Quality survival knives meet the challenges of key tasks and activities in emergency situations. Your survival knife helps you with everything from self-defense to fire starting, depending on the style you choose. When selecting your go-to survival knife, it's more important to find the survival knife that works best for your personal needs than it is to select a knife only for the bells and whistles it provides.
Experts debate which knives qualify as the best survival knives on the market, and each survival pro has their own set of qualities they look for in a knife. You're the expert on the best knife for your lifestyle and activities, so feel free to prioritize the features you find most valuable from the following list:
Good Fit and Balance in Hand
A good personal fit from your survival knife enables you to perform repetitive tasks like sawing and chopping without tiring or losing your hold on the handle. Good balance gives you more precise control of the knife's movements. The last thing you want in a survival situation is an accidental knife injury, so choose a knife that's the right size for you.
Durability and Strength
Full-tang fixed blades (where the blade runs the length of the handle in one solid piece) are generally the most durable in any style. Specific blade/handle fastening techniques and materials vary among knife types, but the important consideration for you is that your knife is ready for the conditions you expect to face.
Efficient Knife Edge and Saw Blade
The main blade of your survival knife matters. A curved blade with spear end allows you many options, whether you want to filet a trout or dress a carcass. A flat-ground edge, with both sides tapered, is a good choice for a survival blade. The addition of a saw blade is a practical touch if you need your survival knife for cutting tinder or making shelter. Saw blades are often used with flints for fire starting as well.
Length of Blade
Some people prefer survival knives with short tactical blades of 6 inches or less. Other people want their survival knives to be over 12 inches long like machetes for qualities like rapid brush clearing and more cutting surface. The blades on most knives marketed as "survival-style" are similar to those on Bowie knives, which are 9 inches to 11 inches long. When deciding on the size for your primary survival knife, ask yourself how you'll transport it. If you're in an urban situation, you may prefer to carry a small, unobtrusive folding knife. If you use your survival knife on backcountry camping trips, a fixed blade in a sheath is a good choice.
Extras That Matter
Some survival knives come complete with extra survival tools. Some of these include:
- Paracord-wrapped handle
- Fire-starting flint
- Belt sheath with extra pockets
- LED mini flashlight
- Handle hole for lanyard
- Wrist lanyard
These features are helpful to have in a knife you pack away in a bug out bag or an emergency kit. They're also helpful if you plan to leave a survival knife in your vehicle for emergency situations that may arise.
Some of these features offer additional security for pro campers, soldiers and hunters who must travel with limited supplies. Having an all-in-one kit of supplies to make light, sparks, rope devices and tinder may mean the difference between surviving in comfort or danger until help arrives.
Survival knives cost anywhere from $10 to $400. The best knives come with the highest price tags, of course, but many mid-range knives are perfectly serviceable and rugged choices for survival situations. Bargain Center Army Navy Surplus Store invites you to hold and examine survival knives from our extensive collection. We'll help you choose the knife that's just right for you and your survival needs.