If you happen to be searching for a durable, inexpensive survival knife for less then $50 you should definitely take a long look and consider the Schrade SCHF10 Extreme Survival Knife. Schrade knives have won many fans among hunters, campers, backpackers and the survival community. That popularity is well deserved. As you will see below the quality and construction of the SCHF10 make it an excellent addition to the Schrade range of fixed blades.
Schrade has a very long history of producing high quality yet affordable knives. The company was first formed in 1892 by George Schrade, an inventor from England. Schrade is best known for his first knife design which was the switchblade. In 2004 the company was purchased by Taylor brands LLC who also manufacture Smith & Wesson Knives. They have continued the proud tradition of making first class survival knives under the Schrade brand name. Can the SCHF10 provide high performance, quality build materials and reliability for under $50? You bet! Continue reading our comprehensive review to learn why.
Blade Shape, Steel and Specifications
The Schrade SCHF10 features a fine edge with no serrations and a dark black coating which gives it a sleek appearance and adds to its durability and corrosion resistance. The blade is made from high carbon stainless steel or more specifically 8CR13MoV. This steel is known for its resistance to corrosion, ease of sharpening and ability to retain a sharp edge after a respectable amount of hard use. Sure, it isn’t a high-end steel so it can’t perfectly match the performance of steels such as S30V or VG-10, but at this price range (around $40 USD) 8CR13MoV is hard to beat.
The Schrade SCHF10 has an overall length of 10 1/2 inches with a 5.3 inch blade that weighs 14 1/4 ounces. It has a drop-point tip with a slight recurve on the blade edge. Great for slicing efficiency, but as a downside will require more skill to hone the edge on a sharpening stone. At the widest point of the blade it measures 1 1/2 inches from the spine to the edge with a blade thickness of 1/4 inch. That’s a lot of steel in a knife of this size and is actually thicker than many machetes and large chopping knives with blade lengths of 10 inches and up. It has a full tang blade that extends past the handle to create a small but serviceable pommel (good for a glass breaker) which is also where the lanyard hole is located. The factory edge of the SCHF10 is very sharp and the thick blade can easily handle light to medium chopping tasks. Slicing provided no issues with a wide variety of tough materials such as leather and rope. It cuts through them with ease even after an afternoon of processing firewood.
Handle Material and Ergonomics
The handle features a slight curve and cutouts for your fingers. This makes it easy and comfortable to hold. The Schrade SCHF10 also comes with plenty of jimping that makes the handle easier to grip and provides a much safer experience for hard use. There are three sets of jimping: one at the bottom of the handle, one at the top and one on the back of the blade. The black canvas micarta handle scales are connected to the knife tang with two hex bolts. One thing to note about the handle scales is they can be removed by unscrewing the hex bolts. This means they can be easily replaced with a customized option for those of use who like making modifications to our knives. Also makes it possible to wrap the bare handle of the blade with paracord, which makes for a decent handle with added functionality.
The knife features a full tang design, meaning the blade runs from the end of the handle right through to the tip of the knife. This (along with a thick, overbuilt blade) provides it with a very solid construction; it’s highly unlikely that the knife will snap even under extreme pressure. The knife is well balanced with a center of gravity around the mid point of the knife. Despite weighing 14 1/4 ounces it doesn’t feel overly heavy or difficult to maneuver. This is not a knife that you have to worry about failing in a survival situation. It is surprisingly comfortable in hand, provides a very “sticky” grip due to the texture of the handle scales and is not at all unwieldy, despite having a very thick blade for its size.
Sheath Quality and Features
The main weakness of this knife is the quality of the sheath. Not terrible, just perfectly average for such an above average knife. The sheath is constructed from reinforced black ballistic nylon. It also includes a Velcro closure strap for retention to ensure that the knife remains securely lodged inside the sheath (I would have personally preferred a button fastener). Stitching appears to be of good quality. It should at least be relatively sturdy for a nylon option. Sadly there is no MOLLE compatibility, which is something I like to see on survival knives that do opt for nylon sheaths.
The sheath is designed to be used with right hand belt carry and fits on any belt up to three inches wide. The sheath also features a small pouch at the front where you can include some other survival essentials. There is quite a bit of room in there so you can fit in a small pocket knife for more intricate cutting or a sharpening stone. This is a useful addition that is especially helpful when you are trying to pack light while hiking. So the sheath is perfectly functional and sturdy enough to do the job required of it in most environments, but far from exceptional in comparison to the knife itself. If you plan on using the SCHF10 on a regular basis I would recommend looking into a replacement sheath. Maybe a custom kydex if you can spare a few extra dollars or have the know-how to make one yourself. It would make carrying the knife a more enjoyable experience.
The Schrade SCHF10 is a very well constructed survival knife with a high quality fit and finish that equals that of significantly more expensive knives. The SCHF10 is quick and easy to swing, looks amazing and can even be customized with your own handle scales for those who like to add a little extra character to your knives. The very thick blade (one quarter inch) and extended full tang design results in a reliable knife that can stand up to rough treatment without breaking a sweat. While the nylon sheath is a bit disappointing (is this some kind of ongoing joke, make better sheaths people!), it performs the job adequately and seems durable enough to last.
The curve of this blade makes it slighter harder to sharpen with a stone, but it also means that it is well suited for cutting compared to a straight edge blade. The SCHF10 will suit campers, backpackers and hunters as well as those looking for a good addition to their survival kit.
Overall, the Schrade is an excellent low priced option with a great design made from quality steel. It is highly durable and useful for a wide range of outdoor and survival situations without breaking the bank. A truly incredible value that is tough to beat for less than $50.