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Best Self Defense Knife for Preppers

The best self defense knife for preppers is made of high-quality materials, is easy to carry around concealed and quick to draw and use against an assailant.

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Every serious prepper knows that self defense is an important survival requirement as is food, water, and sheltering oneself from danger and the elements.

While preppers can choose from a wide range of weapons, a self-defense knife is quite common because it is easy to acquire, carry around, and hopefully use with success.

Because you shouldn’t negotiate your safety while in the wild or a SHTF situation, getting the best self defense knife is crucial.

The best self defense knife for preppers is made of high-quality sturdy material for both blade and handle.

It is easy to carry around and quick to draw and use against an assailant. The size and shape of the blade also determine the efficiency of a self defense knife.

But why a knife for self-defense in the first place? That’s part of what we will be answering for you in this article. We’ll also explore the qualities of the best knife for self defense, what a self-defense knife is and how to use it.

Before going to these details however, here are our top 10 prepper knives for self-defense reviewed in 2020.

In a hurry? If you just want to get to our conclusions, here are our top picks and recommendations!

Last update on 2024-05-28 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Table Of Contents show

Best 10 Self Defense Knives (By Type)

We review for you the best self defense knife on Amazon from which you can make your choice.

For more details on how we made our picks we have more details and information on self defense knives in our sections following the reviews.

Best self-defense fixed-blade knife

We qualify fixed-blade knives as strong and hard to break among other features. Here are 3 of the best self-defense fixed blade knives.

Smith & Wesson SWHRT9B Fixed Blade Knife

The Smith & Wesson Fixed Blade Knife has the quality and prestige of all the Company’s products.

For that reason, it qualifies as an excellent life-saving weapon for its many best self-defense knife features, which is why it is also our fixed-blade knife top pick.

To begin with, the Smith & Wesson Fixed Blade Knife is extremely strong, which means you can rely on its efficiency in any self-defense situation.

The double-edged blade is also made of reliable 7Cr17MoV high-carbon stainless steel. Its 7.70z weight and 9-inch overall length (blade is 4.7ʺ) make it extremely easy to carry.

Another of this knife’s outstanding features is its rugged rubber handle which enhances its durability.

The handguard on the handle acts as a key security detail by protecting your hand from slipping during a stab motion in an animated self defense situation.

You can safely carry this knife on your belt or boot. The leather sheath on the blade ensures no accidental cuts happen while you are hiking or during a bug out.

Lastly, you have the guarantee for the value of your money with the knife’s lifetime warranty.

Last update on 2024-05-28 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Smith & Wesson SWHRT9B Fixed Blade Knife Key Features:

  • Easy and light to carry
  • Firm-grip rugged rubber handle
  • Safety handguard
  • Protective sheath

KA-BAR Full Size US Marine Corps Fighting Knife

This US Marine Corps fighting knife is an icon in the world of self-defense knives. With its origin in the 2nd world war, the knife has maintained its popularity especially among women and men of service.

The KA-BAR Fighting Knife’s stacked leather handle stands out, and so its 1095 carbon steel blade that is coated with epoxy powder.

The handle has a hand guard for safety and you also get 100% USMC leather sheath to keep you from the sharpness of the blade and it.

The knife’s blade is 7", with a full length of 11.87" and 20 degrees edge angles.

Overall, you get a self-defense knife that has all the qualities of Ka-Bar’s long knife-manufacturing expertise including strength, razor-sharp edge, corrosion-resist blade, and firm-grip handle.

Last update on 2024-05-28 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

KA-BAR Full Size US Marine Corps Fighting Knife​ Key Features:

  • Extra-sharp carbon steel blade
  • 100% leather sheath
  • Protective handguard
  • Appropriate size for portability

HX outdoors - Fixed Blade Tactical Knives

This tanto-blade self defense knife is famous among the special forces as an efficient outdoor tactical knife.

The HX outdoors - Fixed Blade Tactical Knife has an ergonomics G10, resin-coated fiberglass, anti-slide handle that allows a firm grip with your fingers between the hooks, giving you confidence against your assailant. You carry it safely in a hard plastic sheath that holds it securely in its place.

The blade is made of 440C stainless steel and is serrated on the non-cutting edge. The component combination of the blade (carbon & chromium) gives it a 58HRC hardness which will withstand any kind of strain.

The knife is easy to carry on your belt with an overall length of 9.25ʺ and a blade length of 3.9ʺ. It is 4 mm thick and weighs only 300g.

Last update on 2024-05-28 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

HX outdoors - Fixed Blade Tactical Knives Key Features:

  • Extremely strong and long-lasting
  • Anti-slide handle for a firm grip
  • Easy to carry around
  • Blade is protected by a hard plastic sheath

Best folding knife for self defense

The best pocket knife for self defense should be easy to open, otherwise, it gives your assailant an advantage over you.

Here are 3 of the best self-defense pocket knives.

Tac-Force Tactical Spring Assisted Knife

The Tac-Force Tactical knife has all you need in a self-defense weapon packed in a tiny pocket knife, which explains why it is our folding-blade knife top pick.

First, it has a spring-assisted one-hand opening mechanism and it also locks securely once opened. The black stainless steel blade is half-plain and half-serrated. To close, you simply push the blade to the side.

The aluminum handle is sturdy and incorporates a bottle opener and a glass breaker, perfect for car-glass breaking in case of emergency.

The Tac-Force Tactical Knife could be your best carry knife for self defense because it is extremely easy and safe to carry: it has a 4.5ʺ closed length, 3.25ʺ blade length, and a 3mm thickness. Besides, the knife comes with a pocket clip for easy and safe carrying.

Last update on 2024-05-28 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Tac-Force Tactical Spring Assisted Knife Key Features:

  • Spring-assisted single-hand opening
  • Locks securely when opened
  • Sturdy Aluminum handle
  • Easy and safe carrying

Kershaw Blur, Glassbreaker Folding Knife

This self-defense knife has plenty of efficiency features, beginning with the fast assisted blade opening that gives you a quick one-hand deployment for a quick response to your assailant.

The Kershaw Blur Glassbreaker Folding Knife has several safety features including a thumb stud that you use to open the knife and which then holds the blade in place to prevent unintended closure. The handle has Trac-Tec inserts that give you a firm and secure grip, irrespective of weather conditions.

The sturdy blade is slightly curved making it optimal for multiple tasks when hiking, fishing, camping, or tactical use. The blade is half serrated and the knife head will make an effective glass breaker.

You will carry this knife safely and with ease since the 3.4ʺ blade locks into the handle. Also, the knife’s entire length is 7.9ʺ only weighs 110.6g.

Last update on 2024-05-28 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Kershaw Blur Glassbreaker Folding Knife Key Features:

  • Assisted blade opening for quick deployment
  • Safely locks into place once opened
  • Useful for multiple tasks
  • Firm grip handle with Trac-Tec inserts

Smith & Wesson SWMP4LS Assisted Folding Knife

This single-hand assisted opening and folding knife is a perfect tool and weapon in several outdoor situations. The finger actuator lets you open the knife quickly for swift deployment. The knife locks automatically once open.

The pocket knife has a durable 4034 high-carbon stainless steel blade and an Aluminum handle with a rubber inlay.

Smith & Wesson SWMP4LS Assisted Folding Knife has a convenient pocket clip and you can safely conceal it due to its small size. The blade-length is 3.6ʺ and the full length of the knife is 8.6ʺ once open, plus the knife only weighs 7.6oz.

Last update on 2024-05-28 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Smith & Wesson SWMP4LS Assisted Folding Knife Key Features:

  • Assisted opening for quick deployment
  • Safely locks into place once open
  • Durable blade and handle
  • Convenient to carry

Best neck knife for self defense

Neck knives are gaining popularity among preppers for their light weight and easy-to-conceal nature. You simply hang your knife in a sheath on the neck like a necklace.

Here are two of the most popular neck knives for self defense.

MTech USA MT-20-30 Series Fixed Blade Neck Knife

This is a compact tactical knife with sturdy construction. The stainless steel blade has a stonewashed finish with a G10 handle for greater strength.

Unlike other neck knives, the blade and handle of the MTech USA Fixed Blade Neck Knife fit inside the Kydex sheath, which you then hang around your neck with a ball chain.

The blade is 2.8mm wide and 2ʺ long, while the entire knife is 4.3ʺ length.

Last update on 2024-05-28 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

MTech USA MT-20-30 Series Fixed Blade Neck Knife​ Key Features:

  • Conceals completely into the sheath
  • Sturdy blade, handle, and sheath material
  • Light to carry around your neck.

CRKT Minimalist Bowie Neck Knife

This minimalist knife is a special design by Alan Folts Company in Melbourne.

The 5Cr15MoV blade has a bead blast finish that minimizes reflection and a Resin-infused fiber handle. The nylon sheath is glass-reinforced, making it strong and durable.

To carry on the neck, you fit the blade into the sheath that hangs on your neck and the handle hangs below so it is concealed by your shirt/top.

The Minimalist Bowie Neck Knife is so light (1.6oz) you won’t feel it on your neck. The blade is 2.1" long and the entire length of the knife is 6.75".

Last update on 2024-05-28 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

CRKT Minimalist Bowie Neck Knife Key Features:

  • Non-reflective knife blade
  • Sturdy handle
  • Durable sheath
  • Easy to carry on the neck

Best self defense knife for a woman

Women and men preppers have the same self defense needs. So any of the reviewed self-defense knives would work for women as they would for a man in an emergency.

Nonetheless, some self defense knives may specially have ladies in mind and contain both functional and esthetic elements.

We’ve made a quick review of two such knives for our female readers.

7" Cupid Heart Ladies Rainbow Pocket Knife

The Cupid heart all-steel knife will attract the attention of any lady with its rainbow-heart colors on both the handle and the blade.

As a weapon, you will appreciate its ability to lock in place once it is opened, which makes it sturdier for use against an assailant.

You will carry the 7" Cupid Heart Ladies Rainbow Pocket Knife without anyone suspecting in your handbag or hooked on a belt with the belt clip on the rear side.

Besides, its size is perfect for concealment: 7" full length and 3" blade length. The knife only weighs 4.8oz.

Last update on 2024-05-28 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

7" Cupid Heart Ladies Rainbow Pocket Knife Key Features:

  • Lady colors
  • Easy to carry
  • Locks in place once open

Femme Fatale Ladies' Pocket Knife

This lady’s self-defense knife has an "every rose has a thorn” and rainbow theme. The entire knife is made with stainless steel which is then given a Titanium Rainbow finish.

You can carry the Femme Fatale Ladies' Pocket Knife in the metal purse or hook it with the inbuilt clip to your boot, pocket, or belt. The knife’s blade is 3.25" and the entire length of the knife is 7.25". You only add 5.6oz to your purse weight if you bring this knife along.

Last update on 2024-05-28 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Femme Fatale Ladies' Pocket Knife Key Features:

  • Lady colors
  • Sturdy stainless steel build and Titanium finish
  • Easy and light to carry

With our reviews of the best prepper self-defense knives completed, you can read on to find out how we made out picks.

With everything you'll read you should have complete knowledge about purchasing the best and most effective self defense knife for survival.

You'll want to keep your newly acquired self-defense knife nice and sharp, so we have a few recommendations on the best survival knife sharpeners on the market.

What is a Self Defense Knife?

A self defense knife is one that you use to defend yourself from an imminent threat. The threat could be from another human or an animal.

Especially when used to defend oneself from another human being, a self-defense knife is not necessarily meant to kill. Instead, it is used to neutralize the threat or incapacitate (if need be) so you can save yourself from injury or death, as the case requires.

Like all other weapons, the use of a self-defense knife is liable to legal control. Hence, as a general rule, the use of force in self-defense should be proportionate to the threat.

So, if you are only threatened by someone who wants to steal your camping food provisions but doesn’t want to inflict any harm to you, you can’t use a knife to maim or kill. Your return trip could have prison as a destination.

Self-defense knives can vary in type as we discuss in the next section.

Types of Self Defense Knives

Self-defense knives can be categorized based on several features.

Nonetheless, the main differentiating feature is whether they are fixed or folding-blade knives. Each of the two types has its strengths and minuses.

Fixed-blade self-defense knife

A fixed-blade knife has a solid piece of steel with a single or double cutting edge fixed on a handle.

The blade may run straight and be covered by the handle where the cutting edge ends or the continuous blade could be curved where the handle starts.

A lot of preppers will go for a fixed-blade knife because of its many strengths, even though they also have some drawbacks as shown below.

A bushcraft survival knife on a tree stump

Fixed-blade knife strengths

  • They are strong and sturdy and so don’t break easily
  • They are easy to clean and maintain
  • They are faster to draw and use in a self-defense situation
  • They have a longer blade, which gives you a better grip

Fixed-blade knife drawbacks

  • They are harder to conceal
  • Tend to be more legally controlled than pocket knives

Folding-blade self-defense knives

A self defense folding-blade knife is also referred to as a self-defense pocket knife. Knives in this category have a flexible blade that can be concealed into the handle.

But they also vary in some features:

  • The blade may or may not lock into place when opened.
  • They may open with a single hand (liner lock) or require you to use both hands (lock back).
  • They may have a single or multiple blades.

Folding-blade knives have the following strengths and drawbacks.

Example of a folding mechanism for a survival knife

Folding-blade knife strengths

  • They are easy to conceal
  • They are easy to carry around
  • Those with a spring-assisted opening feature are quick to draw and deploy

Folding-blade knife drawbacks

  • Harder to clean and maintain
  • Known to break easily
  • Slower to put into action

Whichever self defense knife you choose to go for, the most important thing is that it meets its purpose as a self-defense weapon.

But why choose a knife among other self-defense weapons?

If you would like to know more about survival knives for emergency preparedness, check out our guide on the best survival knife for preppers.

Why Use a Knife for Self-defense?

Have you watched one of those high-tension scenes in a movie where someone tries to use a knife for self defense? If you have, you probably have one of these memories of the scene:

  • The threatened person had to struggle a lot and for a long time before finally managing to overpower the opponent.
  • The victim got some injuries here and there while struggling with the attacker.
  • The threatened person was overpowered in many instances of the attack, almost losing the battle.

These situations suggest that it is not an easy task to defend oneself using a knife. So why exactly would you choose to use a knife for self-defense if it requires so much effort to fight the enemy and puts you at such high-risk?

Here are 7 reasons preppers opt for a self-defense knife:

A self-defense knife is affordable

When prepping for self-defense, you don’t need to dig too deep into your pocket to purchase a knife.

Compared to other weapons like guns and self-defense pistols, knives will cost a lot less. Spending less also gives you the possibility of choosing the best, and going by your preferences.

A self-defense knife is an “easy pass”

While carrying weapons could be illegal in many places, carrying a tiny knife in your pocket is easy to get away with than would be a gun or baton.

A self-defense knife is easy to conceal

Both fixed and folding-blade knives are generally easy to conceal.

You can simply slide into a sheath and hook it onto your belt or pocket without announcing to the entire world that you are carrying a weapon, and so warning your opponent.

A knife is multipurpose

If you carry a gun for self defense, you’ll only be able to use it just for that purpose. But carrying a self-defense knife gives you the possibility of using it as a tool while you are on your outdoor escapade or during a bug out.

Opening cans, cutting sticks, and peeling fruits are all additional uses for your prepper self defense knife.

A knife can neutralize the battleground

If you use your self defense knife to minimally hurt an attacker and immobilize them, you render them defenseless and less of a threat, and you have a better chance to get to safety.

An attacker is more afraid of a knife

Everyone is afraid of a knife, probably because we all have experienced its injuring power even though from a small cut. Instead, other weapons like a gun are a screen thing for most of us.

This could explain why most attackers are also afraid of a knife. What’s better than drawing your tiny self defense pocket knife and seeing your assailant run for their life?

A self defense knife is more efficient at close range

When you have to fight an attacker from a close range, a knife is easier to pull out and use for defense. Other bigger or more complex tools may become useless in such cases.

For example, you can’t use a baton or handgun to defend yourself when someone is holding you down, but you could be able to with a knife.

To achieve these self-defense benefits of using a knife, you first need to know how to use it.

Survival knife stuck in a tree with a camping lamp in the background

How Do You Use a Self Defense Knife?

There several elements to using a self-defense knife efficiently. We discuss them in 3 key stages.

Stage 1: Know the human anatomy and make the right motions

We indicated earlier that self-defense aims at neutralizing the threat by incapacitating rather than killing, which should be the last resort.

Incapacitating ends the attack quickly, but to be able to do this, you need to know human anatomy. Knowing where the main arteries of the body are will help you know where to target to maim.

Knowing the human anatomy also helps you to decide which of the two defense motions you need to go for; stabbing or slashing.

Unless you are forced to kill to save your own life and you have to hit a vital organ like the heart, head, throat, abdomen, or a main artery, target a quick slash or stab towards the face.

That forces your attacker to move his face in defense and lose visual focus on you. Then you can escape if appropriate or find a better leeway to make a more fatal hit if it’s a choice between your life and the attacker’s life.

Apart from the face, a slash or stab on these three places will also neutralize your attacker:

  • The wrists and the inside of the forearm.
  • The biceps or triceps.
  • The front part of the thigh, just above the knee.

If you just need to immobilize your opponent and you can manage a stab into the flesh where there are no vital arteries, that will serve the maiming purpose and leave the attacker with greater chances for survival.

A set of survival knives compared side by side

Stage 2: Use a comfortable grip

A self-defense scenario where you use a knife is quite animated and fast-paced. So you will certainly not have the time to contemplate a “best self-defense knife grip” that you have previously learned.

Instead, you will naturally go by the grip that is most comfortable for you in the situation. If your grip feels comfortable, then it is the right one. Nonetheless, your comfortable grip could fall within these two basic ones:

Forward knife grip (Filipino grip)

This grip is quite flexible and permits you to move in a wide range of options. It is good with both fixed-bade and pocket self-defense knives, but it is most efficient with smaller knives.

To make the grip, grasp your knife in your hand with the four fingers curled around the handle and the thumb resting on the spine of the knife. Doing so gives you a firm and strong grip and you can maneuver your way around the attacker.

Reverse knife grip (Edge out/in)

The reverse grip has the blade facing downwards with the edge inwards or outwards. Your thumb should sit on the knife’s head or curl around the handle with the other fingers.

This grip gives you less flexibility when compared to the Filipino grip. But once mastered, it is great at a downward stabbing motion and allows you greater force.

Whichever of the two grips you go for, it must feel comfortable for you because that gives a better chance over the attacker. Note too that your most efficient grip will be influenced by the knife design and size and the intruder’s position and capacity. 

Stage 3: Know when to disengage

If your attacker is immobilized or decides to take off, it is time to disengage. Remember that self-defense means that the threat comes from the other and not you.

So, attacking a defenseless culprit or running after them qualifies you as the attacker and not the attacked anymore. Your right to self-defense lasts only as long as the threat exists.

The US Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network advises that once you have hurt your assailant once with a knife, it is time to “run away like a girl.” That gives you a better chance of winning a self-defense case in a court of law.

Basically, once the threat is neutralized and you or the attacker is hurt, it’s time to call for help. We could also say that you have won the fight, which means that beyond your defense tactics, you also had the best self defense knife.

So, which core attributes does the best self defense knife have?

Attributes of the Best Self Defense Knife: Your Buyer’s Guide

Any serious prepper knows that when it comes to their safety, the best defense weapon must be employed. To be considered the best, your self defense knife should meet some key attributes.

We already mentioned one of the key attributes of self-defense knives: fixed or folding-blade. We also discussed the strengths associated with each.

Here are 7 other core attributes your self defense knife should have and which you should look out for when making your order.

Blade size

When it comes to self defense, big blades are not your best bet. A bulky size makes the knife harder to maneuver, meaning that your choice self-defense knife should tend towards the smaller size.

Small-size knives are also easier to carry around and conceal. Besides, they are less lethal compared to longer blade knives.

But your knife’s blade should not be so small that it won’t deal the blow that’s required to neutralize the attacker.

In summary, you should find the right balance (around 4ʺ) when deciding on the size of your knife’s blade.

Blade shape

There are uncountable options when it comes to self-defense knife blade shapes. Choosing one or the other depends on what you want your defense knife to achieve for you.

Here are some of the most common blades and their key feature.

  • Tanto: This blade shape stands out for its ability to penetrate, especially if your assailant is wearing protective gear.
  • Drop-point: The drop point’s most outstanding feature is versatility. While you buy it for self defense, you also gain a tool for several other tasks, which comes with an economic advantage.
  • Dagger, needle-point & spear-point: The three blade shapes are a lot similar are best in their capacity to stab and penetrate. Some may be double-edged and should be held with a hilt to avoid unintended self-harm.
  • Clip-point: These are similar to the drop-point blades but their tips are a lot stronger. However, they can be less swift because of their wide belly and larger cutting areas but will be good in both slashing and stabbing.
  • Talon: Knives with this kind of blade are lethal. The blade is extremely sharp at the tip and is perfect when you need to stab and drag (hopefully an animal and not a human attacker).
Multiple shapes of survival knife blades

Blade material

A reliable knife-blade material is one that is hard and lasts long, doesn’t chip easily, and can be sharpened with ease. The harder your knife’s blade the more it will resist the struggle of self defense. Check the manufacturer’s indication of the knife’s hardness before buying.

Draw & use speed

A self-defense knife should be drawn and used promptly. If you need 2 minutes to draw and open your pocket knife before using it, then you are as good as the prepper without a weapon because your attacker has the advantage.

Quick to draw fixed-blade knives or automatic and spring-assisted one-hand unfolding pocket knives are better than those you need both hands to open.

Type of edge (serrated or plain)

Both serrated and plain-blade knives are equally efficient. A serrated knife may send stronger chills down your attacker’s spine because it gives the impression of sticking in their fresh. Nonetheless, they may be more difficult to sharpen.

Defense purpose (lethal or non-lethal)

It’s hard to decide whether to buy a lethal or non-lethal self-defense knife since you can’t anticipate the severity of a possible future attack.

Nonetheless, it’s important to know that longer knives with fine and sharp blade-tips like the Tanto are more lethal because they are quick to penetrate and pick a vital organ or vein.

Instead, shorter and curved knife-blades like the talon will slash and make superficial stabs and are less lethal.


National and state laws controlling the use of knives for self defense differ. So, it’s important to know what is acceptable in your country or state before making your purchase.

You can check State Knife Laws in the US on the dedicated website called AKTI.

With all you know until now about self-defense knives, you are ready to choose your prepper self defense knife.

Best Self Defense Knife FAQs

Since self defense knives are weapons, they have an element of legal control. In addition, they require cautious but effective use, which means good training.

These aspects form the two most commonly asked questions on self defense knives.

Is it legal to carry and use a knife for self defense?

The laws that regulate carrying and using a knife for self defense vary from one country or state to another. Also, some countries/states may allow certain types of self defense knives and not others.

For example, pocket knives may be legal and fixed-blade knives illegal in one place and vice versa. Check your country/state laws to be on the safe side.

Do I need training to use a knife for self defense?

Using a knife as a weapon for self defense is different from using it as a tool for other survival tasks. As such, it is advisable to take some training on how to legally, safely, and efficiently use a knife for self defense.

You can get general ideas from credible YouTube videos like this Karambit Tactical Defense video below or take a defense training course in survival training schools such as the Sigma III Survival School.

Check out the video below for some knife self defense tips.

Best Self-Defense Knife Conclusions

After going through our self defense knives guide you should have a much better understanding of what this self defense tool can do for you in a survival situation.

We've reviewed the best self defense knife for a prepper or survivalist, explained the main attributes and features of this survival tool and gave you a few tips on how to use a self-defense knife in the unfortunate case you need to.

However, if you decide to buy this self-defense tool to protect yourself, always keep in mid that de-escalation is the best way to survival, and a self-defense knife should be used as a deterrent or a means to buy you some time to escape!

The best way to win a knife fight is to avoid it!

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Hi, I'm Russ!

I've been prepping for a long time, but 2020 convinced me that I need to take it to the next level.

This website started as a way to keep me going forward on the path to being better prepared.

Now, I’m turning it into a complete blueprint for anyone else looking to do the same!
Russell M. Morgan
Telson Survival

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