UPDATE: Since the original post was made on 5 May 2013, we’ve used the below blade through several classes and personal training sessions in the bush and found it to be a superb knife. For the budget minded, who just can’t afford a Randall, Wall, Black Jack or Bravo series, there are the Case XX USMC Combat Knife and the Kabar USMC Combat Knife for less than $75 each on ebay. YMMV. If you’re one of the folks just starting out learning field craft, they’re great general purpose blades that can withstand about 99% of the abuse the the bush will come up with. I carried a Camillus version for many years on active duty, and it served me well. My first ‘step up’ was a Blackjack reproduction Randall Model 1, which I really liked, until I got my first Randall 6 years after I retired. Economics have a lot to do with our choices of knives, but in any case, get the best you can afford, and stay away from ‘specialty’ blade shapes, such as the tanto style, because they are not great ‘general purpose’ blades. They’re great for what they were designed for, but not typical field work. In any event, if you can afford the next step up, get the Bravo 1.5. Mine is in my ‘Get Home’ bag. It gives me a warm feeling knowing it’s there.
Our choice for a fixed blade knife comes from our own state: Michigan. It’s made by Bark River, and it’s the Bravo series of their line. We like all three of the Bravo series, but if we had to pick one, and only one for our SHTF gear that could be used as an all-around tool and weapon, we’d take the Bravo 1.5.
First, their warranty (taken from the Bark River website http://www.barkriverknifetool.com/: All Bark River Knives and axes are guaranteed against manufacturing defects for life. If you have any problems with our product, just return it to us and we will repair or replace it.
Second, the specifications make it extremely handy:
Blade Construction: .217 inches thick; 5.75″ long. The increase in blade length from the Bravo 1 brings Bark River’s newest offering into the realm of ‘general purpose’ which DTG encourages–multiple uses for a single item. (Disclaimer: DTG’s staff varies between 6 and 9 inches on field carry, general purpose knives, but for someone contemplating their purchase of the one knife they’ll depend on, the Bravo 1.5 has few peers, especially when weighing cost against performance and durability.)
Grip: Micarta; various color offerings.
Style: Bush model; standard model.
Construction: Full tang, exposed.
Sheath: Full grain leather; riveted; fero rod loop sewn in. (It’s a very well made sheath!)
All in all, this is a great field knife!
We’ll have one of these with us during the May 15017 Joint Basic class at Echo Valley (get your slot locked in ASAP –opportunity is knocking!) we’re doing with JC Dodge from Mason Dixon Tactical.
You can get your Bravo 1.5 from Great Lake Survival linked here or on the right side of our blog. http://www.greatlakesurvival.com/