Do’s and Don’ts of Survival Pocket Knife Use

Is your survival pocket knife really a survival knife? That is, did you actually buy it because you expect it to save your life? If you did, then take the following advice very seriously. If you’re ever called upon to use your survival knife, you know, actually to survive, you’ll be glad you listened.


● Maintain a sharp edge at the right angle: Sharpening at a more acute angle than necessary will make your edge prone to rolling and chipping. Sharpening more obliquely will make it more difficult to return the edge to a sharp state over time. Stick to the factory geometry unless you have a good reason not to.

● Keep the lock mechanism and joint clean and free of debris: Allowing dust, dirt, sand and debris to work their way into a liner lock or a slip joint will wear it away over time.

● Store your knife when not in use: Open blades tend to bite. Keep the knife folded and stored when you aren’t using it. This will also help prevent you from losing it.

● Clean the blade after use and oil it if it is not a corrosion-resistant steel: Even a stainless blade should be wiped clean after use. If it isn’t stainless, clean and dry it and then apply a thin coat of oil to prevent corrosion – preferable food grade.

● Carry another knife – a fixed blade knife with a full tang: Some necessary “survival tasks” can’t be performed with a folding knife, no matter what you’ve read elsewhere. Carry another fixed knife with your EDC knife. You’ll be glad you had a spare anyway.


● Ever throw your knife: Throw your knife and at best you will lose it. At worst you will break the blade or irreparably damage the lock.

● Ever baton with your knife: This is another situation in which we don’t care much what you’ve read elsewhere. Don’t ever try to baton with a folding survival pocket knife. You’ll break the lock. You also could severely injure your fingers.

● Pry with your knife: You might be able to get away with prying with some sturdy fixed blades. You can’t get away with it using a folder. You’re just asking to break the lock, which, if this tool is something you actually rely on for survival, you will regret.

● Cut toward yourself: This is old school knife know-how 101. Don’t cut towards yourself. If you’re really in a survival situation you’ll be far from medical help anyway.

● Worry about spring assist openers and other gimmicks: Thumb studs and spring assisted openers might be attractive and they make it easier for you to deploy the blade, but you should be carrying a fixed blade with built in “rapid deployment” anyway. These features are just things that can potentially break in the field. For survival purposes, simply is better, end of story.

● Stick your knife into the ground: Never, ever stick your knife into the ground. The dirt might feel soft to you, but guess what, it’s full of sand and rocks and other things that are harder than your blade’s steel. That means you’ll damage the steel and wear out the edge. Guess what else, the ground is also full of moisture and other agents that will corrode the blade. You need this pocket knife for survival, right? Never stick it into the ground.

Ready to learn more, or to pick up a pocket knife that you can actually use for survival? Visit White Mountain Knives at, where you’ll find tons of useful information and an even more impressive collection of pocket knives and survival kits. Whether you’re looking for a common type of folding survival knife with a drop point blade and a lockback locking system or something more “out there” they have it.

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