Top 20 Best Hard Use Folding Knives For Survival

Are you looking for a folding knife built to withstand serious abuse? Then this list is definitely for you!

Before you even begin engaging in this article, we strongly urge you to read our previous articles on blade edges, blade profiles, locking mechanisms and handle materials before you consider a “hard use” folding knife. 

Our goal is to make sure you are fully informed before you make a final decision.

These folding knives are definitely not your so-called “gentleman's folder.” Leave that to the guy in the suit.

These monsters are highly sought-after by the military, law enforcement and hardcore outdoorsmen.

In a survival situation, “quality is always better than quantity”. Your folding knife must be ready for anything.

The “hard use” folding knives listed below are not your typical cheap pocket knives. These overbuilt beasts are specifically designed to withstand serious punishment.

I personally call them “folding knives on steroids”.

Lucky for you, we’ve found the 20 best “hard use” folding knives for survival. 

In this ProSurvivalStrategies.com Guide, you will learn:

  • What is a “hard use” folding knife?
  • What are the differences between a regular folding knife and a “hard use” folder?
  • Why should you consider a “hard use” folding knife?
  • And much more!

Check out our Top 20 “Hard Use” Folding Knives for Survival in the quick comparison chart below. 

ImageProduct
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Benchmade Turret 980
  • Axis Lock Mechanism.
  • American-Made CPM-S30V Steel Blade.
  • Tough and Durable G-10 Handle.
  • Axis Lock Mechanism.
  • American-Made CPM-S30V Steel Blade.
  • Tough and Durable G-10 Handle.
View on Amazon
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Benchmade 15061 Grizzly Ridge
  • Axis Lock Mechanism.
  • CPM-S30V Steel Blade.
  • Grivory/Versaflex Handle For Enhanced Grip.
  • Axis Lock Mechanism.
  • CPM-S30V Steel Blade.
  • Grivory/Versaflex Handle For Enhanced Grip.
View on Amazon
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Spyderco Para Military 2
  • Compression Lock.
  • American-Made CPM-S30V Steel Blade.
  • Textured G-10 Handle For Secure Grip.
  • Compression Lock.
  • American-Made CPM-S30V Steel Blade.
  • Textured G-10 Handle For Secure Grip.
View on Amazon
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Spyderco Para 3
  • Compression Lock.
  • American-Made CPM-S30V Steel Blade.
  • Tough Textured G-10 Handle.
  • Compression Lock.
  • American-Made CPM-S30V Steel Blade.
  • Tough Textured G-10 Handle.
View on Amazon
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Benchmade Adamas 275
  • Intended For Tactical Use.
  • Axis Lock Mechanism.
  • Tough Textured G-10 Handle.
  • Intended For Tactical Use.
  • Axis Lock Mechanism.
  • Tough Textured G-10 Handle.
View on Amazon
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Benchmade Griptilian 551
  • Axis Lock Mechanism.
  • American-Made CPM-S30V Steel Blade.
  • GFN Handle Withstands Harsh Weather.
  • Axis Lock Mechanism.
  • American-Made CPM-S30V Steel Blade.
  • GFN Handle Withstands Harsh Weather.
View on Amazon
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Cold Steel SR1
  • American-Made CPM-S35VN Premium Steel Blade.
  • Tri-Ad Lock Mechanism.
  • Durable G-10 Handle.
  • American-Made CPM-S35VN Premium Steel Blade.
  • Tri-Ad Lock Mechanism.
  • Durable G-10 Handle.
View on Amazon
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Cold Steel Recon 1
  • Popular Knife with Military and Law Enforcement Personnel.
  • Tri-Ad Lock Mechanism.
  • American-Made CPM-S35VN Premium Steel Blade.
  • Popular Knife with Military and Law Enforcement Personnel.
  • Tri-Ad Lock Mechanism.
  • American-Made CPM-S35VN Premium Steel Blade.
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Zero Tolerance 0350
  • Premium S30V Steel DLC-Coated Blade.
  • Revolutionary SpeedSafe Assist.
  • Durable G-10 Handle.
  • Premium S30V Steel DLC-Coated Blade.
  • Revolutionary SpeedSafe Assist.
  • Durable G-10 Handle.
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Buck Knives 836 Selkirk
  • 2 ¼ Inch Firestarter with Integrated Whistle.
  • Contoured Micarta Handle.
  • Nylon Sheath For Belt Carry.
  • 2 ¼ Inch Firestarter with Integrated Whistle.
  • Contoured Micarta Handle.
  • Nylon Sheath For Belt Carry.
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Emerson Vindicator
  • Excellent 154CM Stainless Steel Blade and Aerospace Grade Titanium Liners.
  • Durable G-10 Handle.
  • Emerson Wave Opener For Quick and Efficient Deployment.
  • Excellent 154CM Stainless Steel Blade and Aerospace Grade Titanium Liners.
  • Durable G-10 Handle.
  • Emerson Wave Opener For Quick and Efficient Deployment.
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Emerson Mini Commander
  • Great Overall 154CM Steel Blade.
  • Durable and Textured G-10 Handle.
  • Emerson Wave Opener For Quick Deployment and Titanium Lock.
  • Great Overall 154CM Steel Blade.
  • Durable and Textured G-10 Handle.
  • Emerson Wave Opener For Quick Deployment and Titanium Lock.
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Cold Steel 4-Max Scout
  • Tri-Ad Lock Mechanism.
  • Tough and Durable Grivory Handle.
  • AUS-10 Stainless Steel Ergonomic Handle.
  • Tri-Ad Lock Mechanism.
  • Tough and Durable Grivory Handle.
  • AUS-10 Stainless Steel Ergonomic Handle.
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Zero Tolerance 308
  • CPM-20CV Steel Resists Wear and Tear.
  • Heavily-Textured G-10 Handle.
  • Strong Titanium Frame Lock.
  • CPM-20CV Steel Resists Wear and Tear.
  • Heavily-Textured G-10 Handle.
  • Strong Titanium Frame Lock.
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TOPS/Buck Knives CSAR-T
  • 154CM Stainless Steel.
  • Heavily-Textured G-10 Handle.
  • HEX Opening and MOLLE Compatible.
  • 154CM Stainless Steel.
  • Heavily-Textured G-10 Handle.
  • HEX Opening and MOLLE Compatible.
View on Amazon
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Cold Steel AD-10
  • Tough CPM-S35VN Stainless Steel.
  • Tough Tri-Ad Lock.
  • G-10 Handle For Safe and Secure Grip.
  • Tough CPM-S35VN Stainless Steel.
  • Tough Tri-Ad Lock.
  • G-10 Handle For Safe and Secure Grip.
View on Amazon
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Zero Tolerance 0223
  • High-Grade CPM-20CV Stainless Steel.
  • High-Performance G-10 Handle.
  • Strong Titanium Frame Lock.
  • High-Grade CPM-20CV Stainless Steel.
  • High-Performance G-10 Handle.
  • Strong Titanium Frame Lock.
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Spyderco Shaman
  • CPM-S30V Stainless Steel is Corrosion-Resistant.
  • G-10 Handle For Safe and Secure Grip.
  • Solid Compression Lock.
  • CPM-S30V Stainless Steel is Corrosion-Resistant.
  • G-10 Handle For Safe and Secure Grip.
  • Solid Compression Lock.
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Cold Steel American Lawman
  • S35VN with DLC Coating For Added Endurance and Corrosion-Resistance.
  • Contoured G-10 Handle For Added Grip Security.
  • Durable Tri-Ad Lock.
  • S35VN with DLC Coating For Added Endurance and Corrosion-Resistance.
  • Contoured G-10 Handle For Added Grip Security.
  • Durable Tri-Ad Lock.
View on Amazon
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Emerson Super Commander
  • Excellent 154CM Super Steel.
  • Textured G-10 Handle and Titanium Liner Lock.
  • Emerson Wave Deployment Quickly Engages the Blade.
  • Excellent 154CM Super Steel.
  • Textured G-10 Handle and Titanium Liner Lock.
  • Emerson Wave Deployment Quickly Engages the Blade.
View on Amazon

All of the above-mentioned “hard use” folding knives are excellent choices. Any one of them would be a suitable choice in any survival situation. 

Top 20 Best Hard Use Folding Knives For Survival!

What is a "Hard Use" Folding Knife?

A “hard use” folding knife is definitely not your average cheap pocket knife.

These folding knives are highly sought-after by the military, law enforcement and hardcore outdoor enthusiasts because of their ability to withstand extreme punishment.

They are massively overbuilt in every direction. From the overall length, blade thickness, over-built locks and durable handles, these beasts are impressive.

For example, the Emerson Super Commander has a total overall length of 9.5 inches and weighs in at 6 ounces. Now that's a “hard use” folder!

Of course they are large and a challenge to carry daily. However, if you refrain from the portability question to one of capability, these “hard use” folders nearly compare to fixed blades.

They are definitely the “go-to” choice for anyone who really uses their knife.

The cutting power, versatility, packability and lock strength of “hard use” folding knives cannot be argued. Even if you are a skeptic, these workhorses will ignite your interest. 

Why Should You Consider a "Hard Use" Folding Knife?

First of all, if you are tired of the unreliability of cheap pocket knives, a “hard use” folder is an excellent choice.

OK, before venturing into “hard use” folding knives, ask yourself a very important question, “What are you going to use the knife for?”

Sometimes you just need a folding knife that will stand up to anything. That’s where these tanks come into play. They are the epitome of toughness, durability and strength.

They give you a piece of mind that they will not break when put to hard use.

If you are particularly hard on your knives, you need a folding knife that is easy to maintain and strong enough to take a beating. Hard use folding knives are an ideal choice because they are built for extreme situations and perform well in less than ideal situations.

Equipment failure is never an option. An inferior, lightweight pocket knife just doesn't hold up to hard use.

Everyone needs at least one solid “hard use” folding knife.

What is the Difference Between a "Hard Use" Folding Knife and a Regular Folding Knife? 

There are several significant distinctions between “hard use” and regular folding knives.

Immediately apparent is the overall blade length on “hard use” folding knives.

Small folding knife blades are usually less than 2.75 inches and commonly used for utility tasks such as cutting boxes and string.

A medium folding knife blade is usually 2.75 inches to 4 inches which are usually perfect for a wide range of cutting tasks.

Hard use folding knife blades are over 4 inches and perfectly suited for any heavy duty tasks.

They have thicker blades which are perfect for chopping, prying or batoning. Although durable, they are not fixed blades and should be used realistically.

Blade steel is another distinction between the two. In a “hard use” folder, you want steel that is strong, maintains a good edge and corrosion resistant.

For example, 1095 steel is the most common used for knife blades. Although it holds a great edge and easy to sharpen, it rusts easily. On the other hand, CPM-S30V Stainless Steel is designed to offer the best combination of toughness, wear resistance and corrosion resistance.

The handle is another critical difference between the two. Many “hard use” folders have G-10, Grivory / Versaflex, or Micarta handles. Any one of these materials are an excellent choice.

Any of the above-mentioned handle materials are ideal for these folders. Due to their aggressive texture, they provide a secure grip.

Always avoid knives with smooth handles when considering a “hard use” folder.

Locking mechanisms are another factor which separate the two. In more premium “hard use” folders, you will find a “hardcore locking mechanism” such as the Axis, Tri-Ad and Compression locks. However, let’s not underestimate liner locks.

Yes, I know the rule of thumb is Liner Locks are the underdog with the exception of Friction and Slip Joint Locks. However, some Liner Locks, by their very design and skilled craftsmanship, will survive a blast.  For example, the Emerson Mini Commander has a Titanium Liner Lock. Titanium is as strong as steel and twice as strong as Aluminum.

Price is another important difference. Since “hard use” folding knives are constructed with premium materials, you can easily spend over $100.00 for a high-quality “hard use” folder.

Cost significantly depends on your budget and how you plan to use the knife. 

In-Depth Review of the Top 20  "Hard Use" Folding Knives!

Benchmade-Turret-980-Knife-Post-Image

Specifications:

  • Overall Length: 8.60"
  • Blade Length: 3.70"
  • Weight: 5.81 oz.
  • Blade Thickness: 3.15mm
  • Blade Material: CPM-SV30 Stainless Steel
  • Blade Profile: Drop Point
  • Handle: G-10 stands up to a range of harsh elements, extremely durable and impervious to moisture. 
  • Lock Mechanism: Axis - one of the strongest made in Benchmade history.
  • Fully ambidextrous: Yes
  • Opening Mechanism: Thumb stud
  • Blade Edge: Available in both straight edge and partially-serrated.
  • Lanyard Hole: Yes

Our #1 top-rated reliable and rugged EDC folding knife is the Benchmade Turret 980. 

Everyone from general users to enthusiasts to collectors to law enforcement and military knows what a Benchmade is.

The Benchmade Turret 980 is the best beefy, reliable and rugged knives you can find.

It is part of the Benchmade Black Class that designates knives for professional use. This tank is highly sought-after by EMS, law enforcement and military personnel.

It was specifically made for hard use and for those whose lifestyle demands an overbuilt workhorse.

Don’t look for curb appeal because it was never intended to be flashy or an attention grabber by any means.

This workhorse was specifically intended to survive any abuse you can force it through. Its outstanding durability makes this monster a knife you’ll use for years on end. It’s what we definitely call a “hard use” knife because of its toughness and durability.

This is definitely an overbuilt EDC knife with an overall length of 8.60 inches.

The blade itself is 3.7 inches and comes in two versions: plain edge or partially-serrated.

Remember, a knife is only as good as the steel that goes into the blade. The blade on this beast is forged from CPM-S30V Stainless Steel, specifically designed to offer the best combination of toughness, corrosion and wear resistance. The durability of the blade edge is absolutely better than softer steels.

This knife also exceeds expectations due to Benchmade’s axis locking mechanism. The axis lock is one of the strongest on the market and capable of withstanding over 200lbs of pressure. Overkill? Absolutely not because this ensures the blade is firmly in place, reducing the risk of damage to the knife’s structural integrity and ultimately your hand.

The G-10 handle is tough under extreme conditions. It is impervious to water and wetness, which means there's never any worry about the damp getting to it.

No matter how you grip this knife the handle is very comfortable and allows for a secure hand grip when power cutting is required. Whether using a reverse, hammer or traditional grip, the Turret maintains in-hand comfort no matter the circumstance.

Despite its design, the deep carry clip makes the Turret an easy knife to conceal.

The traditional drop point blade is easy to sharpen on many systems.

If you need a reliable and rugged knife that needs minimal maintenance, the Turret 980 is your answer. Its durability makes this product an EDC knife that you’ll use and cherish for years on end. Literally, “it's a one and done deal.” 

DID YOU KNOW?

The Benchmade Turret 980 was voted best workshop knife of the year in 2019. 

Pros:

  • Excellent all-round durability and definitely a “hard use” knife.
  • CPM-S30V Stainless Steel is specifically designed to offer the best combination of toughness, corrosion and wear resistance.
  • Drop Point Blade Profile.
  • Blade edge is available in either plain or partially-serrated.
  • Axis lock capable of withstanding over 200lbs of pressure and fully ambidextrous.
  • Weather-resistant and comfortable G-10 handle.
  • Benchmade LifeSharp Service provided free of charge.
  • Made in the USA. 

Cons:

  • This hard use folder may be too big for some users..
  • Handle may be too rough. 
Benchmade-15061-Grizzly-Ridge-Knife-Post-Image

Specifications:

  • Overall Length: 7.84"
  • Blade Length: 3.50"
  • Weight: 3.77 oz.
  • Blade Thickness: 3.15mm
  • Blade Material: CPM-S30V Stainless Steel
  • Blade Profile: Drop Point
  • Handle: Grivory / Versaflex stands up to a range of harsh elements, extremely durable and impervious to moisture.
  • Lock Mechanism: Axis - one of the strongest made in Benchmade history.
  • Fully ambidextrous: Yes
  • Opening Mechanism: Thumb Stud
  • Blade Edge: Plain
  • Lanyard Hole: Yes 

Just the word “grizzly” inspires thoughts of rough, untamed wilderness. This is a serious hunting knife.

This made in the USA hunting knife has extra features that makes it a great hunting companion or utility knife for your kit.

Its versatile blade and cutting-edge handle is ready to take on any tasks both indoors and out. A great pocketable knife for hunters and outdoorsmen and (women).

What really stands out is the thick blade. The 3.5 inch drop point blade comes in a high-end CPM-S30V Stainless Steel, specifically designed to offer the best combination of toughness, corrosion and wear resistance.

The durability of the blade edge is absolutely better than softer steels. The thick spine has two jimping points ideal for control during use. The jimping near the handle lets you apply pressure for tougher cuts and the one near the tip gives you maximum control when holding the knife choked up.

The ambidextrous thumb studs lets you open this rugged knife one handed. 

Benchmade’s signature Axis mechanism securely locks the blade in place. It is one of the strongest on the market and capable of withstanding over 200lbs of pressure.

The handle is made of Grivory (a synthetic resin similar to fiberglass-reinforced nylon (FRN) and Versaflex (a thermoplastic elastomer). This provides a secure grip when used. It also stands up to the elements and designed to last.

The Benchmade Grizzly is simple, effective and outstanding. There is no question that this is a tough EDC knife and will stand the test of time and tasks you put it through. 

Pros:

  • Great hunting knife.
  • Axis lock is a great locking mechanism able to withstand 200lbs of pressure and fully ambidextrous.
  • Two jimping points on the spine provides excellent control.
  • CPM-S30V Stainless Steel, specifically designed to offer the best combination of toughness, corrosion and wear resistance.
  • Rubberized handle is very grippy. Some users think of this as a downside (it sticks to pockets). 
  • This EDC is light in the pocket and sturdy in the hand.
  • Made in the USA.

Cons: 

  • Some users do not like the rubberized handle because it sticks to their pockets.
  • The slight recurve in the blade may be difficult to sharpen.
Spyderco-Paramilitary-2-Knife-Post-Image

Specifications:

  • Overall Length: 8.24" 
  • Blade Length: 3.24" 
  • Weight: 3.75 oz.
  • Blade Thickness: 0.15mm
  • Blade Material: CPM-SV30 Stainless Steel
  • Blade Profile: Leaf
  • Handle: Textured G-10 stands up to a range of harsh elements, extremely durable and impervious to moisture.
  • Lock Mechanism: Compression Lock - one of the strongest locks manufactured by Spyderco. 
  • Fully ambidextrous: Yes
  • Opening Mechanism: Thumb Hole
  • Blade Edge: Plain
  • Lanyard Hole: Yes

It’s no surprise that the Spyderco Para Military 2 is considered the perfect everyday cutting tool.

This Colorado-based company continues to demonstrate a dedication to high-quality, innovation, and an astute balance between high performance and practicality.

The Spyderco Para Military 2 has earned its right in the knife community and rightfully so. This mid-sized beauty is slightly on the larger end measured at approximately 8.24 inches.

It has a plain edge blade manufactured with CPM-S30V Stainless Steel, specifically designed to offer the best combination of toughness, corrosion and wear resistance. In support, it’s a relatively hard steel and will maintain its edge far much longer than steel found on cheaper knives.

The blade measures at approximately 3.4 inches and approximately 0.15 inches thick.

The handle is made of G-10 which is extremely durable and stands up to any harsh weather it’s exposed to. It feels tremendously firm and stable in your hand just weighing in at 3.75 ounces.

Spyderco’s trademark thumb hole may be unusually large, but it is such a joy to use.

Spyderco’s compression lock is extremely reliable and strong. In support, the locks will hold 200lbs of pressure per inch of blade length. The lock release nests into the web of your hand and there is no way to inadvertently release the lock.

I assure you that this locking system is rock solid. It is reliable and extremely resistant to all types of abuse.

The Spyderco Para Military 2 is a great knife due to its overall durability and unique design. 

Pros:

  • Great mid-sized EDC Knife.
  • Compression lock is extremely reliable and strong (holds 200lbs of pressure per inch of blade length.
  • G-10 handle which is extremely durable and resistant to harsh weather.
  • CPM-S30V Stainless Steel, specifically designed to offer the best combination of toughness, corrosion and wear resistance.
  • Available in different blade steels, finishes and handle materials.
  • Fully ambidextrous one-handed opening.
  • Made in the USA.

Cons:

  • Some users may find the tip weak and prone to breaking.
  • Some users feel the knife has a wide profile and is difficult to carry in their pocket. 
Spyderco-Paramilitary-3-Knife-Post-Image

Specifications:

  • Overall Length: 7.24"
  • Blade Length: 3.0"
  • Weight: 3.4 oz.
  • Blade Thickness: 0.15mm
  • Blade Material: CPM-SV30 Stainless Steel
  • Blade Profile: Leaf
  • Handle: Textured G-10 stands up to a range of harsh elements, extremely durable and impervious to moisture.
  • Lock Mechanism: Compression Lock - one of the strongest locks manufactured by Spyderco. 
  • Fully ambidextrous: Yes
  • Opening Mechanism: Thumb Hole
  • Blade Edge: Plain 
  • Lanyard Hole: Yes

The Spyderco Para 3 is the scaled down version of its brother the Para Military 2. Don’t let the downsizing of the Para 3 discourage you. 

In fact, the Para 3 is more pocket-friendly and maintains the same integrity and strength of its bigger brother.

The Spyderco Para 3 is here to stay and rightfully so. When fully opened it is 1 inch shorter than the Paramilitary 2.

It has a plain edge blade manufactured with CPM-S30V Stainless Steel, specifically designed to offer the best combination of toughness, corrosion and wear resistance. It’s a relatively hard steel and will maintain its edge far much longer than steel found on cheaper knives.

The blade measures at approximately 3.0 inches and is 0.15 inches thick.

The handle is made of G-10 which is extremely durable and stands up to any harsh weather it’s exposed to. It feels tremendously firm and stable in your hand just weighing in at 3.4 ounces.

Spyderco’s trademark thumb hole may be unusually large, but it is such a joy to use.

Spyderco’s compression lock is extremely reliable and strong. In support, the locks will hold 200lbs of pressure per inch of blade length. The lock release nests into the web of your hand and there is no way to inadvertently release the lock.

The Spyderco Para 3 is a great knife due to its overall durability and unique design. 

Pros:

  • Great EDC Knife. (More compact than the Spyderco Para Military 2).
  • Compression lock is extremely reliable and strong (holds 200lbs of pressure per inch of blade length.
  • G-10 handle which is extremely durable and resistant to harsh weather.
  • CPM-S30V Stainless Steel, specifically designed to offer the best combination of toughness, corrosion and wear resistance.
  • Available in different blade steels, finishes and handle materials.
  • Fully ambidextrous one-handed opening.
  • Made in the USA.

Cons:

  • Some users may find the tip weak and prone to breaking.
  • Some users feel the knife has a wide profile and is difficult to carry in their pocket. 
Benchmade-Adamas-Knife-Post-Image

Specifications:

  • Overall Length: 8.70"
  • Blade Length: 3.82"
  • Weight: 7.54 oz. 
  • Blade Thickness: 4.06mm
  • Blade Material: D-2 Steel
    (hardened to 61-62 HRC)
  • Blade Profile: Drop Point
  • Handle: Textured G-10 stands up to a range of harsh elements, extremely durable and impervious to moisture.
  • Lock Mechanism: Axis Lock -one of the strongest made in Benchmade history.
  • Fully Ambidextrous: Yes
  • Opening Mechanism: Manual or Auto Axis 
  • Blade Edge: Straight or Partially-Serrated
  • Lanyard Hole: Yes
  • MOLLE Compatible: Yes

The Benchmade Adamas 275 is specifically designed as a “hard use” tool for law enforcement and military personnel. It is considered one of the best “hard use” EDC knives on the market.

It’s massively overbuilt in every direction and rugged as it is functional. This is a solid well-built knife.

The Adamas has an overall length of 8.7 inches, a 3.82 inch blade and weighs in at a good 7.7 ounces. If you are a fan of light-weight folders, I’m sorry to say you will be disappointed here.

However, if you are in need of an EDC knife capable of absorbing punishment, these few extra ounces will not discourage you.

The handle is made of G-10 which is tough under extreme conditions. It is impervious to water and wetness, which means there's never any worry about the damp getting to it.

No matter how you grip this knife, the handle is very comfortable and allows for a secure hand grip when power cutting is required.

The blade is constructed of hardened D2 steel which is very tough and durable. It is not the easiest steel to sharpen. However, it will take a good edge and edge retention is quite good.

D2 steel isn’t stainless and is more prone to corrosion than a true stainless steel such as CPM-SV30. Benchmade mitigated the corrosion factor by applying a black coating to the blade.

The Adamas features ambidextrous thumb studs which allow you to engage the large blade quickly.

The over-sized Axis lock found on all Benchmade models clearly withstands over 200lbs of pressure which is most definitely impressive. It is fully ambidextrous and easily closes with one hand. 

Pros:

  • This is a “hard use” knife.
  • High-quality D2 steel which holds an edge exceptionally well.
  • G-10 handle which is durable and impervious to all weather.
  • Excellent Axis Lock which is exceptionally strong and fully ambidextrous.
  • Comfortable, yet rugged.
  • Drop point blade which is well-suited for a variety of tasks.
  • Highly sought-after by law enforcement and military personnel.
  • Benchmade Limited Lifetime Warranty and LifeSharp Service ensures your knife will be in the best condition.
  • Made in the USA.

Cons:

  • Some consider it too heavy or clunky for everyday use.
  • D2 steel is prone to corrosion if not properly maintained (i.e. cleaned, dried and well-oiled). 
Benchmade-Griptilian-551-Knife-Post-Image

Specifications:

  • Overall Length: 8.07"
  • Blade Length: 3.45"
  • Weight: 3.88 oz. 
  • Blade Thickness: 2.921mm
  • Blade Material: CPM-S30V
    Stainless Steel.
  • Blade Profile: Drop Point
  • Handle: GRN (Glass Reinforced Nylon).
  • Lock Mechanism: Axis Lock - one of the strongest made in Benchmade history.
  • Fully ambidextrous: Yes
  • Opening Mechanism: Manual
  • Blade Edge: Plain or Partially-Serrated
  • Lanyard Hole: Yes
  • MOLLE Compatible: No

The Benchmade Griptilian 551 is a great knife when it comes to all-around functionality. In fact, it has been the mainstay for Benchmade for many years.

It is an extremely utilitarian EDC knife. Available in a wide variety of options, from different sizes to colors, you’ll definitely find the right one that suits your personal needs.

The first thing which stands out immediately is how light this EDC knife is, weighing in at 3.88 ounces. Honestly it’s remarkable when taking account how solid the blade is.

The overall length is 8.07 inches and the blade is 3.45 inches of the total length. There is a great deal of cutting edge on the blade.

The blade consists of CPM-S30V Stainless Steel which offers the best combination of toughness, corrosion and wear resistance. It also provides a great balance of edge retention and ease of sharpening.

The handle is GRN (Glass Reinforced Nylon), so think of it as plastic on steroids. Don’t let this sway you because this handle is rugged enough for your daily and outdoor tasks.

GRN reduces the weight significantly, is resistant to water absorption and impacts. It also requires very little maintenance.

The Axis Lock found on all Benchmade models withstand over 200lbs of pressure which is definitely impressive. It is fully ambidextrous and easily closes with one hand.

The deployment of the blade is ridiculously fast, and you will see why it will become one of your most favorite things about this knife.

No wonder the Griptilian is Benchmade’s single most purchased EDC knife.

Pros:

  • Extremely lightweight.
  • Many options to choose from (i.e color, steel, size, and handle material).
  • Axis Lock (withstands over 200lbs of pressure).
  • Quick deployment of the blade.
  • From its natural ergonomics this is an excellent and extremely practical EDC knife.
  • Benchmade Limited Lifetime Warranty and LifeSharp Service ensures your knife will be in the best condition.
  • Made in the USA.

Cons:

  • GRN (Glass Reinforced Nylon) feels like plastic.
  • Aesthetically some users are not too happy with the rounded butt of the handle. (it’s simply a matter of preference). 
Cold Steel SR1 Knife

Specifications:

  • Overall Length: 9.375"
  • Blade Length: 4.00"
  • Weight: 7.30 oz. 
  • Blade Thickness: 4.8mm
  • Blade Material: CPM-S35VN
    Stainless Steel 
  • Blade Profile: Available In Clip Point or Tanto 
  • Handle: G-10 stands up
    to a range of harsh elements, extremely durable and impervious to moisture.
  • Lock Mechanism: Cold Steel’s incredibly reliable and strong Tri-Ad Lock.
  • Fully ambidextrous: Yes
  • Opening Mechanism: Manual
  • Blade Edge: Straight Edge
  • Lanyard Hole: Yes 
  • MOLLE Compatible: No

If you recall reading above Benchmade’s Turret 980 and Adamas, it’s time to meet Cold Steel’s brute, the SR1. 

The Cold Steel SRK has a long proud history of military service and to this day remains the standard issue fixed blade of Navy Seals during BUDS training. 

When Cold Steel tasked custom knife maker Andrew Demko with developing a new high-end tactical folding knife for military application, his inspiration came from the SRK. 

The SR1 features a purely functional, no-nonsense and practical design.

The heavy duty blade is made to be put to work. Crafted from 5mm thick American CPM-S35VN premium powdered steel, it’s a heavy duty work horse, designed for the harshest and most unforgiving environments. 

A good blade needs a good handle, so the SR1’s handle is made from premium American G-10 with heat treated nested steel liners. The coarse-textured G-10 surface gives you  a secure grip even in cold, wet conditions. It is expertly contoured to allow for a comfortable and safe grip even while wearing heavy gloves. 

For added reliability and peace of mind, Cold Steel equipped the SR1 with their world-famous Tri-Ad locking mechanism. This mechanism will sustain the worse abuse. It has an unparalleled shock and impact resistance. 

No wonder it’s an ideal choice for a survival rescue blade for our nation’s warrior elite!

Pros:

  • High-end tactical folding knife inspired by the legendary SRK used by Navy Seals during BUDS training.
  • Heavy-duty blade with CPM-S35VN premium steel.
  • G-10 handle provides a secure grip even in cold wet conditions.
  • Integrated lanyard hole.
  • World-famous Tri-Ad locking system.
  • Ideal choice for a survival rescue blade. 

Cons:

  • Pocket clip screws can become loose.
  • Can be difficult to deploy due to the stiff and tight pocket clip. 
Cold-Steel-Recon-1-Knife-Post-Image

Specifications: 

  • Overall Length: 9.375"
  • Blade Length: 4.00" 
  • Weight: 5.06 oz. 
  • Blade Thickness: 0.138"
  • Blade Material: CPM-S35VN
  • Blade Profile: Available in Clip, Spear and Tanto.
  • Handle: G-10 stands up to a range of harsh elements,
    extremely durable and impervious to moisture.
  • Lock Mechanism: Cold Steel’s Incredibly Reliable and Strong Tri-Ad Lock.
  • Fully ambidextrous: Yes
  • Opening Mechanism: Manual
  • Blade Edge: Straight 
  • Lanyard Hole: Yes
  • MOLLE Compatible: No

Cold Steel Recon 1 knives have a solid reputation. This is a great knife for the toughest jobs. It is a popular favorite for military, law enforcement and rescue personnel.

The Recon 1’s heavy-duty blade is made to put to work. Crafted from 0.138 Inch thick American CPM-S35VN premium powdered steel, it’s a heavy-duty workhorse, designed for the harshest and most unforgiving environments.

The Tuff-Ex finish adds a high-tech, military look to the knife itself. This helps reduce rust and prevents glare. It’s more beneficial to a soldier in the field than the average user.

A good blade needs a good handle, so the Recon 1’s handle is made from premium American G-10 with heat-treated nested steel liners. The coarse-textured surface provides a secure grip in any environment.  It is expertly contoured to allow for a comfortable and safe grip even while wearing heavy gloves.

For added reliability and peace of mind, Cold Steel equipped the Recon 1 with their world-famous Tri-Ad locking mechanism - proven time and time again to weather even the worst abuse, with unparalleled shock and impact resistance.

This knife is definitely well-suited for hard use. 

Pros:

  • Well built, functional and extremely sturdy.
  • Heavy-duty blade with CPM-S35VN premium steel.
  • G-10 handle provides a secure grip even in cold wet conditions.
  • Integrated lanyard hole.
  • World-famous Tri-Ad locking system.
  • Ideal choice for a hard use knife. 

Cons:

  • Tuff-Ex finish could flake off after a long period of heavy use. (It's simply a cosmetic issue.) 
  • Due to its popularity, beware of imitations. 
Zero-Tolerance-0350-Knife-Post-Image

Specifications:

  • Overall Length: 7 ⅝"
  • Blade Length: 3 ¼" 
  • Weight: 6.2 oz. 
  • Blade Thickness: 0.13" 
  • Blade Material: S30V Stainless  Steel with DLC (Diamond-Like Coating).
  • Blade Profile: Modified Drop Point.
  • Handle: G-10 stands up
    to a range of harsh elements, extremely durable and impervious to moisture.
  • Lock Mechanism: Liner Lock
  • Fully ambidextrous: Yes
  • Opening Mechanism: Manual /Assisted Opening. 
  • Blade Edge: Straight Edge with Slight Recurve
  • Lanyard Hole: Yes
  • MOLLE Compatible: No

The Zero Tolerance 0350 has the right to boast its impeccable strength and use in the field. This is a no-nonsense and very stout knife.

The blade is a modified drop point with a very solid and strong tip. There is a slight recurve on the belly of the blade which will definitely assist you in cutting tasks.

The blade steel consists of S30V Stainless Steel, which is considered a fantastic all-round steel. It maintains a very sharp edge, easy to sharpen and has great rust corrosion resistance. It is one of the best steels used on the market today when we talk about production folding knives.

The blade has also been given a black DLC (Diamond-Like Carbon) coating which is very tough when compared to more conventional coating such as Teflon. This offers extra hardness, high-corrosion resistance and excellent wear resistance.

A good blade must be accompanied by a durable handle. This knife has a G-10 handle over full stainless steel liners. This provides a secure grip even in cold wet conditions, and expertly contoured to allow for a comfortable and safe grip even while wearing heavy gloves.

There are two steel liners on the inside of each handle scale. The liner locking system safely secures the blade and prevents unwanted blade closure.

This is a great hard use folder!

Pros:

  • No nonsense and very durable knife.
  • The S30V Stainless Steel provides superior edge-holding, abrasion resistance and great corrosion resistance.
  • DLC coating which offers extra hardness, corrosion and wear resistance.
  • G-10 handle provides a secure grip even in cold wet conditions.
  • Integrated lanyard hold.
  • Ideal choice for hard use.

Cons:

  • DLC coating can flake off.
  • Maybe a little too big for some users as an EDC knife. 
Buck-Knives-836-Selkirk-Knife-Post-Image

Specifications: 

  • Overall Length: 9.00"
  • Blade Length: 4.00"
  • Weight: 7.4 oz. 
  • Blade Thickness: 0.150"
  • Blade Material: 420HC Stainless Steel
  • Blade Profile: Drop Point 
  • Handle: Micarta
  • Lock Mechanism: Frame Lock
  • Fully ambidextrous: Yes 
  • Opening Mechanism: Manual
  • Blade Edge: Plain 
  • Lanyard Hole: No
  • MOLLE Compatible: Yes

The Buck Selkirk 836 is a great choice if you are looking for a multi-functional survival pocket knife because it comes equipped with a Ferrocerium firestarter with an integrated whistle. 

Two great companions for any survival situation because if you don’t have the capacity to start a fire, you can quickly find yourself in serious trouble.

The 420HC Stainless Steel blade provides a good combination of edge retention, corrosion resistance and ease of sharpening. It is 0.150 inches thick and designed for hard use.

The 4-inch blade also features a drop point blade profile which is user friendly. It allows you to extend your index finger over the spine for a scalpel-like grip. The thickness of the tip is also ideal for thrust cuts. Most importantly, you will not have to worry about the tip snapping off.

The contoured Micarta handle provides a safe and secure grip. This handle is lightweight, durable, water resistant, easy to hold and use. 

The Selkirk also comes with an injection molded nylon sheath. It is perfectly adjustable for any angle carry.

Buck Knives Forever Warranty gives you that piece of mind that each and every Buck knife is free from defects in material and workmanship for the life of the knife. 

Pros:

  • Great multi-functional survival folding knife.
  • Contoured Micarta handle.
  • 420HC Stainless Steel blade with drop point profile.
  • Includes 2 ¼ Inch Ferrocerium firestarter with an integrated whistle. 
  • Injected Molded Nylon Sheath for horizontal or vertical belt carry.
  • Buck Knives Lifetime Warranty.

Cons:

  • Does not have a pocket clip.
  • May be too big for an urban everyday carry. 
Emerson-Vindicator-Knife-Post-Image

Specifications: 

  • Overall Length: 8,75"
  • Blade Length: 3.75"
  • Weight: 6.15 oz.
  • Blade Thickness: 0.13"
  • Blade Material: 154CM Stainless Steel 
  • Blade Profile: Clip Point 
  • Handle: G-10 stands up to a range of harsh elements, extremely durable and impervious to moisture.  
  • Lock Mechanism: Titanium Liner Lock
  • Fully ambidextrous: Yes 
  • Opening Mechanism: Manual, Thumb Disk, Wave Opener
  • Blade Edge: Plain / Recurve
  • Lanyard Hole: Yes
  • MOLLE Compatible: No

Emerson knives have been producing hard use tactical folders since 1996. These knives are highly sought-after by military and law enforcement personnel.

The quality of this tactical folding knife is superb. It features a black 154CM Stainless Steel plain edge blade. The belly has a slight recurve with a steeper tip for more penetrating power.

The blade is made of 154CM Stainless Steel. This high-end stainless steel was developed by Crucible in 1970 for jet engine turbine components. It offers high hardness, superb wear, corrosion resistance and has great edge retention.

This premium blade is accompanied by a durable G-10 handle over aerospace grade titanium liners. The G-10 handle provides a secure grip even in harsh conditions, and expertly contoured to allow for a comfortable and safe grip even while wearing heavy gloves.

The handle is more rounded on the back to provide more comfort during hard use situations.

The Vindicator is highly maneuverable, comfortable and big enough for any sized hand.

The quality of Emerson is top of the line. 

Pros:

  • Highly sought after by military and law enforcement personnel.
  • G-10 handle over aerospace grade titanium liners.
  • G-10 handle provides a secure, solid and safe grip.
  • Excellent 154CM Stainless Steel.
  • Aerospace grade titanium liners.
  • High maneuverable, comfortable and big enough for any hand.
  • Excellent hard use EDC knife. 

Cons:

  • With an overall length of 8.75 inches it may be too big for some users.
  • Due to the premium material used in its construction it is an expensive folding knife. 
Emerson-Mini-Commander-Knife-Post-Image

Specifications: 

  • Overall Length: 8.00" 
  • Blade Length: 3.4" 
  • Weight: 4.5 oz. 
  • Blade Thickness: 0.125"
  • Blade Material: 154CM Stainless Steel
  • Blade Profile: Straight Clip Point 
  • Handle: G-10 stands up to a range of harsh elements,
    extremely durable and impervious to moisture.
  • Lock Mechanism: Titanium Liner Lock
  • Fully ambidextrous: Yes
  • Opening Mechanism: Manual, Thumb Disk, Wave Opener
  • Blade Edge: Plain / Recurve
  • Lanyard Hole: Yes 
  • MOLLE Compatible: No

The Mini Commander is a more pocket-friendly version of the Emerson classic - The Commander. 

This little beast incorporates some of the most advanced ergonomics ever featured on a folding knife.

It has also seen decades of use with elite armed forces from European Military strike teams, NATO Counter-Terrorist Units and our very own Naval Special Forces Units.

The quality of this tactical folding knife is superb. It features a black 154CM stainless steel plain edge blade. The belly has a slight recurve with a steeper tip for more penetrating power.

The blade is made of 154CM stainless steel. This high-end stainless steel was developed by Crucible in 1970 for jet engine turbine components. It offers high hardness, superb wear and corrosion-resistance and has great edge retention.

This premium blade is accompanied by a durable G-10 handle over aerospace grade titanium liners. The G-10 handle provides a secure grip even in harsh conditions, and expertly contoured to allow for a comfortable and safe grip even while wearing heavy gloves.

Due to its ruggedness it is highly favored by the military. 

Pros:

  • Battle proven and tested by elite units.
  • G-10 handle over aerospace grade titanium liners.
  • G-10 handle provides a secure, solid and safe grip.
  • Excellent 154CM Stainless Steel.
  • Aerospace grade titanium liners.
  • High maneuverable, comfortable and big enough for any hand.
  • Excellent hard use EDC knife. 

Cons:

  • The slight recurve in the blade may be difficult to sharpen.
  • Due to the premium material used in its construction, it is an expensive folding knife. 
Cold-Steel-4-Max-Scout-Knife-Post-Image

Specifications: 

  • Overall Length: 10"
  • Blade Length: 4"
  • Weight: 10.02 oz.
  • Blade Thickness: 5mm
  • Blade Material: AUS-10A Stainless Steel
  • Blade Profile: Drop Point 
  • Handle: Griv-Ex
  • Lock Mechanism: Tri-Ad
  • Fully ambidextrous: Yes
  • Opening Mechanism: Manual
  • Blade Edge: Plain
  • Lanyard Hole: Yes 
  • MOLLE Compatible: No

The Cold Steel 4-Max Scout is a phenomenal hard use knife. With an overall length of 10 inches, this is definitely a large “hard use” folding knife.

The blade of this is made of AUS-10A Stainless Steel which is a common steel in manufacturing pocket knives. It’s better than the ubiquitous AUS-6 / AUS-8 steels used by many knife manufacturers. It is very durable, resistant to rust and easier to sharpen. It will hold its edge well and handle a great amount of abuse. 

The handle is constructed of Grivory also referred to as “Griv-Ex”. Griv-Ex is unparalleled as a handle material as it is considerably stronger than Zy-Ex and when deeply textured offers a terrific non-slip grip.

It's impervious to moisture and won't crack, warp or shrink and remains remarkably resistant to abrasion or discoloration.

This knife is very capable of taking any abuse you throw at it. 

Pros:

  • Thick AUS-10A blade holds a good edge and can take abuse.
  • AUS-10 Stainless Steel is durable, resistant to rust and easy to sharpen. 
  • Grivory handle has a great texture for a secure grip.
  • The 6-inch handle provides enough room for those with large hands.
  • Ergonomic handle is excellent for hard work.
  • Tri-Ad lock is super tough and is ambidextrous.
  • Excellent hard use knife.

Cons:

  • Heavy.
  • Not easy to close with one hand. 
Zero-Tolerance-308-Knife-Post-Image

Specifications: 

  • Overall Length: 8.875"
  • Blade Length: 3.75"
  • Weight: 7.00 oz.
  • Blade Thickness: 0.16"
  • Blade Material: CPM-20CV
  • Blade Profile: Drop Point 
  • Handle: G-10 stands up to a range of harsh elements, extremely durable and impervious to moisture.
  • Lock Mechanism: Titanium Frame Lock
  • Fully ambidextrous: Yes
  • Opening Mechanism: Manual
  • Blade Edge: Plain
  • Lanyard Hole: Yes 
  • MOLLE Compatible: No

The Zero Tolerance 308 is definitely known for their large hard use pocket knives. The ZT 308 is a massive knife constructed with premium material.

The 3.75 Inch blade is constructed of CPM-20CV steel. This is fantastic because it is excellent at resisting wear and tear, corrosion resistant and balanced with good toughness. CPM-20CV is tougher than you’ll need it to be. It is also one of the best steels for retaining an edge.

The handle is made of G-10 which is heavily textured. It provides a secure grip even in the harshest conditions, and expertly contoured allowing for a comfortable and safe grip even while wearing heavy gloves.

Since this is a tactical folding knife, I wouldn't expect anything else.

The ZT 308 is an excellent every day carry with the backing of one of the best knife companies. It definitely lives up to the Zero Tolerance name and reputation.

Yes, it is massive and the size may not appeal to some, but for others it’s a great “hard use” tactical companion. 

Pros:

  • Drop point CPM-20CV blade is tough, corrosion-resistant and will hold its edge for a long time.
  • Coyote tan G-10 handle provides a secure grip in any climate.
  • Titanium frame lock keeps the blade secured.
  • Back by one of the best knife companies.
  • Drop point tip and massive belly which lets you commit to long deep cuts.
  • Full-size design and bomb-proof construction makes this knife an ideal tactical companion.

Cons:

  • CPM-20CV steel can be challenging to sharpen.
  • Massive size may not appeal to some users. 

(Combat Search and Rescue Tool)

Tops-Buck-CSART-Knife-Post-Image

Specifications: 

  • Overall Length: 8.25"
  • Blade Length: 3.50"
  • Weight: 8.60 oz.
  • Blade Thickness: 0.18"
  • Blade Material: 154CM Stainless Steel
  • Blade Profile: Modified Tanto
  • Handle: G-10 is ribbed for
    maximum gripping ability.
  • Lock Mechanism: Dual liners with a separate liner for the Thick Liner Lock. 
  • Fully ambidextrous: Yes
  • Opening Mechanism: Manual
  • Blade Edge: Plain
  • Lanyard Hole: Yes 
  • MOLLE Compatible: Yes

This is a great collaboration between Buck Knives and TOPS Knives who are very well known when it comes to great hard use fixed blades.

It’s no coincidence that when the two came together they created a serious “hard use” folding knife. It features the best characteristics of both companies.

The 3.50 inch blade is manufactured from 154CM Stainless Steel. The quality of this tactical folding knife is superb. It features a black 154CM Stainless Steel plain edge blade. This is a high-end steel which offers superb wear and corrosion resistance and has great edge retention.

G-10 handle which is heavily-textured and provides a secure grip in any outdoor condition.  It is  contoured to allow for a comfortable and safe grip even while wearing heavy gloves. To say the grip is reliable is an understatement.

The CSAR-T features a hex opening that can take a bit / socket attachment.

It also comes with a high-quality nylon sheath.

This folding knife is definitely not a lightweight but it will give you the confidence to put it through any heavy use. 

Pros:

  • Excellent collaboration between two American Knife Manufacturers (Buck and TOPS Knives) specifically focused by military professionals.
  • Excellent 154CM Stainless Steel.
  • G-10 handle provides a secure grip even in cold, wet conditions, and expertly contoured to allow for a comfortable and safe grip even while wearing heavy gloves.
  • MOLLE compatible sheath.
  • Features a hex opening that can accommodate a bit / socket attachment.
  • Excellent for heavy use. 

Cons:

  • Massive size may not appeal to some users.
  • G-10 handle scales may be rough for some users. 
Cold-Steel-AD-10-Knife-Post-Image

Specifications: 

  • Overall Length: 8.5"
  • Blade Length: 3.625"
  • Weight: 6.83 oz.
  • Blade Thickness: 0.59"
  • Blade Material: CPM-S35VN 
  • Blade Profile: Drop Point
  • Handle: G-10 stands up to a range of harsh elements, extremely durable and impervious to moisture.
  • Lock Mechanism: Tri-Ad
  • Fully ambidextrous: Yes
  • Opening Mechanism: Manual
  • Blade Edge: Plain
  • Lanyard Hole: Yes 
  • MOLLE Compatible: No

The Cold Steel AD-10 is another hard use knife you should definitely reach for. This beast is slightly shorter than the Cold Steel Recon 1. It’s thick and ridiculously robust.

Yes, this is a larger knife, so if you like big knives the AD-10 is one you should consider.

As stated above it’s 8.5 inches in total length. The blade is 3.625 inches which leaves plenty room for handle length. So if you have large hands, the handle clearly accommodates your needs.

It weighs 6.83 ounces, but the weight is deceiving. Some individuals state it doesn’t feel as heavy as it states on paper.

The drop point plain edge blade is made of CPM-S35VN steel. It is tough, gives better resistance to edge chipping and has excellent corrosion resistance. The top of the knife is very thick, heavy and robust.

The Tri-Ad Lock is one of the best on the market. It is extremely strong and durable. It has great action, it’ s not overly stiff and smooth as silk. It is a fantastic super strong lock.

The handle is constructed of G-10 material over aluminum liners. It provides a secure grip in any condition, and expertly contoured to allow for a comfortable and safe grip even while wearing heavy gloves. The handle is thick, robust and super strong.

So if you are considering a hard use folder, the Cold Steel AD-10 is another contender on this list. 

Pros:

  • Premium all-purpose heavy-duty EDC knife.
  • Strong G-10 handle with full length aluminum liners.
  • Excellent ergonomics.
  • CPM-S35VN steel which is tough, gives better resistance of edge chipping and has excellent corrosion resistance.
  • Tri-Ad Lock is one of the best locks on the market. Provides a safe and secure blade lock up.
  • Equipped with ambidextrous thumb studs. 

Cons:

  • Some users find it bulky and heavy.
  • Some users find it difficult to carry in their pocket. 
Zero-Tolerance-0223-Knife-Post-Image

Specifications: 

  • Overall Length: 8.6"
  • Blade Length: 3.5"
  • Weight: 4.70 oz.
  • Blade Thickness: 0.156"
  • Blade Material: CPM-20CV with DLC Coating
  • Blade Profile: Clip Point
  • Handle: G-10 
  • Lock Mechanism: Titanium Frame Lock with hardened steel lockbar. 
  • Fully ambidextrous: Yes
  • Opening Mechanism: Manual
  • Blade Edge: Plain
  • Lanyard Hole: No
  • MOLLE Compatible: No

This is a tough, no nonsense hard use knife. It is designed after the classic U.S.M.C. KA-BAR. From the tip to the end of the handle, it screams quality.

Due to its premium materials, it is an expensive masterpiece.
The CPM-20CV blade steel offers exceptional hardness, wear and corrosion resistance. For extra blade protection, it has a DLC (Diamond-Like Carbon) coating.

The Titanium handle is wrapped in G-10 which provides a comfortable, safe and secure grip. The DLC coating added to the handle increases its protection.

It is well-equipped with a titanium frame lock and a hardened steel lockbar insert for a secure and reliable lock up. It is extremely solid and there is no left, right, up or down blade play. 

The KVT ball bearing system is combined with an ergonomic flipper making the 0223 quick and easy to deploy. 

This pocket knife is designed with premium materials and yes it is pricey.

From the tip of the blade to the end of the handle, it has excellence written all over it.

The Zero Tolerance 0223 functions well in any situation and just can’t be overlooked. 

Pros:

  • Designed to withstand severe punishment.
  • Premium materials from blade tip to the end of the handle.
  • CPM-20CV steel with DLC coating.
  • Titanium handle with G-10.
  • Titanium frame lock is extremely solid.
  • The KVT ball bearing system combined with the ergonomic flipper quickly deploys the blade.

Cons:

  • It is pricey.
  • No lanyard hole. 
Spyderco-Shaman-Knife-Post-Image

Specifications: 

  • Overall Length: 8.25"
  • Blade Length: 3.63"
  • Weight: 5.20 oz.
  • Blade Thickness: 0.534"
  • Blade Material: CPM-S30V Stainless Steel
  • Blade Profile: Drop Point
  • Handle: G-10 stands up to a
    range of harsh elements,
    extremely durable and impervious to moisture. 
  • Lock Mechanism: Compression
  • Fully ambidextrous: Yes
  • Opening Mechanism: Manual
  • Blade Edge: Plain
  • Lanyard Hole: Yes 
  • MOLLE Compatible: No

The Spyderco Shaman is another serious contender on the list. We already listed the Spyderco Para Military 2 and 3. Now let’s introduce the Spyderco Shaman. It does not disappoint.

This model has an overall length of 8.25 inches and weighs 5.20 ounces. The blade length is 3.63 inches and definitely suitable for extreme outdoor use. This knife is slightly bigger than the Spyderco Para Military 2.

The drop point blade is constructed of CPM-S30V Stainless Steel which offers superb edge retention, corrosion-resistance and sharpenability. This steel is extremely utilized by multiple knife manufactures for its performance and balance. Due to its high strength, it is designed for hard use.

The (Spydie Hole) also allows for quick deployment and closure of the blade.

The Shaman features the Spyderco patented compression lock, which is one of the strongest locks on the market today.

Just like the Spyderco Para Military 2 and 3 models, the Shaman is another hard use knife you should consider.

Pros:

  • The Compression Lock is one of the best on the market.
  • Quality CPM-S30V Stainless Steel which offers superb edge retention, corrosion resistance and sharpenability.
  • G-10 handle provides a safe, secure and solid grip.
  • The blade is extremely easy to open due to the thumb hole.
  • The Shaman is absolutely made to be tough and durable.
  • The CQI (Constant Quality Improvement) division of Spyderco allows the company to continuously improve a product. 

Cons:

  • Some users may not like the size for everyday carry purposes.
  • The Matte G-10 Handle is going to feel a little smoother.
Cold-Steel-American-Lawman-Knife-Post-Image

Specifications: 

  • Overall Length: 8.125"
  • Blade Length: 3.5"
  • Weight: 4.5 oz.
  • Blade Thickness: 3.5mm
  • Blade Material: CPM-S35VN with DLC Coating.
  • Blade Profile: Drop Point
  • Handle: G-10 
  • Lock Mechanism: Tri-Ad
  • Fully ambidextrous: Yes
  • Opening Mechanism: Manual
  • Blade Edge: Plain
  • Lanyard Hole: Yes 
  • MOLLE Compatible: No

This beauty was introduced by Cold Steel to honor the brave men and women in Law Enforcement.

With an overall length of 8.125 inches and a combined weight of 4.5 ounces, this rugged knife is designed to perform in the most extreme environments. Despite its ruggedness, it remains “Civilian-Friendly” in appearance.

The 3.5 inch drop point blade is made of S35VN Stainless Steel and coated with DLC (Diamond-Like Coating). Blades made of S35VN offer excellent corrosion resistance, edge retention and have a high grade toughness.

This knife will surely perform even under the less than ideal conditions. It definitely will not let you down.

Not only is S35VN an excellent steel, the blade is also DLC coated for added endurance and corrosion resistance.

The handle is made from G-10 and contoured for grip security even in the most demanding situations. G-10 is extremely durable and almost impervious to all harsh weather conditions.

As we all know, a lock failure is incredibly dangerous, in fact it could be disastrous. The American Lawman is equipped with the Tri-Ad locking mechanism. It is designed to withstand significant impact forces and shock. The very nature of its design redistributes pressure away from the lock and into the handle.

Made and named to honor the men and women who put their life on the line daily to protect our freedom. This is another tough knife you can definitely rely on. 

Pros:

  • Named to honor the brave men and women in law enforcement.
  • Despite its ruggedness it remains civilian-friendly.
  • S35VN (DLC) offers excellent corrosion resistance, edge retention and toughness.
  • G-10 contoured handle offers great grip security even in the most demanding conditions.
  • Tri-Ad locking mechanism locks the blade securely.
  • A tough knife you can rely on. 

Cons:

  • Tri-Ad lock may be a little stiff.
  • Not a discrete knife for a gentleman’s folder. 
Emerson-Super-Commander-Knife-Post-Image

Specifications: 

  • Overall Length: 9.5"
  • Blade Length: 4"
  • Weight: 7 oz.
  • Blade Thickness: .125"
  • Blade Material: 154CM Stainless Steel
  • Blade Profile: Drop Point
  • Handle: G-10 
  • Lock Mechanism: Titanium Liner Lock
  • Fully ambidextrous: No
  • Opening Mechanism: Manual / With Patented Emerson Wave Feature
  • Blade Edge: Plain with slight recurve
  • Lanyard Hole: Yes 
  • MOLLE Compatible: No

The Emerson Super Commander is a massive knife. It’s a battle tested and proven design. This is the civilian designate of a knife used by operatives within the Naval Special Warfare Teams.

With a total length of 9.5 inches, we definitely consider it a small folding sword.

The plain edge blade has a slight recurve and is made of top grade 154CM Stainless Steel. 154CM Stainless Steel is often regarded as a super steel for its properties and performance. It offers a great balance between wear resistance, corrosion resistance and toughness. Due to its high Chromium and Carbon composition, it offers a great edge retention.

The recurve on the belly of the blade provides a long cutting edge. A longer cutting edge simply means more cutting surface. The curve also allows material to be drawn along and into the concave portion making it easier to cut cord, clothing or webbing.

The G-10 handle is contoured for grip security even in the most demanding situations. It is extremely durable and impervious to harsh weather conditions.

The Emerson Wave deployment makes it the fastest deploying knife ever. In an emergency situation, the knife can be quickly deployed with one hand as it is drawn out of your pocket.

A strong titanium liner lock safely secures the blade when fully engaged. Titanium has a great strength to weight ratio, provides the same strength as steel and is resistant to corrosion.

With this folding sword in your hand, you definitely have a better handle on the situation. 

DID YOU KNOW?
A Benchmade Emerson CQC-7 carried by a Navy Seal during the raid on Osama Bin Laden's compound in Pakistan was auctioned off for charity netting over $35,400.00. 

Pros:

  • Civilian designate of a knife used by operatives within the Naval Special Warfare Teams.
  • 154CM Stainless Steel offers a great balance between wear resistance, corrosion resistance, toughness and edge retention.
  • The recurve on the belly of the blade provides a long cutting edge.
  • G-10 handle provides excellent grip security.
  • Emerson Wave deployment system makes this knife one of the fastest deploying knives ever.
  • Titanium frame lock provides a solid lock up. 

Cons:

  • As stated above, this is a very large folding knife.
  • The recurve on the blade may be difficult to sharpen. 

A Final Note!

“Hard use” folding knives are definitely not your “gentleman’s folder”. These monsters are highly sought after by the military, law enforcement and hardcore outdoor enthusiasts because their folding knife must be ready for anything.

These gorillas are specifically designed to withstand serious punishment. They are massively built in every direction, from the overall length to durable handles. No one can underestimate their impressiveness.

Although these overbuilt workhorses may be a challenge to carry daily, their capabilities are compared to fixed blades. They are the “go-to” choice for anyone who really uses their knife.

They represent the very essence of toughness, durability and strength. Most importantly, they give you a piece of mind that they will not break when put to “hard use”.

The cutting power, versatility, packability and lock strength of “hard use” folding knives cannot be disputed. I’m sure the above-mentioned workhorses have definitely ignited your interest.  However, if you are looking for a more budget-friendly folding knife, click here.

What’s your favorite “hard use” folding knife? 

2 thoughts on “Top 20 Best Hard Use Folding Knives For Survival”

    • Beefa, than you for taking the time to read the article. Once thing is absolutely certain – you definitely know the importance of a quality hard use folding knife. It’s self-evident by your two distinct choices the PM2 and Zt 0350. Both are extremely rugged and specifically designed for hard use. Most importantly, they last. The Spyderco PM2 is one of the most sought after. It simply distills world class performance – one of the best locking mechanisms (the compression lock) and CPM S30V steel.
      As you already know, the ZT 0350 is another overbuilt workhorse. Both of your choices are excellent when it comes to no nonsense folding knives. If you are interested, we also posted an article on the top 20 best survival knives. Take a quick look when you have the opportunity. Again, thank you for taking time out of your busy day to read our article. Wishing you and your family nothing but the best. Stay well and be safe.

      Reply

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