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 that everyone agrees on more than a rugged and durable fixed blade knife from a reputable company.
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 then we’ll have a quick chat about which blades are my favorite and where to find the best fixed blade knives capitalism has to offer!
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
- 1. Benchmade Nimravus 141
- 2. Benchmade Fixed Adamas 375
- 3. Benchmade Bushcrafter
- 4. ESEE 6P-B
- 5. KA-Bar Straight Edge (Short Version)
- 6. KA-BAR Becker BK2 Campanion
- 7. KA-Bar Law Enforcement Fixed Knife (Small Blade)
- 8. Ontario Knife Company Ranger Assault Knife RAK
- 9. Ontario Knife Company SP-2 Survival
- 10. Morakniv BushCraft
- 11. Morakniv Pathfinder
- 12. Morakniv Eldris Fixed-Blade Pocket-Sized Knife
- 13. CRKT SIWI Fixed Blade Knife
- 14. CRKT Clever Girl Fixed Blade Knife
- 15. Glock Field Knife with Root Saw
- 16. SOG SEAL TEAM ELITE Survival Knife
- 17. SOG SEAL Pup
- 18. SOG Field Knife with Sheath
- 19. SOG Small Fixed Blade Knife - Instinct Boot Knife
- 20. Boker Persian Magnum
- 21. Gerber Gator
- 22. Gerber StrongArm
- 23. Buck Knives 119 Special
- 24. Nazarov Infantryman Standard Edition
- 25. LT Wright Handcrafted Knives Jessmuk Matte Scandi
- Types of Fixed-Blade Knives
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
Drop Point: By far the most popular and for good reason, the drop-point is 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 decently in some good ol’ stabby stabbing, it does well 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.
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.
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: A blade shape I don’t typically use or recommend, 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 really recommend getting one of these.
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 the Marine Approved favorite trailing-point blades can be found on the CRKT Clever Girl.
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.
Single Edge vs Double Edge
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.
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, but 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.
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!
Lucky us, there are new technologies in blade manufacturing and the materials used 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.
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.
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.
For more on these characteristics, as well as a multitude of useful tools and guides to help you determine the blade composition that is right for you, you can learn more about knife blade steels here.
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 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. A narrow tang is usually considered to be inferior to a full-tang blade, and many show and budget 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. One notable narrow tang to this is the Ka-Bar USMC knife, which was designed for use in combat during World War 2 and has a reputation as an excellent knife. However, while the Ka-Bar is a great combat or self-defense knife, trying to use it in a situation that requires constant cutting through thick, heavy brush would likely result in a damaged knife.
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. This is especially true of Ka-Bar blades – in fact, I just learned myself that some of their best-selling knives have options of both short and long blades.
In the reviews below, many of the knives that we have reviewed fit into the “short” fixed-blade category.
And now, time for some fixed-blade knife reviews!
Here Are the Best Fixed Blade Knives
1. Benchmade Nimravus 141
Price: Around $190
My Review: The Benchmade Nimravus 141 is a popular and absolutely solid offer from Benchmade. It has a corrosion-resistant 154CM stainless-steel tanto-shaped blade and a lightweight aluminum handle for strength, versatility, and portability.
Designed as a multifunctional utility and tactical blade, it includes a serrated edge for when your cutting task needs that extra bit of friction to get the job done. This is a full-tang blade that will stand up to any abuse you can throw at it, and it will not let you down in the field.
Furthermore, these 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.
Benchmade has a reputation for field-tested blades, and the Nimravus 141 is no exception to that. If you like Tanto-style blades and you need their lethality, the Nimravus is an excellent high quality choice.
- Blade Length: 4.5″
- Overall Length: 9.45″
- Weight: 6.20 oz
2. Benchmade Fixed Adamas 375
Price: Around $175
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.
- Blade Length: 4.2″
- Blade Steel: D2 fine edge steel blade with sawtooth spine and skeletonized frame
- Overall Length: 9.03″
- Weight: 5.60 oz
- Comes with a Blade-Tech Tek-Lok attachment system and a paracord handle wrap
3. Benchmade Bushcrafter
Price: Around $190
My Review: Shifting gears a bit, the next fixed-blade knife on our list is the Benchmade Bushcrafter 162 survival knife.
This bad boy is built to be your next EDC blade. It features a specialty handle body that is handcrafted from resin-soaked fiberglass for strength and durability. This knife is meant to be used in the field and will see you through whatever the task at hand.
The only negative factor to this knife is the price point, which comes in at around $195.00. However, if you are looking for something that will perform in the most rugged situations and will be sharp, strong, and ready to deploy at a moment’s notice, you may be able to justify the price. It is a perfect camping knife, will make easy work out of both human and nonhuman predators, and could easily become your go-to EDC blade.
- Overall Length: 9.15” (23.24cm)
- Blade Length: 4.40” (11.18cm)
- Blade Steel: CPM-S30V (58-60 HRC)
- Weight: 7.72 ounces (218.86g)
- Blade Thickness: 0.164” (4.17mm)
- Handle Thickness: 0.92” (23.37mm)
4. ESEE 6P-B
Price: Around $130
Intended Uses: Hunting, Camping, EDC, Self-Defense, EDC, Survival, and Tactical
My Review: Hands down, this is one of my favorite fixed blade knives from one of my favorite knife companies. It is a moderate-to-high priced long-blade survival weapon that could easily become your field survival blade of choice.
Crafted from 1095 Carbon Steel (one of my favorite steels) and capable of being fitted for modular deployment, 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. Includes a molded sheath for tactical deployment options as well as a clip plate for each 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.
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.
- Blade Length: 6.50″
- Blade Steel: 1095 Carbon Steel
- 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”
5. KA-Bar Straight Edge (Short Version)
Price: Around $52
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.
- Blade length 5 1/4″ (1 1/4″ straight edge)
- Blade material 1095 Cro-Van carbon steel.
- Overall length 9 1/4″
- Reliable fixed blade knife made in the USA.
- Kraton G thermoplastic elastomer handle.
- Perfect for outdoor use like hunting, camping, and fishing.
6. KA-BAR Becker BK2 Campanion
Price: Around $80
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!
- Blade Length: 5.25″
- Blade Steel: 1095 Cro-Van Steel 5.5” blade with black carbon anti-corrosion coating
- Overall Length: 10.75″
- Weight: 15.90 oz
- Grivory balanced grip with a total package length of 10.5”
- MOLLE compatible ABS plastic lockable sheath included
7. KA-Bar Law Enforcement Fixed Knife (Small Blade)
Price: Around $35
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.
- Blade length: 5/16″
- Blade Steel: AUS-8A stainless steel blade
- Overall Length: 5 5/8″
- Sits at a 15-degree angle for comfort, accessibility, and concealment optimization.
- Sheath and blade built for super-fast deployment
- Drop point edge
- Hardness of steel- 57-59 HRC
8. Ontario Knife Company Ranger Assault Knife RAK
Intended Uses: Survival, combat, self-defense, camping, bushcraft
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.
- Blade Length: 6.8”
- Blade Steel: 1095 Stainless Steel
- Overall Length: 12”
- Weight: 12.5 oz
9. Ontario Knife Company SP-2 Survival
Price: Around $32
My Review: Ontario designs and manufactures knives for Special Forces so when they offer me a fixed blade and I get to play with it, I already know I’m going to love it. These guys know how to make knives for people like me and simply put, they get the job done at prices other knife crafters cringe at offering their products at.
This knife is like thirty bucks, okay? Stop reading and buy it, it’s amazing. 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. Just holding this thing makes you feel invincible and I’d be very comfortable, despite its rather cheap price tag, taking this thing out and utilizing it as my primary knife in a survival or self-defense situation.
- Blade Length: 5.5”
- Blade Steel: USA made 1095 carbon steel
- Overall Length: 10.5”
- Weight: 5.60 oz
- Kraton handle and a fitted ballistic nylon sheath
- Black powder coated with a double handguard
10. Morakniv BushCraft
Price: Around $40
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.
I could easily see this becoming my EDC, as it strong enough to handle just about any field task, includes a built-in firestarter, and has been hardened for extra strength – all while being small enough that it won’t get in the way while going about your day-to-day tasks.
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.
- Blade Length: 4.3″ (109 mm).
- Overall Length: 9.1″ (232mm).
- Blade Steel: Swedish High Density Carbon Steel
- Blade Thickness: 0.126″ (3.2 mm).
- Weight: 5.4 oz. (154g)
11. Morakniv Pathfinder
Intended Uses: Hunting, Camping, Hiking, Bushcraft, Survival
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 the knife I’d like to answer that question with.
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.
- Blade Length: 6.75”
- Blade Steel: Carbon Stainless Steel
- Overall Length: 11.6”
- Weight: 8.8 oz
12. Morakniv Eldris Fixed-Blade Pocket-Sized Knife
Price: Around $25
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.
- Blade length: 2.2″ (56mm)
- Blade Steel: 12C27 Stainless Steel
- Overall length: 5.6″ (143cm)
- Weight: 2.8oz (80g)
- Blade thickness: 0.8 inches (2mm)
13. CRKT SIWI Fixed Blade Knife
Price: Around $58
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.
- Blade Length: 3.341″ (84.86 mm)
- Steel: SK5 Carbon Steel
- Overall Length: 7.438″ (188.93 mm)
- Weight: 5.6 oz (158.76g)
- Blade Finish: Powder Coating
- Blade Thickness: 0.200″ (5.08 mm)
- Grind: Flat
- Handle: G10
- Sheath Material: Glass Reinforced Nylon
14. CRKT Clever Girl Fixed Blade Knife
Price: Around $72
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.
- Blade Length: 4.6″ (116.84 mm)
- Blade Steel: SK5
- Overall Length: 10.125″ (257.18 mm)
- Weight: 6.3 oz (178.6g)
- Blade Thickness: 0.158″ (4.01 mm)
- Edge: Plain (Single)
- Grind: Hollow
- Handle: G10
- Sheath Material: Nylon with glass fiber and MOLLE-compatible loop
15. Glock Field Knife with Root Saw
Price: Around $30
Intended Uses: Utility, Camping/Field, Tactical
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.
- Blade Length: 6.50″
- Blade Steel: Spring Steel (Phosphate Treated)
- Overall Length: 11.00″
- Weight: 7.23 ounces
- Cutting Edge: 5.625″Blade Thickness: 0.21″
- Hardness: 55 HRC
- Blade Style: Clip Point
- Blade Grind: Flat
- Edge Type: Plain
- Handle Length: 4.50″
- Handle Thickness: 1.00″
16. SOG SEAL TEAM ELITE Survival Knife
Price: Around $110
Intended Uses: Survival, Camping, Combat, Tactical, Self-Defense, Utility, and more
My Review: SOG has gone out of their way with the SEAL survival knife to craft a blade that will literally stand up to the elements as well as any field abuse that can be thrown at it.
It features an intimidating 7-inch blade, a Bowie shaped fixed blade with an extended tang, a serrated lower blade, and a sawback for maximum utility. It is built to be a “knife for life,” and is backed by SOG’s generous offer to consider repair or replacement requests for the life of the blade.
The blade is crafted from AUS-8 steel coated with black Titanium Nitride, with the result being the strongest and most dependable camping blade you will ever use. It is designed for maximum utility, and as such, functions great as a camping/hiking knife, rescue/emergency tool, self-defense knife, and tactical/combat weapon.
The handle is built from glass-reinforced nylon to add to this awesome knife’s indestructible nature. At just over $100, you won’t go wrong with the SOG Seal Survival Knife if you are looking for a full-length, fixed-blade, universally useful knife.
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.
Final Thoughts: If you are looking for a full-sized, nearly indestructible knife that can be used in just about any field condition, the SEAL Survival Knife may be your best bet.
- Blade Length: 7″
- Blade Steel: AUS-8 Stainless Steel
- Overall Length: 12.3” with extended tang — more than a foot of cryogenically hardened steel
- Weight: 10.3 oz
- 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
17. SOG SEAL Pup
Price: Around $78
Intended Uses: Utility, Hunting/Camping, Tactical, Self-defense, EDC
My Review: Like its big brother the SOG Seal Survival Knife, the SOG Seal Pup Elite is a remarkable knife. The materials used in its construction are of the same quality as the larger version, scaled-down into a package with a 4.85” blade – the perfect length for an EDC knife, as it will meet almost all legal requirements for blade length.
Built from AUS-8 steel coated with black Titanium Nitride, this knife is nearly indestructible, even with extreme usage. I really liked the look and feel of this model, even more than the larger version, as it feels better in your hand.
As a rule of thumb, smaller knives tend to go underestimated by attackers, which is great when you have a knife as capable as the Seal Pup Elite, as you maintain the element of surprise when your attacker sees the damage done by this little guy. Furthermore, the price tag brings the cost right to $75, making it more affordable than its big brother.
The bottom line is that this is a perfect-sized, nearly indestructible knife that is an excellent EDC candidate.
- Blade Length: 4.85”
- Blade steel: AUS-8 Stainless Steel.
- Overall Length: 9”
- Weight: 5.4 ounces
- 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 Field Knife with Sheath
Price: Around $30
Intended Uses: Hunting, Tactical, Camping, Survival, Self-Defense, Bushcraft
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.
- Blade length: 4″
- Overall Length: 8.5″
- Blade Steel: 7Cr17MoV
- Weight: 3.8 oz
- Full-tang clip point design
- Notched GRN Sheath
19. SOG Small Fixed Blade Knife - Instinct Boot Knife
Price: Around $30
Intended Uses: EDC, Utility, Boot Knife
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.
- Blade Length: 2.3″
- Satin-polished clip point blade
- Overall length: 5.9″
- Weight: 2.3-ounce neck knife
- 360 degree molded sheath with clip
20. Boker Persian Magnum
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.
- Blade Length: 4.75”
- Blade Steel: 440 Stainless Steel
- Overall Length: 9.8”
- Weight: 7.8 oz
21. Gerber Gator
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.
- Blade Length: 4”
- Blade Steel: CPM-S30V Stainless Steel
- Overall Length: 9”
- Weight: 8.0 oz
22. Gerber StrongArm
Intended Uses: Self-defence, combat, survival, tactical
My Review: We have raved about this knife before on the Marine Approved self-defense knives page and it would be a crime not to include it on a list of top tier fixed blades. This knife is a monster and Gerber did an exceptional job encompassing everything you’d want in a strong and ominous appearing knife without jacking up the price sky-high.
The blade you’re getting here is a highly versatile drop-point consisting of ceramically coated 420HC steel with a partial serration and pommel. This knife is ready for just about any challenge you may face and is equally as durable as it is versatile. These knives are equipped with a rubberized grip with a diamond coat texture that feels excellent in the hand and doesn’t slip even when soaking wet.
The Strongarm got 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.
- Blade Length: 4.8”
- Blade Steel: 420 High Carbon Steel
- Overall Length: 9.8”
- Weight: 7.2 oz
23. Buck Knives 119 Special
Price: Around $55
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.
- Blade Length: 6″
- Blade Steel: American made 420HC
- Overall Length: 10.5″
- Weight: 7.5 ounces
24. Nazarov Infantryman Standard Edition
Price: Around $140
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!
- Blade Length: 5.25″
- Blade Steel: Hand-forged Damascus steel constructed of D2 carbon steel
- Overall Length: 10″
- Weight: 10 oz
- Your choice of handmade Birch bark handle or rubberized handle
- Steel crossguard protector and a handmade real leather sheath included
25. LT Wright Handcrafted Knives Jessmuk Matte Scandi
Price: Around $130
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.
- Blade Length: 4.85″
- Overall Length: 9.85″
- Blade Steel: CPM S30V
- Weight: 8.6 oz
- Blade Thickness: 0.12 inches
- Blade Style: Clip Point / Ulu
- Edge Style: Plain, Scandi
Handle Material: G10
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.
A Bit of Knife History
Ever since humans began to realize that external devices could be used as tools to augment and enhance our natural capabilities, there has been some type of pointed cutting tool resembling a knife.
Believe it or not, humans have used knives for at least 1.4 million years, as evidenced by the recent discovery of a stone knife in Atapuerca, Spain.
As metalworking became a developed human ability, long knives and swords were created and were used as the weapon of choice for warriors going into combat for thousands and thousands of years, specifically until technology allowed for practical gunpowder-based weapons.
During this time of human history, most of the soldiers that fought in some of the ancient world’s most famous battles carried daggers as their sidearm like how fixed-blade combat knives are used by modern soldiers in close combat situations.
On the civilian side of things, the knife evolved to take on more and more roles as an essential tool, being important in everything from cooking to hunting to some of the earliest surgical procedures.
Simple in design, the knife has survived the years as one of humanity’s most formidable hand tools due to its strength, versatility, simplicity, and its ease of use.
Technology has added to the strength and cutting power of knives, and knives have been crafted from many different materials – including metal, stone, porcelain, wood, and even high-tensile-strength polymers (strong plastic). For sake of clarity, the reviews on this page will cover metal blades only.
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.