By Anthony Yeary
There are a lot of survival knives on the market that range from total garbage you would never trust to actually use, to knives that are practically works of art that you would never want to actually use. I mean, they cost so much and they look so good that you wouldn’t want to mess them up would you? As with all of our survival gear we want to find good, rugged, practical equipment. A cheap knife won’t make the grade, but expensive ones will break your budget and this is money you could be using for other gear. Let’s take a look at a solid survival knife – the Schrade SCHF1 Extreme Survival Knife. It’s a knife that is practical, looks great, feels good in the hand- yet has a reasonable price tag.
Let’s start with its dimensions: the overall length of the knife is 12.75 inches, with a useable blade length of 7.5 inches. It is constructed from 1070 high carbon steel and is razor sharp right out of the box. By its nature, 1070 is a good balance between holding an edge and being very tough. The blade features an inch-and-a-half of serrations at the base of the blade, which ends in a spear point. The spine is flat and is a ¼ inch thick; the double handguard is a tad narrow at two inches, but it does the job. The handle makes due with generous stippling which gives you adequate traction for your hands and despite it being a hollow knife it has a rugged, useable pommel with lanyard. I should state for the record, that although it is a hollow handle survival knife, it is machined from one piece of high carbon steel, making it a rare example of a full-tang hollow knife. The knife in general is heavy (one pound, two ounces); but I like that a lot as weight is good for chopping and batoning. Plus, it just feels solid in your hand- it almost feels indestructible.
The oddball feature of the big Schrade is its bit driver feature. Within the watertight hollow handle you expect to find a basic survival kit like Rambo had. Instead, you discover that someone put a bit driver in there instead. Seeing this for the first time is like opening a Cracker Jack box and finding a 50 round box of .22 caliber ammo inside. It’s awesome and you’re happy you got it, but it just seems inappropriate. The good news is that it’s well-made and thought out. The practical news is that you can remove it from the knife and put more useful items in there. If you decide to leave it in there, it does add some nice balancing weight and it features a variety of apexes and a t-handle that you run through the removable pommel/cap. The apexes can be placed into the pommel and used as a stubby screwdriver, or the extension can be added. The tool is also magnetic.
The sheath is better than one would expect. The exterior is made of a nylon fabric and the interior sleeve is plastic. It features an accessory pouch that you could put a sharpening stone in and if you don’t like it, you can remove it. It’s pretty adaptable to whatever application you want to use it for; it will carry off of a belt and the belt loop can be adjusted for large pistol belts or smaller conventional ones. The bottom of the sheath has a tie-off for your leg and the backside has a Velcro setup that is MOLLE compatible with a metal d-ring that makes it more ALICE compatible. It features a size adjustable retention strap that wraps around the knife’s handle, but unfortunately, it does not have a retention strap that secures the knife by the handguard.
If I must come up with criticism, there are only two real downsides: the lanyard and the knife’s finish. The lanyard is basically a black shoelace and it’s not fantastic. Thankfully improvement is just 2 feet of paracord away. The finish of the knife is interesting; because its high carbon steel and not stainless, it is sharper, but more corrosion prone. To counter this, the whole knife has been painted and coated in what I swear is Teflon. It makes for a nice surface, but it will wear off with use and start to look worn eventually. This is of course a minor complaint and I don’t hold it against them. That being said, I think you guys will like it; it’s priced reasonably and it’s very rugged and practical. With a survival knife, what more could you really ask for?