Best EDC Knife For Self Defense And Preppers, Survivalist

EDC survival knives

Knives are one of the world’s most useful tools. Having been around for ages, knives are tools which can offer useful applications in building, lodging, hunting, trimming, and even self-defense. Knives are cutting machines. When a great knife is made with intelligent design, using top steels (such as VG-10 steel), and are sharp enough to shave your arm-hair, a prepper and a survivalist can accomplish great things. Every Day Carry knives are a hot topic. From now forward, expect Every Day Carry knives to be referred to as EDC knives. Preppers are often in search of the best EDC knife to be had, so I’m going to attempt to bring some clarity into the mix with this ultimate EDC knife guide.

For most people, the purpose of an EDC knife is purely self-defense, with a little of the practical application tossed in at random. In other words, they carry a knife primarily for the purpose of self-defense but being able to cut a knotted shoestring off their cousin’s old Nikes as a family BBQ carries with it a little pride.

EDC knives have a great many functional uses in general.

EDC Knife Uses

Self-defense: We already mentioned this, an EDC knife can be used for purposes of self-defense. However, a knife is both tool and weapon. When it comes to weapons, training is an absolute must. And if your primary purpose of a knife is self-defense, you will need to learn how and when to use it.

Prepping Game: If you hunt, you will need to prep your game for cooking by both skinning and gutting.

Packages: Being able to quickly and efficiently and safely open a package is one of the great knife uses around. Your kids will be happier on Christmas morning when dad can open those gnarly plastic packages in good time.

Cutting Steak: A true prepper should always be prepped for dinners where your old relatives serve up dull knives during a steak dinner. Nothing wrong with a man or woman bringing their own knife to dinner. In fact, its kind of awesome. My EDC knife slices through steak as if it were butter.

EDC Knife Carry Styles

There are several different ways to carry a knife in daily life. Clearly, you will need to check in with your state or regional laws before carrying a knife. That said, depending on your circumstances, there are a number of carrying styles that a person would need to consider.

Pocket Knife: This is the most popular EDC knife style. In terms of self-defense, this allows you to conceal that fact that you have a self-defense weapon so as not to allow a criminal to immediately target the weapon during a crime. This also allows you to conceal the knife from family, friends, and other people surrounding you at a store. Knives are scary to some people. Naturally, most pants and shorts have a pocket, making the carry situation rather simple.

Neck Knife: A neck knife is, as you would assume, a knife hanging from your neck. You can think of it like a knife necklace. Depending on whether or not the knife’s blade folds up, this can be a rather aggressive style. The benefit to a neck knife is that it is cleanly at your disposal if you need it.

Boot Knife: Like a pocket knife, a boot knife can also be concealed. A boot knife’s benefit over a pocket knife for self-defense is that the boot knife could be larger, more robust. But the downside is that in a self-defense situation, you’d need to be able to reach down beyond your pocket and at your feet.

Belt Knife: Belt knives are EDC knives which can be clipped to the belt. Or, some belts may offer a sheath-like add-on that makes storing the knife on the belt a more convenient situation. This can be concealed so long as you wear a long shirt that hides your belt. You can have a little more size that you’d be able to possess with a pocket knife.

EDC Knife Types

There are a couple of EDC knife types and depending on which carrying style you choose, you will want to make sure the type you choose is best suited for that style.

Folding EDC Knives: As the name suggest, a folding knife will ultimately allow the knife’s blade to fold, or retreat, into the handle. This accomplishes a couple of pretty important things.

First, this allows the knife to be easily stowed safely away. Second, this allows the knife to reduce its overall size, thereby allowing for more carrying options. Both of these benefits are achieved when we use a folding EDC knife as a pocket knife. The reduction of size helps to fit/conceal a longer knife in a smaller pocket. Additionally, the knife being folded means it is safer while in the pocket. You can’t put an open blade in your pocket without risking injury to your hands, leg, and other important anatomical parts.

The downside is that a folding knife is not a full-tang knife. Full-tang knives are fixed blade knives whereas the blade runs all the way through the handle. This makes the knife more durable and more applicable for more intense tasks such as pummeling and hammering.

Fixed Blade EDC Knives: A fixed blade knife is a knife that doesn’t fold or use any sort of spring assist to hibernate the blade. Fixed blade knives are my favorite survival knives. You can view my best fixed blade survival knives for more information on those (the ones on my list would NOT be good for EDC purposes, more for prepper and survivalists purposes).

Not all fixed blades are full-tang, so buyer beware. That said, a full-tang fixed blade knife is a powerful, powerful tool that can be used for a variety of survivalist applications. You can split wood, pummel, chop down small trees…

The downside is that fixed blade knives are less easy to conceal and if you have to be careful not to injure yourself with an exposed blade. The sheath, or storage unit for a fixed blade will also take up even more room.

Fixed Blade EDC knives are typical for belt carry and boot carry, but not pocket carry.

Opinion: Folding EDC knives are superior for self-defense and can take care of a lot of daily tasks, such as opening packages or providing assistance with building household things. A fixed blade EDC knife is built more for those who may live in rural areas (or visit them often), hunters and campers, and those who tend to heavier workloads that require more powerful tools.

EDC Knife Factors To Consider

An EDC knife’s overall considerations should be taken extremely seriously. Comfort, practical use, the types of clothes you wear, and where you reside, are all considerations to be made before purchasing an EDC knife.

Location: First and foremost, check out your state laws. If you already have a conceal carry permit in your state, make sure you go over the laws for conceal carry knives with a fine tooth comb.

If you live in an urban area, folding pocket knives are most likely going to be the most convenient for your purposes. They stow away easily in any type of jean or pant. They are concealed, which is a great benefit to urban crime and greatly reduces your odds of scaring a coworker with some big exposed fixed blade.

Blade length: The blade length will relate to the task you plan to do. If this is strictly self-defense, you don’t need a huge blade. If you may need to chop down small trees and build an impromptu survival shelter, you are going to need a longer, heavier blade.

Overall Length: The overall length of the knife is how long the knife is from blade tip to the handle’s end. For folding EDC knives, this measurement is taken when the knife is open fully.

Knife Weight: Remember, you are carrying this knife with you most of the time. You don’t want a knife that is too heavy for your needs. Heavy pocket knives can drag down your pants.

Blade Steel and Handle Materials: Blade steel and handle material are the product quality checks you should run. There are lots of great steels and handle materials to be had, but always pay attention to these aspects in any knife reviews.

Best EDC Folding Knives

I’m not going to list this in order of “best to worst,” because that’s ultimately a subjective experience. I will show you the one I use first, but I admit, it isn’t likely the absolute best. Being a creature of habit and the fact that it was economic drove me to my decision.

SOG Salute Mini

EDC survival knives

SOG is a beautiful knife maker. This is my main EDC. You will notice two thumb buttons intended to assist you in opening the knife with one hand (this is hugely important if your EDC is for self-defense). I’m unable to get the thumb buttons to work, I use the exposed part of the blade and can easily open it with one hand. If using the thumb buttons is a big need for you, this may not be the knife for you. I’ve seen some people do it on Youtube, I just can’t make it happen. That said, I open it very fast and don’t need those buttons hardly at all.

Here’s a visual of me opening it:

SOG Salute Mini SOG Salute Mini SOG Salute MiniSOG Salute Mini

The SOG Salute Mini’s handle is a unique one, it is made from G-10 aluminum. It has a lightweight modern feel in the hands. The handle’s indentures make holding it a great experience, it cuddles up nicely in my hand. The blade is 3.6 inches in length and a straight edge that uses 8Cr13MoV steel. It will lock when fully opened as a safety measure. There is a button on the handle you can use to close the blade back. It is lightweight at 4.2 ounces. Overall length is 8.25 inches. 

The blade is really sharp out of the box, though I did take the time to additionally sharpen it. In terms of looks, the SOG is a stunner. It just looks awesome. It feels awesome in my pocket. It will slice right through a steak just as well as any package you have. I wouldn’t go attempting to chop down trees with it, but it’s a folding EDC knife that’s not intended for such a purpose.

See More SOG Salute Mini Reviews and Current Amazon Pricing

Read my SOG Salute Mini review as well for more information.

Benchmade Griptilian 551

benchmade griptilian 551 review

Make no mistake about it, the Benchmade Griptilian 551 is top level EDC knife. This is definitely better than my SOG, however, you will pay more to own it. This stainless steel blade is made from 154CM and is 3.45 inches in length. The overall length is just over 8 inches. The closed length is 4.62 inches. 

The Griptilian 551 is tactical genius and sophistication at its highest of levels. This is the only EDC knife you’d ever need to own. It is made right here in good ol’ America. It uses an AXIS lock so you aren’t using one of those inconvenient locking bars. The quality of this knife is out of this world. You can read my full Benchmade 551 Griptilian Review for more details and insights.

See More Benchmade Griptilian 551 Reviews and Current Amazon Pricing

Kershaw Composite Blackwash Leek

Kershaw Composite Blackwash Leek Review

A 3-inch blade using Sandvik 14C28N spine with black-oxide BlackWash finish, the Kershaw Composite Blackwash Leek is a beast of a folding knife. And its rustic look is pretty awesome, to boot. This high-end EDC folding knife will easily fit in your jean’s pocket. The handle is made from 410 stainless steel. It is made in Oregon.

The Composite Blackwash Leek uses SpeedSafe assisted technology which makes one-handed opening a breeze.

See More Kershaw Composite Blackwash Leek Reviews and See Current Amazon Pricing

Spyderco Civilian

Spyderco Civilian Review

Without question, the Spyderco Civilian is the coolest looking EDC knife on the market. This is a sleek, intimidating and top-quality knife experience. The blade’s shape is a reverse S. The G-10 handle and stainless steel liners produce one of the most comfortable and snug grips you’ll ever experience with a knife. Due to its high-quality, it weighs in slightly heavier than the others we’ve reviewed at 6.4 ounces. This is a former law enforcement knife used by undercover agents who were in situations where they couldn’t carry a firearm.

The Spyderco Civilian is legit, make no mistake about it.

See More Spyderco Civilian Reviews and Current Amazon Pricing

Best EDC Fixed Blade Knives

Gerber Ghoststrike Fixed Blade

gerber ghoststrike fixed blade review

The Gerber Ghostrike is a fixed blade that uses a 420HC steel frame. The rubber handle gives you a sticky grip. This is an economical purchase by a hugely reputable knife maker, you really can’t go wrong if you are in the market for a budget EDC fixed blade knife. It has an overall length of 6.9 inches and the blade is 3.3 inches. The finish is a bit of a matte look that makes it non-reflective (good for hunters who may have it exposed). It also is rust resistant. 

The really cool benefit here is that it comes with an ankle wrap and belt mount to allow for easy EDC.

You can read more on my Gerber Ghostrike Fixed Blade review.

See More Gerber Ghoststrike Fixed Blade Reviews and Current Amazon Pricing

Columbia River Knife and Tool 1200

Columbia River Knife and Tool 1200 CRKT

The CRKT 12oo uses 8Cr13MoV steel and a extured polypropylene handle. It is very lightweight at 2.88 ounces. The blade length is 3.5 inches. 

See More Columbia River Knife and Took 1200 Reviews and Current Amazon Pricing


The best EDC knives are the ones which fit the region the buyer lives in and the needs the buyer will end up using it for. There is no one size fits all when it comes to any survival knife. And remember, you can always own more than one knife (and probably should).

Author: Jim Satney

PrepForThat’s Editor and lead writer for political, survival, and weather categories.

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