Choosing a Great Fixed Blade Knife

Choosing a great fixed blade knife can be quite an adventure.  There are a wide variety of fixed blade knives that serve an enormous number of different purposes.  Some are made for survival.  Others are made for daily carry.  The first thing to do when deciding on a fixed blade knife is to determine what you will be using your new knife for.  Now, it could be that you have several functions in mind for your knife.  Maybe you are looking for a survival knife that can also be used when you are camping.  Perhaps you are looking for a really good combat knife to carry with you while you are on duty, but you want your knife to double as an all around the house knife when you are off duty.  Decide what the main function of your knife will be.  This will help you determine how large of a knife you want. 
If you are looking for a really great survival knife, realize that you need to be able to carry your knife with you when you are moving around in the outdoors.  If you are trying to pack a knife that is 14″ long, it may be too big to effectively carry.  If you are looking for the best combat knife, it may be that you are able to carry a little bit longer knife and are willing to do so to get an extra inch or two of reach.  Or, maybe you want a small survival knife that will fit in your emergency bag and can be carried in a pocket (albeit a large pocket) if the need arises.
After you have decided on a size, the next decision to make is overall style.  Do you want serrations?  Serrations make it easier to cut rope, twine, straps and other things of that nature.  But, if you have serrations, they interfere with the normal cutting and slicing effectiveness of your knife edge.  A few survival knives have serrations on the spine of the blade.  This provides a fairly good solution–although these serrations act generally like a fairly dull saw they do provide some basic serrations if the need arises only infrequently.  Also, do you want your blade to have a tanto point, a drop point (probably the most common) or a clip point? 
After you have made these decisions, the quality of steel is the next choice that faces you.  I would always go with the best steel that makes sense for your budget.  The better steels will hold an edge longer which can be critical in a survival situation.
What is my favorite fixed blade knife?
If I want a large knife I would choose the SOG Creed–it has the best weight distribution I have ever felt in a fixed blade knife that makes it extremely easy to swing.  The steel is great, and I love the overall weight of the knife.  It is big and relatively heavy. 
If I am looking for a top notch combat knife I would go with a Microtech Crosshair.  You can get it in a huge variety of colors and blade styles.  My favorite has the serrations on the spine.  This is a shorter but very heavy duty combat knife that would perform admirably in a survival situation.
If I want a fixed blade to carry every day I would choose one of the Cold Steel fixed blade knives.  They have a huge variety of fixed blade knives that are designed for all kinds of different situations.  My current favorite is the Mini Tac series and I am especially partial to the Beaver Tail Mini Tac.

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