What knife to carry is a very personal choice and there definitely no “one size fits all” option. Survival and preparedness sites have countless articles regarding what is the “best” survival knife. All I can offer here is my personal opinion and a brief explanation as to why I feel the way I do. Generally, blades that are designed for fighting are inferior at skills such as food preparation and bushcraft tasks. To me, a “survival knife” must be adequate at all three of these tasks. Ideally, you will have several knives… one suited for each task. However, that is not practical for EDC or a lightweight GHB or BOB. The way I see it, if I am not alive, being able to prep food or baton firewood are moot points. So first and foremost, if I can only carry one blade, my knife is a weapon and all other functions are secondary.
A fixed blade knife is preferred over a folding blade as they are stronger and tend to be safer. Folders are usually much easier to conceal and tend to be more comfortable to carry. My M.O. is that on a day to day basis in an urban environment, I carry a heavy duty folder and a lightweight fixed blade neck knife. The heavy duty folder serves as my primary blade and the neck knife is my back up blade. When I am headed outdoors, whether for a hike or camping, hunting or fishing, I carry a fixed blade knife with a blade of 4″ to 7″ in addition to my other two EDC blades.
Some of the features that I look for in a blade are: 1. A full tang in a fixed blade. 2. A spear point or clip point. 3. A guard to prevent your hand from sliding up onto the blade. 4. A sturdy locking mechanism on a folder. 5. A good sheath or retention clip, that keeps the blade secure and comfortable. High carbon or stainless steel are personal preference and I determine which to carry based on my environment. Currently, I live in a desert region with very little moisture and carry high carbon steel blades. When I lived on a tropical island, stainless steel was my preference because of it’s resistance to corrosion.
Fighting with a blade…
I am not a knife fighting expert. I like most people here am a student. I have been in exactly one knife fight. Actually, I was robbed at knife point (I was unarmed) and because I had no money on me I decided to engage my attacker. Against all odds, I was lucky to not have been cut or stabbed. If you are getting into a physical confrontation with a knife or knives, EXPECT to get cut and/ or stabbed. Even someone that has never been in a fight, if they start flailing around with a sharp, pointed object, they are very likely to make contact at some point. Everyone I know that has been in a fight involving a knife has been cut, most multiple times. My situation was the exception, not the rule. As with hand to hand combat, my recommendations are to 1. Train with professionals. 2. Strike fast, strike hard and strike often. 3. learn where to strike, know where the vitals are and attack them.