Ontario RAT-5 Fastened Blade Knife Evaluation

Contemplating shopping for an Ontario RAT-5?

Questioning if the RAT-5 is the knife for you?

Try the overview beneath by our survival knife knowledgeable, and see for your self.

Ontario RAT-5 Fastened Blade Knife Evaluation

In earlier articles, we mentioned selecting a hard and fast blade survival knife (see these articles right here, right here and right here.)  A knife is without doubt one of the extra necessary items of apparatus you possibly can have with you in a survival scenario.

As such, a very good, survival applicable, mounted blade knife is your best option for inclusion in a survival package or BOB (Bug Out Bag) or equal, and/or to be strapped on when an emergency is probably going.  On this article, we’ll take into account one other contender for “Greatest Survival Knife”.

As talked about within the common articles, there are two lessons of mounted blade knife which could be applicable for survival situations, the “bush” (medium) knife and the “subject” (massive) knife. This knife belongs to the bush class.

Why did I take into account this knife?

 Ontario Knife Firm is one other historic U.S. firm, which began producing knives in 1889. They’ve produced many knives utilized by U.S. armed forces, together with the M7 Bayonet, the M3 Navy knife, and maybe their most iconic knife, the Pilot Survival Knife.

In 2002, they shaped an unique collaboration with Randall’s Journey and Coaching (RAT). Randall’s Journey and Coaching is knowledgeable survival coaching, expedition guiding, and out of doors gear analysis group primarily based in Alabama, with operations in Latin America.

It’s led by Jeff Randall and Mike Perrin. The Ontario RAT line consists of some fashions which seem like good selections for survival.

As an apart, Randall’s Journey and Coaching is now referred to as ESEE, which additionally presents a line of survival-appropriate (and different) knives supposed to be extra “custom-like” than the mass-produced Ontario knives.

The RAT-5 and TAK-1 fashions seem like the RAT line fashions which could be capable to fill a bush knife place, and I discovered a deal on the RAT-5 first.

The specs

Blade Size 5″ General Size 10 1/2″
Blade Width 1 1/2″ Weight (Knife Solely) 11.1 oz
Blade Metal 1095 Grip Materials Micarta
Blade Form Clip Level Guard Kind Half, Molded into the tang and grip
Blade Grind Flat False Edge No
Blade Thickness 0.19″ Backbone “Jimping” Sure
Choil Sure (Each) Lanyard Gap Sure
Made in USA

Particular Options:  Textured Powder coating on the blade, Pointed pommel        

Preliminary impressions

That is a powerful medium-sized knife. It seems to be well-made and largely well-designed. There are a few quirks that aren’t optimum in my view.

For one, the finger choil has the sting operating proper into it, which supplies you the advantages of each sorts of choil, however leads me to worry that utilizing the choke grip would possibly lead to a reduce to the finger.

The opposite factor is that the place of the jimping just isn’t optimum. It’s ahead of the grip so just isn’t of use for a saber grip.

For most individuals, it could be good for a Filipino grip and choke grip. If it began on the identical level ahead and prolonged backwards yet one more inch, it will most likely be “superb”.

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A reverse grip on the Ontario RAT-5.

A reverse grip on the Ontario RAT-5.

The grip seems to have a “boxy” cross-section, however is pretty comfy and safe in the entire helpful vertical ahead grips (“hammer”, “saber” and “Filipino”), though the saber grip may very well be higher with a change to the jimping, as talked about.

Additionally comfy and safe are the reverse, or “ice decide” grip, the the other way up, “FGEU” (Ahead Grip Edge Up) or “draw” grip, and the choke grip; though the latter seems dangerous to the forefinger as talked about above.

A choke grip on the Ontario RAT-5.

A choke grip on the Ontario RAT-5.

For my large palms, it’s pretty respectable within the sideways grip (typically referred to as “modified saber”) favored by some knife fighters and helpful for harvesting grasses, however I am involved somebody with smaller palms may need issue with this. The grip panels are pretty clean, and never as slip resistant as I would really like. I used to be astonished that wetting my hand with water, the grip was LESS slippery, and with a little bit of vegetable oil, it was no extra slippery than it was with dry palms.

A Filipino grip on the Ontario RAT-5.

A Filipino grip on the Ontario RAT-5.

  • A protracted clip level is usually not the very best level for common survival use, however this one is straight and so gradual that there is no such thing as a important distinction between it and the optimum drop level.
  • The perimeters of the backbone are usually not noticeably rounded, however they don’t seem sharp sufficient to be helpful.
  • The blade coating is aesthetically pleasing and doesn’t mirror gentle.
  • The lanyard gap is properly sized, however the edges are solely barely rounded, so verify your lanyard for put on every now and then. Because the lanyard gap is barely by means of the tang, it will not be sensible to additional chamfer the perimeters of the lanyard gap.
  • The tip of the tang is uncovered and pointed, so it ought to serve in non-lethal fight, and act as a glass breaker. The flat half would possibly probably function a make-shift hammer, however that appears of low chance.
  • Stability is additional behind the guard than I am used to seeing, however the knife “feels” proper anyway. It might or might not turn into good for a lot of makes use of, however most likely will not be optimum for chopping.
  • The sheath, just like the knife, seems to be largely superior with a number of quirks; it ought to be a minimum of satisfactory for many makes use of. Retention appears to be superior.

Based mostly on historical past, specs and appearances, I’ve excessive hopes for this knife.

The Metal

 One supply signifies a few of these would possibly use 5160. Most indications are that some or all of them use 1095. I am unable to inform by look and there’s no marking, so we’ll go together with the “official” metal, 1095.

This can be a affordable assumption to make, as 5160 is a greater knife metal than 1095, so it shouldn’t be an issue to get one which occurs to have this metal.

If the selection was accessible, I might go for the 5160 premium metal over the mid-range 1095. Assuming any further value was not extreme, after all.

A reverse grip on the Ontario RAT-5.

A reverse grip on the Ontario RAT-5.

1095 is a workhorse Carbon Metal, generally used for knives as a result of it’s simple to form and warmth deal with. And pretty cheap. As such, it’s a respectable alternative; sturdy besides fairly inclined to rusting.

The coating ought to assist shield the metal from rust, aside from the sting and the logos engraved on the blade. And anyplace the place the coating is worn or scraped away.

It might be clever to deal with these areas with a rust inhibiter, ideally a dry one. Defend the knife from moisture as a lot as sensible, and when it does get moist, dry it off as shortly and totally as doable.

The knife takes a very good edge, simply. Just some strokes of my Smith’s Pocket Pal received it razor sharp and it simply sliced paper and a tomato.

After fifty slices by means of cardboard it didn’t endure any potential to slice tomatoes and paper. Should you want a knife that may be sharpened to a razor edge with a pocket sharpener, this one could be in your checklist.

To summarize, it seems that the metal has low rust resistance (compensated for considerably by the blade coating), excessive energy, glorious edge functionality, glorious ease of sharpening, excessive resistance to chipping, and excellent edge-holding functionality.


Common duties

  • Chopping cord – That is typically needed throughout building of shelter, fishing, stitching and making snares and traps, in addition to different instances. As probably the most generally accessible to survivalists, I attempted fish line and paracord, in addition to 3/8″ Manila and three/4″ Sisal, simply because fish line and paracord would appear to be trivial for any knife price having. Chopping the fish line and paracord was no downside. The Manila reduce pretty simply and the Sisal reduce higher than another knives.
  • Making notches in branches – This may very well be required for shelter building and making snares or traps, in addition to different instances. This knife did a good job of this. The perpendicular cease reduce was not distinctive, as anticipated of a average bush knife, but it surely did chop effectively sufficient to make this reduce a bit at a time.

Ontario RAT 5 Right

  • Trimming/Sharpening/smoothing branches – This may be for shelter building, in addition to making arrows, spears, stakes, strolling sticks and even bows. Oddly sufficient, it appeared to have a little bit of an issue with the ultimate sharpening; it appeared to slip off with out chopping a lot. However, this did result in a smoother end. As for trimming, it did okay for thinner branches and a very good job at smoothing.
  • Pounding in stakes – This may very well be required for making shelters, snares and traps. This knife can kind of do it with the lengthy fringe of the pointed pommel, however the narrowness of the hammer face (lower than 1/4″) and odd angle implies that the percentages of lacking on a stroke is extraordinarily excessive, and if that occurs, your hand (significantly the little finger) is vulnerable to harm from the highest finish of the stake. As for hammering in nails, I received one began, for hanging one thing or attaching a wire, but it surely was extra bother and extra painful than it will be price usually.


  • Use with a magnesium bar or ferrocerium rod is okay utilizing the sting of the blade; it shaves and sparks effectively, with no seen harm to the blade. Utilizing the nook of the backbone for this to spare the sting just isn’t doable with out modifying the backbone to have a sharper edge and no coating, which might appear to be of restricted practicality.
A saber grip on the Ontario RAT-5.

A saber grip on the Ontario RAT-5.

  • To get a spark utilizing “flint and metal”, you’re really “chopping” off particles of the metal with the sharp fringe of the flint; the friction of this motion inflicting the metal fragments to glow. The coating prevents entry to the metal, so this knife can’t be used for this function, until you take away the coating from a part of the backbone.
  • A technique of making tinder is to make use of the backbone to scrape the liner from bark; as a result of backbone edge not being significantly sharp, plus the coating, with this knife you will have to make use of the common edge. As for making a “feather stick”, this does a fairly good job should you like small curls and have the management to maintain it from utterly separating the “curl” from the stick.
  • Drilling a gap (for a hearth drill) was very easy, higher than different knives I’ve tried to this point. The tip seems to not be at a lot danger of bending or breaking.
  • Batoning for entry to tinder or making kindling from logs labored pretty effectively. It appeared that the textured coating didn’t have important everlasting marking from this (there have been marks, however they appeared to wash off).

Meals Gathering/Preparation

  • Use as a throwing knife – A phrase to the clever, do not. Should you throw your knife, you might not get it again, or it may be broken. And studying to throw a knife reliably and precisely takes a variety of apply. Should you do need to have that talent, by no means use your “actual” knife to apply with; begin with some cheapo throwing knives to study the fundamentals, then get a knife an identical to your survival knife to dedicate to apply. The steadiness level on this knife is about 60%, in comparison with 64% for a typical throwing knife, and as this has a very good grade of carbon metal, the percentages of it breaking or chipping are diminished. Nonetheless, I couldn’t discover a distance the place it will reliably stick.
A sideways grip on the Ontario RAT-5.

A sideways grip on the Ontario RAT-5.

  • Use as a spear – Turning your knife right into a spear offers you further attain. The grips appear to be they are often eliminated, however this seems to not be the case. Making an attempt to unscrew the screws with an inexpensive quantity of torque was not profitable, so they’re most likely “glued” in place. Thus, it will have to be lashed “to” the shaft, that means it is going to be off middle, which doesn’t throw effectively.
  • This chops veggies fairly effectively, and the sharpness and blade form ought to do effectively at skinning and butchering recreation. It would even be satisfactory for the duty of filleting.
  • Digging for grubs and bait. It’s onerous to think about something which might uninteresting or harm a knife faster than digging with it. This knife is fairly robust, however I am positive the sting will endure, although, so do not do that until you may have the means with you to not solely hone, however rebuild the sting.


  • Sticks or fronds – For shelter and different building, splints and firewood. As anticipated, this didn’t have the burden or steadiness to cut effectively; it took some time to get by means of a half inch department. There was no seen signal of injury although.


  • The blade is a bit quick to be distinctive at protection, and the built-in half guard gives primarily no safety in your hand out of your opponent, and honest safety out of your hand slipping onto the blade. This isn’t actually a combating knife, however can be utilized for protection if needed. The tip of the tang has a “skull-cracker” level which is a plus. Just about the one grip which is able to permit efficient use of that is the “hammer” grip.
A hammer grip on the Ontario RAT-5.

A hammer grip on the Ontario RAT-5.


 The sheath model is a consultant instance of the nylon/polyester kind, with one superior function and a few minor quirks. There are two grip retention straps, snap closed, which work effectively.

Surprisingly, these straps are adjustable! However not reversible. The belt loop is sewn in, and is kind of satisfactory, though you will have to string it onto your belt. On the again is a full size Molle connection strap.

Adjustable straps

Adjustable straps

The blade liner seems to be thick sufficient however just isn’t fitted, that means this rattles a bit. Not solely that, however the blade liner is an inch longer than the blade, after which the sheath has a further inch of nylon, so the sheath is about two inches longer than it needs to be.

On the plus aspect, placing the knife in backward for a left-hand carry is not any downside. There’s a small pouch on the entrance, with a flap, however the flap sticks up an inch excessive of the pouch, so smaller objects could be vulnerable to falling out.

There’s a pair of eyelets on the backside with a size of paracord to tie across the leg if sheath flop is an issue.

The Ontario RAT-5 sheath.

The Ontario RAT-5 sheath.


It seems the one equipment accessible are {custom} sheaths.

Ontario RAT 5 Sheath 2

Value and Availability

The checklist value of the RAT-5 at this time limit is $157.95. Oddly sufficient, the Ontario web site presents it for $118.95, and you’ll typically discover it on eBay for $75 and up at public sale.

It’s listed as being in inventory on the firm, and there are a number of individuals promoting it on eBay, each at public sale (probably cheaper) and Purchase It Now (faster). It’s also in inventory at Amazon for a very good value, however might have gross sales tax added on.


This can be a fairly good bush knife and could be a good selection whether or not solely a bush knife would suffice or a subject/bush knife mixture is most popular.

It is not a chopper however ought to be satisfactory or higher for many different affordable duties. The sheath rattles and is somewhat flimsy on the backside, so a {custom} sheath could be useful for this knife.

When utilizing the choke grip, be significantly cautious of the tip of the sting proper there in opposition to your forefinger, as a slip might lead to a nasty reduce.

Ontario RAT 5 UpsideDownGrip

Should you like issues to be in “units”, Ontario has a RAT subject knife, the RTAK II, which could go effectively with this bush knife. Maintain tuned to Survival Life for a future overview of the RTAK II to see if it lives as much as its smaller brother’s {qualifications}, assuming I can discover a deal on it.

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Editor’s Be aware: This publish was initially revealed on September 3, 2015, and has been up to date for high quality and relevancy.

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