which machete is best

Jun 10, 1999
I am interested in purchasinng a machete. I do not know which is better or best. I don't know all of them but do know a few of the more talked about ones. Such as, Busse " Battle Mistress", Cold Steel "Kukris", Himalayan Imports "Kukris", I've also heard Tops mentioned. I like the style of kukris, however I'm looking for durability and functionality as these will recieve real world use.
Thanks jeffa
Depending on how much money you have to spend.

The Ontario Machetes are excellent for the money. I have an Ontario copy (the only marking is "Colombia") that I have been satified with. Don't bother with the Collins Handguard style or the sawback variety. An 18" or 12" cutlass style will work fine. Maybe someone else can speak for the beavertail and soft beak variaties.

For under $200 you can get an excellent tool that will alst you a lifetime from Himilayan Imports. I would recommend the WWII for machete-like work. You won't be disappointed.

Very good things have been said about the Gurkha House khukuris. I can't speak to that, but I am sure others can.


Clay Fleischer

"My redneck past is nipping at my heels..." -BF5
The Mistress isn't a machete, but it's the best big knife you can buy. The TOPS Steel Eagle 111 has an 11in. blade, and is sort of a short, thick machete. It chops forever, and is very comfortable. It's also reasonably priced. For a pure machete, it's hard to beat the Ontario. It's about $20, decent edge holding, and cuts great.

Would you mind discussing what role you envision for your machete? I ask because none of the knives you mentioned are considered machetes. Are you clearing brush, doing light chopping of soft wood, hard chopping of hardwoods, ripping open sheetmetal, using it as a pry bar??? Machetes have advantages and disadvantages versus the kukris and big bowies & military-style knives you've mentioned. Let's figure out which would serve you best!

Best advantage of a machete: you can get a good one for $10!


I didn't realize those knives were not considered machetes. I would like a big knife like the ones I mentioned for clearing brush or small trees. I may use it for digging or prying very small things. I work outdoors in the woods and fields and anything can occur. I need something not extremely large, comfortable to carry, and very dependable. I would pay $350 to $400. I want something well made that I could use all around. I'm also in law enforcement so it could be used for odd situations in that area also. Am I asking too much from one weapon?

For those situations, and that price range, you want yourself a Battle Mistress. They are extremely sharp, tough, and have a great warranty. The only drawback is, you'll have to wait about 8 months to get one. IMHO, order the Mistress now, and for a good knife in the mean time, get a CS Recon Scout, or check out Wicked Knives for a good handmade. Besides, you can never have too many quality big blades
Jeff sounds like what your looking for is a Bowie. Cold Steel Trailmaster would be a good choice in a production knife. They can be had for well under $200, even cheaper if you can get a second. I have one first quality and two seconds and I honestly can't see any difference. My first recommendation considering what you are willing to spend would be a Randall Model 14. An excellent nearly indestructable knife. If you order directly from Randall there will probably be a substantial wait.


who dares, wins

If brush clearing and chopping small limbs (say 2"-3" or less) is your main job, a $10, 18" Ontario machete is your best bet. It's long, and is *the* tool for this kind of speciality. It's length means you can clear more easily, and your hand is well away from thorns, poison oak, etc. You can do some very light digging or prying with it, but I wouldn't want to do much. Maybe the Ontario machete and a good beater knife (like a Cold Steel SRK, ~$60) would be your top low-cost choice here.

Sticking with machetes but going up in price, the Livesay Rapid Deployment featured on www.jungletraining.com *looks* awesome, though I haven't handled one. $150. For an even bigger thicker machete from Livesay, check out his web site at http://members.tripod.com /~Newt_Livesay/index.html. Again I haven't used his stuff, but have heard great things about it.

Going up in price again, for a much shorter blade, but also much tougher (better for harder chopping, digging, prying, etc.), the Busse Battle Mistress everyone is mentioning sounds great. That's more in your $350-$400 range.


[This message has been edited by Joe Talmadge (edited 11 June 1999).]

Thanks www.jungletraining.com was exactly what I was looking for. They had real world testing and very good recomendations Wicked Knives has some very impressive weapons, I already own a Newt Livesay neck knife and am happy with it. Now all I have to do is pick one.

The Battle Mistress apparently takes only ("only"!
) 4-5 months these days. I ordered my back in March, and Jerry Busse said they're pretty much on schedule now.

If you're looking for something less expensive to abuse, and get sap all over, the Newt Livesay RTAK, mentioned above, is a very nice knife. Differentially tempered 1095 steel, and bit longer than the Battle Mistress... and they have an even longer (2" longer) "Battle Machete" (I think they call it), for the same price ($150). Mine took about 3 1/2 weeks to be delivered (I was told it would be shipped in 2 weeks, but I guess that was a bit optimistic). It's a good, solid, well-made blade. Not razor sharp, when delivered, but the edge seems well-contoured.

You might also want to check out the Himilayan Imports forum. A good khukri is hard to beat for this kind of work and they come in all different weights and sizes. Marcus
Big whomper for $400 or less - you have a HUGE range of good things for that price-range!
I have the Newt Livesay 'Recon' machete, and it's a very solid hunk of metal for $150. 1095, differentially tempered, thick and heavy. It would be very hard to beat for ruggedness in that price range. I do think the blade edge is ground a little too high, but if indestructability is an objective, give that one a hard look.
If you wanted to go up a little, you could consider custom blades. I recently got an 18" weed-whacker from Mel Sorg out of CMP 3V, one of the new super-dooper cut-through-anvils-and-not-dull-the-blade particle steels. It's about half the weight of the Livesay, and cuts like it really wan't to hurt something! A really sweet-swinging blade. If you're interested take a look at Mel's site at http://www.angelfire.com/mn/madpoet/gallery.html . My knife is shown there as the top two figures. If you just wanted 'functional' and didn't want any pretties, such as the damascus bolster, I suspect Mel could make you a deal for well under your price. Drop him an e-mail, it's pretty easy to discuss custom work. with him.

That Mel Sorg knife is hot, man!

Marvin, when you say you think the Livesay machete is "ground a little too high", what do you mean? I take that to mean that the edge grind starts up high, and as a result the edge might be a little thinner and weaker than you'd like. But then you talk about its indestructibility, which would imply you mean exactly the opposite of how I've interpreted it...

On jungletraining.com, they talk about a special version of the recon machete that is apparently ground thinner. When that comes out, it sounds like a winner

That Mel Sorg IS really nice, Marvin. Would you mind posting a review on it? I'm really interested in your impressions of the 3V.

If one is looking for an actual machete, one mey consider Barteaux machetes.

They were given a write-up in TK about 6 issues ago.

I just bought one, liking the feel and balance, but not remebering the article.

I am very pleased with it and looking to get a couple more of their products.

Made of band saw steel with very nice handles.

Joe - sorry for the sloppy phraseology. What I REALLY meant was - I feel the Livesay is ground at too large an angle (say probably 35 degrees or more) for easy cutting in harder material, such as a very dried out 2 x 4. I think you could get easier cutting if you re-ground the edge down to 25 degrees or less, but of course you have a better chance of damaging the blade. You pays your money and you takes your chances. And you're right - with the large angle on the edge, you'd just about have to chop anvils to hurt it any (and I just might want to know the exact metal used for the anvil &#61514

Donovan - take a look at http://www.bladeforums.com/ubb/Forum3/HTML/000530.html for a review of the Sorg knife.
Since I posted the review (and Joe, later on in the posts after the review I discuss the angles on the Sorg and Livesay blades) I've had the opportunity to use it a little more - for cutting some carpet! It really wasn't all that much cutting, but it did seem to work quite well, and the cutting didn't really seem to affect the edge any.
On the 3V, Cliff Stamp is expecting a test blade from the chief provider of the material (Ed Schott), and several of us are REALLY interested in what Cliff's going to find!

Hey, if he wants to spend up to $400, let him!, at that price, he can have any variation of the Battle Mistress he prefers
Or what about a Mission MPT?

"All of our knives open with one hand, in case you're busy with the other"