The traditional pocket knife, along with a wallet were among the first items to be considered EDC gear. Going even further back, before everyone carried the coin of the realm and had nifty blades that could snap shut, they had a fixed blade knife. Roman centurions had knives, as did the wild Germanic tribes that Rome sought to conquer. Genghis Khan had an EDC knife, and it didn’t have a flipper on the handle. The first farmers had them, as does every hunting and gathering tribe in the world. See a picture of pygmies in the Amazon jungle and they’ll be wearing little more than strips of cloth, and that cloth will be holding their precious fixed blade knife, be it made of obsidian, stone, bronze, copper, stainless steel, titanium, or military-grade high-carbon complete with K-Bar logo.
Fixed blade knives are so ubiquitous because they perform one of the few tasks that people cannot do without tools – cutting – and they do it better than any other implement. A fixed blade knife for EDC means you’re going to put in an earnest day’s work and can’t have something on your hip that’s going to break or bend, but will work to slice and pry all the live-long day. Fixed blade knives are more difficult to keep on you, but do more than folding knives can, and won’t fail you…so long as you get the right one.
Choosing A Fixed Blade for EDC
Full Tang are the words that should become gospel to anyone attempting to try their hand at carrying a fixed blade. A full tang means the metal of the knife goes from tip to pommel, creating a whole piece that is then attached to scales – which are what you call the parts of the handle that sit on either side of the blade. Partial tang can look the same at first glance, but those choices have metal that stops partway down the handle, leaving less leverage and more potential break points. While we can recommend the best out there, you might have another option in mind. If so, always require full tang, or don’t waste your money.
Size and comfort are also major concerns when picking a knife that will be with you day after day, so avoid the temptation to go big, and make sure you try wearing your knife in whatever sheath you’re going to use before you make a final decision. Many a great cutter has fallen by the wayside because it wasn’t easy to move with, sit with, or wear during normal activity. EDC is a different beast, and must be fed a proper diet, so make sure the knife feels good in a hip holster as well as in your hand.
CRKT Folts Minimalist Bowie
The 5Cr15Mov steel isn’t going to blow anyone’s mind, but the point here is a solid knife that can hold an edge but doesn’t cost you a Benjamin every time you leave it stuck in a stump and have to replace it. Really, what you have here is a precision knife that is also a mean self-defense combatant that doesn’t ever want to come out of your hand. Perfect for the forgetful and the clumsy. Purchase: $22
The official brand of the Marine Corps rarely makes a bad addition to their lineup, and the BK14 is proof enough of that. Many swear by the BK11 – the Becker Necker – and the differences between that and this are academic, though this one provides added stability to the loop on the base, where you can hook a pinkie for steadier cuts than with the BK11. Either way you swing, you’ll be quite satisfied for a lifetime of use. Purchase: $41
Mora is the only brand who makes cheap fixed blade survival knives that you would willingly take into a deadly situation. The soft, grippable handles are clearly intended for camp work, field dressing a kill, cutting boat lines, or living by your wits. Carbon steel with no frills, the only reason we picked the Bushcraft out of Morakniv’s pack of bombproof beauties is because we like the firestarter on the sheath. Though, for EDC it can be a little large and awkward. Purchase: $45
Buck Knives 119
If we have to tell you why Buck with their “Forever and ever amen” warranty makes good knives, it’s time get an fMRI because your wiring is broke. It’s big, it’s bad, it goes forever, and looks so damn good you’ll start getting mouthy just to try and start a knife fight for an excuse to pull it out. Purchase: $49
ESEE Knives Izula II
Perhaps the fixed blade EDC knife that is recommended the most by professionals in any hard-working, serious cutting profession, this is a 1095 steel workhorse that is more tactical knife than standard EDC. The inward curvature makes it good for detail work, with a fat-ass belly that gives you loads of leverage right where it counts. Purchase: $70
Tops Street Scalpel
A marginally overdeveloped knife for some EDC kits, when you want a precise item that can do razor edging work or go for the deep cuts, the Scalpel sings. Linen micarta on the handle, a nonsense-free frame, all with High Carbon 1095 Alloy, you’ll appreciate the smart Kydex sheath, since this is a demon when let out of the bag. Purchase: $73
Spyderco Street Bowie
Spyderco redefined the way folding pocket knives work with their fast-action design and memorable thumb hole. Now they’re trying to change how fixed knives work by offering this slim, black psychopath. It’s not a full tang, which might give you pause until you see it jam into layers and layers of kevlar up to the hilt like it’s sinking into tar. Then you’ll be honestly and respectfully afraid of it. Find for detail work, but made for fighting back. Purchase: $99
Brous Blades Silent Soldier V1
Not all fixed blade knives need to follow the standard style. Though it looks vicious, with its talon curvature and knuckle-duster build, it’s actually made largely for small work where you need multiple grips to get a smooth, steady slice. Made of D2 tool steel, it’s a goer, a doer, and a nasty defender in a tight spot. Purchase: $99
ESEE isn’t as common on folding knife lists, but as soon as you upgrade to a fixed blade, they become the sturdiest hound in the pound. A little bit larger at more than 8-inches, you can go with the ESEE-4 which is a little more petite but otherwise the same, but the design of this is so artful that you’ll learn to love the additional length and hate short-rounds who try to do the same job. 1095 steel through and through, it comes with hits. Purchase: $108
Grohmann D.H. Russell #3
Three knives in one, the triangular handle makes it a favorite for yachtsmen who need to make cuts with wet hands, while different sheathes also turn it into a paratrooper’s Jump Knife or a more traditional army knife. We love it as a hunting knife, since the same build that prevents it from being slippery when wet also allows it to work bloody. Purchase: $111
Here’s your Cadillac EDC knife for when you want a little flash to go with your substance. The handle is comfortable, durable thermorun with a feel in hand that you just have to try. Swiss engineered for military survival, it’s a heavy hitter on the Rockwell hardness scale thanks to VG10 steel. Chipping can be an issue, so go in with eyes open. Purchase: $125
Benchmade Bushcrafter 162
Benchmade makes their bones largely with high-end EDC folding knives, but that’s because they haven’t chosen to rule the fixed blade market…yet. In fact, the 162 is a great knife, not the best in the business. Part of the problem is the Benchmade price bump, though it comes with the assurance that this is built to supreme standards. Purchase: $183
Cold Steel 3V Master Tanto
Are you going to get a few chuckles due to the Ronin style of this blade/sheath combo? Sure, the uninitiated might chuckle at your choice, right up until you show them what American CPM 3-V steel can do. DLC (Diamond Like Coating) is slathered all over this for a true Buy It For Life look, feel, and operation. Purchase: $315