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Home » The Best Tactical Shovel (aka Survival Shovel): Evergreen Guide & List

The Best Tactical Shovel (aka Survival Shovel): Evergreen Guide & List

First things first: most of the tactical shovels available on the market are total crap, period. Don’t even try to argue about that. Speaking about the TACTICAL shovel, I personally spent dozens of hours trying to find barely 3-4 examples of really good shovels compatible with the real field needs. 

Let me make it clear: there are really a lot of Chinese “tactical” and “survival” shovels that look like anime blades or Inspector Gadget hat, rather than shovels for tactical, military, or emergency purposes. Just take a look at this clown-ass shovels:

Probably these aluminum foil shovels buy someone with the ahegao face, pretending he’s anime hero who’s gonna save his princess:


TL;DR: What’s The Best Tactical Shovel (Or Survival Shovel)?

Ok, let’s go back to the real things. Speaking about the best tactical shovel, or the best survival shovel (really no difference), I can recommend to you the best of the best options that have been tested and proven by years, battlefields, and hundreds of people:

  1. AMES/USGI E-Tool;
  2. Gerber E-Tool;
  3. Glock E-Tool;

That’s all you need to choose from. Don’t even look at other options, especially made in China. However, if you’re going to use your “tactical” shovel to make sand castles or clean cat litter boxes – perfect, don’t waste your time and buy it. 

Why Do I Recommend Buying These 3 Shovels Only? 

Because I don’t want to take responsibility if you’d buy the crap because of my fake recommendation. Yes, I saw millions of “expert” articles where they recommend something like I showed above. “Best of the best 25-in-1 tactical super-spec-ops-swat-shovel”, a-ha. 

If you’re going to buy tactical shovel, take the next points to mind: 

  1. You folding survival shovel should be made of high-quality carbon steel;
  2. Your shovel should be extremely strong and reliable. Like, at all;
  3. Your shovel should be strong enough to dig in frozen ground, mixed types of soil grounds (sand, clay, rocks, roots, flint, etc.);
  4. Your folding shovel should have safe and solid fixing/folding mechanisms;
  5. You don’t need any supplemental tools. You need the shovel – not a whistle in a shovel, not a spear, bayonet, saw, rocket launcher, compass, spinning and tactical dildo. You need a bayonet? Buy a bayonet. You need a compass? Buy a compass then. Separately.  

Don’t rely on the positive scenario, when you’d be forced to use your shovel. Set on the worst scenario, where you’d use your shovel, and ask yourself: does this shovel can help me, or even save me?

AMES/USGI E-Tool – The Best Tactical Shovel Overall      

AMES/USGI E-Tool is a tactical/military shovel made in the USA for military needs. Did you have any doubts about it? Yes, this is the best entrenching tool ever made, and that’s why this shovel is widely used across NATO countries. Moreover, you can check your AMES/USGI shovel for the NSN number to be assured that this is the real tool used by the military. 

Based on my personal experience, these tactical shovels recommended themselves as the toughest and most reliable E-tools at Ukrainian battlefields, from the Kherson steppes, to Kharkiv forests. 

Gerber E-Tool – Another Great Option To Buy

Gerber is a well-known and reliable company founded in 1939 in Portland, Oregon, USA. This company is all about quality, reliability, and innovations. For over 70 years this is what their customers have expected from them. And whether Gerber products are used to save time, save the day, or save a life, Gerber always delivers. So one of the best options to buy a quality tactical shovel – is to buy a Gerber E-tool. 

There’s nothing to write here for 1000 words. It’s just a simple, tough, safe and reliable tactical/survival shovel for every kind of situation.

Glock E-Tool – Last, But Not Least

Here I can write all the same things I wrote about a Gerber tactical shovel. I can write a lot about the Glock company, but this is not the information you need. Speaking about the Glock shovels, it’s good that it has a root saw as an additional tool; on the contrary, the bad thing for me is that the shovel is quite narrow, and not as big as the AMES/USGI E-Tool.   

Technically, there are no differences between these two brands, but some people prefer Glock shovels as a perfect Austrian-made E-Tool. And there’s nothing unusual – Glock company creating perfect arms and gear, and almost all Ukrainian soldiers say the good words only about Glock 78/81 bayonets, and about the shovels as well. 

Wrap It Up: Answers & Questions

Are there any other tactical shovels brands to see? 

As an option, you can take a look at the SOG and Fiskars shovels – they’re decent enough, and these companies made really good gear.

What shovels do the Marines use?

USGI/AMES E-tool (entrenching tool), as I wrote above. All the military across NATO countries use it, including the SOF operators as well. 

Do I need a shovel + multitool? 

You don’t. Don’t go for the $20 “100-in-1 shovels”. Instead, buy one quality piece of gear. Need a good multitool? Take a look at the Leatherman tools. Need a compass? Buy a good compass.