Built for the Field – 6 Best Military Survival Knife For You

When a soldier ventures into the field, their equipment becomes an extension of themselves. Every item, from their helmet to their boots, plays a crucial role in their survival. And perhaps no tool is more emblematic of resilience than the best military survival knife. But with countless options available, what separates a good knife from a great one in a survival scenario?

Well, this guide will help you figure it out.


I’ll let you know which knife is best for military survival. Then, I’ll share my top picks for the best ones out there.

So, let’s get started!

What Makes a Good Military Survival Knife?

A good military survival knife needs to have a few important features to make sure it works well and lasts a long time.

1. Blade

The foundation of any good survival knife lies in its blade. You’ll want one made of strong steel that can handle tough conditions. Look for high-carbon steel, which keeps its sharpness well, or stainless steel, which won’t rust easily. The blade should stay sharp for a long time, so you don’t have to keep sharpening it.

Plus, think about the blade shape too. A drop-point or clip-point blade is versatile and can handle many survival tasks.

2. Handle Design

Next, consider the handle. A comfortable grip is not a luxury in a survival situation, it’s a necessity. A wet or bloody hand can quickly compromise your control. Go for handles that provide a secure and textured grip, even in adverse conditions.

Meanwhile, materials like Kraton or rubber offer excellent slip resistance, while ergonomic designs that conform to the hand further enhance control and reduce fatigue during extended use.

3. Versatility

Versatility is another key aspect of a military survival knife. While a good blade can handle most cutting tasks, a well-designed knife can offer even more utility. Some knives come with integrated features like a sawback for cutting through branches or a built-in bottle opener.

Additionally, some models incorporate survival aids like a compass or a fire starter, transforming the knife from a cutting tool into a multi-functional piece of survival gear.

4. Weight

Lastly and most crucial is weight. Soldiers often carry a significant amount of equipment, so a lightweight knife is a clear advantage. While a heavier knife might offer more power, a lighter option provides better portability, especially on long deployments.

Now, here are my top picks for the best survival knives available today. They all meet the criteria I talked about, except for a few special cases where I think the knife is just really exceptional overall.

List of the 6 Best Military Survival Knife

  1. ESEE Knives 6P Fixed Blade Knife — Best fixed blade survival knife
  2. Smith & Wesson M&P Special Ops High Carbon S.S —Tactical survival knife
  3. COLDSTEEL Cold Steel Bushman Knife — Wilderness survival knife
  4. KA-BAR Becker BK2 Campanion Fixed Blade Knife — Strongest survival knife
  5. Rothco Stainless Steel Gi Style M-9 Bayonet — Good survival knife
  6. KA-BAR Full Size US Marine Corps Fighting Knife— Best army survival knife

1. ESEE Knives 6P Fixed Blade Knife

ESEE Knives 6P Fixed Blade Military Survival Knife

  • Blade Length: 5.25 inches
  • Blade Material: 1095 Carbon Steel
  • Handle Material: Canvas Micarta
  • Overall Length: 9.75 inches
  • Weight: 8.6 ounces
  • Sheath: Kydex

One of my top military survival knives is the ESEE 6P. It’s made from tough 1095 carbon steel, which I really like. Among my favorite knives, the ESEE brand stands out, and the 6P model is one of their best. You can find it in different styles, like a green blade with orange handles or a black blade with a gray handle.

The ESEE 6P is quite large, around 11.75 inches long with a 6.5-inch blade. It’s not bulky, only 0.19 inches thick, and it has a hole near the handle for your finger. Despite its size, it’s not heavy, weighing just 12 ounces. Holding it feels comfortable, and it can tackle tough tasks with ease.

The blade is flat and easy to sharpen. It’s covered in black powder to protect it. But remember, it can rust if you don’t take care of it. The handle is made of strong gray Micarta. It’s comfortable to hold, even when wet.

You can use ESEE 6P for lots of things, like chopping wood or cutting food. It’s great for anything you need. The only thing I don’t like is the sheath. It’s not as simple as I prefer.

Compared to the ESEE 5P, the 6P is lighter, which I like. The 5P is heavier because it has a thicker blade. But unless you’re doing really tough jobs, the 6P is better for everyday use.

Overall. ESEE 6P combines durability, comfort, and versatility in a package that’s built to endure. Its lighter weight compared to similar knives makes it a great choice for military and survival situations.

While the sheath might not be ideal for everyone, the overall quality and performance of the ESEE 6P make it a highly recommended fixed-blade knife.

2. Smith & Wesson M&P Special Ops High Carbon S.S

Smith & Wesson M&P Special Ops High Carbon S.S Military knife

  • Blade Length: 5 inches
  • Blade Material: High Carbon Stainless Steel
  • Handle Material: Rubberized
  • Overall Length: Around 10 inches
  • Weight: Around 1 pound

Recently, I got my hands on the Smith & Wesson 1122584 M&P Ultimate Survival Knife, and it really impressed me. The handle is made of rubber, which makes it comfy to hold and gives a solid grip. The blade, made of 8Cr13MoV steel, is strong and handles any job easily.

I liked the sawback ridges on the blade a lot. They helped me cut through thick stuff with no trouble. The knife comes with a sheath, which is handy for carrying it around safely.

One thing I noticed, though, is that the blade needs sharpening more often than I’d like. Even though it’s made of good stuff, it loses its edge pretty quickly. But for what you get, it’s not a big deal.

Overall, I’ve come to rely on the Smith & Wesson M&P Ultimate Survival Knife for all my outdoor adventures. It’s got everything you need: it looks cool, it works well, and it’s not too expensive. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who loves spending time outside.

3. COLDSTEEL Cold Steel Bushman Knife

COLDSTEEL Cold Steel Bushman Knife

  • Blade Length: 4.5 inches
  • Blade Material: SK-5 High Carbon Steel (thickness: 2.5mm)
  • Handle Material: Grivory (polymer)
  • Overall Length: 9 inches
  • Weight: 10.1 ounces
  • Sheath: Secure-Ex sheath

While I was exploring the wild, I needed a dependable knife. That’s when I discovered the Cold Steel Bushman. Despite its appearance, it’s surprisingly tough and tackles outdoor tasks with ease.

The blade, crafted from a single piece of 2.5mm thick SK-5 high carbon steel, holds a good edge and has proven durable. While the weight (10.1 oz) makes it less ideal for everyday carry, it shines in heavy-duty tasks like chopping branches or small trees.

There are a couple of drawbacks. The Secure-Ex sheath, while secure, can be a bit awkward to carry comfortably. Additionally, some users might find the 7-inch blade length (previously mentioned as 4.5 inches) a bit on the short side. However, for me, it finds a perfect balance – not too large and not too small.

Overall, the Cold Steel Bushman has become a trusted companion on my outdoor adventures. It’s a stylish, functional knife at a reasonable price. It effectively gets the job done without emptying your wallet.

4. KA-BAR Becker BK2 Campanion Fixed Blade Knife

KA-BAR Becker BK2 Campanion Fixed Blade Knife

  • Blade Length: 5.25 inches
  • Blade Material: 1095 Carbon Steel
  • Handle Material: Kraton G
  • Overall Length: 10.5 inches
  • Weight: 1 pound (16 ounces)
  • Sheath: Glass-filled nylon (standard), Kydex

The KA-BAR Becker BK2 Companion is a great tool for staying safe outdoors. Ethan Becker, who started the Becker Knife and Tool Corporation in the 1980s, designed it. The knife is really tough and comes with a strong polyester sheath. You can also get it with a sheath that has a pouch (model BK22).

It’s made in the USA from 1095 Cro-Van carbon steel, which is tougher than regular 1095 steel because it has Chromium and Vanadium in it. But remember, it can still rust if you don’t take care of it properly. The sheath that comes with the knife is made in China, though, not the USA.

The blade is 5.25 inches long, and the whole knife is 10.5 inches. It weighs exactly one pound. Even though the blade is thick, it’s easy to hold because it’s designed well. The blade is flat and sharp, and it’s good for cutting. The handle is made of Zytel, which is really strong.

What I like about this knife is that it feels balanced when you hold it right. You won’t get tired of using it for a long time, except if you’re doing really detailed carving.

Because the knife is heavy and the blade is thick, it might be a bit harder to do really precise carving with it. But it’s worth it because it’s so strong. There’s a hole in the handle where you can tie a rope to keep the knife safe.

Interestingly, you can also use it for cutting veggies. Yes! It’s good for cutting things like onions and potatoes, but it might not be good for cutting meat.

Overall, the KA-BAR Becker BK2 Companion is a reliable and durable fixed-blade knife. It prioritizes toughness over intricate cutting tasks. If you need a strong knife you can depend on in harsh conditions, the BK2 is a solid choice.

5. Rothco Stainless Steel Gi Style M-9 Bayonet 

5. Rothco Stainless Steel Gi Style M-9 Bayonet

  • Blade Length: Around 7-8 inches
  • Blade Material: Stainless Steel (type varies, likely 420 or 440A)
  • Handle Material: Usually plastic or rubber
  • Overall Length: Around 12-13 inches
  • Weight: Around 1 pound
  • Sheath: Nylon or plastic

Let’s talk about the Rothco Stainless Steel Gi Style M-9 Bayonet, my fourth choice. When I first got my hands on the Rothco M-9 Bayonet, I was really impressed with how strong it felt. It felt like it could take on anything! Plus, the black color made it look really cool and sleek. And the sheath that came with it was awesome too. It had this special design that let me clip it safely onto my belt.

But, as some other people have mentioned, the blade wasn’t as sharp as it could be. I had to spend some extra time sharpening it to get it just right. That was a bit of a hassle, to be honest. But, on the bright side, once I got it on my rifle, it fit perfectly! There was no wiggling or looseness at all, which is exactly what you want.

Even though I had to deal with the blade sharpening issue, I still think the Rothco M-9 Bayonet is a great tool to have. It’s really well-made and tough, so it can handle whatever you throw at it.

Overall, considering its affordability, I’d say it’s definitely worth it for the quality you’re getting. So, if you’re looking for a reliable bayonet, you can’t go wrong with this one.

6. KA-BAR Full Size US Marine Corps Fighting Knife

KA-BAR Full Size US Marine Corps Fighting Knife

  • Blade Length: 7 inches
  • Blade Material: 1095 Carbon Steel
  • Handle Material: Leather
  • Overall Length: 11.875 inches
  • Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Sheath: Leather

Now, let’s talk about my last pick for a military survival knife. This knife is like the granddaddy of all survival knives. It’s been around for 70 years and still gets the job done. The blade is really thick at 0.165 inches, and it’s a whopping seven inches long. The whole knife is almost a foot long, at 11.875 inches. It’s not too heavy, either, weighing in at 11.2 ounces. You can pick either a kraton or leather handle, both with a powdered metal butt cap.

The blade is made of 1095 Cro-Van carbon steel, which means it’s tough. The tip of the blade is just right—not too thick so you can still slice and dice, but thick enough for prying and poking. It’s a great knife to have out in the field, but there might be other knives with cooler designs.

This knife has a special history. It’s been used by the United States Marine Corps, and it’s known for its reliability. It’s seen action in wars and on camping trips. 

People trust it because it’s been tested in all sorts of situations. Whether you’re chopping wood or defending yourself, this knife can handle it.

Some people might say there are fancier knives out there, but sometimes simple is best. This knife doesn’t need a lot of bells and whistles—it just works. And that’s what you want in a survival knife.


How do I keep my military survival knife in good condition?
Regularly check for damage and sharpen the blade as needed. Clean it after each use with a soft cloth, avoiding harsh cleaners. Don’t soak it in water for too long, and store it in a dry place.

What safety tips should I follow when using a military survival knife?
Always lock the blade when not in use to prevent accidents. Avoid cutting through thick or hard materials that could damage the blade. Store it safely to prevent injuries, and wear protective gear when using it.

Final Verdict

After looking at these six best military survival knives in detail, I hope you have a clear idea of which knife is right for you. But if you’re still confused about which one is perfect, then I’d suggest the ESEE Knives 6P Fixed Blade Knife to you.

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