Introduction to survival weapons
Survival weapons are a necessity for anyone out in the wilderness. They are extremely helpful in many avenues of bushcraft, from use in hunting (such as crossbows) and gutting animals, to creating shelters from the local bush and saplings. They are indispensable. But which survival weapon is the best for the outdoors? We explore a few different types of weapons that all merit a place in our arsenal, but which is the best?
The machete has long been a classic survival tool. It is defined by its huge blade, which can be used as an incredibly deadly weapon if a dangerous situation arises. However, that is not its only function. Many machetes can also be used for other applications making them multi-purposeful and thus more worthy of the title of the best survival weapon. Let’s have a look at them in greater detail now.
- The machete is hugely versatile, and as a result is becoming more popular to have when you go camping. Its uses extend to clearing the bush as you make your way through dense forests and other wild places. It is perfect for hacking through rain forest or jungles in such climates.
- Secondly, the as mentioned earlier the machete is a supreme weapon, suitable for almost any situation in which you are required to defend yourself against threatening wildlife. The length of the blade means it is great for being able to strike an opposer whilst still keeping a relatively large distance between you too. Moreover, in comparison to, say, an axe, it is lighter and therefore easier to wield and strike with.
- Finally, the durability and strength of survival machetes make them ideal for a tool for chopping wood. It is perfect when used alongside something hard like a rock to hit the back of the weapon and cut in to the wood.
- The thin blade of the machete can sometimes get stuck when chopping wood. This does not usually happen with axes due to their thicker heads. This can be very time and energy costly in some situation so a machete might not be suited that well with some environments.
- Due to the length of the blade, often over 10 inches long, there tends to be a lot of imprecision with regards to cleaning fish / meat. This is annoying if one has spent a while hunting, trapping or catching their meal only to find that they have wasted a quarter of it due to the difficulty of use in precise exercises.
- Although it is great that machetes can also be used for cutting down larger trees or carving wood, they do require something hard, like a rock to really give it enough momentum to make a cut in to the wood. This can be a drawback as it may be hard to find something appropriate in some situations.
- Finally, again an advantage in some cases, but the length and bulkiness of the machete can be a disadvantage in some cases because they can be tiring and cumbersome on large hikes and treks.
In general, most of the advantages that are experienced with the machete can be replicated using smaller tools, making it rather unnecessary in some cases because it is a lot more cumbersome to carry about and work with. Having said that, the machete is an awesome survival weapon and will definitely always have a place with the rest of my bushcraft equipment. It is essentially a multi-purpose weapon that makes you look badass, a winner if you ask me!
The best survival machete, in my eyes, is the Kershaw 1076, due to its fantastic weighting and extremely strong blade.
I have grouped axes and hatchets together because they are very similar. They both have heavy iron heads and a wooden handle most of the time. The differences between the two lie in the fact that axes tend to be larger and heavier, requiring more strength and effort to wield, but in turn producing greater desired results. Survival hatchets are smaller, requiring only one hand to use. They tend to be employed for cutting bush and shrub, and some smaller trees. Sometimes they have a hammer on the back to make them even more useful. However, the function of the two are very similar in that they have a long(ish) handle and a heavy head making them good for strong blows.
I would say that in general axes and hatchets are less popular choices of survival weapons. In my opinion though there is no good reason for this. Such tools exhibits great advantages and can be used in many different situations.
- Axes are excellent for big, heavy-duty tasks such as cutting into wood, chopping logs and making firewood. If in such an environment then they are also perfect for creating holes in ice for fishing.
- Hatchets are also intimidating and dangerous as a weapon, giving you the ability to apply a great deal of power per swing when fighting an opponent. Once you’ve learned how, axes are also fairly simple to keep sharpened and the stone needed to keep the blade sharp is fairly small.
- Axes are always going to be larger and heavier than a survival machete and will reduce the overall amount of supplies you can carry.
- They are imprecise and awkward to use when making small cuts such as when cleaning fish or other game.
- Many axes and hatchets are comprised solely or a large, sharp head. Although this is great for the intended purpose they lack additional utility, making them less useful for other jobs. This can be a drawback if you have to carry additional equipment to make up for this.
Axes are awesome tools, and definitely very useful in a lot of situations. Our favorite has got to be the Gerber Gator Axe II Saw Combo which combines a fantastic axe with a saw which sits inside the handle.
So which is the best survival weapon? It really depends on your situation. For example, if you are already carrying a lot of stuff then it makes more sense to go with the lighter machete. This would probably also be the best choice for an environment like the rainforest because they are ideal for clearing brush. On the other hand, some situations require the ability to create shelters out of larger trees, in which case an axe or hatchet would be the best choice. As with most of the decisions for the best survival gear, it really depends on your situation, meaning that the best thing to do is prepare beforehand having research your environment.