Fixed Blade Knives
A fixed-blade knife will never surprise you in use because it is a solid piece of steel anchored to the handle. For those who want a blade they really trust for tough jobs, such as field dressing and tough camping tasks, a fixed blade is the answer. Fixed blades are durable and hold up to the elements well because of their straight, simple construction without folding mechanisms. In fixed blade knives, the blade is one piece of metal that runs the length of the knife. When the blade reaches the beginning of the handle, it can either taper into a rat-tail that is surrounded by the handle or not taper and continue as a tang that is covered on either side by handle "slabs." The Bowie knife is a very popular type of a fixed blade knife.
Folding knives are generally not quite as durable as fixed blade knives, but provide safety and the carrying convenience of compact size. Folding blade knives come in a variety of configurations, some of which lock into place. Locking folders allow much of the same confidence of a fixed-blade while letting you close the blade into the handle for safety. The blade(s) on a folding knife pivots on one or both ends of the knife depending on the design. Different locking mechanisms are favored by various individuals for reasons such as perceived strength (lock safety), legality, and ease of use.