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8 Best Fire Strikers for Survival [Hands-On Review]

We test out eight different fire strikers to see which ones perform the best and pack the easiest in camping packs and bug out bags.

    Fire — If you end up in a survival situation, it is the ability to create this that will often provide the difference between life and death

    This is widely recognized, though.

    If you can light a fire, you’re certainly in a better position to survive!

    What isn’t as well recognized is the means by which we should create it.

    While bow drills, Bic lighters, and the ever-present Zippo are most certainly fine options for igniting tinder, the well-respected fire striker still deserves its place in the survivor’s bug-out gear. 

    Firestarters SwissSafe 5-in-1 Fire Striker
    Two is one, and one is none…and all that.

    Not all fire strikers are created equal, however, and it can be a tad confusing narrowing the field down into what is the best of the best. 

    So in order to help you to avoid wasting your time and money and to keep you alive while you’re out in the woods, we at Pew Pew Tactical have narrowed down the fire striker field.

    Let there be FIRE!

    We’ve collected eight fire strikers on the market and put them to the test to see if they are worth your hard-earned cash.

    Keep reading to see what we learned…

    Summary of Our Top Picks

    1. Editor's Pick

      Uberleben Zunden

      A solid combination of size, weight, and durability make this striker out top pick

    2. Best Fire Striker

      Lightning Strike

      Although expensive, the contained spark design gave us the best testing results.

    3. Best Utility Fire Striker

      Swiss Safe 5-in-1 Fire Striker

      While not as robust as some competitors, this striker has a few additional features that save weight and bulk.

    4. Best Full-Size Fire Striker

      The Forever 50 Minuteman Fire Striker

      This striker is huge. It isn't the best for packing away in a bug out bag, but you can get a firm grip and unleash a ton of sparks.

    5. Best Compact Fire Striker

      Schrade SCHSF1

      At just 4 inches long, this is the most compact striker we tested.

    Table of Contents


    The Testing

    In order to come up with as objective of a fire striker testing standard as possible, we looked at a number of variables to decide which strikers were best.

    Our highly scientific testing methods are not to be questioned.

    Ease of use, convenience, ability to light a fire, and price were all looked at in order to determine how these strikers would be ranked. 

    We tested all strikers with Vaseline-soaked cotton balls. We consider this one of the best forms of tinder available.

    Firestarters Bayite Striker with Hemp Cord
    Vaseline cotton balls are easy to DIY and they light up really easily!

    But it also eliminated variances in the moisture content, consistency, and form of tinder shavings from trees or other sources.

    Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s take a look to see how they did! 

    Best Fire Strikers for Camping, Hiking, & Survival

    1. Uberleben Zunden

    Firestarters Uberleben Zunden
    Uberleben Zunden

    If you look throughout the fire striker world, Uberleben is everywhere, likely the most popular brand in the fire striker marketplace.

    We tested the Zunden as a result of this prevalence, and it seems to be one of the most popular strikers that Uberleben makes. 

    Firestarters Uberleben Zunden
    The Zunden in action!

    It utilizes the exact same steel plate as the Forever 50 below. That said, the Zunden is a functional, little fire striker.

    I had no problems whatsoever getting it to light our tinder. Not to mention, it’s got a couple of other things going for it as well. 

    For starters, it is incredibly convenient to carry. Its small size means it easily fits into a pocket or bag without unnecessary weight.

    The wooden handle gives you enough of a grip to hang onto without feeling like you’re playing with a G.I. Joe toy.

    And the striker length gives you enough room to throw a respectable amount of sparks at your tinder. 

    It didn’t feel anywhere near as fragile as some of the other strikers on the list, such as the Schrade or the Swiss Safe either.

    This thing felt solid yet easily fits in a pocket without weighing you down. 

    All those factors combined left us feeling that the Uberleben has easily earned its spot as our number one choice for the best fire starter on the market. 

    at Amazon

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    2. Lightning Strike

    Coming in at $90, the Lightning Strike was easily the most expensive fire striker on the list.

    In my mind, fire strikers typically run around the $20 range, so to find something with this kind of price tag blew my mind. 

    But then we started the testing. 

    Firestarters Lightning Strike
    Lightning Strike

    No other fire striker we tried even came close to directing a spark and lighting a fire as easily as this one.

    Did we start fires with other strikers in two to three strikes? Absolutely. 

    Firestarters Lightning Strike
    Word to the wise. If you hug your wife in her white T-shirt with your sooty hands, you end up having a bad day.

    But with the Lightning Strike, we started fires in one to two strikes every single time.

    We attributed this to all the sparks directed down the tube towards the tinder. 

    Our testers appreciated the way in which the Lightning Strike could be packed up so that it was protected as well.

    Firestarters Lightning Strike

    Due to its shell construction, you can easily throw it into a bug out bag and forget about it until you need it. It’ll still be in one piece. 

    If you’re rough on equipment, that may be something you want to consider.

    To top it off, the Lightning Strike includes a number of tinder plugs in the base of the handle that will light as soon as a spark hits them.

    Still, we found the price tag rather formidable.

    While it’s an absolutely great fire striker, we didn’t think that it was so great that it justified a $90 price tag

    Firestarters Lightning Strike
    Easy, neat, and effective!

    Being able to start a fire as quickly as it did was cool, but you can still get decent results from the other fire strikers on this list.

    In our minds, this is comparable to shelling out an extra $200 for a scope with 1x more zoom than the cheaper scope. 

    Is it better? Yeah (though only marginally). 

    Worth the price? Depends on your preference.

    Best Fire Striker
    at Amazon

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    3. Holtzmann’s Gorilla Fire Striker

    The first thing we all noticed upon opening this box is that the Gorilla is pretty.

    The stained wood handle with finger grooves just looks good. It also makes it so that this striker is a cinch to hang onto.

    Firestarters Holtzmann Gorilla Fire Striker
    Holtzmann Gorilla Fire Striker

    Like the Forever 50, this one is large. That means it works as a basecamp or bug-out vehicle fire striker more than it does a BOB pack one.

    The weight and size work against it for that kind of operation. 

    Firestarters Holtzmann Gorilla Fire Striker
    The action shot!

    That’s not to say this is an unworthy fire striker. It’s just to say that this one offers a design with different functions in mind.

    Attempting to shoot a deer 300 yards away with an M&P Shield by no means determines that the M&P Shield is a worthless gun.

    Firestarters Holtzmann Gorilla Fire Striker
    Easy to get a whole lot of sparks off this bad boy!

    It’s just designed for a different purpose. 

    You can check out what it’s like making fire with this bad boy below.

    If you’re looking for a great fire striker that’s larger and produces a volley of sparks, you may like the Holtzmann’s Gorilla.

    at Amazon

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    Have you tried the Gorilla striker? If so, rate it below!

    Readers' Ratings

    5.00/5 (788)

    Your Rating?

    4. Bayite Striker with Hemp Cord

    Bayite comes in as another well-established brand within the fire striker industry.

    It sells several varieties of its classic Bayite striker with various accessories (all of which have great reviews).

    We tested the Bayite striker with Hemp Cord

    Firestarters Bayite Striker with Hemp Cord
    Bayite Striker with Hemp Cord

    This package didn’t come with a flint, but it appears that newer packages include one.

    But when you do strike it, the Bayite produces a good volume of sparks

    Firestarters Bayite Striker with Hemp Cord
    We’ll call him Sparky

    The hemp cord was interesting to work with. It’s basically an easy form of tinder to keep with you at all times.

    The key to getting it to light is to fluff up the untied end and then shower sparks on it.

    We lit it consistently with less than six strikes.

    You have to fluff the end though.

    If you just try to light the rope body, you’re going to be wasting your time.

    Firestarters Bayite Striker with Hemp Cord
    “Man, does this smell a little…funny…to you?”

    Once lit with the Bayite striker, you have a steady and hot flame. It’s controlled with the slidable cover that the rope is threaded through.

    Slide it down to provide more wick — it’s as simple as that. 

    at Amazon

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    5. SwissSafe 5-in-1 Fire Striker

    Search around the fire striker world long enough, and you’ll see repeated mentions of the Swiss Safe 5-in-1 Fire Striker.

    Firestarters SwissSafe 5-in-1 Fire Striker
    Swiss Safe 5-in-1 Fire Striker

    It’s pretty nifty with some add-ons. Included within this striker are a compass and whistle.

    Supposedly the striker itself has two more capabilities…but come on.

    It’s a striker, and that’s what you’re going to end up using it for. Nothing else. 

    These come in a two-pack, so if you want a cheap and efficient means to ensure you have all the fire strikers you need, this is a solid option.

    Firestarters SwissSafe 5-in-1 Fire Striker
    Like the Fourth of July!

    The smaller size means these are incredibly convenient to carry as well.

    And the handle gives you plenty of grip to hang on to as you’re striking the ferro rod.

    If you want to see what it was like lighting a fire with one of these, check out our video below. 

    While we had no problem whatsoever with getting a fire to light with these guys, they just didn’t feel like they were built to as high of a standard as some of the other strikers that we tried.

    Honestly, they felt a bit cheap.

    You can still start a fire with these no problem, and if you’re just looking for quantity, this may be the route for you. 

    Best Utility Fire Striker
    at Amazon

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    6. The Forever 50 Minuteman Fire Striker

    I’ve long been partial to the Forever 50 Fire Striker.

    It seems as if the majority of fire strikers on the market are built for somebody with hands roughly the size of a Barbie doll.

    Firestarters Forever 50 Minuteman Fire Striker
    Firestarters Forever 50 Minuteman Fire Striker

    For me, this only leads to an increasing level of frustration and bloody knuckles. 

    So anytime I come across a fire striker that I can actually get a true, firm grip on, I’m automatically a fan.

    Firestarters Forever 50 Minuteman Fire Striker
    Aw yisss

    The Forever 50 adopts a Ferro rod design placed inside a .50 caliber shell for the handle.

    The extra length of the striker means that I can rain down an absolute shower of sparks on my tender when I use it.

    I often get fires started with two strikes as a result. 

    The only drawback to the Forever 50 is – well – its size and weight. 

    It’s because of its large size that this is probably not a fire striker that you’re going to have on your person when you need it.

    However, kept within a bug-out vehicle or stashed at your base camp, it would serve its function perfectly.

    Best Full-Size Fire Striker
    at Minuteman Provision Co.

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    7. Schrade SCHSF1

    By far the cheapest fire striker on this list, and with a formidable reputation, is a little fire striker manufactured by Schrade. 

    Firestarters Schrade SCHSF1
    Schrade SCHSF1

    And when I say little, I mean teeny

    The SCHSF1 came in at just 4 inches long.

    The downside to this? You don’t have as much striking surface to throw sparks. 

    Firestarters Schrade SCHSF1
    Smol boi

    That said, we still had no problem whatsoever starting a fire with the SCHSF1.

    The fire-starting process did feel a bit more forced than with some of the other strikers as a result of the minuscule size, but the SCHSF1 will still build a fire for you. 

    Perhaps the main advantage of this striker is its price.

    You could easily have four or five of these laying around in different vehicles, bags, and the like for the price of just one of the other strikers on this list.

    The lifespan of these guys isn’t going to be anywhere near as long as some of the larger strikers, though. The striker just doesn’t have as much meat to it.

    Firestarters Schrade SCHSF1
    Makin’ it rain…fire, that is.

    As a result, you’ll wear it down to nothing much faster than you would with the other strikers. 

    So while this is still a good model, we wouldn’t make it our first choice if we could help it. 

    Best Compact Fire Striker
    at Amazon

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    8. The UST BlastMatch

    Despite its popularity online, amongst our testers, this was easily the least favorite.

    The UST BlastMatch is a fire piston rather than a fire striker proper.

    This means the Ferro rod has a spring at the base of it, and it’s plunged down into the handle to send sparks flying. 

    Firestarters UST BlastMatch Strike
    The whole setup packs down into a little tube.

    While we most certainly recognized this design does have its virtues — mainly its one-handed design — we still just weren’t huge fans. 

    If you need to start a fire with this, you have to have a hard surface to push the UST BlastMatch into.

    Firestarters UST BlastMatch Strike
    Hold your thumb on the flint and push down fast. This creates a shower of sparks to light your tinder.

    If you try lighting your tinder on soft ground, sand, dry twigs, or anywhere else where you don’t have something sturdy to push into, you’re only going to leave both frustrated and cold. 

    Not to mention that this was the only fire striker that led to us being burnt throughout the testing. Ouch!

    You want to see a Vaseline flame ball stick to somebody’s hand? Check out the video below: 

    That all said, this fire striker did start fires pretty quickly once you got all of the variables correct.

    And it did pack up into a sturdy and protected unit.

    But there are most certainly other strikers available that we think are better. 

    at Amazon

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    Final Thoughts

    A quality fire striker is a must-have for your gear. But as we’ve already pointed out, not all fire strikers are created equal.

    By stocking any of the above with your kit – and knowing how to use them – you’ll be well on your way to being better prepared for whatever may get thrown your way while you’re out and about in the woods. 

    Firestarters SwissSafe 5-in-1 Fire Striker

    Are there other fire strikers out there that you like? Have you tried any of these fire strikers? Let us know in the comments below! Need some other ideas for things to toss in your Bug Out Bag? Check out our list of essential Bug Out Bag Gear! (We also have BOB list for parents too!)

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    7 Leave a Reply

    • Commenter Avatar
      Ro w

      I bought a couple off of amazon last year. Massive ones. Love em. Been starting fires with them since. My son loves it too

      November 29, 2022 8:21 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      same the lint from your clothes drier's trap...

      May 20, 2021 11:49 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        David, PPT Editor

        This depends on what you're washing. If you're wearing a lot of synthetic fabrics or wool, this is a bad idea. If you're wearing a lot of cottons -- this works wonderfully. I normally wait for a load of towels since I know those are all 100% cotton and they give a lot of lint.

        May 21, 2021 2:42 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Jason N

      I like using torch lighters...

      May 18, 2021 5:11 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Great stuff! Love the concise review, and photos make it easy to see the differences you describe! All-around A+ work. Hope to read more like this!

      May 17, 2021 10:51 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Aden Tate

        You da man, Karl. Glad you liked it.

        May 17, 2021 12:43 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      i put the lint from dryer in zip lock bag put it in my ammo can. starts 1st time

      May 16, 2021 8:14 pm
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