SURVIVAL

Best Combat Knives: An Essential Addition to Your Survival Kit

Combat knives review
Dennis Owens
Written by Dennis Owens

As an outdoor enthusiast, you will probably agree with us that having a decent outdoor knife is a must! But if you’re an absolute novice when it comes to buying knives, you’re probably overwhelmed by the choice – how to pick the right one for you among the best combat knives out there?

Having a decent-quality combat knife may come in handy not only in an actual combat – actually, they are an important part of every survivalist’s equipment. Combat knives can be used in a variety of activities, both outdoor and indoor and might even save your life in an emergency.

In this article we’ve gone over some of the basic features that matter the most to help you choose a good knife. On top of that, we’ve also included a list of some of the best products available on the market. Follow up to learn more and make the best purchase for your needs!

Our Top Picks

Product Name Weight Dimensions Blade Price
SOG SEAL Team Fixed Blade S37-N 24 oz.14.9 x 3.7 x 3.4 in.Partially serratedCheck price on Amazon
Gerber LMF II Infantry 11.7 oz.12 x 4.8 x 2.8 in.Combo edgeCheck price on Amazon
SZCO Supplies M-9 Bayonet  33.6 oz.4 x 2.9 x 2.9 in.Sawback blade with fullerCheck price on Amazon
Ka-Bar BK39 Becker Combat Bowie16 oz.14.8 x 0.2 x 9.2 in.Lock-style bladeCheck price on Amazon
Eickhorn Fairbairn Sykes 2000 FS2000 Dagger 6.3 oz.11.5 in.Double edgeCheck price on Amazon
Gerber Mark II 12 oz.13.5 x 3.1 x 1.8 in.Double edge, serratedCheck price on Amazon

Features to Consider Before Buying

We’ve listed features we believe may matter the most when it comes to combat knives. However, don’t forget to always take into consideration your personal preferences as well!

Blade Material

Blades are primarily made of three types of steel: high carbon stainless steel, stainless steel, and carbon. You should know that not all blades can be combat knives. You have to understand the types of steel material used to be able to select the best fighting blade.

Carbon is moderately soft and it is easy to sharpen. Carbon does not hold an edge as you will expect, and you must continuously sharpen it in order for it to be useful. Carbon has one major disadvantage, which is rusting. It does not matter whether you clean the knife after using or not, it will still rust.

Stainless steel is the most solid of the three steel materials; however, stainless is difficult to sharpen. The good thing about stainless steel is that it keeps an edge for a long time once sharpened. A feature unique to stainless steel is its high resistance to rust, it simply does not rust.

Entrek_USA_Commando_Fighting_Knife

High carbon stainless steel is the most preferred of the three materials. High carbon stainless has the properties of both carbon and stainless. It provides you with the best cutting features. It is easy to sharpen and it holds the blade longer than carbon steel.

Knife Grounding

Combat knife edges are usually grounded into one of the following shapes: taper ground, hollow ground, and flat ground. A taper grounded blade has less dragging and more strength. As far as taper grounding is concerned, an additional grind is made after the flat grind so as to thin out the blade. This is the best grind for a combat blade.

However, you can still consider hollow ground or flat ground. The edges of flat ground blades are evenly grounded from the back of the blade to the front and from the heel to the point. On the other hand, hollow ground edges have thinned portion of the knife blade situated behind the edge.

Handle Design & Material

A good combat knife must have an ergonomic handle. The design of the handle is important to the function of the knife. The energy you need for stabbing or cutting must come through the handle. Therefore, the handle design is an important factor when selecting a combat blade.

Combat-knife-handle

The design usually ranges from simple plastic handles to beautifully curved handles. A reliable combat knife should have a well-designed as well as the comfortable hand-sized handle. The handle should also have a large hilt, providing a high stabbing force.

This makes it easier to transfer the maximum amount of energy from hand and into the blade. This simply means that the coupling between your hand and your knife’s handle must be reliable. The handle material is extremely important when buying fighting knives. It should be designed from a material that is resistant to warping and shrinking and does not absorb moisture.

The best handles are engineered from plastic-wood laminates or close-grained hardwood. In some cases, high-quality plastic is reliable but may be slippery when wet. You can also consider knives with aluminum, steel, hard rubber, bone ivory, rosewood or walnut handles.

It is important to examine the manner in which the knife you are about to buy is assembled. Check how the handle is fixed to the stiletto. The best knives have tangs that are forged from the same material as the blade. This ensures that the knife is stronger.

fixed and folding knife

Make sure the tang is well securely inside the handle, with at least two rivets. The new field of synthetic knife handles includes rubberized material. Always choose a handle that is not only comfortable to hold but has the energy required for combat.

Plain or Serrated Edge

A plain edge is a single edge blade that has no teeth or serrations on the cutting surface. On the other hand, a serrated edge has teeth or serrations cut into the blade. In most knives, the serrated part of the blade can be a small section towards the back of the blade or it can cover three-quarters of the blade.

Serrated edges are very resourceful for cutting through tough material. Serrated knives are usually larger and for some, longer. You can also choose a knife with double serration.

Sheath

This is an essential accessory for a combat knife. This is so because it affects how you store your knife and how you carry and draw it when in a fight, hunting or survival situation. You need to consider the lower attachment of the sheath before buying a knife.

Choose a sheath that has a belt and lanyard attachment, and make sure the sheath has a hole for a lanyard. You also have to consider how the sheath will close around the knife. Choose one that has a crossover strap at the point where the handle meets the sheath.

Bearing all of those features in mind, let’s move on to the list of actual products.

Best Products on Today’s Market

Here are some of the knives we believe may be worth the purchase!

SOG SEAL Team Fixed Blade S37-N Knife SOG SEAL Team Fixed Blade S37-N Knife

Price: Approx. $70

Weight: 24 oz.

Dimensions: 14.9 x 3.7 x 3.4 in.

Specific features: AUS-8 steel; 57-58 HRC; partially serrated edge; glass-reinforced nylon (GRN) handle; powder coated finish; and black nylon lanyard & sheath w/ a belt loop attachment

Best use: Combat, survival

Description: The SOG SEAL Team Fixed Blade S37-N should prove to be a sharp and durable knife. This unique masterpiece has gone through rigorous tests as to be recognized as one of the most elite knives.

It has undergone SOG cryogenic heat treatment process, providing its blade with increased wear resistance and toughness. This process ensures that the edge stays sharp longer with less edge-chipping and micro-fracturing.

Handling the knife is easy because it is fitted with a glass reinforced nylon handle that has finger grooves and textures. The handle fits securely in your hand. It is installed with a 7-inch, partially serrated, AUS-8 steel blade.

The blade has a unique clip-point structure w/ satin finish. The extended tang provides you with the power you need for hammering and glass breaking. It also comes with a MOLLE nylon sheath, which has an accessory pouch. The top of the blade is totally sealed, meaning there are no indentations.

Generally, this is an amazing SOG piece. All features and specs of the knife exhibit the high level of craftsmanship and attention to detail. It’s truly a combat knife; the blade is not only sharp but also heavy-duty. Overall, S37-N is a great blade, and you should be pleased with its performance.

PROS:

  • Belt attachment and carrying pouch included
  • Extremely sharp and durable
  • Great grip
  • Double use as a hammering & glass-breaking tool

CONS:

  • The blade doesn’t have a shiny finish
  • Use limited to precise jobs only

Related: If you’re looking for tools to add to your survival kit, then check out the Victorinox Swiss Army Pocket Knife – it comes in several different models for the ultimate experience! The knife is lightweight and small and can even fit in your pocket. Besides its 30 stainless-steel tools, the knife has a lifetime warranty included. 

Check the price on Amazon

Gerber LMF II Infantry Knife Gerber LMF II Infantry Knife

Price: Approx. $80

Weight: 11.7 oz.

Dimensions: 12 x 4.8 x 2.8 in.

Specific features: 4.84 inches blade length; 420HC stainless blade material; combo edge blade; soft grip over mold, hard substrate handle material; and hard sheath fitted with MOLLE compatible nylon backing

Best use: Survival, combat

Description: The Gerber LMF II Infantry Knife is a heavy-duty military knife that is built for combat. It is fitted with a 4.84-inch, 420HC stainless steel, and ComboEdge blade. The combo edge provides you with enhanced cutting versatility.

The knife’s over-molded handle reduces blistering. If you observe it closely, you will notice the complete separation that exists between the butt cap and the tang. This feature allows it to absorb any kind of shock from hammering as well as prevent electrical shock. You can conveniently convert this piece into a spear by using the elegantly positioned lashing holes and grooves.

You will admire the low-profile sheath because it increases the likelihood of movement, easily attaches to a MOLLE vest/ belt, and it works for parachuting. The unique push tang construction is amazing, and it does not in any way interfere with the structural integrity of the knife.

The push tang structure is what gives it the insulated handle. The 420HC steel provides you a blade with the following qualities: improved wear resistance, improved hardness, and extra strength. The steel material offers you a multi-purpose edge because of its edge holding and corrosion resistance capabilities.

PROS:

  • Extremely tough – it can cut through the fuselage of an airplane!
  • Double use as a hammering tool
  • Sturdy & durable
  • Protective sheath included

CONS:

  • Some users may prefer a larger blade
  • No warranty

Related: The LifeStraw Personal Water Filter is the ultimate addition for any survivalist – it can filter up to 1,000 liters of contaminated water and make it suitable for drinking! The straw measures mere nine inches, meaning you won’t have any trouble finding room for it while at the same time, it filters out 99.9999% of the waterborne bacteria and 99.9% of waterborne protozoa. 

Check the price on Amazon

SZCO Supplies M-9 Bayonet SZCO Supplies M-9 Bayonet

Price: Approx. $30

Weight: 33.6 oz.

Dimensions: 4 x 2.9 x 2.9 in.

Specific features: Stainless steel blade; ABS handle; saw back blade w/ fuller, and comes with a sheath

Best use: Combat

Description: The SZCO Supplies M-9 Bayonet is a simple but contemporary combat knife. The design and method of forging and construction have been well worked out.

It is attractive to the eye, and you will always admire holding it in your hand. The blade is made of heavy-gauge stainless steel, which is very effective rust resistance.

It has an attractive mirror finish that enhances its appearance. The knife is easy to sharp, easy to clean and it keeps the edge longer. The blade resists sticking and scratching. It is fitted with a space-age heat-resistant handle, which is made tough for years of wear.

It is a multipurpose stiletto right out of the box. You can easily fit it on your rifle. It comes with a sharpener and a fire starter. Therefore, you do not have to spend extra money for the two survival gears. However, you have to make sure the measurements are correct in order for it to fit on your rifle.

The transverse groove on the bayonet lock, found at the mid-section of the flash hider has to be five inches if you want to install it on a barrel loop that measures five inches to the center of the latch from the front of the barrel loop. The sheath is made of heavy-duty plastic, which feels strong and durable.

PROS:

  • Sleek and elegant design
  • Durable & long-lasting
  • Comes with a multifunctional sheath
  • Blade is scratch-resistant

CONS:

  • Its use is limited as a combat knife only
  • Overwhelming for novice users
  • On the heavier side

Related: The Smith’s PP1 Pocket Sharpener may be just the thing you need for your survival tools – the sharpener is multifunctional and works with a variety of blades. You could use it to sharpen up both standard and serrated edges and since it weighs only an ounce, you won’t have trouble fitting it in your backpack.

Check the price on Amazon

Ka-Bar BK39 Becker Combat Bowie Knife Ka-Bar BK39 Becker Combat Bowie Knife

Price: N/A

Weight: 16 oz.

Dimensions: 14.8 x 0.2 x 9.2 in.

Specific features: 1095 cro-van steel; lock-style blade type; heavy-duty polyester sheath; 9.25 inches blade length; and 14.75 inches overall length

Best use: Combat, survival

Description: The Ka-Bar BK39 Becker Combat Bowie Knife is a uniquely designed clear coat fixed combat Bowie dagger, with a blade made out of 1095 cro-van steel. This is a high carbon steel, which is highly resourceful for a combat cutting tool. Therefore, the blade is tough making it ideal for chopping among other survival cutting activities.

It has a good edge retention, it is easy to sharpen, it is highly resistant to chipping, and it is highly hard-wearing. You need to properly maintain this knife in order to prevent it from rusting because 1095 steel is susceptible to rusting. It has an ergonomic handle design. The shape of the handle prevents the hand from sliding along the handle onto the blade.

The handle sinks inwards at the midsection that provides a perfect grip while reducing excessive pressure in the palm of the hand. The rounded and enlarged ends on the handle get rid of undue pressure on your palm. It is fitted with a hole that you can use to hang the knife by inserting a string and tying a loop.

The clear coat has a smooth finish. The grind on this piece is 20° flat grind. It comes with a heavy-duty polyester sheath, which you should always use to store the knife whenever you are not using it, so as to prevent it from rusting.

PROS:

  • Versatile use – you can even use it for chopping!
  • Great both for combat and survival
  • Easy to maintain and sharpen up

CONS:

  • The blade might rust faster
  • Its heavy-duty sheath might be unpractical for carrying

Related: The Ontrip Double Tube Survival Whistle comes in a set of two – it might be the right thing to take on your next family trip or outing! The whistle is loud enough to be heard at greater distances while at the same time being extremely light so you could easily carry it on your keychain. The set of whistles are water-resistant and can be used in humid weather as well.

Check the price on Amazon

Eickhorn Fairbairn Sykes 2000 FS2000 Dagger Knife Eickhorn Fairbairn Sykes 2000 FS2000 Dagger Knife

Price: N/A

Weight: 6.3 oz.

Dimensions: 11.5 in.

Specific features: Double edge; blade black Kalgard coated; long combat knife; leather sheath; 55Si7 carbon steel; double guard (black coated stainless); and the blade is individually serial numbered

Best use: Combat

Description: The Eickhorn Fairbairn Sykes 2000 FS2000 Dagger Knife is a state-of-the-art double-edged dagger that is built for combat. This unique piece is a product of Eickhorn Solingen, German knife maker.

Its overall length is 11.5 inches and its blade length is 6-5/8 inches. It has a double-edged blade, which is made of Bohler 55Si7 stainless steel and it is black Kalgard coated.

The stainless material has high resistance to wear and corrosion. This blade has the ability to resist scaling and keeps high strength at considerable high temperatures.

Right out of the box, you will observe that the edge is dagger ground. The handle is highly ergonomic, since it is made of ringed aluminum, and it has the characteristic Fairbairn Sykes outline. The durability of the knife makes it the best choice for combat and survival situations.

It comes with a high-quality sheath made of leather. The belt sheath is also fitted with parachute cord leg ties, parachute cord retainer, and snap retainer. You need to hone the edge to your liking right out of the box. Once you do this, you will be able to use the knife for different survival and combat situations.

PROS:

  • Sleek and lightweight
  • Very resistant to corrosion
  • Extremely durable
  • Each knife is individually numbered – bigger safety

CONS:

  • Blade might be too long
  • Some users might prefer a different handle

Related: The Emergency Zone 5-in-1 Survival Whistle should prove to be a great multi-functional tool when it comes to emergencies or survival situations. Apart from being able to offer you a loud enough whistle, it features a signal mirror and a compass. On top of that, the whistle has a waterproof container in which you can store matches and flint. 

Check the price on Amazon

Gerber Mark II Knife Gerber Mark II Knife

Price: Approx. $100

Weight: 12 oz.

Dimensions: 13.5 x 3.1 x 1.8 in.

Specific features: Rugged design; aluminum handle; 420HC steel blade; double serration; and black oxide coating

Best use: Military, survival, tactical, hunting, and general outdoor activities

Description: The Gerber Mark II Knife is a multipurpose combat knife that can be used in different cutting activities, such as military, hunting, survival and tactical. However, the knife is versatile enough to allow to be taken outdoors for other activities

When you unpack it, you will be presented with a rugged as well as reliable design. This blade design is unique since it is double-edged and double-serrated. This makes it the best knife for combat, hunting, survival, and tactical activities. The steel material used has high carbon content, meaning that it is highly durable and maintains the edge longer.

The knife is easy to sharpen and extremely reliable when used for contact cutting activities. The double serrated blade makes cutting a breeze and you never need sharpening. It normally comes with a MOLLE compatible hard plastic sheath that is covered with a rip-stop material.

Generally, its thick, flattened diamond cross-section makes it the perfect cutting tool for killing while hunting or when engaged in combat.

PROS:

  • Excellent for outdoor activities
  • Versatile use possible
  • Handle allows for great grip

CONS:

  • More expensive than other knives
  • Blade too long for some users

Related: The A2S Paracord Bracelet might be ideal for survival – apart from being extremely affordable, it comes with a variety of life-saving tools. The bracelet has an embedded compass in it as well as an emergency knife and a whistle. On top of that, it comes with a fire starter that should enable you to get those much-needed sparks no matter the conditions!

Check the price on Amazon

Wrapping Up

We hope that we were able to offer you some guidance with our selection of knives and help you out with your purchase. Once you learn the basics, you’d be able to easily compare between models yourself and find the right one for your needs.

Remember, you have to be as specific as possible when selecting a heavy-duty knife. Choose a blade that will provide you with the confidence you need when in a fight, an emergency or while hunting.

Do you think we might’ve accidentally missed any great combat knives? If so, please let us know in the comment section below – we’d love to hear about it!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dennis Owens
Dennis Owens

Dennis Owens is a graduate of National Camping School and REI Outdoor School. He knows everything about what gear to take with you, how to plan your trip to stay safe and what to do if you get lost in the mountains. We are lucky to have Dennis with us as he is a ‘walking encyclopedia’ when it comes to the wilderness.

  • Andrew Miller

    The main criterion for selection of a knife is its purpose. The variety of models and types of knives is precisely determined by a variety of tasks. The knife must not only be well adapted to solve a particular task or of their circle, but for the specific climate zone. So, a knife with a metal handle is unlikely to be suitable for the far North, and a knife with stacked leather handle won’t please his master in the humid jungle. Hence, the criteria for the type of material used as the handle, the blade, and scabbard.

    • Dennis Owens

      The purpose part is one of the most overlooked features of a knife, which is quite ironic if you’ll ask me. We know knives have a sole purpose of cutting things, but they vary in what they can cut. Other than this, make sure the knife you’re buying is durable enough for the job as well.

  • Dominick Jannes

    Camping knife is among the accessories for fishing, hunting, and travel, which, as they say, are not discussed. That is, it must be without exceptions. During the short expeditions (a day or less) I’m always folding a swiss knife type “Victorinox” with a maximum length of the blade, but on longer trips, I always add the “normal” knife in the scabbard, like one of those that makes the German manufacturer Eickhorn. In this article, this brand is represented with a “FAIRBAIRN SYKES 2000 FS2000 DAGGER KNIFE”.

    • Dennis Owens

      Great points raised, Dominick. We really cannot settle for just “one” knife because of the varying uses and requirements involved wherever we go. The safest number of knives to keep in my opinion is at least three, with one being a folding knife and a standard knife. The third one is an optional full-sized knife for multi-purpose use.

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