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Survival Knife - serrated vs. plain edge

Discussion in 'The Cutting Edge' started by myesque, Feb 7, 2010.

  1. myesque


    Dec 4, 2009
    West, TN
    In a survival knife do you use a serrated or a plain edge?

  2. Personally I don't like serrated for anything period, survival or otherwise.. they take up and waste a perfectly good blade that I could otherwise use.

    If you keep your knife sharp you'll never need the serrated part.

    I'm sure there's an application for it, its just not for me. For survival I like a thick quality steel flat ground with a convex edge on it.

  3. myesque


    Dec 4, 2009
    West, TN
    By chance do you know the difference between the RAT RC-5 and the ONTARIO KNIFE CO. RAT 5

    Does the Ontario knife have a life time warranty like RAT knives?:dunno:
  4. ScaryWoody


    Apr 16, 2005
    For survival knife I would go with a plain edge. A serrated edge requires a much more complicated sharpening than I am likely to have available in a survival situation.
  5. Wizz


    Dec 23, 2008
    I understand why most people seem to prefer straight edge, esp hunters. I usually go for combo edges as I'm usually cutting rope/cardboard/rubber/nylon straps, etc and a serrated edge always cuts those easier compared to a straight edge no matter how sharp the straight edge is. The serrated edge holds its cutting ability much longer and many knife manufacturers offer resharpening services for just the cost of shipping if someone doesn't care to do it. If you're talking about fully serrated blades those are usually geared towards emergency respondents and the like, I'm not a fan of full serrated blades for general use.
  6. tripton


    Jan 15, 2007
    Yes, I do.

    They are 2 totally different knives, both in purpose and maker. The RAT-5 by Ontario is a thin bladed knife with an unsharpened "skull crusher" pommel. It was made in D2 or 1095, but I believe the D2 is discontinued. From what I hear there is a mix of people that are very happy with the Ontario products, but there is a chance of a spotty heat treat with a few of their "RAT" line. Comes with a cordura sheath.

    The ESEE-5 (RAT Cutlery changed their name on Feb 1st) or what used to be the RC-5 is a survival tool partially designed by military SERE instructors. It is a 16 oz, 1/4inch thick beast of a knife with a sharpened glass breaker pommel and canvas micarta scales with a bow drill divot. They are all 1095 steel, with an excellent heat treat and better fit and finish than any of the Ontario products. It is not ideal for anything unless you are going to be cutting yourself out of downed aircraft, but it is a hell of a neat toy. The kydex sheath that comes with it is awesome and has adjustable tension.

    Being that Ontario and ESEE (RAT Cutlery) are two different companies, the "No bull****" lifetime warranty ONLY applies to RAT Cutlery/ESEE products. I am unsure of what Ontarios warranty is.

    Ontario is a fine company that makes good products. It is my belief that ESEE is better.

    For your uses, you may be better served with an RC-6/ESEE-6.

    Also, for my money, it is plain edge all the way. I have used ESEEs serrations though, and they are better than most, and a hell of a lot easier to sharpen. I have zero use for a combo edge blade, as a sharp plain edge will cut just fine...with less tearing.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2010
  7. myesque


    Dec 4, 2009
    West, TN
    Thank you all for your advice. I ended up going with a plain edge blade. I purchased a ScrapYard Scrapper 6. I should have it by early next week. They carry a life time warranty and they look to be built like a tank. :supergrin:

    I was going to go with the RAT-RC6 but this knife fell out of the sky.
  8. Otown407


    Feb 16, 2009
    Perfectly said.
  9. MarcoPolo


    Feb 28, 2006
    I typically carry combo edges for "work" knives (taking camping to cut rope, etc.) while I prefer straight edge for carry knives.

    Just a personal preference.
  10. tripton


    Jan 15, 2007
    You have chosen wisely.

    That is a tough knife, and actually closer to an RC5 than an RC6. They are thick.

    Plenty tough, and indeed, Scrap Yard and ESEE are the best warranties out there.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2010
  11. syntaxerrorsix

    syntaxerrorsix Anti-Federalist CLM

    Oct 3, 2000
    Lakeland, FL.
    While I tend to agree with your preference for plain edge. A serrated knife offers more cutting surface and more friction or "bite" making it more effective at cutting most materials albeit not as cleanly.

    For a "survival" knife I think a plain edge will be easier to maintain.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2010
  12. Biggy1


    Feb 11, 2010
    New Knoxville,Ohio
    I like the Bark River Bravo 1 . It has a plain edge and is made out of A2 tool steel.
  13. Dennis in MA

    Dennis in MA Get off my lawn

    Aug 16, 2001
    Taunton, MA
    I used to say combo, but I don't anymore.

    They put all that serrated section right in the area you want the most control from your plain edge - near the choil. You lose a lot of ability to do fine work with a combo or total-serrated blade.

    Full plain edge. Type of edge is your preference. 5-7" blade is probably best overall. BRKT Bravo 1 IS a great example of a good survival design.
  14. syntaxerrorsix

    syntaxerrorsix Anti-Federalist CLM

    Oct 3, 2000
    Lakeland, FL.
    Couldn't agree more.

    I opt for either fully serrated or plain edge depending on intended use.
  15. FireForged

    FireForged Millenium #3936 Millennium Member

    Dec 25, 1999
    Rebel South
    I am old skool... I like a heavy 5-5.5" plain edge field knife. If it wont cut I will hack.

    I like the combo blade only in a folder. :)

    Current knife: RAT RC5 and a Applegate covert folder
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2010
  16. BigJoe13


    Feb 7, 2010
    NE Arizona
    Personal prefrence is: