What Was Your First Survival Knife

Around 1984,I went to GI Surplus in Orange Texas and bought my first survival knife. The store is no longer in business, which is a shame.  They had a good selection of military surplus.

When I got the knife home I was so proud.  It was like a turning point in a young mans life, I had bought my first knife.

The knife I bought was a Valor brand name. At the base of the blade it is stamped “Valor Miami, USA” on one side. On the other side it is stamped “440 Stainless, 599 Japan, camo”.

Overall length: 12 1/4 inches.
Blade length: 7 1/8 inches

The knife came with:

Leather sheath
2 leather leg tie straps
Survival kit in the handle
Sharpening stone
Compass in the handle cap

Rambo, First Blood 

Released in 1982, Rambo First Blood ushered in the era of hollow handle survival knife. The movie glorified an individual who could venture into the wilderness with nothing but a knife. Using only what was in his knife, this person would be able to build a fire, hunt, and survive.

Building on the Rambo hollow handle survival knife fad, companies flooded the United States market with both high quality and cheap knockoffs. Chances are the cheap knockoffs greatly outnumbered the quality reproductions. There were all different types of knives, different sizes, different types of built in compass,,, just all kinds of stuff to pick from.

The hollow handle Rambo knife craze was capitalism in its purest form. People wanted a product and manufacturers delivered. What would have been nice is if the companies making the knives had taken a little more pride in their products.

Quality Has Improved

With the internet and public reviews, knife companies are forced to up the quality of their products.  Rather than going into a GI Surplus store and blindly buying an unknown product, people can spend just a few minutes searching the internet and find reviews.

Hollow handle knives are still be produced and still being sold.  They are cool to have and fun to play around with.  Whoever buys one needs to be aware of their limitations.  The hollow handle survival knife is weak where the blade attaches to the handle.  It is not a pry bar.

If you are thinking about buying a hollow handle survival knife, go ahead.  There are limitless options on sites like Amazon and Ebay.