A survival knife is one of the most valuable tools you own as a survivalist. A good knife by itself can help you survive many tough situations. But before you rush to pick out a survival knife, take a look at the anatomy of a good survival knife along with some things you should NOT do with survival knife.
Understanding A Survival Knife
Survivalists’ preferences on the features that make a good survival knife often vary. Some prefer a straight blade, while others might prefer a serrated blade or one that is partially serrated. But the important thing is to pick out a knife that you are totally comfortable using and will safely and quickly accomplish every task. Here is a look at the anatomy of the survival knife:
- Tang– The knife’s tang is a part of the blade that runs down into the handle. A full tang extends all the way to the butt of the handle, and provides the maximum strength for the knife. Don’t overlook this important part of the knife’s anatomy!
- Handle– The handle should feel comfortable and fit naturally in the hand. Many different materials such as hard rubber or polymer are used to make handles, but you should always avoid survival knives that have hollow handles, or novelty items like a compass built into them. A hollow handle means that the knife will have very little strength, and a compass on a knife handle will get in the way more often than it will be useful. Lanyard holes near the butt of the knife can also be a useful feature.
- Blade– There are many choices about the blade that you will have to consider for your survival knife. Stainless steel blades are near indestructible, and don’t rust quickly, but carbon steel will hold an edge for longer. You’ll also have many different blade shapes to choose from that serve a wide variety of functions. Some common survival knife shapes include the sheepsfoot and clip point blades. A straight blade will probably work best chopping, while a serrated blade is better for sawing motions.
- Sheath– The sheath plays an important role how quickly you can draw the knife, where you will carry it, and the overall safety of the knife. The ideal sheath will give you many options for safely carrying the knife.
Now that you know more about the anatomy of a survival knife, take a look at some things you should NOT do with a survival knife.
Don’t Use the Knife as a Screwdriver
The tip of the knife is one of the most delicate but useful parts of the knife. No matter how high-quality the survival knife is, the tip is not designed to handle the forces you exert on it when you use it as a screwdriver. A survival knife should never be used to pry into small spaces either. Blades are not designed to bend or exert force anywhere other than at the sharp edge. You should only use the knife for what it was made for: to cut.
Don’t Expose Survival Knives to Extreme Temperatures
Extreme heat or cold can compromise the strength of a survival knife. Steel can become brittle when exposed to temperatures below zero. Extreme heat from flames can cause the steel to soften. If you notice any discolorations in the blade after it has been exposed to heat from flames, that means that the blade has soften and will break easier.
Don’t Use a Dull Knife
It is important to properly sharpen and maintain you survival knife to keep the knife working well for you and for your safety. Dull knives take more force to use, which is more likely to cause an accident.
Pretty basis stuff, right? Well we get emails and stories all the time from people explaining situations they’ve been exposed too. The above suggestions are the most common topics we see. So, yes, while it may seem basic, there are times that this information could help a fellow survivalist.