Words of Wisdom Regarding a Survival Pocket Knife

Depending on how involved you are in the “knife community” so to call it in the absence of a more proper term, you may have heard some of the following sentiments echoed on repeat, especially as respects the idea of a survival pocket knife. “Folding knives are pre-broken.” “The bush is the place for a reliable fixed blade.” “Folding knives simply can’t take the abuse of a stout fixed blade.” Among many, many others, these are echoed pretty frequently.

Bad news for all you folder junkies and #folderfriday enthusiasts. The sentiments above happen to be painfully right. Worse news is this – it’s not just #folderfriday. It also happens to be #fixedfriday. 

We understand that folding knives are immensely popular and that a lot of collectors and EDC practitioners would be lost in the sauce without their favorite pocket bling. But make no mistake about the following claim. Folders, even the best folders in the world, pale in the field. Speed Safe, Liner Locks and other buzzwords might conclude sales, but they will not save your skin in a real survival situation. 

Now, with that all comfortably in the rearview mirror, the question remains: should you, then, carry a survival pocket knife at all? The answer is simple – 100%, absolutely, undeniably, without a doubt, yes, every time, no matter what. 

You must be flabbergasted by this point. The entire premise of this article, as well as the first several paragraphs, were pure anti-folder vitriolic. But there’s a caveat here. We’re not against folders – not even a little bit. We just don’t believe in making them a dedicated survival knife. Remember, one is none and two are one, so the folder should serve as your backup, and you should have more than one. 

You should carry a folder as a supplement to your other fixed blades, every time you even leave the house. It’s a necessary tool, just not the only one you should rely on.

Insomuch as it relates to a survival pocket knife itself, there are a few things to look for. For one thing, although much of the time smaller is better with folders, in a survival knife that isn’t necessarily the case. Larger, thinker blades with drop points reign supreme here. Avoid hollow grinds if you can, opting instead for flat, scandi and convex grinds. Avoid super-hard, brittle steels that are impossible to sharpen. Something like 1095 is your friend. Ditch the pocket clip and don’t be afraid to reach for one that’s so big it requires its own sheath.

Wait, there’s more – when you want to carry a pocket knife for survival, make sure you think carefully about the lock. You won’t be opening envelopes and boxes in a survival situation. This lock cannot fail on you mid-use. Forget liner locks and framelocks. We don’t care what you read; they’re not practical for survival, except as a backup-backup-backup. Go with a lockback or possibly even an Axis lock. If we had to choose one, we’d say go with the lockback. Most of the time, it’s the superior folder lock and it’s probably still the strongest, over 50 years after its introduction. 

There you have it – our not-so-humble take on the practicality of carrying a folding knife for survival. You should do it, but you should also heed these caveats. 

If you’re looking around for a collection of pocket knives including those that would be useful in a survival situation, visit White Mountain Knives at WhiteMountainKnives.com. There you’ll find many of the best brands in the industry, with popular folders abounding at great prices. Visit their shop today and add a new one to your rotation. 

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