The Rothco version of this official U.S. Army Aviator’s knife became standard issue for Army flight crews when introduced by the Ontario Knife Company in 2003. A good choice for traditional field uses by hunters and farmers as well as an excellent emergency knife for civilian pilots, the military issue survival system was developed with the crash survivor in mind.
One of the intentions here was to build a knife which could cut its way out of a downed plane or helicopter, so expect some strengths you wouldn’t normally see in a hunting knife. Saw teeth on the blade’s spine are not decorative. The toothed section cuts through both sheet metal and plexiglass, given a little time and elbow grease. Stab the blade through to start the exit port — the rubberized grip and wide hand guard keep fingers off the cutting edge and above any sharp debris. If smashing is your preference, the butt of the knife was built for it, including a conical spike for precise pressure damage. Although you probably wouldn’t run into an electrified situation in the woods, the grip is fully insulated, and similar ASEK knives have successfully severed live wires. That’s not a recommended practice, but in a wreck where circuitry could still be active, it is a valuable safety feature.
The camouflage sheath straps to gear and harnesses as well as to the calf of the leg, while the separate cable cutter tool was originally meant to fit a flight suit pocket. The sheath carries the cutter tool in a separate compartment behind the knife blade. The cutter’s replaceable blade hooks and severs rope, parachute cord, or seat belts. Deep finger choils and a wrist strap add to tool security.
Holes in the survival knife’s handle allow lashing the knife to a pole for spearing fish — or you could just whittle a point on the pole and not risk losing your only knife in the creek.
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