I’m a huge knife nut and have been getting into the EDC hobby for the last two years or so; switching my carry around as I find new things to improve it.
One thing that will change probably more than anything else in my carry is my knife. I’ve carried knives since I was 11 or 12 years old and my fascination with these tools has only grown over the years.
Now, my knife purchases are typically limited to folders as the carry laws here in South Africa are a bit tricky when it comes to fixed blades.
The basic gist is that you can carry a knife as long as:
- It’s single-edged
- The blade is 10cm or shorter (4 inches or less)
Where it gets weird is that the laws don’t cover whether or not you should open carry a fixed blade – which is why I typically carry a folder.
That said, I do have a small fixed blade and it has been carried once or twice – mostly in winter when the cold temperature makes actuating a thumb stud and/or liner lock rather difficult.
My knives are also, usually, no more than 200 bucks but that doesn’t worry me because I’m not doing anything crazy.
I don’t need the crème de la crème of fixed blades, I just need one that is reliable.
Of course, if you do need a hard-use blade (or maybe you want something more than the usual dollar store ‘gas station’ knives); then you’ll want exactly that – the best of the best.
If that’s the case then, you’re in luck because that’s what we’re looking at here: the best of the best in the world of fixed blades!
When you’re in the military or in law enforcement, you’re most likely dealing with situations that the average citizen can’t handle.
Your fixed blade must be up to the challenge(s) you face on the daily grind.
On the other hand, you may be an average citizen who likes cool-looking knives and that’s cool too.
1. Gerber Strongarm
Disclosure: This post has links to 3rd party websites, so I may get a commission if you buy through those links. See my full disclosure for more.
The Gerber Strongarm is a popular fixed blade for both military personnel and general outdoorsmen.
The blade is easy to sharpen and holds an edge for a long time. As far as the sheath goes, it’s made of sturdy kydex with MOLLE compatible straps.
If you need a good blade for camping or hiking, this would be a fantastic option.
At a little over seven ounces in weight, the blade is thick enough to baton through firewood and perform pretty much any camp tasks you may need to perform with minimal difficulty.
You can purchase a Gerber Strongarm from Amazon by clicking here.
2. Cold Steel Recon
Cold Steel has a reputation for good quality knives that can take a serious beating!
The Recon line is popular with law enforcement and military use; the series has a variety of blade steels, shapes, and edge profiles.
The 7-inch blade holds an edge for a long time but it’s likely a bit too long for everyday carry. It’s also got considerable weight on it; a little over 8 ounces.
As far as sheath retention goes, the blade locks in place securely and you can rig the sheath any which way you like because it’s MOLLE compatible.
You can purchase a Recon for yourself by clicking here.
3. Cold Steel SRK
Much like the Recon, the SRK is a popular option for law enforcement and military personnel.
The blade locks in the sheath and, as it’s MOLLE compatible, you can rig it any way you like.
Now, while the blade holds an edge well BUT it’s made of carbon steel which means its susceptible to corrosion.
If you’d like to purchase the Cold Steel SRK for yourself by clicking here.
4. Ontario 6141 MK 3
The Ontario Knife Company has a fantastic reputation for durable, affordable knives.
This one is made of sturdy, 440A stainless steel so it’s got a degree of corrosion resistance and holds an edge well.
It’s got a serious weight and heft to it as well – 10 ounces – so you don’t want to mess with this thing. It doesn’t hurt that the knife just looks like something out of a Rambo movie.
If you’d like to purchase one of these, either to use or as part of your collection, you can do so by clicking here.
5. Ka-Bar USMC
This is a classic knife that has been in use since the Second World War and is still carried by members of the Marine Corps as a knife of choice.
The blade is 7-inches in length giving you a degree of reach with the blade. It can be easily sharpened and holds an edge well.
Construction-wise, the methods behind the construction of the blade as well as the appearance of the knife itself have changed over the years as new technology and steels are found and implemented.
With that said, what hasn’t changed is that the USMC is still a beast of a blade that’s built to take a beating!
You can get one of these here.
6. Tops Knives Tom Brown Tracker
The Tom Brown Tracker is a knife that’s perhaps best-known for its appearance in the film, The Hunt as the weapon of choice for Benicio del Toro’s crazed killer.
It’s an…ummm…interestingly designed blade that was and is a rather polarizing feature. It’s good for chopping, sawing, and batons well, and it’s good with feather sticking.
The tracker has a thick, full tang construction making it ridiculously tough and the edge is razor-sharp.
The micarta handle is contoured which makes it comfortable in hand and gives you plenty of grip.
It’s a little weird-looking and it’s not really my kind of knife BUT credit where its due; this blade will reduce what you take camping with you.
If you’re the type of guy/girl who takes a few blades (knives, hatchets/axes, etc.) on a trip then having something that has the functions of a knife, hatchet, and saw in one package can be a godsend – especially on longer trips.
You can beat the heck out of this thing, and it’ll just smile and ask for more. For that reason, I’d highly recommend this one and you can get it here.
7. Ka-Bar TDI
The Ka-Bar TDI is a last-ditch, everything else has failed kind of tool that is aimed at law enforcement.
The knife is small and compact which makes it almost invisible on a full belt.
This knife was designed for close combat where firearms aren’t an option, either due to lack of access or some other factor.
The AUS 8A stainless steel blade is reliable and holds an edge well. It’s also reasonably easy to sharpen if/when needed.
If you’d like to get one of these yourself, you can do so here.
8. Gerber LMF II
We started with a Gerber, so let’s end with a Gerber and come full circle. The Gerber LMF II was designed for military personnel to be able to, get this, and cut through the fuselage of a downed aircraft!
The handle is made of glass-reinforced nylon which has a rubberized overlay to provide protection against electricity-related problems when cutting through a fuselage.
You can get one of these here.
Camping / Trail Knives
Leaving the tactical realm behind, we move into another category – general outdoorsy-ness. Camping, hiking, climbing, and yes, hunting all fall into this category.
9. Ka-Bar Becker
The Ka-Bar Becker is a strong, reliable blade for the great outdoors; it’s also much heavier than most other knives on this list weighing about a pound.
This knife is strong enough to baton through logs for firewood. The fine edge makes feather-sticking nice and easy.
Ergonomically speaking, the handle is contoured for a comfortable grip that makes the Becker a joy to use.
If you need a good chopper, this may be the knife for you and you can get one here.
10. Lion Steel Bushcraft B40
Lion Steel is a popular brand for knife enthusiasts and looking at this one it’s easy to see why.
The Bushcraft B40 has a nice high saber grind which makes it ideal for most cutting tasks including food prep and feather sticking.
The blade is full tang and made of tool steel making it durable and giving good edge retention.
It’s easy enough to sharpen and the olive wood handles provide a beautiful aesthetic and comfortable grip.
The leather sheath is also beautifully made and is a perfect demonstration of Italian craftsmanship at its finest.
A fine piece for a camp knife, you can get one of these for yourself here.
11. Benchmade Puukko
The Benchmade Puukko 200 is a wonderful camp knife for food prep, feather sticking, and general camping/hiking activity.
The CPM-3V steel blade has good edge retention and is easy to sharpen. It’s also full tang which provides fantastic durability and the rubberized grip on the handle makes it comfortable to hold and use for prolonged periods of time.
Purchasing one of these is something you’ll never regret, you can get one here.
12. Helle Knives Jegemester
Coming in from Norway, we have the Jegemester from Helle Knives! This one is beautiful to behold.
Much like the Puukko 200 and the Lion Steel Bushmaster, the Jegemester is great at general camp tasks.
The birch-wood handle is aesthetically pleasing and the Sandvik steel on the blade is tough, corrosion-resistant, and has fantastic edge retention.
You can get one of these here.
13. Morakniv Bushmaster
You can’t go wrong with Morakniv blades. These are great bushcraft/general camp knives to own.
They’re lightweight with good edge retention and a comfortable grip; it also doesn’t hurt that they’re relatively easy to sharpen.
The only complaint I’ve ever heard is that the sheath isn’t great. Mora knives usually come with a plastic sheath that holds the blade very well but it’s a bit awkward at times because the sheath sometimes sits a bit high-up on your belt.
For this reason, many people who purchase a Mora of any kind will get a new sheath made.
Still, it’s a great knife and you should give it a shot to impress you. You can get one here.
14. ESEE 3
ESEE is well-known for its amazing quality and warranty. The ESEE 3 is a popular knife for outdoorsmen.
It’s lightweight which makes it ideal for camping and general EDC. The sheath has great retention and is flat so you can stick it in your pocket without a problem.
The blade locks into place and stays there until its needed. ESEE also uses powder-coated 1095 steel which is easy to sharpen and holds an edge well.
If you’d like to purchase an ESEE 3 for yourself, you can do so by clicking here.
15. Buck Compadre
Buck knives is a popular company with a good reputation in the knife community for good quality blades.
The 104 Compadre is one of three blades in a series of camp blades (the other two blades being an axe and a froe – machete).
The blade has a cerate cobalt coating which provides some protection from rust and corrosion. It holds an edge well, but it does take some work to sharpen.
This is a good one to use and you can get it here, if you’re interested.
16. Condor Tool and Knife Cavelore
Condor Tool and Knife is one of those brands that seems to fly under the radar for many people and I’m not sure why.
The cavelore is designed to look like a primitive tool and is a beautiful piece of work with a high carbon steel blade that’s good edge retention and is easy to sharpen.
The handle is made of hickory wood and the leather sheath is just extra cool.
The only downside I can see with this blade is that it’s a high carbon steel and there doesn’t appear to be any kind of coating on it, which means that it will rust if not cared for properly.
With all that said, you can get one of these here.
17. Benchmade Altitude
Okay, so the Altitude is aimed at hunters; it’s a full tang blade with a grippy G10 and carbon fiber handle that’s comfortable to hold.
The blade is S90V Stainless steel and has amazing edge retention and corrosion resistance but it’s a bit harder to sharpen in the field (a fair trade, I’d say).
Design-wise, it’s very minimal and lightweight making it ideal for a pack knife to use on finer tasks while processing a kill.
18. Benchmade Pardue Hunter
Sticking with hunting knives and Benchmade for a bit, the Pardue has a sturdy full tang construction with an S30V blade.
The blade itself holds an edge well and is fairly rust/corrosion resistant. Once again, the better edge retention has a trade-off in that it’s a bit harder to sharpen.
The handle material is micarta which gives the knife a pop of color and an amazing grip.
19. Benchmade Bushcrafter
Benchmade is killing it in the fixed blade department, aren’t they? The 162 Bushcrafter is built for some rough-and-tumble fun. The Scandi grind on the blade is perfect for bushcraft and camping tasks.
The blade has fantastic edge retention and good rust/corrosion resistance. The only downside would be that it’s a bit harder to sharpen in the field.
These are great blades to have and are highly recommended, you can get one yourself here.
20. Buck 119
Okay, so this particular knife is a classic and it’s appeared in a couple of different films including 1996’s Scream where it was the primary weapon for Ghostface…I thought it looked familiar.
Anyways, it’s got a contoured handle with palm swells to allow for comfortable work.
The 6-inch blade has great edge retention and corrosion resistance and is great for piercing and detail (finer) work. The 119 is built like a tank and can take quite a beating.
21. Buck Vanguard
Another one from Buck, the Vanguard is a great knife for hunting and camping as well as general EDC. Much like the 119, the blade has great edge retention and is corrosion resistant.
The handle is comfortable and, if you’re not doing anything silly with the blade, the guard will keep your hands from sliding onto the cutting edge. If you like good quality knives, this is a good blade to have.
You can buy one of these for yourself here.
General EDC Fixed Blades
Leaving the world of trails and hunting – sort of – we have a couple of knives that have become popular for general everyday carry.
22. Buck Knives Bucklite Max II
One more entry from Buck Knives, the Bucklite Max II has a 420HC (high carbon) Stainless steel blade and is designed to be used outdoors with gloves.
It’s sturdily built and comes with a good polyester sheath which keeps it safe when not in use.
Ergonomically speaking, the rubberized handle is grippy but comfortable; it’s not going to slip in your hand unless you’re messing around with it.
For all the positives that come with this blade, there is one drawback: the sheath.
The sheath covers almost the entirety of the handle and sits somewhat awkwardly on the hip. As a result, it’s a bit harder to get to the knife than it would normally be.
If this sounds like the blade for you, you can get one here.
23. Schrade SCHF57
Schrade has a multitude of fixed blades and they have a good reputation in the knife community – a bonus.
The SCHF57 is small and lightweight with a 2.6-inch blade and weighing just 4 ounces.
The G10 handles are textured so you can get a good grip on the knife while using it without hurting your hands in the process. The thermoplastic sheath has multiple carry options, and the knife is held securely place.
If you need a good quality budget blade, this may be for you.
24. Bradford Guardian 3
The Bradford Guardian 3…what can I say about this knife that hasn’t already been said?
The leather sheath is beautiful, the blade is great, the handles are ergonomic and comfortable.
This is a popular EDC blade and there are a few variations in size, blade shape/steel, and handle materials so you can get the materials that you want.
Now, one trade-off to note is that while the blade holds an edge for a long time it is a bit harder to sharpen.
Still, if you’d like to purchase a Bradford Guardian 3 for yourself, you can do so by clicking here.
25. Benchmade Hidden Canyon
The Benchmade Hidden Canyon is another hunting knife that’s become quite a popular general EDC option and it’s easy to understand why.
The blade holds an edge well (as you’d expect with a hunting knife) and the knife itself is fairly compact and lightweight.
The handle is made of G10 and has a cool wood pattern on it which provides a vintage look to go with the comfortable ergonomics of the knife.
The Hidden Canyon is a great fixed blade, and you can get one for yourself here.
26. CRKT Minimalist
When talking about EDC fixed blades, you have to talk about the CRKT Minimalist series.
These can be carried as either neck knives or belt knives; they’re light and compact so they don’t take up much space.
The high carbon, stainless steel blade takes and holds an edge well and is super easy to sharpen.
The finger choils allow for a secure, comfortable grip and the sheath holds the knife securely when it’s not in use.
It also comes in different styles so if the clip point (Bowie) style isn’t for you; it comes in a Wharncliffe, tanto, drop point, and cleaver blade as well. Pick your poison and get one here, you’re not going to regret it.
Tips for Buying a Fixed Blade
Before I leave you all, I’d like to share some tips about choosing the right blade.
For starters, look up your local knife laws and find out what legal requirements (if there are any) are regarding carrying fixed blades.
Once you’re familiar with your local knife laws, make sure you keep abreast of the knife laws in other states.
Second, set some parameters. Taking the information from the knife laws in your state, set a few parameters according to what you need.
Everyone’s needs/parameters will be different so don’t let anyone pressure you into purchasing a blade.
Third, see what you like and what you can afford. Go out and look at different knives and knife prices.
Fourth and finally, if/when you find a knife you like; try to handle it. If it’s comfortable in-hand, matches all your parameters, and you can afford it; then go for it.
As always, I hope you enjoyed this article and that it helps you find a fixed blade to carry daily. Thank you for reading and I’ll see you for the next one!
Greg spent much of his childhood camping and hiking. While he lives in suburbs nowadays, Greg was raised on a small farm with lots of livestock such as cows, horses and chickens. He’s a decent shot with a bow, a huge knife enthusiast, and a blackbelt in Taekwondo.