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Slice, Stab, Chop, Ignite: Panacea X FireFly Survival Knife Review

With the FireFly mini survival knife, Panacea X sets out to prove that size doesn’t matter — it’s in the way that you use it.

FireFly survival knife Review(Photo/Nick LeFort)
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Survival tool” is a broad term for any number of gadgets on the marketplace today. In fact, I mostly avoid anything carrying that monicker because there’s so much crap out there that can actually do more harm than good when the going gets tough.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t folks out there making some true blue survival tools. You just need to poke around to find them.

So I did.

The brainchild of Zen Survivalist Robert Weir, the Panacea X is a survival tool company that has one goal: “Sell only the highest quality products that [they] would fully recommend to a friend or loved one.”

That covers everything from the brand’s Trail Runner fixed blade knife, all the way to its Gen 6 KILL-SAW Chainsaw Bayonet. (Yes, a Chainsaw Bayonet.)

Somewhere in the middle of that mix are the FireFly mini-survival knives, and let me tell you, I am smitten. To be more specific, I am head over heels for the FireFly Bling Grind mini-survival knife with flat Scandi grind. While the knife world focuses on bigger being better, the survival world focuses on giving you exactly what you need when you need it. That’s what the FireFly is here to prove, and I’m all about it.

Mamu knife
(Photo/Nick LeFort)

In short: The Panacea X FireFly is a survival tool that does everything it claims it can and then some. Its small stature may turn some people off, but those people aren’t willing to think outside the box. And thinking outside the box is the only way you’re going to survive in survival situations.

FireFly Panacea X Knife


  • OAL 4.55”
  • Blade length 1.98”
  • Blade steel D2
  • Blade shape Drop point
  • Grind Scandi
  • Hardness 58-60 HRC
  • Carry Standard sheath or neck sheath
  • Weight 3.5 oz.
  • Price $120


  • Machined from a single piece of D2 stock
  • The File, Ferro Rod, and Whistle
  • Unlimited carry options
  • The whole Panacea X story


  • The D2 could eventually rust, especially if you wear it as a neck knife
  • There’s a lot of fake survival stuff on the market keeping people from finding Panacea X

Panacea X FireFly Review

Design and Features

FireFly survival knife Blade
(Photo/Nick LeFort)

At 4.5 inches in total length, the FireFly is machined from a single piece of black oxide-coated D2 steel. With a blade less than 2 inches long, you might not think the FireFly is up for the tasks presented in your day-to-day (or the outdoor world). But you’ll end up very surprised just how capable it is. This knife can do a whole heck of a lot as a backup blade — or your only blade. 

The Scandi grind on the FireFly allows for easier precision work like wood carving, leather work, and even skinning. But it also excels at cutting, slicing, stabbing, and shaving. Its smaller scale makes everything you do more precise, and sometimes precision is a welcome addition.

The spine of the blade has been ground flat so it can be used as a striking edge for the ferro rod stored in the handle. And the aggressive knurling on the handle can be used as a file. That knurling also provides a significant grip whether your hand is wet, dry, or gloved. You can even use that cavity as a loud survival whistle.

Wearing firefly knife around neck
(Photo/Nick LeFort)

The Bling Grind FireFly comes with two sheaths. The smaller, tan sheath comes with an ample length of paracord, designed to be worn around your neck.

The second black Kydex sheath could also be worn around your neck with the addition of some paracord or ball chain. But its carry options are effectively endless. For example, you could use a small clip to attach it to your belt or a pack strap. I chose to bolt the Kydex sheath to my Sniper Bladeworks MAMU and let it ride shotgun, easily accessible.

The machined bling on the spine of the knife is a nice addition, but it’s purely for looks. The significance here is that this version of the FireFly has the thickest of the three available blade types, which translates to durability in my mind.

First Impressions

Weir was kind enough to get the FireFly out to me in a few days, and the day it got here I had it bolted up, ready for adventure.

The Panacea X FireFly is small but aggressive. Most production knives are more finished and refined, but the beauty of the FireFly is that its hard edges and knurling serve functions. Even the threading on the end cap Ferro rod is rough and unrefined. And I think it’s great — all of it.

FireFly Bling
(Photo/Nick LeFort)

In the last few weeks, this mighty mini has become a permanent fixture on the sheath of my Sniper Bladeworks MAMU. It’s as effective as it is interesting — a true blue survival tool.

But several bits of precision dot this knife as well. For a knife that’s been machined down from a single piece of D2 bar stock, the FireFly has gone through a lot of phases in production to become the knife it is.

Having spent a lot of time in a machine shop, I can tell you not one single person simply rattles this knife off on a lathe before lunch. There’s a lot of TLC here that can be seen in the transition from the handle to the blade. Specific to this model is the “bling” — 31 precision holes, no bigger than a cat whisker, laid into the spine, just right.

This FireFly is gritty and ready for war, but it’s worth looking at for a little while as well.

In the Field

Firefly knife in the field
(Photo/Nick LeFort)

Bringing the FireFly along with me, I became something of a mad scientist in the woods. One day, I used it to slice open an oak apple gall to get a peek at the life inside. Then I used it to split some hawkweed in half to see the structure of its pod. I was using the FireFly like a scalpel those first few days, because it cuts and maneuvers like one.

But, then I took on cutting the fat off of some chicken and making feather sticks for fire kindling. I could do these chores with a larger knife, but they all seemed to come naturally — and went more quickly — with the FireFly. Because of its miniature size, you can work on a smaller, more detailed scale.

It’s a shoo-in for sitting back and whittling; it’s great for drilling holes; and, on the other side of the spectrum, you can jam it into a tree to hold your pack or jacket off the ground.

Though I haven’t had the opportunity myself, I think the FireFly would be great for skinning and preparing small game as well. Squirrel and rabbit are delicious, but they can be a pain to prepare. I suspect a knife like the FireFly would make dressing and gutting quick and easy.

What’s more, I think the neck sheath is the bee’s knees. I used to wear a Böker Plus Gnome around my neck and would wear it when I was out swimming or floating down rivers on overinflated inner tubes, and all the Lord of the Flies stuff I like to do.

The FireFly is more streamlined than the Gnome, so I wore it around for a couple of days. Had a band of assassins stormed my backyard while I mowed the lawn, they would have received a little more fight than they might have anticipated. I’m only partly kidding.

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Overall, I like to think of the FireFly as my “think outside the box” knife. Because of its size and ability to be so precise, it opens up a lot of possibilities. I don’t think it will ever become the only knife I use when I go out on an adventure, but it’s great to have. 

If you approach it like you would a scalpel or even an X-Acto knife, you put yourself in the mindset of what those tools were designed to do. But when you consider the thickness of the blade and the build of the knife as a whole, you realize it can do those tasks — and much more. Where a scalpel or an X-Acto knife can’t take much abuse, the FireFly begs to be abused.

That said, you could totally rely on this knife on its own. If you found yourself in a jam, you could lash it to a stick and use it as a spear to catch fish. Back at camp, you could use the FireFly to sharpen and shape sticks to make a spit to cook the fish on. All of this after you prepped some kindling and feather sticks, with the FireFly for the fire — a fire you started with the ferro rod in the handle.

If Tom Hanks had the FireFly in “Castaway,” he would have had an easier go of things. Heck, he may have even named it Wilson.

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