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You’ve got more folding knives than you know what to do with. That’s great. But get serious. To take care of the real stuff — filleting, hacking, slicing, and on occasion sticking something that doesn’t want to be stuck — you don’t need a tool of convenience. You need something tough, long, and sharp as hell.
You need a fixed-blade knife. Now, here’s the bad news: there are a lot of those on the market, and a lot of them are shit. The good news? The U.S. military has a solid track record of picking good, quality knives. Sometimes they even design them. And you don’t have to be on a tour of duty to use one. Here are our five favorites.
They’ve been making knives in the icy town of Mora, Sweden since 1891. The Companion is their baseline knife, but what a baseline it is. It costs $18 which is less than the off-brand POS you can find at any Walmart. But you get a lifetime warranty against any damage that isn’t caused by misuse. It has a 4.1-inch hardened Sandvik steel blade, a high friction grip, and a plastic belt sheath. Ask yourself: what else do you need?
KA-BAR Fighting Knife
Dad probably has one in a foot locker somewhere — it’s time to get a new one with a blade that’s not stained with the blood of his enemies. This version will have pretty much exactly the same design that our Marines carried in 1942. A stacked leather handle, 7-inch blade made of 1095 Cro-van steel. Its 20-degree blade edge angle is good for utility work, but don’t ever forget what this thing was made to do: kill shit.
Cold Steel SRK
Cold Steel’s SRK is the standard issue knife for Navy SEALS during Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL School. You don’t need to be disarming mines to love this affordable beauty, though. Its SK-5 steel, while not on the same level as the KA-BAR’s 195 Cro-van, gets the job done on most bushcraft work. The plastic sheath is surprisingly solid, and its design is ideal for self-defense, too.
What’s the perfect knife for survival, evasion, resistance, and escape? That question birthed the ESEE 5, a versatile knife with a 5.25-inch 1095 carbon steel blade that was designed by U.S. military SERE trainers. Add in a hammer pommel and you have an absolute tank of a knife. It’s made in the U.S. and has a lifetime guarantee. If you’re ready to splurge a little for a do-it-all fixed blade for bushcraft, this is the one.
Maybe you’re ready for a classic fixed-blade knife, with updated materials and tech. Gerber’s StrongArm has much of the same killer design details, like a full-tang blade, as the company’s legendary models. It’s also got technical upgrades, like a striking pommel, ceramic blade coating, and a rubberized diamond texture grip. Plus, it’s made in the U.S.