General purpose "Survival" knife?

Discussion in 'Survival & Sustenance Living Forum' started by Lindenwood, Jul 20, 2009.

  1. Lindenwood

    Lindenwood New Member

    659
    0
    0
    Preface 1: I am looking at knives that could be used for a multitude of purposes, from "general" survival to defense. It doesn't necessarily have to be small enough for super intricate work (wittling a fishing spear or whatever), as I would have a multitool for things like that. I'd kinda like something that I could attach to my belt or pack strap that I could carry around hiking and such.

    Preface 2: I don't really know the first thing about "combat." I have pretty much no experience with any sort of hand weapons, and I won't pretend to. My "fighting" training is limited to basic boxing and kickboxing.

    My EDC is a Gerber 3.5" fixed-blade knife ("Profile," Drop Point). That is pretty much the only knife I have right now really worth anything, the rest are just cheap folders and multitools acquired along the way.


    Ive been doing quite a bit of research on both survival knifes and combat knives, and it looks like, for both general survival as well as defensive uses, a blade of around 6-7" is ideal. As most of you surely know, going to big seems to be often more of a burden than a help.

    Here are some of the knives I've been looking at:

    Bowie Machetes : Cold Steel (Fixed Blade)
    While it obviously does not fall into what I just said above (for 12" length), it also has the obvious advantage of reach and greater chopping and slashing ability than the other knives I've been looking at. I just wanted to see what you guys thought of it.

    Shanghai Shadow : Fighting Knives (Fixed Blade)
    This one seems to be well-suited for combat and specifically piercing, though I've read that for novices, the second edge can be more of a danger to the wielder than to the other party. And as a survival knife, the second edge might be pretty much useless for simple cutting tasks, it would lessen the efficiency of tapping the back of the blade to make deep cuts, and it would still likely endanger the user's hands.

    Throwing Knives : Cold Steel True Flight Thrower
    I don't think Id ever try to throw a knife in self defense, but it seems like a nice blade in general, especially for the money. It is pretty thick at 5mm (a bit over 3/16), and has a pretty nice grip. The only thing I'd worry about is its lack of a hilt, which could result in the accidental sliding of my fingers down the blade (eep!).

    Bushman Series : Fixed Blade (Cold Steel Knives)
    The Bushman knives seem like a nice general-purpose blade, and there probably really isn't anything wrong with them functionally. I don't know if Id ever try to make a spear out of it unless I had little better to do, but I guess its nice to know the option is there? Their test video is very impressive, though.

    G.I. Tanto : Fighting Knives (Fixed Blade)
    This just seems like a generally good blade for my purposes. I kinda wish it had a Clip point, but the Tanto would work just fine Im sure.



    From other research I found that overall the best hand weapon for a novice would be a simple bludgeon (pipe, bat, etc). After that, I cut a section of 1"-diameter, 1/8" wall steel tubing about 20" long. I wrapped about 5" of it with nylon rope to serve as a handle, and welded a plug into the other end to add a little weight and prevent it from being crushed in on hard impacts. It is about 2lbs total, maybe a couple ounces less. I don't have a sheath for it yet, but I'll likely make one that attaches to my belt and thight. If, for whatver reason, my firearms were not available for use, would I be better off pulling out my pipe (teehee), or would you guys recommend a good ~7" blade with which I've had some practice? Or should I use the pipe, but still get a blade suitable for SD should I ever need it?

    Thanks!
    Sorry of my post is confusing, but I hope my points were clear enough!
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2009
  2. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

    23,972
    1
    0

  3. Lindenwood

    Lindenwood New Member

    659
    0
    0
    What do you think of my other questions?
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2009
  4. bkt

    bkt New Member

    6,964
    0
    0
    Nice knives, JD. You have good taste in blades.

    The Cold Steel 12" bowie is a pretty good knife -- I have that one. It's inexpensive but well built. The 12" kukri is also good. Cold Steel's Recon Scout is a much better bowie, however.

    Folders...stay away from cheap crap. CRKT's Natural and Natural II have served me well. The My Tighe is also a nice EDC. If you don't care for spring-assist, Cold Steel makes some decent folders, too.

    Stay away from throwing knives unless you plan to study how to throw properly. Otherwise, you'll just...throw your knife away. They're not as useful when you do that.

    No matter what blade(s) you buy for your survival pack or whatever, please also take a moment to get some 0000 steel wool, maybe some metal glo or similar cleaner, and a decent sharpening stone. And for folders, I suggest a dry wax bike chain lube - it doesn't attract dirt or lint like oil does.
     
  5. Lindenwood

    Lindenwood New Member

    659
    0
    0
    Do you guys have anything as far as all my other questions go? I have only been looking at fixed-blades, and probably won't be buying any folders.

    On the throwing knife, as I said in my first post, I don't intend to ever throw it. It just seems like a good knife in general, with the only possible problem being the lack of a hilt making it easier to slide my fingers down the blade when thrusting / stabbing.
     
  6. Shotgun Shooter

    Shotgun Shooter New Member

    819
    0
    0
    Great mods huh? ;)
    Cant even answer questions.

    S.S.
     
  7. CA357

    CA357 New Member Supporter

    19,847
    3
    0
    Lindenwood, I'm not a knife guy. But, I was able to spend some time around knowledgeable people and around quality knives.

    My EDC is a HK/Benchmade Nitrous Stryker Blitz. The knife that's in my BOB is a fixed blade, Benchmade Rant. Neither knife will break the bank.

    I've often thought that a Bowie or Kukri would be good to have around a campsite, but I have an axe and hatchets and saws, etc. that will do the job better.

    Top thumbnail is the Blitz, The Rant is the top knife in the bottom photo.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2009
  8. matt g

    matt g New Member Supporter

    3,865
    0
    0
    I've got a Navy issue Mk 3 Mod 0 that I picked up while I was in the Army. It has served as everything from a hammer to a can opener to a machete.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. bkt

    bkt New Member

    6,964
    0
    0
    Get well-built full-tang knives with decent steel. Look for a Rockwell hardness of between 57 and 62.

    Don't get a throwing knife unless you intend to throw it; that's what it's for.

    Your two questions that I can discern deal with whether you should use a home-made pipe club or a knife in a defensive situation. All I can suggest is that you use the right tool for the job. Unless you know what you're doing with whatever weapon you have at your disposal, my recommendation is that you beat feet before trying the Steven Seagal crap.
     
  10. bkt

    bkt New Member

    6,964
    0
    0
    Feel free to chime in anytime. :D
     
  11. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

    23,972
    1
    0
    Okay, the good news is that you are looking at knives from a really great company in Cold Steel. The problem is, most of their budget knives, like the GI Tanto and the Shadow are from their economy line which is not indicative of the true quality they can produce.

    You are looking at knives that are $30 to $50 and a lot of these are stamped out of steel and put together assembly line style.

    That is not a recipe I want with my number one knife.

    The bushman is a tragic example of a knife. It might work fine as a spear, but as a knife, it's very thin, and while it's sharp, it won't hold an edge very long if you have to use the thing.

    Look at their San Mai line, or at the very least take a look at their SK-5 steel blades, they are MUCH better suited for what you want.

    Also, check out their Outdoorsman Tanto, it can be had for about $125 from someplace like www.1sks.com

    With a field knife, a full tang, a good quality steel with a high carbon count is going to last you a lot longer than some stamped piece of crap.



    There, does that meet your high standards?? We can't all be experts on every subject, and even when we have input, we do have other duties and lives to attend too as well. :p

    JD
     
  12. Lindenwood

    Lindenwood New Member

    659
    0
    0
    Ah, thank you! :)

    Though, thinking about it, I don't know if Ill need to get a larger knife. I don't ever really plan on getting in any sort of "knife fight," and if I were to get in a hand-to-hand fight I think I'd feel more confident with my Club thing. So, realistically, I have little need for something with the extended reach, as I can baton (ha, I remembered the term!) reasonably thick stuff (obviously, up to 3.5" thick), and I probably won't be messing with any animals that require greater than a 3.5" knife to field dress, heh.

    That said, I'll probably either stick with my Gerber, or perhaps even get a decent 4" folder?
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2009
  13. 753X0

    753X0 New Member

    219
    0
    0
    Personally, I'd go with a better quality knife. 4-5" length from Bark River. They use A-2 tool steel, full tang.
     
  14. Lindenwood

    Lindenwood New Member

    659
    0
    0
    I ordered a Cold Steel Recon 1 (Plain Clip Blade) Friday.
     
  15. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

    23,972
    1
    0
    Isn't the Recon 1 from their folder line?? Where did you order it from?

    Nothing wrong with the choice, their blades are quite strong and VERY effing sharp, but I thought you wanted a real "field knife"?

    JD
     
  16. Lindenwood

    Lindenwood New Member

    659
    0
    0
    Yes it is a folder. I bought it because I decided I wanted something I could carry everyday, meaning I'd always have it on me. As I said, I did typically carry a fixed-blade, though if I wear lighter-colored dress pants it would print very obviously against my pocket, and I'd have to carry one of my cheap folders. Thus, I decided it would be good to get a nice knife that I know I'd have all the time, that was also tough enough to be used in a variety of harsh situations. Kindof like carry pistols: a 1911 is great, but it's of no use if it's left in the safe because it was too big to conceal with that particular day's outfit.

    As far as durability and utility goes, the only thing I feel a good folder couldn't do (very well) that a good fixed-blade could do is mild prying. However, I'm thinking I'll replace my baton with a strait prybar and be good in that aspect. I don't think I would try to do a lot of chopping with any knife (other than bending and chopping small saplings and branches), as even my limited experience tells me it is much more tiresome than batoning and is a good way to get blisters or at least make the hand sore. Though I think I might replace my baton with a strait pry-bar and that will just about cover my prying and hammering needs.



    *edit*

    Additionally, I decided against a large fixed blade because a folder is less threatening than a fixed-blade, in all situations from traffic stops to military road blocks in the early stages of a zombie apocolypse. I realized I don't think I'd ever try to do any fighting with a large knife in any situation where I'd be carrying said large knife, as Id at least have my pistol and baton (or perhaps prybar) with me if out camping / hiking. While I do realize that one of the large, more expensive knives ($200-$600) from Cold Steel could perform the tasks mention (chopping, prying, hammering, clubbing, etc) with reasonable success on its own, I don't think I can justify that expense (minimum $130ish) when I can simply carry an extra pound or two of gear that can do just about all the jobs just as well, if not better for some of them, than a single large blade could do.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2009
  17. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

    23,972
    1
    0
    That's good thinking. Every man should have a good, reliable, strong, sharp pocket knife.

    I happen to have more than one, so I frequently give knives as gifts to friends who don't.

    Being without a knife is like being without your wallet - what real good are you to the rest of us?? :cool:

    JD