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in praise of military & tactical knives for the woods

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gear, Survival Equipment & More' started by Bushman5, Dec 22, 2009.

  1. Bushman5


    Oct 31, 2007
    The Trads & Bushcrafters might choke on their beers when they see this..... ;) :D

    I've always liked military & tactical styled knives for civvie woods use. My SOG Tech Bowie, Gov-Tac, Seal Pup Elite, and my Emerson PUK and similar have never let me down. Tough, easily sharpened, aggressive styling all get a "Bushman5 :thumbup:"

    I see a few people here in WS&S with military blades: 6shooter with his Gerber LMF, Mistwalker with his SOG Seal Team (and i do believe a SOG Team Leader Survivor) and numerous others.....

    simply put, military knives like the ones above make fine shavings like a "bushcrafter" knife, they split wood like a "bushcrafter" knife, they do everything a "bushcraft" knife does, and have a great aggressive military styling.

    YMMV as to knife design, but dont rule out these blades. :thumbup::cool:


    my SOG Tech Bowie

    Emerson PUK


  2. GrinderMcgee


    Jun 23, 2008
    Love my SOG Tech also. Even had the Super Bowie do some tree trimming this spring before I upgraded to a bigger chopper.

    Last edited: Dec 22, 2009
  3. DWK2


    Nov 3, 2003
    Good observation. I like to haul tactical/military knives out in the woods periodically because otherwise they wouldn't get enough use. I can't carry a concealed fixed blade in the PRK and open carry might panic the local urban trail hikers. When I depart LA I may be able to put a little more mileage on them.

  4. Munky88


    Jun 1, 2008
    I think the point to be stressed here is a knife works like a knife. We put too much stress on what we can and can't use in the bush. This is because we have an obsession. We like knives for the reason they are such a simple and basic tool, with so many drastic variations for different tasks. We get caught up in that we must use the right knife for its intended purpose with no variation. A well made military knife should certainly be just as functional in the woods. I haven't seen you using your Kabar, or an m9 often. The Emerson PUK which much of your military knife experience is with has many similarity to a bush crafting knife. strip off the black coating, add wooden handles you and wouldn't know the difference. It's mostly just cosmetically different. Throw one of your favorites, a bk7 into the bunch here too. A military knife similar to bush craft knives.

    Many military knives would just be utterly useless. Then again so are half the "Bushcrafters". Don't get caught up on labels.
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2009
  5. ZombaiO


    Sep 30, 2007
    I really like the look of the military knives too ! :)
    But I find most of them have too thick grind for easy cutting and whitling.
    Then again,my most udes woods knife is the M95 Sissipuukko,which is a combat knife used by some of the Finish troops.But it has a nice full flat ground blade,which makes cutting easy.
    Many folks like the RAT and Becker knives too - and they seem quite military to me :)
  6. Bushman5


    Oct 31, 2007
    teehee! :p Munky ya rock man!
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2009

    WILLIAM.M Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 14, 2006
    You gotta use whatever works for you...

    I really Like that Emerson PUK

    How's it cut like??
  8. GEC


    May 8, 2007
    The only thing is here in jersey. You can't have a military combat knife on your person without getting to trouble with the man. That doesn't really stop me in using them when we are at a camp sites though. I guess I really depends on the places you are at, at the time. And if the Officer want to push the issue. IMO, a knife is a knife.
  9. j williams

    j williams Basic Member Basic Member

    Nov 14, 2005
    eh who cares.....Use what ya like. I hate labels. "survivalist" "Trads" "bushcrafters", all human beings who enjoy being outside, and practicing skills, observing nature, and just escaping for a bit.....

    Military knives are KNIVES. A piece of metal with a sharp edge. No doubt some cut better then others. All hand shapes and personal tastes are differant. I like the looks of a military knife, but also can appriciate an old hickory skinning knife. My big thing is supporting the "local" makers and the soul that goes into each blade. They are about the same price, and feel alot more personal....Thats just my preferance. Most of my blades have a Military, utilitarian look to them, but are generally smaller in blade length, thickness, and overall size. Best of both worlds I guess.

    Its like boots. Military, cowboy, Hikers, motorcycle, etc....differant tastes for differant folks. All performing the same task generally speaking. Its not a fashion show out there...

    If you got skills you can make anything work. Some people use their gear as a crutch IMO.....
  10. kgd


    Feb 28, 2007
    Yep, I'd say RAT's, Beckers and Fallkniven get their fair share of play here and they are military designed. RAT claims that is the majority of their business model - military/rescue/LEOs.

    I do have a penchant for micarta. Hate the rubber stuff that cold steel uses. Don't like swedges too much. Prefer plain edges to serrated, although serrated have their utility on some things. Don't like guards that much. Coatings are not my preference, but I have enough coated knives that I recognize the utility of corrosion protection. I think a coating on stainless is silly.
  11. Zaner01


    Jan 7, 2009
    It would make sense that military knives would be good in the woods, because that's what they're for.
  12. ROCK6

    ROCK6 Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 8, 2004
    Military knives and "tactical" knives often get a bad reputation from many of the purists...and rightly so considering the marketing strategies I've seen. I own my share, but I don't have any of the quadruple-layered, surgical stainless, charcoal blackened blades with alligator teeth serrations and double edged including a skull cracking pommel :D

    A knife is a knife, but there are some differences. Most military blades tend to have larger guards and more grippy-grips and yes, they tend to be thicker. SOG has done a great job at marrying their combat blades with the functionality of a large woods blade…the bowie design is quite versatile. I need to find my camera cord, but of the less utilitarian tactical/combat blades I have:

    Buck Buckmaster (I gave it to my son and it’s his cool, knock-around blade)
    Buck M9 Bayonet
    Strider, short tanto model…thick as a pry bar!

    Other than being a tad thick, and with a re-profiled convex blade, they would probably perform much better:

    Busse Steel Heart II (older A2 steel)
    Becker (BK Crewman, BK7, BK9)
    Ontario/RAT series (some of them are thinner and excellent utility knives)
    My Randall #15 (love that blade)
    My Mad Dog PATAK…excellent profile even if a little thick (it’s my EDC for work)
    Blackjack #5…actually a great blade and comfortable round leather-washer handle
    Mission MPK10 and 12 (5” and 7” models) with the A2 tool steel are very under-rated in my opinion
    Cold Steel and TOPS both make functional knives, but they do tend to be quite thick

    My most interesting outdoors blade that is very tactical/fight-knife looking is my Bark River Evolution-1. It’s also a very effective blade and the convex grind will make fuzz sticks with the best of them!

    Not all are perfect bushcrafting blades, and can even do some of tasks quite well with practiced techniques, but they sure do look cool:D

  13. Cpl Punishment

    Cpl Punishment

    Jan 28, 2006
    Good points.

    In was thinking about this the other day.
    B.BF. (Before Bladeforums), I had a Buck 110 on me at all times, and carried a Ka-Bar USMC (later replaced by an Ontario RAT-7) and an Estwing hatchet in the woods. The Ka-Bar (RAT) getting the lion's share of the workout. It wasn't until I came here, that I learned that only traditional styled knives cut wood, and I "needed" a "bushcrafter".

    After reading Pitdog's first use of his Tracker, I started thinking "Well, if that POS can (with a proper grind) actually work, what other knives also work?"
    Answer: pretty much all of them.

    My first one I tried and am quite happy with its performance in woods tasks was my Busse Hellrazor -- nothing if not a military/fighting style blade:

    Another not generally thought of as a woods blade is my HI Kerambit, which has turned out to be quite a good utility knife:

    So, my general knife advise now is: Buy what you like, and learn to use it. Don't listen to what people tell you it can't do.
  14. GRIM 62

    GRIM 62

    Mar 29, 2009
    Most blades will work for woods knives,it's all a matter of personal taste.
  15. d_filgate


    Nov 28, 2007
    I use my Kabar a lot.
    Also have a BK9 that used to get used quite a bit.
    Would love someday to get a HellRaiser. For some reason, that knife
    just speaks to me. I have a buddy who has one, and I love the way it
    feels in my hand.

  16. theedge13


    Feb 11, 2008
    My fave things to take into the bush are military variants...mostly beckers which i consider to be along the tactical lines.
  17. d_filgate


    Nov 28, 2007
    Like I mentioned, I have a BK9, and my brother has a Brute. We've been taking them "camping" for years and they haven't let us down yet.
    For some reason, the BK9 when you take the coating off of it, reminds me of a short Roman sword

    Lately I've been getting into Goloks a bit, but I still take my Kabar ARMY as a backup blade.
  18. theedge13


    Feb 11, 2008
    It really does look like a short sword...bad ass! :thumbup:

    cant wait for my Heavy Bowie...would like a BK9 but the heavy bowie should work out too!
  19. d_filgate


    Nov 28, 2007
    Earlier this year, a friend came to me and asked me to recommend a good
    starter knife for his son. The boy wanted something big that he could use
    for chopping, but didn't have Busse type money to spend. I picked up a
    Heavy Bowie for the boy. It's a great knife for the money in my opinion.

    The boy loves it and has taken it on a couple of camping trips and a hunting
    trip so far.
  20. theedge13


    Feb 11, 2008
    excellent. i think i have one under the tree hehe! :cool:

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