Schrade Extreme Survival Knife Review - A Good Cheap Blade

Schrade Extreme Survival Knife Review - A Good Cheap Blade
A while back, one of our subscribers contacted me and said that he found the “real” Ultimate Survival Knife and encouraged me to review the Schrade Extreme Survival knife.

Honestly, I was very skeptical and about ignored his request. Then, shortly after this, I received several more requests for me to review this knife so I decided to take a look. 

As I took the survival knife out of it’s sheath, my first impression was a mix of surprise and disbelief. I smiled and just waved the knife around in my hand for a while trying to figure out how in the world Schrade was able to put together such a formidable survival knife package for such a crazy low online street price.  

Honestly, I just wanted to hang it from my belt, strap it on my leg and go play in the woods. I’ve been checking this knife out now for several weeks and my initial enthusiasm has not changed.

So, the Schrade Extreme Survival (SCHF9) was designed for Schrade by Griffin Design and is a fixed blade knife that has a fine edge, which means there are no serrations on this blade. The SCHF9 is one of three primary designs from the Schrade Extreme Survival line up of knives. The other two designs, are the equally rugged, woodsy looking, SCHF3 that comes in fine and serrated edge versions.  

And the intriguing, military-styled, SCHF2 which is made of a solid piece of steel, including a waterproof barrel handle that can hold a nice bit of survival gear. The Extreme Survival Knife SCHF9 has a 6.4 inch blade, a 5.7 inch handle and a total length of just a over a foot, at around 31 centimeters. The knife weights nearly a pound, at 450 grams.

So this is a really hefty knife compared to the Bear Grylls Ultimate survival knife at 8.1 ounces, the SOG Seal Team Elite at 10.4 ounces and the Gerber LMF II at 11.5 ounces.  

Okay, Let’s Talk About the Blade

The blade of this Schrade Extreme Survival knife is full tang construction which means the blade steel runs the entire length of the knife, from tip to butt, and is considered the strongest knife construction technique by experts. 

The Steel

The Schrade Extreme Survival knife is made of 1095 high carbon steel. 1095 steel is a favorite of many knife lovers because it’s not too expensive, it’s pretty tough and it holds an edge very well. 1095 steel also sharpens to an edge that is great for all around cutting, slicing and chopping. And 1095 steel is often used for swords and cutlery. Now 1095 is not stainless, so you’ll want to wipe the blade edge with mineral oil now and again to prevent oxydation.

Mineral oil works great because it’s cheap, easy to get and safe if you want to chop up some food with your knife. The Blade Coating

The entire blade is covered in a very durable, almost gun metal gray, anti reflective coating that’s designed to protect the blade from corrosion. It’s done a great job resisted dings and scrapes.

Blade Thickness

This knife blade is a beast at a quarter inch wide... which made me not at all shy to twist and turn this survival knife while it was well sunk into logs in my bushcraft tests. See the difference in width compared to the Bear Grylls Ultimate Survival knife?  

Blade Profile

Next, this knife has a drop point blade profile. You can usually tell a drop point blade because spine of the blade drops slightly toward the point. Drop point blades make for really strong blade tips and are great for multipurpose survival knife blades, like this one.

Blade Grind

Now this Extreme Survival knife edge is a flat grind. The grind is what makes a knife sharp... It’s the angle cut of the steel on both sides of the blade that meet to form the edge of the blade. A flat grind simply means that both ground surfaces of the blade edge are flat opposed to being concave or convex.

Flat grinds are sturdy and simple to sharpen on basic equipment. And this edge has a deep flat grind, which means the ground surface on each side of the blade is a bit deeper (or longer) than normal which makes this edge similar to one you would find on a hatchet.

Edge Profile Okay... now look at the knife edge profile... See how the blade widens just before it curves up to make the tip?  I’m not sure what the intent was here but the slight concave edge curve toward the handle seems to make carving sticks and bark skinning a little easier.

Knife Geometry

And the geometry of this knife, combined with it’s mass, and the deep flat grind of the edge, seems to provide a bit more power when chopping than any of the other knives we’ve tested so far. Now of course a knife is never going to replace a hatchet or an axe... but it’s nice to know that if you only have this knife with you in the field, you can cut and split wood quite nicely. See how it kicks out a nice chunk with just about every stroke?  

One Tough Poin

Now one more thing about the point of the SCHF9. See how the spine edges converge, right at the very tip, to make the point? This stout point design almost ensures that your tip is not going to bust even if you have to pry or dig with it. But a point like this is not going to be as good for tactical and combat functions such as piercing... which is something knives like the SOG Seal Team Elite are designed for. See the difference? Schrade-Extreme-Survival-SCHF9-1i 

Now Let’s Talk About the Handle.

At the bottom of the blade steel, toward the handle, we have a concave cutout for the forefinger. This cutout helps to provide more leverage and control for slicing and carving. There is a corresponding cutout on the spine toward the handle for my thumb to rest.

The edge of this cutout area is also a great place to strike your fire steel. Here I am using the SOG combo fire steel and sharpening tool, and this knife to start a little blaze.  

Handle Grips

The Schrade Extreme Survival knife has one TPE handle grip on each side of the knife steel. These grips are securing fastened to the knife, using 4 rounded and recessed bolts. TPE stands for Thermoplastic Elastomers which are a mix of plastic and rubber. Handles made of TPE enjoy the advantages of both plastic and rubber materials. In the case of this handle, it’s both tough and resistant to wear while being very grippy, comfortable and shock absorbent.

This handle’s grip is enhanced even more through the use of a raised pattern of concentric circles, which makes it very grippy, even when it’s soaked.  

Handle Comfort

This is a hefty and meaty handle that widens to nearly an inch and a quarter to fit nicely in my palm, and it narrow toward the front and back, to fit very naturally, as I wrap my hand around it.

There are 5 notches in the blade-steel-spine side of the handle, toward the blade, that provide some additional grip for my thumb. Now on the bottom of this handle, there are 3 generous finger cutouts, that keep my hand firmly locked onto the knife.

This is one knife that those with small, medium AND large hands should all find comfortable to use, even for extended periods, due to the excellent forethought that was put into its design.

Handle Versatility

At the butt end of the Extreme Survival, the handle flairs and curves, so you can wrap your thumb and forefinger firmly around the very bottom of the handle, for chopping and splitting. This knife also has this nice sized lanyard hole. Oh, one more thing... although there’s not pommel on the but end of this handle... the blade steel is flush with the grip and could certainly be used to crush or break things in a pinch.  

Knife Balance

The Schrade Extreme Survival knife is well balanced, with the center of gravity right about where my forefinger naturally wraps around the handle. This makes the knife pretty agile in my hand, even for it’s weight. Now I know that several of you guys have told me that you would never throw your survival knife. But I have a general theory, that a well balanced survival knife can also be throw well. So I can’t resist taking the Extreme Survival out to the knife range and giving it a few tosses. This knife throws quite well considering it’s size and mass, which really cause it to sink into the wood. In a life and death situation, and hopefully with a backup knife on me, I would not hesitate to throw this knife if I needed to.

Okay, Now Let’s Talk About the Sheath.

The Schrade Extreme Survival knife sheath, has a tactical look and is made out of a good quality black nylon that is double stitched in most places... which is good. It has a heavy duty plastic liner that the knifes fits snugly into. The plastic liner is designed for the knife to be placed in the sheath for right hand carry.

The knife secures in the sheath, through the use of this adjustable strap, with a snap, closure system. The sheath easily straps to just about any belt, up to about 2 inches wide, and uses a flip and tuck belt strap system, to attach to your belt, without taking it off.  

Next, we have an interesting little removable pouch, on the front of the sheath. The pouch secures to the sheath, with the use of two straps that wrap around the back. And this pouch and sheath strap system, also give this sheath the ability to attach to a MOLLE vest or pack. This little pouch also has a loop on it’s back, to enable belt carry... which is a cool option.

Being naturally curious, I wondered how much survival gear I could fit in this sheath pouch, to round out this knife, and make it an even more helpful survival system. So, I knew I wanted a knife sharpener, fire steel and a small LED light and maybe a multi-tool. Anything beyond that to me was a bonus.


So here is what I came up with: - SOG fire starter / sharpener. - Bear Grylls Compact multi-tool, which is actually a redesign of the popular Gerber Clutch multi-tool. - Bear Grylls Micro Torch. - Bear Grylls Priorities of Survival - Pocket Guide.  And in a small zip lock bag I fit: - A small sewing kit. - A small pack of fishing hooks, line and sinkers. - A small roll of wire and waxed string for snares and traps. - A small wad of tinder. - Two waterproof matches and striker paper - just in case. I bundled them up tight and fit them neatly in the sheath pouch.  

Now I think we might just have a new Ultimate Survival knife kit. For links to all of the gear that I stuffed into this pouch, see the video description on YouTube.

Owner Comments

Owners tend to really love this knife, and go on and on about the Schrade Extreme Survival knife being a sharp, heavy duty, work horse of a knife, and usually average well over 4 out of 5 stars. Some comment on the blade edge not being perfect and some minor imperfections here and there, where the handle grip meets the blade steel. But nearly everyone seems to love the 1/4” thick, 1095 steel for its toughness and blade holding ability.

Many comment on the knife’s ability to chop and baton well. And everyone loves the ridiculous low price of this knife. Many even say that they bought two of these knives for the price they would have paid for just one knife before they found the Extreme Survival.

Our Rating

We rate the Schrade Extreme Survival knife at a very rare 5 out of 5 stars for it’s design, fit-and-finish, heavy-duty build, tough, edge holding blade, comfortable handle, versatile sheath, it’s usefulness in the field, and we were pushed over the edge by it’s crazy low ONLINE street price, of under $45. We almost took off half a star because the blade is not stainless steel. But the blade, strength, edge holding ability, tough, protective coating, design, fit and finish, and everything else for the price, is so amazing, we were compelled to give this knife 5 out of 5 stars.

So Who is this Knife for?

The Schrade Extreme Survival knife is an excellent tool for camping, hunting, backpacking, bushcraft, extreme adventures, safaris, bug-out-bags and emergency kits. If you want a knife for diving or outdoor activities like canoe camping where there is a good change that your knife is going to be wet for extended periods of time - look elsewhere.

Although the 1095 high carbon steel that used in the knife can be maintained in wet situations, you may want the luxury of a knife that is made of a quality stainless steel. See my reviews of the SOG Force, SOG Seal Pup or SOG Seal Team Elite. Or, if you really like this knife design, and the price point, check out the Schrade Extreme Survival SCHF3, since it’s very similar in design to the SCHF9 and IS made out stainless steel. If you want a survival knife with the added cutting power of serrations, you might want to check out the Schrade Extreme Survival SCHF3 or the SCHF2 which both come in fine and partially serrated versions. If you want a more tactical or combat survival knife, check out the my reviews of the Gerber LMF II, the SOG Seal Team Elite, the Cold Steel SRK, the Schrade SCHF2, the Gerber Prodigy or the Gerber LHR. BUT, if you want a reliable, versatile, and heavy duty survival knife, that will stand up to hard use when you need it most, and $39 bucks sounds good to you... the Schrade Extreme Survival blade - SCHF9 - may be your Ultimate Survival Knife! So we’ve just taken a look at the Schrade Extreme Survival knife. For your convenience I’ve included links to the Schrade Extreme Survival knife and all of the other knives and gear that I’ve mentioned, throughout this review. So… don’t forget to subscribe to our our Monthly Survival e-MAG - Click Here to Get It… I hope to see you one the other side… And remember… Be Prepared… Because You Never Know…

~ David

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