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Dexter Ewing

Best Camp Knives: Outdoors Do-Alls

If you spend time camping, you know the importance of proper tool selection for your excursions. The right kit makes a difference in how you enjoy your weekend woods getaway.

From batoning firewood to prepping dinner, these are the blades that will help you conquer the wild.

An important part of your gear should always include a camp knife of some sort. This multipurpose cutting tool takes on multiple roles in your camping trip and can handle the bulk of hard use when it comes to campsite tasks, campfire prep, processing food, and any other cutting task that comes up inside and outside of camp.  

What Is A Camp Knife?

When you hear the word “camp knife”, what immediately comes to mind? Well, a rather larger fixed blade that has some heft to it. Which is partially true. Keep in mind not all camp knives are big, brawny choppers. And not all choppers can be camp knives either. 

Blade: Camp knives have a proven blade shape. Nothing wild, but rather a design that can handle multiple tasks. Blade shapes like clip point, drop point, or even spear point.

Size: The knife also has to be of some length, around 7-8 inches is good. Such a blade length will facilitate tasks involving whittling, batoning firewood, chopping wood, or expediently slicing up food for cooking.

Handle: On the handle side, it’s important to have a handle shape that is very comfortable in your grip and incorporates design elements such as (but not limited to) finger grooves, palm swells, radiused edges, machined-in textures, and choils. 

These features seat your hand better on the handle, making for a more comfortable user experience. Face it, if a handle isn’t comfortable you’re are not going to use the knife, regardless of how expensive it is or if it uses the best blade steel. Plus, as you are working, you want the handle to feel secure in your hand and not feel like it’s going to fly out. Therefore, such materials as G-10, micarta, and some molded thermoplastics are great choices for handle materials on camp knives. 

Steel: What about blade steels? What about them? You have to remember the camp knife is a workhorse and you will probably have to sharpen the knife in camp. Carbon steel is still the steel of choice for this very reason of being easy to resharpen in the field.

1095 seems to be a factory favorite, found on outdoor knives, some fixed blade tactical, and EDC fixed blades. 1095 sharpens very easily but it’s not stainless so you will have to exercise extra care to make sure it’s dry as possible to prevent rust and stains. 

Higher-end super stainless steels like S35VN are great and have the muscle to go the distance without frequent sharpening. Yet when it comes time to resharpen, you could end up investing a good deal of time. 

To negate this, you can switch to a maintenance mode from resharpening mode, meaning, frequent honing will preserve the cutting edge. Something must be said for going old school, with carbon steel. There is a trade-off with frequent short-duration sharpening of blade steel that is softer and easier to manage, as opposed to spending a lot of time in the field sharpening a high-performance super stainless steel.

Now we have the basics out of the way, let’s dive further into some good examples of camp knives that might interest you.  

TOPS Brakimo

TOPS Brakimo

Designed by noted survival/outdoor expert Joe Flowers of Bushcraft Global, the TOPS BRAKIMO is as close to a do-it-all knife that can handle all tasks from whittling to cutting to chopping and baton work.

Its blade is 5 2/4-inches long and 0.190 inches thick and is made from 1095 carbon steel. The drop point shape gives plenty of belly to facilitate a broad range of tasks including but not limited to food prep. The modified Scandi grind is there for cutting performance as well as a thicker cross-section of the blade to promote strength in the blade. The handle is of OD green canvas micarta and has been finished to leave a “grip you back” quality to it. The edges have been chamfered for ultimate comfort, and there’s a divot for use with a bow drill. An extra-large lanyard hole allows you to use any cord diameter for a lanyard and possibly even attach it to a carabiner. Finishing out the Brakimo is a nice Kydex sheath that carries the knife at your side securely. A spring metal clip is the means to attach the sheath to your belt. 

The Kydex sheath is nice although basic. But really in the end as long as it works, that’s all that matters.

MSRP: $169 Origin: USA

ESEE Expat Darien Machete

ESEE Expat Darien Machete

I know. This is a machete, but this is an article on camp knives. Truth is that machetes can be used in conjunction with camp knives. More so with the ESEE Expat Darien machete, this is also part machete and part knife as well.

Measuring a little over 18 inches, the Darien has a reach like any other machete, but it also has excellent balance and feels so agile in the hand that you can use it as a knife for whittling, chopping, batoning, and maybe some heavier cutting of camp food prep tasks. The blade is made from 1075 carbon steel and is very easy to resharpen in the field. At 0.094-inches thick, the blade stock is thin enough to be nimble and is thinner than most camp knives, which are at least ⅛-inch thick (0.125 inches). 

The blade itself is a little over 12 inches, which is enough length to get work done. The handle is made from black micarta, which is a great choice because it’s a synthetic material that is dimensionally stable and has an excellent grip you back quality. The sheath is sewn canvas and is well made. An integrated belt look allows the Darien to be at your side whenever it is needed. Pair the Darien with a favorite full-blown camp knife and you have the ultimate combo! 

MSRP: $121 Origin: El Salvador.  

Spartan Blades Hersey Nessmuk

Spartan Blades Hersey Nessmuk

Spartan Blades made a name for itself as a top producer of high-end tactical and outdoor knives. It recently came out with a USA-made mid-grade line of professional use knives that are OEM’d by Kabar Knives in the Kabar factory in upstate NY. This series is known as the Silver line and offers enhanced features and value pricing. These are a step up from the company’s Bronze line of entry-level knives and a step down from its Gold line of elite, high-end knives. The Harsey Nessmuk was designed by knifemaker Bill Harsey to be a heavy-duty field companion on the hunt or at the campsite. 

The Nessmuk skinner-inspired blade shape flares at the tip and is great for, well… skinning and slicing tasks. The 5-inch blade is big enough to get work done but short enough to not get in the way. 1095 carbon steel is used for the blade, and the high flat grind tapers allows it to slice cleanly and effectively. A black powder coating reduces glare and adds a layer of protection against corrosion.

One look at the handle design and you can tell it’s pure Harsey. Multiple features are integrated such as the lower hand guard, the palm swell in the middle, the traction notches at the thumb rest on the blade spine. There’s 3D machined texture for grip retention, all built into the black injection molded handles. Wrap your hand around the handle and you feel how secure and comfortable it is to grip, lending a feeling you can use the Spartan Harsey Nessmuk for extended periods.

It is a very well-thought-out design overall and meant for hard use in the great outdoors. The Harsey Nessmuk comes with an injection molded sheath with a thick webbing belt loop. An innovative retention feature locks the knife into the sheath, preventing it from coming out unless you want it to. There is a thumb button on the sheath you push up on as you grip the handle naturally to release the blade from the sheath. Not too many fixed blades have a feature like this and just rely on locking the sheath up around some part of the handle. When you insert the knife into the sheath, you will hear an audible click, indicating that the blade is locked. Very cool!

MSRP: $190 Origin: USA

Buck Knives General Pro

Buck Knives General Pro

Any article talking about outdoor knives isn’t complete without a mention of a Buck knife. The company has been synonymous with the great outdoors since its inception. Its model 120 General Pro is one such knife, built to take whatever the great outdoors can dish up.

Crafted with a blade made from premium CPM S35VN stainless steel, the General Pro is built for hard use in all environments. Measuring a little over 7 inches in length, the clip point blade has a hollow grind, pronounced swedge, and a milled-in fuller, giving the knife its aggressive look. The handle is made from OD green canvas micarta for the ultimate all-weather grip. 

The signature aluminum guard and pommel, present on all Buck fixed blades, cap off the handle’s construction and appearance. The General Pro excels at camp food prep, whittling, some chopping, and baton work for wood splitting. At 12 inches overall, it’s the perfect large fixed blade to have when you hit the great outdoors. It is accompanied with a sewn leather sheath, as is common with all Bucks.

The General Pro is the tonier model, but if it’s out of your price range, the General model offers the same design only with 420HC stainless steel blade, black phenolic handle and lower price.

MSRP: $128

Ontario RAT 7

Ontario RAT 7

Ontario’s collaboration with Randall’s Adventure & Training has yielded a very highly successful series of folding and fixed-blade knives that are aimed solely at outdoor adventures. One such example is the RAT 7. The fixed blade is a larger knife that can handle all of your camp chores and some food prep. But tough work like chopping and batoning wood is what the RAT 7 is built for. 

The 7-inch long, flat ground, drop point blade is ground from 1095 carbon steel and given an epoxy powder coating to keep rust and corrosion at bay. The handle is a tan canvas micarta, an excellent choice for outdoor knives because it is fully synthetic and is impervious to moisture, cracking, and gouging. The handle design itself incorporates an integral lower finger guard, an ergonomic curved gripping area, and an exposed pommel with a lanyard hole. There is also a forward choil at the tang so you can employ a choke grip for more control over the blade.

Each RAT 7 comes with a nylon belt sheath that features an exterior accessory pocket for storage of a sharpener, folding knife, or additional survival supplies.

MSRP: $135

CRKT Bugsy

CRKT Bugsy

Designed by custom knifemaker and Discovery Channel’s Naked and Afraid star Kaila Cummings, the Bugsy is CRKT’s first USA-made fixed blade in the lineup. The knife receives its moniker from Cummings’s first appearance on the TV show when she received numerous big bites in the jungle in Colombia.

Featuring a 1095 carbon steel harpoon-style blade and a micarta handle, the Bugsy is as at home in the outdoors as it is an EDC fixed blade. With a blade length of a hair under 4 inches, the Bugsy is sized appropriately to take on most tasks inside camp or at home. Again, like some of the fixed blades discussed here, 1095 is used due to its low cost-to-performance ratio. It’s easy to resharpen in the field and offers reasonably good edge holding, which makes it a favorite amongst outdoor users.

The highly ergonomic handle showcases multiple finger grooves and an expanded butt end capture your hand to provide a secure, non-slip grip. Micarta is used due to its dimensional stability and excellent all-weather qualities—necessary for an outdoor use knife. 

A leather fob is tied to the handle and acts as a handle extension for those with larger hands. 

Accompanying each Bugsy is a high-quality leather sheath that holds the knife securely and at your side. There’s also a tactical version of Bugsy that features a black-coated, part-serrated blade and black G-10 handle. It comes with a black Kydex rig for belt carry.

MSRP: $200 Origin: USA

Fallkniven F1 Pro

Fallkniven F1 Pro

For those not familiar with Fallkniven, it is a Swedish knife manufacturer with among the best-kept secrets in the production knife industry—its fixed blades. These tools are elegantly refined and yet sport blade and handle designs geared towards the practical. Like anything European, Fallknivens are a bit costly but are very worth it. You get what you pay for and then some.

Fallkniven’s F1 Pro fixed blade is a straightforward utility done up to the next level. The drop point blade is 4 inches in length and is ground from premium high-end ELMAX stainless steel, ensuring edge longevity and durability.

The handle is made from a polymer called Thermorun, a molded material soft to the touch. It sports checkered texturing that grips your hand back regardless of weather conditions. Hot, cold, wet, or dry…the Thermorun handle ensures a sturdy, comfortable purchase.

With an overall length of 8 and ½ inches, the F1 Pro carries very well in its hybrid molded Zytel sheath with nylon webbing belt loop. A secondary button snap strap secures the handle in place.

MSRP: $408

Mora Garberg Carbon

Mora Garberg Carbon

One of the best values in high-quality fixed blades undoubtedly is Mora, another Swedish knife manufacturer. Mora’s knives are highly functional and well-designed, yet they sell at prices anyone can afford. They are what I recommend to folks who want a good quality knife without breaking the budget. Mora’s Garberg is one of the company’s larger knives and is designed and built for survival and camping.

Starting with the blade, the modified clip point is made from carbon steel for ease of sharpening and is given a Scandi grind for optimum cutting performance and blade strength. The blade measures a hair over 4-inches long, which is enough to take care of most cutting tasks while being easy to carry. The blade is given a black coating to help protect it from corrosion since it isn’t stainless steel. The handle sports a full tang construction, the Garberg is the first Mora model to feature a full tang. This means the knife can withstand harder use than the other Mora knives.

The handle has a dual molded construction with molded Polyamide and hard rubber, for a durable and weather-resistant grip. The handle has rounded contours, which makes it easy on your hand for extended use. This handle design and construction is typical across the Mora knife line and is proven to be durable and comfortable in the long run. The sheath that accompanies the carbon steel Garberg is a nice leather sheath that protects the knife and allows the user to carry it conveniently.

MSRP: $130  

Cold Steel SRK

Cold Steel SRK

Those of you into knives for a while have heard of Cold Steel. It has been around for a long time and so have some of the company’s classic designs such as the SRK (Survival Rescue Knife). Don’t let the name fool you though, this knife also excels at camp chores as well as any cutting task indoors or out.

The 6-inch blade is ground from SK-5 carbon steel and given an epoxy coating to protect it from the elements. SK-5 is a Japanese steel that is roughly equal to 1080 carbon. The clip-point blade is straightforward, but pure utility all around. It can pierce, score, and slice its way through all your camp-cutting tasks.

The handle is a molded rubber-like material that Cold Steel calls Kray-Ex. It sports checkered texturing for the ultimate grip regardless of weather conditions. An integrated, lower hand guard prevents your hand from sliding forward. The handle color is available in black, tan, and OD green to suit your personal preferences and primary use environment. The overall length is a little over 10 inches, making this a larger fixed blade, and it’s ideal for hard-use applications. Each SRK comes with a molded Secure-Ex sheath which is very similar to Kydex, allowing the sheath to be form-fitting and securely carry the SRK without rattle.

MSRP: $62

Spyderco Bow River

Spyderco Bow River

The Bow River from Spyderco is an affordable fixed blade in the SPYDERCO lineup that has great potential. Its trailing point blade style is highly adaptive to hunting, bird and trout, as well as general food prep in camp.

The blade is 4.4-inches long and is ground from 8Cr13MoV stainless steel, which is the Chinese equivalent of Japanese AUS-8 stainless. 8Cr13MoV is easy to sharpen out in the field and offers reasonable stain resistance. It’s a good middle-of-the-road production stainless steel, favored by quite a few production brands. The full flat grind ensures optimum cutting performance through a variety of foods and meats. The trailing point blade design offers a continuous blade belly that works excellently with food prep, facilitating ease of slicing motions. At an overall length of 8.1 inches, the Bow River is an excellent choice for a fixed blade that carries easily and won’t break the bank. 

The handle is black and gray G-10, with alternating color layers that produce an interesting wood grain visual effect when the handle is contoured. The handle is rounded and contoured to lay in your hand easily and very comfortably. You can get a good grip on this shape, even though it lacks any texturing. Each Bow River comes with a sewn leather belt sheath that carries the knife, ready at hand for any task.

MSRP: $70

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Finding The Best Spearpoint Blade Knife

There’s a reason why spearpoint blade knives are common as bluegrass.

Spearpoint blades are very common blade shape that is used primarily with folding knives but also found on some varieties of fixed blades. This blade shape can either be long and slender or short and on the fat side. 

What defines a spearpoint blade is the upsweep that forms the belly of the cutting edge and the equidistant spine that meet at the centerline of the blade’s width. Much as its name suggests, the profile mimics the shape of a spear.

Spearpoint Blade Uses

The spearpoint blade is a handy profile, as it’s very adaptable to any cutting task at hand. There’s enough blade belly present to do slicing work and enough of a point to do scoring and piercing tasks.  

Common Spearpoint Blade Knives

Along with the standard single grind spearpoint blade shape, there are a couple of variants of such that you might also be familiar with as well.

Dagger: The dagger is a popular option in fixed-blade tactical knives and are commonly spearpoint blades. The big difference between it and the more common spearpoints, daggers have a double grind. These begin at the centerline of the blade and taper down to the cutting edge, forming two cutting edges instead of just one.

The dagger’s design lends it to penetrating tasks, as well as giving it a certain sexiness due to its symmetry. However, laws are very restrictive when it comes to dagger blades. Additionally, the dagger is not well suited for working tasks due to the relative fragileness of the blade shape thanks to its grinds.

Pen Blade: These are commonly found as a smaller secondary blade on many multi-blade slip joint folding pocketknives. The pen blade is good for just general, mundane cutting tasks like opening mail and packages, or light-duty scraping.  

Pedestrian as the role may seem, these spearpoints see a lot of action in day-to-day tasks. It’s safe to say, the world’s fingernails would likely prove much dirtier without this little workhorse.

Spearpoint Blade Knife Buyer’s Guide

We’ve gone through the effort to compile a listing of some of the more popular spearpoint knives on the market. These knives have the spearpoint shape as the primary blade. But please keep in mind that there are more than just these, as the profile is among the most popular in use today. Furthermore, keep an eye open and be sure to do your research carefully to select the best knife to fit both your needs and budget.  


Condor Tool & Knife CTK247 Kephart

Spear Point Blade Condor Kephart

Designed by noted survival expert Joe Flowers, the Kephart is a good general-use survival knife that is ready to tackle the chores on your camping or hiking trip. The 4 ½-inch long blade is made of 1075 carbon steel for low cost and easy resharpening out in the field and sports a flat grind for cutting efficiency. The handle is made of walnut and features a rounded profile for easy use. Condor uses rivets in the tang to prevent the handle from loosening even under very hard use. Made in El Salvador, the Kephart comes with a sewn leather belt sheath to round out the package.  

MSRP: $72, Made In El Salvador


Spear Point Esse Laser Strike

The Laser Strike has a 5-inch blade ground from 1095 carbon steel and sports an ultra-tough black epoxy coating. The coating is a nice extra, protecting the steel from the elements, as well as furnishing a nice low profile with no reflective appearance. A series of traction notches are cut into the blade spine at the thumb rest area, providing a nonslip resting place for your thumb or index finger for extra pressure and more control or power. The handle scales are green canvas micarta, which does an excellent job of being a dimensionally stable and providing a great grip quality. A thoughtful feature, a finger choil at the tang for when you need to choke up on the blade for extra control. Each Laser Strike comes with a form-fitting Kydex belt sheath for easy portability in all conditions.

MSRP: $200, Made In The USA


Spear Point Blade Tops CAT

With its skeletonized structure, the TOPS Covert Antiterrorism (CAT) is an easy-to-carry, medium-sized, heavy-use fixed blade. Its 3 ¼-inch blade is made from 1095 carbon steel and boasts a flat grind. A pronounced thumb rest allows for more pressure and control while not allowing any slippage at all. The skeletonized handle is outfitted with multiple finger grooves that help seat your hand securely. Multiple oblong cutouts reduce the overall weight further. With an overall length of 7 ¼ inches, the CAT is carried via a multi-carry Kydex sheath so you have the knife with you at all times. This knife here can withstand some hard use for its size.

MSRP: $130, Made In The USA



Australia’s Halfbreed Blades offers up its Medium Clearance MCK-01 model as both a tool and a backup weapon. The blade is beautifully constructed out of Austrian-origin Bohler K110 tool steel that is similar in performance to D2. The blade appears to be a double edge, but in reality, it is only a single, however, it has a more aggressive dagger grind to it. At 4 ½-inches long, the blade is a good size for carry as well as getting your cutting tasks done in short order. 

A pronounced guard keeps your hand from sliding up onto the blade. To protect the blade from the elements, a flat dark earth Teflon coating is applied. As a bonus, this also allows easy clean up. The handle is G-10 and sports a milled texturing pattern which works well with both bare and gloves hands. The extended blade tang at the rear of the handle can be used as a glass breaker as well as a blunt strike option as well. The MCK-01 comes with a Kydex sheath that is both belt and MOLLE-compatible attachment.

MSRP: $240, Made In Australia



An extension of CRKT’s wildly popular Minimalist fixed blades, the spearpoint iteration is the more general use profile of the line. Starting with the 2.1-inch blade, it is ground from 8Cr13MoV stainless steel for enhanced edge retention. As an added visual touch, there is a fuller (blood groove) cut into the blade. Typically, this is something found on larger knives. The handle sports a series of deep finger grooves that help to seat the Minimalist Spearpoint in your hand safely. The handle material is “resin-infused fiber” which sounds a lot like micarta and even feels similar. Whatever it is, it does a great job of providing traction. Each Minimalist comes with a molded ABS plastic sheath for ease of carry. The sheath can be worn either on the belt or set up for neck knife carry with the included ball chain necklace. So the carry options here are really good!

MSRP: $50, Made In China




Everybody loves a Swiss Army Knife! The Victorinox brand has a zillion configurations and sizes of this popular multiblade multitool knife. It has a universal appeal that extends way beyond the knife enthusiast. The Pioneer X model is a popular model amongst the Alox (aluminum handle) options. Essentially, the company took its long-standing Pioneer Alox and inserted a pair of scissors, hence the “X”. The Pioneer X has a 2 ½-inch long spearpoint stainless blade, an awl, a combination flathead screwdriver and bottle cap opener, a can opener, and the aforementioned scissors. The checkered textured Alox handle is available in standard silver Alox, and colored versions may be purchased at various Victorinox dealers as exclusives to those outfits. One of the reasons why Alox models prove poplar is they feel very solid and the checkered aluminum has a nice hand traction.

The overall quality of manufacture for the Pioneer X is perfect. The blades and tools have a nice polished finish which not only looks good but also makes them easier to clean up. The spearpoint blade on this one is a real cutter. The full flat grind tapers the cross section down to a precise thin edge. One thing about all Swiss Army Knives is that they are easily sharpened. The scissors are simply the best small scissors I have used on any pocketknife. This is just a very handy pocketknife and you will find that it will go with you wherever you go, quite easily. Boasting an excellent price, it is not only quite handy but affordable as well. Plus, you can guaranteed every Victorinox comes perfect from the factory. Don’t be afraid to purchase sight unseen with confidence.  

MSRP: $69, Made In Switzerland



Kershaw Knives’ highly successful Launch series of USA-made automatic opening knives have been a great success. The cutting-edge automatics are made with premium materials, but come in at a comfortable price. The 7500BLK Launch 4 is the smallest of the line, with a California-friendly 1.9-inch blade. CPM154 stainless steel is used for the blade, offering enhanced edge retention and corrosion resistance. It is the particle steel equivalent of 154CM, which is used widely in the cutlery industry and lower-tier premium steel. The blade sports a DLC black coating for the ultimate in corrosion resistance and low reflectivity. The handle is machined from T6 6061 aluminum alloy for light weight and strength. It is anodized black and features matching black hardware. A steel pocket clip carries the Launch 4 in the tip-up configuration in the pocket. With an overall length of a bit over 5 inches, this compact cutter carries easily and also doubles as a money clip. Pressing on the lock button causes the blade to rocket out of the handle, snapping open with authority. The same button serves as the blade’s lock release from the open position. The Launch 4 is a fun little automatic opener that proves a great value.  

MSRP: $165, Made In The USA



Bob Dozier is a respected name in the knife industry. He is an accomplished custom knifemaker whose creations are aimed at the outdoor market with hunters and campers in mind. He has partnered with Kabar Knives to produce his Folding Hunter design. The 3-inch blade is ground from AUS-8 stainless steel and features a hollow grind. A single thumb stud allows you to deploy the blade quickly and easily. The handle is molded from lightweight Zytel to keep the overall weight of the knife to a minimum (2.2 oz) for comfortable carry.  A pocket clip carries the Folding Hunter tip up and can be swapped to the opposite side of the handle for lefties. Don’t let the name fool you, this knife excels at daily carry, for those who relish the bang-for-the-buck factor. Made in Taiwan, it is one of the best values for a custom-designed folding hunter. The Kabar Bob Dozier Folding Hunter comes in an array of handle colors to suit your preference.  

MSRP: $35, Made In Taiwan



The Mini Sheepdog is a downsized version of Emerson Knives’ Sheepdog flipper folder. Featuring a 3-inch long spearpoint blade, its 154CM stainless steel is the material of choice for going the distance with work tasks. The blade incorporates three methods of opening: a thumb disk, Emerson’s Wave Remote Pocket Opener, and a flipper. The blade has two options for finishes—satin-finished or black-coated. The blade rides on bearings for the ultimate smoothness in blade action. The handle is ergonomically shaped to seat the hand comfortably. The expanded sections on the front and back of the handle help prevent forward and rearward sliding. Textured black G-10 composite provides a non-slip grip.  There is a pocket clip that carries the Mini Sheepdog in the tip-up configuration in the pocket. Emerson Knives is a trusted leader in the production of tactical knives.  

MSRP: $240, Made In The USA


Spear Point Blade HOGUE X5

Designed by custom knifemaker Allen Elishewitz, the X5 represents the latest in tactical folder technology. It does so by offering a flipper opening, button lock in a premium handle and excellent blade materials. The X5 is offered in two blade styles and two sizes within. There is a modified Wharncliffe and a spearpoint, in both 3 ½-inch and 4-inch blade lengths. CPM154 stainless steel is the material of choice for the blade, offering enhanced edge retention. The spearpoint features a harpoon-style swedge, adding an aggressive stylistic note to the appearance. And the high flat grind of the blade bevels make the X5 spearpoint a cutting machine. The handle is highly ergonomic, incorporating chamfers, a prominent finger groove, and an integrated handle spacer for ultimate strength. The X5 comes in your choice of several hard anodized handle finishes: black, OD green, blue, and tan. Certain models also feature textured G-10 inlay for grip enhancement and a styling note. A button lock secures the blade solidly in the open position and also is easy to release and close the blade one-handed. Each X5 comes with a steel deep carry pocket clip—tip up—and an extra clip for lefties.

MSRP: $210, Made In The USA.  

Check Out More Buyer’s Guides:

Best Clip-Point Knife: Picking The Sharpest Of This Classic Profile

Clip-point blades are one of the most common profiles you will see throughout custom and production knives. You likely know the style, the familiar drop-off of the blade spine to a curved or linear transition that terminates at the blade tip.

The earliest noted clip-point blade style dates back to the Macedonian era. Flint-knapped stone blades in a clip-point shape were discovered from this time period. Today, clip points are found across a lot of knife genres from tactical to EDC to pocket knives to fixed blades.

Pros Of Clip Points

Due to its highly streamlined and optimized blade tip, the clip point has excellent puncturing capabilities. There is more of a true point that helps to penetrate thicker materials with ease. It is more aerodynamic than a drop point and even a spear point. Think of an arrowhead and how it penetrates, and you will get the idea. Clip points are also favored among the tactical crowd because of this characteristic.

The 5.4-inch clip-point blade of the Kizlyar Supreme Caspian provides plenty of sharpened real estate to process camp tasks. Overall length: 10 inches.

The defined point also makes great scoring cuts because placing pressure on the blade tip results in the tip cutting through aggressively on the first cut. So, this blade shape is also one that is favored among those who use their knives for the trades, where having a good knife is imperative to the work at hand.

Cons Of The Clip Point

Conversely, the blade tip being tapered also results in a blade design that has a weaker tip. You cannot have everything, I guess! With a smaller clip-point blade like those found on pocket knives, refrain from any sort of prying with the tip because it will bend or break off entirely.

Clip-Point Styles

It’s interesting to note that there are different variants of the clip point blade. Two of the most recognizable are the California clip point and Turkish clip point.

California: Exhibits a long taper, which originates almost to the blade tang and gradually and progressively tapers down to the blade tip.

Turkish: It has a long taper as well (but not as dramatic as the California style) but also incorporates a little bit of a blade belly as well. The Turkish clip looks very stylish and eye-catching when done right.

You’ll see other variants like a saber ground clip point with a pronounced swedge, and even some fixed fighters with sharpened clip sections for added bite and powerful penetration.


For general-purpose use, nothing beats a clip point for its versatility. You cannot go wrong by selecting a knife with this blade shape. Chances are high that if you are reading this, you already own a few knives that have a clip-point shape. If you don’t have any yet, here’s a rundown of 10 clip point blades knives that you should be on the lookout for and add one (or more) to your collection.

Among The Best Clip-Point Fixed Blade Knives Available Now

Kabar USMC Fighting Knife

Kabar USMC Fighting Knife

This iconic fixed blade has seen action on battlefields the world over. This knife first saw action during WWII and it still is going to this day.

The 7-inch long blade is made from 1095 carbon steel, making it easy to maintain in the field. It’s fuller adds style and strength to the blade. The iconic stacked leather washer handle is both handsome as well as very practical with its deep grooves that enhance grip and the flat metal pommel which is useful for light hammering and crushing tasks. The double guard prevents your hand from sliding up on the blade. As a bonus, each USMC Fighting Knife comes with a leather sheath.

MSRP: $135 Origin: USA

CRKT Minimalist Bowie

CRKT Minimalist Bowie

Designed by custom knifemaker Alan Folts, the Minimalist Bowie is one of Folts’ best-selling custom knives. It is available to the masses in the form of the CRKT version which sports a 2.1-inch long Bowie-style clip-point blade, made from 5Cr15MoV stainless steel.

Its prominent swedge adds style with function, permitting the blade easily penetrate most materials. The deep finger grooved handle has resin-infused fiber scales for light weight and strength. The entire knife is super comfortable to hold and it feels like the knife melts in your hand and remains very secure.
It’s a small fixed blade without the bulk.

MSRP: $45 Origin: China

Schrade Uncle Henry Golden Spike

Schrade Uncle Henry Golden Spike

This one is an older design still manufactured today.

Its 5-inch 7Cr17MoV stainless steel clip point blade is a good example of what we call a California clip point, with its long taper to the blade tip. The handle is faux stag in Delrin, with finger grooves for security and control.

It is capped off at both ends with a brass guard and pommel to offset the overall appearance. This knife will fit the fill of an outdoor knife perfectly and not blow the budget. Each Golden Spike comes shipped with a leather sheath for easy portability.

MSRP: $46 Origin: China.

Cold Steel Trailmaster Bowie

Cold Steel Trailmaster Bowie Clip-Point Knife

This knife commands attention with its sheer size and heavy-duty build.

The Trailmaster Bowie is one of Cold Steel’s most recognizable fixed blades. The impressive 9 ½ inch long clip point blade is made of CPM 3V tool steel for toughness and edge holding. The unsharpened swedge gives the knife its attitude, and a full flat grind allows the Trailmaster to be an effective slicer and chopper as well.

The textured Kray-Ex rubber handle helps the Trailmaster remain in your grip and a double guard up front keeps your hand in place during use. The Trailmaster is adept at chopping and other hard-use outdoor tasks for the campsite.

It is the knife to have with you and instills user confidence when tackling tough cutting and chopping chores.

MSRP: $540 Origin: Taiwan

Condor Tool & Knife Little Bowie

Condor Tool & Knife Little Bowie Clip-Point Knife

Little knife…big attitude! That’s exactly what you get with the Condor Tool & Knife Little Bowie.

The 4.6-inch long blade makes it compact enough to carry comfortably on the belt. Overall length is just over 9.5 inches, making this knife about as long as some of the higher-end tactical folders when open. 1075 carbon steel was selected for the blade, making this knife both tough and easy to maintain. The bead-blasted finish adds a subdued finish for low reflectivity.

The ergonomic-shaped handle has black Micarta scales for a comfortable, all-weather grip. If you like Bowie fixed blades but don’t want to carry a full-size Bowie on the belt, the Condor Little Bowie fits the bill nicely. Each knife is shipped with a sewn leather belt sheath to keep the knife close at hand.

MSRP: $123 Origin: El Salvador.

Among The Best Clip-Point Folders Available Now

Benchmade Crooked River

Benchmade Crooked River Clip-Point Knife

The flagship of their outdoor folding knife line, the Benchmade Crooked River is built tough for the outdoors, with a 4-inch clip point S30V stainless steel blade, anodized aluminum bolsters, and Dymondwood handle scales. The handle has a slight contour to it, making it lay in your grip that much easier.

The knife also features Benchmade’s own Axis Lock crossbar lock system for a safe and secure lockup. The Axis Lock is a Benchmade innovation that allows the blade to rotate smoothly and locks up tight, with very little blade play.

At over 9 inches overall, the Crooked River is a formidable folder that is ready to help tackle your field dressing or camp utility tasks. A steel pocket clip allows for easy carry. A Mini Crooked River is also available, scaling down the Crooked River model to a 3.4-inch blade length, and making it more EDC-friendly.

MSRP: $380 Origin: USA



You want big and brawny? You got it with the SOG SEAL XR! Its 3.9-inch long Bowie style clip point blade is flat ground from premium CPM S45VN high-performance stainless steel. A blade hole and a flipper tab are present to offer two distinct methods of one-handed opening. The handle design is very similar to that of the SOG SEAL fixed blade. The build of the handle is definitely robust and heavy-duty, there’s weight to this knife that you notice when you pick it up.

Weighing in at a healthy 8.2 ounces, the handle has two steel liners, a steel handle spacer with an integrated extension that can be used as a blunt strike tool, and grooved, textured, and traction notches all around. The handle design is made to keep your hand in place. There is an integrated lower hand guard that prevents your hand from sliding forward. The blade lock is SOG’s own XR crossbar lock that offers true ambidextrous operation.

A beefy, wide steel pocket clip rounds out the SOG SEAL XR package. The clip won’t be sprung for sure, even with rough carry. This is by far an EDC folder due to the size and weight but if you need a knife for rough use and outdoor use, the SOG SEAL XR is it.

MSRP: $224.95 Origin: USA

Case Large Stockman 10375

Case Large Stockman 10375

Clip points are found on many different patterns of multi-blade slipjoint knives, such as this Case Large Stockman pattern, model 10375. The main blade is a 3.3-inch long clip point, and two smaller blades – a 2.3-inch long sheepsfoot blade as well as a 2.2-inch spey blade. The blades are ground from Case’s proprietary Tru-Sharp surgical steel, and the handles are of black and green canvas micarta phenolic synthetic for long-lasting durability.

The beauty of knives like these is they are handy to have with you at all times as they sit in the pocket perfectly and they are low profile enough that using them in public won’t raise any eyebrows. These knives are used by everyone from farmers, ranchers, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, warehouse workers, and countless individuals who just want a good solid pocketknife. The main blade does well with opening packages, mail, cutting tape, stripping wire, cutting up cardboard, and any sort of utility or mundane cutting task that tend to pop up in daily life.

The clip point blade is ground fairly thin so it has really good performance characteristics and easily cuts whatever you need to. The Tru Sharp stainless sharpens up quickly and holds an edge fairly well. The stockman pattern is very handy due to the three distinct blade shapes, it’s the perfect pattern to have if you use a pocketknife frequently.

MSRP: $96 (Micarta Handle) Origin: USA

Buck 110 Folding Hunter

Buck 110 Folding Hunter Clip-Point Knife

This knife perhaps is the signature clip-point bladed folder. Its design was innovative back in 1963 when it was released, and its quality and build have withstood the test of time.

Even today, the 110 Folding Hunter is still made and enjoyed by many. The 3.75-inch long blade is of a Bowie shape and is hollow ground from 420HC stainless steel. The handle is of a robust build, with double brass bolsters and a Crelicam ebony, stabilized hardwood handle. The handle definitely has weight to it, and it’s this exact heavy-duty build that has allowed the 110 Folding Hunter to withstand hard use over time, and still hold up beautifully. The lockback design secures the blade in the open position with a satisfying audible click.

The clip-point blade is ideal for field dressing as well as general cutting tasks. The 110 Folding Hunter originally was designed for hunters as an alternative to a fixed-blade hunting knife. But the knife also found favor with those who are in agriculture, the military, law enforcement, and countless knife enthusiasts as well. For all intents and purposes, it was the predecessor to what we know now as the modern tactical folder.

Still produced to this day in the Buck Knives product line, the 110 Folding Hunter has a few variants including a lightweight budget version, a pro-grade modern version with high-end blade steel and handle material, an automatic opening version, as well as countless collector variants available through the years from Buck as well as select Buck Knives retailers as exclusives.

MSRP: $88 (original 110) Origin: USA

Spyderco C81GP2 Paramilitary 2

Spyderco C81GP2 Paramilitary 2

Spyderco’s Paramilitary 2 folder – better known simply as the Para2 – is a downsized version of the company’s popular C36 Military folder.

The Para2 offers the same cutting prowess of the full-size Military model with its full flat grind clip-point blade but in a more compact, pocket-friendlier form factor. The Para2’s blade measures 3.4 inches long and is ground out of premium CPM S45VN blade steel that is known for its enhanced edge-holding capabilities. The handle is textured black G-10 and mimics the ergonomics found on the C36 folder that make this one of the most comfortable and handy midsize folding knives on the market.

With an overall length of 8.2 inches, the Para2 is still large enough to tackle sizable cutting tasks. The blade is secured open by Spyderco’s own Compression Lock system, which permits easy one-hand opening and closing. It also allows the blade to have such smooth, silky-like action. The Para2 is a slender knife and carries well in the pocket.

The large blade hole allows for easy one-hand opening with either hand, even while wearing work gloves.

Performance-wise, this is one of the best in high-end folders as the flat grind clip-point blade sails through thick and tough materials easily. Spyderco engineers its blades to be some of the most efficient cutting tools on that market by paying attention to blade shape and blade grinds and optimizing both to create a cutting tool that is unmatched in both performance and value.

MSRP: $265 Orgin: USA.

Check Out More Buyer’s Guides:

Seven Excellent Drop Point Knives

The Drop Point Blade Is One Of The Most Utilitarian Blade Styles. From Outdoor Knives To EDC Folders, The Drop Point Is The Way To Go.

The drop-point blade is perhaps the most useful shape for outdoor knives. It’s an excellent cutting tool and the point makes it good at puncturing too. Whether it’s cleaning a kill or just opening up a gift box, the drop point is an excellent all-rounder that any knife lover should have.

Ka-Bar/Becker Knife & Tool BK16 Short Becker

Ka-Bar/Becker Knife & Tool BK16 Short Becker
The wide drop-point blade of the KA-BAR/Becker BK16 has the ideal edge geometry to handle precise tasks like whittling.

It is a midsize knife that is easy to carry, handle and use. The 4-inch blade of flat-ground 1095 Cro-Van steel can hold a respectable edge and sharpens quickly in the field. The black textured epoxy coating is non-glare and corrosion-resistant.

The Zytel handle is a typical Becker design—highly ergonomic with a palm swell that fills the hand nicely.  The handle edges are rounded to eliminate hot spots. Part of the tang is exposed for the lanyard hole. There’s also traction notches on the spine to choke up for added control. When you hold the BK16, notice how solid it feels. Even though one of the smaller knives in the line, it still feels capable of handling most cutting or camp tasks.

The sheath is a ballistic nylon with a rigid plastic liner. An accessory pouch holds a small lockblade folder or sharpener. The knife secures in the sheath via two button-snap nylon straps. The BK16 holds snugly inside the sheath with no rattling. Made in China, the sheath is of very good quality.

The BK16 is a workhorse. The drop-point shape is utility friendly and covers a broad range of general camp chores, from food prep to field dressing. The flat grind ensures optimum slicing.

The handle shape is classic Becker. A forward finger recess forms the lower guard and a palm swell mid-handle seats the hand comfortably. All edges are rounded for maximum comfort during prolonged use. The BK16 comes with two sets of scales: black Zytel and coyote tan. I opted for the tan. I love the contrast with the black blade.

I successfully batonned the knife through wood. The knife shrugged the task off and repeatedly came back for more. Whittling was easy. The ergonomic grip is comfortable and you’re able to use the exact pressure needed. The BK16 handles food prep with confidence.

If you need a compact fixed blade capable of tackling large tasks, the BK16 is it. Made in the USA, it has an MSRP of $132. 

Fallkniven F1 Pro

Fallkniven F1 Pro
The Fallkniven F1 Pro’s blade geometry makes baton work almost effortless.  

The Fallkniven F1 Pro features an extra-heavy-duty build and ELMAX high-performance stainless blade steel, which offers enhanced edge holding and toughness. With a 4-inch, convex-ground blade and 8.5-inch overall length, it is a formidable knife, weighing in at 6.1 ounces. 

The blade stock thickness is .19 inches, fairly thick for a knife this size. The full tang extends through the Thermorun rubber handle and is exposed on the butt for excellent torsional rigidity.

The handle sides feature a heavy checkering pattern for an excellent grip with wet or dry hands. The Thermorun material has a sort of a grip-you-back quality, similar to Kraton. The oblong handle shape rests in your grip comfortably so that you feel in control of the knife.

The sheath is well made of heavy-duty Zytel with a nylon webbing belt loop and button-snap retention strap. At first, the nylon webbing may seem a bit cheap but in reality it’s very smart. 

Why? The webbing allows the sheath to move freely at your side in case it gets snagged by branches, or to self-adjust when you are seated in a chair or a vehicle. Most rigid sheaths do not allow for this. Not to mention, the nylon webbing material is weather and moisture-resistant. 

The knife locks into the sheath via the guard as it engages a spring-loaded tab in the sheath’s side. This alone is enough to hold the knife inside, but securing the handle with the snap strap guarantees the knife stays put until you release it. The sheath’s bottom is open to allow moisture to escape and resist blade corrosion.

The F1 Pro and the BK16 are the heaviest-duty ones of the test bunch. The F1 Pro easily completed baton work. The thick blade stock and flat grind split wood like a wedge. For whittling, the convex edge has a ton of bite. It shaved off thick chunks of wood as I carved multiple stakes to a point. It made fast work of the task but, at the same time, was controllable and made precise cuts when needed. 

In some respects it worked as hard as a larger knife. In the kitchen, don’t dismiss the F1 Pro due to the thick blade. It slices vegetables with precision, proof this beast of a knife can handle delicate tasks as well.

There were no problems with the Thermorun handle. My hands got a bit sweaty during outdoor use and the handle never felt like it was going to slip in my hand. The checkered texturing is the right amount and not overly aggressive to your skin.

With an MSRP of $407.95, the F1 Pro ELMAX is one of the most expensive knives you will find in this class, but the chosen materials and highest quality of build offset the cost. You get what you pay for and this is a high-quality tool.

White River Knife & Tool Hunter

White River Knife & Tool Hunter
The blade of the White River Hunter is flat ground for optimal cutting performance, and the steel offers toughness and high edge-retention qualities. 

The White River Knife & Tool Hunter is a simple design, with a 3.5-inch drop-point blade paired with an ergonomic handle.  Blade steel is CPM S35VN high-performance stainless, and the handle comes in several material options. The 8.25-inch overall length is well-suited for field dressing and possible bushcraft use, too. 

The blade is flat ground for optimal cutting performance and the steel offers toughness and high edge-retention qualities. A polished finish makes the blade a snap to clean and also seals micropores, thus helping prevent rust. It’s kind of unusual to see a mirror polish on such a blade due to it being a labor-intensive finish; most such blades have either machine satin, stonewash, or even bead-blasted finishes.

A large finger recess helps index your grip, and a significant palm swell rests the knife in your hand comfortably. The butt has a bird’s beak pommel to prevent your hand from sliding backward.

As for handle material choices, they include three Micarta® flavors: natural burlap, black burlap, and black/OD green. Micarta is an excellent choice for an outdoor knife, as it is dimensionally stable and impervious to the elements and absorption of fluids. It also has a tactile feel that aids in grip retention in all conditions. 

We selected the natural burlap for the test, as it has a very organic appearance, almost a wood tone. The feel is akin to that of canvas Micarta. The sheath is formfitting Kydex, with a molded Kydex belt loop that accommodates belts up to 2 inches wide.

The cutting performance is superb. The knife is efficient and simple to maneuver. The flat-ground blade sails through meat and vegetables. Being a smaller fixed blade means it can be used for more delicate or intricate cutting.

I like the burlap Micarta. It’s very durable, looks great, and has a great in-hand feel. Burlap micarta isn’t common in production knives, so this is a bit rare—for now.

The shorter-length blade handles kitchen utility tasks well. Who knows—this knife might wind up in your kitchen pulling permanent duty when it’s not out with you in the woods. The White River Hunter retails for $180 for any of the handle material options. This is a really good price for a USA-made fixed blade with premium blade and handle materials. If you like refined fixed-blade hunters, the White River Hunter is for you.

Chris Reeve Knives Backpacker

Chris Reeve Backpacker
The Chris Reeve Backpacker handles like a dream. The knife is balanced perfectly and feels like an extension of your hand. It’s very predictable in use and is a slicer by nature. (Dexter Ewing image)

The newest fixed blade from Chris Reeve Knives, the Backpacker is for outdoorsmen and backpack hunters who want a fairly lightweight sheath knife that is quite usable with a smart design and high-end materials. 

It features a 4-inch drop-point blade hollow ground from CPM Magnacut, the latest of the high-performance stainless super steels. Magnacut reportedly has the best edge retention of any high-end blade steel. The Backpacker will go the distance with edge holding. A stonewash finish gives the blade a slight industrial look. Stonewash finishes do a good job of hiding scratches that occur during use.

The handle has a hollowed-out full tang, which helps keep weight to a minimum (3.8 ounces) and improves balance. The scales are canvas Micarta in black or natural. The Micarta is sculpted to provide placement of the hand and fingers, enhancing user comfort and blade control. 

Canvas Micarta has a grippy nature and seems to get better when your hands are wet, unlike other materials that may feel less tactile when wet. Two pairs of hex-head bolts secure the scales which are removable, resulting in a skeletonized fixed blade to further reduce weight and bulk. 

The integral guard formed by the blade’s height is a smart design I really like. It allows you to choke up on the handle for precise control, as well as keeping your hand in place.

The Backpacker comes with a Kydex sheath which locks around the lower portion of the exposed tang that forms the guard. It does not encompass the handle scales as most fixed-blade Kydex sheaths do. This is done on purpose so if you do decide to remove the scales and use the Backpacker skeletonized, the sheath will still work and lock on the knife for safe carry. 

A flat-head screw at the end allows you to fine-tune how tight the sheath locks onto the blade. Not many sheaths have this feature. The rivet spacing allows use of a large Tek-Lok belt fastener (the knife does not come with a provision for belt attachment, so it’s up to the buyer to supply such).

The Backpacker handles like a dream! The hollow grind slices easily. I used the knife to cut meats and vegetables. The cutting performance is predictable, efficient, and precise. It’s like driving a nice European sports car. 

Handle comfort is first class; I love the way the Micarta feels in-hand. It’s light as a feather for a fixed blade of its size, and no doubt the minimal weight does a lot to improve handling. When you choke-up on the handle with your thumb placed on the blade spine, you can feel how the ergonomics work to lock your grip on.

The Backpacker is a high-end, USA-made hunting/camping fixed blade. MSRP: $300. A CRK knife for $300 is a great price, actually, and you get a lot in return, including high-end materials and the company’s design and manufacturing/engineering expertise.

Buck 112 Ranger

Buck 112 Ranger
Buck 112 Ranger

Buck makes great knives, and this folder certainly is one of their best. The Ranger is a variation on the famous 110 Folding Hunter with a drop point instead of the original’s clip point.

The knife is beautiful with an ebony handle and ethically-sourced Crelicam ivory. While the handle is stunning, the star of the show is still the blade. Made from 420 HC stainless with a satin finish, the 3-inch blade is everything you would want in an EDC. With a thick belly and thick tip, the blade slices and punctures confidently.

The heat treat imbues the blade with excellent corrosion resistance and durability. It’s hardened to an HRC 58 so the knife can handle the wear and tear of everyday use with ease. This is a classy knife at a great price.

MSRP: $63.99

Benchmade Bugout

Benchmade BK-2
Benchmade BK-2

When it comes to drop point EDC knives the Benchmade Bugout is one of the most iconic. It was designed for outdoor use which makes it overpowered as an EDC for so many reasons.

There are many versions of the Bugout, and all are excellent, but for this piece we chose the BK-2 for its affordability in relation to other knives in the line.

The BK-2 is a fully blacked out version of the Bugout with a CF-Elite handled married to the CPM-S30V blade. The steel comes in a black Cerakote finish and is treated to a 58-60 HRC. The knife shines in large part thanks to its weight. At just 1.8 ounces, the BK-2 is so light and nimble in the air that it can feel like cutting with air.

It’s the Bugout. It’s great. It’s one of the highest-quality drop point knives on the market.

MSRP: $190

Kizer Drop Bear

Kizer Drop Bear

This knife was released over the summer and it is excellent. We have already written an in-depth review of the Drop Bear, and it’s worthy of a second mention.

The 154CM steel blade is meted to an aluminum handle. At 3.8 ounces it’s a substantial little knife that can handle the day-to-day tasks asked of it and can even be used as a kitchen knife in a pinch. 

The knife’s clutch lock, Kizer’s newly-adopted Axis-style lock, is fun to use and keeps the blade secure at all times. This is an excellent new addition to the world of drop point pocketknives.

MSRP: $158

Editor’s Note: Mike Abelson provided content for this piece.

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You Ought To Auto

This Quartet Of Automatic Knives Open In A Flash And Run The Gamut When It Comes To Their Versatility

Automatics fascinate many knife fans and non-knife fans alike.  Deploying the blade rapidly regardless of the situation is very important. There’s no fumbling around for the thumb stud, thumb disc, or blade hole—press the button and you’re ready to rock and roll. 

Pro-Tech Terzuola ATCF Folder

Pro-Tech Terzuola ATCF
The Pro-Tech Terzuola ATCF marries a tough working blade with an ergonomic handle design and an integral guard. 

Pro-Tech won a record-tying three BLADE Magazine Knife-Of-The-Year® awards at BLADE Show 2022 (September BLADE®, page 12), one of them Knife Collaboration Of The Year with Bob Terzuola for the Pro-Tech Terzuola ATCF Folder. The ATCF—short for Advanced Technology Combat Folder—is Bob T’s signature custom design and has been around for many years.

The 3.5-inch drop-point blade offers a high degree of utility. The handle features an integral guard and an ergonomic gripping area that is both comfortable and secure and works in conjunction with the blade spine thumb ramp. The blade material is CPM MagnaCut, a relatively new stainless steel that reportedly has the best edge holding of all high-performance blade steels.

The knife has an aluminum frame with an integral bolster, various handle material options such as G-10, Micarta®, and carbon fiber, and hardwoods like ironwood and maple burl. The push button inlay matches the handle material. Each knife comes with a distinctive, milled titanium pocket clip designed by Bob T. It screws to the handle from the inside for a clean, no-screw appearance. The downside is in the unlikely event you break the clip, you will have to return the knife for repair since it requires disassembly to get to the screws.

For this article, I selected Pro-Tech’s tuxedo configuration of the Terzuola ATCF. The handle consists of a black bolster with ivory paper Micarta. The firing button has an inlay of ivory Micarta to match.

Don’t let the upscale appearance fool you—the Pro-Tech ATCF can get dirty. The blade cuts easily and has the right amount of belly to facilitate slicing. The swedge on the spine enables the tip to penetrate and provides a slightly aggressive look. The handle has an integral forward guard. Along with the blade spine thumb ramp, it allows you to choke up for extra control.

MSRPs vary depending on handle material. All-aluminum-frame models are around $600, and the custom shop 416 stainless steel handle ones go for four figures.

“Bob and his wife Suz have been an absolute pleasure to work with,” noted Dave Wattenberg, Pro-Tech founder and president.  “I’m forever grateful that he shared not only his iconic design with us, but took the time to share his love for knifemaking with my entire team here, and gifted each of us with a signed copy of his book.”

Microtech Brachial

Microtech Brachial
The Brachial is very effective as a slicer due to the blade shape. Food processing made easy! (Dexter Ewing image) 

Designed in conjunction with Bastien Coves, aka Bastinelli Knives, the Brachial by Microtech is an exciting mix of tactical ferocity and sex appeal.

 “Bastien is extremely talented,” observed Tony Marfione, Microtech co-founder and president. “His designs are not only works of art but are original and purpose-driven.” Marfione and Coves have been good friends for a long time, which is extremely important when it comes to collaborating on a knife design.

Boasting a heavy Persian influence, the Brachial’s 3.25-inch blade is premium M390 stainless steel for enhanced edge holding. The handle is machined T6-6061 aluminum for strength and minimal weight. Pockets machined inside the handle further reduce weight, making the Brachial a pleasure to carry and use. 

A rugged steel pocket clip totes the closed knife blade tip up and right-handed. A frag pattern machined in the surface of the handle’s left side enhances grip traction, and there’s a small patch of frag on the clip side, too. The steel spacer adds strength to the handle, which has an integral lanyard hole.

Once you grip the handle, it’s quite evident the Brachial’s curves are not merely for show. The curvature seated the handle inside my hand as if it were made for it. The curved blade slices with great effectiveness. The flow of the blade from the handle enhances a sweeping cutting motion, with the edge presenting itself prominently to the target.

Microtech bills the Brachial at home hunting and outdoors equally as it is tactical. The upswept blade serves well at field dressing/processing game and food prep. The flat grind permits the blade to sail through media and presents a very aerodynamic profile.

I like the Brachial’s action. Once you press the button, the blade rockets out of the handle to the open and locked position, so hold on tight! I appreciate the shape of the firing button. Most companies use a round one and that works just fine, but a non-round shape is rarely seen. Microtech does this type of button on the Stitch auto as well. Once the blade locks open it is locked for sure. There’s no play in any direction, so the knife can be used with confidence.

The pocket clip carries the Brachial comfortably, and the curved grip allows the closed knife to sit in the pocket perfectly. Hence, as large as the folder is, you barely know it’s with you. While the size may not be ideal for EDC for a lot of folks, take comfort knowing that in case you do EDC it, the knife carries like a smaller folder. The clip is also heavy-duty—you’re not going to snag this one on obstacles or break it.

The Brachial sliced fruit and vegetables well. Outside the kitchen, it made very quick work of cutting cardboard boxes. I even took it into the woods to see how effective it would be as an outdoor knife. It did surprisingly well, including whittling points on sticks for makeshift tent pegs. The blade had plenty of bite into the wood and generated large shavings. The Brachial is an effective all-around cutting tool. Made in the USA, it has an of MSRP of $500. 

Heretic Knives Wraith

Heretic Knives Wraith
The Heretic Wraith offers the option of a partially serrated blade that can power through such tough materials as nylon webbing.

Heretic Knives won the Manufacturing Quality Award at BLADE Show ’22, a solid testament to the company’s commitment to excellence in its entire line. An example is the Wraith, a full-size side-opening auto. There are two blade options: a tactically oriented tanto or a more utilitarian clip point. Both are 3.6 inches and complete larger jobs easily. Blade material for the base model Wraiths is ELMAX, a high-end particle steel of European origin. It has very good edge holding and muscles through tough media.

The auto has a lack of assembly screws in the traditional locations. That means the aluminum grip is machined from one billet. Since it’s integral, it’s quite strong. A carbon fiber bolster simplifies final assembly by allowing full access to the pivot. The clip side of the handle has no bolster. This is the Wraith’s signature look. The handle’s left side features a checkerboard pattern for traction.

A press of the large, rounded/rectangular firing button deploys the blade. The button has a matching checkerboard texture to provide a sure grip. The blade pivots on caged bearings for a velvety opening. Blade lockup is secure. 

Even the pocket clip is nice—one-piece-milled titanium that features a single ball bearing pressed into the end to help hold the knife on the pocket. The clip is attached using a single hex-head screw, and the clip’s base sits inside a machined pocket to prevent the clip from rotating and working loose.

Everything about the Wraith clicks. The fit and finish is superb, the blade sits dead center when closed, the action is buttery smooth and the handle is a one-piece billet. The knife is chockful of cutting, piercing power. The serrated part of the edge will chew through most anything, and the plain edge portion does well with general cutting tasks.

The tanto blade’s secondary angled edge can be used as a light-duty scraper. The handle is plenty comfortable thanks to the chamfers and contours in the right places.

There are no problems with the Wraith in the performance department. The model in the two-tone black ELMAX tanto blade, billet aluminum handle, carbon fiber bolster, and the battle-worn pocket clip has an MSRP of $385. Prices vary slightly depending on the configuration. All Heretic knives are made in the USA.

Hogue Knives Ballista

Hogue Knives Ballista
The Hogue Ballista is a straightforward working design that makes a great utilitarian folder. The 154CM drop-point blade accommodates a wide variety of cutting tasks. Note the finger groove just before the choil that results from the junction of blade and handle that the author mentions in the story.

The Hogue Knives Ballista is a straightforward working knife with a 3.5-inch drop-point blade of 154CM stainless steel. The blade lends itself well to a variety of cutting tasks with the generous belly and a defined point with the ability to pierce if necessary. The handle is T6-6061 aluminum for light weight and strength. 

A series of traction grooves milled into the handle enhance grip in all weather conditions. Available in anodized colors of black and blue, the Ballista is also available in a 3.5-inch tanto blade. Either blade comes in a stonewash or a black Cerakote finish. A partially serrated model is available in the all-black tanto version only. The stonewash finish blades come with the blue anodized handle and the black Cerakote blades have black handles.

Blade deployment is sure and quick with the press of a button. A sliding button safety prevents accidental blade deployment.  Whichever version you choose, the Ballista comes with a nice, highly functional clip. It’s a fold-over deep-carry style and has louvers on it. They look cool and provide a no-slip grip when pulling the knife from the pocket. 

As a nice visual touch, a USA flag is laser engraved at the top of the clip, proudly stating country of origin. Two T6 Torx screws secure the clip to the handle, which switches easily to accommodate lefties.

It may not have the tactical edge in appearance, but this is a no-nonsense working knife. The 154CM has long been an industry standard for high-end blade steels. While the newer CPM steels dominate today’s high-end factory knives, 154CM has the advantage of not being as persnickety when it comes to resharpening. It’s easy to maintain, especially in the field.

The handle fit my hand comfortably and is flat to maximize portability. I love how the juncture of the handle and blade form a finger groove when the knife is open. I find myself using the groove to steady the knife during cuts that require it. The flat grind, a great choice in general for working folders, allows the blade to be thin yet have enough meat for strength. The Ballista excels at general work and maybe even as a folding hunter. MSRP in the stonewash, drop-point, plain-edge blade, and blue anodized handle is $189.95.

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East Beasts: Four Parangs Built To Last

This Quartet Of Knives, Inspired By The Parang Of The Malay Archipelago In Southeast Asia Are Tough, Rugged Fixed Blades.

There’s something about large blades with an Eastern flair, an exotic look, and that offer devastating function. They generally are built stouter and able to complete multiple hard-use tasks beyond those of a machete. Such knives clear vines and weedy vegetation, take out small saplings, and split wood for campfires. They are equal parts tool and, if necessary, weapon.

Condor Tool & Knife Pack Golok

Batoning the Condor Tool & Knife Pack Golok is easy. The convex edge bites right in and tackles the task with gusto.  

Originating in the Malay Archipelago, the golok is used primarily in Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Varying in size and weight, it is typically anywhere from 10 to 20 inches long. Often shorter and heavier than machetes, the golok is used for bush and branch cutting. Cutting edges tend to be convex, preventing the blade from being stuck in green wood. Carbon steel is often the preferred blade material, usually with a softer temper for ease of sharpening.

A good modern production example is the Condor Tool & Knife Pack Golok. The 11-inch upswept blade is 1075 carbon steel with a convex edge great at not sticking in green wood. The handle curves down near the butt and flares out a bit to prevent the knife from sliding out of your hand while chopping. The rich brown appearance of the walnut handle material elevates the Pack Golok’s appearance. Three large brass rivets secure the walnut slabs to the tang. A thong tube provides a hole for a lanyard.  The overall length is 17 inches, long enough to tackle heavy work but not too long for belt carry or easy storage.

In use, the Pack Golok feels very sturdy and comfortable. The large diameter of the rounded walnut handle turns down a bit to help keep your hand in place. The generous diameter makes the handle easy to grip and fills the hand nicely. You feel in control of the knife at all times.

The solid convex grind puts a maximum amount of meat behind the edge for durability and helps resist chipping and rolling through heavy chopping.  The edge is very sharp and easy to maintain so the knife serves well in the field.

The Pack Golok performs like a larger knife without being one. Of the test bunch, it’s the best chopper. It also excels at baton work. Conversely, it works just as well for finer tasks such as whittling.

The leather sheath is extremely well done. It features two button snap closures to secure the knife. Unsheathe it by simultaneously lifting the handle and pulling it out. There’s a large loop for belt carry. 

MSRP: $107

DPx Gear HEFT 12 Chop

Chopping is what the DPx Gear HEFT 12 Chop does. It’s like an axe—swing up, let gravity take the blade down and it strikes with plenty of inertia. Chopping is almost fun with the HEFT 12.

DPx Gear’s HEFT 12 Chop is a serious piece of kit. Robert Young Pelton, aka RYP, is the founder of DPx Gear, a noted journalist, and a documentary film director who spent considerable time in Iraq and elsewhere covering various conflicts. Based on the parang, which also is a favorite in the Malay Archipelago, the HEFT 12 Chop is optimized for cutting woody growth. Sporting a sweet-spot belly for chopping and forward-weighted balance, the parang is a multi-use cutting tool that can be quite handy in the wilderness.

In the HEFT 12 Chop, RYP wanted a tool that would serve as a machete, hatchet, and large survival knife all rolled into one. As a result, one knife can be carried instead of several. This is especially beneficial on long treks—the old “less is more” maxim. 

The 12.5-inch blade is flat-ground D2 tool steel, a proven and highly consistent performer for hunting and survival knives. A black mil-spec blade coating enhances corrosion resistance and low reflectivity. The green G-10 handle is 3D machined and contoured for comfort with no hot spots to speak of. The grip turns down and flares out somewhat to act as a catch and prevent the hand from sliding backward. Three large Torx-head screws fasten the G-10 slabs to the full tang. There’s also a lanyard hole in the exposed tang. A single guard keeps the hand from sliding forward.

At 18.6 inches overall, the HEFT 12 Chop is a formidable cutting tool. Made in Italy by Lionsteel, it looks great with the black blade and OD green handle. When you lift the HEFT 12 Chop, you immediately notice the heavy blade-forward balance. This enhances chopping, building momentum, and using gravity to your advantage as you swing the blade. If you go into it with all muscle, trust me, you will get tired. Relax and let gravity do the job.

Rest the guard on your hand as if you are choking up and let the handle pivot a bit in your paw for additional power. A semi-loose grip works best—or at least it did for me. As you chop you can feel the power with each blow and where the blade’s sweet spot is (just behind the angled tip). The HEFT 12 takes out smaller and thinner vegetation with abandon—a testament to RYP’s design vision.

This is a wonderful blade for baton work. You can use the length for leverage as you pound the spine. The full flat grind is like a wedge, splitting wood effectively and quickly. The HEFT 12 Chop does not come with a sheath. It’s a bit on the pricey side but the design is backed by RYP’s years of real-world experience.

MSRP: $375

APOC Chop House

The APOC Chop House is a good chopper, though the author indicated the handle does raise some hot spots. Wearing gloves is a way around that.

Boasting a flared reverse-tanto-style tip, the Chop House from APOC Survival Tools is based on the dao, which originated in China as a single-edge sword primarily used for slashing and chopping. The blade’s moderate curvature and angular tip are effective for thrusting. A 12.75-inch blade and overall length of 18 inches puts the Chop House right in the middle of machete territory. It boasts 9260 carbon blade steel, full-tang construction, and a black G-10 handle. A black oxide coating reduces glare and enhances rust protection.

Featuring 3D-machined and contoured facets, the handle is certainly one of the knife’s most interesting elements. Three sets of Torx®-head screws fasten the G-10 slabs to the tang. A prominent finger groove trails a recessed grip area, and the handle flares out to create a catch for your hand, stopping rearward sliding. 

An integral double guard provides additional protection. Wrap your hand around the handle and feel your fingers nestle in and lock into place. Depending on your hand size, you might feel some hot spots around the palm. In fact, those with bigger hands might find the grip objectionable.

The Chop House feels agile and has more of a neutral balance than the rest of the test bunch. As a result, it excels more at such machete tasks as cutting tall weeds, grass, vines and maybe taking out the occasional sapling. To be an effective chopper, the balance must bias toward blade-heavy, something the Chop House does not do. It has a balance more typical of a standard machete. This isn’t bad, it just means carefully selecting what you use it for.

The factory edge did not last long out of the box and I wound up resharpening the blade to my liking. It might be wise to apply your own edge before putting the knife to use as well. 

MSRP: $159

Fox Knives Parang

Don’t let the Fox Parang’s short length fool you. It chops quite well, with plenty of bite to the blade.

The Fox Knives Military Division (FKMD) Parang is an outstanding example of a compact fixed blade that serves as a chopping, camp, and kitchen knife while remaining easy to manipulate and carry. Taking design cues from the traditional parang with the forward-weighted feature, the 7-inch blade has a bulbous, rounded tip great for slicing and as a skinning knife if need be. 

The N690 stainless blade steel has a layer of black Cerakote® for additional corrosion protection. N690 is higher-end steel that exhibits an excellent balance of edge holding, corrosion resistance, and sharpening ease.

The ergonomic handle is Forprene, a molded thermoplastic tacky to the touch. Several large scallops on the grip section accommodate the user’s fingers comfortably. Along with the main groove, the largest scallop seats the index finger. This locks in your grip and the rest of the fingers fall naturally into place. The tang has a choil and gimping ahead of it to promote a secure choke-up grip for finer cutting tasks that require additional control. Though the handle is boxy, the edges are rounded to soften things up.

In action, the Parang—one of this issue’s cover knives—is impressive. As a chopper, the blade bites in deep and hard. The flat grind and excellent edge quality out of the box help make this possible. The Fox entry can give some larger knives a serious run for the money in terms of chopping effectiveness. When you choke up, tasks that require control like whittling are as easy as chopping. The knife feels comfortable and balanced in the choke-up grip. The large blade belly slices very well and the grip is no slip.

The Forprene handle mitigates some shock from impact when chopping. Its slightly tacky quality makes for a good grip with wet, dry, hot, or cold hands. Some may think the handle material looks cheap but the Forprene offers function rather than aesthetics—crucial when considering an outdoor blade for hard work. I wear gloves when using big fixed blades and even with gloves, the Forprene still felt very secure.

The Parang seems the most useful of the review models as it serves well as a chopper/camp and kitchen knife. If you stash a chopper in your vehicle, the compact length makes it ideal for the role. You can do the same with the other test knives but their additional length may pose an issue.

A very nicely made ballistic nylon sheath with Kydex liners for rigidity and protection from blade puncture comes standard. A wide dual-snap retention strap fastens around the handle. A smaller strap secures the knife at an additional point below the main retention straps. 

This might seem redundant but when wearing the Parang on your belt in the wilds, you don’t want it to exit accidentally! A loop accommodates a variety of belt widths. There are MOLLE attachment points and a leg tie, too.

One drawback: the sheath is OD green and the Forprene handle is tan. I’d prefer the handle color to match the sheath. An aluminum box with a snap-on lid that contains common assorted survival items is included. 

MSRP: $365

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Bowie Beauties: Three Quality Factory Bowie Knives

The Bowie Is A Beloved, Historic Knife That Continues To Inspire Makers Today. This Trio Of Factory Bowies Stands Out. 

Perhaps no other pattern in knife history has as rich a legacy as the bowie. It is a highly recognizable design featuring a large blade in a variety of shapes, some of which have a prominent swedge, and handles of varying designs, often with a guard.

The pattern dates back to 1827 as a knife given by Rezin Bowie to his legendary brother, BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame® member Jim Bowie, the famous American pioneer who participated in the Texas Revolution and who was killed in the Battle of the Alamo on March 6, 1836. Jim Bowie was a principal in the Sandbar Fight of Sept. 29, 1827, a melee that established the bowie’s reputation as a fearsome combat knife that lives on to this day.

Boker Magnum Giant Bowie

Whittling is easy for the Giant Bowie. The knife is well balanced and agile in hand.  

The bowie remains a widely sought-after pattern for knife collectors and users alike. Its commanding stature attracts attention. A striking example is the Boker Magnum Giant Bowie, Magnum being Boker’s more affordable knife line made in China.

Boasting a stacked leather-washer handle with integrated finger grooves, polished double guard and pommel, and clip-point blade with a pronounced swedge, the Giant Bowie looks all business. 

The 8-1/8-inch blade is 440A stainless steel. The handle is comfortable and the finger grooves index your grip nicely. The leather is covered with a clear coat that prevents moisture from soaking in and ruining the handle. The buttcap screws down to compress the washers.

One drawback is I cannot find any evidence that the handle is of a full-tang construction. It doesn’t have the balance of such in hand, as it is slightly blade heavy. As a result, use this one with caution—meaning no use bordering on abuse.

The black leather sheath has a single retention strap with a button snap. A small accessory pocket also has a button-snap closure and contains a sharpening stone. The stone is too small for major resharpening but can be used for quick field touch ups. 

MSRP: $65.95

Spyderco FB44GP Respect Bowie

The Respect chops with controlled reckless abandon and makes chunks of wood fly. The massive stock thickness gives a blade-heavy feel, an excellent trait for such tasks

Spyderco’s FB44GP Respect Bowie pays homage to classic bowie design, hence its name. Sal Glesser, company founder and BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame® member, designed this beast to be his version of the bowie executed in modern materials and manufacturing techniques.

Incorporating massive .3-inch-thick CPM 154 stainless steel, the 7-inch blade is fully flat ground. While the blade is massive, the distal taper of the spine lightens it progressively toward the tip and makes it feel agile in hand. The ergonomic G-10 handle has rounded edges, which make for a very comfortable grip. 

A stainless steel double guard provides ample protection from your hand sliding up on the blade, and acts as a positive stop for choking up for additional control. You can move your grip rearward on the handle to shift the balance point to where the feel is blade heavy for chopping tasks. Torx® screws fasten the scales to the full tang securely.

The Respect makes an excellent expedient chopper, with the flat-ground blade providing excellent bite into saplings. It aggressively eats away at green wood, sending chunks flying with each blow. Toning it down, the blade makes a great slicer with the graceful curve of the cutting edge that terminates at the tip. It sliced foam blocks easily, an indication that the cutting edge quality and blade grinds are spot on. There is enough of a defined tip to perform scoring jobs if needed. The blade can do some serious penetration as well. There were no problems with cutting performance.

The heavy-duty sheath is sewn leather. A brass frog helps secure the leather retainer strap over the guard to prevent the knife from falling out of the sheath. A belt loop on the reverse side provides further ease of carry should you opt for it. 

The Respect is a high-end production knife through and through and very well engineered at that. Made in Golden, Colorado, at the Spyderco facility, the bowie comes with a zippered padded storage pouch.

MSRP: $616

A.G. Russell Knives California Bowie

Though the knife is not blade heavy, chopping with the California Bowie is possible. The edge quality and flat grind make the blade bite into green wood easily. You will have to use more deliberate muscle action than relying on a heavyweight blade.  

Built in the A.G. Russell Knives shop in Rogers, Arkansas, the California Bowie is based on an English-style pattern popularized by knifemaker D.E. Henry in the 1960s and ’70s. Henry was thought by many to be the best at the time in crafting this style of bowie, the end result being a handmade knife of meticulous fit and finish that garnered him fans worldwide. ]

The 8.5-inch clip-point blade is 154CM stainless steel with a full flat grind. Stock thickness is .185 inches, thick enough to handle the heavy work but not so thin as to be fragile. The stainless steel guard fits tight to the tang with no gaps.

The handle is beautiful wild African wild olivewood, and there is also a version with African Ironwood scales as well. The material is a blonde color with a highly contrasting grain for a stimulating visual effect. Red fiber liners give a pop of color, something seen more in custom knives than production. 

The wood scales are pinned to the full tang, and the inward curved handle lines make the knife sit in your grip very nice and secure. It may be a boxy style handle but the way it is executed makes for a comfortable feel. There is no lanyard hole.

The sheath is done right: brown leather with contrasting white stitching and a simple button-snap retention strap. The shade of brown complements the color of the scales quite well. Knife and sheath are a “10” in overall appearance. Another nice touch is the satin finish throughout, including the blade, double guard and tang, so there’s that continuity.

The California Bowie is a real slicer. The knife is balanced in proportion to the hand and feels agile and very controllable, though it is not much of a chopper due to the lack of a blade-heavy feel. If you are primarily slicing, this knife is for you. It may be a looker but it’s also a really nice user. 

MSRP: $395

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