Since fixed-blade knives have a respectable reputation for performance and quality, you might be tempted to assume they’re the greatest invention since sliced bread from the way knife enthusiasts describe them. The term “fixed blade” is frequently derided by beginners as merely another way of saying “larger, wider, and heavier,” but there are really multiple ways to do this, leading to a vast variety of knives with distinct functions and features.
But that doesn’t mean it’s time for an epitaph just yet. I really doubt that many readers out there have their knives laying around on desks, tables, or chairs and are tripping over them when going to the bathroom. Let’s take a look at some of the best fixed blade knives that are now on the market to assist you in finding the perfect fit.
What To Consider When Choosing The Best Fixed Blade Knives
It can be challenging to choose the best fixed blade knife for you given the wide variety of options available. To pick which knife is appropriate for your needs, take into account the following important factors.
Carbon steel and stainless steel are the two most often used materials for fixed blade knives.
- Carbon steel blades are incredibly tough, don’t melt at high temperatures, and are remarkably rust-resistant. But pressure, moisture, and heat can really affect them. Because of this, they are brittle and hard to sharpen.
- Stainless steel blades are less durable than carbon steel blades but are easier to maintain. Additionally, stainless steel blades are typically less expensive than carbon steel blades.
Some fixed-blade knives come equipped with a locking mechanism that can be used to keep the blade in place during storage and transportation. While it makes carrying and moving the weapon simpler, this feature is not necessary for using the knife. Many manufacturers do, however, give customers the choice to, if they choose, buy a separate blade lock. This prevents the knife from being opened by accident. These locks normally slot into a corresponding hole at the base of the handle.
The handle is an important factor since it affects the balance, weight, and the knife´s durability. The knife’s comfort level may also be greatly influenced by this. Straight handles or bolster handles are typically found on knives with fixed blades. With the exception of not extending past the tang of the blade, a straight handle resembles a regular knife handle in both appearance and use. Bolster handles are longer and more narrowly shaped than straight handles. This design’s enhanced balance and control provide the knife more versatility.
Weight and Balance
You will feel at ease holding a knife that is well-balanced, whether it is electronic or manual. The weight and balance of a knife are influenced by various elements, including distal tapering, the tang, the handle, and the spine.The phrase “distal tapering” refers to the knife’s blade narrowing from the fulcrum to the tip. This thinning normally takes place close to the blade’s centerline, making the blade stronger. To produce a blade that is more evenly balanced, the distal tapering may also be extended out to each end.
The strength of your knife will directly depend on how hard the steel in its blade is. It can be defined as having the capacity to withstand deforming under intense use. Overly hard materials can become brittle, so some alloys are designed with both hardness and tensile strength in mind. Tensile strength refers to a material’s capacity to resist deformation as well as to allow for some playback without breaking.
This quality helps to prevent deterioration over prolonged use. Any person who has used a knife has probably encountered chipping, in which a little bit of the blade breaks off while being used. For knife enthusiasts, chipping can be their biggest enemy, so choosing a blade with an alloy that adds an extra layer of hardness will give you a blade that you can use in a lot more scenarios than one without such attributes.
Edge retention is simply the length of time between sharpenings that your blade maintains its edge. Nobody wants to use a blade that won’t be able to cut through the object in front of it. Because of this, picking a steel with a higher edge retention capability allows you to go between sharpenings more frequently. Always examine your blade before putting it away to guarantee that it will be sharp and ready to use the next time you need it.
This decides whether or not your blade will rust in specific situations or after coming into contact with specific materials. For instance, stainless steel will instantly rust if exposed to hydrochloric acid, and anyone who lives near the shore will attest to the terrible effects that saltwater has on blades.
To increase the blade’s resistance to corrosion, several knife makers construct their blades with a layer of corrosion-resistant steel over the top. However, these coatings are vulnerable to damage and almost always end up falling off after some intense use.
Types Of Fixed Blade Knives
Knives with fixed blades are easy to handle. They are simple to clean up and don’t need a sharpening stone or knife sharpener. You can pick from a variety of fixed-blade knives, though. Every type has a special set of features and applications. To help you choose the one that is best for you, we’ll break down the distinctions between them.
This is the most common type of knife blade, and with good reason, it’s the most neutral and adaptable one available right now. The drop-point has been around for a very long time, and even though different companies have somewhat different designs, the concept remains the same. The drop-point is one of the simplest knife designs to maintain and performs well in battle and under pressure in survival circumstances. It also makes a great camping companion.
Tanto blades are deadly. Okay, I’ll explain; the Tanto blade’s remarkable stabbing and penetrating power was designed specifically for it. The blade’s thicker section readily slips into whatever you’re stabbing after the tip’s first penetration, causing significant damage and making the wound extremely challenging to heal. The point is extremely thin and sharp, allowing for that initial penetration. Of course, we don’t support violence, and I wouldn’t advise using this knife on a person, but if necessary, they offer excellent options for battle and self-defense.
The reverse Tanto’s blade belly and spine are mostly flat all the way to the tip. The spine of the blade slopes sharply downhill from the tip to the point, but the belly of the blade is totally flat. However, there are numerous blades that carry out both of these functions in addition to others, therefore I don’t normally like this design for fixed blade knives. Because the tip won’t obstruct or add unnecessary drag to non-cutting surfaces, these are excellent for cutting in straight downward motions.
These are somewhat comparable to a drop-point, but it appears that they have gone on a diet and shed a few grams in the upper spine region. As we approach the point, a significant portion of the blade is removed almost as if it were chopped out with a fingernail snipper. The spine projects from the handle in a flat, straight manner.
The spear-point is rather self-explanatory since it features a knife blade designed to match the features you’d expect to find on a spear. A very thin but razor-sharp tip is created when the blade’s belly and spine combine, and you probably got it: spearing is the only thing it is truly excellent for.
These are sometimes referred to as “standard blades” and are distinguishable by the mild upward slope from the belly of the blade up to the tip and the relatively shallow downward slope back down the spine. In order to be straightforward and lightweight, these blades are often relatively thin and incredibly minimum. Because of the blade’s curvature, which enables a very fluid forward motion, these knives are great for cutting away from you.
Although officially known as Hawkbill blades, these are more commonly known as Karambit or Claw blades. These are blades with a concave curve that resemble claws. These blades aren’t very versatile, but they specialize in opening boxes, ripping apart zip ties, and bringing dying adversaries closer to you so you can hear their last breath. Yes, it’s a bit theatrical, but so is the blade shape!
This blade resembles the straight-back in some ways, but instead of having a straight back, it has a spine that gently bends upward, raising the tip along with it. I understand that the straight-back’s purpose is to be straight; how can it be similar? The belly of both blade forms is gently curled upward, and the spine’s bend can occasionally be so minor that it’s simple to confuse one for the other.
Depending on what you choose, this might either be a highly skilled bushcrafter or a battle-hardened nightmare for your opponents. These were originally used by Asian soldiers in the past, but farmers and adventurers quickly adopted its design to cut through thick vegetation.
How We Chose Our Top Picks
First, we looked for knives with fixed blades that were also sturdy and functional. We also took into account the knife’s sharpness and maintenance requirements.
Every knife that is recommended in this review has been field-tested by your dependable team of gear reviewers. In order to make sure we haven’t overlooked anything, we became familiar with the advantages and disadvantages of each blade and analyzed other experts’ evaluations.
Frequently Asked Questions About Fixed-blades Knives
What type of knife is ideal for self-defense?
The research suggests that it would have been better to start off without a knife for self-defense. Even in areas where knives are accepted, the legal repercussions of drawing a weapon in self-defense remain questionable at best. It takes a lot of skill and good fortune to successfully use a knife for self-defense. You must also weigh the possibility of harming yourself against the attacker. A knife that works well for self-defense is often wildly inefficient for daily tasks.
How much do fixed-blades cost?
Since fixed-blades are sometimes sold in packages of three or four, you should anticipate to pay between $30 and $50 for a set that contains a utility, EDC, and hunting/camping knife. That represents excellent value.
Can I open carry a fixed-blade?
Yes, but there are limitations. A fixed-blade must be sheathed or concealed to be carried openly, and it cannot be concealed unless it is secured by a locking mechanism or thumb break. Even if you decide not to lock your knife into place, you should still sheathe it whenever you can because concealing a fixed-blade can be risky if you need to draw it quickly. Be aware that carrying fixed-blades without a sheath or clip is generally prohibited by law in most states. Before leaving home, familiarize yourself with the rules in your area and confirm if carrying a knife is permitted where you plan to do so.
What are fixed blade knives good for?
Fixed blade knives, in contrast to folding knives, don’t have moving parts that could malfunction or opening mechanisms that you would have to fiddle with in a hurry. They are ideal for demanding jobs because of their natural toughness, especially while you’re outside or in a survival situation.
What is the best material for a fixed blade knife?
The most popular material for knife blades is stainless steel, which is used because of its durability and resistance to corrosion. Chromium, iron, nickel, molybdenum, and carbon are normally present in amounts of at least 11% in the metal alloy known as stainless steel.