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Old 08-20-2018, 06:56 PM   #1
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The perfect Survival Knife?

What would Y'all change on the 499 Pilot/Flyers Survival Knife to make it the perfect Survival Knife?
Ontario Knife Authentic 6150, 499 Air Force Survival Knife with Leather Sheath at Ontario-Knife-Store.com


Sorry I've been absent so long, Life tossed me a curve ball when I was expecting the "Heater"!
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Old 08-20-2018, 07:18 PM   #2
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Yep, got my Dad's - it's quite similar but lives in a Navy issue plastic sheath.
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Old 08-21-2018, 04:20 AM   #3
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Mine's in a box someplace, along with my bright orange issue switch blade with the hook-shaped cutter for cutting parachute shroud lines:

https://www.colonialknifecorp.com/pr...tchblade-m-724

What would I change? Not much, but I'd probably prefer a synthetic wrap on the handle instead of the leather. The leather is actually kind of slick, and wouldn't stand up to prolonged exposure to water. A waterproof, textured grip for a more dependable purchase would be nice.

All-in-all though it's a pretty decent design, especially if you don't make the mistake of thinking "fighting" knife instead of "survival" knife.
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Old 08-21-2018, 03:47 PM   #4
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Actual changes to the Pilot's knife that might be good.....

A hard plastic scabbard.
The leather sheath deteriorates.

A synthetic handle.
Possibly washers of synthetic rubber instead of leather. Again, leather deteriorates.

Stainless steel blade and fittings.
Carbon is nice, but rusts too fast.

More hollow grind to the blade to make it easier to sharpen.

Slightly more aggressive saw teeth.

Lanyard hole in the butt cap.
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Old 08-21-2018, 05:25 PM   #5
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I've had one for decades and like it a lot, and have used it quite a bit. I forget at the moment if mine is a Camillus or an Ontario but it's definitely GI spec, not a cheap copy.

I especially like the stone. It has perfect 90* angles on it and I've used it (don't laugh) to do quite a few 1911 trigger jobs. GREAT stone!

The sheath, with its slots, is flimsy compared to a "real" sheath with a loop. But I understand that's because these are sometimes sewn directly to flight suits and such.

The knife in its metal-tipped sheath would make a pretty good sap, if it had to.

I like the bolt-head pommel, which can be used as a hammer.

The saw back is just about useless on wood. I'm given to understand that its purpose is to rip/tear its way through sheetmetal, such as aircraft aluminum. Maybe that's true, maybe it's not.

For a long time I though the USAF knife was too short at 5", and the KABAR too long at 7". I wanted something at 6", and even designed a knife combining the best features of both.

I've used the KABAR quite a bit, too (mine's an Ontario, USGI spec) and am starting to think its 7" blade is about minimum for what I'd want in a survival knife. Another inch or two might not hurt. If it's going to have a saw back, I want the teeth "set" for actual wood cutting. I've seen Victorinox Swiss Army knives with effective saw teeth. Can I get those teeth on the back of my knife, please.

Truth to tell, I'd rather have three or four of those survival "string" or "cable" saws (with rings on each end) in my pack than any kind of saw teeth on the back of my knife, though of course having BOTH options on hand wouldn't be bad.
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Old 08-21-2018, 06:20 PM   #6
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I would also like to make a few changes. Instead of the rat tail tang, I'd make it a true full tang which would allow for grip scales (same profile & proportions as the leather washers) that could be removed for post salt water maintenance.

If the metallurgy of the blade is changed to make it more corrosion resistant, then the amount of carbon & hardness of the hex pommel should be tweaked so that it was easier to use as a steel striker for flint & steel firecraft.

7 inches on your hip is fine, but not all of US are tall enough that 7 inches on a chest carry is practical. The Navy drills 2 wholes in the upper handguard which allow the knife to be tied with a lanyard and affixed to the SV-2.

A well oiled leather sheath will outperform the synthetics during temperature extremes, and given enough oil it can withstand repeated salt water immersions.

About the saw tooth back strap: It works fine when tinkering with aluminium cans, but you had better practice holding your breath if you actually intend to egress from a sinking aluminium skinned aircraft with it. Although, I've yet to find a better surface to use while striking a ferro rod. (just ensure to remove the coating, must be metal to metal)

All in all the Old 499 Pilot/Flyers Survival Knife has proven to be practical & functional, but few that I've meet have dubbed it perfect. Guess the "Perfect Survival Knife" is the one that you never need to use in an actual survival situation.
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Old 08-21-2018, 06:57 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M118LR View Post
Guess the "Perfect Survival Knife" is the one that you never need to use in an actual survival situation.
The perfect survival knife is like the perfect pistol. It's the one you always take with you.

My Camillus fighting knife is too big and my old Marble hunting knives are too light. I've got a Syderco I like in the field but the two I always carry are my Case Stockman and a Spyderco Endura.
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Old 08-22-2018, 05:08 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by csmkersh View Post
I've got a Syderco I like in the field but the two I always carry are my Case Stockman and a Spyderco Endura.
I've carried a Victorinox Adventurer every day for the last 30 years or so, and a CRKT M16 every day for the last 10 or so. I'm very happy with both.
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Old 08-22-2018, 10:46 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snake45 View Post
I've carried a Victorinox Adventurer every day for the last 30 years or so, and a CRKT M16 every day for the last 10 or so. I'm very happy with both.
The CRKT M16 is my EDC. It's a fantastic knife and a very good value.
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Old 08-22-2018, 10:59 AM   #10
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The CRKT M16 is my EDC. It's a fantastic knife and a very good value.
Can't disagree in any way. If I lost, broke, or (not likely) wore mine out, I'd get another without hesitation.

I've looked for something similar, maybe a skosh bigger, in the same price range or maybe a couple bucks more, but haven't yet run across anything that spins my windmill.

If I were actually "lost in the woods," I'd wish my Victorinox Adventurer had the saw blade. They do make it that way--might be called the Woodsman or Huntsman or something of the sort--but I decided the extra thickness/weight wasn't worth the remote chance I'd ever actually need the saw.
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Old 08-22-2018, 11:04 AM   #11
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Snake, do you ever take an entrenching tool into the boonies? Try sharpening one side and it makes a nice ax/shovel tool.
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Old 08-22-2018, 11:12 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by M118LR View Post
The Navy drills 2 wholes in the upper handguard which allow the knife to be tied with a lanyard and affixed to the SV-2.
Mine has the two little holes in the upper handguard (I'd forgotten about them till you mentioned it). What's this SV-2 thing I'm supposed to affix it to?
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Old 08-22-2018, 11:21 AM   #13
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Snake, do you ever take an entrenching tool into the boonies? Try sharpening one side and it makes a nice ax/shovel tool.
I have one of those clever fold-up ones (probably a copy, I doubt it's USGI-spec), but have never really used it for anything. Thanks for reminding me of it--it might be useful around the yard sometimes. (I haven't actually been "into the boonies" in years, probably decades.)

The more I think about it, the more I think instead of trying to come up with "the perfect survival knife," one might be better served with an array including a small precision/ultrasharp pocket folder like my CKRT M16; a general-purpose knife in the 6"-8" range, like a KABAR; something larger like a USGI machete or a bolo or kukri or something in that neighborhood; and a couple or three of those nifty wire saws. Yeah, a little more weight/bulk (mainly all in the machete-class whacker), but a LOT more utility and versatility than one "perfect" "do-all" tool.
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Old 08-22-2018, 11:23 AM   #14
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Duplicate post; deleted.
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Old 08-22-2018, 11:24 AM   #15
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Sv-2

US Navy SV-2B Survival Vest - MILITARY AIRCRAFT & AVIATION - U.S. Militaria Forum
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Old 08-22-2018, 11:43 AM   #16
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Very interesting, thanks!

Is the purpose of tethering the knife so you can use it in your parachute or in/on the water without the risk of dropping it and thus losing it forever? And that as soon as you got on dry land and somewhat settled, you'd untie or cut the cord and get on with bidness as usual?
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Old 08-22-2018, 12:53 PM   #17
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One over looked but slightly large survival "knife" is the Woodsmans Pal.
These are still made in several handle types.

During WWII these were issued with three booklets. One on using it as a survival item, one on using it as a tool, and one on using it as a weapon.

These can be used as a knife, hammer, ax, shovel, machete, wood shaver, bush hook, etc, etc.

They were used as standard equipment on Vietnam era helicopters, and are still used by smoke jumpers.
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Old 08-22-2018, 06:41 PM   #18
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Thanks for answering Snake csmkersh.
(Sorry if I'm a bit slow responding, longer days than I'm accustomed to.)
The tether from the SV-2 to the the 499 is long enough to allow complete operation at all times. There really is no reason to dump the SV-2 when on dry land. The chambers of the floatation device can be inflated orally or instantly with a CO2 cartridge, they can also be deflated and repacked to be used again orally if needed. If the floatation device becomes damaged it snaps & unsnaps from the basic harness. Best bet for extraction via Jungle Penetrator is the "D" ring on the basic harness. (land or sea) Not to mention that all your little survival goodies are keep right at hand. It's a very basic bit of kit, and isn't exceptionally weighty. Without the floatation system it's about the same weight as a Load Bearing Vest, and designed toward survival more than a straight combat load. (ie LBV)
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Old 08-22-2018, 08:04 PM   #19
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Started rereading csmkersh's response which brought out a little Sailors Lexicon. Hope the Land Lubbers don't mind?

By the time I donned my first SV-2 I switched source ratings from BM to AB. The rigger (PR) modified our SV-2's and cut out the Original leather holster that held a Victory S&W .38 revolver along with the tab for 12 Ball Rounds, the modification accommodated the USN Mod S&W Model 39 (Hush Puppy, the can had to be stored in another compartment) but it took a little force to jam a 1911A1 into the space allowed.

Hope I didn't delve to deep into Sailors Lexicon, Sorry if I took folks into deep water. But the google generation shouldn't have too much trouble deciphering, comprehension on the other hand may be illusive! So if the average reader/responder has any questions? I'll attempt to explain in other than Sailors Lexicon if they so desire. But if it ain't requested I'll assume that Y'all understood.
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Old 08-23-2018, 07:14 AM   #20
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To All,

ImVho, there is NO perfect survival knife. - I say that having carried (OCONUS) a Ralph Bone fighting knife for 20+ years & never considered it either "prefect" or even "all-purpose".
(My "other knife" is a medium-sized Gerber lock-blade.)

Fwiw, my Ralph Bone "mysteriously disappeared" from my checked/locked luggage, somewhere between SAT & BWI. = VERY LIKELY taken by a TSA agent with "sticky fingers".

yours, sw
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