What Military Combat Knives Are Best for Survival?

This article will dig into the questions surrounding finding a military combat knife that is sufficient should a person be in a survival situation. This article is particularly ideal for anyone who is or soon will be in the military, and is looking for a little help when it comes to finding a blade that’s right for them.


Below, please use the table to compare some of the top survival knives on the market against one another:

Benchmade-GriptillianBenchmade Griptilian$$$
Ka-Bar Fighting KnifeKa-Bar Fighting Knife$$
Benchmade-556Benchmade Mini Griptilian$$$
Mossy Oak Survival Knife$$
Spyderco TenaciousSpyderco Tenacious$$
Spyderco Paramilitary 2Spyderco Para 3$$$

What Is A Military Combat Knife?

A military knife for combat is a blade designed for hand-to-hand fights and as a last line of defense. These are knives that have to be reliable in terms of blade and handle strength, as well as be able to cut or break through things like wood, window, and perhaps even thick layers of clothing in an effort to save someone’s life.


Through the centuries, experience has shaped and developed the knife we see today, and each civilization has its own unique aspect to add and improve on the design.

Until modern warfare, these knives were all that would stand between a soldier and their demise, as conflict was very up close and personal as opposed to warfare of today.

Below, please take a moment to view some of the best-selling knives currently on sale on Amazon:

1) Cold Steel Survivalist
2) Ka-Bar USMC
3) Kershaw Cryo II
4) Mossy Oak
5) Kershaw Knockout


After World War II, the design shifted from a knife with only one purpose to one that was more versatile in this new world. These knives are still excellent at hand-to-hand and close combat, yet are also designed to be a useful tool should the user of the knife ever be in a survival situation.

These knives have superior steels that can withstand extreme abuse, handles that will not tolerate failure and an overall shape that is held easily in a number of tasks. These tasks include everything from chopping through to self-defense.

Notable Companies

As with all things, there are some companies that stand head and shoulders above the competition. The following 5 brands are all known as excellent knives for combat and survival blades.

  1. ESEE
  2. KA-BAR
  3. M-Tech
  4. Ontario Knife
  5. SOG


ESEE is one of the best-known names in the business. ESEE was previously known as RAT Cutlery, which was a company that broke off of Ontario Knife Company.

Located in Gallant, AL with their factory in Idaho Falls, ID, ESEE is carving a name out for itself in the survival world with their highly functional designs, quality materials and their exceptional warranty that takes a “no questions asked” approach and will replace any of their knives that end up damaged by anything other than rust caused by neglect.

The ESEE-3 is a military grade fixed-grade knife that is covered by ESEE’s unprecedented warranty which states should anything happen to this knife, accidentally or through misuse, that it will be replaced without question. Not only is this warranty good for life, but it is also transferrable.


Measuring 8.31 inches long, 3.88 inches of which is blade, and weighing in at 5.2 ounces, this knife is shorter than most military grade knives and has a deeper belly as well. The blade is made from 1095 high carbon steel, and as such, will rust easier than a stainless steel knife. It is therefore important that the user remembers to keep the knife clean, dry and oiled when not in use.

The handle is made from durable micarta and leaves the full tang of the blade exposed along the top, bottom and back of the knife. This handle is simply designed and comfortable in either the left or right hand and is large enough for people with larger hands while remaining comfortable and sturdy in the smaller hands of others. As this grip is not overly complicated, it enables the knife to be held in various positions without becoming awkward.

ESEE has tried this knife through its jungle-training course, which pushes these knives to the extremes, to ensure they meet ESEEs exacting standards.


KA-BAR is the company that produces one of the most instantly recognizable military combat knives, the USMC KA-BAR Straight Edge. The brand name itself has been around since 1898 and they became truly famous in World War II where the USMC (US Marine Crops) KA-BAR became standard issue as a fighting and utility knife for the Marines and patented a design which has changed little in design in the 7 decades following.

This is the knife which is instantly recognizable and has remained virtually unchanged for the past 70+ years. This knife is a living piece of history, as it was not only part of World War II but was standard issue to all the men and women who fought valiantly for their freedom and country.

This knife has an overall length of 11 7/8 inches, 7 inches of which is taken up by the 1095 Cro-Van steel blade. This is a slender knife featuring a fairly aggressive clip point and flat ground blade, making this ideal for slicing and piercing.

The handle to this knife comes with thick leather banding, allowing for an exceptional grip whether in wet or dry conditions (and even the cold does not cause issue with this as the leather is able to maintain a degree of flexibility). While this knife will never handle tasks required of a serrated edge, it is more than capable of enabling the user to obtain and break down firewood of a reasonable size, which is why it is suitable for as a survival knife.

The price tag on this knife is relatively high yet for the quality of knife and the durability it is worth every penny.

Ontario Knife

The Ontario Knife Company is another company which has been around for many years. Founded in 1889, the Ontario Knife Company began with humble origins and quickly grew into one of the foremost names in all forms of knife making.

  • P4 USMC Combat Knife

The P4 Combat knife is an aggressive looking knife which, while not standard issue, is a favorite among law enforcement and military personnel as a personal carry knife. These knives have seen the heat of battle and have come out victorious.

With an overall length of 12 ¼ inches, this knife features a 7 inch 440A stainless steel blade with a shallow clip point and a flat grind. This knife is primarily made for hand to hand combat yet it capable of survival tasks as well.

The handle is wrapped with leather and is heavily grooved providing a superior grip that will withstand any weather or climates with ease. Just as the USMC KA-BAR knife, this knife is unsuitable for sawing, yet will exceed in batoning, skinning and making feather sticks.

A beautiful and versatile tool proving how quality knives may be made for one purpose, yet will rise to the occasion and do whatever is asked of them.


SOG is a company named after the MACV-SOG covert Special Forces operations unit from the Vietnam war. The soldiers in that unit carried a very specific knife, the SOG Bowie. SOG founder Spencer Frazer based his original design on those original knives. This original design, a fixed-edge combat knife, was the only knife SOG originally offered. The gamble paid off and SOG expanded their line, which has served the general public, Navy SEALs, Special Forces and law enforcement for years.

Based off of the knife which launched SOG, this knife combines the tried and true design of their original blade with the technology of today which features an AUS-8 stainless steel that extends past the end of the 6.4 inch blade to the very end of the knife at 11 inches. This makes for a heavier knife which will excel at hacking through branches, cutting meat and filling any unexpected need as it arises.

The handle on this knife is made with leather rings and is indented to allow the user’s fingers to naturally gravitate to the perfect grip.

The Bowie 2.0 is a wonderful collaboration between old and new, keeping the important historical features and then respectfully improving them. This is a beautiful, functional and deadly accurate knife that will never fail to rise to any occasion.

Be sure to return to Reliable Knife for more blade related news, articles, and reviews.

You Might Also Enjoy:

  1. What’s the Best Fixed Blade Knife?
  2. Ka-Bar Fighting Knife review
  3. Bear Grylls Ultimate Pro review
  4. What are the Best Law Enforcement Knives?

Similar Posts