23 of The Best Everyday Carry Knives (Fixed Blade, Folding, Boot and Neck Knives) For When SHTF Under $500 The 2020 EditionThese Bad A#$ Blades Could Save Your Life!
I wrote a year ago in the post Best 5 Knives for When SHTF, “that the age-old saying is that you should not bring a knife to a gun fight… but if I found myself in a gun fight and my life depended on it—I would feel more than comfortable with these knives as a backup. Oh, in case you were wondering, (SHTF) means when Sh#@ Hits The Fan. I think a gun or knife fight would qualify as a SHTF event.”
I still believe this today…in fact, even more so, and my knife interest has only gotten stronger and my taste a little better and more expensive. Back in 2019 when I originally pinned the article, I had a beer budget and the proverbial beer taste for my knives. Today I still have a beer budget, Craft Beer, but beer none the less, and champagne knife taste.
A year ago, I picked some really incredible knives. This year, I wanted to update and build on the list with the best knives under $500. The knife experts at Gear Moose and Blade HQ had some great selections this year and more than a few of my picks made their list: Best 30 EDC Knives and Best EDC Knives, respectfully, which I feel validated my list, they had all the great knife brands: Kershaw, CRKT, Spyderco, SOG and of course Benchmark. No Best EDC Pocket knife list could be complete without the Benchmark, I might add. These brands are a little pricey, but these brands build quality knives, made with the best steel and are precision sharpened. You get what you pay for, especially with knives. Lifehacker, who has a list of the Five Best Everyday Carry Knives, affirms that, “A trusty knife is indispensable.” And I couldn’t agree more.
On a trip a year ago to Sevierville, Tennessee I stopped at Smokey Mountain Knife Works (SMKW), and I was like a kid in a candy store. SMKW’s is the largest knife store in the United States and I walked every square inch. They carried every brand on my list, so what better knife retailer to partner with for this piece. They also have several exclusive models.
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Without further ado… here is my Best of 2020 Everyday Carry Knives List…
The Benchmade 705S Mini McHenry is a perfect collector’s knife for anyone. Its black G10 handle scales provide slip-resistant surface grip and will stand up to years of service. A modern ATS-34 stainless steel drop point blade interpretation puts the slice back into the utility blade, and its reverse curve edge is an ideal addition for efficiency.Benchmade 705S Mini McHenery and Williams Partially Serated Axis Pre-Production Run
Defined by speed and style, the Benchmade 3400BK Autocrat is the latest out-the-front technology for tactical and EDC enthusiasts alike. This knife is Benchmade’s first OTF to use composite handles, blending the durability and wear resistance of G10 with a flash of colorful hardware and components. The dual-edge CPM-S30V blade provides users with a design for a variety of applications.
BENCHMADE KNIFE 581 BARRAGE WITH BLACK G-10 AND ALUMINUM HANDLES WITH SATIN FINISH M390 STAINLESS STEEL 3.625″ TANTO PLAIN EDGE BLADE MODEL 581
The Barrage is the first to feature the AXIS Assist. They offer quick, one-handed opening and can be operated equally with either hand.
When it comes to all-around functionality, you can’t beat the Griptillian from Benchmade. There are more shapes, sizes, and colors available in the Griptillian than any other product family from Benchmade. This model features an S30V stainless steel blade and a glass-filled nylon handle with AXIS lock.
Exclusive to Smoky Mountain Knife Works, this Buck 110 Pro Slim possesses the same traditional features as the original 110, but with a more modern look and upgraded materials. This model features an upgraded D2 tool steel blade with ambidextrous thumb studs for easy one-handed opening. To reduce weight and thickness, the handle has been replaced with a durable micarta. This Slim Pro locks open with a lock back, and now, by popular demand, includes a reversible tip-up stainless steel pocket clip.
The SMKW Exclusive Kershaw Launch 8 Bronze modernizes the traditional look of Italian stilettos for a new generation of knife enthusiasts. It features the sleek, symmetrical lines of a stiletto in a push-button knife that’s lightweight at only 2.4 ounces and is easy-to-carry. The black DLC finish CPM-154 blade is sharpened on one side, and it has a deep top grind to lighten weight and add stiletto style. The handles are bronze anodized aluminum with a handsome carbon fiber insert and ambidextrous tip-up pocket clip for right or left side carry. To maintain the Launch 8’s symmetrical look, the pivot is sunk deep in the handle and covered by the insert. Integrated finger guards on both top and bottom of the handles keep fingers away from danger.
The Heretic Knives Medusa features a CPM S35VN stainless steel blade and battle-worn black aluminum handles. The 3″ tanto blade has a black DLC coating, and the handles feature grip-enhancing inlays to maximize grip under all conditions. The knife also features a machined single point rollerball tip-ucp pocket clip and a lanyard hole and weighs 4.96oz.
The Pro-Tech Knives Godfather Auto Tuxedo features Pro-Tech’s signature bayonet style blade, a slim handle and premium materials. The “Tuxedo” style handle has a black anodized aluminum frame and ivory Micarta inlays. The satin finish 154-CM steel spear blade is razor sharp and is heat-treated to 59RH. The Godfather utilizes a coil spring for impressive push button action and is completed with a tip-up pocket clip.
The Heretic Knives Medusa features a CPM S35VN stainless steel blade and green aluminum handles. The 3″ Tanto blade has a black DLC coating, and the handles feature grip enhancing inlays to maximize grip under all conditions. The knife also features a machined single point roller ball tip-up pocket clip and a lanyard hole, and weighs 4.96oz.
The USA-made SOG Spec Elite I Auto Midnight Bronze is an SMKW exclusive. This out-the-side automatic features a midnight bronze anodized 6061-T6 Aluminum handle. It has a 3.5″ AUS-8 titanium nitride coated clip point blade that quickly deploys with the push of a button. It securely locks closed with a sliding secondary safety switch. Its 4.3″ closed, weighs 2.8 ounces, and has an ambidextrous tip-up pocket clip and lanyard hole.
The Kershaw Launch 3 Olive automatic knife features 3.4″ CPM-154 drop point blade with a black DLC finish and olive drab anodized aluminum handle with an ambidextrous tip-up pocket clip. The Launch 3 opens with a “low profile” push button and is made in the USA.
The Hogue Exploit is a heavy duty, serious business OTF. It features a contoured aluminum handle with hex milling that provides a secure and comfortable grip. The S30V blade pops out reliably and with force, ensuring a solid opening and closing.
The highly refined Spyderco Stretch 2 is the product of decades of evolution and refinement. To celebrate its proud history, this limited-edition Sprint Run expresses it with an ivory-colored fiberglass-reinforced-nylon (FRN) handle and a distinctive straight-spined blade.
The first time ever featured on a Stretch 2, this iconic blade profile is crafted from VG-10 stainless steel and showcases a full-flat grind and a beautiful satin finish for exceptional cutting performance. A remarkable unique version of a true Spyderco classic, this knife is certain to become an instant collector’s item.
Meet the fastest byrd ever. This dynamic expression of the Cara Cara 2 Lightweight combines all the proven qualities of this popular model with the extreme deployment speed of an Emerson Opener. Invented by noted custom knife maker Ernest Emerson, this integral hook on the spine of the blade snags the pocket as the knife is drawn, opening the knife in the blink of an eye.
The full-flat-ground blade of this knife is crafted from 8Cr13MoV stainless steel, is available with a choice of edge configurations, and is paired with a lightweight handle featuring non-slip injection-molded FRN scales, skeletonized stainless steel liners, a stout back lock, and a four-position hourglass clip.
The Original Devil’s Claw was designed to be a deep conceal knife with a handle that is short on purpose for concealment in almost any outfit. Of course, the design was so reminiscent of karambits that it was only a matter of time before it got a makeover to become one. The hawksbill blade shape is a proven design for utility and defense tactics. The longer handle with the ring on the end provides the user with options that aren’t available with the original version (just remember the trade-off is that the new version is slightly more difficult to conceal).
WHITE RIVER M1 BACKPACKER S30V STAINLESS STEEL BLADE S30V STAINLESS STEEL DESERT CAMO PARACORD WRAPPED HANDLE
The White River M1 Backpacker is a compact fixed blade knife with a wide range of competencies that span camping, hiking, survival situations, and everyday carry. The Backpacker comes equipped with a desert camo paracord wrapped handle, S30V stainless steel blade and a Kydex sheath with belt loop attachment. You can also string paracord through the sheath and hang the knife from your neck without worrying the knife will slip out.
The ESEE Gibson Pinch Neck Knife designed by James Gibson is an excellent addition to your EDC lineup. It is made of 1095 carbon steel with a stone washed black oxide finish. Designed to be worn around your neck, this knife lives up to its name and can be grabbed in a “Pinch”.
The Ontario Knife Co. Curve Karambit is a slimmer lighter karambit that features a carbon steel blade and a composition handle with finger loop. It’s a great everyday carry utility blade as well as a self-defense tool. Nylon sheath included.
With two opening options, thumb hole or flipper, on the D2 Tool steel blade the Boker Plus Wildcat is a quick deploy EDC one-handed option. Boris Manasherov has added a modern take on the classic Karambit design by making it a folder with G10 scales to prevent slipping and deep ride reversible pocket clip for right or left-hand use. Solid ergonomics make this comfortable with a forward or reverse grip opening it up to all your daily use needs or personal defense weapon.
SCHRADE ONE-PIECE DROP FORGED SPEAR POINT BOOT KNIFE WITH KNURLED HANDLE AND SAE-1070 CARBON STEEL 4.50″ SPEAR POINT PLAIN EDGE BLADE MODEL SCHF21
The Schrade One-Piece Drop Forged Spear Point Boot Knife makes a great companion for your next outdoor adventure. Whether hunting, camping or hiking this knife is tough and built to last and is sure to handle any task that Mother Nature can throw at you. It can make a great gift for the outdoorsman in your family.
The Bear & Son Single Edge Boot Knife features a full tang black epoxy powder coated 1095 carbon steel blade paired with a black textured G-10 handle
TOPS KNIVES ICE DAGGER WITH BLACK G-10 HANDLES AND BLACK CERAKOE FINISH 1095 CARBON STEEL DAGGER PLAIN EDGE BLADES
The TOPS I.C.E. (IN Case of Emergency) Dagger is a full tang black coated 1095 high carbon stainless steel blade paired with a black G-10 handle scales. The Kydex sheath keeps this dagger close at hand while out in the field. Make sure you don’t leave home without one
The Grozo from Bastinelli knives features an N690 stainless steel partially serrated dagger blade with blood groove and a textured G-10 handle with flared guard, black hardware, and lanyard hole. Perfect for piercing and tactical application. Kydex sheath with Tek-Lok included.
A Few Parting Words
A year ago, I was a little more partial to the knifes that would fit in a pocket, or in my boots. I liked the sheathable options that can go in a sheath on my belt, or on a shoulder sheath. I really liked the Karambit styles. Today, my taste have shifted to the Automatics and diversified a bit. I still really like the Karambits but the neck knives are my go to’s and the boot knives are among my fav’s. I carry a neck knife and a boot knife daily as part of my edc. For me, its all about concealability and something I can get to in a pinch.
I want it to be concealable but with aggressive styling enough to intimidate the assailant if I need to pull it out. I want the bad guy to see it and think twice. All these models meet that requirement. I also want a quality steel, but affordability. I believe most would agree that Benchmade is a high quality brand. Here are some Benchmade reviews.
For me Benchmade brand is still the Cadillac of EDC knives, I tried to use that as the benchmark, for quality. For my list I really scrutinized my selections to insure they were precision sharpened, had a great grip and felt comfortable in the hand. The list above more than met these requirements.
I presented these knives as my best 5 knives for everyday carry in 2019. Ladies and gentlemen, I present you my 2020 list of the best knives for when SHTF.
I would like to pray I never need to use them or my concealed carry firearm, for that matter, but if put in a precarious situation, I want a knife that I can depend on, if called upon. I think these will do just fine if pressed into service.
One more parting thought, If you conceal carry a firearm or carry a knife you should strongly consider USCCA as a liability protection that can protect your families assets, and cover you in the event you have to defend yourself. USCCA is the only liability product that will cover firearms and knives.
These guys know knives….check them out!
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