Guest post today. Angry Mike is at it again. “Angry Mike” – lol – that shit cracks me up. We need a peace loving, dance through tulips kind of post from you so we can call you “Less Than Angry Mike” – at least for a day.
I was asked by a friend whether I would choose a knife, machete or ax in a survival situation if I could only have one and why I would choose it. My immediate response was that it would depend on where I would be. He then throws out an outlandish scenario, something to the effect of the government conducting an experiment with me in an undisclosed location and I had to grab one of them in 10 seconds or leave empty handed. I told him the machete would be my choice then.
He looked a bit puzzled, frowned and commented on my numerous knives and the fact that I currently have only one machete and one ax. He was expecting me to say knife. Now he wanted a thorough explanation of my choice. “It is simple” I said, “A knife can not effectively do what an ax or machete can do. An ax can not effectively do what a knife or machete can do but a machete can do most of what an ax can do and all of what a knife can do.” I think I fried his brain at this point as one eye crossed and he started to stutter.
Machetes have been used throughout history as tools and weapons as have axes and knives. It is a known fact that a small knife can not do the work that a large knife can but the opposite is often true. Anyone who has ever attempted to split a fallen tree limb for fire wood or build a shelter with a small knife will attest to this fact. Turn a large hunting knife on to the task and you are making progress. Put a machete to good use and you will make short work of it. An ax or hatchet would work equally well for this job.
If you need to clean a fish or clean and skin an animal a small knife could get the job done with patience and effort. A large hunting knife will probably be more effective. A machete, while being much longer and a bit unwieldy for the task will prove effective and will easily chop through bone. Using an ax or hatchet for these tasks would scare me though.
Good luck cleaning your fish and game. Most axes and hatchets are not capable of being sharpened to the point that they will easily cut, as they are designed to chop. I would be looking for another option like a smashed rock with a sharp edge, bringing me back to the equivalent of a small knife. At least you could chop off the head with the ax. Fish with entrails and scales anyone?
Let’s look at it from a self defense perspective. If all I had to defend myself with was a small knife such as a Swiss Army “Executive”, I wouldn’t. I would just fist fight the aggressor. It would be a useless and hopeless endeavor that would most likely do little more than piss my opponent off, after he was done laughing so hard he had to pee. A hunting knife would be much more effective from the defensive and attack standpoint as well as being intimidating to most people.
A machete gives you the advantage of a lot more reach through a longer blade that can be sharpened to near razor sharpness, the ability to slash, stab, slap and swing it at your opponent as well as flip it over and use the unsharpened edge to put a serious but less lethal whooping on him that is capable of crushing bone and inflicting serious trauma without deep cutting. It is also intimidating as all hell and most people would rather choose flight than fight when faced with a machete.
An ax or hatchet could be a very formidable weapon but you are limited to swinging it or jabbing with it, effectively turning it into a heavy stick. You are vulnerable on the down swing, you can easily be assaulted before you get your second swing off if you miss the first time and it can be grabbed and snatched out of your hands by your opponent with relative ease.
As far as prices go even the smallest Swiss Army knives are in the $15.00 range. A decent ax is in the $20-$50.00 range. A good quality hunting knife is in the $40-$100.00 range. A cheap machete can be purchased for around $8.00 and a good quality machete for less than $30.00 in most places.
It is my opinion that dollar for dollar and pound for pound, a machete is the ultimate survivor’s tool. That is not to say all of the others, as well as blades not listed do not have their place. If you are on a tight budget or can only take one, take the machete!
~ Angry Mike