The Best Survival Knives?

Survival Knives

I have been talking with the guys over at, and I am glad to have them on board as contributors to

Being a big fan of knives, the first question I always ask a fellow survivalist is, “What knife do you carry and why?”

Craig responded that he carried an ESEE knife, and when he started to explain why, I had to cut him short.

What he was telling me was too good, so I asked him to write an article about it.

Check it out and see what he has to say:

Top 5 Survival Knives

Go out and ask any respected survival instructor you have contact with to provide you with a list of their top 5 survival knives.

I doubt seriously there would be only a few (if any at all) that do not have ESEE knives near the top of that list…

ESEE stands for Escuela de Supervivencia (School of Survival), Evasion, and Escape, and has a rich history that is the backbone of their knives.  These knives were formulated by Jeff Randall after a number of years of teaching survival and other tactics in the Peruvian jungle.

Those experiences led Mr. Randall to put a knife together so that he felt comfortable handling the elements of that harsh environment as well as many others.  These knives are sought after by military, law enforcement, and other tactical users for several reasons.

Since 1997, these knives have been used in jungles, deserts, and city streets as incredibly useful tools of many an operator’s kit.

The first and obvious reason is that ESEE offers a no-questions-asked lifetime warranty on all their fixed-blade knives that is transferrable.  As their website clearly states, “If you break it, send it back, and we will send you another.”

This is a reflection of the business ethics that Mr. Randall and his longtime business partner, Mike Perrin, bring to the table as they run the business of making fine knives and survival equipment.

The vast majority of the ESEE line of knives is made of 1095 carbon steel, which is the workhorse of all of the old-school traditionalists in the field of knives.  The 1095 carbon is often cited as the benchmark for quality blades due to its ability to hold a heat treat so that it remains flexible enough to handle the abuse but strong enough to keep that edge.

Mr. Randall does a fantastic job of listening to his customers and, more recently, started offering some stainless steel options to their line of knives.  This only serves to once again show that ESEE is committed to both putting fine, quality blades out there and ones that meet the needs of their customers.

The ESEE line of knives' most popular point is a true drop point, which makes it an incredibly useful tool for most survival, bushcraft, or jungle craft work.  Their line of knives ranges from small 3” neck knives up to machetes with an overall length of well over 20”.

Most of their blades have an incredibly tough powder coat finish with various colors including a very tactical black, jungle green, and others in between.

It should be noted by the user of ESEE knives that 1095 carbon steel will rust, particularly along the edge and any engraving.  With proper care and keeping them oiled, purchasing an ESEE knife will be one you will never regret.

If for some reason you ever would be, ESEE customer service is fantastic.  You will often find Jeff Randall himself cruising the forums and answering questions.

The price tag for an ESEE is completely along the lines of a knife of this caliber.  Some would consider it an investment.  We certainly would too, but one that is worth the money. They have quite an extensive line and we are sure you could find one that will make both your hand and your wallet happy.

A person with the right amount of knowledge and an ESEE knife can do a lot more effective work than a whole group of those who are not knowledgeable and have a toolbox full of knives.

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Editor's Note: This article was originally published on June 27, 2013, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

8 Responses to :
The Best Survival Knives?

  1. Great article guys, and great review Craig! Glad we could start contributing to this great community at Survival Life!


  2. Al says:

    I can personally attest to the quality of ESEE knives. I have two…an Izula II and a Lazur Strike. Both knives are top quality and well worth the money. I have other knives that are good, but the ESEE brand out shines them all. Granted, it is hard to spend up to double the price for a blade, but once you have one in your hand and start using it, then you will know that it is money well sent.

  3. Jenna says:

    I’d get it just so I can call it my watermelon knife!

  4. Blake says:

    Thanks for the review Craig! I own an ESEE 4 and love it, a great American company, with American made products, that have a 100% NO questions asked, warranty.

  5. Mack says:

    These knives are not quality. I make knives and I do not own one and never would one because of the blade steel. 1095 steel is what lawnmower blades are made of and thus the reason for the return policy in case of breakage. Lawnmower blades are very brittle and they will snap if put under any type of moderate pressure. No boys and girls knives are not pry bars but they should be flexible and 1095 is not. Buy what you will but these are some mighty dearly priced mower blades.

    1. Matt says:

      So you don’t own one, and probably never handled one, and yet you still feel you are able to determine that these knives aren’t good?

      Oh and my mower blades are made from 1084 steel.

      You are exactly the type person that shouldn’t be giving advice on subjects like these.

  6. Tara says:

    @Matt – I believe Mack is trying to express that these knives may look cool but if the steel isn’t of quality, then the knife is not worth a less flashy knife made of better steel.

    I think he’s just trying to help people understand what makes a good knife – which are the differences you can’t see with the naked eye.

  7. Frank says:

    If I am in the woods I carry my buck m9 or bear grylls my every day carry is a bear grylls folder

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