Extrema Ratio Selvans survival knife

There was a time when survival knives had to feature a hollow handle, possibly filled with small junk, and a serrated back with extravagant and essentially useless teeth. It was an overly imaginative period, and thanks to the extraordinary success of the "Rambo" movie series, the survival knife shape crystallized forever in the "First Blood" model by Jimmy Lile. Almost forty years have passed and in the meantime something has happened, fashions have changed and the USA is no longer necessarily the starting point for all the new knife-making trends. Italy also makes its voice heard again, and the knife we are going to introduce is a good example of this.

Selvans, the god of the woods

Extrema Ratio Selvans with its sheath 
The Extrema Ratio Selvans in its natural environment, the forest. The sheath is Cordura with MOLLE system and is designed to accommodate an optional survival kit.

This is the case of the Extrema Ratio Selvans, a survival knife that's 100% Italian in concept and manufacture. Conceived as a variant of the military model Ontos, it has been developed as a cooperation with Master Instructor Daniele Dal Canto, F.I.S.S.S. (the Italian Survival Federation). The most obvious functional change compared to the initial design is the length of the handle that has been increased, allowing for a more backward grip so as to take advantage of a greater lever arm when using the knife as an axe (chopping ).

As for the blade, the general shape is the same, but it has been shortened by 0..2” / 0.5 cm and the short recessed section on the back , which is serrated on the Ontos, on the Selvans is smooth and with a sharper profile – it's designed for a more efficient use with the magnesium fireball flint. Although it is slightly shorter than the Ontos, the Selvans's blade is heavier because some tip lightening millings are missing.  

This was deliberately done as an additional expedient to make slashing more effective. The material used for the knife is Boehler N690 steel hardened to 58 HRC with a military standard MIL-C-13924 burnishing. The blade thickness is 0.25” / 6.4 mm, which makes it virtually indestructible, provided it is not subjected to excessive abuse. The handle is made from Forprene, as in the best Extrema Ratio tradition, and is available in black or sand. The Selvans comes in a spartan green Cordura sheath, compatible with MOLLE attachment system. We point out that there is also a special version featuring a survival kit called ERS. The kit is held inside an additional pocket that can be attached to the sheath, containing 2.5 meters of Paracord, whistle, chain saw, water purifyng tablets, compass, copper wire, fireball flint, LED light, and whetstone. The ERS kit can be purchased separately at the price of 129 euro.

Extrema Ratio Selvans survival knife
In the photo you can see how the extended handle of the Extrema Raito Selvans offers a secure grip both in the forward position and...
Handle of the Extrema Raito Selvans knife
 ...in the backward position, which allows for a more advantageous lever arm when slashing.

The list price for the knife alone is 498 euro for the Desert version and 434 for the Green version which, despite its name, features a black handle.

Selvans, the practical test

We mistreated the Selvans during a day of intensive testing on four classy knives, making the video that you can see here.

The blade back of Extrema Ratio Selvans knife
The blade back. Where we would find a serration on the Ontos, on the Selvans there is a thinner back section with sharp edges, to facilitate the use of the fireball flint.

But since we still had some time to dedicate to the Selvans, we decided to take him around the woods to test it further.

Obviously, and we never tire to repeat that, we are opposed to tests in which knives are subjected to absurd strains that have no connection with real use. Since none of us would use a hammer to paint a wall, we'll never use a knife to cut a nail in two or for other experiments that are certainly curious but impractical.

The Selvans behaved magnificently, facing all the tests –  even the toughest ones – without any damage. In the end, the Selvans was chosen by "Wolf Instructor" Lorenzo, our special tester, who elected it as his favorite knife, becoming part of his survival equipment.  

All we can do is invite you to watch our video. Enjoy it!

Video: Extrema Ratio Selvans, the survival knife

Extrema Ratio Selvans knife: technical specs

Extrema Ratio
Model: Selvans
fixed blade knife
Intended use:
survival, extreme hiking
Total length: 12.3” / 312 mm
Blade length:
Blade length: 6.3” / 160 mm
Blade material:
Böhler N690 steel, hardened to 58 HRC
burnishing to military standard MIL-C-13924 
15.2 oz / 430 grams
cordura, MOLLE compatible
from 434 euro (price in your country may vary due to VAT and import duties)

To learn more about Extrema Ratio knives please please visit  Extrema Ratio website .

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