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What Is a Survival Knife?

Learn about survival knives in this Howcast video with expert Dan Delavan.


Hi, my name's Dan Delavan. I'm the owner operator of Plaza Cutlery in Costa Mesa, California. We have a great selection. We also have a website, And today we're going to be talking about knives.

Most of us know survival knives by the Rambo movies. And the Rambo "First Blood" knife was the one that kind of put survival knives on the map. But, it was actually Randall, Danny Thornton, number of other people, Eye Brand also, made hollow handle survival knives.

But most of us know a survival knife by the saw on the back. It is grooved down the middle, so it's just not one tooth. And then it has a matte finish in the middle. The edges are massed off. The guard has got a standard screwdriver and a phillips. Then the handle is cord wrapped. And then at the end it is knurled, and you have a compass. And in the original Liles you had a pocket knife.

Now a lot of companies, instead of doing the hollow handle, because there is an inherent weakness in a hollow handle, your tang's only going to go this far back. And it's going to be fastened onto the stainless whether it's epoxied or soldered, or pinned. No matter how they do it it's going to be a little weaker. So what a lot of companies are doing now, such as the Chris Reeve, this is the Pacific which a lot of people use as a military knife and as a camp knife, what they've done is in the scabbard they've put a pouch in there. So you can put all your survival things in here. And then you have a much stronger knife.

Well survival knives were basically built for small bush planes, four wheel drive vehicles, anybody that went into the back country that had a chance of getting stuck. And you needed a lot of stuff in a small area. And that's where they came up with the idea of a survival knife.

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