Wondering about the Browning Ignite survival knife?
Is this the survival knife for you?
Check out our review below.
Browning Ignite Survival Knife Review
In previous articles, we discussed choosing a fixed-blade survival knife.
A knife is one of the more important pieces of equipment you can have with you in a survival situation. As such, a good, survival-appropriate, fixed-blade knife is your best choice for inclusion in a survival kit or BOB (Bug Out Bag) or equivalent, and/or to be strapped on when an emergency is likely. In this article, we will consider a contender for “Best Survival Knife”.
As mentioned in the general articles, there are two classes of fixed-blade knives that can be appropriate for survival scenarios, the “bush” (medium) knife and the “field” (large) knife. This knife belongs to the bush class.
Why did I consider this knife?
Browning has a long, distinguished reputation for producing firearms. Forty years ago, they added knives to their product line. In partnership with famed knife maker and designer Russ Kommer, they currently produce a wide line of knives for hunters and outdoor sportsmen.
The Ignite looked like it would meet the criteria of a bush knife, and since the price is fairly low, it might be an attractive economy survival knife option.
|Weight (Knife Only)
|Polymer with rubber insert
|Half, Molded into the tang
|Jumped Thumb Ramp
Special Features: Grey titanium coating on the blade, Ferro rod in the sheath,
This sure is a compact knife. The 4″ blade qualifies this as a bush knife, but the small grip is not optimal for large-handed people. The grip is thin, and short, and has a slight hook at the pommel. In my hand, it kind of vanishes and is not as comfortable as other knives I've tried.
It is pretty slip-resistant, wet or dry, but slips a bit with vegetable oil on the hand. Perhaps not because it is a poor grip, it might be it just is too small for me to get a good grip on.
The hammer grip and reverse grip are a bit cramped for me, but adequately comfortable and reasonably secure, and should be fine for people with smaller hands. The Filipino and sideways grips are quite good.
The saber grip is a concern; I can only get three fingers around the grip, but the excellent thumb ramp compensates fairly well, and there is a “trick” you can add. A spring lanyard clip on your lanyard, snugged down around your little finger helps compensate for a short grip.
The upside-down grip is a bit of a problem; the pommel hook digs into my palm. If you have large paws, make sure you handle one of these before purchase to ensure it will work well for you.
- The hollow grind is not excessive but does weaken the edge a bit. The false edge is not unreasonable but might weaken the tip slightly.
- The edge grind has some minor visible flaws, not unacceptable in a knife of this price range. It comes reasonably sharp, but not razor sharp.
- The lanyard “hole” is a slot, without rounded edges, so wear of the lanyard seems fairly likely; check it often. The slot is in the tang, so it would not be practical to round the edges.
- The coating is attractive and does not reflect light, but is not as effective at this as black coatings.
- There is an area of the spine that is quite sharp and without coating, specifically made for use with the Ferro rod.
- Balance is fairly far behind the guard, but this appears to be quite common in this class of knife, and I have yet to find a knife where this negatively impacts the use of the knife.
- The sheath is nice looking and functions well, except I'm a bit concerned about the belt attachment. The retention is pretty good.
- I know this knife would not work for me, but it still could be a good choice for someone with small hands and a budget.
This is made of 7Cr, another Chinese “mystery” steel. It is claimed to be similar to 440A, which is a decent low-end stainless steel. If so, this has the potential to have decent edge retention and corrosion resistance, and better sharpenability than some other stainless steels.
It probably will chip or break more readily than some other stainless steel.
The knife takes a fairly good edge, almost as easily as a good carbon steel. A few strokes of my Pocket Pal cleared up the grind imperfections but did not significantly improve the sharpness. Still, it was sharp enough to easily slice paper and tomatoes. After fifty slices through cardboard, it did not suffer any significant ability to slice paper or tomatoes.
To summarize, it appears that the steel has the potential for good rust resistance, moderate strength, good edge capability, moderate ease of sharpening, and moderate or better edge holding capability.
- Cutting the cord – This is often necessary during construction of shelter, fishing, sewing, and making snares and traps, as well as other times. As the most commonly available to survivalists, I tried fish line and paracord, as well as 3/8″ Manila and 3/4″ Sisal, just because fish line and paracord would seem to be trivial for any knife worth having. Cutting the fish line was no problem, as was cutting paracord under tension. Cutting the paracord while it was lying on a flat surface was a bit more difficult than I'm used to. The knife did require a bit of sawing to get through Manila or Sisal; it did a satisfactory job at this.
- Making notches in branches – This could be required for shelter construction and making snares or traps, as well as other times. I did rather well at this. It seemed to cut with the grain nicely, and although a poor chopper, it was able to make the perpendicular stop cut adequately.
- Trimming/Sharpening/smoothing branches – This would be for shelter construction, as well as making arrows, spears, stakes, walking sticks, and even bows. The knife did a pretty good job of this.
- Pounding in stakes – This could be required for making shelters, snares, and traps. This knife is not set up to perform this function.
– Use with a magnesium bar or ferrocerium rod is fine using the portion of the edge of the spine specifically designed for that; it shaves and sparks very well.
– Making a “feather stick” for Tinder was done well, better for small curls, but big curls are possible if you do your part.
– Drilling a hole (for a fire drill) was moderately easy. The tip is at risk of being a bit thin and made from an “unknown” stainless steel. I would be careful about stressing this tip.
– Batoning for access to tinder or making kindling from logs is within the capability of this knife, within the limitation imposed by the length of the blade. There were smudges in the blade coating, and I did find a short section of the blade edge which appeared to have a slight dullness.
- Use as a throwing knife – A word to the wise, don't. If you throw your knife, you may not get it back, or it can be damaged, particularly if it is made of stainless steel which is a bit brittle. I did not try throwing this.
- Use as a spear – Turning your knife into a spear gives you additional reach, but throwing a spear made of a stainless steel knife is more susceptible to damage than is acceptable. Besides, the grip may not be removable (they are attached with Torx screws and I could not find my Torx bits). If not, it will have to be lashed TO the shaft, and thus be enough off-center to throw poorly.
- Chops veggies pretty well and the blade shape should be fairly good for skinning and butchering. It could also be good for filleting.
- Digging for grubs and bait. It is hard to imagine anything that can dull or damage a knife quicker than digging with it, and stainless is at risk of chipping if it hits a rock, so I don't recommend using this knife for digging.
- Sticks or fronds – For shelter and other construction, splints and firewood. As expected, this was poor at chopping. Small, light, small grip and balance all work against it. It is not a “fault” of the knife; just physics.
- This knife is small and nimble and has a decent grip. The blade is too short to be excellent at combat, but within that limitation, it should be fairly decent. Of course, there is essentially no protection from an opponent's blade, but at least there is not a lot of chance of the hand slipping onto the blade.
The sheath, as mentioned, is pretty decent for a knife in this price range. It is an injection molded polymer. The blade fits well with decent retention between the sheath and a notch in the grip, but has a rattle, and cannot be fully inserted “backward”, so although you could carry it in a left-hand carry, you would not have reliable retention.
Additional retention is provided by a rubber ring with a finger tab you stretch over the end of the grip. The ring on mine that arrived from the factory was torn open, so I was not able to evaluate this for effectiveness or usability.
The belt attachment is a plastic “clip”, which I am not in favor of. Any belt loop that does not “lock” closed means your knife could be knocked loose from your belt.
This one has a slight hook at the end, so should be more secure than many clips, but if it were me, I'd modify it with a zip tie around or screw through it to ENSURE it could not come loose.
Oddly enough, the clip can be removed. I'm not sure why, but it does give the option to re-insert it upside down for an upside-down carry if that was called for.
The Ferro rod appears to be fairly securely held if correctly inserted, but the rod retention is a bit difficult to engage, and if you don't get it engaged, the rod will fall right out. The grip of the rod has a small lanyard hole, and I recommend you attach a lanyard there and clip it to the sheath or your belt.
If sheath flop is a problem, too bad; there is no way provided to attach a leg tie.
It appears there are no accessories available for this; not surprising, as they would probably cost more than the knife.
Price and Availability
The list price of the Ignite at this point in time is $33.00. You can generally find it on eBay for $25 or so. There is also an Orange and Black version if you prefer.
It is listed as being in stock at the company, and there are a bunch of people selling it on eBay, as Buy It Now. Alternatively, Amazon has it for the same general price, not on Prime, so tax may not be added.
For its price range, this is a surprisingly competent little knife, for those with hands, this would fit. It seems that Browning does inexpensive stuff right too. As a sole bush knife, it would be adequate for most everything except chopping.
As part of a bush/field knife set, it would also be adequate, assuming one could find a field knife with a similarly sized grip. The sheath is minimal but should be durable and effective.
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on October 19, 2015, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.