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Even if you’ve amassed an arsenal of sharp pointy objects over the years, you’ll need a solid blade that can do it all.
One blade to rule them all, no matter the situation, challenge, or environment. You need a quality fixed blade knife.
You see, seasoned outdoorsman and survivalists all have one thing in common. They come prepared with the right equipment and there is no tool whose importance is agreed on more than a rugged and durable fixed blade knife.
There are tons of choices and I’ve already hit on blades quite a bit via my guides on my favorite knives in similar categories, such as camping knives, combat knives, self-defense knives, and even throwing knives.
In this guide, we’ll dial in on exactly what sets a good knife apart from a great knife and how to choose the best fixed blade knife for your use cases.
Coming out of this guide, you should have a good idea of what to look for, what attributes are important, what features are worth paying for, and how to acquire a great fixed blade knife at a ridiculous price!
- How to Choose the Right Knife
- Here Are the Best Fixed Blade Knives (All Price Ranges)
- 1. Gerber StrongArm and LMF II (Best Value)
- 2. ESEE 6P or 4P
- 3. Benchmade Bushcrafter (Editor’s Choice)
- 4. Benchmade Nimravus 141
- 5. Fallkniven A1 and A1 Pro (Premium Pick)
- 6. Cold Steel SRK (Best Under $50)
- 7. ESEE Izula-II
- 8. Gerber Ghoststrike (EDC)
- 9. Ka-bar 1211 to 14
- 10. Benchmade Fixed Adamas 375
- 11. Benchmade Infidel 133BK
- 12. KA-Bar Straight Edge (Short Version)
- 13. Glock Field Knife with Root Saw
- 14. Spyderco Moran
- 15. Buck Knives 119 Special
- 16. CRKT Clever Girl Fixed Blade Knife
- 17. SOG SEAL Pup Elite
- 18. SOG SEAL TEAM ELITE Survival Knife
- 19. SOG Field Knife with Sheath
- 20. Ontario Knife Company Ranger Assault Knife RAK
- 21. Morakniv BushCraft
- 22. Morakniv Pathfinder
- 23. Morakniv Eldris Fixed-Blade Pocket-Sized Knife
- 24. SOG Small Fixed Blade Knife – Instinct Boot Knife
- 25. KA-Bar Law Enforcement (Self Defense Fixed Blade Knife)
- 26. CRKT SIWI Fixed Blade Knife
- 27. KA-BAR Becker BK2 Campanion
- 28. Ontario SP2 Survival Knife
- 29. Boker Persian Magnum
- 30. Gerber Gator
- 31. Spyderco Ark
- 32. Buck Knives Selkirk
- 33. Nazarov Infantryman Standard Edition
- 34. LT Wright Handcrafted Knives Jessmuk Matte Scandi
- Frequently Asked Questions
This section is for those of you who want to learn more about fixed blade knives before reading reviews. We’ll cover blade shapes, blade materials, knife tangs, and more! If you’d prefer to jump straight to the knife reviews, use the quick navigation menu above or simply keep scrolling.
How to Choose the Right Knife
You wouldn’t go out and buy a new truck without knowing its off-road, towing, and performance capabilities and you should have the same mentality for knives. Fixed blade knives can come in many shapes and sizes but I can assure you, they are not created equally.
Before we jump into each shape, it’s important to have a hard conversation with yourself about how you’ll be using your fixed blades. Check your ego at the door and leave out the idea of a cool looking blade – that idea of coolness will likely end up screwing you when you need to use your knife the most. Each knife shape has distinct characteristics that will determine what they perform well doing as well as there durability, versatility, and even price.
Blade Shapes Explained
Below, I’ll cover many of the most common blade shapes. For a more detailed guide on the pros and cons of each, check out our knife blade shapes guide here.
Drop Point: This is by far the most popular knife blade type and for good reason, it’s the most neutral and versatile blade design you can get your hands on today. The drop-point has been around a very long time and although there are some slight variations in its design across brands, the idea is the same. The drop-point performs well in combat scenarios, under pressure in survival situations, it’s an excellent camping buddy, and it’s one of the easiest knife shapes to maintain.
You can identify a drop-point by its convexly curved spine starting from the handle and ending at the point. The point then drops off minimally until it flattens out back to the handle. One of our favorite knives encompassing a drop-point is the Benchmade Bushcrafter.
Tanto: Tanto blades kill things. Happy? Okay, fine I’ll explain. The Tanto blade was purposely engineered to have incredible stabbing and penetration ability. The point is extremely thin and sharp, allowing for that initial penetration and then the thicker section of the blade easily slides into whatever you’re stabbing, creating massive damage and an incredibly difficult wound to heal from. Of course, we’re not condoning violence and I don’t suggest you use this knife on a human being, but they do make highly effective combat and self-defense options if the need arises.
One of the Marine Approved favorites in terms of Tanto’s is the Benchmade Nimravus which we review in this guide.
Reverse Tanto: The reverse Tanto offers a mostly flat blade belly and a mostly flat spine all the way up until the point. On the belly, the blade remains flat all the way through, but on the spine, the tip of the blade slopes downward harshly to the point. These are pretty good for cutting in straight down motions as the tip won’t interfere or cause excess drag on none-cutting surfaces, however, there are many blades that perform this action and other actions as well and that’s why I don’t usually love this shape for fixed blade knives. One knife that I do love with this shape is the Benchmade EDC 940.
Clip-Point: These are pretty similar to a drop-point but it seems as though they’ve gone on a diet and lost a few grams in the upper spine section. The spine, from the handle, juts out in a flat straight fashion but as we get closer to the point, a big chunk of the blade is taken out almost as if it was cut out by a fingernail snipper.
Clip-points are especially nice when doing precise and small movements such as widdling or carving. The cutout portion of the spine allows the tip to have a smaller footprint while it slides through whatever it is you’re working on and thus allowing sharper turns and more precise movement. Of course, you do lose a little rigidity over the drop-point and I wouldn’t exactly choose a clip-point for a knife I plan to heavily abuse, but if carving is your thing, clip-points are your friend.
A Marine Approved clip-point favorite in terms of fixed blades is the Ontario Knife Company SP-2 Survival knife.
Spear-Point: The spear-point is pretty self-explanatory in that it’s a knife blade designed to mimic the attributes you’d expect to find on a spear. Both the belly of the blade and the spine of the blade come together to form an extremely thin but sharp point that is really only good at one thing and yes, you guessed it, that’s spearing!
Spear-points are usually the go-to design for double-edged blades. The uniformity on both sides of the blade creates an excellent home to two sharp edges, however, you can find a lot of spear-points with only one side sharpened but give the advantage of a spear basically all the same.
Straight-Back: These are also dubbed as a “standard blade” and can be identified by their gentle upward slope from the belly of the blade up to the tip with a relatively shallow slope back down the spine. These blades are extremely minimal and usually quite thin with the idea of being simple and light. These are excellent knives to use when cutting away from you as the curvature of the blade allows for a very smooth movement forward.
Hawkbill: Although technically named the Hawkbill, these are generally more recognizable as the Karambit or Claw blades. These are blades that look like a claw and have a concave curvature to them. These blades lack versatility but do exceptionally well when cutting things towards yourself, like opening boxes, popping zip ties, or dragging your dying enemies closer to you to hear their last breath. Okay, a bit dramatic, but so is the blade shape!
One of our favorite Hawkbill blades is the KA-BAR Law Enforcement or like half the knives Spyderco offers like the Spyderco Byrd.
Trailing-Point: This blade is a bit similar to the straight-back but instead of a straight-back it has a spine that curves slightly upward and brings the point up slightly with it. I know, the point of the straight-back is to be straight, so how can it be similar? Well, the belly of both blade shapes is slightly curved upwards and sometimes the curve of the spine can be so minuscule that it’s easy to mistake one for the other.
One of our favorite trailing-point blades can be found on the CRKT Clever Girl reviewed below.
Kukri: This is either a battle-hardened nightmare for your enemies or a top-class bushcrafter, your choice and I suppose it could be both as well. These were originally used by Asian militaries way back in the olden days but farmers and explorers quickly adopted their shape to cut through dense foliage.
The Kukri’s design almost looks like a boomerang with a very awkward shape that I have no idea how to put into words and with that said, just take a look at the KA-BAR Kukri for inspiration. We won’t be reviewing any of these styles on this page as they aren’t really versatile or usable every day for the average person but we will likely create a guide and a review roundup for some awesome Kukri knives in the near future as they are very much so helpful and handy to have.
Blade Materials Explained
Generally, your blade will be some form of steel, whether it is high-carbon steel, stainless, Cro-Van steel, Damasteel (a/k/a Damascus Steel). There are TONs of different steel compositions out there, which is why we actually put together an in-depth guide on all the different knife steels here. When it comes to choosing the right material for your blade, there are going to be five characteristics to consider:
Hardness: How hard the steel in your blade is will directly affect the knife’s strength. It can be defined as the ability to resist deforming during heavy use. However, if a material is too hard, it can end up becoming brittle, which is why certain alloys are made not just with hardness in mind, but tensile strength as well, which is the ability not only to resist deformity but to allow a bit of playback and forth without breakage.
When shopping around, you’ll likely see ratings of HRC. This is a scale used to measure hardness called the Rockwell hardness scale. The higher the number, the harder the steel is. You can learn more about the Rockwell Hardness scale at this link here.
Toughness: This is the characteristic to resist wear during heavy use. Any knife user has experienced “chipping,” where a small piece of the knife’s blade will break off during use. For knife lovers, chipping can be your worst enemy, so determining a blade that uses an alloy that provides an extra layer of toughness will give you a blade that you can deploy in many more situations than one without such characteristics.
Edge Retention: Simply put, edge retention refers to how long your blade stays sharp in-between sharpening. No one wants to pull out a blade that cannot cut through the material in front of it.
Thus, choosing a steel with a higher edge retention capability means that you can go longer between sharpening. However, it is always a good idea to inspect your blade each time you put it away so that you know it will be sharp and ready to go the next time you need it.
Edge retention is almost always dependent on the type of materials used in the construction of the blade and like most of the attributes regarding blades, typically comes at a tradeoff with other attributes, including sharpening difficulty.
Corrosion Resistance: This determines whether or not your blade will rust under certain conditions or when it comes into contact with certain substances. For instance, if stainless steel is exposed to hydrochloric acid, it will immediately rust and as anyone that lives near the coast can tell you, saltwater is murderous when it comes to blades. Many knife manufacturers design their blades with a layer of corrosion-resistant over the steel to enhance the corrosion resistance of the blade, however, these coatings are prone to damage and almost always end up coming off after a little rigorous usage.
Since these fixed blade knives will likely be carried on you or on the outside of a pack for easy and quick deployment, they’ll likely endure the same conditions you’re enduring, and when it rains, you and your knife will both be suffering!
Luckily for us, there are new technologies in blade manufacturing and materials that will enable your knife to survive weathering and rusting. Choosing a knife based on its durability, toughness, and edge retention are all important factors to consider, but corrosion resistance is also a major factor that you shouldn’t neglect considering before you pull the trigger on a new blade.
Wear Resistance: Simply put, this refers to how long you will be able to use your knife. The easier your blade wears, the shorter its life will be. If you use a knife regularly, you definitely will want to pay attention to the wear resistance rating of the steel used.
Just like corrosion resistance, in many cases, excellent wear resistance generally comes at a tradeoff. Many of the toughest and most durable knives ever made have issues like being especially difficult to sharpen or may not be able to host a razor sharp edge at all due to their thickness and difficulty in manipulating. It doesn’t do you much good to have a knife that refuses to break or wear down when the edge can’t be finely resharpened.
On the flip side of that, some knives notorious for being easy to sharpen and/or have insanely thin and sharp blades wear extremely quickly and often end up with short overall lifespans. Knives with ultra-sharp blades are generally knives you’ll have to replace much quicker than knives with thicker and harder blades.
Understanding Knife Tangs
When it comes to deciding the fixed-blade knife that best suits your needs, it is important to consider the knife’s tang. As we mentioned earlier, fixed-blade knives are composed of a single piece of steel. The part that extends from the handle is the blade, and the portion that extends down into the handle is called the tang.
Full Tang: Full tang means there is one solid piece of steel that runs straight through the handle. On a full tang knife, the handle is composed of two pieces that wrap around the tang. Full tang knives are obviously stronger than any other type and can be used in situations where very heavy use is required. The only downside to this is that the full tang can add a bit more weight to the knife, which means that you run the risk of tiring out faster with each swing.
Partial Tang: Other than the full tang, the other major category of knife tang is the partial tang. Generally around 3/4 the length of the handle, the partial tang is inserted into the handle and may either be secured with fasteners or epoxy. The partial tang is almost always considered to be inferior to the full tang, but this is not always the case. As with every tool, the best tool for the job will always depend on the intended purpose of the tool and if it is being used in-line with this purpose.
Stick Tang or Narrow Tang: A narrow-tang knife consists of a thin piece of steel that is secured to the handle often with a bolt or threaded pommel. A narrow tang is usually considered to be inferior to a full-tang blade, and many budget fixed blade knives use narrow tang blades. These knives, while capable when used sporadically for their intended purposes, tend to come with a risk of breakage at the handle when used in very heavy circumstances.
Push Tang: A push tang is a narrow tang that extends about halfway down the length of the handle. It gets its name because the tang is inserted by pushing it into a hollow portion in the blade, which is then secured with epoxy. Many kitchen knives have push tangs, and if you’ve ever had the tang separate from the handle, you know exactly what one looks like. Push tangs have an inferior reputation versus full tang or even narrow/stick tang blades, mainly because they are secured to the blade with an adhesive instead of secured with fasteners. Push tangs are considered a type of partial tang, but generally, knives labeled as “partial tang” will have slightly longer tangs than push tangs but have handles constructed in almost identical manners.
Other tangs include the extended tang and encapsulated tang, both of which are specialty variations of the full tang; as well as skeletonized tangs and tapered tangs, both of which are types of partial tang.
An additional note: Recent trends have shown that many people have begun to gravitate towards fixed-blade knives of shorter length. Many state and local laws in the United States have varying requirements regarding blade length that can end up with the carrier being prosecuted for a concealed weapons charge if they are violated. These laws can vary from one city to the next. As violent crime continues to occur across the world, it’s only natural that restrictions on weapons of any kind (including blades) will be debated and eventually passed, even on knives.
So, to make sure that they are not hassled by restrictive laws on blade lengths, many people have decided to equip themselves with blades of a shorter length as their go-to blade. If you see a model on our list that happens to be a small blade review, the same exact model may exist in a longer length.
And now, time for some fixed blade knife reviews!
Here Are the Best Fixed Blade Knives (All Price Ranges)
|Best Fixed Blade Knives||USP||Amazon||BladeHQ|
|Benchmade Bushcrafter||Editor's Choice||Click here||Click here|
|KA-Bar Law Enforcement||Best in Self-defense||Click here||Click here|
|Fallkniven A1 and A1 Pro||Best under $500||Click here||Click here|
|Benchmade Infidel 133BK||Best under $300||Click here||Click here|
|SOG SEAL Pup Elite||Best under $100||Click here||Click here|
|Ontario SP2 Survival Knife||Best under $50||Click here||Click here|
1. Gerber StrongArm and LMF II (Best Value)
Blade Steel: 420 High Carbon Steel
Blade Style: Drop Point
Blade Length: 4.8”
Overall Length: 9.8”
Weight: 7.2 oz
Note: You can find this knife with a partially serrated edge here.
My Review: Gerber makes a number of fixed blade knives that you’ll see being carried by members of the US military. The two that we’ll discuss here are the Gerber StrongArm and Gerber LMF II.
First, let’s discuss the StrongArm. The blade you’re getting here is a highly versatile drop-point consisting of ceramically coated 420HC steel (with or without partial serration). This knife is ready for just about any challenge you may face and is equally as durable as it is versatile. The knife is equipped with a rubberized grip with a diamond coat texture that feels excellent in the hand and doesn’t slip even when soaking wet.
This knife is a monster and Gerber did an exceptional job encompassing everything you’d want in survival and combat knife without jacking up the price sky-high. Another thing I really like is that Gerber makes these knives in the USA.
The StrongArm has its own sheath specifically designed to be as tactical and versatile as possible. These sheaths are excellent and far exceeded expectations at this price point. They are MOLLE compatible and host multi-directional carry configurations. Overall, if you’re looking for a very versatile fixed blade knife at a reasonable price, the StrongArm is a strong choice! You can also find the Gerber StrongArm in all black here.
Note: As mentioned, Gerber makes some other very popular fixed blade knives similar to the StrongArm including the LMF II Infantry and the Gerber Prodigy. The knives are similar in size, but depending on your use case one will likely be better than the other. SensiblePrepper does a good job of breaking down the differences in the video below.
You can find the LMF II Infantry Knife on Amazon here, LMF II Survival Knife on Amazon here. In terms of price to performance, these are all some of the best fixed blade knives out there right now. Personally, I prefer the StrongArm because I like the grip and its lighter. The fact that it lacks lashing holes to make a spear in survival situations and an insulated handle isn’t a big deal to me, but again, it really all depends on what you’re looking to get out of your fixed blade knife.
Here is a video review of the StrongArm Alone.
2. ESEE 6P or 4P
Blade Steel: 1095 Carbon Steel
Blade Style: Drop Point
Blade Length: 6.50″
Overall Length: 11.75″
Weight: 12 oz
Cutting Edge: 5.75”
Handle Material: Grey Micarta Scale
Sheath: Black Molded Polymer with removable clip
Maximum Thickness: 1.56”
My Review: The ESEE 6P and 4P have been around for a while now and continue to be some of the most versatile knives for the money. Along with getting an extremely well designed full tang knife with a razor sharp 1095 carbon steel drop point blade, you also get the ESEE 100 percent lifetime transferable warranty. That means if you somehow manage to break it, ESEE will repair or replace it with no questions asked, even without a receipt.
The blade is crafted from 1095 Carbon Steel (one of my favorite steels) and capable of being fitted for modular deployment. This blade is capable of everything from wood processing to batoning to survival applications. This blade not only serves great in the wilderness but is also great for first responders and law enforcement uses.
Its design is beautiful yet simple and it feels great in your hand, with a perfect balance between a sturdy, thick blade and a lightweight handle. It comes with a molded sheath for tactical deployment options as well as a clip plate for easy access. The handle itself is made from Micarta canvas, and the knife itself is meant to stand up to the toughest jobs and abuse that you can throw at it.
Keep in mind that carbon steel, which is amazing in terms of keeping a sharp edge, can rust if not properly cared for, unlike stainless, which stands up to corrosion better. This will not be a problem if you care for your knife the way it was intended to be cared for by applying a very thin layer of lubricant after each use and cleaning.
This is not a cheap blade, so it goes without saying that it is in your wallet’s best interest to ensure that it is cared for properly. Do this, and it will last a lifetime.
Note: The ESEE 6P has a 6.5 inch blade and is larger than the ESEE 4P found here which has 4.5 inch blade. Both knives are great so just choose whichever one makes more sense for your intended uses.
Hands down, this is one of my favorite fixed blade knives from one of my favorite knife companies, and to top it off ESEE knives are made in the USA.
Here is a great video review I found on this knife:
3. Benchmade Bushcrafter (Editor’s Choice)
Blade Steel: CPM-S30V (58-60 HRC)
Blade Style: Drop Point
Overall Length: 9.15” (23.24cm)
Blade Length: 4.40” (11.18cm)
Weight: 7.72 ounces (218.86g)
Blade Thickness: 0.164” (4.17mm)
Handle Thickness: 0.92” (23.37mm)
My Review: You know those silly games you used to play where someone would ask you what item you would like to have if you were stranded on an unknown island? Yeah, this is one of those items. In my opinion, this is the best fixed blade knife for survival applications you can find at around the $200 price point. The full tang S30V blade can take a good bit of abuse and is perfect for bushcraft, camping, survival applications.
If you’ve read any of our other knife articles on Marine Approved, you already know we’re big fans of Benchmade. Along with making their knives in the USA and backing all of their knives by Benchmade’s LifeSharp Service and unbelievable warranty, these knives are made with incredible attention to detail and craftsmanship. With a little maintenance, this knife will continue to be a workhorse and last a lifetime. I could go on and on about this knife, but the video below does a good job providing an overview of its features.
4. Benchmade Nimravus 141
Blade Steel: 154CM Stainless Steel
Blade Style: Tanto
Blade Length: 4.5″
Overall Length: 9.45″
Weight: 6.20 oz
My Review: First and foremost I want to point out that the Nimravus 141 is available in multiple variations. This is one of my favorite Benchmade knives of all time, and even at around $200, I consider this knife a great value. The knife is equipped with a full tang corrosion-resistant 154CM stainless-steel tanto-shaped blade as shown in the picture above or with a drop point blade that you can check out here.
These lightweight knives are excellent combat companions and are purpose-built to be extremely lethal. Tanto blades are designed tactically, with maximum force being able to be applied at the tip, so there is definitely a plus-side to carrying this blade. This is especially advantageous for military or law enforcement personnel who may need to penetrate thick clothing or low-level body armor. If you’re buying the Nimravus to use for camping or survival purposes, you’d probably be better off going with the drop point version linked above. With a drop point and straight edge, this knife is still great for combat applications and will provide more utility in a survival setting.
The knife has a lightweight aluminum handle that feels great while still offering strength, versatility, and portability. Overall, this is a full-tang blade that you can truly trust with your life and of course, it’s also backed by Benchmade’s LifeSharp Service and warranty. The Nimravus 141 is a field-tested blade and regardless of what version you choose, you will not be disappointed.
- 6061-T6 aluminum handle for strength yet lightweight carry.
- Easy to clean and simplistic design means less moving parts to wear out.
- MOLLE-compatible clip and nylon sheath for easy access and deployment.
5. Fallkniven A1 and A1 Pro (Premium Pick)
Blade Steel: CoS steel
Blade Style: Clip-Point
Blade Composition: Laminated CoS
Handle Composition: Kraton
Blade Length: 6.30 Inches
Total Length: 11.14 Inches
Total Weight: 12.00 Ounces
Sheath Material: Zytel
My Review: Fallkniven is one of Sweden’s most reputable blade manufacturers and is responsible for some of our favorite knives that come out of Europe. Fallkniven is a company that doesn’t care about market share or maximizing revenue, instead, they focus on choosing a role and then creating a knife that fits that role the best.
In this case, they set out to create a highly versatile and ultra-durable fixed blade that can be used for pretty much every use case that would merit a medium length fixed blade knife. The Fallkniven A1 Pro is constructed of laminated CoS steel which has garnered a lot of attention as of recent for its incredible longevity and resistance to corrosion. CoS steel is relatively new and consists of a very high amount of cobalt that increases the blades edge retention over VG-10 but hosts similar incredible levels of corrosion resistance and durability.
Laminated CoS cobalt steel is around 60 HRC which, compared to some other premier tier steels, is pretty average, but it has one major advantage – It’s extremely resistant to corrosion and the lamination Fallkniven has chosen to finish their steel with really aids in the longevity of the blade over long periods of time and abuse. Fallkniven has taken a base material that they know will stand the test of time and weathering and they’ve made it insanely thick (6mm) and insanely strong.
The Fallkniven A1 Pro is a utility belt of versatility all packed up nicely in one very smooth modernistic package. That beautiful Swedish styling with laminated CoS cobalt steel really sets this knife apart and yeah, they’re among the priciest knives on the list but they sure are worth it if you need an all-around all-star edge holding masterpiece of a blade. If the A1 Pro is out of your price range, the Fallkniven A1 can be found on Amazon for about half the price and is still an incredible knife.
6. Cold Steel SRK (Best Under $50)
Blade Steel: CPM-3V or SK-5 or San Mai (Laminated VG-10)
Blade Style: Clip Point
Blade Length: 6.00 Inches
Overall Length: 1075 Inches
Weight: 8.10 Ounces
My Review: This particular fixed blade is one you’ll see being carried by troops overseas, and has been trusted by military leadership at the highest level. In fact, I’ve heard this knife is standard issue to Navy SEALs during training. It’s a fixed blade that I have become very close to and as such, I strongly recommend it for just about everybody. You would be hard pressed to find a version of this knife that couldn’t suit your fixed blade needs and at the end of the day, these are some of the roughest and toughest knives per dollar you can get your hands on, and hey, they look good too which is a huge plus because we all know looking cool is the most important thing.
Jokes aside, let’s quickly run down your options with the Cold Steel SRK lineup. Steel nerds will probably give preference to the CPM-3V version. Other than taking far more time and patience to resharpen, CPM-3V is incredible and one of the strongest knife steels to date. It holds an edge unlike anything I’ve ever had before, and unlike other really hard blades, it has decent corrosion resistance as well.
The SK-5 steel version is an absolutely incredible deal and the best value overall. SK-5 is still a fantastic steel for a lot of people and is used across many reputable brands and knife manufacturers. It’s well rounded too, think CPM-3V but slightly less as good in every category for less than half the price. The SK-5 variant is cheap enough that you can simply abuse it and replace it when needed.
Finally, Cold Steel has their own little twist they like to use to spice things up with and that’s San Mai. San Mai is really just a cool name for steel that they made to be slightly harder than traditional VG-10 without sacrificing VG-10s excellent corrosion resistance. Going to be taking this knife with you on many adventures that will lead to saltwater exposure? San Mai is the option for you.
So, why choose this knife? Well, the SRK lineup is probably one of the best bang for your buck options in today’s market. It’s got a very neutral styling that is obviously crafted for function over form, it’s well balanced and extremely versatile, and it has no real downfalls. You can hack, slash, stab, thrust, and do just about anything from chop up firewood to utilize these knives in combat. Sure there are higher-end knives on this list that will be better for certain applications, but overall this knife shines in many areas and I don’t think anyone could possibly regret picking up this knife.
Here is a good video review on the SRK, I recommend skipping to 4:05 in the video.
7. ESEE Izula-II
Blade Steel: 1095
Blade Style: Drop Point
Blade Length: 2.62 Inches
Overall Length: 6.75 Inches
Weight: 3.20 Ounces
My Review: I know ESEE doesn’t participate at the top echelons of knife building and of course, the Izula-II coming in with 1095 steel is no exception to that, but man I still get so excited when I get a new ESEE knife. The Izula-II on paper is actually pretty disappointing but its performance is anything but!
First and foremost, these are supposed to be extremely small fixed blades that are meant to be heavily abused and replaced after a while. They aren’t going to be the kind of knife that you can use on all of your adventures, constantly abusing them, and then passing them down to your kids for further abuse. At just seventy bucks, though, you can certainly get your money’s worth and more, though, because what ESEE lacks in premium steel options they make up for in design and engineering.
1095 is by no means my favorite steel and it’s probably not yours either but it’s also relatively cheap and still gets the job done for most people. If my life is on the line, no, it’s not my first choice, but if I want to go on a light hike or camping trip and I am really pressed for reducing my pack weight, the IZULA-II is an excellent substitution for my heavier blades. In the hands it does feel a little small but considering its dimensions, it actually feels larger than what I was expecting. The drop-point is well played out and gives you ample cutting surface for most day-to-day tasks despite it having a smaller blade than a lot of pocket knives!
If I was in the market for a relatively cheap but decently built small and concealable fixed blade and I had to choose between this and the Gerber Ghoststrike, even though the Ghoststrike does look pretty cool and is a bit cheaper, I’d choose the Izula-II hands down. The grip feels a lot more natural and the blade offers a bit more versatility. The Ghoststrike feels like an indoor-use kind of blade while the Izula-II feels like an outdoorsmans mini-tool.
Remember, 1095 High Carbon steel will rust rather quickly, especially in humid environments, if not properly cared for and maintained. Always wipe the blade clean and pass a TUF-Cloth over it when the job is done.
8. Gerber Ghoststrike (EDC)
Blade Steel: 420HC
Blade Style: Modified Drop Point
Blade Length: 3.30 Inches
Overall Length: 6.90 Inches
Weight: 3.60 Ounces
My Review: The Gerber Ghoststrike isn’t something that will do it all in one but it is a really cool fixed blade that’s light, easy to conceal, and easy to carry with you when a full size fixed blade is too cumbersome or just not viable. At first, I kind of felt like this knife was more of a fashion statement than anything else but it does actually pack quite a punch in a very small and lightweight form factor that I’ve grown to really enjoy.
At something like sixty bucks, these are awesome knives to have around as a backup or just to spice things up a bit. It wouldn’t be my primary knife by any means but if I have a small and easy job to do that doesn’t require a lot of blade surface, the Ghoststrike comes in clutch with easy and quick deployment. I don’t personally carry by way of the neck but if that was your goal, this would be an excellent neck knife, and of course it comes with a lashing hole at the end of its skeletonized handle.
If you need something for hard utility purposes and you really like Gerber, check out our reviews in this guide for the Strongarm as I believe it is a bit more versatile, albeit heavier and larger, than the Ghoststrike. Remember, this knife is insanely small and for a lot of people like myself who have large hands, this knife will feel a bit uncomfortably small. The rubberized grip on the handle is pretty good but if the knife experiences abuse, that rubberization will come off so be careful!
Remember, 1095 High Carbon steel will rust rather quickly, especially in humid environments, if not properly cared for and maintained. Always wipe the blade clean and pass a TUF-Cloth over it when the job is done.
9. Ka-bar 1211 to 14
Blade Steel: 1095 Cro-Van
Blade Style: Clip-Point
Blade Length: 7.00 Inches
Overall Length: 11.75 Inches
Weight: 11.20 Ounces
My Review: This is an updated version of the original Ka-Bar; the knife developed to match the lethality and effectiveness of German knives during World War 2. Keep in mind that the Ka-Bar Model 1211, 1212, 1213, and 1214 all have 1211 stamped on the blade. The knives are the same with slight modifications. The 1211 version has a straight edge with a leather sheath, model 1212 has a serrated edge with a leather sheath, model 1213 has a straight edge with Kydex sheath, and model 1214 has a partially serrated edge with a Kydex sheath. I prefer and recommend the 1213 version It’s an excellent niche knife for those who have an affinity for the Ka-Bar name and style. No, it’s not the best fixed blade knife you could buy on a dollar per performance basis and 1095, even if it is their upgraded Cro-Van steel (1095 with a little Vanadium added), isn’t exactly the best or the most durable in any specific category, but there is a lot to love about this knife.
The 1213 comes with the traditional combat oriented clip-point design with a full tang construction. The handle, dating back many years now, has that similar appearance to the original Ka-Bar Marine fighting knife but its a bit more modern now and consists of Kraton, which, if you’ve ever used Kraton, you know its a well rounded handle material that a lot of people really enjoy, myself included.
So, who is this knife for? It’s not for those of you looking for the best of the best and it’s not exactly the most bang for your buck but it is a nice modern piece reminiscent of their earlier combat oriented knives. It’s very versatile, rather tough compared to other 1095 blades, and just has that Ka-Bar feel to it that’s really hard to explain.
For me, I love having Ka-Bars around even though I typically use other higher end knives when I know things are going to get rough but the Ka-Bar is still utilized by many servicemen as well as thousands of survivalists and outdoorsmen to this day. Being a knife reviewer, it’s hard to say where I stand on a knife like this when I get to handle so many knives that encompass leading edge material sciences and technology so to wrap things up, Ka-Bar knives just like the Ka-Bar 1213 is simply for those who have the taste for it.
10. Benchmade Fixed Adamas 375
Blade Steel: D2
Blade Style: Drop Point with sawtooth spine and skeletonized frame
Blade Length: 4.2″
Overall Length: 9.03″
Weight: 5.60 oz
My Review: When I first saw this knife I really had no idea what they were going for. It looks extremely lethal but it’s a drop-point, so lethality isn’t the main focus. Then we have that weird abnormally large saw tooth thing going on the spine of the blade. I’m confused until I made a discovery!
There is no point here. This knife is just cool, period. It’s a skeletonized 4.2” D2 steel blade with the entire purpose of being as tactical in appearance as possible! That doesn’t mean it lacks utility, though, but I certainly wouldn’t recommend using the spine as a place to put your hand!
The Abramas is certainly a fantastic knife to own but only if you’re well experienced with knives like this. The knife is actually extremely useful and hosts numerous different ways to utilize and implement it’s multiple tools.
These are excellent knives to have with you while camping or backpacking and are in the off chance stuff hits the fan, this knife can be extremely lethal and useful in self-defense applications.
The knife can come with a paracord wrap and they all come with the coveted Blade-Tech Tek-Lok holster, which basically a MOLLE compatible ABS plastic holster designed to be equally as tactical looking as the blade it protects.
All in all, it’s hard to recommend this knife for any specific purpose other than just having a really sweet looking fixed blade. Of course, you can use it for self-defense, you could take it camping, you could leave it in the car as a backup, or whatever you really want. Benchmade really likes to build knives with specific purposes but they do like to get creative and appeal to the tacticool crowd every so often, which is exactly what this knife is!
By the way, a lot of Benchmade knives, including this one, have a charity going on now that donates a portion of the sale price to Three Rangers and the Navy Seal foundation with the intent of taking care of the families of our fallen guardians, two foundations that are very much so Marine Approved. I also like that it comes with a Blade-Tech Tek-Lok attachment system and a paracord handle wrap
11. Benchmade Infidel 133BK
Blade Steel: D2
Blade Style: Spear-Point
Blade Length: 4.52 Inches
Total Length: 9.21 Inches
Total Weight: 5.11 Ounces
Handle Composition: Anodized Aluminum
Sheath Material: Boltaron
My Review: Albeit the Automatic Out-The-Front (OTF) version of this knife is MUCH more fun and far more ominous in appearance, the Infidel with it’s fixed blade is also quite a treat on its own.
The 4.52-inch blade consists of American D2 Tool Steel and comes in at a huge 62 HRC rating which is rather hard compared to most other knives. D2 is well known for its incredible durability and resistance to the elements because it hosts a profile including lots of chromium, a popular element used in premium steels that increases their resistance to rust and wear and tear.
I’ll admit, this knife leaves a lot to be desired in terms of an EDC but if you look at it objectively, the OTF version was made more as a personal defense type weapon and I’d say the same thing rings true for the fixed blade version.
The Infidel was never thought to have been highly versatile as you move from task to task on a farm but more so to be carried on you through tough times and not-so-friendly lands of uncertainty. This is the knife you carry when there are no getaway options or nearby bailouts, this is the knife that decides whether or not you continue your mission, whether that be defending your family or fighting off an insurgent in combat.
I have heard of some Infidels arriving with one edge dull. This may be due to the legalities of double-edged spear-point blades being classified as “daggers”. As always, it’s your responsibility to ensure something like this is legal where you live and if it isn’t, it might arrive with only one side sharpened.
12. KA-Bar Straight Edge (Short Version)
Blade Steel: 1095 Cro-Van high-carbon steel
Blade Style: Drop Point
Blade Length: 5 1/4″ (1 1/4″ straight edge)
Blade Material: 1095 Cro-Van carbon steel.
Overall Length: 9 1/4″
Intended Uses: Combat, Survival, Hunting, Tactical, Camping, General Utility.
My Review: This is the short-blade KA-Bar that I mentioned earlier in the article. Now, any Marine should know the KA-Bar original combat knife inside and out, and since I happen to fit that description, this shorter version already felt very familiar as soon as I laid eyes on it.
The manufacturer introduced this version as a way to make the original KA-Bar USMC design more compact – while retaining all of its original quality – so that it could be used by a wider audience as well as for a wider variety of uses, such as camping and general utility.
I personally think that this is a great idea and a damn good knife that will always get the job done. As I mentioned before, I would not use my KA-Bar to chop through wood or anything, but as a general-purpose camping and utility blade, this will definitely do the job.
The blade is crafted from 1095 Cro-Van high-carbon steel, which again is my preference in blade material. It will keep an edge and can be easily sharpened to bring it to the optimal sharpness.
Looking through purchases and reviews by others who have bought this knife, you’ll be hard-pressed to find negative reviews, with most people saying it is an excellent blade and many actually using the word “perfect” to describe it. Personally, I think you can’t go wrong with this offering from KA-Bar, in terms of overall functionality as well as price, which comes in at just over $50.00.
In my opinion, this was a successful attempt by KA-Bar to built a true-to-form short version of the original.
- Reliable fixed blade knife made in the USA.
- Kraton G thermoplastic elastomer handle.
- Perfect for outdoor use like hunting, camping, and fishing.
13. Glock Field Knife with Root Saw
Blade Steel: Spring Steel (Phosphate Treated)
Blade Style: Clip Point
Blade Length: 6.50″
Overall Length: 11.00″
Weight: 7.23 ounces
Cutting Edge: 5.625″Blade Thickness: 0.21″
Hardness: 55 HRC
Blade Grind: Flat
Edge Type: Plain
Handle Length: 4.50″
Handle Thickness: 1.00″
My Review: The Glock Field Knife is the lowest-priced knife that we reviewed in this guide, but input from verified buyers indicates that, at least in this case, low price does not mean low quality.
Now, it’s unlikely that you will get the type of satisfaction that you will get from using something like the SOG Seal survival knife above, but for a no-frills utility blade, you can’t go wrong with this under-$30 offering from Glock. With a phosphate treated steel blade, your knife will stand up to corrosion while staying ready to use in-between sharpenings.
It includes a black polymer sheath for easy deployment. Coming in at 6.5 inches, this is one of those knives that I suggest you check against your local knife laws before you buy it, because if you can’t legally carry it, what’s the point in buying it? However, as long as you live in an area where you can possess a knife of this length without any legal ramifications, giving this solid offering from Glock a try won’t set you back much at all.
I especially like the root saw on the reverse edge of the knife. Many sawbacks can be difficult to use, but with the teeth spaced like they are on the Glock Field Knife, you will find that it is easy to use to cut through small shrubbery, brush, and stubborn roots.
This is a solid, low-cost field knife from Glock that won’t break the bank but will get the job done. Overall, if you’re looking for the best fixed blade knife under 50 dollars, this should be a top contender.
14. Spyderco Moran
Blade Steel: VG10
Blade Style: Trailing Point
Handle Composition: FRN
Blade Length: 3.92 Inches
Total Length: 8.06 Inches
Total Weight: 3.10 Ounces
Sheath Material: Boltaron
My Review: It’s not often you find a Spyderco knife that stops you and makes you say “huh, that looks normal”, but the Moran really doesn’t exude a whole lot of draw-dropping confusion when you see it on the surface. We are accustomed to Spyderco making crazy things like the Civilian or the Matriarch and of course, they’ve made their mark with the Spyderco “leaf” blade.
We don’t get any of that craziness here. Instead, Spyderco took a break from making leaf-shaped knives and asked one of the most reputable bladesmiths to collaborate and create a cutting edge knife utilizing Spyderco’s famous VG-10 steel and Bill Morans design expertise.
The result of that partnership was a beautiful marriage between that old hardened fashion and trustworthiness mixed with a little Spyderco flavor and of course, VG-10 steel.
The trailing-point blade here is quite interesting even if it isn’t a serrated reverse S-Curve blade. Although you can technically slice and skin with just about any of the knives on this list, the trailing-point on the Moran is basically built for it with the added addition of being extremely strong and resistant to corrosion. Of course, this knife is plenty more capable than just use as a skinning blade. The VG-10 steel Spyderco likes to use is notorious for being a very tough and resilient steel with some of the best resistance to corrosion of any steel.
These knives can sustain long term abuse whether that comes in the form of preparing your next meal or use around the farm and can perform many of the same duties as the ever so versatile drop-point. This is one of the few trailing-point shaped fixed blades that I would recommend as a fairly versatile and overall fantastically designed knife that could be used across many situations.
15. Buck Knives 119 Special
Blade Style: Clip Point
Blade Steel: 420HC
Blade Length: 6″
Overall Length: 10.5″
Weight: 7.5 ounces
My Review: A fixed knives list is certainly not complete without a Buck Knife! The Buck Knives 119 Special is a very traditional do-it-all kind of knife that utilizes a rather hefty and menacing 6” clip-point blade constructed of 420 High Carbon steel.
This knife has tons of utility value but of course, that clip-point does one thing and one thing extremely well, it pierces everything! Although that blade is quite intimidating, the black or wood grain phenolic handles are beautiful and offer a very traditional woodsman appeal.
These knives are great because they offer so much utility at a ridiculously low price. You can take them out and abuse them all day every day or you can choose to keep them looking shiny and beautiful, or both, because they’re tough as nails and are built to withstand a beating.
You can choose between a traditional black or wood grain phenolic handle, and it comes with a real leather sheath with a snap-lock and belt loop for easy waist carry. This is easily one of the best fixed blade knives out there.
16. CRKT Clever Girl Fixed Blade Knife
Blade Style: Trailing Point
Blade Steel: SK5
Blade Length: 4.6″ (116.84 mm)
Overall Length: 10.125″ (257.18 mm)
Weight: 6.3 oz (178.6g)
Blade Thickness: 0.158″ (4.01 mm)
Edge: Plain (Single)
Sheath Material: Nylon with glass fiber and MOLLE-compatible loop
My Review: This short fixed-blade knife is an incredibly hot seller at the moment. Going along with current trends in knife preference, it features a short blade with a length of 4.6 inches, making it comply with a vast majority of US state laws pertaining to knife blade length. It features a full tang and weighs just 6.3 ounces. It also includes a MOLLE-compatible sheath for convenience and easy access in case of a self-defense emergency.
Now, I know what the guys out there are thinking – a short blade with a name like “Clever Girl” clearly indicates that CRKT specifically intends this blade to be marketed as a self-defense knife for women. While that may be what the manufacturer intended, I have no problem at all stating that I would be proud to carry this as a back-up blade any day of the week.
A special note – this knife was designed by veteran Austin McGlaun of the Forged By War program, which is a program that partners with CRKT to create combat-ready tools drawing from experience on the battlefield. This particular blade makes no qualm about its intended design purpose – it is designed to kick ass and take names while ensuring your safety.
The bottom line is that this is a capable short-bladed weapon that is perfect for EDC, self-defense, and personal protection.
17. SOG SEAL Pup Elite
Blade Style: Clip Point
Blade Steel: AUS-8 Stainless Steel
Blade Length: 4.75”
Overall Length: 9”
Weight: 5.4 ounces
My Review: Like its big brother the SOG Seal Survival Knife, the SOG Seal Pup Elite is constructed with AUS-8 steel and is essentially scaled-down into a package with a 4.75” blade.
The full tang AUS-8 blade is coated with black Titanium Nitride to protect the blade from the elements, and while this knife isn’t made with a super steel like some of the more expensive knives on this list, AUS-8 is a well-rounded steel and you get a capable knife at an affordable price. I really liked the look and feel of this model, even more than the larger version, especially because I don’t care for the nubbed spine on the larger elite.
The bottom line is that this is a perfect-sized, nearly indestructible knife that is an excellent EDC candidate.
- Cryogenically hardened steel is SOG’s proprietary process that hardens the material at the atomic level
- Handle: High-impact nylon offers great grip with zero maintenance; a nearly indestructible material
- Hardcased Black Titanium Nitride (Tini) Coating
- Molle-compatible Ballistic nylon Sheath
18. SOG SEAL TEAM ELITE Survival Knife
Blade Style: Clip Point
Blade Steel: AUS-8 Stainless Steel
Blade Length: 7″
Overall Length: 12.3” with extended tang — more than a foot of cryogenically hardened steel
Weight: 10.3 oz
My Review: As mentioned this is basically just a larger version of the SEAL Pup elite. The blade is crafted from AUS-8 steel coated with black Titanium Nitride, with the result being a strong and capable blade. It is designed for maximum utility, and as such, functions great as a camping, hiking, self-defense knife, and tactical/combat knife.
The handle is built from glass-reinforced nylon and the knife itself has a full tang design. at just over $100, you won’t go wrong with the SOG Seal Survival Knife if you are looking for a capable fixed-blade
SOG Commitment: “Take care of your knives and we’ll take care of you; we’re committed to making sure they do.” This means that SOG will closely consider any and all repair/replacement requests for the life of the knife, so long as it was not damaged or destroyed due to carelessness.
- Handle: High-impact nylon offers a great grip with zero maintenance; a nearly indestructible material
- Molle-compatible Sheath: Ballistic nylon sheath with an extra pocket that you can wear on your belt or attach to packs and gear
- Coating: Comes with a Hard-cased Black Titanium Nitride (Tini) Coating.
Plasma-coated in an air-sealed vacuum to further increase durability
19. SOG Field Knife with Sheath
Blade Style: Clip Point
Blade Steel: 7Cr17MoV
Blade Length: 4″
Overall Length: 8.5″
Weight: 3.8 oz
Sheath: Notched GRN Sheath
My Review: This bushcraft option from SOG is an excellent survival field knife and an excellent all-around choice for a great fixed-blade knife.
With a 4-inch blade, it is the perfect length to comply with blade length restrictions, so you should have no problem carrying it. It is a full tang knife, so you will have no problem deploying it in the field to take care of thick brush, dressing your kills (small game), and even prepping food at a campsite.
This knife comes from the factory super sharpened and ready to go, and it is designed for maximum edge retention so you can go longer between sharpening. It also includes a GRN sheath and SOG’s famous guarantee.
20. Ontario Knife Company Ranger Assault Knife RAK
Blade Steel: 1095 Stainless Steel
Blade Length: 6.8”
Overall Length: 12”
Weight: 12.5 oz
My Review: Ontario Knife Company has literally never disappointed me with any of their blades across any category and it’s no surprise that the RAK Ranger Assault Knife is an excellent choice. The RAK will take some getting used to as it is a rather large and thick 6” blade with a somewhat small handle, however, if you like blade heavy knives that seemingly guide themselves through whatever you’re slicing, this knife is a great companion to have along with you.
The RAK is a black powder-coated flat ground 1095 stainless steel blade with dark gray Micarta handle scales. I really like the textured 1” spine on the top for heavy downward cutting and the blade overall just feels massively capable of taking on just about anything you throw at it. These blades were specifically designed to be carried by actual Rangers and were designed with real Army Ranger input to be both effective in combat and survival situations.
This knife comes with a fairly nice MOLLE compatible nylon sheath that, if you aren’t a stickler on sheaths, is probably just fine to use.
21. Morakniv BushCraft
Blade Steel: Swedish High Density Carbon Steel
Blade Length: 4.3″ (109 mm).
Overall Length: 9.1″ (232mm).
Blade Thickness: 0.126″ (3.2 mm).
Weight: 5.4 oz. (154g)
Intended Uses: Survival, Camping, Bushcraft, Firestarting, General Utility
My Review: I can’t say it enough – I really like this blade. Morakniv really paid attention to detail when crafting this survival and bushcraft-focused blade.
This knife is built strong enough to handle just about any field task, includes a built-in firestarter, and has been hardened for extra strength.
I really like the Scandi-grind on the blade’s edge, as this type of edge allows the blade to bite down on cutting surfaces and remains razor sharp. The sheath is really cool and includes an integrated diamond sharpener as well as a spot to hold the firestarter, making this an excellent camping and wilderness survival tool. The blade is made from high-carbon steel with a corrosion-resistant black coating for extra durability and extended life. This will probably be the next blade that I buy.
It has an ergonomic handle with high-friction rubber grip. The fire starter yields 7,000 strikes and produces 3,000-Degree sparks; works when wet.
All in all, this is an innovative and functional short-blade survival and bushcraft knife that is a great value. It comes with a black plastic sheath with integrated diamond sharpener and Fire Starter.
It’s a reliable fixed blade knife with 1/8-inch (3.2 mm) thick carbon steel blade with anti-corrosive black coating.
22. Morakniv Pathfinder
Blade Steel: Carbon Stainless Steel
Blade Length: 6.75”
Overall Length: 11.6”
Weight: 8.8 oz
My Review: The Swedish blade makers at Morakniv doesn’t do gimmicks, unnecessary additions, or style points. Instead, they build knives that get the job done and will continue to get the job done for many many many years ahead.
Something interesting to note here is the use of partial-tang designs. Usually, I’d advise against partial-tang knives as they simply just do not hold up to the same amount of pressure and abuse a full tang knife otherwise would. With that said, however, these knives are incredibly over-engineered, despite looking rather simplistic, and offer a ton of rigidity and durability.
The Scandi edge blade consists of high-density carbon steel that is literally built to be abused as much as possible. These blades are some of the toughest blades in this price range, however, may be a tad bit difficult for newcomers to sharpen. Sharpening just takes a little practice and patience and lucky for us, these blades hold an edge incredibly well, even when being heavily abused in bushcraft.
A final note here, the grip is a very simple black rubber grip that is surprisingly durable. Usually, I try and stay away from rubber grips as they tend to become damaged and worn very quickly but the grip here is excellent for a strong pressured handle hold and provide an insanely comfortable usage for long-duration abuse.
23. Morakniv Eldris Fixed-Blade Pocket-Sized Knife
Blade Steel: 12C27 Stainless Steel
Blade Length: 2.2″ (56mm)
Overall Length: 5.6″ (143cm)
Weight: 2.8oz (80g)
Blade Thickness: 0.8 inches (2mm)
Intended Uses: Utility, Camping/Hiking, and Hunting
My Review: This is one of the most unique knives I have ever had the pleasure of reviewing. In the case of this knife, good things definitely come in small packages. It is small enough to carry in your pocket or around your neck so it is always super accessible when you need it the most.
The handle is nice and thick and feels great in your hand. The blade itself is composed of 12C27 stainless steel, which is an alloy unique to Sweden, and the knife has actually won awards for its design and strength. Also, the spine can be used as a striker for starting fires.
Best of all, it’s only about $21.00!
This knife is proof that you don’t need a giant Bowie with a footlong blade to get the job done.
24. SOG Small Fixed Blade Knife – Instinct Boot Knife
Blade Style: Clip point
Blade Steel: 5Cr15MoV stainless steel
Blade Length: 2.3″
Overall Length: 5.9″
Weight: 2.3-ounce neck knife
Sheath: 360 degree molded sheath with clip
My Review: So far, the SOG SEAL series that we have reviewed have been feature-rich, intimidating super-blades meant to perform in many high-stress tactical and self-defense situations.
With the Instinct Boot Knife, SOG switches up the game quite a bit by offering a well-designed, full-tang EDC boot knife that you will enjoy each time you deploy. It includes a solid polymer sheath for easy carry and instant deployment from your boot. This short-blade is the perfect length, weight, and overall size to become your EDC from the moment you first use it.
25. KA-Bar Law Enforcement (Self Defense Fixed Blade Knife)
Blade Steel: AUS-8A
Blade Style: Drop point
Blade Length: 5/16″
Overall Length: 5 5/8″
Hardness of Steel: 57-59 HRC
My Review: With a blade length coming in at just under 2.5 inches, the KA-Bar Law Enforcement knife has a curved structure that resembles a Karambit.
It is designed as a personal protection device for law enforcement officers, so KA-Bar really put a focus on ease/speed of deployment, concealment, and the ability to inflict a great deal of damage from such a small package.
It is rated at a very strong 57-59 on the Rockwell hardness scale (“HRC”), the gold standard of steel hardness rating systems, which means that it will stand up to any common obstacles that a law enforcement officer may encounter. It is moderately priced at just under $40.00, so it definitely won’t break the bank.
As a self-defense tool, it is a great bet if you are in the market for a small-blade knife. However, don’t expect it to fell trees or saw through any thick brush.
All in all, this is an easily-deployable personal protection tool as well as a great alternative to a Karambit. It at a 15-degree angle for comfort, accessibility, and concealment optimization. The sheath and blade built for super-fast deployment
26. CRKT SIWI Fixed Blade Knife
Steel: SK5 Carbon Steel
Blade Length: 3.341″ (84.86 mm)
Overall Length: 7.438″ (188.93 mm)
Weight: 5.6 oz (158.76g)
Blade Finish: Powder Coating
Blade Thickness: 0.200″ (5.08 mm)
Sheath Material: Glass Reinforced Nylon
Intended Uses: Tactical, EDC, Personal Protection, and Utility
My Review: At first look, I was not sure if I would like this knife or not. As far as aesthetics go, it is simple in design and looks similar to many different tactical-focused blades. However, the more I familiarized myself with it, the more I began to appreciate its design.
It is a very well put-together tool that is on the low side of the financial scale, coming in at under $60.00. For a good EDC-capable little blade like this, that’s a great deal. Verified owners of this knife have given rave reviews as to the strength of its build, the high-carbon SK5 steel composition of the blade, and its simple-yet-sleek design. It is lightweight and super-sharp and it is coated with a layer of black corrosion resistance for extended life and improved versatility/utility.
Additionally, with an under 4-inch blade length, you don’t have to worry about the law harassing you for carrying it, and the G10 handle and glass-reinforced nylon sheath allow for quick deployment in a self-defense situation.
This is a solid EDC candidate at a great price. I ended up liking this knife better than I anticipated.
27. KA-BAR Becker BK2 Campanion
Blade Steel: 1095 Cro-Van Steel 5.5” blade with black carbon anti-corrosion coating
Blade Length: 5.25″
Overall Length: 10.75″
Weight: 15.90 oz|
My Review: This knife is ready to rock and roll and is purpose-built for ultimate toughness and durability. It’s not sexy, it doesn’t have a lot of special add-on functions, it doesn’t have a fancy tactical looking grip, and it doesn’t have any cool colors. This is a black do-it-all kind of fixed blade that is ready to get things done and doesn’t care how it looks doing it.
I can appreciate tactical looking knives as much as the next guy but I also really love simplistic rugged designs like this. This knife just speaks to me as an “I don’t care what happens or how it happens, I want the job done” kind of blade. You get a drop-point 1095 Cro-Van steel blade with a 20-degree edge angle at 5.5″ for less than a hundred bucks. It’s an absolute steal of a deal and this knife will probably live longer than you, so you’re offspring will get a good deal on it as well!
- Grivory balanced grip with a total package length of 10.5”
- MOLLE compatible ABS plastic lockable sheath included
Blade Steel: USA made 1095 carbon steel
Blade Style: Clip-Point with Sawback Spine
Blade Length: 5.5”
Overall Length: 10.5”
Weight: 5.60 oz
My Review: Ontario designs and manufactures some well-respected knives, including the SP3 issued to Navy Seals so it’s no surprise that this is an incredible knife for the price. This bad boy has a Kraton comfort handle consisting of super-hardened epoxy and that allows you to grip the huge 1095 carbon steel 5.5″ full tang Sawback blade with a hefty 3/16″ thick spine.
There are some aspects of the design I’m not a huge fan of, and I actually found a good video on YouTube about how this knife can be modified to be a little more practical for survival applications.
29. Boker Persian Magnum
Blade Steel: 440 Stainless Steel
Blade Length: 4.75”
Overall Length: 9.8”
Weight: 7.8 oz
Intended Uses: Hunting, camping, self-defense, combat, survival, general outdoors use
My Review: The Boker Persian is a knife that may not suit everyone due to its odd shape and grip angle, however, if you like the grip, you’ll love the knife. These knives are insanely good values and at only roughly fifty bucks, a full tang 4.75” 440 stainless steel blade with G-10 textured scales is a solid choice.
The knife is designed to be a mock-up of actual Persian knives which entail a sloping forefinger grip. This grip, when held neutrally, has the blade at a slight downward angle which a lot of people might find difficult to acclimate to, however, it makes slices and downward cutting motions exceptionally easy but perhaps cutting to the side might be a bit of a harsh angle for the wrist. It’s not bad, it’s just something you might have to get used to, build a little character!
Included with this beautifully crafted knife are a rather hefty Kydex sheath and belt clip. Usually, on knives that aren’t very high cost, the included sheath is crappy but not here. Boker has outfitted this knife with an excellent sheath, one of the best I’ve seen included with a knife in this price range. Yeah, the belt clip sucks though, so maybe grab something else for that if belt carry is important to you.
30. Gerber Gator
Blade Steel: CPM-S30V Stainless Steel
Blade Length: 4”
Overall Length: 9”
Weight: 8.0 oz
Intended Uses: EDC Fixed blade, hunting, fishing, hiking, ranch work
My Review: Gerber tends to stick around in the low tier echelon of knives but the Gator is a massive exception to that. Of course, there are better performing knives for this price but there are no knives that are of such beautiful quality while still maintaining a strong use case and defense against abuse.
These full tang CPM-S30V blades are 4” brushed steel blades that are available in both drop-point or gut hook blade shapes. Of course, that drop point blade is extremely versatile and probably best for most people, but the gut hook is an excellent choice if you plan to keep this knife around for the sole purpose of hunting and fishing. Speaking of fishing, these blades offer excellent resistance to corrosion and therefore are great to use around the water.
No, they handle isn’t actually made of gator, but it is a rubberized nylon grip with a gator skin-like texture that is just as good in terms of performance as it is in style points. One note here, though, is that the grip is at a slight downward angle from the blade and the blade comes out at an arching angle from the grip, similar to that of Persian knives like the Boker Persian Magnum. Some people like this, some people don’t, so make sure that is a style of grip that will work with how you like to hold a knife.
31. Spyderco Ark
Blade Steel: H-1
Blade Style: Spyderco Modified Drop-Point
Handle Composition: FRN
Blade Length: 2.50 Inches
Total Length: 4.98 Inches
Total Weight: 2.00 Ounces
Sheath Material: Polymer
My Review: Folding knives are great for their portability but of course lack total strength and have moving parts, meaning they aren’t anywhere near reliable as a fixed blade but then fixed blades are often large and uncomfortable to carry all the time.
The Spyderco Ark certainly isn’t a folding knife as it doesn’t fold so I can’t really say it’s the best of both worlds but I can say that using this knife feels a lot like having the best of those two worlds if that were possible. What’s great about the Ark is that its only two ounces and is less than five inches in total length. It’s super short and with that hollow grind the blade feels really thin and absent of girth. This makes for an excellent carry experience as the knife carries similarly when sheathed to a folding knife.
When deployed, that tiny but mighty H-1 2.50” blade actually feels quite handy and since the belly of the blade has such a steep curvature, it really feels like having much more cutting real-estate than a typical 2.50” blade. I would say that for most people looking for a blade that’s extremely strong and has no moving parts but is small enough to accommodate urban life, this is a very solid choice that will provide for a lot of versatility and utility.
This knife also comes with a plain edge which is the one I reviewed but you can also find it with a “SpyderEdge” which is basically a Spyderco exclusive serration pattern that is really good for cutting belts, synthetic rope, and commercial fishing line.
32. Buck Knives Selkirk
Blade Style: Drop-Point
Blade Composition: 420-HC
Handle Composition: Micarta
Blade Length: 4.60 Inches
Total Length: 9.50 Inches
Total Weight: 7.60 Ounces
Sheath Material: Ballistic Nylon
My Review: Buck Knives is a house brand where you really can’t go wrong when shopping with. Buck Knives aren’t generally at the very top of the spectrum in terms of technology and cutting edge materials but they do make knives in a traditionally solid manner where you have trust and respect for the brand. Never have I paid for a Buck Knife and gotten something I regretted buying!
420 High Carbon steel is notoriously hard and strong and so long as you don’t plan on using it often near saltwater, it will serve you nicely as it’s rather easy to maintain and is well-rounded across durability categories.
The Selkirk surprises us again with an integrated fire starter and whistle nicely designed into the woodgrain Micarta handle. The knife has one more small surprise and it’s found at the butt where there is a steel bolster handy for use as a hammer or glass breaker. The Selkirk is deceiving in its simplistic nature but for that reason, it’s an excellent everyday use kind of knife and should provide utility to anyone that grabs one!
33. Nazarov Infantryman Standard Edition
Blade Steel: Hand-forged Damascus steel constructed of D2 carbon steel
Blade Length: 5.25″
Overall Length: 10″
Weight: 10 oz
My Review: If style points are your thing and you like that classic fixed blade appearance, you have to check this thing out. The blade consists of 30 folds of Damascus D2 steel (15% carbon) with a beautiful birch bark handle and hand made leather sheath.
This isn’t the strongest or most utility-based knife on the list but it is definitely one of the most beautifully crafted and well-designed knives I have ever reviewed. Damascus steel folds are clearly visible in the blade and look amazing! The blade is pattern welded for that traditional Damascus appearance but is also available in a frost-like pattern too.
I’d almost be tempted not to abuse a knife as beautiful as this, but of course, I have to! It’s extremely tough due to the hand-forged Damascus, largely known for its hardness but also incredibly rigidity. Despite its ultimate toughness and incredible edge retention, even when abused, this knife will corrode faster than a 90’s Chevy, so make sure you keep it dry and well-lubed up! You take care of this knife and it’ll take care of you, all while looking amazing!
- Your choice of handmade Birch bark handle or rubberized handle
- Steel crossguard protector and a handmade real leather sheath included
34. LT Wright Handcrafted Knives Jessmuk Matte Scandi
Blade Steel: CPM S30V
Blade Style: Clip Point / Ulu
Blade Length: 4.85″
Overall Length: 9.85″
Weight: 8.6 oz
Blade Thickness: 0.12 inches
Edge Style: Plain, Scandi
Handle Material: G10
Intended Uses: EDC, Hunting, Utility, Field, Cooking, Self-defense, and just about anything else.
My Review: Truly a knife for knife connoisseur, this handcrafted blade from LT Wright can be used for just about anything with flawless results, including batoning wood, preparing food in the kitchen, skinning game, protecting yourself, camping applications, and much, much more.
While its price tag is the highest we have reviewed here, coming in at $275, once it is in your hand, you will fall in love. Crafted with care from CPM 3V steel with a plain Scandi edge, this blade feels like a natural extension of your arm and hand.
With a blade length under 5 inches, it will meet almost all legal requirements for blade length, meaning that you should be able to carry it with you anywhere you go, and with its near-universal application, this truly makes this knife the best choice for an EDC blade. I loved the simple yet elegant pattern and design of the blade and handle, and I particularly love the attention to detail, such as the sharpened spine made for the perfect strike of a firestarter.
LT Wright literally gets every aspect of knife design right with this blade, and in my opinion, this is about as close to perfect as a knife can get.
The bottom line is that if you can get over the price tag, this is truly a near-flawless blade for even the most demanding knife connoisseur.
Types of Fixed-Blade Knives
As I mentioned above, the fixed-blade category covers many different knife types and styles. Below is some basic information about a few of the most common fixed-blade knives out there today. This is by no means an exhaustive list of fixed-blade designs but is rather just a quick primer to give you an idea of what we mean by “fixed-blade knives” in the first place.
The Bowie Knife: The Bowie is a classic knife type that is both fixed-blade and long. The name of the knife refers to its designer, James Bowie, and his brother Rezin Bowie. While the brothers made several different designs of the blade pattern that eventually became today’s Bowie, the origin of the knife itself is surrounded in myth and conflicting stories, and as such, has become an odd part of American mythology. However, the knife itself has stood the test of time and continues to be made by several manufacturers across the world, from high-end craftsmen to cheap knock-offs that fall apart after a couple of uses.
The Bowie is a long blade by design and can have several different tangs as well as many different handles. The variant pictured here is one of the most common designs, in terms of blade length, handle material, and tang. Bowies are useful as self-defense/combat blades, hunting blades, utility knives, and quite a few other utility scenarios. The different variations of the Bowie are what make it so important as a fixed-blade weapon, as so many other long-blade knives have taken inspiration from the Bowie pattern.
Karambit: The Karambit is a type of fixed-blade knife that many people call a “claw knife,” due to its obvious claw-like appearance. It is designed to be used in a slashing but is also designed to pierce head-on with its point in the same exact motion that an animal would use with its claw.
Karambits are versatile, intimidating, and incredibly effective in self-defense but are difficult to use properly and aren’t great for a beginner. I suggest every knife-lover have at least one quality Karambit in their collection. There are also folding versions of the Karambit available, but in my personal opinion, based on years of experience, if you are in the market for a Karambit, get a fixed-blade version.
Survival Knife: The survival knife came about at the end of the 19th century as a solution to the ill-equipped hunting knife options available at the time, which were very similar to butcher knives. The survival knife is designed to be used for hunting, skinning, trapping, self-defense/combat, and even woodcutting. As a kid in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I remember when makers first introduced survival knives with hollow handles packed full of emergency goods, such as a compass, patch, needle/thread, and matches.
The major difference in the blade design of modern survival knives, though, it the fact that the unsharpened side has been outfitted with a sawback, adding the ability to do some emergency woodcutting that could quite possibly save your life.
Fixed-blade vs. Folding Knives
So, when it comes to the big-picture view of knife choices, you really have two types to choose from – fixed-blade or folding. Fixed-blade knives are forged generally from a single piece of metal.
The portion that extends into the handle, known as the “tang,” comes in many different shapes and sizes (which we will cover in the next section), and is a huge consideration point when choosing the correct knife.
Folding knives, on the other hand, are composed of two separate pieces: One making up the knife’s blade and the other making up the handle. The two pieces are joined together by a fastener upon which the blade rotates downward, folding in half.
Almost all pocket knives are folding knives. They are geared towards portability, concealability, and utility.
Folding knives are generally designed to be tools that can be deployed to cut through something in your way, such as a packing strap, rope, tape, etc. They are not usually designed strictly for use as a self-defense or combat weapon, although in a pinch, a knife is a knife, and as long as you “stick them with the pointy end,” you have a better chance of survival with a folding knife than with nothing at all.
Fixed blade knives come in many different shapes and sizes, including combat knives, camping knives, utility knives, tactical knives, daggers, karambits, boot knives, throwing knives, and many, many more. On this page, our goal is to bring you common sense, practical advice regarding the best fixed-blade knives you can get for your money without having any preference for style of knife.
Single Edge vs Double Edge Knives
The blade itself will either be a single-edge, which is sharp on one edge and has a thick spine on the other edge to keep the blade strong; or a double-edge, which is sharp on both sides with the spine running down the middle of the blade.
How you choose between single or double-edged will be determined by your intended usage for the knife.
Double-edged blades are the best for stabbing straight through something, which makes them deadly for self-defense and hand-to-hand combat scenarios.
Single-edged blades are designed for a “slashing” type of motion when cutting, which means that they are still excellent for defense, but are all-around more utilitarian than double-edged blades, as they can take care of thick brush when clearing a path (think machete), can cut better at a diagonal angle, and can perform many different tasks in ways that double-edged designs simply are not designed for.
More on Corrosion Resistance
We already talked about the importance of corrosion resistance above, but I wanted to cover it a bit more in-depth here. Nowadays, we have a bunch of options to choose from in terms of blade materials that are capable of surviving harsh weather conditions. Specifically, materials that stand out in corrosion resistance are H1, LC 200 N, Sandvik, N690, VG-10, and Nitinol 60. H1 is probably the best material for use in salt-water as it has best-in-class anti-corrosive properties.
So, choosing a knife that is anti-corrosive and sure to live a long life is easy, just choose the best material for anti-corrosion that fits your budget and you’re done, right?
Not so fast! Knives consisting of top tier anti-corrosive materials generally have a few drawbacks that other materials may not have. For the most part, choosing anti-corrosive properties comes at a tradeoff, generally with edge performance and overall knife hardness being the two major attributes being sacrificed. Anti-corrosive metals are much more difficult to work with and get to a high level of hardness during the manufacturing process and this also usually adds to the cost of the blade.
Trading off knife performance doesn’t mean anti-corrosive blades will, by default, encompass low-quality edge retention but they will likely not have as high marks in those categories as a blade that doesn’t have anti-corrosive properties, given that both metal materials are of relatively the same quality.
As always, spending tons of money can get you the best of both worlds in terms of both anti-corrosion properties and blade performance, but if you’re on a budget, you might need to choose whether anti-corrosive properties are worth the tradeoff for your specific planned activities and usage.
Frequently Asked Questions
Different knives have different uses and no one type of knife is better than the other one. A fixed blade knife is useful for a lot of things. Daily household chores like peeling or even for skinning animals. They also come in pocket sizes so you can easily carry one while going camping or hunting.
A fixed blade knife can be used for a lot of things. If you are someone who likes camping, a fixed blade knife will be able to do a lot of things such as skinning, carving, chopping, and a lot of things you need to do while in the elements. Other than that, they could prove to be a really good household tool as well.
In the USA, it depends on your state’s and local laws. For example, in the state of California, you can carry a knife in a sheath without concealing it while in some other places there are more laws in place about carrying a knife.
As you can see, the fixed-blade category is vast and includes many different types of knife types. In fact, it is such a broad category, it would be easy to write an entire book on the subject with ease.
As a knife lover and collector, I am partial to fixed-blade offerings over folding knives, and although I do have some of both in my collection, most of what you will find in my house falls into the fixed-blade category.
In terms of strength, durability, and versatility, fixed-blade knives tend to beat folding knives almost every time. This is due to a very simple truth – a single piece of metal will always retain more strength than two separate pieces making up the handle and blade connected with a fastener.
A folding knife will almost always give out long-before a fixed-blade. This is not to say that all fixed-blade knives are made the same, though. In fact, using a fixed-blade knife with the incorrect type of tang for your intended use could result in the tang separating from the handle – something you definitely do not want to happen, but as long as you pick the right tool for the job, you will likely be better off going with a fixed blade.
So whether it’s a Bowie, Tanto-style, Karambit, Combat, or Survival knife, there is a fixed-blade knife out there for whatever purpose you may need one. Our guide was prepared with the idea to give you some solid advice from a long-time knife enthusiast in the hopes that, the next time you are in the market for a fixed-blade knife, you will be able to find exactly what you are looking for.
Corporal Wabo is a former Infantry Squad Leader with 3rd Bn 4th Marines that specialized in Mortars. In his free time, he enjoys hunting, hiking, running, shooting guns, and reviewing gear. He started this website while transitioning out of the Marines, and since has recruited several other Marines to help him work on the Marine Approved website. We are currently looking for former Marines to join the team who are interested in writing about tactical gear, survival gear, hiking supplies, etc. For more information about us or joining the team, check out the “About Us” tab.