Ontario Rat-3 Review

Ontario Rat-3

If you’re really eager to own an ESEE knife but are discouraged due to its hefty price tag, then we got just the perfect alternative! Introducing the Ontario Rat-3 from the Ontario Knife Company, a cheaper yet equally functional alternative to the ESEE 3.

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Not only does it have pretty much the same features, but it also shares the same design. Of course, there’s a bit of a difference between the ESEE 3 and the Rat-3 in terms of quality, but for a knife that’s way cheaper, the Rat-3 is no doubt a pretty solid choice.

In this review, we’ll go over the features of the Ontario Rat-3 knife in order to determine whether it’s the right knife for you or not.

Ontario Rat-3


  • Total Length: 7.8 inches
  • Blade Length: 3.75 inches
  • Blade Thickness: .131 inches
  • Blade Steel: 1095 Carbon Steel
  • Handle: Micarta
  • Weight: 4.9 oz.

With the specifications out of the way, let’s have a look at the key aspects of the Ontario Rat-3 knife.

Blade Quality

As a survival blade that’s made of 1095 carbon steel, you can expect the Rat-3 to be quite tough and sharp. It features decent performance when it comes to both chopping and cutting, and you can clearly see how well-made it is in terms of steel tempering.

That said, the Rat-3 isn’t the best when it comes to chopping. In fact, it can rather be a pain at times as it can’t bite that well into harder wood and its handle can sometimes slip after swinging a few times.

As such, it’s not really the best choice for chopping wood or sticks that are at least an inch and a half thick.

Ontario Rat-3

Ergonomics and Handle Quality

The handle is made of Micarta which speaks volumes of its quality and durability. It’s really a well-made handle, though it’s not as grippy as the other knives in the market, particularly the ESEE, and it has the tendency to slip from time to time.

That aside, it really is quite ergonomic which lets you hold the knife comfortably without any issues. Besides, the Micarta handle is a bit soft and offers a decent grip.

Probably the only issue is that it can stain pretty quickly, but since you’ll be using the knife for survival purposes anyway, it’s a given that it will become dirty with use.

Sheath Quality

The next aspect we’ll look at is the quality of the Rat-3’s sheath. There are plenty of survival knives in the market that comes with a good-quality sheath, and Rat-3 happens to be one of them.

Not only is the sheath durable and well-made, but it’s also quite comfortable. However, the straps designed for horizontal carry can but a bit of a hassle if you’re wearing a leather built. But the issue disappears once it’s worn.

How It Compares to Other Similar Knives

There are several knives that are somewhat comparable to the Ontario Rat-3. The most prominent is the ESEE 3 that we mentioned earlier. It’s not really surprising considering both knives were designed by Jeff Randall.

But apart from ESEE 3, there are also other survival knives that are worth comparing to the Rat-3. Let’s have a look at the most notable ones:

Buck Selkirk

When it comes to knives that fall in the same price range as the Rat-3, the Buck Selkirk is a solid contender. It’s a fixed-blade knife that has excellent cutting performance compared to the Rat-3, not to mention it’s slightly cheaper as well.

However, Rat-3 is much better when it comes to the quality of its handle and sheath. The material used for the Selkirk’s handle is cheap and slippery. This makes it perform poorly when it comes to chopping due to it slipping more often. 

Bradford Guardian 3

If you’re looking for a survival knife that performs better than the Rat-3 at a similar price range, then the Bradford Guardian 3 is for you.

As a matter of fact, the Guardian 3 outperforms the Rat-3 when it comes to its ergonomics, handle quality, chopping performance, as well as carving ability. If we’re looking at it from a price point perspective, the Guardian 3 would definitely come out as the winner.

Not only that, but it also has a thicker spine which translates to an extreme wedge shape which only means better chopping and cutting performance. 

One aspect where the Rat-3 is better than the Guardian 3 is toughness. Thanks to its drop point shape and wide blade design, you can expect it to withstand even more abuse and damage before it starts getting chipped.


The ESEE 3 is very similar to the Rat-3 in a lot of aspects. Both use 1095 carbon steel for excellent toughness and edge retention. Not to mention, they have nearly the same design thanks to them being designed by the same person.

Both have a handle made of Micarta, and the thickness of their blades is almost similar. Rat-3 has a thickness of .13 inches while the ESEE 3 has a thickness of .125 inches.

However, the ESEE 3 has a much longer blade at 3.875 inches compared to Rat-3 at only 3.75 inches. It’s not that much of a difference, but the ESEE 3 is still longer nonetheless. Moreover, the ESEE 3 compares with a plastic sheath compared to Rat-3’s nylon sheath.

Final Verdict

Overall, whether you consider the Ontario Rat-3 knife to be worth it or not depends on how much you’re willing to spend on a survival knife.

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Personally, I would say it’s worth it, but only barely. I would rather go for the Bradford Guardian 3 as it has far better performance in terms of cutting and chopping. But of course, the Rat-3 is still tougher, and this can be a determining factor if you frequently go out on survival adventures.

The Rat-3 is no doubt a decent choice for a survival knife. However, it still has a lot of improvements to work on, especially since there are a lot of other great options for a survival knife within its price range.

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