Ranging from large to extremely small, our list of current favorite sub $50 fixed blade knives runs the gamut from survival knives to camp knives to self defense tools. Although I have ranked these knives based on my preferences, you can rest assured that each one of these knives is a spectacular specimen of knife quality. So if you need a small defensive tool, don’t get put off that the first knife on the list is clearly a survival/combat knife. And so, without any further ado, let’s get to the list.
First up, the Gerber Prodigy. A couple of months ago, a good friend of mine came into the office looking for a couple of well built survival knives for his emergency kit/go bag. In talking with him, I realized he didn’t want to spend a ton because they weren’t going to be every day use knives–but at the same time, he didn’t want to buy a piece of junk that was going to fail right when he needed it most. I immediately directed him to the Prodigy. I can’t say enough good about this solid combat and survival knife. There are two variations available, a tanto blade and a drop point blade. I own the tanto blade because I know at some point I am going to want to pry with it–and although no knife is really built to be used as a pry, a tanto blade will typically perform better. What is so great about the Prodigy? In my mind, it is the less expensive, yet just as useful alternative to the LMF II which is going to set you back over $100. The Prodigy performs similar to the LMF. This USA built knife has a TacHide handle that gives you a great grip. It is comfortable to use. It cuts like a boss. And the full tang blade is beastly strong. Fits MOLLE gear and comes with a sheath. This is, in my mind, one of the very best value fixed blades on the market–if you need a great survival knife and don’t want to spend the bank account on said knife. I have one for my outdoor trips and another stashed with my go bag.
Best Use: Survival
The second choice is the Ka-Bar Becker EsKabar Knife. A combination of the classic ESEE style and the Becker Necker, the Eskabar is the perfect little back up knife. Whether you are an urban warrior fighting the good fight against cardboard and paper or an outdoor aficionado that needs a small knife for every day camp chores, the EsKabar is there for what you need. The 1095 steel knife has a black finish. The flat grind makes quick work of slicing and shaving cuts. This little beauty comes with a sheath as well as a length of black paracord so you can wrap the handle however you want–and then you always have a bit of paracord for any emergency. This knife style has proven itself over and over. Made in the USA, this knife is a definite competitor of the ESEE Izula series. I love the ESEE Izula, but it doesn’t make the cut for this list–because it is a bit more $$$. This is a great knife for stashing in a go bag as well. In fact, I gave my mom one of these for her car emergency bag.
Best Use: Back Up Survival/ Go Bag
Third choice is the CRKT Obake–you can get a great look at it in the video above. New this year, the Obake doubles as a small defensive tool as well as an every day carry knife. This Lucs Burnley design is patterned after the classic Japanese Kwaiken style knife. With a full tang, acid etched blade, the Obake gives you a mini katana style knife ready for every day action. Burnley ingeniously attached a bit of paracord to the sheath so that when you pull the knife, at first, the entire sheath comes with it, once the blade has fully cleared your body, the paracord tether stops the sheath and the blade slides right out. This way, you don’t have all the hassle of trying to clear the blade from your body while extracting it under duress. The handle is black faux ray skin under a nylon cord wrap. Just like the big boy katanas. This is a great little knife that quickly became one of my favorite new offerings of 2014 from CRKT.
Best Use: Every Day Carry, Defensive Tool
Fourth choice is purely a self defense tool. The Cold Steel Best Pal is a push knife set up for neck carry. It can also easily be carried on a key ring or purse. I vacillated between the Best Pal and the Safe Keeper series from Cold Steel. In the end, I chose the Best Pal because it can neck carry. A little bit smaller, a little bit lighter, but just as razor sharp. The great thing about these push knives is once in hand, they aren’t going to slip out or get pulled away by an attacker. You grip the handle in your palm and the blade extends between your fingers, giving you one of the most secure grips on the knife you can possibly have. These great knives fall well below the $50 threshold at just under $27. So inexpensive, you can pick up several for every one of your loved ones. Each one comes with the very sturdy Secure-Ex™ sheath and a black bead lanyard chain.
Best Use: Self Defense
Fifth and final choice is the Boker Mini Slik. This great little fixed blade knife is unique, small, and sturdy. The blade is hefty enough to get some serious cutting done. And it looks pretty cool. Comes with a lanyard, blue titanium bead and Kydex sheath.
Best Use: Urban Tactical, Utility Knife
You can find any of these fixed blade knives on our website. If you already have one, let me know what you think of yours down below.
- Gerber Prodigy
- KaBar EsKabar
- CRKT Obake
- Cold Steel Best Pal
- Boker Mini Slik