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Prepping For SHTF

Best Survival Knife For Under 25 dollars

You have $25 to spend, you want to buy a good quality knife, so which one do you buy?

What is the purpose of a $25 survival knife?  In my opinion, knives in that price range are disposable.  They are the knives that if lost or stolen are not going to be expensive to replace.

From a survivalist point of view, spend $100 on 3 or 4 knives, store them at your Bug Out Location, keep one in a tackle box or use them for hand out knives to friends and family.  Someone breaks into your Bug Out Location, steals your knives, you are not out several hundred dollars.


Sheath Belt loop or ALICE / MOLLE attachments
Made from quality steel
Full tang
Fixed blade

Most of the corner stores around here have knifes made in third world countries. Most of the ones I see sell for less then $10. For this purchase we need something that is made from quality steel, will hold a good edge and will be easy to sharpen.

Back around 1983 I bought into the survival knife craze created by Rambo First Blood. My first survival knife had a hollow handle, made of some kind of 440 stainless steel, held an edge like butter, and took an hour to sharpen. That knife was more of a play toy then a real duty knife. The hollow handled knives are a novelty item. If you want a serious knife, steer clear of them.

Related forum thread – Best survival knife for under $50

There are a lot of good knives out on the market, so please do not get offended if your favorite was not listed. Picking a good knife is like picking a good car. With so many options on the market, its easy to overlook some of the better ones.

Something to Consider With $25 Knives

When a certain company that will remain nameless moved the production of some of their knives to china, I felt like the rug had been pulled out from under my feet. How can one of the best knife companies in the world have their products made in China?

What happened to the people the company had been employed in the US? Were those people laid off? Were they able to find jobs? Did said company contribute to the number of people drawing benefits from the US government? Did my tax money go to help those affected by off-shoring jobs?

There is a hidden cost to $25 knives, and that is the sacrifice of American jobs to overseas labor.

Enough with the politics, lets get on with the list

Cold Steel GI Tanto

Cold Steel GI Tanto Survival Knife

Cold Steel has been in the knife business for decades. As the owner of 3 cold steel products, I can attest to their quality.

From the Cold Steel website, G.I. Tanto Specifications:
Overall: 12″
Thick: 4mm
Weight: 10.6 oz.
Steel: 1055 Carbon
Blade: 7″
Sheath: Secure-E

When the GI series was first introduced, there were 3 knives in the family. It likes like 2 of the knives have been discontinued and the only one still being produced is the GI Tanto.

The older GI Tanto knives came with a nylon sheath instead of a polymer sheath like today. The original version also had their handles wrapped with 550 cord instead of having a polymer handle.

Over the past few years, the GI Tanto has gone through at least 3 changes.

Version 1:
550 cord handle
Nylon sheath

Version 2:
Polymer handle
Nylon sheath

Version 3:
Polymer handle
Polymer sheath

While the Tanto point does not make for a very good skinning knife, the point is extra strong due to the design. With a Tanto you get a trade off, strong tip, straight edge which does not make for a good slicing / cutting edge.

Other suggestions from Cold Steel

Cold Steel Warhead – Discontinued from the Cold Steel product line, can still be found online from time to time.
Shanghai Shadow
Bowie Machete
Barong Machete
Cold Steel Bushman

Gerber Profile

Gerber Profile Survival Knife

Gerber has been in the knife business for a long, long time.  They make everything from cheap pocket knives all the way to top end fixed blade knives.

From the Gerber website, Gerber Profile Specifications:

Overall Length: 8.56″
Blade Length: 3.5″
Weight: 6.1 oz
Full tang drop point fixed blade
Nylon Sheath
Lanyard attachment
Belt loop

Couple of things I like about the Gerber Profile – its compact size makes it easy to carry in a fanny pack, the short curved blade makes it good for skinning deer, and the serrated spot on the back give your thumb something to rest against.

Other suggestions:

  • Gerber Bear Grylls Scout Survival Knife
  • Gerber Big Rock – retails for around $30.
  • Gerber Prodigy Tanto.
  • Gerber Warrant Knife.
  • Gerber Serrated Edge Epic Knife.

In conclusion

There are a lot of good $25 dollar knives out there, this article only mentions a few.

With the wide selection of knives on the market, its going to be easy to overlook a few. If you want to add a few to the list, please do so.


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