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What is the Best Survival Knife

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Schrade’s SCHF9 is a knife that has captured the attention of many folks in the bushcraft and survival community over the past few years. Having seen so many YouTube videos of people that are extremely satisfied with their purchase of the SCHF9, I became intrigued with this knife having never owned a Schrade.

Naturally, I needed to get my hands on one and decide for myself if this was going to be a worthy opponent to some of my other large survival knives.
The biggest stir this knife has developed is its budget-friendly price of around $40. With the claims the knife is making about being an “ultimate” survival knife, one may seem skeptical about its low price of $40.

This knife is directly competing with other large fixed blades that are fetching up to $250. How could Schrade make a knife that competes with these knives for this common man price? To set the record straight, Schrade not only made this possible, but created to tool that you could depend your life on in a survival situation.

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The SCHF9 comes in at a whopping overall length of one foot! The blade is a 6.4 inch monster at a ¼ inch thickness featuring 1095 High-Carbon Steel. With a weight of 16 ounces (a full pound!) this knife resembles one large pry-bar that has been given a recurve style blade and sharpened to absolute perfection. Kraton handle scales with spine jimping aid in a comfortable, non-slip grip that makes the user feel confident. This whole package is housed in a nylon sheath featuring a removable pouch that stores other survival tools or kits.

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When I got the knife in hand, I couldn’t believe what a beefy blade the SCHF9 was. I took this blade into the back woods and had some fun with it. Now my intentions weren’t to break the knife purposely, but I took the liberty of abusing it at every chance I had along with a little help from a buddy on a weekend woods retreat. The SCHF9 destroys wood, chops like and splits like an axe, and cuts like your Dad’s favorite razor. I was so impressed at the terror this knife brought to the woods. A formidable chopper and baton king, this knife just would not break! The knife excelled at chores like tent pegs, feather sticks, and light carving thanks to the 1095 Carbon Steel. I found this steel to take a very sharp edge quickly in the field with a basic honing rod.

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At the $40 price point that the SCHF9 comes in, how many complaints could I possibly have? Okay, the sheath isn’t amazing, the handle scales are a bit big for small hands, and the recurve blade can be a little difficult to sharpen on Work sharps and Edge Pros. Other than that, I did notice that the handle had a few hot spots with extensive use. This is okay though! At $40, these are only minor flaws that I can live with. The flaws can be easily fixed via custom sheaths, custom scales, and taking it to a pro for sharpening. At the price point, there is plenty of room to get hooked up with some custom options.

SCHF9 Test: Firewood Processing

This knife, in my opinion, is a bullet-proof way to do survival on a budget. I know I sound redundant with all the high-value assertions, but this is a knife that is worth every penny and will last a lifetime due to the rugged materials used. Whether you want to use it as your primary survival knife or throw it in the back of your car, this is a knife that you can depend on and will serve you proudly in a survival situation or in the field. Get one of these blades on the web or at your favorite store and own one of the best knives for the money. Show off to your friends who overspent on their big fancy survival knives!

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Want to know more? Check out these related articles on our site:

HFT Survival Knife Review

UST ParaCuda FS Knife Review

23 Best Survival Knife Brands You Can Trust

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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Howard Dennard

    April 21, 2014 at 3:00 AM

    I’ll stay with a knife that has been proven , for the last 70 years,
    in combat, in a survival situation, or just on the trail: the Ka-Bar Fighting-Survival Knife.

    • JD

      December 8, 2014 at 7:34 PM

      Good knife, over-priced now

  2. David Moore

    April 21, 2014 at 10:45 AM

    good review.

  3. bwebby

    April 22, 2014 at 7:19 AM

    Being on a budget I checked out this knife when looking for a larger survival knife to pair with my Mora. Some reviews said that the handles didn’t fit properly or the grip wasn’t comfortable. Plus I couldn’t find one for sale in the UK. For a cheap survival bade I would recommend the USMC Semper Fi. It’s a similar size, chops like a beast and cost me a trip to the Emergency room when I tried to wipe the blade clean. It’s a super knife, but I can’t compare it to the Schrade because I don’t have one.

    *Another point, the USMC has 440c steel instead of 1095, but I’m not too fussed by this.
    Nice review

    • bwebby

      April 22, 2014 at 7:26 AM

      AND the Semper Fi is good for light tasks as well. The blade is 0.5mm thick and 5.5” long. I think it is a copy of an ESEE Rat 7 or something. Again I’m not fussed by the copying as it has given me an amazing knife at a good price

      • bwebby

        April 22, 2014 at 7:32 AM

        AND (sorry) the Schrade has zytel handle scales, whereas the Semper Fi has G10 micarta.

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  5. Frank

    August 26, 2014 at 10:20 PM

    Good article. I have this knife as well as the shorter Schrade SCHF10 with the micarta handles. They also offer it as the SCHF26 with the same synthetic handle material. Anyway, they both look and feel awesome in your hands. I have large hands myself and wear large gloves, but they’re not big beefy hands. Even so, the handle is hefty on the SCF9, but it feels good and grippy, almost like a small handy machete. The SCHF10 has a 6.4 inch blade and it measures as 10 inches in total length so it is and feels more compact and would probably fit people with smaller hands better, but the blade shape is the same. As far as the recurve blade being slightly more difficult to sharpen the solution might be to buy the SCF3n or the SCHF3 (Partially serrated blade) with a straight edge and similar to a Kabar. Otherwise I’d suggest another Schrade, Gerber Prodigy or even the super light SOG Seal Pup which I also own.

  6. Roy

    October 2, 2014 at 7:38 AM

    I must say this is a great review about one of the top survival blades that you can find right now.

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