A couple of weeks ago I bought a Gerber Bear Grylls survival knife to try out. To be honest, I’d never seen the guy’s show, so I watched part of an episode on Youtube to see what it was about. If he really did half the crazy stuff in a real emergency survival situation that he does on his show he’d be dead inside a week. Not that he doesn’t know his stuff, but the things these shows do for high ratings would get most people killed.
Anyway, I was looking for a good survival knife and came across this one. On Amazon the first reviews weren’t that good and I almost didn’t get it, but as I read more it became apparent that the first knives released were more working demos than the real thing and had some problems. After that it got pretty good reviews across the board.
My first overall impression was that it’s a decent knife for the price. It costs $39 on Amazon. It’s much lighter than my Becker K-Bar Campanion, but it has a lot more whistles and bells. Normally I’m not a big fan of extra stuff on a knife, but I will say that some thought went into this one.
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The knife itself has a small whistle attached to the handle for signaling. It’s not the greatest whistle out there, but it beats nothing. I will probably move this to the sheath so that it’s not in the way. It also has a feature on the end of the handle that allows you to pound nails, nuts or whatever you need to have cracked or pounded.
The handle is made from rubber and felt very good in my hand although it’s a little thinner than my Becker and the USMC Ka-Bar knife that all knives are measured against. (At least by me.)
There are holes in the knife handle that allow it to be lashed to a piece of wood in case you want to make a spear. I’m not sure how good an idea it is to do that as it looks like a great way to break your best chance at surviving, but the ability is there.
It also has orange on the handle that makes it easier to be seen. Remember, this is a survival knife and not a tactical fighting knife. If you’re using this knife for real you want to be seen. The sheath is nylon and it has a built in sharpener, which is ok, and there’s also a small firesteel as well. On the back of the knife there’s a flat spot that you can use to scrape the steel with to create sparks.
How it Worked in the Field
This weekend I was cutting poles for my tipi and decided to use the BG Survival knife instead of my K-Bar and put it through its paces. I was disappointed.
One of the things I didn’t like about this knife is the fact that it has a serrated edge. Some people swear by them and others swear at them. I fall into the latter camp. When I used the knife to limb the tree some of the serrated edge broke off and its light weight made it much harder to cut limbs of even a moderate size. This Chinese made knife just wasn’t up to the task. My Ka-Bar cut through the same sized limbs without a problem.
I used it to trim two poles and then went back to my old workhorse the Becker Campanion (BK2).
I did use the firesteel which is small, but workable, and I started a couple of fires with it just to get the feel for it.
In my opinion a survival knife has to be able to take a beating. I’m not talking about abusing it on purpose, but your knife of choice needs to be rugged enough to stand up to the rigors of field use and part of that use is going to be processing wood. Whittling, batoning, chopping, splitting, using it as a small hatchet, whatever… it needs to be rugged enough to stand up to this kind of use. I don’t feel the BG Survival Knife is rugged enough for extended hard use. I’ve used my BK2 to dig in the ground for spruce root to use as cordage with no problems and don’t think this knife would bear up to that kind of activity.
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I’ve included a picture of both knives below and you can see that they’re about the same size, but if you pick them up the difference in weight is striking with the Ka-bar being much heavier. This knife will have a spot in one of my backup bug-out bags, but until I can find something that will sway me away from the K-Bar Becker I’ll be sticking with my old workhorse.
2 stars out of five for the Bear Grylls Survival Knife.
What do you use for a survival knife and why? What makes it so good?
I like hearing other people’s opinion when it comes to knives.