How To Choose A Knife For When SHTF

Every prepper needs to know how to choose a knife for an SHTF situation. After all, this is one of the most crucial self-defense tools a person can carry – especially in a forest.

However, what many people don’t know is what to look for when buying one of these knives. After all, not all knives are made equally, and some are better than others – especially for certain situations.

Regardless of your survival needs, there are a few basic features you can look for that will set your knife apart. And, if you expect to get one that will be as effective and long-lasting as possible, you’ll need to know…

How To Choose A Knife For When SHTF

Size Matters

…However, it’s not what you think. Just because a knife is large doesn’t mean it’s effective or that it will meet your specific survival needs. For instance, a huge knife is going to be big and bulky, and will likely weigh you down. Not to mention, it likely won’t be able to do any detail-work that is often a requirement in emergency situations.

On the other hand, a super compact knife likely won’t be able to have the precision and durability to handle larger tasks like chopping wood.

Make the most of your situation by selecting a medium-size knife. This way, you  get both the intricacy and durability in one blade.

The Butt Should Be Firm

The blade and handle of the knife garner the majority of the attention. However, the butt of the knife (also known as the pommel) is also very  important. The pommel is useful for hammering and tenderizing meat. And you’ll want a strong pommel, because this generally equates to a much better and longer lasting survival knife in the long-run.

However, like anything else, not all pommels are made for the same purposes. Avoid round and hooked ones, since these typically don’t work well for hammering.

The Blade Should Be Fixed

Certain knives have a fixed blade, while others have a blade that can move around. However, when it comes to a survival situation, fixed blades tend to work far better than their movable counterparts. That’s because they tend to fare far better when it comes to reliability, safety, and durability.

Folder knives may be compact, but they typically can’t compare. After all, if the joint in the folder knife becomes loose, it won’t work nearly as well. And do you really want to take the chance?

The Tip Should Be Sharp

Sharp tips are incredibly important, especially in the wilderness. That’s because they work extremely well for hunting an animal, and do equally well for skinning it afterward. Sharp tips are also essential for descaling fish.

All in all, it’s safe to say that a knife with a sharp tip is the best way to go in a survival situation.

It Should Have A Full Coverage Tang

Essentially, the “tang” is the bridge between the knife’s handle and the blade. Therefore, a “full coverage tang” means that both the handle and the blade are made with the same piece of metal.

Full-tang knives tend to be much stronger and more substantial than their half-tang and rat-tail counterparts. Not to mention, partial-tang knives can loosen, and the handle can begin to wiggle apart from the knife. This can make it extremely dangerous to use.

Full coverage tangs not only help ensure your safety, but they also ensure the strength and durability of the knife. Obviously, one piece of metal running throughout is going to be a better option than two (or more) metal pieces. Plus, if the scales come off the handle, you can always wrap paracord around it to make a new, comfortable grip.

9 Responses
  • Mark "Doc" Paolino
    January 7, 2018

    Really good points.

  • Ken
    January 7, 2018

    intersting well thought out

  • Jer
    January 7, 2018

    And , what type of metal should you consider? One must almost be a metullagist now , to assess what type of metal retains a sharp edge, Rockwall hardness factors , satin , black, shiny , to something else.
    The prices are low , to scary. So , study up and then decide what type of knife. My choice is folder and fixed blade. Never leave home without an EDC .

  • Ronald Williams
    January 7, 2018

    I have two knives I would carry. Both for their quality and ability to meet needs in the wilderness. The first is a Buck 655 USA fixed blade Short Nighthawk discounted tactical knife. Full tang construction, rubberized handles for grip and would be extremely difficult to slip past handle. The second is also a Buck. A Buck Sirus Assisted open knife. This a extremely well made knife. Has pocket clip, safety locking system. It is a liner lock yet one of the tightest I have owned with the linear completely locking the blade. Both of these knives are light weight and for a person of moderate income affordable.

  • Mike Kilpatrick
    January 7, 2018

    I have a lot of survival knives but love the MSK-1 by David Roberts. Jeff Freeman helped him get the knife into production. Super knife. I think David is going to produce one a bit smaller. It has all these attributes you have published. Your views are dead on for a true survival knife. I really like the Esee Laserstrike as well. The Esee would be in that medium range to me. Thanks and God bless

  • John Dierking
    January 7, 2018

    One point of this discussion, like so many other discussions of survival is, ” If I could only have one….” That only demonstrates a fallacy. Why should I be limited to only one knife?

  • joseph Valdez
    January 7, 2018

    Good commend scene article. A reminder is always welcomed for review of what is need when selecting any knife. Purpose, plus usage – note the Rambo knife concept for any survival situation.

    Thanks, good read.
    Joseph

  • bernabe
    January 8, 2018

    There are so many knife available to purchase, can you recomend any???

  • Bob
    January 8, 2018

    First you must select the knife style that fits your personality. Physical size and strength of the individual would certainly play a part in the selection with regard to length, thickness and in the overall weight of the knife. For some a traditional Kbar would be a good all around camp knife however if the weapon is to be used for self defense then perhaps a Khukuri with its curved shape allows many different types of strikes and you can use the different sections of it’s curves for finer work. The point types for SHTF blades in my humble opinion would need to be Tanto in nature as thrust and twist are killing requirements and if its you or me then you will be the one to be skewered land peeled on the business end of my edged weapon. Sorry the truth can be painful! The last point of my personal story would be the blade grind. Most blades are sharp but how the blade travels through the meat determines its true cutting nature. My personal favorite is the Hamaguri grind or from the samurai sword the Hira Zukuri. Rather than just cutting into the medium they allow the medium to separate with ease of motion and surgical precision from tip to habaki. I would concur with the author of this piece that If you are forced to use your edged weapon like a hammer then a full tang is a must for a useful pommel to beat an elk steak into submission or tent steak into the ground. Happy travels, keep your edged weapons honed to perfection and practice ones striking movements as often as you can. Muscle memory will save your life! Do or Do Not there is no try when the SHTF.