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:
- Top Five Every Day Carry Essentials
- Top Five Reasons to Carry a Revolver
- Top Five Keychain Tools for EDC
- Shooting in the Dark? The Top Five Low Light Fixes
- Top Five Pocket Carry Holsters
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
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
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
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.
4. Gerber Strongarm
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.
5. Marttiini Little Condor
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.
For more critical information on the use of deadly force and other firearms and self-defense topics, visit www.uscca.com/GunsAmerica.