First Impression Review: First Edge 5050 Survival knife


Burly does not begin to describe this knife.

After David did a blurb about First Edge Knives in his SHOT show video roundup, company C.E.O. Rick Shepherd contacted me to set up a phone interview. Until that video, I had not known about their knives, or the fact that they have been working in concert with Americas SOF warriors, who have been carrying their knives throughout Iraq and Afghanistan.

Fast forward to this afternoon, when a First Edge 5050 Elmax Survival knife arrived at my door for testing. I have carried and played with it for about 10 hours now, and I think I may have found my new Zombie Apocalypse knife. This thing is burly. Much better than a U.K. verboten “Zombie Knife”.


The 5050 makes the Wilmont Wharny and Gerber Strong Arm look diminutive.

This thing is big. It is a full-tang, slab scaled construction. The blade is a whopping ,235″ (yes almost 1/4″!) thick slab of Elmax steel, measuring 11.25″ overall with a 5.125″, flat ground blade. It weighs in at 17.5 oz without the sheath. The g-10 scales fill up my medium-large hand and then some. Any bigger and it would be an issue, but acceptable especially in light of the extremely effective checkering.


The 5050 comes arm-shaving sharp from the factory.

In case you were wondering if something this massive can take a fine edge, yes it can. I shaved, sliced newsprint, and 100 linear feet of corrugated cardboard. This knife is so cool that I just had to start with actually testing it right away. In fact, I am going to take it fishing for the first time tomorrow.

It was probably bad news anyway

The Elmax kept a terrific edge throughout the cardboard test, but make no mistake, this thing has some friction issues when it comes to cutting cardboard. The cardboard tended to accordion a bit, but through 100 linear feet of cardboard, the cut itself was clean. It was no longer arm-shaving sharp, but still did fine on newsprint. There was no sign of wear to the black oxide finish.


Even though some strips accordioned, the blade itself kept slicing.

I even was inspired by last night’s episode of Forged in Fire to try slicing the edge of a book. Lacking a phone book, I tried an old paperback, (Larry Bond’s Red Phoenix if you are keeping score at home).  It worked like this video we shared a while back.


cool…it works like the video.

I needed to do one final test for a knife that was worthy of its burliness. I took five solid whacks at a piece of 2×4 in my vise, and sent some serious chips flying.



I can’t wait to take this knife out to the woods and start really putting this knife to work. Apparently our friend Tim of EveryDayTacticalVids beat us to it. He posted this picture to Instagram this afternoon, even tagging @knifetruth in it. He just got one to review as well. I looked and he hasn’t posted a video yet, I will share it when he does.


Tim has one too…


  1. I_Like_Pie says:

    Any advantage to having a knife that thick? It almost weighs as much as a camp axe.

    There is another 1/4″ bladed knife on the market now outside of the ones at the top of your article. The name escapes me, but if I remember correctly the price is around $50 ish and the first thing people tend to do is replace the scales.

    1. I_Like_Pie says:

      Ka-Bar Becker BK2 – That is the one I was thinking about

    2. lumberjake says:

      You question regarding the thickness is quite common and the answer is strength mostly.
      I assume being kitted to the navy SEALs this knife likely had to endure a basic test that involves tortional strength. I am no SEAL but assume they are trained to do many things most would never do such as forced entry, where prying is needed, not to mention the numerous possible scenarios of being stuck or rescue. Cases where a leverage tool is required.
      Aside from the above, a thicker stock could improve chopping and battoning but my guess would be mostly for breaching.
      Finally, they need a dependable knife more than anything so that would trump cutting performance.A SEAL could possibly lose his kit during an operation and having your knife still just puts even more emphasis on being able to do multiple non knife tasks.
      That is how I see it.

  2. knightofbob says:

    I’m no steel nerd, I have to look up every new blade material I see mentioned to talk about it at all. All I’m seeing about Elmax comes across as if it were written by the marketing department at Uddeholm. I have no doubt it’s a fine material, but every article is firmly in the “too good to be true” category. I keep expecting one to mention that stirring molten lead with an Elmax spoon will turn it to gold.

    That said, I’ve been looking for a fixed blade for part-time EDC, and if the 5150 were about 3/4 the size and half the price, it would be a serious contender.

  3. Tim says:

    Thanks for the shout. This thing has impressed so far. Definitely not a tiny knife but very stout.

  4. stuartb says:

    its Yuge!

  5. ed says:

    Sure looks a lot like a ESEE-5 knife from ESEE Knives. It have been out for years.

  6. Jer says:

    Another site lists this knife as a”Cold Weather” survival knife. It will take serious effort to break it. Notice the “butt”. This will create serious damage on window, and someones head. Even the sheath is hard core useful.

  7. Sara says:

    Is it full tang or skeletonized?

    1. I hadn’t yet looked under the hood, so I went ahead and removed the scales. Full tang, with the coating completely protecting the elmax. Not a hint of corrosion.

  8. lumberjake says:

    This is a sweet knife but ,as someone has mentioned, it looks a lot like the ESEE 5 but WAY more expensive.
    Granted Elmax is costly, probably hard on tools and is an excellent steel but I personally think its too pricey for what it is.
    $350USD is very expensive
    I think they may be trying to milk the whole SEALs thing Which is fine, I get it, its a business but there are many equal knives for less..

    1. Thomas says:

      I noticed on the 5050 survival knife there is no gimping. Either raised of a flat type. If someone is wearing gloves in cold conditions what will stop the thumb from sliding around? Also it has little or no choil cut into the steel. Why? Finally there doesn’t appear to be a notch for a ferro rod and the spine isn’t edged enough. Do you folks feel your knife needs these features?

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First Impression Review: First Edge 5050 Survival knife

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