If you want to find a kukri knife, you are in the right place. These knives, sometimes called Gurkha knives due to their origins (Nepal and India), are a great option for someone who is looking for something that is between a knife and a machete. Models vary in weight and blade material (cold steel, stainless steel), overall length, and price. Some of them include a leather sheath or a scabbard. Our article will help you choose the one that fits you the most.
No need to explain that knife is an essential thing to own if you are truly interested in survival products. In plus, it can be your faithful steel comrade in outdoor life, hunting or camping situations, and almost in whatever you do — chopping or carving the wood, simply clearing brushes, going for a small game, or just ensuring you’re 100% combat-ready — you’ll definitely need a quality knife. And Kukri has proved itself a fully reliable, multipurpose, and adaptable brand with a long and distinguished history.
As for its history, here is a bit of it for the newcomers: Kukri knife is known as the oldest of its kind in the history of humanity. You may inquire why it is called kukri. The matter is that “Khukuri” is the strict translation of the Nepali word. Khukuri, or its shortened version “kukri” (also called the Gurkha Knife), is the well-known national weapon of Nepal used by Gurkha. According to some legends, it was originated from a specific form of a knife first used by the ancient Mallas who took over Nepal in the XIII Century. In contrast, others suppose the Kukri was first introduced by Kirati people who took power in Nepal around the XVII Century before the Lichchhavi age. Khukuri is known to play a decisive role during Nepal’s history, especially in its unification periods. It was massively used by Gurkha soldiers and helped them take over a lot of states to consolidate, reinforce and unite Nepal.
What is important for us still is that following the ancient tradition, a Nepali boy was given his first kukri at the age of five; therefore, he had to master this sophisticated martial art long before becoming a mature man.
So, if you are on the hunt for a new (or the first) Kukri Knife for you or your teenage son, this is just what you need! This article may serve as a good introduction if you wish to know more about the history and various sorts of kukri knives. Otherwise, you may skip over straight to the actual top-rated modern versions of kukri knives on today’s market.
Now, if you’re planning to add a bigger blade to your survival gear, let us not hold back on the intro — it’s time you learned more about the capacities of the kukri.
As A Way To Introduce our Readers To Skilled Survival’s Basics, We’re Now Giving Away The Comprehensive Survival Gear Checklist. Follow The Link To Order A Copy Of It.
What Is A Kukri Knife Anyways?
As you already know, the Kukri’s country of origin is northern India and Nepal, and there you may find a huge number of similar-called knives, such as Kukri, Khukri, or Kukri.
Traditionally, a Kukri was in use by ancient Nepalese farmers and other workers. But it has long been associated with:
- The Royal Gurkha Rifles of the British Army
- The Army of Nepal
- All Gurkha soldiers serving throughout the world.
This extremely sharp Nepalese knife is designed with one blade (also called the “Gurkha blade”), which is well-recognized worldwide and enhances the knife’s versatility and unique profile. The kukri construction may seem very simple though still, it owns its own notable style, class, and shape.
It’s at the same time equal parts sword and chopping blade.
As for its size, the Kukri is bigger than a conventional survival cold steel knife but still more compact and thus easier to hold than a traditional survival machete. It is interesting that traditionally, Khukuris made in the XVIII-XIX centuries were far longer and had a more curved shape than their today’s counterparts. The shapes of kukri’s blade were traditionally either rather broad-belly and heavy or very slim and bowed and lightweight. Still, each kukri bears a unique individuality and traces back to its thousand-year history.
That contributes much to the reason why Tactical Kukri Knife might be my new preferrable blade option yet, and has all chances to become yours, too.
Blade And Knife Design
The Kukri knife owns a hefty, wide blade with a distinct forward curve design, a very sharp edge, and a softer spine. These unique features make it ideal for use for chopping.
Such a forward curve moves the center of mass in line with the handle allowing for a dramatic momentum build-up and a perfect slicing force to carry through your objective.
Why is the ancient Kukri still an impressive cutting tool massively used up to date?
First of all, Kukri’s design provides the Kukri a lethal ability superior to other equivalently sized knives, which ultimately results in better chopping performance than even a machete has. And when in the fight, warfare, or hunting, it wreaks and cuts deep, causes fatal wounds, and can even break bones.
In plus, it is easier for your wrist to make the swing due to its reduced wrist angle so that you do not get tired soon and have a more steady and fixed grip.
Apart from the blade’s forward curve, the Kukri is designed to have a “recurve” blade shape. A recurve design begins with a thin blade profile near the handle, increasing into a deep belly before tapering to the point. This way, it transposes the center of mass farther from the handle providing much more powerful swing momentum and a more overwhelming and destructive blow.
Like other knives aimed at outdoor use and chopping, most Tactical Kukri knives are designed to be as solid and strong as a rock.
Today, most Kukri knives feature a partial, hidden tang, and some military models still own a full tang (which consequently increases its eight and cost). Nonetheless, it enhances the overall resulting power drastically.
Among the very many local variations in size and blade thickness, the Kukri’s blade is usually around 1/4 inches thick at the handle and gradually narrows to the tip.
For the majority of utility models, knife length is estimated at 16″-18″ while ceremonial sorts of Kukri are usually longer to hold a special decoration.
With such a solidly built design, the Kukri’s handle needs to keep it tight and allow a firm and secure grip to hinder slipping.
Most conventional Kukris feature handles carved from hard sorts of wood or water buffalo horn. But several commercial types are made of synthetic materials, such as metal, rubber, and so on. This doe not mean they are less durable, as modern quality synthetics may provide even more attachment options.
Among other essential characteristics to mention, there are safety flared bases on most modern Kukris to prevent the hand from slipping off the end (which is crucial during hard chopping or when performing slicing cuts).
Most Kukri knives own special metal bolsters that ensure extra durability and a metal butt cap that may be applied as an improvised hammer or a club.
Military model sheaths are often MOLLE-compatible, which means there is an ability to strengthen it with a great range of tiny tools fixed to the external side of the sheath depending on how you plan to carry and use it.
Isn’t it a nice little bonus? Well, here’s a good video introducing the readers to the backstory and some exciting features of the Kukri Knife’s long evolvement:
As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival’s Hacks And Tips, We’re Ready To Send You A Comprehensive Survival Gear Checklist For FREE. Click Here And Leave Your Email Address To Get Your Free Copy Of It Now.
The Most Critical Kukri Features To Search For
There are many characteristics to take into account before acquiring such a decent utility blade as Kukri Knife.
Having a basic knowledge of each of the following features will help you choose the right model for your specific needs.
Kukri’s come in a range of blade angles, which, as you may suppose, influences the handling of the knife and the overall convenience of holding it.
You may choose a steeply angled or a more “hooked” spine, which is almost perfect for chopping brush and thick objects. If you seek a helping cutting tool for various camping activities, including preparing food and performing some other delicate duties, a straighter blade design will suit you better.
It is simple: the longer the blade – the more momentum your swing is. However, keep in mind that the agility will increase in inverse proportion to the length of your blade.
Still, shorter models may give a resulting weaker performance if we mean chopping. In contrast, the shorter ones are far more mobile and handy as a fighting weapon (unless you are a Master Ninja fully skillful at long-bladed daggers).
Here is another crucial factor influencing both swing and cutting force. The total weight of the blade is to be taken into consideration as it affects the handling greatly.
It comes as a rule: a lighter blade has a faster acceleration speed but lesser chopping momentum, while the heftier blade swings more slowly, providing a better momentum. Keep this in mind before you decide to choose the shortest (or the longest) Kukri model.
The materials are surely not to ignore, either, when acquiring a knife. Usually, the knife makers provide at least two blade material options: Stainless Steel or Carbon Steel.
Each of these materials has its flaws and advantages, so we advise you to get acquainted with them both.
1 – Stainless Steel
Stainless steel consists of larger amounts of chromium and vanadium. According to the name, its molecular structure guarantees its corrosion resistance. Still, surprising as it may sound, it may be less durable than other certain types of steel alloys, which eventually leads to more chipping and breakages during usage.
Moreover, stainless steel is known as a metal that is relatively hard to carry. So, it is a double-edged sword here: such kukri can hold a sharp edge for a long while, but it’s not easy for the user to sharpen any hard metal blade with no special tools.
This way, we would recommend stainless steel blade if you do not need a multi-tasking knife but one for restricted particular purposes and only for conditions when corrosion threatens your knife more than other factors.
A carbon steel blade is suitable for more purposes.
2 – High Carbon Steel
It is easy to guess that contrary to stainless steel, high carbon steel is an alloy comprising huge amounts of carbon, making it as sturdy and durable as it can be.
It logically leads to more susceptibility to corrosion. So here are a few tips a good user should know: wash it after every use, always keep it clean and dry, and for longer endurance, oil it a bit each time after you use your Kukri.
If compare the two materials in terms of firmness, high carbon steel is softer than stainless steel. Though it may give you an impression of weaker performance, in fact, soft metals have overall more blade edge maintenance. Still, you may obtain razor-sharp edges using any good sharpening stone and some practical skills.
To sum it up, high carbon steel is a multi-purposed material that is easier to sharpen and yet not less durable than stainless steel. Mind the risks of corrosion and make your own choice.
This advice applies not only to Kukri knives but to most heavy-use blades, as well.
Full Tang vs. Other Designs
A traditional Kukri uses a partial or stick tang that today may be replaced with the full tang knife design, which is gaining fame due to even increased durability (for example, Schrade SCHKM1 Large Full Tang Kukri Machete).
The matter is that additional thickness defeats any potential flaws when the handle connects to the blade. In full tang knife models, the blade’s steel runs through the entire handle to the full thickness, which results in a stronger bond and a more trustworthy cutting tool.
In a wide range of Kukri items, the chopping blade’s thickness gives both weight and durable strength. Many kukri blades are more than 1/4 inch thick at the rim, which is a very significant blade thickness indeed.
Here’s another detailed video demonstrating all the advantages of owning a Kukri for your advanced survival:
And now, let’s proceed to our top seven recommendations of today’s Kukri models. Each review is supported by brief “pros” and “cons” characteristics for your convenience.
Top 7 Kukri Knives On Today’s Market
1 – Ontario 6420 OKC Kukri
This Ontario Kukri suits best for cooking camping meals or during other camp chores compared to fighting or chopping wood since it has a shallower blade angle and flatter belly than most Kukri models.
The knife weighs a bit more than 1lb, which makes it light enough for chopping as well.
However, as some reviews have shown, the sheath isn’t the top class, yet it seems the newest models have improved this feature.
- Applicable for kitchen tasks (such as cutting, butchering, light chopping, and so on)
- the knife’s black finish prevents the blade from corrosion
- Sheath quality leaves much to be desired
- Older models own a welded tang, which may cause cracking after a while.
Watch this video to have your own impression of Ontario 6420 OKC Kukri.
Still, the reviewer calls this model a favorite cutter of him as it offers a solid cutting performance for just $55, made of 1095 steel. The model comprises powder coating, Kraton grip, and ballistic nylon sheath so that one is not likely to find a better Kukri at such a price rate.
2 – CRKT KUK Kukri
A more hard-use option, the CRKT KUK is a decent tool for a number of utilities, as the KUK has an extended drop point unlike most Kukri knives, allowing it to perform more precise actions with the tip of the blade. Nevertheless, since it is thinner, its risks of damage are thus a bit higher.
The thermoplastic handle is not perfectly designed, yet it is resilient and gives you a good knife grip, so it tips the overall balance more to its advantages.
- Convenient length
- Pointed tip for a better and more precise performance
- As it is lightweight, it is harder to chop well.
- Quality control on factory sharpening isn’t flawless.
- The design of the handle is not outstanding.
Watch a video testing of the 10.55 Inch Kukri knife before you decide for yourself.
3 – EGKH WW1 Bushcraft Kukri
The EGKH WWI Kukri is on the high end of the knife price range. But it’s a recreation of an early model carried by Gurkha soldiers in Burma during The First World War.
It is right what a history lover needs being a very traditional-looking Kukri supplied by a nice rosewood handle and conventional styling. The blade is 14 inches long, while the handle is 5 inches. It weighs a total of 450 grams and feels fine in hand, as stated by many reviewers.
It is sold with a sharpening tool (often called chakmak) as well as a thick sheath containing an additional small knife (called karda).
And, at over 1/3 inches thick at the spine and nearly 2lbs, this is absolutely a BURLY build.
- Comprises a solid sheath with some extra tools
- Well-designed (referring to traditional kukri) and balanced
- Heavy enough for chopping
- Has a durable rosewood handle
- Requires systematically care and maintenance from the user
- Rather costly.
We recommend you watch the detailed review of the EGKH Khukuri.
4 – Condor K-Tact Kukri
The Condor K-Tact kukri is a sturdy knife of 15 inches in length.
It’s powerful enough for performing chopping and batoning actions but still light enough so that your hand muscles do not hurt afterward, and when fixed to your tactical belt is does not seem a heavy burden.
The Micarta-typed handles are easy-to-grip and corrosion-resistant, and a stainless butt cap is a good option for pounding in stakes or even cracking nuts and shells.
- Micarta, Kydex, and other corrosion-free commodities
- Sharp from the brand
- Deep blade angle provides more efficient chopping.
- Quality control on the sheath may not always be great, though that depends on the item.
- Quite costly, as well.
Watch the related video comparing Condor K-TACT Kukri to the Nessmuck Neo Necker and make your choice.
5 – Condor Tool & Knives Heavy Duty Kukri
This Condor Kukri boasts a 10-inch blade length and a nearly six-inch handle. This blade may seem a little too small, yet it is 100% well-built and durable. The material speaks for itself, too — the knife is made of 1070 carbon steel.
Keep in mind, though, that it may not arrive as sharp as a shark’s tooth, so make sure to acquire a quality knife sharpening stone and keep it by your side.
The knife weighs around 2lbs, providing a rather good momentum, while the flared handle makes it easier to control this momentum, whatever your weight, strength, and height.
- Made of high carbon steel
- Convenient and compact for better agility
- Good for fighting and combatting
- It comes with a fine leather sheath.
- Wood handles may crack if used in a too heavy manner.
- Does not feature butt crap or any metal bolsters.
Watch the field testing of the Condor Heavy Kukri to find out more about the model.
6 – Cold Steel 97KMPS Kukri Machete
The Cold Steel 97KMPS kukri is an absolute bargain at a price stated when this article was just out.
As you already know, full tang accounts for its endurance and sturdy chopping, and its corrosion-free blade treatment keeps away the rust whatever the conditions. With its overall length of 18 inches, it can be considered a large knife and thus performs chopping well. Plus, having the medium blade angle implies it is capable of performing various kitchen and household tasks, as well.
- Optimal balance between its size and weight
- The handle is resilient, though it may subjectively seem a bit smooth.
- Be careful since there exist two versions of this blade, and one of them is likely to be made of lesser quality steel and supported by poorer quality control from the manufacturer.
Watch the video with this sturdy Cold Steel Gurkha Kukri being tested in the wilderness.
7 – Ka-Bar Combat Kukri
And finally, almost no top list of knives is complete without adding at least a single item by the Ka-Bar brand.
This version of such a combat knife is a modified version of a tactical Kukri model. The KA-BAR Machete with the Kukri blade is made of 1085 carbon steel.
Having an overall length of almost 14 inches, 8.5 inches blade, and an ergonomically designed Black Kraton G Handle, it’s much more than just a casual tool aimed at clearing brush, chopping your campsite’s barbecue, or cracking the coconuts. On the contrary, it is designed for all things wild, starting from rough survival up to fierce combat — just take a look at its enormous epoxy coated high carbon blade!
Combining a shallow angle and lighter weight allows this blade to be a more maneuverable and agile tool.
Yet, a tiny flaw common for a lot of other blades widespread on today’s market is its sheath, which seems not to fit properly according to a consistent number of reviewers.
- Designed solidly and capable of combatting
- The epoxy covering prevents the blade from corrosion.
- Top-quality steel
- A convenient handle with a non-slip easy grip
- The polyester sheath (again!) leaves much to improve, though another model’s item may replace it.
- Not really good for chopping
Here is a detailed Ka-Bar Combat Kukri Overview to give you a wider impression of both its strong points and drawbacks.
As A Way Of Getting Our Readers Acquainted To Skilled Survival’s Basics, We’re Giving Away Our Comprehensive Survival Gear List For FREE. Follow The Link To Order Your FREE Example Of It Now.
In Conclusion / Wrap-Up
Here’s a brief list of all the Kukri Knive models you could find in the above review chapter:
- Condor Tools & Knives Heavy Duty Kukri
- Ka-Bar Combat Kukri
- CRKT KUK Kukri
- EGKH WW1 Bushcraft Kukri
- Ontario 6420 OKC Kukri
If you ask a friend or a random stranger to “draw a knife,” the shape and design will vary greatly depending on his location in the world, his origin and culture, and the outlook on his identity.
Since most locations still own “classic” or “iconic” blade sorts evolved as a result of mixing the primal necessity and the developing culture, it is interesting to name here a few of them:
- For instance, the Bowie knife was THE knife of choice on the early Western Borders of today’s North American area.
- To those who wish to travel to southern areas closer to the US/Mexican frontier, introducing the Machete is essential as Machetes are in use up to date both in popular culture and daily chores.
- Japan’s venerated Samurai Katana is surely featured not only in Tarantino’s cult classic “Kill Bill” but was massively used during ancient times for close-quarter combatting.
- In wide use, European countries were far more sword sized blades being prevalent during military warfares and crusades in the epoch preceding the Industrial one. Back in the times of knights on horses, when being able to perform massive horse-mounted fighting was considered a major advantage, the art of making Curved Scimita, or a curve-bladed saber, started to evolve from Asian steppes.
- And the longer blades of China’s military troops were aimed at combatting rivals when dismounted.
Still, the Kukri, a traditional knife of the Nepalese Army, is a widespread and still evolving tool and optimal choice for survival and daily service, be it chopping, carving, camping concerns, or even fighting since a blade that compact is still capable of dealing massive, serious damage.
To draw a conclusion, in case you’re seeking a fine compromise between a Mexican machete and a sturdy survival knife, the Kukri is the best option possible.
We would be thrilled to finally convince you to get yourself a mighty Kukri
against all sorts of evil (joking) suitable for all outdoor scenarios, both unexpected and routine.
So, finally, what is your Weapon of Choice?
Let us know in the comments below.
What is a kukri knife used for?
A kukri knife is famous for its multi-tasking capacities — from clearing brush to chopping meat, carving, fighting, and self-defense. The kukri blade’s unique shape and design require honing your skills in practice and knowing how to apply them properly before getting used to them. However, once you have trained enough, you will discover their versatility and durability at full capacity, including survival situations. We kindly advise you to read the article once again if any similar questions are left.
What are the two small knives that come with a kukri?
As you might already know, Kukri feature two little knives attached at the back of the sheath held either in a built-in pocket or a leather purse is the complete set. The small sharp knife is called Karda. It serves as a small cutting knife. The other knife, blunt on both sides, is called a Chakmak and works as a knife sharpener in case you do not have a sharpening stone. Another advantageous capacity of Chakmak (if stroked sharply against a limestone) is causing sparks to start a fire, as well.
Among the related above-mentioned models, we would advise the EGKH WW1 Bushcraft Kukri as it is sold with a sharpening tool (chakmak) and a thick sheath containing an additional small knife (karda) to meet your demands best.
Is a kukri a good survival knife?
Absolutely! Use it when cutting trees, carving, clearing brush, chopping meat and cracking bones, stabbing, hunting, skinning animals, and so on. For further information, we recommend browsing through the questions and answers above and seeking the necessary details on the Internet (for instance, a great variety of knives and related products is presented at Amazon com — set filters to show you top results — all rights reserved).
Who makes the best kukri knives?
We assure you that each model included in the article is worth trying, so you may choose any of the items by the brands presented on our list. Pay special attention to your Kukri blade and its material as Carbon Steel is more multi-purposed; in plus, mind the overall resilience, the convenience of its handle, its weight, and other factors since it all comes individually.
Things to Consider When Buying Kukri Knife
Once again, before you place certain items into your cart, as a wise customer, you should start with checking the following criteria:
- The origin of the knife
- Blade material: it is the most crucial factor that must be taken into account when buying a kukri knife or other survival knives
- Blade Size and shape: its functionality may be restricted based on its material (stainless steel, carbon high steel, cold steel, or something else)
- Tang: its width, tip, and so on
- Handle: its grip, convenience, and design
- Sheath: its material, quality, condition, the overall easiness of pulling out and putting your knife into it
- Price, depending on your budget and goals.