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The Best Fixed-Blade Knives for Your Adventures
The fixed-blade knife has been one of the most important tools in human history. From the first stone tool ever found to the sophisticated steel knives of modern times, it has served as a reliable and sharp tool for cutting, slicing, and more. This is why it is no surprise that the fixed-blade knife has remained a popular tool among hunters, campers, and outdoors enthusiasts for centuries.
In this guide, we’ll look at some of the best fixed-blade knives in 2023. We’ll explain the features that make these knives stand out from the rest, from the materials used in their construction to the design of their blade and handle. And we’ll also discuss how to choose the right knife based on your needs. So whether you’re a novice or a seasoned knife user, this guide should help you find the perfect one!Show contentsComparing the Top Fixed-Blade Knives of 2023
Buying Guide: Fixed-Blade Knives
- Cold Steel Fixed Blade Knife - Best Overall
- Smith & Wesson Fixed Blade Knife - Most Affordable
- SOG Fixed Blade Knife - Best Lightweight Option
- Ka-Bar Fixed Blade Knife - Best for Outdoor Use
- Gerber Gear Fixed Blade Knife - Versatile Use
Buying Guide: Fixed-Blade Knives
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the number of fixed-blade knife choices, don’t worry! We’ve created this guide to help you know what features are important to look out for.
The blade material is perhaps the most important factor when selecting a fixed-blade knife, as this will determine the overall strength, durability, and edge retention of the blade. The most common options include stainless steel, carbon steel, and titanium, as well as combinations of these materials. Stainless steel blades combine corrosion resistance and durable edge retention with ease of maintenance. Carbon steel blades offer superior sharpness and edge retention but are prone to rust if not well maintained. Titanium blades offer excellent strength-to-weight ratio and corrosion resistance.
A wide variety of materials are used in making handles, including wood, plastic, rubber, metal alloys, Micarta, G10 composites, and more. Each offers different strengths and weaknesses; for instance plastic handles tend to be lightweight, yet not very durable. It’s best to consider what type of job you’ll primarily be using your knife for when selecting the handle material
Handle Design and Ergonomics
When it comes to knife handle design, conventional wisdom states larger is better. However, this may not always be true depending on how you plan on using your knife. Good ergonomics can make using a knife easier, while poor ergonomics can make your job more difficult or even dangerous (by causing fatigue or slipping). Look for handles with good finger grooves as well as ones that fill the curve of your palm comfortably when held in normal-use positions like in a reverse grip or with a hammer grip (for splitting wood).
Overall Quality of Construction and Finish
Quality construction goes beyond just having solid materials. Proper fitting during manufacturing is essential to getting the most out of any knife. Look for signs of burrs or loose parts on the handle or blade that could indicate a poorly made product or a bad fit between components. Additionally, a smooth finish means all parts were fitted together properly so no burrs were created during assembly.
Edge Geometry and Sharpness
Different edge geometries offer different capabilities. Convex edges retain their sharpness better than hollow ground edges and offer better cutting performance in dry conditions whereas hollow ground edges perform better in wet conditions.
Weight and Balance
The weight and balance of a fixed-blade knife plays an important role in how easy it is to wield during use. Typically, heavier knives are more suitable for larger tasks while lighter knives are better suited for finer detail work like carving or food preparation. Also, consider how well-balanced the knife feels when held. This can greatly affect its performance during use as an unbalanced knife will require more wrist strength than usual to properly control movements with accuracy and precision.
A good sheath is key for keeping your fixed blade (and everyone else) safe. Look for one made from tough materials such as leather or ballistic nylon that won’t wear out quickly with regular use. Additionally, consider how securely it attaches to your belt or other means of carry so that your knife won’t accidentally slip out. Consider which type best suits your specific needs. Looped-style sheaths allow for quick access whereas pouch-style sheaths provide extra protection against accidental openings or drops when carried on the body.
Tang Type (Full or Partial)
The ‘tang’ refers to the portion of the blade that extends into the handle. Knives come with a full tang (where the entire blade length is continuous with the handle) or partial tang (where only part of the blade length extends into the handle). Full-tang knives are often considered more robust due to the increased surface area connecting the handle which results in improved balance and stability when wielding the knife. They also tend to have longer life expectancies due to improved distribution of force.
Price and Value
Price is another critical factor when considering any purchase. Both cost and value must be taken into account as there’s no point paying top dollar for something you don’t need. Try and strike a balance between what you’re getting and what you’re paying. Look out for features like lifetime guarantees and other warranties.
One of the first steps in purchasing a fixed-blade knife is to review the manufacturer’s reputation for quality and reliability. Research the company online and read customer feedback before investing in any type of knife. Look for high-quality, proven manufacturers that have a long-standing reputation in the industry. Make sure the company stands behind its products by offering warranties and guarantees.
It’s important to consider how you plan to use the knife before making a purchase. Some common applications include woodworking, hunting and fishing, cooking, survival, self-defense, and utility tasks. Consider what kind of tasks you plan to use your knife for and pick a knife designed specifically for those purposes. Take note of the design features that allow it to perform specific tasks better than others. Also, check that the blade is of adequate length and suitable blade shape for your planned use.
A key feature to look out for when selecting a fixed-blade knife is its resistance to corrosion from moisture and other elements. For knives made from stainless steel alloys, there are ratings such as AUS-8 or VG-10 that indicate their corrosion resistance as well as hardness. Higher numbers typically denote better resistance to corrosion, so research different types of stainless steel alloys to determine which is suitable for your application. Consider whether the knife will be used in wet or humid environments where corrosion may be accelerated, then pick a material with higher corrosion resistance.
Comparing the Top Fixed-Blade Knives of 20231– Best Overall
The Cold Steel Recon Tanto Fixed Blade Knife wins our top pick due to it becoming the preferred fixed blade for special military units and SWAT teams. This knife features an SK-5 steel construction, making it durable and dependable for hard use. The actual blade is 7 inches long, with a 4 ¾ inch handle, adding up to a total weight of nine ounces. This balanced design allows for great control and maneuverability in close-quarter situations.
Its fame comes from its “American Tanto” style reinforced point. This is what sets it apart from other knives on the market, granting it greater durability and puncture resistance. As such, the Recon Tanto has become a go-to choice for those looking for superior performance in a variety of environments. It also comes with a secure sheath for safety while not in use.2– Most Affordable
The Smith & Wesson SWHRT9B Fixed Blade Knife is the perfect tool for any outdoor, tactical, survival, EDC or multi-purpose user. The blade is made of reliable high-carbon stainless steel and has a black rubber-wrapped handle and a hand guard for extra security. It also features a lanyard hole, making it an ideal neck knife. At 9 inches in overall length with a blade length of almost 5 inches, this knife offers plenty of reaches to get the job done while still being lightweight.
This knife also comes with a belt and booth sheath to make access easy. There’s also a lanyard hole for anyone who wants to wear it around their neck. Plus, Smith & Wesson offers a lifetime warranty on this blade, so you can have even more confidence in your purchase.3– Best Lightweight Option
The SOG Small Fixed Blade Knife is an attractive option for anyone looking for a lightweight, easy-to-carry and reliable EDC knife. The nearly 6 inches in total length and 2-ounce weight makes this an ideal option for any everyday carry situation. The durability of the satin-polished stainless steel has been designed to successfully handle various work tasks as a backup knife.
The handle of this small fixed-blade knife is constructed with textured G10 with finger grooves and jimping to enhance ergonomics and blade control. And the included sheath contains a swivel clip which allows easy access to the compact knife.4– Best for Outdoor Use
The Ka-Bar #1213 Fixed Blade Knife is a great tool for outdoor activities. The blade is constructed from 7 inches of carbon steel and is accompanied by a durable Kydex sheath. Coming in at nearly 12 inches in overall length, this knife is perfect for a variety of tasks. The handle is made from Kraton material, adding a comfortable grip and giving the knife a sleek look.
This knife can be used for anything from small repair work to larger cutting tasks and much more. It is resistant to corrosion and rust, and you don’t have to worry about it weighing down your pockets due to its lightweight design. Made in the USA, this knife is a great choice for camping, hunting, fishing, hiking and any other outdoor adventure you plan to head out on.5– Versatile Use
The Gerber Gear StrongArm Fixed Blade Knife is a powerful and essential survival knife. This full-tang steel knife has a ceramic blade coating and is accompanied by a coyote brown handle with a rubberized diamond texture handle, offering a solid grip in any situation. Its pommel is even designed to break through hard surfaces in emergencies.
This knife also comes with four mounting pieces, plus a sheath that can be used for mounting on MOLLE, a belt, or in drop-leg fashion. This makes it a great versatile knife and perfect for any camping or outdoor adventure.
People Also AskedQ: What is a fixed-blade knife?
A: A fixed-blade knife is a knife with a blade that is attached directly to the handle and cannot be folded or retracted. It is a single, solid piece of steel and typically has an extended tang.Q: What are the advantages of using a fixed-blade knife?
A: Fixed blades typically have more strength and durability than folding knives, making them a better choice for heavy-duty tasks such as hunting, camping and self-defense. They are also easier to sharpen than folding knives, making them well-suited for fine precision tasks.Q: How do I sharpen a fixed-blade knife?
A: Sharpening this kind of knife requires whetstone or bench stone for best results. Simply lubricate the stone with water or honing oil and then draw the blade across the stone at an angle until it is sufficiently sharpened.Q: What is the strongest type of steel for a fixed-blade knife?
A: The strongest type of steel for a fixed-blade knife will depend on the intended use of the knife and its operating environment. High-carbon steel blades tend to hold an edge longer than stainless steel blades, while stainless steel blades are better suited for wet or corrosive environments.Q: How can I ensure that my fixed-blade knife is safely stored or carried when not in use?
A: When not in use, it is important to store your fixed-blade knife in a secure sheath so that it can’t accidentally injure or cut someone when not in use. If you are carrying your fixed-blade knife in public, make sure you are aware of local laws regarding carrying knives and store your knife in a safe and secure manner when not in use.Q: How do I care for and maintain my fixed-blade knife properly?
A: Proper care and maintenance for your fixed blade knife includes keeping it clean and oiled, making sure it has adequate protection from rust, regularly checking it for any signs of damage or wear and sharpening it as needed. Additionally, it’s important to periodically inspect your sheath to make sure there is no damage that could cause injury when carrying your knife in a sheath.Q: How do I know which type of handle will be best for me when buying a fixed-blade knife?
A: When buying a fixed-blade knife, you should consider what type of handle will best suit your needs based on the tasks you plan on using your knife for. For example, if you’re looking to do precision work or delicate slicing you may want something with an ergonomic handle design that fits comfortably in your hand while providing adequate grip. If you’re looking for something more ruggedly designed for outdoor tasks such as hunting or bushcraft skills, you may want something with a full tang for extra durability and strength.Q: Are fixed-blade knives allowed at security checkpoints, such as airports?
A: No, most airports prohibit passengers from bringing any kind of blades on board aircraft, including fixed-blade knives. You should check with airport security before traveling with any kind of blade as policies may vary by airport or country regulations.Q: Can I use my fixed-blade knife for bushcraft tasks?
A: Yes, depending on the size and design of your particular model you can certainly use your fixed blade to complete various bushcraft tasks such as carving wood or skinning animals if necessary. Larger knife models may be better suited for heavier-duty applications such as clearing brushes (depending on size/blade design).