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What’s Your Knife Made Of? Your Life Could Depend On The Answer
A well-made, consistently maintained knife is one of the most versatile tools a person can own. Whether you are a frequent outdoorsman or a connoisseur of the urban survival landscape, choosing the right knife is imperative. What is the right knife made of, though? For a general-purpose outdoor survival knife, you need a blade that’s ready to go the distance on a variety of tasks. It needs to be sharp enough to filet a fish, yet hard enough to spark a fire with a stone. It needs to be light enough for easy carry, but hardy enough to take a beating.
So: Do you want a stainless steel blade, or one made of high-carbon steel?
“There is a diehard group that likes the high carbon steels for outdoor chores,” says Justin Gingrich, owner of Gingrich Tactical Innovations. “While they are tough, durable, hold an edge well and are easy to field sharpen, their main draw back is of course rust and the elements.” The former Army Ranger-turned-custom knifemaker is a fan of stainless steel blades, though: “With modern stainless steels you can get the performance, toughness, durability and easy field sharpening without the worry of rusting.”
This Bowie pattern, designed by Justin Gingrich, is made of 5160 steel, which has a small amount of chromium but exhibits the strength and corrosion of traditional high-carbon steel.Gingrich Tactical Innovations
Stainless steel has some serious upside when considering a general-purpose blade. U.S.-made stainless knives usually contain at least 18% chromium (European countries sometimes use less), which creates a layer of protective oxidation that makes the knife extremely resistant to rusting. If you’re in a maritime environment, stainless blades are the way to go for that reason alone.
Stainless steel’s rust-proof qualities make it easy to sterilize, too. This is why kitchen knives and medical blades primarily use stainless steel. The ability to have your knife sterilized for minor field surgery is a huge advantage.
There’s a downside to stainless, though: Chromium content dilutes the iron and carbon in a steel blade, which results in a loss of hardness and toughness. Chromium also hinders a blade’s ability to eject a spark when striking flint — something that may come in handy in a survival situation.
Tough carbon steel has some advantages that may not seem like a big deal, until you’re in the middle of nowhere and just used your last match. “I personally like high-carbon steel [blades] better in survival situations, because I think they hold an edge better and can be used to start a fire along with flint,” says Kaila Cumings, a custom knifemaker who knows her way around survival situations, as she proved last year on Discovery Channel’s “Naked and Afraid.” “If you are in a place where you can find quartz, you can also start a fire (although somewhat challenging) with a high-carbon knife and quartz.”
Kaila Cumings is partial to this Gurkha-style machete by Cold Steel, which can cost anywhere from $35 to $700, depending on the quality of steel you prefer.Kaila Cumings/Instagram
In addition to its fire-making street cred, carbon steel lacks high chromium content and the detrimental effects that come with it. Sure, that means the blade will rust easier, but if you keep it oiled, that shouldn’t be a problem. And if it does rust, a little bit of steel wool and elbow grease will have it back in good shape within minutes. The pressing question is whether you’ll have a way to keep it oiled, or have access to steel wool, in a true, long-term survival situation.
Regardless of whether you go with old-fashioned, high-carbon or rust-proof stainless steel, how much you get out of your knife will depend on more than just the composition of the blade. Buying from a reputable knifemaker, relentlessly maintaining the blade, and above all knowing how to use it, are key factors. A knife is a tool, after all, and a tool is only as good as the person using it.
The FBI is treating the recent shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, as a terrorist attack, several media outlets reported on Sunday.
"We work with the presumption that this was an act of terrorism," USA Today quoted FBI Agent Rachel Rojas as saying at a news conference.
WASHINGTON/SEOUL (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un risks losing "everything" if he resumes hostility and his country must denuclearize, after the North said it had carried out a "successful test of great significance."
"Kim Jong Un is too smart and has far too much to lose, everything actually, if he acts in a hostile way. He signed a strong Denuclearization Agreement with me in Singapore," Trump said on Twitter, referring to his first summit with Kim in Singapore in 2018.
"He does not want to void his special relationship with the President of the United States or interfere with the U.S. Presidential Election in November," he said.
The three sailors whose lives were cut short by a gunman at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, on Friday "showed exceptional heroism and bravery in the face of evil," said base commander Navy Capt. Tim Kinsella.
Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson, Airman Mohammed Sameh Haitham, and Airman Apprentice Cameron Scott Walters were killed in the shooting, the Navy has announced.
The Pentagon’s troop deployment denials means nothing when the White House screams ‘fake news’ all the time
The Pentagon has a credibility problem that is the result of the White House's scorched earth policy against any criticism. As a result, all statements from senior leaders are suspect.
We're beyond the point of defense officials being unable to say for certain whether a dog is a good boy or girl. Now we're at the point where the Pentagon has spent three days trying to knock down a Wall Street Journal story about possible deployments to the Middle East, and they've failed to persuade either the press or Congress.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that the United States was considering deploying up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East to thwart any potential Iranian attacks. The story made clear that President Trump could ultimately decide to send a smaller number of service members, but defense officials have become fixated on the number 14,000 as if it were the only option on the table.
This article originally appeared on Business Insider.
SIMI VALLEY, Calif. – Gen. David Berger, the US Marine Corps commandant, suggested the concerns surrounding a service members' use of questionable Chinese-owned apps like TikTok should be directed against the military's leadership, rather than the individual troops.
Speaking at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California, on Saturday morning, Berger said the younger generation of troops had a "clearer view" of the technology "than most people give them credit for."
"That said, I'd give us a 'C-minus' or a 'D' in educating the force on the threat of even technology," Berger said. "Because they view it as two pieces of gear, 'I don't see what the big deal is.'"