When it comes to choosing the right survival knife for you, nothing beats getting the chance to see it in person. Purchasing online is certainly easier but you can’t truly get a feel for the knife as much as going in to a store. During this guide we are going to try and help you choose the right survival knife for you.
Aren’t They All The Same
Not all knives are created equal and depending on the intended use of the knife will depend on which you settle on.
The larger fixed blade knives such as machetes are made more for heavy-duty tasks such as creating a shelter and cutting up branches for firewood. Smaller knives are much more convenient for smaller delicate work but can also be lashed to long sticks to make a spear.
Fixed Vs Foldable
Fixed blades are the preferred choice for more rugged use due to their strength however, their size and weight can sometimes be an issue. Sheath folding knives are preferred if space and compactness are priorities, but they are inherently weaker at the pivot point.
Does Size Matter?
The size of the knife you should choose depends on how you plan on carrying it, and what activity are you preparing for. Are you driving into a remote location where you could be stranded? A larger fixed blade knife and sheath folders can be brought since weight and space are not priorities. Are you going on a solo trip? Choose a smaller fixed blade or a sheath folder. Larger knives would be best suited for large trees or dense forest, while sheath folders are good for desert where there is less need to cut large objects.
A heavier knife should have a heavier handle—especially for chopping—so wood, bone, or a plastic/rubber combination is ideal. A medium knife can use any combination.
One of the most popular materials used for handles is called micarta, a type of composite material made from linen and synthetic resin. The result is an incredibly strong material. Micarta will offer you enough grip even when it is wet out. It can withstand changes in temperature and differences in humidity. In addition, Micarta is maintenance free, abrasion-resistant and very comfortable in hand. A sublime material for almost any knife.
Wood and bone handles can be very comfortable but if they not cared for properly, they can dry out and crack. Metal is strong and long-lasting, but can be heavy and gets hot or cold depending on the conditions. Rubber can be comfortable if designed properly and absorbs vibration, but can deteriorate or get damaged more easily.
The most common blade material for larger knives is carbon steel as they are very good at holding an edge. These must be looked after well as they are prone to rusting and corrosion.
The most common blade material for smaller blades is stainless steel due to it being easily available and inexpensive.
One thing to remember is that the less carbon content in the blade, the quicker the edge will go dull. It is however easier to resharpen than those with more carbon content.
Be sure to check out our post for 10 Ways to sharpen your knife without a sharpener
UK Knife Laws
As there still seems to be a lot of confusion around when it comes to the UK knife laws, we wanted to try and clear things up for our readers.
Our knife laws are actually pretty sensible when you look in to them and allow you to use a knife for its intended purpose. They are not meant to be used as an offensive weapon, they are a tool.
According to The Criminal Justice Act (1988) you are allowed to carry a knife that has a blade length of 3 inch or less so long as it can fold and does not lock – so no fixed blade knives for your “Every Day Carry” (EDC).
If you are stopped by the police and found to be in possession of a knife, you will only make it worse for yourself if you give them a hard time. If you believe that you are in the right, consult a solicitor afterwards to argue your case.
One part of the UK knife law that is pretty vague in its description is when it comes down to ‘reasonable cause’. You MUST have a genuine and evident reason to be carrying a knife. Claiming to have ‘forgotten’ the knife was in your pocket, just won’t do.
The maximum penalty for an adult carrying a knife is 4 years in prison and an unlimited fine. You’ll get a prison sentence if you’re convicted of carrying a knife more than once.
In the UK, lock knives are not classed as folding knives and are illegal to carry around in public. Knives that fall in to this category have blades that can be locked/folded by pressing a button. These can include multi-tool knives.
Banned Knives and Weapons
It is illegal to bring into the UK, sell, hire, lend or give anyone the following:
- Butterfly Knives (Balisongs) – these have blades hidden inside the handles that split in the middle.
- Disguised Knives – these are knives that are hidden inside everyday objects such as belt buckles and phones.
- Flick Knives – these shoot a blade out from the handle when a button is pressed.
- Gravity Knives
- Stealth Knives – a knife or spike not made from metal (except when used at home, for food or a toy)
- Zombie Knives – these have a cutting edge, serated edge, and images or words that suggest it to be used for violence.
- Swords, including samurai swords – a curved blade over 50cm (with some exceptions, such as antiques and swords made to traditional methods before 1954).
- Sword Sticks – blade hidden inside a walking stick.
- Push Daggers
- Telescopic Truncheons – extend by pressing a button or spring in the handle.
- Batons – straight, side-handled or friction-lock truncheons.
- Hollow Kubotans – cylinder-shaped keychains holding spikes.
- Shurikens (throwing stars)
- Kusari-Gama – sickle attached to a rope, cord or wire.
- Kyoketsu-Shoge – hook-knife attached to a rope, cord or wire.
- Kusari – weight attached to a rope, cord or wire.
- Hand/Foot Claws
If you are unsure as to whether a knife or weapon is legal, you should contact your local police first.
What Are Good Reasons For Carrying a Knife?
Examples of good reasons to carry a knife or weapon in public can include:
- Taking knives you use at work to and from work.
- Taking it to a gallery or museum to be exhibited.
- If it’ll be used for theatre, film, television, historical reenactment or religious purposes, for example the kirpan some Sikhs carry.
- If it’ll be used in a demonstration or to teach someone how to use it.
If put before the courts it will ultimately be their decision as to whether you have a good enough reason for carrying it.
You can find more in-depth information at the following links:
When choosing the right survival knife for you, do your research first. There are plenty of reviews online for just about any knife out there so be sure to see what people are saying.