Of course, “tactical” doesn’t necessarily mean that the knife has to fold.
Throughout history, far more combat and survival knives have been fixed blades than folders. While folders do have their advantages, the traditional sheath knife has many equally strong points.
- RELATED STORY: 15 High-Quality Knives For 2015
The following are newer models of fixed blades that have caught our eye in recent months.
Much like the conventional wisdom with defensive handguns, the first rule of survival knives is having one with you when you actually need it. Neck knives are one of the more obvious means of ensuring you have a cutting tool when the balloon goes up. Condor Tool & Knife recently added an interesting example of this category to its lineup called the Fidelis. The 1075 carbon steel, 23/16-inch-long, clip-point blade is mounted on a cord-wrapped handle and is carried in a Kydex sleeve with a neck chain. Its MSRP is $30. (condortk.com; 407-905-0413)
HallMark Bad Blood Decepter
HallMark Cutlery’s Bad Blood Knives are designed by custom knifemaker David Mosier to create some very practical but economical tactical blades in both folding and fixed persuasions. One model that caught my personal attention is the Decepter, a sheath knife with a 4.5-inch, 8Cr14MoV stainless steel blade, a ridged G10 handle and a Kydex sheath. The spear-point blade lends itself to a wide variety of uses, including personal defense, and its 8.3-ounce weight makes it very comfortable to carry on a belt. Its MSRP is $110. (hallmarkcutlery.com; 866-583-3912)
Montie Gear Ultralight
Montie Gear’s Ultralight should be the answer to every modern “techie’s” dream knife. For starters, the ultra-thin, replaceable, 3.25-inch blade is made of CPM 3V steel with cutouts to lighten its weight. While stainless CPM S30V steel is more common these days, straight carbon 3V has a reputation for superior edge holding. The 4-inch handle of the knife is 6061 aluminum wrapped in a choice of colored nylon cords. The sheath is also 6061 aluminum with a MOLLE-compatible Blade-Tec belt clip on the backside and a handy thumb release along the upper spine. The knife and sheath weigh only 3.7 ounces. The MSRP is $400. (montiegear.com; 800-722-7987)
Ontario Ranger RD-6
The Ontario Ranger RD-6’s 5.5-inch, 5160 carbon steel blade is a full 0.25 inches thick with a low Rockwell hardness of 53-55 for extra toughness under the worst conditions. Heat treating this blade on the softer side of the scale also makes it easier to re-sharpen in the field, even if all you have is a smooth stone picked up off the ground. The handle is field-grade Micarta, and the sheath is MOLLE-compatible black nylon. The knife weighs 15.8 ounces, and its MSRP is $115. (ontarioknife.com; 800-222-5233)
Outdoor Edge Harpoon
The Harpoon has a 2 7/8-inch, 7Cr17 stainless blade with a paracord-wrapped handle. The knife changes easily from knife to harpoon by slotting a shaft with the sharp hawkbill end of the handle and tying the knife in or by threading the accessory blade holder onto a standard broom handle. The blade holder features a liquid-filled compass in the cap with a compartment for storing fish hooks, line, matches and other survival essentials. The Harpoon weighs 8.9 ounces. The MSRP is $45. (outdooredge.com; 800-447-3343)
Outdoor Edge Saberback + Brush Demon
Outdoor Edge recently partnered up with well-known custom knifemaker Jerry Hossom to make production versions of several of his creative designs. New for 2015 is the SaberBack Bowie, a trail knife with a 10.25-inch, 65Mn carbon spring steel blade, a rubberized handle and a nylon sheath. It weighs 13.5 ounces, and its suggested retail price is $69. Also new is the Brush Demon machete for $70 (outdooredge.com; 800-447-3343)