My first impressions of the Ontario Knife Company model 499, The Air Force Survival Knife.

by Ric Hubbard • June 5, 2018

One of the first fixed-blade knives I owned as a kid was an original Air Force Survival knife that was given to me. I was told that it had been carried by a pilot during the Viet Nam war, but I have no real proof of that, so I just took the word for it. I used it for a few years for all kinds of camping and survival chores until someone decided that they needed it more than I did and stole it. I have wanted to get another for years.

The present knife made by the Ontario Knife Company is very similar to the original design with a five-inch blade, a fine saw blade on the back of the blade and a stacked leather washer handle. The blade on the knife that I bought doesn’t have the blood groove that the original model had and that is shown on the OKC website. It does have a nice zinc oxide finish and a well-made leather sheath.

The edge on the knife is not what you might want for fine work, but for the kind of tasks that I will be doing with this knife, it should do the trick just fine. I always have folding knife for this kind of work to go with a sheath knife, so this one will make a good combo with my Imperial slip joint Sod Buster style knife.

While I have a rather large collection of knives, I tend to be interested in practical working knives. I will be putting this knife to the same kind of tasks that you might buy a Bushcraft style knife for. I have my eye on a few knives of this style that I intend to compare to this knife.

I am looking forward to getting out and putting this new knife through its paces. Back when I was learning wilderness survival skills in the woods behind our house my original knife was a large part of the fun. I have high hopes that this new one will live up to its history.

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