Gear Review: FirstEdge 5050 Survival Knife

There are survival blades that are robust, and then there are absolute tanks that hack, chop, baton, split, and whittle everything in their path.

The 5050 Survival Knife from FirstEdge is the latter. This behemoth tips the scales at over a pound for just the knife alone. It means business.

The specs: the full tang blade is constructed of Elmax Stainless Steel and is a hearty .235 inches thick. The 5.15″ cutting surface on this blade is razor sharp out of the box, and will likely stay that way since it’s got an HRC of 60-61.

With a flat grind bevel, the blade itself is designed to withstand “heavy, extreme use” according to FirstEdge.

Just holding this thing in my hand, I believe it. And if that wasn’t enough — check out what it can do to rebar:

 

Impressive? You bet. Necessary for the loadout of this blade? Probably not, but it’s good to know you can cut through an iron bar without bending the blade.

Now to the handle: The full tang balances nicely throughout the handle, with G10 grips giving you a solid purchase, with aggressive but not uncomfortable checkering. In fact, it reminds me vaguely of a tasteful stipple job on a Glock. The grips are held on by sturdy steel hex fasteners, which look very high speed and undoubtedly hold fast.

Although burly, the edges of the handle are rounded as you get to the tang, making it ergonomic and well-balanced. There is a lanyard hole, which is a great addition, especially since this has the heft to be a machete or chopping knife. The lanyard loop helps you maintain control for those applications, in fact, I put some paracord on my Cold Steel Kukri. Then to the pommel, which instead of being rounded, has an aggressive spike; almost with a diamond tip.

This can double as both a glass punch or defensive striking option, as the brunt of the 17.5 ounce blade and all the force behind it converges to a small tip would be devastating, I’m sure.

And last but certainly not least — the sheath. Sometimes companies make kick ass products, then skimp on the sheath a little bit. The SOG Mini Pentagon comes to mind; it’s a great backup or EDC blade, but the sheath is pretty flimsy. This is not the case AT ALL with the 5050 Survival Knife.

The sheath is as innovative as the blade itself, with a patent pending Tri-Composite system, it’s a Kydex sheath with a 3 inch nylon web at the top for securing it to your belt; and is certainly wide enough to accomodate a riggers belt or GPM Kit Combat Application Belt – which we recommend. There are steel screws all down the sheath, with 2 lanyard holes to allow you to lash it toward the tip (this is probably what I will do, lash it to a pack or LBE vest. The handle itself snaps into the sheath with a positive click, ensuring it doesn’t go anywhere unless needed.

Now the bigger question – how does this stack up against other survival type knives we’ve reviewed? It’s a fantastic knife – no doubt about it. But for around $250 MSRP, it better be (if you see it for less, scoop it up!)

But with it you get a lifetime warranty and a knife that feels robust, and is built like a tank. The blade on it is thick — but so it the SOG Force knife (middle) and SP-8 Machete by Ontario (top), but the balance and overall construction of the 5050 is impressive.

Add to that the HRC on the blade, and the balance of it, and it’s an unbreakable survival knife; something you know just by holding it can get the job done.

That being said, it is in completely different price point than the other knives, and they’re all great blades, as you can read in the other reviews.

 

Update December 2017: I took this behemoth with me on a back country excursion, and wanted to put it through the paces. This sucker chopped wood, split logs, debarked trees for tinder, and cut through fish with ease.

We weren’t hunting so I can’t comment directly on how it would fare as a hunting knife, but if how it handled everything from dry hardwood to green pine to fish flesh, this sucker will come back and ask for more every time. The heft is outstanding for batoning wood, as expected, and the kydex sheath holds fast even when you’re getting banged around in the bush. If I could give it six stars I would…To hell with it – six stars!

Pros, what we like: Overall, I’m blown away. The knife is crazy sharp with a hard, bevel ground blade. The grips on it are aggressive yet comfortable somehow, and the blade itself is robust and balanced. The sheath also is superb. It’s a fantastic all around knife. 

Cons, what we don’t like: The weight. That’s the only ding we could possibly give it. It weighs 17.5 ounces for the knife alone, but by that same token, if you had to take one knife into the woods – this is it. So it’s kind of a non-issue. I’d grab one if I as you. 

Update July 2018: I’ve taken this blade on several excursions and run it through the paces. While I haven’t cut any rebar, this sucker hasn’t dulled for a moment. In fact, I’ve only gotten more used to it. The weight and heft lends itself to the most ridiculous tasks. It holds up well and doesn’t back down. In fact, this is my go to backwoods knife. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alex Castiglione lives in Atlanta, and is an avid outdoorsman and competitive shooter.

Where-abouts include getting after it in his garage gym, practicing martial arts, hitting the trails, or running CrossFit and Strongman competitions for his non-profit, Barbells for Bullies, which holds fundraiser fitness competitions dedicated to aiding Bully breed rescues, dog rescues, or other non-profits with similar missions.

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Gear Review: SOG Mini Pentagon

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Gear Review: Cold Steel Kukri

Gear Review: SPAX16

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