Know Your Survival Knives. Whether you are a seasoned survivalist or avid bush-craft enthusiast, you know the number one must-have item for your kit is a reliable survival or bush-craft knife. Your knife is the ultimate survival multitool and needs to be reliable, robust and versatile.
If you have had a look around the online world survivalist gear, you will notice that survival and bush-craft knives come in a wide range of shapes and sizes and can have unique features, spines, edges, points and handles.
So what are there so many different types of survival and bush-craft knives, and what are the various features? Read on to learn more about top survival knives.
The Right Tool for the Right Job
All survival and bush-craft knives will have similarities so far as the blade’s basic make-up is concerned.
Some of the features that most tactical knives will share include:
- A full or partial blade tang
- Spine (unless the blade is double-edged)
- Tip and point
- Belly and edge
- Handle and more
Depending on the knife, there may be a handguard and possibly a pommel and the end of the handle, particularly on combat or hunting knives for added control.
Some military-style survival or combat knives may be missing a full tang, allowing for a hollow handle that stores emergency survival gear, like wire saws, matches, mirrors, a mini-compass and fishing tackle.
Some of these knives are designed primarily for outdoor applications, others for urban scenarios, and some are all-rounders. Read on to learn more about these common survival knives.
A good bush-craft knife is often a humble-looking blade; they need to be solid all-rounders that can be hammered on the spine with rocks, hacked into hardwood, cut through flesh, dig through dirt, carve, and do other demanding tasks.
Some discerning features of a well designed and manufactured bush-craft knife include:
- A thick, hard spine
- Scandi tapered grind
- Full tang blade
- Strong tip and point
- Robust, ergonomic handle
- Hole for lanyard, paracord, or rope
- Some weight behind the blade for impact
Some bush-craft knives will also have a paracord handle that can be unwound and utilized for other bush-craft applications, like fire tinder, shelter support, fastening the blade to a stick, or making traps.
Military-grade knives can come in all shapes and sizes. What most military knives will have in common, however, is multi-functional capabilities.
Depending on the country, manufacturer, and intended use of the military knife, some discerning features may include, but are not limited to:
- Thick, hard blade
- Medium to large
- Possible serrated spine for sawing
- Hard, robust, cutting edge
- Often a clip point
- Sturdy impact resistant handle
- Possible larger pommel
Military knives often also have a molded custom sheath that may have emergency tools, like a screwdriver head, and can sometimes be paired with a mechanism on the blade to create scissor-operated wire cutters.
Military survival knives often contain the aforementioned hollow handle that allows for the storage of knives used on dual survival emergency survival equipment.
Not all survival is about resources in the wilderness; urban survival scenarios can present unique threats that require different strategies.
Urban disasters or emergencies often leave a lot of helpful waste and debris you can take advantage of. In addition, there is usually some access to water in big cities, even if food is scarce.
In urban disasters or survival conditions, desperate times create desperate people, and you will not be able to trust everyone you come in contact with.
Guns are good for intimidation and last resort; however, ammunition runs out, and the unmistakable sound of gunfire can attract unwanted attention. Provided you have engaged in at least some basic training, a combat knife gives you a good utility for strategic intimidation and self-defence while also providing you with a utility tool.
While all knives can be utilized in combat, a blade designed for self-defence often prioritizes a sharp cutting edge and tip intended for deep penetration.
Some defining features of combat blades could include:
- Dual-edged blades like boot knives and daggers
- Trailing points for slashing
- Spear shaped tips
- Hook blades, like the Indonesian karambit
- Hidden, spring-loaded blades like a flick knife
- Hidden, fast access blades like a butterfly knife
- Large protective handguards for hand protection
If you have had no knife combat training, pulling a knife on someone who has the experience, like a military-trained assailant, could be a fatal mistake.
Traditionally a tanto was the constant companion of the Japanese Samurai, or the covert operatives of ancient Japan, the shinobi, or ninja.
However, the contemporary version of this knife made for tactical and survival applications resembles a famous variation by the Cold Steel cutlery company in the 1980s.
This tanto-style survival knife will have some defining features, such as:
- Full tang blade
- A thick point on the blade
- A chisel-shaped tip
- Thick, hard spine
- Long taper and more
Although the chisel tip was made for deep, piercing penetration through amour in feudal Japan, it is ideal for bushcraft and survival applications such as prying, scraping and splitting.
A quality tanto is made to withstand just about anything you can throw at it, or for that matter, anything you can throw it at. The tanto blade gets a special mention here, as it could be one of the best all-rounder survival knives to have in your prep or bug out bag. Check out survival knives made USA here
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