Cut It Out: A No Nonsense Guide To Knives

An academic named Thomas Carlyle was fond of saying that “Man is a tool-using animal. Nowhere do you find him without tools; without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all.” And it’s true. People have been using tools since before the dawn of civilization. With the right tools, there is no telling what people might be capable of achieving. Knives can be used as tools, weapons, and survival gear in a variety of circumstances. For the average couch potato, knowing the difference between several types of knives should be pretty low on the priority list. However, for the outdoor adventurer, it can be of primary importance.

Trying to use a machete to whittle, using a throwing knife to hack away at vegetation, throwing a Swiss army knife at a target, or carrying around a combat knife in your pocket to use for odd jobs; these are all terrible, dangerous ideas. The following information should help you to avoid picking the wrong knife for the task you have in mind. This list takes a stab at describing the most basic types of knives of all different shapes and sizes, including fixed blade and folding knives. The point is that choosing the right tool will set you up for success in every endeavor. It might be time to cut it out with all the knife puns since they’re pretty dull and they’re enough to put anyone on edge. That was the last one. Here are eight types of knives and their uses:


Types of knives

Fixed Blade Knives

Fixed Blade Knives

Simply put, fixed blade knives are knives that do not fold. Many types of knives fold up so that the blade is sheathed by the handle so that the knife can be carried safely in pockets. A fixed blade knife is larger, stronger, and used for more specific purposes. Different designs are used for hunting, survival, and throwing.

Pocket Knives

Pocket Knives

Pocket knives (or jackknives) are small, folding knives that sometimes contain more than one tool. They come in handy surprisingly often, in those situations when scissors are needed and no one has any. Good quality pocket knives can also be used for detailed work like whittling.

Machete Knives

Machete Knives

Machetes are generally useful for cutting through thick plant life to clear a path or harvest vegetation for use in shelters or other structures. Machete knives are characterized by a long, weighted blade. If you need to whittle something in fine detail, a machete is not your friend. However, if something needs hacking or slashing, it’s the perfect tool.

Combat Knives

Combat Knives

Combat knives are primarily designed for fighting purposes in the military. While they are designed for close combat fighting, they are also used as utility or survival knives to clear vegetation and open supply crates. Combat knives have been used in warfare since trench warfare in World War One and are standard issue in most major armies in modern times.

Throwing Knives

Throwing Knives

Throwing knives have specially weighted handles and blades so that they spin upon being thrown and allow for the user to aim them accurately. Often, these knives are made out of a single piece of steel. Many cultures around the world make use of throwing knives. However, in the Western world, they are generally used by knife and/or weapons enthusiasts.

Hunting Knives

Hunting Knives

The main purpose of a hunting knife is to skin or harvest the meat of a hunted animal. It could also be used to finish off a shot that didn’t result in the animal’s immediate death. Some hunters use their knives for general purposes as well, such as cutting down brush. Hunting knives are almost always larger fixed blade knives, though it is possible to find smaller folding models.

Swiss Army Knives

Swiss Army Knives

The Swiss army knife is characterized by multiple tiny tools and blades that fold into an extremely compact handle. They can be small enough to fit on a keychain. This type of knife was originally developed by the Swiss Army back in the late 19th century. If they’re useful enough for soldiers they can probably cover everyday situations.

Multi-Tools Knives

Multi-Tools Knives

A multitool knife contains several tools that fold into a compact shape. The attachments can include different types of blades, files, pliers, and screwdrivers. Designs and sizes can vary greatly and are tailored to different sports and outdoor activities. This makes the multitool knife perfect for a jack-of-all-trades and lover of the great outdoors.