xmlns:og='http://ogp.me/ns#' My choices of Fixed Blade Knives ~ The Prepared Guy

Thursday, August 29, 2013

My choices of Fixed Blade Knives

There is no substitution for a good quality fixed blade knife.  If I were to own only one knife it would have to be a fixed blade knife.  The next questions would then be what size, style and type of steel would I choose?

I think that having to choose only one knife or only one gun is a ridiculous concept but I do comprehend the purpose behind the question.  Specific questions should get you seriously thinking about what features in a knife (or gun) are most important to you.  Fortunately, we live in a country, for now, that 'allows' us the freedom to own as many guns and knives as we want.  After asking yourself the right questions I bet that you will find there isn't any one single option that will work best in all situations.

Now, when it comes down to having to carry everything you need with you then your choices would truly be limited.  Let me be clear; there is no single gun or knife that will do everything you would need it to do whether in your everyday life or in a survival situation.

I have dedicated a lot of time, thought and research along with buying and trying out knives for me to come to my own conclusions about which knives are best for me, my situation and my environment.  I am sure that yours will differ.  That being said, here are three fixed blade knives that I have chosen for my needs and for the potential future situations that I could conceive.

Starting with the biggest...

This is the ESEE-5.  It is a 1/4" thick full tang, 1095 steel coated blade with a canvas micarta handle.  It also has a glass breaker at the butt and comes with a short lanyard.  The blade has a long flat section for chopping and cutting wood and the belly has a long gradual curve with a slight drop point that make it useful for defense as well a dressing a deer or another potential meal.  The blade measures 5 -1/4" long and with the kydex sheath it weighs over a pound.  This is one substantial knife!  This is meant to be my 'survival' knife.  As a 'survival' knife I wanted it to be able to take a lot of abuse from chopping branches to build a shelter, cut and split firewood and for it to be a good defensive weapon as well.  This knife also makes for a decent digging tool.  However, with the 1/4" thick blade it does not make for a good knife to clean a small fish such as a trout.

This next knife is a better choice for dressing deer and cleaning fish and is thus a better 'hunting' knife.  It is what I choose to take backpacking with me.

The TOPS Pathfinder School knife is also made from 1095 high carbon steel and the blade is also coated for resistance to corrosion as 1095 is not a stainless grade of steel.  This knife blade measures 4", is 3/16" thick and weighs well under a pound.  The slight curve of the handle makes this very comfortable and easy for me to hang onto.  The jimping on the spine also helps me to keep a solid grip on the knife.  This handle is also made from canvas mycarta and has an aggressive 'tread' as well.  The more aggressive drop point of the knife, which makes it a good choice for dressing animals, also makes it good as a defensive weapon.  A knife with a thinner blade would still be preferred for gutting a fish but would not be recommended to be used to chop branches to build a shelter or cut firewood.  This is one reason I like this knife so much.  The thick 3/16" 1095 steel is strong enough to do some heavier duty tasks even though the knife doesn't have as much weight to it as the ESEE-5.

My next fixed blade knife is one that I choose to carry concealed at times.  It's small enough to conceal yet large enough to be useful for a wide variety of tasks.

It is the TOPS FDX XL.  It has a 3" blade and is also 3/16" thick like the Pathfinder.  My intended use for this knife is both as a utility and a defensive tool in an urban environment.  The handle provides for a very positive grip for both holding it normally and in the reversed position.

An example that has stuck with me is one of a group of people that were stuck in an elevator in one of the World Trade center towers on 9/11.  One of these individuals had some tools with him including what I remember to be a masonry trowel.  They used that trowel to pry open the elevator doors and then cut through two layers of drywall for them to escape.  If I remember the account correctly they barely made it out of the building in time.

I have subsequently decided to use this example as a standard for my carry knife.  Most any pocket knife would be able to cut through two layers of drywall if you were careful and took your time.  Like these individuals stuck in the elevator you, or I, may have the need to escape from a room or building in a similar manner and may also not have the time to delicately cut your way out.  There may be more than just drywall between you and freedom which a standard pocket knife may not get through.  A sturdy tool like any of these knives is what I choose to rely on for my survival in any situation whether urban or wilderness.    

Here is a side by side comparison photo of these three knives.

Just like in my last post on how to choose a folding knife, the length of a fixed blade knife is an important decision.  You may choose to carry a larger knife like a machete because of the density of the woods you frequent.  You may choose to carry a Bowie style knife because you like the look or you've seen Crocodile Dundee a few too many times.  I love Bowie knives too and the movie is a lot of fun but just because it's cool may not always be the right reason to carry it.  

The knives that I have chosen are 1095 high carbon steel which provides excellent value and durability.  Because I live in a dry climate I am not concerned much about corrosion.  Survival knives also come in many of the different grades of stainless steel which may be more appropriate for your use.

One knife that recently came out from Benchmade, that I am excited to get my hands on, is the 162 Bushcraft.

This knife is made from S30V stainless steel, which is a very high grade of surgical steel.  The blade is a little thinner than the Pathfinder but they are both close to the same size.  This knife should make for an excellent option for an all purpose stainless steel fixed blade.  I would, however, be a little less inclined to be as tough on this blade as I would with the 1095 steel.  

There are many great quality knives out there to choose from.  Many that I would like to add to my collection.  As I have mentioned before don't be cheap when it comes to buying something as important as a this.


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The purpose of this site is to provide you with information about what I have learned, my experience, and what my motivations are as a Prepared Guy. I have always felt driven to be ready for any situation by something powerful deep inside me. Being prepared has always served me well. I feel compelled to help others do the same.
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