Knife Recommendations

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    • #62522
      JohnyMac
      Participant

        O-Kay, I am looking for a basic battle knife. I read the board here where everyone described what they were carrying however I didn’t see any trend
        other than the obvious one – Fixed blade.

        I first looked at a one and done knife like a bayonet but really how often would I need a bayonet. I also read where many bayonets will not fit a AR-15 m4 while others will.

        Then I started looking at the K-Bar which opened up a whole new list of other questions.

        Here is my question: If you were to recommend a fixed blade knife for under $100- battle knife what would it be and why?

        Just in case you were wondering what I am currently using with my rattle it is: My deer hunting knife that has about a 4 inch blade (Sharp as all get out), a Leatherman multi tool and a Kershaw Leek folder.. Pretty weak huh?

        Lay it on me!

      • #62523
        SeanT
        Keymaster

          http://www.gerbergear.com/Military/Knives/LMF-II-Knife_22-01627G2
          I have one of these. It is a pretty solid knife.

        • #62524
          D Close
          Moderator

            $80 will get you this:

            BKII

            I use a Kershaw folder and a Leatherman for EDC.

          • #62525
            Joe (G.W.N.S.)
            Moderator

              Just in case you were wondering what I am currently using with my rattle it is: My deer hunting knife that has about a 4 inch blade (Sharp as all get out), a Leatherman multi tool and a Kershaw Leek folder.. Pretty weak huh?

              If you want another knife, cool. In reality there is nothing wrong with your current selection.

              A standard KA-BAR is a great all around knife, want something a little shorter the KA-BAR Short is 3/4 size. They are around $40 to $70 in my area.

              I usually sharpen the clip, but beware some areas consider it double edged and illegal. :wacko:

              I may be retiring my MK2 KA-BAR as it is now worth quite a bit as a collector item.

              Again I doubt you need more than you have, want is another story. :-)

            • #62526
              SeanT
              Keymaster

                The decision really boils down to what you want the knife to do for you. In my pocket every day is a really small, really sharp Kershaw folder. It handles pretty much all my daily blade needs. I used to carry a larger folder but it got stolen when I left my car unlocked and I never bothered to replace it because the smaller kershaw really did all I need it to. Now, close to me every day is a bag that has a Mora( among other useful things) in it if I need a knife like that and then again on a ruck in my car is the ASEK.
                If your hunting knife serves your need, and does not need to be someplace else, then rock on and use the money for ammo or training but if you think you need another good blade, then a Mora is hard to beat for economy and utility.

              • #62527
                JohnyMac
                Participant

                  Thank you gents – All good suggestions. :good:

                • #62528
                  JustARandomGuy
                  Participant

                    Two questions for you, J-Mac-
                    Define “battle knife”?
                    A utility/tool/field knife you carry w/ your kit, or more like a fighting knife/ “get off me bitch” last ditch use?

                    Are you staying in the 4″ range, or do you specifically want to go bigger?

                    Intended use, as SeanT mentioned, as well as some more in-depth requirements you would like it to meet (things you love/hate about your current hunting knife/ blade design/steel/etc.) would be very helpful

                  • #62529
                    JohnyMac
                    Participant

                      Great question JARG! My thoughts are YES to all.

                      Here we go let the shit storm commence…

                      The knife I use the most is my Kershaw Leek. I like the swift one hand opening function (Similar to a switch blade) and boy does she take and keep a sharp edge. Just a FYI for the folks that have this knife; I removed the stupid safety mechanism. This knife (Pink handle) is MrsMac’s EDC too.

                      The second tool I use the most is my Leatherman. Typically not to cut but for all of the tools functions it provides. One is part of my rattle and I keep one in the center console of my truck. Even if you were water boarding me, I wouldn’t be able to tell you how many times I have used that tool. :good:

                      Last, as before mentioned, I carry my 4″ hunting knife. I have used her for gutting, skinning and minor chores. The knife like the Kershaw, takes and keeps a edge like no other. While gutting a deer I really have to make sure I don’t nick my self as I reach up into the deer’s chest to cut the esophagus and cut away the membrane that helps the lungs adhere to the spine. So it’s use is really to cut not utility. I would like to keep that with my hunting ruck due to it’s current use then carry it with my battle rattle.

                      This is where the shit-storm will come. I keep a tomahawk easily reachable in my 3 day assault type ruck. I am a Long Hunter reinactor and it’s the same tomahawk I use during those events. Before someone asks – Yes, I do throw it during the “woods walk” contests. :-)

                      I have the hawk basically for “woods work” not for defense or even offense. I have used it from splitting a deer’s clivus to chopping squaw wood for a camp fire. I keep it sharp using a fine metal file. Heck I used it a couple of weeks ago, much to my neighbors amusement; to chop apart the bones on a pork crown roast! :yahoo:

                      So to answer your question JARG, I want a knife for two functions: Utility and defense. As I am in-between jobs right now, thanks to the economy, I need the price kept under $100-.

                    • #62530
                      SeanT
                      Keymaster

                        Great question JARG! My thoughts are YES to all.

                        Here we go let the shit storm commence…

                        The knife I use the most is my Kershaw Leek.

                        My daily is one rivet smaller….Great little knife.

                        So to answer your question JARG, I want a knife for two functions: Utility and defense. As I am in-between jobs right now, thanks to the economy, I need the price kept under $100-.

                        Cannot beat the value for these:
                        http://www.amazon.com/Morakniv-Companion-Outdoor-Military-4-1-Inch/dp/B004TNWD40

                      • #62531
                        JohnyMac
                        Participant

                          Thank you Sean!

                        • #62532
                          Palmetto
                          Participant

                            Ontario SpecPlus 8325 is a tough as crud, good quality knife at a very affordable price point. This could serve as a “do anything” blade from chopping/batoning wood, digging holes to opening cans and bad guys. It will take abuse and at the price you wont be afraid to abuse it. Believe me, I have one and my cousin has abused his for years with no ill effects. May be longer than you may like though.

                            http://www.amazon.com/Ontario-Knife-Company-8325-Fighting/dp/B000I7MHMO

                            A good quality, tough, folding combat blade at an affordable price is Spyderco Resilience. I’ve been very happy with mine.

                            http://www.amazon.com/Spyderco-Resilience-Black-PlainEdge-Knife/dp/B004AWOLV8

                            For a multifunction tool, IMO, Victorinox Swiss Tool and Swiss Tool Spirit cannot be beat for quality and functionality. A little pricey but well worth the money.

                            http://www.amazon.com/Victorinox-SwissTool-Spirit-Multi-Tool-Pouch/dp/B0002T5YNW

                            Anyway, some options to consider.

                          • #62533
                            JohnyMac
                            Participant

                              Thank you Palmetto!

                            • #62534
                              JustARandomGuy
                              Participant

                                J-mac, I totally hear you on the budget- it sucks, been there, still doing that myself.

                                The bad news is, some of the really stupendously awesome knives are far over $100, so I’m afraid Busse, Swamprat, and friends are out of the running. :laugh:

                                However, the good news is, there are a TON of really great knives in the $100 range, although I’m afraid most will cost right around that number.

                                Just for the record, I tend to view knives as a utility tool first, anything that cuts and/or has a point can be used defensively in a pinch, considering if I get to knife range I probably f***ed up anyway…I’d rather have that hawk of yours if it got down to choppin’ time.
                                That’s not saying you’re wrong or anything, just so you know where I’m coming from regarding the ideas below.
                                Onward-

                                The Mora’s that have been mentioned seem to have quite a good rep and are cheap, but I can’t seem to shake the image of a kitchen knife out of my head…. :scratch: lol
                                The Ontario Spec-Plus knives are “ok”, but imho, you can do WAY better for your money.
                                So, some great knives to look into:

                                The cheapest I would go is a standard Ka-Bar, made by Ka-Bar (be aware of knockoffs, especially if on Amazon/Ebay). For the basic fullsize model 1211 it’s $60, or if you *must* have serrations, the model 1212 is also…$60. Another $16 will get you a basic plastic/nylon/kydex sheath that may or may not be the greatest thing ever. Be advised, the “short” or “small” Ka-bar will be real small- if you can get hands-on one, it may be a good secondary smaller blade, but the handle is smaller too, so YMMV. The standard Ka-bar blade is right around 7”.

                                Knives:http://www.knifeworks.com/ka-barblackutilityknives.aspx
                                Sheath:http://www.knifeworks.com/ka-barglassfilledsheath.aspx

                                Becker, a subsidiary of Ka-Bar also makes some solid knives- $80 will get you their “Combat Utility” fullsize 7” blade, or $77 for the “Companion” their more manageable 5.25” blade, or $73 for their “Short Becker” a 4 ” drop point knife.
                                All three include sheaths, but they suck, so will require replacement ASAP.
                                I mentioned “more manageable” in regards to the “CU” vs “Companion” as these are .25” thick, heavy blades- great for chopping shit up, maybe not so wieldy if more deft tasks are required…
                                Aside from the sucky factory sheaths, apparently a lot of folk do not like the standard grips, for size/thickness/grip texture/ whatever. However, for $46, there are factory Micarta replacements, and of course these can be worked into whatever size/texture you want.

                                BK1: http://www.knifeworks.com/beckercombatbowie-1.aspx
                                BK2: http://www.knifeworks.com/kar-barbeckerneckerplainedge-1.aspx
                                Short DP: http://www.knifeworks.com/kabarshortbeckerdroppointplainedge.aspx
                                Grips: http://www.knifeworks.com/ka-barbeckerbk7combatutilityknifelinenmicartahandle.aspx

                                Now, if that big heavy blade is a little to much blade, you could consider adding a secondary smaller blade for fine tasks- for around $40 each you could add a Becker “Necker” or a collaboration ESEE/Ka-Bar “Eskabar. Both include decent sheaths. A little over $100 in blades there, but just an idea. The ‘necker or Eskabar could also make a great chest rig/PC knife.

                                Necker: http://www.knifeworks.com/kar-barbeckerneckerplainedge.aspx
                                Eskabar: http://www.knifeworks.com/kabarbeckereseeeskabar.aspx

                                The Gerber LMF II mentioned previously here is a good choice, as far as a solid fairly compact 4.8” blade knife, and it comes in any color you want- black, tan or green. Personally I like the multipurposeness of it with the serrations and hammerlike pommel, BUT I also hate it because of those same serrations that take up half the damn blade, and I also hate short chunky knives.So, yeah… :scratch:
                                From what I’ve seen, the sheath is actually pretty decent, although I’m not totally sold on the way it releases. You’re looking at about $82.

                                Gerber LMF II: http://www.knifeworks.com/gerberfixblades.aspx?page=2

                                Coming up a little in price, the Cold Steel Recon Scout is a decent knife- 7.5” blade, just a tad over .25” thick, plastic sheath for around $117. I know CS has a pretty good reputation for durability, even though personally I am not a fan, and frankly the scout looks like a much more realistically usable blade for general purpose tasks as opposed to the Tanto version, which if you *must* have a Tanto blade, runs a little cheaper at $80.

                                Recon Scout: http://www.knifeworks.com/coldsteelreconscoutsk-5highcarbonblackfinishplainedge.aspx
                                Tanto:http://www.knifeworks.com/coldsteelrecontantoaus8ablackepoxypowderbladeconcealexsheathspecialprice.aspx

                                Another company to look at, sort of a “best kept secret” among all the other top name brands is Ontario Knife Company, specifically their current RD line-solid knives with good steel.
                                Still has that sucky universal sheath though-it seems they use the same size for 6” and longer knives as well so it wiggles and rattles a LOT and has a lot of excess material overall…ditch it ASAP! They are .25” thick blades, so more chopper-style knives like the Beckers, just better steel/design. And no stupid plastic grips! However, the factory Micarta grips plus the thickness of the knife itself may make it feel a little “fat” in the hand, especially for smaller-handed people- probably can sand it down some yourself, though. The pommel would make a real nice hammer in a pinch.
                                They come in just about any size you want from 4” to 9” blades, with either Black or Tan micarta grips, (or orange G10 for certain models) and options for plain or partially serrated blades.
                                RD6 plain or serrated blade is around $100 flat, Night Stalker 4” is around $105 plain or serrated, Afghan 5” is around $100-107 plain or serrated, and the RD7 is also around $100, either option.

                                OKC RD/NS/Afg: http://www.knifeworks.com/ontariorangerseries.aspx?page=2
                                *see page 2 and 3*

                                Also well worth looking at (and frankly, probably the best bang for the buck here) is ESEE Cutlery.
                                Real nicely designed knives in a variety of great package options and that actually have decent sheaths included from the factory. Most of them near your price range;
                                The ESEE 4 is going to run around $90-105, kydex sheath, plenty of options for mounting accessories, blade types range from plain to partial serrations and a unique “double edge” much like a Ka-bar.
                                ESEE 6 is going to run around $113, same accessory options as the 4, sheath is slightly different material, but still great.
                                The ESEE Laserstrike is a really neat knife, sort of a cross between the 4 and 5, running around $100 flat w/ kydex sheath and belt clip. Not sure how you get the fire starting stuff out of the handle without a screwdriver, but… it’s there I guess… :scratch:
                                Of course there’s also the ESEE 3 and Izula/ Izula II if you want to revisit the previous thoughts on a 2-knife setup- however given that ESEE 4/6/LS knives are a normal .188(3/16”) thickness, this is probably not really necessary. The company itself is an outdoor survival oriented company, so they even make other accessories such as fire starters and such.
                                The one weak point in their accessories is the MOLLE backers for the ESEE 6/4 sheaths only attach with 1 strap. Weird…

                                ESEE 4: http://www.knifeworks.com/eseecutlerymodel4.aspx
                                ESEE6: http://www.knifeworks.com/ESEEcutlerymodel6.aspx
                                Laserstrike:http://www.knifeworks.com/eseelaserstrikeknifeplainedgeblackkydexsheathfiresteelandtindertabsincludedinhandle.aspx

                                Aftermarket grips are also available- some people complain that the grips, namely on the Esee4 are to slim, or that the factory Becker grips suck, as mentioned previously. “The Knife Connection” sells some really cool G10 grips for the entire ESEE and Becker lineup that replace the factory Micarta/plastic ones. They’re supposedly real nice, plus the color combo options are great. They run around $50-65 /-
                                ESEE G10 Grips: http://www.the-knife-connection.com/customhandles.html
                                BK G10 Grips: http://www.the-knife-connection.com/becker-knife—tool–becker-knife—tool-custom-handles—blades.html

                                For the record, TKC also sells most of the other knife brands mentioned here, as well as other accessories (like plain ESEE blades, if you want to totally customize your own) and is a great company to shop with, as is Knifeworks. Between the two you probably won’t find a better deal on price either.

                                A final option, if you feel like spending just a tad over a hundred bucks, head over to Scrapyard knives- they are a BUSSE subsidiary, like SwampRat, but sort of like the “budget” line. However, their quality is nothing near a “budget” knife- far beyond that. Bit of an odd tang design wrapped in a rubberized grip, but I know of lots of folk who have beat the shit out of these things, and have no ill effects. For $120 you can get their “511” 5” blade or a 711 7” blade for around $140. You will need an aftermarket sheath.

                                Scrapyard: http://www.scrapyardknives.com/knives/

                                As far as other brands, some people are probably going to recommend TOPS. They make… interesting…knives, although most of them are just weird, outlandish overly-rambo-ish designs. But if you like thick weirdly shaped slightly overpriced knives, and have an afternoon to wade through all 640million versions of them, go for it. ;-)
                                Ok, that really isn’t totally fair- they do make *some* good knives with decent design like the B.O.B., but they are going to be well over the $100 mark anyway so unless you’re attached to the brand, you may as well just scroll back up and get a better bang for your buck.

                                On a side note for most of what’s listed here you need a good sheath, and unfortunately, aside from ESEE, most included knife sheaths like OKC/Becker/etc. suck for a wide variety of reasons, or are not included at all. I could go on for another page here about personal opinion on sheaths, but to keep it short, I would recommend seeking out a good maker of Kydex sheaths- off the top of my head, Godspeed Tactical makes real nice knife sheaths (http://www.godspeedtactical.com/), however, their product line is limited to specific brands- you can try to request a custom sheath for another brand but it probably will not be doable. You could also look around/request on BladeForums for another maker, or make one yourself if you’re so inclined. But either way, it’s something to think about budgeting in extra or separately for. A Godspeed sheath for a BK/SYKCO/ESEE is going to run around $35-50 or so depending on design method and options. Just depends I guess on how much you can spend aside from the blade itself, or if that $100 has to be all-inclusive.

                                Hope this massive wall of text helps your search some. :wacko:

                              • #62535
                                JustARandomGuy
                                Participant

                                  Also, to top the previous off, here’s a comparison of the ESEE 6, OKC RD6, OKC RAK, and K-bar with lots of picture and words that I found. :good:

                                  It also reminded me of something I forgot-namely, if the .25″ of the standard OKC RD series is to much, check out OKC’s “Bush” lineup- exact same RD design, but thinner blades.

                                  http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/showthread.php/1010790-ESEE-6-Vs-OKC-RAK-and-RD6-First-Impressions-Updated-For-MOLLE-Backer-Pic-Heavy

                                  BTW, Bladeforums is a great site, and should be your go-to for info on knives. Folks there could give you more info than you could ever need about what you’re looking for- just searching the site and reading through the threads would be helpful as well, if you don’t want to sign up.

                                • #62536
                                  Max
                                  Keymaster

                                    I’ve been happy with my Becker bk16

                                  • #62537
                                    JohnyMac
                                    Participant

                                      Holy crap Batman JARG, that was one of the best knife write-ups I have ever read! :good:

                                      Thank you for taking the time to do what you did. If there was a “sticky file” here at MVF this is a post that should defiantly go in it.

                                      I will go back and devour all that you JARG and others wrote.

                                      Thanks to all of you for your time and suggestions. I will make a decision on this topic in a couple of days. :good:

                                    • #62538
                                      Palmetto
                                      Participant

                                        JARG panned my Ontario Spec Plus! :cry:

                                        His recommendations are better, more highly regarded knives.

                                        The one exception I would point out would be the original design Ka Bar which is not a full tang knife. The Spec Plus is full tang and will stand up to abuse that will break the Ka Bar. It’s also ~$20 cheaper. Don’t get me wrong, I think the Ka Bar USMC is a cool knife with awesome history – I’ve got one original design with stacked leather grip and one Next Gen with the Kraton grip – I just find them too pretty to use.

                                        Keep in mind the Spec Plus is a ~$40 knife. If money is tight and you must have a fighter blade the Spec Plus would serve very nicely and leave a large chunk of your $100 budget folded up in your wallet.

                                      • #62539
                                        Max
                                        Keymaster

                                          I run a seal pup on my fighting load and a kabar in my ruck. Seal pup came with a crappy sheath but you can get them with kydex, blade is perfect size, easy to sharpen and ergonomically comfortable. The kabar I use as more of a utility/bushcraft knife but wouldn’t hesitate to put it on my fighting load. it came with a much better sheath but is tougher to sharpen in the field. Both were under $100, the Kabar is called a mark I.

                                        • #62540
                                          Palmetto
                                          Participant

                                            Forgot to add:

                                            If at all possible go handle all the knives you are considering. You can get a better idea of the quality, balance, size and grip by checking them out in person rather than shopping online/catalog.

                                            How a knife’s grip fits and feels in my hand makes a world of difference in whether or not I’d use it. For any kind of SHTF usage I’d want something comfortable and confident in my grip.

                                          • #62541
                                            JustARandomGuy
                                            Participant

                                              JARG panned my Ontario Spec Plus! :cry:

                                              :whistle:
                                              Sorry- wasn’t trying to shoot you down or anything.
                                              To be fair, it’s probably ok, and if I was going to go ultra-budget and spend $40 on a knife, I’d rather it get spent with OKC than some other knockoff brand. But, I will stick with my original opinion, in that, there can be better had for the OP’s budget.
                                              :rose:

                                              …The one exception I would point out would be the original design Ka Bar which is not a full tang knife….

                                              True.
                                              And while I have not heard much about people damaging Ka-bars to the point where this is an issue (I mean, the design’s been working for how many years?), I have seen/heard of *some*- for example one guy I saw posted a video of him batoning some wood with it, and he bent it at the junction of the hilt and blade, so right about where it starts to taper. Now, KB CS did take care of it, and rumor was that it could have been a bad heat treat. I’m inclined to believe that- I ran across a guy that managed to bend a TOPS Steel Eagle, and it was (if I recall correctly) confirmed by the company that it a bad heat treat.
                                              That being said, I agree that the rat tail is not going to stand up to the abuse of a full tang blade, and that’s why I prefer knife designs like ESEE/OKC RD, Etc. where the blade is one solid piece of machined steel with grips bolted on.

                                              If at all possible go handle all the knives you are considering. You can get a better idea of the quality, balance, size and grip by checking them out in person rather than shopping online/catalog…..

                                              This.
                                              Can’t beat a hands on approach- a lot of subtle differences between ergos and designs, as well as sizes- how a knife measures on a ruler, may be totally different when you’ve got it in your hand.
                                              Unfortunately- most so-called “sporting goods” stores don’t carry shit, or it’s all shit, like that Bear Grylls mediocrity. So, if you’re looking for one of the higher end brands, you can pretty much forget it.
                                              You could try a gun show- there’s usually piles of el-cheapo knockoff Chinese catastrophes they like to call knives, but if you’re lucky maybe a dealer of real knives will show up and you can get some hands on- or maybe even try some gunshops in the area. Probably going to mostly “tactical folders” there though. :wacko:

                                            • #62542
                                              Palmetto
                                              Participant

                                                JARG –

                                                Sorry- wasn’t trying to shoot you down or anything.
                                                To be fair, it’s probably ok, and if I was going to go ultra-budget and spend $40 on a knife, I’d rather it get spent with OKC than some other knockoff brand. But, I will stick with my original opinion, in that, there can be better had for the OP’s budget.

                                                Peace, love and respect brother. :good: I was just messing with you for “dissin'” my blade.
                                                ;-) ;-) Seriously, I respect what you’ve posted.

                                                It will be interesting to see what J-Mac decides on.

                                              • #62543
                                                JohnyMac
                                                Participant

                                                  JARG wrote
                                                  This.
                                                  Can’t beat a hands on approach- a lot of subtle differences between ergos and designs, as well as sizes- how a knife measures on a ruler, may be totally different when you’ve got it in your hand.
                                                  Unfortunately- most so-called “sporting goods” stores don’t carry shit, or it’s all shit, like that Bear Grylls mediocrity. So, if you’re looking for one of the higher end brands, you can pretty much forget it.

                                                  Funny story…
                                                  My brother and I went to NY (BOL is close to the NY border) on a no hunting Sunday during deer season. My brother loves Dick’s Sporting Goods so we had to do a quick “stop & go” there. I wanted to buy my neighbor a new hunting knife for Christmas so I was Ok with the short stop.

                                                  While back at the weapons counter I saw a knife that was close to what I was looking for and waited my turn for the ONE salesperson (Remember this was during hunting season) to get done servicing the 2-3 folks in front of me to come over.

                                                  I pointed out the knife and asked to see it. I determined that it would do the job and told the salesperson, “I will buy it.”

                                                  He asked if I was done my shopping and I told him, I guess…Why?” Well he walked the knife, my brother and me up to the check-out counter where there was a nice long Christmas shopper line facing me.

                                                  He gave the knife to the cashier who put it aside.

                                                  When I finally got to the cashier she rang up my knife. She then directed me to the little credit card screen on the cash-wrap and told me to answer the questions. The questions were:
                                                  1) My birth date, and
                                                  2) Confirm that I was going to use the knife for the purpose intended.

                                                  Now I may look like an axe murderer (I get that) but a axe murderer that was obviously over 18! :wacko:

                                                  I started to question the cashier when my brother said, “just answer the stupid questions so we can get out of here!”

                                                  I did a quick calculation and subtracted 18 years and a couple of days from that date and entered it in as my birthday. Then clicked the box agreeing to use the knife for it’s intended purpose.

                                                  My brother later told me that the Dick’s in PA. don’t ask those questions for a lousy knife. I pity you guys and gals who live in NY…It’s just plain :wacko:

                                                • #62544
                                                  Max
                                                  Keymaster

                                                    Don’t knock yourself by what you think is “weak”. I carried my grand father’s Keen Kutter hunting knife for the first 4 or 5 years I was in. That and an old Uncle Henry pocket knife. They both served me well until I upgraded to a K-Bar. You can do so much more with that than a hunting knife. However, they both have their purpose, pros, and cons. It is up to you to figure out exactly what you want your blade to be used for and when. Remember the SEALS have a saying that “one is none and two is one”. Meaning, have more than one knife. Good luck on your choice.

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