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Welcome to The Gear List, a semi-regular series where we spotlight the best discounts and deals on tactical gear, outdoor equipment, and everything in between.
Bushcraft has really gained popularity in recent years, and that’s a good thing for U.S. service members. After all, many of the things that make a good bushcraft tool are equally useful in the military. You have access to vehicles and your beloved poncho, but it never hurts to be able to reinforce your field shelter, build a more established fighting position, or carve your name in warfighting lore with hand tools.
It makes sense, then, that Ontario Knife Company is selling military- and bushcraft-style knives as fast as it can build them. Right now, you can get military classics like the Air Force Survival Knife that we did a deep-dive review on for a third of the MSRP. You can also get a more modern interpretation in the form of the company’s renowned combat knife for 27 percent off. Those knives are both pretty substantial in terms of size, so we also chased down deals on the smaller RAT-5 and Bushcraft Field Knife.
Whether you’re gearing up for a deployment, field exercise, or camping trip with your buddies, any of these knives would be a great addition to your kit. They’re priced to move, so don’t wait too long to buy one of your own.
These prices were valid at press time, but prices can change and deals do expire.
Price: was $71.95, now $47.85
No, this isn’t the Marine Corps fighting knife you’re thinking of and no, it isn’t a knock-off. The OKC 499 was first built for the U.S. Air Force more than 60 years ago. Back then, the goal was to give pilots and crew a reliable knife that could keep them alive if they went down in unfriendly territory. While this knife is no longer standard issue, you can get one of your own from OKC for a reasonable price.
As our gear tester discovered, this knife isn’t exactly razor sharp out of the box, so you can expect to practice your sharpening skills sooner than later. It’s also not exactly modern tech, considering it was built to military specs during the Cold War. Nevertheless, it’s stone-simple, reliable, and tough enough to take whatever you throw at it. Besides, it’s a neat piece of history that you can take pride in keeping alive. Frankly, every airman deserves one.
Price: was $54.95, now $39.86
If the Air Force Survival Knife’s leather handle and five-inch bade don’t do it for you, this modern take on that classic should be just what you’re looking for. Rather than survival or bushcraft, this fixed-blade knife is built for combat. It has a full-tang, seven-inch blade with a blood groove and no serrations. The rubber handle provides tons of grip and is impervious to the elements.
One letdown is the flimsy nylon sheath. I’d much rather see a hard composite sheath that can be mounted on MOLLE, but you can probably find one if that’s important to you. For less than $40, you can’t really complain.
Price: was $114.95, now $67.96
The RAT series of knives is well-known among knife enthusiasts and OKC fans – and for a good reason. This RAT-5 strikes an excellent balance between bushcraft utilitarianism and everyday portability. The full-tang fixed blade is five inches long and blackened for protection and a low-profile, tactical look. Its micarta handle is light and incredibly durable, so you don’t have to baby it in the field.
This knife is more than capable of being your go-to blade on deployment or around the campsite, but it’s not so big that you’ll feel like Crocodile Dundee with it strapped to your plate carrier or belt. Normally, it would be reserved for serious knife buyers due to the $115 price tag. Right now, you can just about steal it for less than $70.
Price: was $58.82, now $50.60
As good as the RAT-5 is (and it’s excellent), there are those among us who prefer a wooden handle and plain steel blade. If you’re in that camp, the Bushcraft Field Knife will be music to your ears. The flat grind is perfect for working with wood to create tools or a shelter in the wild. Unlike the beefier Scandi grind, it’s also adept at dressing game and preparing meat around the campfire. The handle is made from hardwood that looks as good as it performs.
No, this isn’t going to be anyone’s first choice for combat. That’s ok because it will be many people’s ideal knife for weekend use in the woods. If you can save a few bucks on it while this sale lasts, that’s even better.