The Top 10 Must-Have Military Survival Knives

By Brad McLeod 1-20-24

The Top 10 Must-Have Military Survival Knives

I just got this question the other day. “What would be your top 10 military survival knives?

Thats a good question so lets dive into this curated list. Crafted to meet the demands of intense situations, these knives are a must-have for those seeking reliability and preparedness in the field. Designed for military personnel and survivalists alike, this selection offers an array of durable and versatile blades essential for any tactical scenario.

Each knife on this list embodies durability, functionality, and adaptability, serving as a vital tool for military readiness and survival preparedness. From sturdy construction to ergonomic designs, these knives cater to the needs of those navigating challenging environments. Whether for cutting, slicing, or survival tasks, these elite selections promise the resilience and performance needed to face the unpredictable and demanding nature of tactical situations.

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#10 GERBER 22-01400 LMF II

The Gerber Gear LMF II Infantry Survival Tactical Knife stands as a reliable companion designed for military and survival scenarios. Crafted with precision, this 10-inch survival knife features a partially serrated fixed blade that also serves as a pommel, offering multifunctional versatility in demanding situations. Its robust construction, comprising 420HC stainless steel, ensures durability and endurance, ideal for tactical operations and unforeseen challenges.

The knife’s MOLLE-compatible sheath, made of durable ballistic nylon with a fire-retardant coating, provides ease of carry and accessibility, making it an essential survival gear for military personnel. Its slim and compact design allows seamless adaptation to diverse scenarios, fitting snugly into the low-profile sheath, while the leg straps offer secure and convenient portability, ready to tackle any situation thrown its way.

With a 4.84-inch blade length and a total length of 10.59 inches, the Gerber LMF II Survival Knife is a stalwart tool crafted to adapt to varied survival scenarios. Its versatile design, equipped with lashing holes for spear use, a built-in sharpener in the sheath, and a lanyard hole, reflects meticulous attention to detail and functionality. Weighing 24 ounces with the sheath and 11.67 ounces without, this knife strikes a balance between sturdiness and practicality, providing comfort, adaptability, and safety when required the most. Engineered to meet the rigors of survival, this knife offers a reliable companion for military personnel and survival enthusiasts, backed by the Gerber Guarantee, ensuring a limited lifetime warranty for enduring quality and performance.

It reminds me of the Marine K-bar or the Navy dive knives from the 80s. The case is fire resistant, has a built in sharpener, and securely holds the knife in place. The grip is comfortable and secure. Gerber designed this knife with the military, you can tell. I love Gerber, and I love the LMF 2, defiantly the best knife I own.

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The Mossy Oak Survival Hunting Knife with Sheath is a reliable tool crafted for military and outdoor survival scenarios. With a 15-inch fixed blade, it’s sturdy and durable, ready for any challenge you may face in the wilderness or on duty. Featuring a razor-sharp clip point blade made of stainless steel, it ensures excellent hardness, edge retention, and resistance to rust, making it ideal for camping, survival training, or military combat situations.

The knife’s rubber handle offers a comfortable and secure grip, while the heavy-duty nylon sheath provides easy and safe carrying options. Complete with a sharpener and fire starter, this knife is a must-have for hunters, campers, survivalists, and outdoor sports enthusiasts, ensuring you’re well-prepared for any adventure or mission that comes your way.

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The United Cutlery UC2671 SOA Nightstalkers Bowie Knife with Sheath is a formidable blade dedicated to the esteemed “Nightstalkers” of Marine Force Recon. With an impressive 16-3/4-inch overall length and a 12-inch black 420 stainless steel blade, this knife exudes strength and reliability. Its rubberized handle offers a secure grip, providing excellent control during use. The tapered tang design enhances balance, making it an ideal choice for combat or utility purposes. This modern, sleek knife embodies both power and precision, making it a valuable addition to any collection or for those in need of a robust, versatile blade.

Crafted with Marine Force Recon’s legacy in mind, the United Cutlery Nightstalkers Bowie Knife delivers exceptional quality. Its durable stainless steel blade and robust construction promise reliability in high-stress situations. The rubberized handle ensures a comfortable and secure grip, allowing for precise handling and control. Whether for fighting or general utility purposes, this 12-inch blade with its modern design and tapered tang offers a powerful tool fit for any mission.

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I want to start off by saying this is an awesome knife and I really, really like it. The Gerber Gear Prodigy Survival Knife is a tough tool designed for survival situations. Made by GERBER, this knife features a serrated edge for versatile use. Its stainless steel blade ensures durability, while the textured handle provides a secure grip even in challenging conditions.

This knife comes with a sheath that includes a leg strap and extra attachment straps for added security. The sheath also has a friction-release thumb lock for safety. With its black color and sleek design, this knife is perfect for adults who need a reliable tool for outdoor adventures.

Construction- This is one of their products that is made in Portland, not in China like part of their product line. Full tang, grippy handle, etc.

The Gerber Prodigy Survival Blade is well made and has a really nice tip on it. I like how it feels in my hand as it feels as much like a tool that i can use to make a small shelter. Snap Restraint on Sheath- The snap has some elastic built into it so that you don’t have to struggle to get it closed. Really love this feature over some comparable knives that have straight webbing for the handle restraint.

Price- This is great value for the money.

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The Gil Hibben Alaskan Survival Knife with Sheath is a reliable tool designed for performance and durability in outdoor activities. Featuring a laser-etched stainless steel blade with a black Micarta handle, this knife offers both style and functionality. With an overall length of 12 1/4 inches and a blade length of 6 7/8 inches, it provides ample reach and cutting power for various tasks.

I like that it comes with a genuine leather sheath for safekeeping. This is alot of knife at a good value.

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The MTECH USA XTREME MX-8054-MC is a robust fixed blade knife designed for tactical applications, making it an asset for camping, survival training, and military use. Featuring a 5.5-inch 440 stainless steel black tanto blade, this knife offers durability and reliability in various scenarios. I like its G10 handle ensures a superior grip, even in wet conditions, providing a secure hold for precise handling and maneuverability during critical tasks.

Built for resilience, the 11-inch knife boasts a 5.5mm thick blade, suitable for a range of demanding activities encountered in military and survival situations. The inclusion of a black nylon sheath allows for convenient and safe carry, ensuring quick access to the blade when needed. I really like several things about this knife with its durable construction, reliable grip, and versatile blade. The MTECH USA XTREME MX-8054-MC stands as a practical choice for military personnel, survivalists, and outdoor enthusiasts seeking a dependable tool for various challenging environments and tasks.

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The Schrade Delta Class Extreme Survival Fixed Blade, known as the SCHF27, is a robust and reliable tool designed for outdoor adventures like camping and bushcraft. With an overall length of 10.75 inches and a 6-inch AUS-10 steel blade, it offers durability and cutting power for various tasks encountered in the wilderness.

Featuring a non-slip grip handle made of TPE wrapped handle with a deployable titanium-coated 3Cr13 stainless steel pry tool, this knife ensures a secure hold and versatility in usage.

Its drop-point blade design and sturdy construction, including a full tang and lanyard hole, make it an essential companion for outdoor survival.

Complete with a convenient injection-molded sheath for easy access, the SCHF27 embodies Schrade’s commitment to quality and reliability, backed by a limited lifetime warranty for added peace of mind.

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This is the probably best survival knife I have ever had. Several years ago I was issued a SEAL Pup back in the day. The knife was an excellent survival knife and tested well.

I was really bummed out as it was subsequently stolen from me during a break-in and I have missed it ever since. The SOG SEAL Pup is a great blade and feels good in your hand. I finally broke down and got a replacement and am thrilled with the features that have been added since my original.

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I really like the design of this knife. It really is more of a tool. This thing is even more solid than I’d hoped.

I talked to a friend of mine who was is a forest ranger in a national park. He was using this knife as his go to in the field blade.  I believe that this knife would work as a strap cutter while having enough heft to easily hack a limb off of a tree (for use as a splint).

The KA-BAR 200038 BK3 Becker Tac Tool in black is a rugged and versatile instrument designed for durability and performance in challenging situations. Crafted from high-quality alloy steel, this tool is built to withstand the rigors of demanding tasks encountered in tactical and outdoor environments.

With dimensions of 14 x 3 x 3 inches and weighing 589.7 grams, it strikes a balance between functionality and portability, ensuring it’s easy to carry and maneuver when needed. Featuring a 7-inch blade with a 15-degree edge angle, the BK3 offers precise cutting capabilities, while its Grivory handle provides a comfortable and secure grip for extended use. I like that its made in the USA – so extra points

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The Ontario MK3 6141 Navy SEAL Knife, crafted by Ontario Knife Company, is a reliable tool designed for tough missions and demanding environments. Made of durable 440A stainless steel, its 6-inch plain edge blade offers precision and strength for various tasks encountered by Navy SEALs and other elite forces.

With a black high-impact plastic handle, this knife provides a secure grip even in wet or challenging conditions, ensuring it remains steady and reliable when it matters most. Weighing in at 10 ounces and measuring 10.75 inches in open length, this fixed blade knife is lightweight and compact, making it easy to carry and maneuver during operations or outdoor excursions. Whether you’re on land, in the air, or at sea, the Ontario MK3 6141 Navy SEAL Knife is a trusted companion for those who demand excellence in their gear.

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There are so many good survival knives out there so we wanted to add these as runner ups.  Check them out and see how they do.


The Gerber Gear Ultimate Survival Knife is a top-notch tool designed for survival and hunting tasks. Made by GERBER, it’s built tough with stainless steel, ensuring durability for demanding situations. With a half-serrated, drop point blade and a textured rubber grip, it offers a secure hold even in wet or slippery conditions. Plus, it comes with a stainless steel hammer pommel for added versatility and an emergency whistle for signaling for help in dire situations. Whether you’re camping, hunting, or facing survival challenges, this knife is a reliable companion.

This survival knife includes essential components like a sheath with a sharpener and fire starter, making it a complete package for outdoor adventures. It’s compact and easy to carry, measuring 4.8 inches in blade length and weighing just over 11 ounces. Perfect for hunters, tradesmen, and anyone who values preparedness, this knife is a valuable addition to your camping gear or toolbox. With the Gerber Guarantee backing it up with a limited lifetime warranty, you can trust this knife to tackle any task you throw its way in the wilderness or on the job.

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The Tops Tahoma Field Knife stands tall as a formidable tool crafted for military, survival, and hunting aficionados. Constructed with durable 1095 RC 56-58 steel, this fixed blade spear point knife boasts a robust 7.25-inch blade ideal for various outdoor tasks. Its overall length of 13.94 inches with a sleek Black River Finish showcases a fusion of strength and reliability, making it a go-to choice in demanding situations.

I like the Tan Canvas Micarta handle complements the knife’s design, providing a secure and comfortable grip in diverse environments, ensuring precise and controlled handling. Encased in a slim and durable black ballistic nylon sheath, this versatile blade offers convenience and ease of access for tactical, hunting, and survival applications, making it a trusted companion for outdoor enthusiasts.

Versatility is the key attribute of the Tops Tahoma Field Knife, serving multiple purposes across different scenarios. Whether it’s for tactical maneuvers, hunting expeditions, or survival challenges, its spear point style blade is primed for action. With a balance of durability and functionality, this knife is a reliable asset in the hands of those navigating rugged terrain, offering the assurance of a capable tool for various outdoor pursuits.

The combination of its sturdy alloy steel construction, thoughtfully designed handle, and practical sheath design makes the Tops Tahoma Field Knife a dependable choice for military personnel, survival experts, and hunting enthusiasts seeking a resilient blade for their outdoor adventures.

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#13 Bear Grylls Survival Series Folding

The Bear Grylls Survival Series Folding Sheath Knife by Gerber is a reliable companion for military personnel, outdoor enthusiasts, and hunters alike. Crafted from high carbon stainless steel, its serrated drop point fixed blade is both durable and versatile, ideal for various survival situations. The textured rubber grip ensures a secure hold in adverse conditions, providing confidence and stability while handling the knife. Additionally, the dual-sided thumb stud and lock-back mechanism offer smooth and easy deployment, while the included textured rubber grip nylon sheath allows for flexible carry options, whether vertically or horizontally. This compact yet sturdy knife is a valuable tool to have in the field, ensuring preparedness and safety while exploring the outdoors or navigating survival scenarios.

What sets the Bear Grylls Survival Series Folding Sheath Knife apart is not just its robust construction but also its practicality. Alongside its impressive blade, it comes with Bear’s “Priorities of Survival” pocket guide, a valuable resource for anyone venturing into the wilderness.

With an overall length of 8.5 inches and a blade length of 3.6 inches, this knife strikes a balance between portability and functionality. Whether it’s for everyday carry, outdoor adventures, or survival situations, this knife provides a blend of durability, ease of use, and a compact design, making it an essential tool for military, survival, and outdoor enthusiasts seeking reliability and versatility in their gear.

I own two of the Bear Grylls Ultimate knives. The Bear Grylls Ultimate Pro Fixed Blade Survival knife is well built and ready for the long haul. As I posted in that particular review, they are great knives and I gave them 5 stars based upon the quality of the product, what the product included and the price point.

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The Cold Steel SRK Survival Rescue Fixed Blade Knife, also known as the SRK Knife, is a trusted tool renowned for its extreme toughness and versatility in various tactical, outdoor, hunting, and survival applications. Crafted with precision from premium San Mai steel, a 3-layer laminated stainless steel known for its exceptional durability and edge retention, this knife is designed to withstand the harshest conditions.

Trusted by the military and Special Forces community, it serves as the standard issue knife for Navy SEALs B.U.D.S. training, demonstrating its reliability and performance even in the most challenging situations. Featuring a comfortable and secure grip with a deeply checkered Kray-Ex handle and a single quillon finger guard, the SRK ensures a safe and reliable hold in all conditions, making it an essential tool you can trust with your life in any outdoor or tactical scenario.

I like that it comes complete with a Secure-Ex sheath for convenient and safe carrying, the Cold Steel SRK Knife embodies durability, versatility, and dependability, making it a valuable asset for anyone seeking a high-quality survival tool.

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#15 Fallkniven A1 Survival Knife

Renowned for its sturdiness and high-quality construction, it’s a top choice for demanding survival situations.

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#16 Benchmade Bushcrafter 162

This knife boasts high-quality materials and is designed for bushcraft and survival tasks.

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#17 Ontario ASEK-Aircrew Survival Egress Knife

Standard issue for U.S. military aircrews, it features a partially serrated blade and survival tools.

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Morakniv Garberg

A Swedish-made knife known for its durability and affordability, suitable for various survival tasks.

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Why would YOU need a military survival knife?

A military survival knife is a versatile tool that can be essential in a variety of scenarios. One primary reason for needing a military survival knife is its utility in outdoor activities and wilderness survival. Whether you’re camping, hiking, or engaging in other outdoor adventures, a reliable survival knife can help with tasks like cutting cordage, preparing food, building shelter, and even self-rescue in emergency situations. Its durability and sharpness are critical in the wilderness, where you may face unexpected challenges.

Emergency preparedness is another compelling reason to have a military survival knife on hand. In the event of natural disasters or emergencies, access to a multi-purpose tool like this can make a significant difference. From cutting through debris to opening packages and assisting in first aid tasks, a military survival knife can be a crucial asset for dealing with unexpected challenges.

For military and law enforcement personnel, a survival knife is an indispensable part of their standard equipment. These knives are specially designed to withstand harsh field conditions and can assist in various tactical and survival situations. Their reliability and versatility are essential for those in high-stress environments where quick, effective tools can make a significant impact on the outcome of a mission. Whether in the wild or on duty, a military survival knife is a dependable and multifunctional tool that can prove its worth in a range of demanding situations.

What to look for in a military survival knife?

When choosing a military survival knife, several key factors and features should be considered to ensure you select the right tool for your needs. Here’s what to look for in a military survival knife:

Blade Material: The blade material is crucial for durability and sharpness. High-carbon stainless steel or high-quality tool steel is often preferred for military survival knives because they are corrosion-resistant and hold a sharp edge.

Blade Type: The type of blade (e.g., drop point, clip point, or tanto) can affect its functionality. A versatile drop point blade is often preferred for its ability to handle a variety of tasks, from slicing to piercing.

Blade Length: The ideal blade length varies based on personal preference and intended use. A 4-7 inch blade length is common for military survival knives, offering a good balance between versatility and control.

Full Tang: A full tang construction means the blade extends through the handle, providing strength and durability. Full tang knives are less likely to break under stress.

Handle Material: Look for a handle made from rugged and non-slip materials, such as G-10, Micarta, or rubber. It should provide a secure grip even in wet or cold conditions.

Tang Extension: A pommel or tang extension at the end of the handle can be useful for tasks like hammering or breaking glass in emergencies.

Serrations: Some military survival knives have serrated edges, which can be helpful for cutting fibrous materials like rope or webbing. However, a straight edge is often preferred for general utility.

Sheath: A durable and versatile sheath is essential for carrying and protecting the knife. Look for a sheath that securely holds the knife and offers different carry options, such as belt loops or MOLLE compatibility.

Size and Weight: Consider the knife’s overall size and weight, as it should be manageable and practical for your intended use, whether it’s for hiking, military duty, or emergency preparedness.

Price: Quality military survival knives can vary in price, so find a balance between your budget and the features you require. Keep in mind that a reliable, well-built knife is a worthwhile investment.

Warranty and Reputation: Research the brand’s reputation and the knife’s warranty to ensure you’re getting a high-quality and reliable product.

Ultimately, the best military survival knife for you will depend on your specific needs and preferences. Consider the type of environment and tasks you’ll encounter and choose a knife that suits those requirements while providing durability and reliability.

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