Top Five Fixed-Blade Knives

Editor’s Note: The following is a post by Mark Kakkuri, a nationally published freelance writer who covers guns and gear, 2nd Amendment issues and the outdoors. His writing and photography have appeared in many firearms-related publications, including the USCCA’s Concealed Carry Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @markkakkuri.

Read Mark’s previous articles in this “Top Five” series:

Folding knives are better than fixed-blade knives because you can fit a folding knife in your pocket — or clip it to the inside of your pocket. But fixed-blade knives are better than folding knives because fixed-blade knives are generally stronger, especially when the blade and the handle are the same piece of steel. Folding knives are more convenient — to a degree. Fixed-blade knives are stronger, and they’re not as difficult to carry as you might initially think. Fixed-blade knives come in all shapes and sizes, are made from all kinds of metals and serve many different purposes. These might not be your top five fixed-blade knives. But, for now — and in no particular order — these are mine. Enjoy!

1. Glock FM 81 Survival Knife

Price on Amazon: $33.00

Available in olive green, desert tan and black, Glock knives are made from a hardened steel with a polymer handle and sheath. Like their pistol counterparts, Glock knives are outrageously tough, durable, reliable and useful in a variety of situations. Glock offers two knife models — the survival knife you see here and a field knife. The only difference between the two is the survival knife has a saw on the back of its blade.

I’ve pounded my Glock knife through a 4×4 post with a hammer and pried it out with a crowbar, only to find it mildly scratched up but intact and worthy of continued use as a toolbox knife. I can’t prove this, but if you pop the cap off the handle, the Glock knife will mount on a certain Steyr rifle. The Glock sheath fits on a belt up to 2.4 inches wide (or just clips on your pants), locks the Glock knife in it and sports a drainage hole and a loop to lash it to your leg, a vest or a pack.

Best use: Heavy duty cutting, chopping, sawing, piercing or prying, or as a close-quarters weapon when you’ve burnt through every last round of ammo.

Click here to purchase a Glock knife.

2. Hogue EX FO2

Price is $149.95 on the Hogue website.

Hogue paired up a cryogenically treated blade with a plastic handle, overmolded with rubber to maximize purchase. The blade is near-perfect in shape (clip point, but it is available in a tanto) and its sharpness can only be described as “wicked.”

The knife snaps smartly into an included, custom sheath, which sends a durable plastic pin through a detent in the handle, retaining the knife until you press on the attached switch to free it. Weighing next to nothing, the Hogue carries very well.

Best use: Virtually whenever you’re outdoors but especially backcountry hiking or camping.

Shop the Hogue website for EX FO2.

3. Fremont Farson Hatchet

Price is around $51 on Amazon.

No, it’s not really a knife, but it can function like one, so I included it here. This uniquely shaped tool sports a 9.5-inch 1095 Carbon Steel blade with a Titanium Nitrade coating. The handle is wrapped in paracord, which helps with grip. (Paracord, of course, has six zillion other uses, so it seems clear that this knife’s mission leans toward survival.) The sheath can attach to your belt or backpack, but it can be a bit awkward to retrieve the tool, especially if you need it in a hurry.

What’s most noteworthy about the Farson Hatchet is the unbelievable edge that comes from the factory. You should handle all knives with care, of course, but you really want to be careful in the extreme with this one.

Best use: Medium- to light-duty survival chores, or when you want to cut a tomato into those paper-thin slivers you see on cooking shows.

To purchase the Farson Hatchet from Fremont click here.  To pick it up on Amazon, click here.

4. Gerber Strongarm

MSRP: $86. But $58 on Amazon.

Here’s a knife with a few more traditional specs and a mindset for toughness and versatility; sort of a cross between the Glock and Hogue, perhaps.

For starters, the multi-mount sheath (not shown, but worth looking up) allows you to carry the Strongarm on your belt, on your pack, with the belt loop, with a belt clip or using the many lashing holes. The knife clicks in and out of the sheath confidently, requiring you to provide leverage with your thumb against the sheath to draw. The blade is 420HC steel and the grip is a rubber overmold with a diamond-textured grip.

Best use: Military or police duty. All-purpose outdoor/backcountry duty.

Visit the Gerber website to purchase the Strongarm. Or pick it up on Amazon.

5. Marttiini Little Condor

Price on Amazon is around $22.

Finally, here’s the fixed-blade knife that actually gets the most use in my world. Marttiini’s Little Condor (and its other Finnish brother and sister knives) proves that usefulness and utility is more a matter of thoughtful design than of sheer strength and size. This knife is inexpensive, lightweight and just the right size for, oh, 90 percent of the reasons you need a knife in the first place.

This stainless steel unit goes fishing with me, has a place in a micro toolbox, travels in the car on vacation and rides in a backpack or shoulder bag almost every day. The rubber handle is simple and effective. The leather sheath covers about 75 percent of the knife and the belt loop attachment requires me to unbuckle my belt to loop it through, which is terrible so I never use it. But I do use the knife regularly and keep it in the sheath when not in use. (Usually, it gets stuffed in a back pocket.)

Best use: Almost any light cutting task.

Visit the Marttiini website to learn more or purchase one on Amazon.

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{ 20 comments… add one }
  • Allen Alexander November 17, 2017, 10:16 am

    Yes those are some nice knives. I own a couple of them and about fifty more. I am a collector I guess. My wife knows that if she is at a loss for a birthday gift I will always like a new quality knife. One of my favorite though is the A.G. Russell “Woodswalker”. It features a full sized handle, but the blade is just under 2 1/2″. It can be worn as a neck knife, but my favorite way of carrying it is in it’s ‘back pocket’ sheath. It is a quarter of inch thick leather and fits in jeans or Carhartt pockets. The retail is around $25 from the A.G. Russell website, but I see folks asking $69 and up on Ebay! It is termed a ‘non-lethal’ knife, but with the razor edge it holds well, it can do anything from opening cans to field dressing a deer if need be.

  • Steve Brenner August 25, 2017, 10:53 pm

    Buck 0124 for $111.00 shipped is what I got in the mail today.

    A great knife and good price.

    Will start carring September 1, 2017.
    New law in Texas
    No illegal knives.

  • Jemby July 23, 2017, 9:49 pm

    Esee 3, 4 or 5. Take your pick. Or take all three. All are top notch.

  • Patrick Duffy July 22, 2017, 12:27 pm

    Did not say what the purpose was. As a fighting knife the Fairbairn Sykes has perfect balance. It is no good for opening cans or digging holes, which is what the USMC often used it for in WW2!

  • Beachhawk July 21, 2017, 3:11 pm

    Any list of field knives that does not include the Becker BK-9 does not deserve our attention.

  • Irish-7 July 21, 2017, 1:12 pm

    I own a few Schrade fixed blade knives, SCHF1 and SCHF9. Both were under $60.00! I would recommend either for someone seeking to purchase just one knife. They’re both good for a host of outdoor tasks.

  • Zupglick July 21, 2017, 12:55 pm

    K-bar and “Truckers Friend” on Amazon for about $55.

  • Vic vapor July 21, 2017, 12:51 pm

    perty good article, Mark,
    I was kinda nodding my head in some agreement, and then, I got to laugh out loud with the hatchet thingee.
    Then it was back on track
    with the Finnish entry.
    The sequel, Top 5 fixed blades part 2 should be much awaited.

  • Kojack July 21, 2017, 11:37 am

    No kabar, seriously? BK2? Esse? Come on.

  • Les Peterson July 21, 2017, 10:37 am

    I was surprised not to see the Cold Steel on a list like this. That Marttiini looks like a nice little bargain to keep handy.

  • bradley benson July 21, 2017, 8:55 am

    The Glock knife is the best value on the market and I have been using them for over 20 years and have not had any failures. Still surprised that many Glock pistol owners have never heard of the Glock knife or their Glock entrenching tool.

  • Ray Robinson July 21, 2017, 8:42 am

    My main use for fixed blade knives is big game hunting. Since field dressing is not listed as a use for any of these knives it is not supprising I would disagree with most of these selections. My pick is Cold Steel master hunter but there are many better than those shown.

  • flintman50 July 21, 2017, 8:37 am

    Where do Randalls fit in? Get serious……

  • Marcus July 21, 2017, 8:04 am

    I recently got a Glock 81 and there probably is no better value for a quality do anything knife that is also cheep and expendable. Its even a great thrower amazing value for an Austrian made product.

  • Scott Burghart July 21, 2017, 7:29 am

    Best for what? I was expecting to see rally high quality knives and some of these no doubt are Chinese cheap knives. Sorry I clicked on the article. This is a stupid list.

    • Al July 21, 2017, 11:11 am

      In some cases, cheaper knives are a great value.
      And I have to say, that in MANY cases, some knives are overpriced and outrageously overrated for that money.
      If a knife does what another knife does at half the price or less, how do you or any one else justify that knifes price???
      I have many high priced knives, and many are just that, high priced.
      I currently have a Kershaw folder that suits me better and works better than my similar Spyderco, and at literally half the price.
      I consider Kershaw to one of the best bang for the buck knives out there, especially the Ken Onion designs.
      I’ve yet to see a real justification by many of the makers for their high priced knives. Other than an elitist attitude.
      But that’s just me, I do appreciate that one has a huge selection of knives to choose from.
      And how people choose to spend their money is their business, but to call out all “cheap” knives is bogus.
      I just don’t believe some of the elitist nonsense espoused by so called knife aficionados.

  • Mark H Wagila July 21, 2017, 5:45 am

    I n my opinion you left the best one out, The Cold Steel Recon Tanto with SanMai steel.

  • Richard Steven Hack July 19, 2017, 6:49 pm

    Picking the “5 best knives” is liking picking a Miss America winner. Once you get to the top ten, it’s impossible.

    Half the knives on your list I never heard of, and the “faux hatchet” thing there is laughable. Which proves right there that this isn’t close to being the “5 best”.

    I mean, no Mora, no Becker, no Cold Steel, no Kabar, no fifty other well-known blade makers? Seriously?

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