Try this: whip out your phone and text the biggest outdoor and survival knife enthusiast you know and ask them this – “who makes the best survival knives in the business?” Chances are, they’re going to tell you that ESEE ranks pretty high (if not the highest). Since 1997, Jeff Randall and Mike Perrin have been changing the game when it comes to the wilderness industry. Their goal is to offer realistic tools that are designed for people that are going to use and abuse them, which is why their brand has been so successful. Their ‘no questions asked’ warranty doesn’t hurt, either – you’re essentially covered for everything but rust. If you break it, they will replace it.
Even in the company’s philosophy, it clearly states that one of the most important aspects of the business is that ESEE won’t provide a piece of gear that hasn’t been tested in the real world. How seriously do they take that mission? Considering that ESEE’s founders also run an adventure and training company that regularly does jungle survival courses in the Peruvian Amazon, we’d say – very. Anyone who regularly handles outdoor knives knows the power of 1095 carbon, and ESEE is able to get more out of that steel than any other production knife company thanks to their famous heat treatment.
You know the drill by now – as the leading cutlery retailer, we’re overqualified to cherry-pick the best ESEE knives for you. Let’s begin with the knife that started it all…
General purpose field and utility knife that’s perfect for bug-out bags or survival kits
Why We Love It
What the ESEE 3 lacks in size, it more than makes up for in strength. It’s the very first knife that Jeff and Mike debuted at ESEE, essentially making it their flagship knife. The National Tactical Officers Association gave it a 4.77 out of 5, cementing its reputation as a favorite with law enforcement and military teams.
Why You’ll Love It
Like we said before, you’re going to get more out of that 1095 carbon steel than you will from any other knife company. This knife is comfortable and easy to carry thanks to its size and versatile sheath. Because this is such a popular knife model, we have over 40 iterations of the ESEE 3. From combo blades to Venom Green finishes to highly visible orange scales, we can pretty much guarantee there’s a model out there for even the most eccentric knife user.
With fall approaching, those of us who love to spend our time outdoors are eagerly awaiting some casual bushcrafting and hunting adventures without the summer heat or winter freeze. Whether you are a casual trekker or a seasoned hunter, now is the perfect time to get out and play with your favorite blades. For all you outdoorsmen on a budget out there, we’ve pulled together what we feel is some of the most essential hunting and outdoor gear under $50. Now you can focus solely on the right thing – The Hunt.
We’ve asked our social media followers before what they prefer for their hunting adventures – a solid full-tang fixed blade or a knife with replaceable blades. The results were surprisingly even. Replaceable blades are great for lessening the weight of your pack and they keep you from needing to sharpen while field dressing your game. Havalon’s Piranta knivesmake it easy– when the blade gets dull, just pop it off and replace it with a razor sharp new one. For less than thirty-six bucks, you’ll get thirteen replacement blades, a rugged, stain resistant handle with a grippy rubber inlay, and a durable Nylon holster. For the hunters looking to speed up their field dressing and skinning processes, the Piranta may be the best knife option for you.
Every day we get some of the best custom and mid-tech knives from the greatest knife designers delivered straight to our door. As you can imagine, it’s pretty much Christmas year-round over here at KnifeCenter. This week we’re showing off tactical knives that can only be described as works of art, including new Microtech Socom Elites and a Liong Mah Warrior 2 V2 flipper. Coming soon we’ll have Tac Butchers and Mini Cleavers from ADV, more Spectras and the Mini Decepticon from CKF, and new Microtech Limited Edition Cypher MK7s. Talk about one heck of a wish list!
This GTC Commando flipper is the epitome of tactical art featuring a stunning integral Zircu-Ti handle. This eye-catching material wraps around the spine of the knife and even folds over to form the pocket clip, all in a single piece! If you are brave enough to carry the Commando, a CPM-154 blade and sturdy frame lock ensure this knife is more than just a pretty face.
When you think of some of the best hunting knives and camping knives in the business, Buck Knives springs to mind faster than the action on one of their folders. The Buck name is synonymous with the outdoor knife world, mostly because of Buck Knives’ century-long endeavor to produce high-quality tools that give people what they need. Back in 1902, Hoyt Buck, a blacksmith apprentice at the time, started making knives by hand with worn-out file blades – a method still used today by many knifemakers and an appropriate beginning for a company that now offers one of the best-selling folding hunters on the market.
With such a long history of making great knives, weeding through their entire knife collection to find the top five best Buck Knives was no easy feat. Luckily, when it comes to knives there’s nothing we won’t do to make sure you have the best performing tools in your arsenal. Check out KnifeCenter’s picks for the top five best Buck Knives – you won’t be disappointed!
Let’s start off with Buck Knives’ most iconic knife, the Buck 110 Folding Hunter. It is so widely recognized that knife enthusiasts and non-knife users alike think of this particular model when they hear the words “Buck Knife”. Just like other proprietary eponyms such as Kleenex and Xerox, the phrase “Buck Knife” has been used to describe almost any lockback of this style.
This is undoubtedly one of the best-selling knives that Buck offers, and it remains one of the most recognizable and popular knives ever created. This knife design changed the game when it was first conceived in 1963 when Buck decided to develop the ultimate folding utility and hunting knife. The Buck 110’s sturdy design gives hunters a great tool without all the bulk of a fixed blade. It’s no shock that this knife is one of the most copied knife designs out there, but nothing can stand up to the real deal. With its strong lockback mechanism and refined aesthetics, the Buck 110 has been a top pick by knife enthusiasts for years.
Justin Gingrich is a world-renowned knifemaker known for his multi-purpose knife designs with tactical leanings. He stopped by KnifeCenter to show off some of his custom fixed blades and his new folder, which features a proprietary delta lock design that is set to be one of the strongest locks ever.
D2 tool steel is widely considered to be one of the best steels for utility knives because of its affordability and edge retention, which is why so many great EDC knives rock a D2 steel blade with pride. This quality steel rides the line between a carbon steel and a stainless steel, a perk that makes it a popular choice for everyday carry knives that you’ll actually put to work on the regular.
There are two schools of thought when it comes to everyday pocket knives: any knife that you carry every day can be an EDC (no matter the cost) or it’s better to have an EDC that’s less expensive that you can abuse daily without guilt. For those out there that want to shill out less than fifty bucks for a pocket knife, but you want good performance steel – you’re in luck. KnifeCenter has pulled together the five best sub-$50 pocket knives with D2 blades.
The knife import game is changing. Imported knives are steadily improving in quality, and their affordable price points make these great designs more accessible to knife enthusiasts everywhere. Why not celebrate the fact that people of all backgrounds can enjoy the utility that comes with carrying a razor sharp knife?
The scaled-down version of Ontario’s popular Rat 1 is an EDC folder that can withstand some serious abuse. The hunters and survivalists out there should pay extra attention to this knife – it is made for you. Jeff Randall’s knife design combines heavy-duty cutting power with a lightweight, slim build that rests comfortably in your pocket. The drop point blade profile is perfect for utility tasks, and the liner lock offers rock-solid lockup and slick deployment. While it is nylon and materials obviously play a role in the low cost, the light weight, great grip, and corrosion-resistance are perks that makes this knife worth every penny.
Cold Steel is one of the most popular knife brands for tough, durable steel and heavy-duty cutting tools. Over the last three decades, Cold Steel’s innovations have put them at the forefront of the knife industry. From the introduction of their unique San Mai steel to the debut of the ultra-secure Tri-Ad lock, Cold Steel has mastered the art of creating some of the best combat and tactical weaponry in the knife business. Cold Steel’s employees aren’t just knife fanatics, they’re also weapons experts and martial artists with years of experience. What sets them apart from many other knife and tool brands is that they see the value in redefining an EDC. Cold Steel is the type of company who will try to make a pocketknife out of a machete – that’s just how they roll.
That being said, there are eight Cold Steel products that we put on a pedestal above the rest. We’ve chosen the best Cold Steel knives so that you can skip the research and get straight to performance. We can only watch Cold Steel’s Instagram for so long before we’re itching to demo their knives ourselves!
Cold Steel’s 20LT Tuff Lite is one of our favorite small utility knives on the market. This folding knife offers the strength and dependability that you’ll always find in a Cold Steel knife in a package that is compact and comfortable to carry. This American knife company knows that the best tactical EDCs have to offer an ergonomic grip for piercing cuts, so the integrated finger choil ensures a full grip that makes this knife feel like an extension of your hand. Not only is this folder the perfect size for everyday utility tasks, it’s also a great concealed carry self-defense knife. The Wharncliffe point is going to allow for deeper, more penetrating cuts without appearing overly tactical, so you’re not going to draw any attention to yourself when you have it on hand.
Karambits are some of the best self-defense weapons that you can have in your arsenal. They’re ideal for close quarters combat and can be carried on your neck, shoulder, or belt for easy access in a life or death situation. Inspired by the intimidating sharp curve of a tiger’s claw, these fixed blade knives originated in West Sumatra in Indonesia and actually served as agricultural tools that could cut through thick roots and help plant rice. That distinct curve you see on modern models wasn’t a part of the original design – once karambits started making their way through trade routes and became more weaponized, that exaggerated claw became sharper.
We’ve pulled together a list of the ten best karambit knives – and lucky for you, they’re all available at KnifeCenter. We feel that these karambits are some of the top performing fixed blades available, and any one of them would make a boss backup weapon.
Stylish, affordable, and discreet – three qualities that definitely make any karambit a must-have self-defense accessory, and we think that United Cutlery hit the nail on the head with this design. The rubberized handle on their Honshu model has three ergonomic finger notches. In our opinion, this one will give you some of the best handling of the bunch – pretty vital considering the most popular karambit fighting techniques need a strong grip to be executed properly and safely.
Why we picked it: This is the most popular and most purchased karambit in the world because of its price, quality, and great design. It’s also one of the best and most common karambits available on the market. This knife’s affordability means a wider range of people are going to be able to get their hands on a quality built karambit with a great design.
Geoff has knocked another one out of the park with the Catalyst from Arcform Knives. This mid-tech WE Knife variant of Geoff’s impressive custom build is simply superb with amazingly crisp, satisfying flipping action and ergonomics that promote all day hard use. Continue Reading →
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