood, was beginning to lose some of the finish off the metal.  I wouldn’t have expected this after only splitting four or five pieces of wood, then again maybe I was hitting it too hard?  This definitely is not a deal breaker as the entirety of the finish was not worn down.  I think I will ask around and see if anyone else who owns this knife has had a similar issue.

Also Read: Benchmade Bushcrafter Knife Review

Anyone interested in this knife is going to have to dig into their pockets a bit.  The lowest price I have found is $150 through CRKT lists the knife at $300 on their webpage.  Over all I give The Redemption Knife three out of five stars.  I would have liked to seen the handle have a bit of texture on it since this is a big knife and is meant to be swung a lot.  The hybrid design between a Bowie and kukri is very pleasing to me but makes sharpening the blade a little tricky.  For the price of this knife, I would have liked to seen a sharpening rod added to the sheath. The Redemption looks cool, wicked and feels great in my hand.  However, for the asking price I would like to see those few small changes made before investing that kind of money.  I would like to note that it is my opinion that every knife that is sold should come with a sharpening device of some sort, especially ones that have sheaths.

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Top 5 Survival Knives: A Prepper’s Best Friends

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In case of a SHTF scenario your very own blade will come very handy. The scenario makes very little difference. It matters not if you find yourself struggling to survive in a post-apocalyptic scenario; it doesn’t matter if (for some reason or another) you find yourself stranded in the wilderness and you’re being forced to fight for your survival. What matters ultimately is being equipped and prep’ed up to survive. And in every single scenario imaginable the most useful tool you can get your hands on (literally) is your very own knife, fit to suit your every need.

It can be used for almost everything in a survival situation: you can use it for hunting, skinning, cutting, chopping and even for self defense. The average survival knife’s blade varies between 4 – 8 inches, and their blades are either straight or serrated. Owning a serrated blade is debatable, as it can be extremely useful in cutting wood for example, but the serrated side can’t be sharpened. They come in all shapes and sizes and some have handles equipped with all sorts of instruments (compass, fire starter kit, etc.), only to make it just a bit easier for you to adapt and strive in a hostile environment.

There are basically two types of knives available: the ones with folding blades and the ones with fixed blades. A folding blade is excellent to carry around at all times, easy to deposit and to conceal, while a fixed blades are stronger and sturdier, durable and easy to maintain and clean. Finding the one that’s right for you is no easy task; let’s have a look-see at some of my personal favorites.

Gerber’s Bear Grylls Ultimate Survival Knife

It’s a very practical knife, and it comes packed with a lot of survival gear. The blade measure 5 inches in length 7Cr17MoV stainless steel with a waffle-head hammer on the pommel. To add more variety, the manufacturer makes it available with a fine edge-version or a half serrated edge version, which makes it easier to cut through tough material. The handle is covered in a texture that makes it very easy to hold on to and to utilize in almost any scenario. It has a fire starting kit, based on a square striker notch located in the back of the blade and also an emergency whistle located on a rope tied to the end of the handle. It’s a very practical blade and you can easily purchase it here:

Gerber’s Bear Grylls Ultimate Survival Knife

Randall Model 18

This particular knife feels like the Cadillac or survival blades. It’s shiny, eye-catching, retro-looking and very well built. The blade varies between 5.5 – 7.5 inches in length (but in this case, the bigger, the better), made out of pure stainless steel. The handle is a tubular, stainless steel tube, completely waterproof.  The hilt and the butt are pure brass. The 5.5 inches one weighs around 12oz while the 7.5 inches one is closer to 15oz. As an extra option, you can order the one equipped with a compass and etching on the blade. This blade is very tough and durable and excellent for those who not only want to survive, but want to do it in style. You can order it here:

Randall Model 18



Fallkniven A1 Survival Knife

This is a Swedish survival knife produced by the company called Fallkniven. It’s a very tough blade and it will come extremely useful in case of a survival scenario. This knife is full tang and it comes with a 6.3 inches long blade (and .24 inches thick) that is laminated with VG10 steel, adding robustness and durability. The handle is about 4.7 inches long (which makes the knife of a total of 11 inches long) and it’s made out of checkered Kraton, and it comes with finger guard and lanyard hole. Get your own here:

Fallkniven A1 Survival Knife


Swiss Army Knife Adventurer Model

This is so much more than a simple blade, it’s an all purpose tool. It comes in different shapes, sizes and variations, and you can even get one with certain contraptions and gizmos you never even knew existed. The producer of the Swiss Army knife is a company called Victorinox which runs this type of market completely unopposed. The Adventurer model is a rather simple and more classic approach to the Swiss Army knife, and this is what you get for your money: a can opener, a bottle opener, tweezers, toothpick, an awl, 3 different screwdrivers and of course, a stainless steel knife blade. The knife blade itself measures 4.5 inches in length and the overall weight is about 2.9 ounces. Available for sale here:

Swiss Army Knife Adventurer Model


Buck Hoodlum

This is the perfect survival knife for sword enthusiasts. It’s one of the longest survival knives available on the market, with an overall length of 15.5 inches. The blade alone measures a staggering 10 inches and it’s covered in 5160 steel, with a anti-corrosion powdered coat finish. The handle is made up of Black Linen Micarta scales over an open cavity, which gives the knife the ability to absorb shocks or even attach it to a pole, in order to use it as a spear. On the opposite side of the cutting edge, you find the blade to have a small notch. This allows you to cut wire or maneuver pots over the open fire. It weighs a total of 15 ounces, 22 when kept in sheath. It’s available here:

Buck Hoodlum


These are my personal favorites, but there are still many more out there that you might find to your liking. Before purchasing a knife, take your time and scout the market thoroughly, it’s the only way to assure you get what’s right for you. Take into consideration the material, the durability, the handle, the length of the blade and ultimately the price. Some may be cheap and some may be expensive, but when SHTF, you’ll realize that it was a buck well spent.


By Alec Deacon



The post Top 5 Survival Knives: A Prepper’s Best Friends appeared first on My Family Survival Plan.

Survival Gear Review: Fallkniven Jarl Knife

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Best Survival Knife

It wasn’t until I wore the Fallkniven Jarl on my belt for a while that I realized that the majority of the art we will Best Buscraft Knifehave with us during a bug out will be the art of our equipment.  Now while I find the Glock as sexy as any other gun, I do have a personal affinity for fixed blade knives since they represent thousands if not tens of thousands of years of human evolution.  In other words the Glock is a memory from my senior year of high school while the long knife is part of my genetic code.

By Doc Montana, a contributing author of Survival Cache and SHTFBlog

Old World Craftsmanship for the Future Old World

The Fallkniven Jarl draws upon the craftsmanship and technology of Fallkniven we come to love and turned up the Best Bushcraft Knifevolume on while turning down the tactical implications. The Fallkniven Jarl is not a survival knife in the traditional sense, nor is it a massive blade with which you could hack and slash your way out of a world WROL. Instead, the Jarl is a precision instrument of impeccable quality, refined fit, and unusually high performance steel. In other words, the Fallkniven Jarl is cutting edge art for the bleeding edge of survival.

High Tech for Light and Dark Times

From the oil-treated curly birch handle, to the nickle-silver fittings to the unbelievably sharp blade. As much as I’mBest Survival Knife drawn towards tactical knives for their utilitarian design, I am confident that the finer points of humanity will backfill the tactical aspects of survival. While a Gerber LMF might be the one to grab when you race out the door into the fight, the Fallkniven Jarl is the one to grab when you want to represent what made dignified society in the first place.

Unfortunately the Walking Dead and its kin have taught the public that true survival will be with a blunt instrument.  Regardless of the Gerber product placement and its run of zombie tools (not to be confused with the truly deadly Zombie Tools made right here in my neck of the woods).

Also Read: Gerber eFECT Military Tool

What we have now is a failure to communicate the finer points of cutlery when it comes to the survival genre. Those in the mature hunting stage of life have plenty of fine cutting accoutrements to grace their belts and kits, but the younger set is still infatuated with mean looking knives regardless of their contribution to the collective finer points of life. And the onslaught of Chinese blades, whether knockoffs or one-offs, has left us with a confusing array of steel edges that do more then cut; they represent what we think of ourselves.

Survive or Thrive?

It might be controversial to say, but survival is more than surviving, it is thriving. And to thrive means excitement Best Bushcraft Knifeabout the tools we wrap our hands around every day. I learned long ago that half the fun of pushing the limits outdoors is trusting your equipment to be a full partner in the adventure. So now imagine that your choice in gear today must last you the rest of your life. I know the price of this blade can put it out of reach.  At a flat 300 Washingtons (current Amazon listing), make you ask if this really is the edge you need. However, when compared to custom builds, three bills is a steal. Some of my new favorite customs have base models more than this and the good ones exceed five Benjis just to play.

Don’t Hurt Yourself

The Fallkniven Jarl is a medium sized 3.8” clip point blade of 3G steel.  The name Jarl is Swedish for Duke or Earl, or in other words, the right hand man to the King… going back a thousand years that is. The Jarl is the middle child of three brothers, one smaller, one larger.  An inch shorter in blade length is the Fallkniven Juni, and the older, bigger bro is the Fallkniven Krut.  Not quite a fancy mythical name, but it does have a 6.2 inch blade. From what I can tell, krut means gunpowder. Interesting moniker for a knife.

The 3G steel of the Jarl’s convex ground blade is hardened to a Rockwell of 62. In some circles, this number wouldSurvival Knife Reviewbe on the high side for a field knife, perhaps too high. But that kind of thinking works better with lesser steels or for other knife purposes.  There is a perpetual trade off between edge holding hardness and sharpening hardness so when one overlays the duties of hunting onto this blade, it make perfect sense to have a very strong ultra sharp edge that may require more attention than most when in need of a bath and a shave.  I’d suggest that carriers of 3G blades extend the same courtesy they do as with their gas tanks.  In other words just as you keep your tank above half full and top it off whenever the wind changes direction, keep your 3G blades sharp by giving them a touch-up whenever the edge moves out of perfection. If you wait until you knife needs to be towed to the shop, the amount of bench time needed to find edge perfection will be plenty.  So to compare steel hardness it is important to weigh all the variables in the equation and not just the Rockwell number.

Another consideration is how you will use the knife.  Imaging you slip the Jarl from its warm sheath in order provide to an exit for the guts of your deer. If the blade only contacts organic material, then great.  However, if your critter happened to give up the ghost in the mud or sand, your knife may encounter small but formidable obstacles that will do more than dull the edge. It might actually chip it.  3G steel has a great reputation for durability in such environments, but getting the dings out of 3G will make anyone want an electric belt sander like the Work Sharp.

One in the Hand

If you were to grab a cylinder of clay and squeeze it like you would a knife handle, you would end up with a knife Best Survival Knifehandle in almost the same shape as the Fallkniven Jarl’s knife handle. A slightly barrel-shaped grip swollen in the middle but just the right amount of constriction at the ends. To ensure a the smooth handle doesn’t end abruptly with your fingers continuing onto the blade, a subtle nickel-silver guard stops your hand mid-slide keeping it firmly where it should be.

The curly birch wood handle is about as far from textured as naturally possible. While some knives advertise their grips as grippy or their scales as scaley, the Fallkniven Jarl is just the opposite, at least when dry. While it could be argued that a silky smooth handle is not the most desirable of knife traits, especially with a fairly directional clip point blade, the feel and hand rotations of the Fallkniven Jarl’s grip is nothing short of magical. But when a little sweat, blood or water enters the mix, the grip gets a little grippier.

Related: Fallkniven A1 Review

One of the qualities of wooden knife handles is that wood has low temperature conduction.  Unlike dense handle materials, the wood warms quickly to the comforting embrace of palm and fingers.  And like other hand tools, there is just some primal attraction about wood compared to modern synthetics.  But primal does mean care which is why many modern designs have evolved beyond natural fibers.

The clip point blade has an otherworldly sheen that proves that Fallkniven has been busy making this knife more Best Survival Knifethan special. Normally clip points better serve the hunter crowd over the bushcraft folks. In this case, Jarl’s belly is full of life and will process wood better than most. The sharp point can pose a snagging problem in lightly trained fingers, but the cost of this blade should prevent it from landing in the wrong hands.

The spine of the blade has a sharp 90 degree edge that combined with the steel hardness easily scratches the hell out of any ferrocerium rod it contacts. The unsharpened swedge that occupies about half of the upper side of the blade leaves a smaller length of spine compared to traditional bushcraft-specific rides.

Like all other Fallkniven knives, the Jarl arrived more than shaving sharp. The build quality is exceptional and sheath was free of even minor imperfections. That didn’t last long however as the few days of hard forest wear challenged the leather’s self-healing properties.


The minimalist sheath for the Jarl is a piece of fine leather artwork complete with dangler. The highly consuming Best Survival Knifefriction fit of the sheath confines the knife in all positions except an inverted heavy blow. Extracting the Jarl from its home is done with thumb-forefinger grip either all the way, or until enough of the grip is exposed to slide down the birch for a firmer grip. The Jarl can be dropped into the sheath for temporary holding, or pushed down into its upright and locked position for serious carry.

For those uninitiated to carrying danglers, they are reminiscent of Deputy Best Bushcraft KnifeRick’s Python carry in The Walking Dead TV show. The sheath, or holster in Rick’s case, swings freely on a D ring that allows a fairly large amount of movement compared to the common belt-loop variety. Danglers are a throwback to a simpler time when carrying a knife and gun was part of normal life. They ride lower. They swing freely. They don’t hide at all. What dangler sheaths do well is provide excellent service when sitting as well as standing. And danglers also provide an easy deployment and resheathing depending on the particular design. For riding horses, driving cars, and even sitting on a stump around a campfire, the dangler is a fine choice. Maybe the best choice. No thigh straps needed.

Final Cut

Normally survival situations have little room for creature comforts. But that is only if the features providing the comfort come at a cost. In the case of the Fallkniven Jarl, the only cost is upfront. So when you have to rely on your gear as much as your pulse, don’t forget the finer points of life. Those points that remind us all why we will hang on and fight towards the future. There is no turning back when the downhill slide begins, so how you prep your kits now is what you will have then. Me? I have some useful and deadly things that remind me of just how good we once had it. And the Fallkniven Jarl is one of them.

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Sharpen Those Blades!

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Smith's TRI-6 Arkansaw stoneA dull knife is more than just useless. It can even be dangerous to the user. There is a lot of great gear out there to help you keep your edges sharp.

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Filed under: Azweaponcraftprepper, Survival and Prepping Tagged: Beggining preppers, Doomsday prepping, New preppers, Survival and Prepping, Survival knife sharpening, Survival knives

The Gerber Suspension Multi Tool

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Suspension-Multi-Plier_fulljpg 2I have used a lot of multi tools over the years and still have a few of them. For the last few months I have been using one by Gerber called the Suspension.

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Filed under: Azweaponcraftprepper, Equipment Reviews, Knives and Edged Tools, Survival and Prepping Tagged: Beggining preppers, Bug Out Bag, Doomsday prepping, New preppers, Survival and Prepping, Survival knives, survival tool