Not every survival tool is exciting, but some are just darn useful. Often when we talk survival gear, we’re looking at nifty knives that combine a plethora of features into one compact package, new and innovative ways to make fire in even the most extreme circumstances or even ways to signal for help that will be visible from low earth orbit. While all of that stuff is important, and often a lot of fun, the fact remains that the core functions of surviving being lost or stranded in the woods, or getting through a natural disaster of some sort, are generally pretty simple affairs and often simple tools will do just fine. The basic shovel can often fall into that category.

“Glock’s Entrenching Tool will easily fit in your trunk, the storage compartment on your ATV or snowmobile, or even in your pack”

Whether it’s digging your truck out of the mud or snow, prepping a fire pit or digging out a snow cave for shelter, a basic shovel can be a pretty useful tool to have. A full-sized shovel is always best to dig with when you do need to do it, but let’s face it, most of us aren’t going to carry a full-size shovel or even make space for one in our vehicles. That’s where those old folding shovels that Uncle Sam so graciously allowed us to use can really come in handy. The entrenching tool, or e-tool, does a pretty decent job at digging, but folds up compactly when not needed and is pretty easy to store. If you happen to still have one that fell out of your duffle bag when your enlistment was up, then you’re good to go. If not though, you may want to take a look at Glock’s Entrenching Tool. Yep, the same folks that make the myriad of polymer police pistols also make an entrenching tool for the Austrian Army, and it’s available to everyone.

At only 24 ounces in weight and 10 inches in size when folded, Glock’s Entrenching Tool will easily fit in your trunk, the storage compartment on your ATV or snowmobile, or even in your pack. It unfolds to 25.4 inches, which is enough to get some decent leverage for digging. Like the old GI shovel, you can affix the blade at a 45-degree angle to use as pick and break up hard earth if need be. The E-Tool’s blade is of hardened steel with an anti-corrosive treatment (not plastic like you’ll see guys saying on some of the internet boards!), and the handle is an impact-resistant polymer. If you’re worried about a polymer handle, don’t be. First off, Glock makes it, and they know a thing or two about polymers. Secondly, I tested my sample pretty hard and it seemed unfazed by the abuse.

There’s even a saw inside the Glock E-Tool’s handle in case you need to work your way through some really nasty roots or saw up some poles for your shelter. The tip of the saw blade is cut to act as a large flat-head screwdriver as well. The Glock E-Tool comes with a simple but sturdy nylon carrier. The carrier uses a Velcro closure and has a somewhat odd strap arrangement on the back, which I presume works with Austrian military web gear or packs. It has a belt loop, though, and two metal rectangular loops that you could run straps through, or maybe even MOLLE connectors through. Or you could just stuff it in your pack or trunk.

The Glock shovel works pretty well. It definitely moves more dirt than the small spades I often see with campers for digging out fire pits or cat holes, and it will do a respectable job on bigger projects as well. Heck, it’s designed to dig foxholes and trenches, so making a cooking trench, digging down below the water level to reach water or dig a solar still are easy. The saw honestly worked better than I expected. When I first handled one of these shovels I assumed from the basic tooth pattern on the blade that it was simply a root saw; and it does work well for that. More recently, though, I tried it on some dried hardwood I had lying about, and was surprised that it worked really well on that, too. It’s a sturdy blade, too, and doesn’t bend easily. The sides of the shovel blade are beveled, but not really sharp. They worked just fine for splitting up some old board cutoffs that I had in the garage to use for fireplace kindling, though. A few minutes with a file would put a real edge on there for some more serious hacking.

The Glock Entrenching Tool is a worthwhile addition to your kit, and it’s probably a tool you’ll end up using quite a bit in your daily outdoor life, not just in an emergency situation. For more information, visit or call 770-432-1202.

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