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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.

Morakniv Companion

fixed-blade knife

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?

Buy Now: $18

KA-BAR Fighting Knife

USMC 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.

Buy Now: $70

Cold Steel SRK

Fixed-blade knife

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. 

Buy Now: $39


survival knife

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.

Buy Now: $141


Gerber StrongArm

fixed blade knife

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.

Buy Now: $70