A survival knife will be your most important possession in a wilderness survival situation. Although you can always fashion a knife out of bone or stone when you’re out in the wild, nothing can ever compare to a steel blade in terms of strength and versatility. However, when it comes to choosing the right steel knife in a military surplus store—knowing what you need out of it is just as important as finally having one. Here are tips on what to look for in a survival knife, based on an article from knifeup.com.


A tang is the part of the blade that extends down to the handle. For best results, consider a knife with a full tang. In a full-tang knife, the handle and the blade is one integrated piece, strengthening the entire knife.

Blade edge

There’s plenty of debate on whether a straight or serrated edge is best. While both normally work fine, in most cases, you’ll want to stay away from serrated edges mainly because they require a special sharpener, while straight edges can easily be sharpened with a smooth stone. When you’re out in the field, this seemingly minute detail can be an extreme disadvantage.

Metal type

Metal quality defines the strength of the blade, its ability to take impact, and how long it will maintain its sharpness. Most knives come from two broad steel classifications: carbon and stainless. Generally, stainless steel is more rust-resistant but is also more brittle and difficult to sharpen. On the other hand, carbon steel is tougher and easier to sharpen, but is more prone to rust.


A knife handle should fit well in your hand, be comfortable, and have a good finger guard that will prevent your fingers from slipping onto the blade. Other than that, the only consideration you should have about knife handles is to choose one that will be the most useful in situations where you plan to use it. For instance, if you want something that you can tie at the end of a stick to make a spear, choose a knife with holes at the handle.


Knife selection ultimately boils down to your personal preference. The most important thing is to find what works for you. For a wide selection of knives, visit online military gear stores like Special Forces. With their huge catalog, you’ll easily find the perfect knife for your purposes.

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