Weapons For Survival: Knives And Other Edges

Since the dawn of time man has made knives for protection, dressing animal kills, and waging war. The first knives were made of stone. As time went on knives and other edged weapons were made of metals such bronze, iron, and finally steel. Today these tools are made of stainless steel or composite materials.

While guns serve a key purpose in any survival strategy, knives and other edged tools are also very important.  Similar to guns, you will need to check the laws to find out which ones can be owned in your area.

Folding Knives or Pocket Knives

A folding knife has a blade that rotates on a pin in the handle in such a way that  the edge of the blade sits in the handle when folded up. A locking device located in the handle keeps the knife open while using it. To close the knife, push on the locking device, and fold the blade back inside the handle. This type of knife is carried in the pocket or on a pocket clip on your belt.

My preference is the Kershaw Folding Knife.

Fixed Blade Knives

Fixed blade knives have a blade that is usually made with one piece of metal and a pair of hand grips (one on each side of the blade) to safely and comfortably hold the knife. When this knife is not being used it can be put in a leather sheath that is carried on your belt.

I prefer the Ka-Bar.  It is a tried and true knife that has been carried by the military and survivalists since WWII. This knife will not let you down when you need it the most.


Bowie Knife

This is a heavy duty working or fighting knife. The Blade is made of thick heavy steel, usually from 8 to 14 inches long. The grips are made of deer, elk antlers, bone, or wood. The Bowie knife is carried in a leather sheath or composite sheath.

Even though there are commercial bowies available, I prefer custom made by Johnny Z, an up and coming custom knife maker with a growing national reputation.  I have carried this particular bowie knife for years and it is much better in comparison to others I have handled.

Spear Point/ Knife Hybrid

This is basically a fixed blade knife with a handle that unscrews from the blade. The blade point can be mounted onto a broomstick or threaded wooden or metal shaft.

Recommended Knife: SOG Spirit. While fairly new on the market, it is an ideal multi-purpose tool for your bug-out kit.


Machetes, or jungle knives have a blade ranging from 18“ to 24“ long. It is used to chop a path through vegetation.

Recommended knife: Cold Steel Machete.

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Hatchets or tomahawks

Hatchets or tomahawks are used for chopping and hacking. They can chop wood or other housekeeping duties.  They can also be a very dangerous weapon in skilled hands, or when paired with a bowie knife.

Recommended Tomahawk: SOG.

Sickles and Curved Blades

These tools date back to the beginning of man’s agricultural pursuits. They are generally used to work the fields.  From biblical times forward, the sickle was a very dangerous weapon that could cut off a man’s limbs or his head. While the Romans outlawed other knives, Celtic peasants and others were still allowed to keep their sickles for farming purposes.

Recommended Sickle: Custom made by Johnny Z.  Commercial sickles are available, however I have had this one from Johnny Z for several years now. Custom sickles make a great gift for the survivor fan or herbalist among your family and friends.

Folding Saws

These saws are used cut through wood, bones while dressing game, or even metal that needs to be cut.

Recommended Folding Saw: Ruko.

Compact Folding Tool Kits

Folding tool kits are designed as an easy and compact way to carry tools like pliers, screwdrivers, knife blades, to sewing needles.  More elaborate kits may contain scissors and other fold out tools.

Recommended Tool Set: Leatherman.

Game Dressing Sets

Game dressing sets usually have all the cutting and sawing tools required to field dress animals or fish used for food.  A good kit also includes an instruction books on how to use, clean, and store each tool.

Recommended Game Dressing Set: Ruko

As with the perfect guns for survival needs, you can always find something cheaper than the tools listed in this article.  In the end, penny wise becomes dollar foolish no matter whether you are talking about knives, guns (such as the WASR-10 AK which is known for rattling after firing about 400 rounds and slowly self destructs after that – just had to add this for all the WASR fans out there!), or even bows and arrows.

You are better off spending a few dollars more for reliable knives and dressing kits than have them fail when you need them most and have no way to replace them.

People are born with the innate desire to survive, but sadly, many in our increasingly dependent society look to others for relief and assistance following a disaster. The fact is that help from government, family, or neighbors is often unavailable when needed most, and in the end you may have only yourself to count on. Do you know what to do and how to do it if disaster strikes? 



This article has been written by Fred Tyrell for Survivopedia.


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