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Thread: USAF Survival Knife Reviews?

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    Default USAF Survival Knife Reviews?

    I was thinking about buying one of the old-style USAF Survival Knives made by Ontario Knife Company. They're nothing too fancy- 1095 Carbon Steel, Leather handle, full tang... For a basic sheath knife, it seems to fit the mold pretty well of what a knife should be. Has anybody used or owned one of these knives? I've heard both good and bad things from prior owners in the past, and would like to know if it's really the dependable knife some claim it to be.
    Χάρις υμίν καί είρήνη άπό θεου...

  2. #2

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    I've broken two at the tang / shoulder. Both were at Survival School after the instructor told us the knives were indestructible.

    Now days, there's so many knife manufacturers, you've got so many choices beyond the old days of the AF Survival Knife being the standard.

    You can do some light hammering with the butt on the AF knife, but if you have got an axe with you, the back side of the axe head would be better equipped to hammer with.

    The saw back on the blade of the AF knife, well, at one time it was probably cutting edge technology for cutting, but now, there's multi tools with much better blades for sawing with. The teeth pattern on the AF knife rips away at the material more than outright cuts it. It's a slow go to cut through material.

    If you want a survival knife / tool, a leatherman or other multi tool would be a better choice than the AF Survival Knife.

    If it's a sheath knife you want, I think now days there's better choices if you are willing to spend the money.

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    Quote Originally Posted by upstream View Post
    I've broken two at the tang / shoulder. Both were at Survival School after the instructor told us the knives were indestructible.

    Now days, there's so many knife manufacturers, you've got so many choices beyond the old days of the AF Survival Knife being the standard.

    You can do some light hammering with the butt on the AF knife, but if you have got an axe with you, the back side of the axe head would be better equipped to hammer with.

    The saw back on the blade of the AF knife, well, at one time it was probably cutting edge technology for cutting, but now, there's multi tools with much better blades for sawing with. The teeth pattern on the AF knife rips away at the material more than outright cuts it. It's a slow go to cut through material.

    If you want a survival knife / tool, a leatherman or other multi tool would be a better choice than the AF Survival Knife.

    If it's a sheath knife you want, I think now days there's better choices if you are willing to spend the money.
    I totally agree with this review. The USAF survival knife is OK in an emergency situation, but not very good for long term use. I have bent many of these knives after extended use. There might be a few soldiers out there who don't agree with me, but i think the M-9 bayonet is a very durable survival knife. The blade keeps a nice edge, it has a saw and the sheath has a built in stone. The sheath also works in conjunction with the knife to cut wire. I have beat the hell out of mine and it's as good as new. You can probably find one at an Army surplus store or just do a Google search.

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    Quote Originally Posted by upstream View Post

    If you want a survival knife / tool, a leatherman or other multi tool would be a better choice than the AF Survival Knife.

    If it's a sheath knife you want, I think now days there's better choices if you are willing to spend the money.
    I found that the Victorinox to be the most durable multi-tool on the market, I've done work with this tool that no others could handle. I've cut 200 pair telephone cable with the serrated blade, I've cut 2x2 with the saw blade, cut all thread with the metal saw, and the pliers feel study (they don't flex when you are twisting hard on something) and I can say the same about the screwdrivers in it. One of my favorite features is that the tools all have locks on them so they won't fold back up under stress and bust your knuckles like leathermans have done to me. I love this tool, it's worth the extra $$$.
    This is the one I have.
    http://tinyurl.com/5f3cgt

    Phil

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    I will stick with my USMC Kbar that i was issued when i was in the Corps. Its one tough knife!

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    I have a Gerber LMF that I'm happy with so far... I haven't really had a chance to abuse it, but it seams like a solid knife and keep a nice edge.

    Regarding the USAF, I own one and it's decent but is more difficult to maintain an edge. As far as the saw on the back, correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't believe it's designed to "saw," it's used to remove just enough material to ensure a good hold with cordage.

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    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    I used to pack survival kits for AF jets. I've had hundreds of Bolt knives (as they're known) through my hands. They are just what they appear to be--a good enough lowest bidder, government contract sheath knife.

    I have lots of knives but I don't own a Bolt knife.

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    Thumbs down

    In the past i had a u.s.a.f that i picked up reasonable at a gun shop its very sturdy for digging, hacking branches, and splitting small wood but no matter how hard i have tried the blade never stays sharp slicing warm butter will dull this blade trust me and its very cumbersome for lighter chores so ya need a smaller knife or multi-tool to accompany it

    the leather grip is good but can come loose with heavy use and overall i would say the u.s.a.f. Pilot survival knife is better left a collector an inovation that is past its prime

    BUT IF YOU DO DECIDE TO GO WITH IT MAKE SURE YOU BUY A GENUINE ONTARIO AND IT COSTS ATLEAST 35-45 BUCKS DONT FALL FOR THE CHEAPER KNOCK OFFS THAT LOOK ALMOST LIKE CARBON COPIES THE STEEL WILL BE LOWER GRADE AND THE SHEATH WILL BE SHODDY AS WELL LIKE THE CRAP THEY SELL AT FLEA MARKETS GO TO A REPUTABLE SPORTING GOODS STORE OR GUN SHOP

  9. #9

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    theres alot of great knives out there,I always look at whats your life worth?,I would buy the best that you can afford,you might want to look at swamprat knives,you can get a great knive for a good price,you can also check youtube for some great knive viedos being destroyed
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9jVI...eature=related

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    Anyone have a folding knife that they'd recommend? I know you can't beat a fixed blade but I've heard there are some pretty sturdy folding blades on the market if you're willing to pay the $$$, just curious if anyone has first hand experience.

  11. #11

    Default Great knife

    My experience with that knife is limited. I owned one while I was in the Marine Corps and took it to the field a few times but went back to my KaBar. I have used a KaBar with a tanto blade and serrated edge for a few years now and am pleased with its performance and durability. It is not as long as the original KaBar, but then again how often do you need such a large blade. It is more practical than a larger version for the tasks I have demanded of it. Here is a link to read up on it if you are interested
    https://www.kabar.com/product_detail...itary/Tactical

  12. #12

    Default Not on my life

    Unless it was the "ONLY GAME in TOWN" and my wifes kitchens drawers were locked would I carry or use the Marine style KaBar as my main field knife.
    There are way to many quality factory made knives to even consider this knife.

    Example :
    For about the same price Cold Steel makes knives that are far superior to the one you are asking about. If you're not real picky,they used to sell 2 nd run knives with semi-unnoticable defects at reduced prices as well.


    Not that Cold Steel is the ONLY knife manufacturer but THEY ARE light years ahead of a 40's and 50's designed knife. In all areas; quality, metalurgy, materials, design, warranty they are superior.
    Save yourself some time and possibly your life carry quality knife !
    " Americans will never need the 2nd Amendment, until the government tries to take it away."

    On the road of life..... Pot holes keep things interesting !

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    Iíve owned a couple of those over the years. Mine were genuine USAF as far as I know. They were fine knives, attractive and useful, and the blade edge was shaped so I could easily get it very sharp. The sheaths had a pocket with a sharpening stone.

    I sold the first one, then replaced it. Later I sold it too. The reason, if there is one, was I donít like drop point blades, and it was maybe a bit heavy, but for itís purpose, that could be a plus.

    For an all purpose, ďsurvival knifeĒ I donít know how you could improve on them. Especially, considering the hammer handle, they have. If I were you, Iíd go ahead and get one. You shouldnít have any trouble selling it if you find something that you like better.

    Smitty of the North
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    Another better than good one, I have had mine since they came out and have put it through H***

    http://www.tadgear.com/edged%20tools/zt0100.htm

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    If a person is looking for a folder that is built like a tank then you might want to look at the Benchmade Rukus and Mini Rukus with the AXIS lock. They will usually cost you around $200.00 to $230.00 in some stores, but if you look around enough on the internet you can beat those price by quite a bit. I have one of each and they use CPM-S30V for the steel. In my opinionthe AXIS lock is the stongest on the market. I also like the Spyderco Manix with CPM-S30V steel,which I think this model has been discontinued, but you can still find them on Ebay. Another good folder is the Cold Steel Voyager series with VG-1 steel. I have used all 3 at one time or another and still use them today with a lot of others that I own. I too like Swamp Rat knives as they are a division of Busse knives. Another company that makes good fixed knives is Scrap Yard Knives which is owned by Dan Busse, brother of Jerry Busse (Busse knives). Great knives for a good price but all 3 makers sell out really fast and they have a great re-sell value. All in all they are just too many great knives out there that will meet your needs. On a final note do not forget to check out custom made knives. There are many great custom makers that will make you a superb knife to your specs and not charge you an arm and a leg. By the way there are some really great makers here in Alaska. If you need any names or websites just get in contact with me and I will be happy to help out.

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