Cold Steel: SRK - San-Mai Steel
This survival knife will be dependable wherever you go. The thick layered VG-10 steel forms a 6-inch blade. The deep handle texture and single finger guard make sure you will have positive grip during any task.
|San-Mai layered VG-10 steel|
|Grippy Kray Ex handle|
I needed the best survival knife, that could also double as a hunting knife in the Idaho backcountry. So I thought long and hard before deciding on a SRK. The initials stand for “Survival Rescue Knife,” but I bought it because of the reasonable price, design, handle composition and the reported durability.
The knife came out of the box shaving-sharp, and the steel holds an edge very well.
My SRK was used for everything. Over the course of its 20+ year career, the knife has been carried hundreds of miles on backpacking and hunting trips. It has been used to whittle wiener sticks, been battoned through firewood, and has been pounded through a deer’s pelvis with a rock during butchering. It is the knife I use for beheading fish. Several kids have learned safe knife handling, using the SRK, around campfires at Boy Scout campouts.
For what I need, specifically, a survival tool that can double as a backcountry big game hunting knife, the SRK has been just right. My SRK has field dressed well over 50 deer and been used on several elk.
In one instance, the knife field dressed and quartered three deer without it needing sharpening. The handle never gets too slick to hold safely, no matter how messy the field dressing job gets.
The knife’s performance is so impressive that two of my elk-hunter friends also bought SRKs. Several years ago, I bought a SRK for a hunting buddy who refused to accept my fair share of the gas money on a hunting trip.
But there are some other tasks where the SRK doesn’t particularly shine. It isn’t a particularly good camp knife, since the thick blade doesn’t work all that well for slicing tomatoes, potatoes, or summer sausage. It’s clumsy for peeling potatoes. But that’s why I also, weight permitting, carry some form of Mora-style knife.
The clip point design works well for gutting and most field dressing chores, but the SRK is not the best skinner. And there are better knifes for meat cutting. Forget about filleting fish: the knife is just too big and inflexible.
Other than a few minor cosmetic tweaks, my SRK has worked just fine for a couple of decades. Even though it has been retired from active duty, there is no replacement in sight!