Shopping for a survival knife can get pretty confusing without a little insight or familiarity. Between spear point knives, gut hooks, and everything in between, you might find that narrowing down the best choice to make your own is a trying feat. The thing is, each knife is designed either for a specific purpose or for use as a multipurpose tool that would be useful for a lot of different applications if you were in a survival situation (or just hanging out in the wilderness because it’s something you like to do). It is always best if you have a general overview of survival knife blade shapes and edge types to help you along the way.
Survival Knife Blade Shapes
An all purpose blade with a user-friendly design, the drop point has a dulled back edge that makes it good for controlling slicing pressure and a controllable short point that is not as prone to breakage. The slightly curved spine of the drop point knife gives it the ideal shape for many folding knife varieties.
- The point of the drop point blade is easily controlled.
- The belly edge is wide and long for easy slicing.
- The point of the drop point blade is not as fine as some blades, which means it is not as ideal for piercing.
The tough point of the tanto blade makes it ideal for difficult tasks that involve piercing denser materials. The point of the tanto blade boasts a point that sits higher than usual, almost in line with the spine of the blade. Many people use tanto bladed knives as a utility piece, which works well for cutting rope, piercing cables, or marking wood.
- The point of the tanto blade is strong and durable, not likely to break off like many less-dense blades with a fine point.
- The tanto blade is tough enough to work with wood and even metal.
- The point of the tanto is not all that easy to control.
- Slicing with a tanto blade could be a challenge because of the shorter belly.
A dulled spine, straighter-than-usual front edge, and false point make the sheepsfoot perfect for slicing through meat, roots, or other dense materials. The design of this knife is often preferred by professional chefs because you can control chopping pressure from the backside of the blade.
- Has little risk of accidental injury because a sharp point is not present.
- The sheepsfoot blade is ideal for controlled slicing through dense material because you can apply pressure on the spine of the blade.
- This blade shape does not boast a nice fine point that many others do.
Spear point knives are commonly seen in knife throwing competitions. These knives boast a sharpened tip that is perfectly in line with the center of the blade. These knives can have one sharpened edge, but most often hold two and are great because of their heft and sturdy blade composition.
- Highly-controllable knife usually of larger stature than its dagger-bladed counterpart.
- Boasts a sharp point for piercing and can also be using for skinning.
- The cutting edge of the spear point is shorter than many other blade types.
- Keeping the spear point perfectly sharpened on both sides can prove to be difficult.
Filet knives, skinning knives, and even hunting knives often have the trailing point design. The trailing point blade has a spine that curves in a gentle upward sweep and a lengthy belly that is perfect for slicing. The trailing blade is usually slightly flexible and made with lightweight metals.
- The higher-than-usual point keeps the fine tip up while slicing.
- Fine tipped blade can be used for smaller tasks.
- The fine point can be brittle and break with too much force.
Any skilled hunter will tell you that having a good gut hook knife is an absolute must. This knife blade boasts a hook at the top that can be slipped into a tiny cut and will grab onto skin to pull it back and reveal the meat without causing damage. In a survival situation, harvesting every morsel of meat would be important, and, therefore, a gut hook blade would prove to be useful.
- The point of the spine is not in a position where it will be in the way if you are slicing.
- The unique design makes field dressing a breeze, with a hook for skinning and a large belly for slicing.
- It can be very trying to sharpen the hook on the backside of a gut hook knife.
- The trailing edge of the gut hook cannot be sharpened because of its unusual shape.
Needle point bladed knives are often deemed daggers because of both their shape and their preferred use, which is in a self-defense situation, which could easily come about in a survival scenario. This is a blade that boasts a double edge, symmetrical shape, and is sharpened equally on both sides for twice as much piercing power.
- Piercing softer materials is a breeze with the dagger point knife thanks to it’s fine point.
- This knife does not offer much of a cutting edge for slicing or carving because it is usually short in length.
- The finely narrowed tip can be prone to breakage.
One of the more preferred and perhaps the most popular survival knife blade shape, the clip point blade has an unsharpened back edge from the handle to usually the midway point of the knife. From that midway point, the back edge of the clip point blade takes a nosedive toward the tip of the blade. This area is referred to as the clip and may be straight or slightly arched.
- This blade works great for piercing dense materials because of its sharp end point.
- There is a lot of length for slicing and cutting.
- The point of the clip point knife may not be as sturdy as some other blade types.