15 Fighters: Knife Info Bleg

Recommendations for a general purpose non-folding knife, please.

No need for Randall-level expense; more like what would you get if you need to equip 14-15 fighters.

Whys and vendor links appreciated.

118 responses to “15 Fighters: Knife Info Bleg

  1. Just go ahead and get an American made K-bar. Period. Get/make/steal a good kydex Mollie compatible sheath and put the extra money into something else you might need. $200 for field knife, not this old man. Been carrying a K for over 30 years now as a multi purpose bush/defense knife. Never let me down.

    • Agree, 100%.

      Cheap, (but not cheaply made). Sturdy. You can, (and I have) used one to cut wood for fires, using another stick to pound the knife through the wood, splitting it.

      Can be a combat knife. Can do most anything you need to do. It and a decent pocketknife will do you.

      I’ve got a Randall Model 18 that I’ve had for years (on the shelf), but my rig has the K-Bar.

  2. doubletrouble

    Ontario RAT series, blade length varies by model. Good, solid, no frills knife.

    • SemperFi, 0321

      And another reason these are so good, the sheaths on the smaller ones are almost bullet proof, with the exception of the plastic belt clip. You can’t cut thru one! I’m not familiar with the bigger nylon sheaths vs the kydex ones.
      Sheaths are extremely important, the tougher they are, the less risk of cutting yourself with your razor edge knife. I hand make heavy saddle leather sheaths, by why have to get another sheath when you should have a good one when you buy it.
      Kydex is my first choice in personal protection, no threads or material to slice thru.

  3. Phillips screw driver and box cutters.

  4. Cold Steel Recon

  5. we need more info for your answer in general purpose. full size kabrs , i don’t like, plus they slap your ass, like a horse walking down main street. maybe the shorties are ok , if it’s in kydex.

    esee4 is ok as general purpose. it will cut your nut sack off and you won’t know it, from the factory. your going to need a good sharpening folding stone and maybe a ceramic rod . . they like lots of stropping. get the super agressive handle scales.

    not knowing more, i do like my seal pup. i wish it was unserrated. i believe they have that out now. get the kydex also. i have skinned out many chickens with it.

  6. I basically have always used a Buck folding(older USA made one)and been happy.I was thinking of fixed blades and what I might want and this article has been a great help,thanks to all who posted and said what they like and why,from the inexpensive to the more expensive.

  7. I like my M9.
    Doubles as a wire cutter/saw/pry bar.
    It is hard to get to shaving sharp but once you do it stays there.
    Start with a DMT diamond (red) course stone.
    Takes at least 100 20 degree strokes per side of the blade.
    Finish with 100 more per side with DMT fine(green) diamond stone.
    Fits all my rifles and my Mossberg.
    No. 2 is the Cold Steel Natchez Bowie.
    With DAILY practice of the martial arts standard 10 cuts the blade gets so fast it is a blur and whistles through the air.
    The perfect fighting blade.
    Will decapitate or detach limbs easily..
    Since the days of muzzle loading single shots-Bowies have been finishing fights-quickly..
    Lanyards are reccomended at these speeds.

  8. Thomas T. Tinker

    1. Mora. $15.oo. cheap enough to stock a few. 2. KBar. USMC $68.oo Still own the one I got at Camp Pendelton. 3. Ontario knives 12in. Chete w/knuckle guard. $21.oo. Lot of cheap choppers out there…

  9. depends…rural or city or blah blah blah… airforce survival knife and kabar can’t go wrong for alittle bit of everything. any military surplus store…don’t buy new. you can’t destroy these knives.

  10. Cold Steel does have some useable blades at reasonable cost, but all are made outside the US.

    Another resource:

    Here’s another of my custom blades, the blade is 7 inches beyond the hilt.

  11. For the money, it’s my opinion that the current Ontario Knife USMC knife is hard to beat. I have several. My custom knife above will fit in the plastic sheath for this knife. This is a good knife.

    Here’s an offering on eBay. Typically, you can buy one used for between $50.00 and $100.00.

    Here’s the Ontario Knife site. I’ve never paid anywhere near list price for an new one.

  12. Harrythekayaker

    ESEE 4 or a SOG Seal Pup. Both are decent, all around, fixed blades.

  13. Late to the thread; many good knives mentioned.

    SHEATH is just as important; go check out Endless Mountain. I’ve sent blades to this guy ( Dave Pickel) and he makes the best Kydex sheath I’ve ever seen – one hand re-sheathing, compact, rigged, great price

    $20 Cold Steel Tanto Lite + his sheath = budget perfection

  14. Walter Sobchak

    Reblogged this on Midwest Pistol Combat Systems and commented:
    H/T to WRSA

  15. Michael Slisher

    Having owned many many knives over the years, my current choices would be the ESEE 4, or it that was considered too large (???), the 3.
    To my mind, the ESEE 4 is the perfect fixed blade knife, not too big, not too small, not too thick, not too thin. The blade steel, 1095, sharpens relatively easily and will still hold an edge. It WILL rust, though, so be aware of that… fortunately the blades are coated.

  16. One idea might be to make your own. For example, parts can be purchased from several dealers to make a puukko. That way, a user can tune it to his specific needs.


  17. Buck 102 woodsman.
    near perfect 4” blade
    Exact same blade shape as much wider hunting knifes but without anything you don’t kneed. It is thin in the depth from edge to spine but not in the cross section.
    Works cleaning large and small animals
    decent boning knife
    can clean fish, though it is too stiff to excel at it.
    Snap on leather sheath is just above guard so it can’t slide out and expose the blade; unlike most other knifes
    Performs most cutting tasks well. I have even used it to cook with and it was acceptable, though I prefer a wide 10” blade that is thin in cross section with no guard for that.

    handle could/should be 1/4” inch longer.
    blade could be thinner in the cross section.
    Not a knife to baton/pry with. Not an issue for me as I use it to cut and prefer an ax or crow bar for that.


  18. US Army issue “Camillus 1967” pocket utility / general purpose, folder with 2-1/2 blade, can opener, bottle opener, screw driver and a nice pointy pokey tool too. They make better knives, but I don’t know why. Perhaps a pocket chain saw? I would also agree and have the 12 in. KA-BAR, almost 7-ish inch blade is a pretty good chopper /pokey tool too, but an Estwing Sportsman hatchet works better for chopping, both nicely attired in leather washer stacked grip. Just seems to me that leather and steel go together. Yet, plastic guns and knife handles seem to be the current technology, just not as pretty.
    Joe X

  19. Owned a Mora for awhile now and it has never failed me, inexpensive and razor sharp. If you want one for batoning go with a garberg otherwise the companion model is just fine

  20. Many good ideas have been presented here. I’ve learned much by clicking links. Have never handled a Glock field knife, but they seem real popular in this thread. Sorta like an M3 trench knife to me (good enough) but more durable, can’t say as to relative strength. Other IMO good ideas brought up, are the ESEE, the Gerber LMF II, the Kabar Navy Mk1 repro, the Ontario RATT types, and the Old Hickory butcher knife (gotta love its price point at the 10-15 cohort level, for a good piece of steel.)

    Second choice for the commentariat so far seems to be the USMC K-bar-type or its clone upgrades. Having owned a Camillus USMC K-bar for forty years, I would not advise it when so many other knives are for sale. Knife choices are personal so I don’t hold a person’s favorite against him, when there are so many other more relevant things by which to judge a person than his judgement in knife choice.

    Re the bleg, price point to equip a cohort of 10-15 is a real subjective thing. Of that merry band, it is likely that the more experienced or forward-thinking already have a nice blade or three. On an issue basis, those late to the party may be served well enough with an SKS and an Old Hickory butcher knife, with instruction on how to maintain a perfectly good enough blade until they procure themselves an upgrade and deal individually with the mental costs of the upgrade (cue here that rather old post from Tuef on an earlier and now defunct board, about what are you gonna do when your best bud has decided he’s had enough of being away from hearth and home.) CA, if you can’t find that particular bat-to-head post by Tuef, I know that I can find it right quick. Let me know.

    Econ 101, Opportunity Cost, what more and better stuff can be bought if the issuance of knives is done cheap but good enough for its recipient to go out and score a trophy better one?

    I have a Richmond-made Ek M5 Bowie with the checkered walnut grip panels properly fit, and its X-screws properly clocked for visuals, that I bought in 1990. It is made well. Since Ek sold to Kabar maybe four years ago, its clones are nowhere near as good. Nice knife in execution, but its design IMO is lacking in power compared to a similar sized Randall Model 1. Plus it’s too big for finding just the right parking spot to carry it (unless hung from the torso strap of the later model USGI tanker holsters), and inferior for some daily chores. These days, Richmond-made Ek knives are made of unobtanium, find them on eBay for a good price.

    What replaced the Ek for me for field carry, was something I saw in a pawnshop that felt real good in … my … hand. It is the Fieldcraft made by Topsknives. Was mentioned earlier in this thread by Badger at 11:04, that he liked its blade-heavy feel.

    Knife and sheath balance each other out, both are just fine for me. For a short knife (10″ overall, blade 4.75″) this knife feels real heavy due to a full-tang 3/16″ blade. Micarta grips, shaped and raduised just right … for me. The sheath is kydex, has great retention and controlled release. Belt clip is steel, good for a trouser belt or one MOLLE section. I don’t see a way that the clip can be worried off of its parking spot. Its rotation is 360 but stiff enough that ADLs will park the sheath in a predictible place, however carried. Ranger-proofing the sheath to belt via paracord is easy enough due to a few hollow rivets on the kydex.

    For those who cannot abide kydex, there are people who make a sheath similar to Randall leather sheaths for this exact knife and apparently of good quality. $70 plus shipping.

    All is subjective, guns, knives, and morality. Choose well, your future depends on your choices as you wake up tomorrow.

    • Thanks for the good words and the offer for the old-timey post by T. Ping that in here and we’ll revive the topic – and intro it to the Gabbies, Fizzies, and Tweeties. 🙂

  21. Schrade SCHF36 Frontiersman is good heavy duty 1095 steel. Chinese manufactured, but it is one of the good ones. About $40 shipped if you shop awesome.