“Stay-Alive” Knives

Get The Edge You Need To
Defend Yourself And Survive

By Pat Covert

Edged weapons can serve as a vital backup to your gun if things go south, saving your life in a storm of bad circumstances. Some knife styles are best suited purely for self-defense or “close quarters combat.” Others can serve for personal protection and also perform utility or field chores in a survival situation. These are loosely referred to as “crossover cutters” — all can be had in fixed-blade or folding configuration.

Beyond knives there are edged weapons and tools you should definitely consider as part of your arsenal. Before making a purchase, it’s a good idea to determine which of these knives and tools best suit your needs. Let’s look at some of them:


The Jason Brous Silent Soldier folder is a compact powerhouse,
combining self-protection with daily utility.


Crossover cutters can be readily had in both folding and fixed-blade forms.
Two excellent options are the DPx Assault 6 (top) and Zero Tolerance 0801
Stonewash (bottom).

For the Defense

Knives solely suited for self-defense are designed to excel at slicing and penetrating. Dagger and tanto style blades perform particularly well in this area, as do straight-edged Wharncliffe and talon-esque hawkbill blades. So does the squattier variant of a dagger: the spear point. We’ve also included a tactical pen — an excellent solution for those restricted in what they can carry.

Steel Will Censor — The Censor has all the right stuff to make it a viable self-defense weapon. At a compact 7.68″ in overall length, this fixed-blade won’t drag you down. The beauty of the Censor lies in its aggressive, forward-positioned 3.54″ AUS-8 stainless spear-point blade, which has the ability to both slice and penetrate. The handle is a comfortable nylon molded pistol grip, textured and grooved for a solid grasp. And then there’s that nasty, little pointy skull-crusher on the base (ouch!). In addition, Steel Will offers two alternate blade styles for the Censor, which comes with an injection-molded nylon sheath and clip, adjustable for various angles of carry. MSRP is $59.99. www.steelwillknives.com

Columbia River Knife & Tool Sting 3B — The original Sting dagger was designed by cutlery guru A.G. Russell over 20 years ago and has remained popular over the years, undergoing several morphs in the process. The CRKT Sting 3B, the lightest version to date, is sure to please those who desire a hellacious punch in an easy-to-conceal package. The Sting 3B is 7″ overall with a 3.42″ 8Cr13moV double-ground stainless blade. The trim handle is topped with textured G10 scales. The whole package weighs an incredibly light 1.8 oz. Included is a molded nylon sheath which can be used for concealed neck, boot or pocket carry. MSRP is $59.99. www.crkt.com

Tuff-Writer Precision Press Tactical Pen — The Precision Press is pure sweetness in looks, but it’s tough as nails when it’s time to get down to business. It’s 6″ in overall length and has a cool fluted bamboo pattern on the barrel, augmented with rubber O-rings for enhanced grip. As the name implies, a simple press on the rear button activates the ballpoint tip — in this case a reliable Fisher #SPR4 Parker gel unit. An ample pocket clip keeps the pen safely stowed. Available in aluminum or titanium in a multitude of colors, the Precision Press has an MSRP of $85.95 to $210, depending on materials and finish. www.tuffwriter.com


The Vehement Knives Paragon features a wicked spear-point blade,
ideal for combat but with a deep grind capable of field chores
large and small.


Affordable but highly effective, Morakniv knives are ideal for stashing.
Shown at left is the Companion next to the beefier Bushcraft.

Double-Duty Slicers

Crossover cutters make up the lion’s share of tactical folders and fixed-blades. These double-duty slicers make sense for those who need something for everyday carry, offering a high degree of self-defense, but also perform daily chores in the field or around the workplace.

Jason Brous Silent Soldier — Six years ago, knifemaker Jason Brous introduced a small fixed-blade to the internet, and it went viral overnight. As Jason’s popularity grew, so did the Silent Soldier — in the form of a folding model. At a scant 6.375″ opened, this compact powerhouse sports a wicked 2.25″ Wharncliffe blade of D2 (Brous’ blade steel of choice). Jason offers many variations of the knife, shown here in durable G10 composite handle scales and a stonewash blade. The blade releases quickly via a flipper, or you can thumb it out using the blade hole. The blade itself is rock steady through a liner-lock mechanism. If you need a small knife with a vicious attitude, the Silent Soldier is it. MSRP is $229 up to $559 for a titanium frame-lock version. www.brousblades.com

Zero Tolerance 0801 Stonewash — Zero Tolerance was borne out of Kershaw Knives to produce serious knives for law enforcement and military users. They have succeeded wildly. The ZT 0801 is a flipper folder (no thumb studs here) designed in collaboration with custom knifemaker Todd Rexford. It features a 3-D patterned, heavy-duty titanium frame with an integral lock and a primo Elmax stainless drop-point blade. The blade rolls out on ZT’s patented butter-on-glass KVT ball-bearing system and locks up like a vault. The frame and blade are stonewashed for reduced reflectivity and there’s a deep carry, tip-up pocket clip on the rear frame. MSRP is $250. https://zt.kaiusaltd.com

Vehement Knives Paragon — Vehement owner Matt Martin makes some damn serious steel. His fixed-blade Paragon is a badass. At 9.8″ overall, it’s capable of performing a wide variety of medium-to-heavy duty field chores. The stainless blade is 4.5″ of ATS-34 spear-point beauty — ready to penetrate or slice, whichever the call may be. Comfortable Micarta handle scales offer up excellent traction and are durable to boot. The Paragon comes with your choice of a hand-stitched leather or Kydex sheath. MSRP is $275. www.vehementknives.com


Combination breaching tool, chopper and weapon, the SOG Voodoo Hawk is
available in a mini configuration (above) or a standard one (under).

DPx H.E.F.T. Assault 6 Stonewash — DPx Gear is writer/adventurer Robert Young Pelton’s cutlery outfit, and his knives do him proud. The H.E.F.T. (Hostile Environment Field Tool) Assault 6 has been a staple in the line for years, but it’s just been released in a black (very deep gray actually) stonewashed version. The full-tang Assault 6 looks every bit as fresh and imaginative today as it did when it was introduced. At 11.22″ overall — 6″ blade — this is a large knife for virtually any chore, combat or field. The deep ground Sleipner tool steel blade (the German equivalent of our D2) is sleek, yet offers deep cutting. The curvaceous bag handle features removable G10 scales with a hollowed-out storage compartment for small survival items. The Assault 6 also sports an integrated striker pommel, pry bar, lanyard hole and lashing point. Manufactured by the elite Lionsteel of Italy to exacting standards, the H.E.F.T. Assault 6 Stonewash comes with a black Cordura sheath and utility pocket. MSRP is $218.75. www.dpxgear.com

Morakniv Companion, Heavy Duty, and Bushcraft — Morakniv (generically referred to as Mora) makes the perfect stash knives for everywhere you need one. The Companion is their best seller, but the Heavy Duty offers a bit more oomph. Ridiculously affordable yet notoriously durable (you can buy five Companions for under 100 bucks), Morakniv knives are known among serious outdoor enthusiasts as the best value on the planet. The Companion is 8.6″ overall with a 4.1″ blade and the Heavy Duty 8.8″ with a slightly thicker blade. If you want one larger, the Bushcraft Black model will cost a bit more, but the price is still right. I keep a Morakniv stashed between my driver’s seat and console, in the bug-out bag, backpack and, well, you get the picture. MSRP ranges from $19.99 to $77.99. www.moraofsweden.se/home


The TOPS Knives SXB, designed by adventurer E.J. Snyder, is a brute
of a knife suitable for extreme combat or heavy-duty field chores.


Some knives, like the duo above, excel better at self-defense than others.
On the left is the Steel Will Censor, and on the right is the CRKT
A.G. Russell-designed Sting 3B.

Big Bad Bashers

When the going gets tough, a big knife can take down a foe or foliage faster than a small one. For your consideration, we present a pair of beastly blades.

TOPS Knives SXB — Simply put, the TOPS Knives SXB (Skullcrusher’s Xtreme Blade) is a heavy 15.75″ amalgam of steel and Micarta with a 9.38″ blade hell bent on destruction. When the SHTF, you’re gonna want this one! Designed by survivalist, adventurist, former Army vet and reality TV star E.J. Snyder (Naked and Afraid), the SXB has a multi-purpose blade for chopping, slicing, shaving or penetrating. The heart of the blade is TOPS’ signature 1095 high-carbon steel with a black powder coat. The lengthy black linen Micarta scales with a Rocky Mountain tread pattern offer plenty of grip options. When not in use, the SXB stows away in a Molle adaptable black ballistic nylon sheath. MSRP is $300. www.topsknives.com

SOG Voodoo Hawk — Tomahawks became popular in the Afghan theater and are primarily used for breaching, but they’re also pretty deadly in close-quarters combat. Word is they scared the living crap out of the Taliban locals. They’re not as effective as axes or hatchets around a wilderness camp, but they can fill in if needed. The Voodoo Hawk is 12.58″ overall length with a black-coated 3CR13 stainless blade and 3.5″ at the bit. For added flexibility, the rear of the Hawk head features a wicked spike. There are 28.5 oz. of weight ready to be wielded behind the Voodoo Hawk’s compact, glass-reinforced nylon handle. There’s even a smaller Mini Voodoo version available. A nylon snap-on sheath is included. MSRP is $75 for the standard Voodoo Hawk, $58 for the Mini. www.sogknives.com

As you can see, there are scores of edged options, to help you stay alive. The right choice for you depends on your daily environment or any less than simpatico situations you may be anticipating. Remember the old adage: “you can’t have enough guns?”

The same is true for knives! 

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