does it exist or is it an invention of marketers

does it exist or is it an invention of marketers

Today I will bring up one very controversial topic that usually brings up real holidays. Yes, we’ll talk about the survival knife. Is this a useful thing or an invention of marketers? Is its versatility good or bad? And the most important thing is why it is not needed by many people who are often in nature.

This article is written more for fans of the survival theme, but if you are just interested, it will also be useful to understand some of the nuances of survival gear.

Survival knife: does it exist or is it an invention of marketers


I have often heard from well-respected people that survival knives do not exist, and that any knife that is at hand in an extreme situation is a survival knife. And everything that is sold under this name is just a clever advertising ploy to increase sales. On the other hand, there is another opinion that survival knives are a special kind of reliable and versatile knives that will help to cope with a wide range of tasks in a survival situation. Of course, we are talking about survival in the wild, and not about any post-apocalypse there. So let’s figure it out.

Who came up with the survival knife – marketers or survivalists?

The concept of survival knives has appeared quite recently – in the United States in the 60s. Then the Americans fought the war in Vietnam and their helicopters and samoets often fell into the jungle full of dangers, where the pilots had to survive for real. It was then that the first knives appeared in their emergency kits, created with one purpose – to help in a survival situation in the jungle. They lay quietly for themselves in the Wearable Emergency Reserve (NAZ), and were used only in extreme situations. These weren’t knives for hunting, slicing food, woodworking, or everyday use – they were just knives for survival.

One of the first survival knives for US pilots
One of the first survival knives for US pilots “Jet Pilot Survival Knife”

Well, the first round is for “witnesses of survival knives” – they were not invented by marketers, but by American survival specialists.

These knives really resembled the famous Rambo knife. Remember that strange saw on the butt, which like a nifiga does not saw? In fact, it is designed to open the duralumin plating of the aircraft – in case the pilot cannot leave it in any other way. And she completely fulfilled her function. Also, such knives had a heavy knob on the handle – for breaking glass.

A survival knife is any knife from NAZ

Subsequently, survival knives appeared in all emergency kits in many countries. In the Russian Federation, there is a whole GOST dedicated to survival knives.

So we can conclude that survival knives also exist in the legal field.

Now let’s understand the terminology.

Critics most often argue that survival knives do not exist, because you can survive with any knife. The last part of the statement is unambiguously true, indeed, even the most seedy Chinese kitchen cooker can help in an extreme situation.

By the way, according to the same logic, even remboid knives have a right to exist, in the end, they may well fulfill their task – to cut and even chop a little, which means you can survive with them.

But does this mean that knives designed specifically for survival do not exist?

Let’s make an analogy with combat knives. By the same logic, we can say that combat edged weapons do not exist, because you can kill with any kitchen worker. Nevertheless, there are a great many knives created with one goal in mind – to kill.

The same is with survival knives – yes, you can survive with anyone, but this does not negate the fact that there are knives created specifically for extreme situations, and not for everyday routine activities.


Is the versatility of a survival knife a good thing or a bad thing?

This is another stumbling block when it comes to the appropriateness of survival knives. Critics argue that survival knives are meaningless because they are made as versatile and multifunctional as possible, which means they do not perform well each function individually.

Indeed, a utility knife cuts worse than a hunting knife, cuts worse than an ax and a machete, and for delicate work it is not as good as a woodcarving knife. And so it can be said about any of its functions.

But for some reason, few people pay attention to the question: Should any abstract knife in a situation of survival work perfectly?

The same critics of survival knives say that you can survive with any knife – even with a folding knife in your pocket. But if we take any survival knife, then it will cut no worse than some folding knife. In this case, this knife can also be chopped. And if there is also a flint on his scabbard, then they can get fire.

In a survival situation, there is no need to perfectly butcher a carcass, build the perfect shelter, or peel potatoes. Therefore, there is no need for a knife that will work perfectly. After all, this is not an everyday knife. But since any emergency kit is very limited in weight and volume, it is advisable to cram as many functions as possible into the knife.

So, the conclusion: the versatility of the survival knife in the context of its purpose is definitely a plus.

Bear Grylls survival knife
Bear Grylls survival knife

Who needs survival knives?

And here we come to the most interesting.

I noticed a curious moment: most critics of survival knives are precisely experienced people in terms of living in nature.

They often visit the forest, they know how to live there and survive. And they go to the forest for quite specific purposes: to hunt, fish or look for minerals. And for this they use specific knives for specific purposes: hunting, kitchen, household or ordinary folding knives. Of course, for such people, the rule is fully suitable: the survival knife is the one that is at hand.

But what to do with those who go on a vacation trip once a year? They clearly don’t pull on survival experts. Remember for whom survival knives were invented – for helicopter pilots. These people are very far from constant communication with nature, but it is they who have a high chance of getting lost in the wild.

And for such people, who are not very sophisticated in the science of survival, a versatile strong knife with many functions will be useful.

ESEE-4 Knife Designed by Survival Instructors
ESEE-4 Knife Designed by Survival Instructors

Please rate how helpful this article was. Write a number in the comments that expresses your impression:

  1. He was an adherent of survival knives, and now even more.
  2. Survival knives do not exist.
  3. I used to think that there are no survival knives, but you convinced me.

And of course, write in the comments why you think so. We will argue to the point of hoarseness)

(с) Max Polgin
Frontier Survival

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