When hunting for the perfect knife to use while hunting, it can be tricky to track down the right target.
Because there are so many models available and a plethora of knives available on the internet as well, it’s easy to get confused and strike out on your search.
Thankfully, we've crafted a hunting knife guide to help you on your quest for the right tool.
The first thing you want to do is to establish a budget. Know that the cost for these blades can run between a reasonable $50 to the more pricey options of more than $1,000.
After setting a spending budget, choose which kind of hunting knife you want: folded or fixed blade.
Then begin your search, keeping an eye out for a tool that avoids all of the 5 hunting knife no-no’s listed below.
You’re tough; you need a hunting knife that is just as strong and ready to rumble as you are!
Since hollow handles mean less overall knife strength, this is one thing to avoid when shopping for your ideal match.
Usually, because there’s not too much weight in the knife’s core, a hollow handle knife can feel unbalanced.
However, if you don’t mind trading knife strength over a small piece of a survival kit, go for it.
Here’s one thing you should pivot in the other direction of.
Pivots on folding knives are a definite no-no when it comes to shopping for the perfect knife for hunting.
Folding knives can be a good option because they are neatly portable. Additionally, they are also extremely safe when they are folded up when not in use.
However, the hinge is known to be more likely to malfunction when doing some serious piercing tasks.
When that happens, it can make for some dangerous slices.
So if you’re looking to keep your fingers attached to your hands, avoid folding knives that pivot.
Goodbye, gut hooks—you are not needed!
They’re great for field dressing game, that’s true. However, gut hooks are not completely necessary—especially since you can gut game without a gut hook.
The spine of a knife is meant to be the safe edge. Having a gut hook takes that safety out of the picture with the hunting knife.
While having the gut hook or not on a knife is a personal preference of every shopper or hunter, be aware of the safety concerns that may come with it.
Serration on the blade of a hunting knife is another thing to consider in your shopping venture for the right tool for you.
First, let’s make sure we know what a serrated blade even is!
A blade serration is a type of blade used on cutting tools such as saws, some knives or scissors.
This kind of blade has a cutting edge, and by having less contact area than a smooth blade, the applied pressure at each point of contact is relatively greater.
Cuts made with a serrated blade are typically less smooth and less precise than cuts made with a smooth blade.
In general, a serrated blade has a faster cut, but a plain edge has a cleaner cut.
Don’t get confused when buying these blades, as they go by various names. These types of blades can also be known as dentated, sawtooth, or toothed blade, so look out for these titles as well.
While serrated blades make cutting hard surfaces easier, you won’t even need such a blade if you’re diligent about sharpening your knife frequently enough and/or well enough.
In addition, serrated blades can be more difficult to sharpen than a non-serrated, using a whetstone or rotary sharpener. However, if you’ve got some bling lying around, they can be easily sharpened with a diamond.
Since serrated blades are so time-consuming and troubling to re-sharpen, especially if you don’t have power tools, diamonds on deck, or the best sharpener on the market, you may want to avoid this kind blade altogether.
Buy the best blade length for you and your hunting needs.
Blade length is a very important consideration when hunting for the right knife.
Unless you’re a lumberjack, you likely won’t want to carry a knife that’s too long.
More likely, there will only be several things you’ll need your hunting knife for.
These include field dressing, slicing your lunch, and maybe cutting off some twigs.
Since chopping down a tree is probably out of the question for you in your hunting ventures, pick a knife with an appropriate blade length so you’ll be ready to go on your next hunting trip.
Now that you know the five factors to avoid—those that make for a bad hunting knife—let’s take a look at some of the more popular options for hunting knives.
What kind of knives have you used in the past while hunting or use during your current hunting adventures now? Give us the good, the bad, and the ugly, of your knife reviews in the comments!
The best hunting knife is debatable. Ask around and you will get a lot of different answers. The consensus on the “best” option overall is a tough call. Some will talk about the classic Buck; others will discuss the versatile blades that have recently been created. Making the right choice when it comes to knives is tough sometimes. It’s for that reason that this guide has been compiled. The following will highlight, review, and compare the 10 best hunting knives. They are unique in style, and purpose, but they have different elements that make them stand out.
There is no “one” option for everyone. That’s why there is diversity in the following list and review. Some options are meant for hunters that are stalking certain prey, while others are more for utility. Whatever the case is, after reading through the reviews, you will no doubt have an idea of what makes the best solution moving forward.
There are a lot of features at play when it comes to narrowing down the best hunting knife. Some are gimmicky, others are strong, and some fly below the radar. In order to compile the best 10, special attention has been paid to specific features, including craftsmanship, function, and handle. There is no particular order to the 10 knives below, so make sure that you explore each one and compare it to what your needs are overall.
Making a list of the best hunting knife seems simple enough. Looks can be deceiving however. This unique knife has some clever innovations to it. The blade is 10 inches, and it’s made of high carbon steel. It’s listed as 1095 carbon steel, and reaches 4.75 inches outside of the handle. The material of the handle is made of micarta, and there is a sheath that is made of kydex. At first glance this looks like your common fixed blade, but that’s where you will start to remove distinctions moving forward.
The quality given to this knife is second to none. On the blade itself you will see a graphic that showcases the 1095 construction. The look and feel is great, with an easy to work with lower spin and movement for hunting. There is a washer piece so that you can remove Micarta scales. There is a paracord lanyard and lock with clip plate as an additional feature. Overall, the handling of this knife will be easy, as you can grip for tearing, cutting and beyond.
The edge of this knife is very sharp, and will stay that way. The high quality materials ensure that you are not going to get a dull blade in short order. The blade will stay sharp; the carbon material nearly guarantees it outright. Some hunters may cite that there is no “leather” sheath, but it doesn’t necessarily need one.
The Esee Knives LSP Laser Strike Fixed Blade Knife with Canvas Micarta Handles should not be dismissed. It’s a strong, impressive hunting knife. The knife is durable, comes sharp, and priced quite well. The warranty on top of it is strong as well, giving you peace of mind when in the field.
The first thing that stands out about the KA-Bar Becker BK2 Companion Fixed Blade Knife is simple, the looks. This is a sleek looking knife, and it’s all black. The 5.5-inch blade is strong, and crafted from 1095 cro-van steel. The complete length of this is 10.5 inches long, and the components are top quality. You will be able to get a good angle for cutting, and you’ll find that this is meant for easy use on the field, or within utility at home. There is a limited lifetime warranty tied to this, so you can rest assured that you are getting a quality knife.
Reviewers noted that the sheath is not as good as they’d like. It’s a nylon option and does well enough, but it is not as heavy duty as you’d expect considering the look and feel of the knife. This has some weight to it. It is 1.5 pounds and you’ll feel it when you’re using it for a number of reasons. The thickness of the blade, the look of the construction, weight all come together to give you a sense of purpose when hunting.
The warranty may be limited, but with a strong blade, sharp edge, and quality design, you can’t really go wrong with this one. The KA-Bar Becker BK2 Companion Fixed Blade Knife definitely has a few cons that people mention, but overall, it’s a strong, sharp knife that looks amazing, and can help you do a lot of things in the field.
The total length of the Puma Skinner Stag Handle Blade is only 9.4 inches long, and the blade comes out at 4.7 inches long, but it’s a knife that has looks and quality up front. This looks like a throwback, and you’ll see it immediately. The hardness scale is quite high, and the knife’s blade is immensely sharp. This was a German manufactured blade and continues to rack up positive reviews. It weighs 1.5 pounds and it’s absolutely strong in your hands.
When purchasing this knife, you will receive a leather sheath, that is of a high quality. The handle here is interesting. It has finger guards, pins, and a lanyard hole, all of which are made of brass. The components on this knife are guaranteed, and you will definitely see and feel them upon using it. The knife company producing this stellar release dates back decades, and they have staked their reputation on every knife produced.
Some may find the handle to be a big bulky, and somewhat larger than most. The quality doesn’t get diminished. The strength of the blade, and the contours on the handle allow you to easily go through any job you may have while hunting. Its strength outweighs the minor issues some may have with the handle’s size and shape.
The Puma Skinner Stag Handle Blade has aesthetics going for it up front. However, it’s the strength of the blade and the weight that makes this a standout. It’s not just about looks when it comes to hunting knives, obviously, but this definitely delivers on both function and visual design flow.
One of the most recognizable names in knives is the Buck brand. With the Buck Knives 110BRS Folding Hunter Knife you get an iconic option. This is a strong contender for the best hunting knife for a lot of reasons. It has a 3.75 inch 420HC steel chip blade. Closed, it’s only 4 7/8 inches long. It’s easy to put in your pocket, in your bag, or vest. The weight on this is going to stun you, as you will find it to be way lighter than other hunting knives today. It’s only 7 ounces and you’re going to be impressed by how fast you can open it up and use it. If that’s not enough, consider that Buck offers a lifetime warranty on this knife, giving you peace of mind in case anything goes wrong with it.
The handle on this knife is polished, and made of Dymondwood, with a grain finish that looks natural. This is paired with a leather sheath, comes sharp, and can be locked on the blade itself. This is not just for hunting, mind you, as people have noted in reviews. Reviews note the versatility of this knife for everyday tasks as well as out on the field. The blade comes in handy, that’s for sure, as it simply folds out, and is quite sharp.
One of the reasons why the Buck Knives 110BRS Folding Hunter Knife might look so familiar is because it has endured over 50 years of design quality. The company first introduced this model in the 1960s, and it has been a favorite the world over. Buck Knives has seen tremendous growth and appeal thanks to the craftsmanship of every piece they put out. There’s an “old school” feeling that comes with this, and you’ll no doubt see the precision quality of the knife itself when you purchase it.
The thing about this one, and something that is going to disappoint some is that this model has been discontinued. Don’t panic. The warranty is still attached to this. If you look for it, you’ll find it, and the company will still honor their warranty, making this a classic to consider, and one that is still sought after by hunters and knife enthusiasts alike.
For the hunter that really wants to invest, and price is not a concern, this is going to be the one to get. The Fallkniven NL4 Leather Handle Plain Leather Sheath is a strong knife that is made for sport, hunting, and utility. It has a 5.12 plain edge, and a serious drop point. The steel on this blade is VG10 and quite strong. The extension is 4.48 inches, and it’s sharp out of the box. The leather handle is interesting, as it allows you to grip, without sliding. The leather sheath is also a nice touch.
You’re going to find that the size of this knife is quite good, but it’s deceptive in terms of weight. You would think that this would be weighted, but it’s not. It’s under 7 ounces. That’s right, it’s under 7 ounces and yet it’s high quality, and durable at the same note. The only downside that you may see up front is the fact that the warranty isn’t as strong as other companies. That may be a detractor for some, but it’s not a complete deal breaker.
Some hunters will note that this is not popular. It’s not often mentioned, and marketing is scarce. However, the price tag, size, shape, and design makes this an interesting option to pick up. The feel and look of the knife may seem plain at first, but in the field, it works with precision. It’s strong blade, and sharp edge is definitely not going to let you down, as reviewers have noted that this is a strong solution.
You can look at this as an up and coming knife, or you could pick up the Fallkniven NL4 Leather Handle Plain Leather Sheath to see what the hype is about. Either way, you’re going to find that the quality of the steel, the sharpness of the edge, and the overall design definitely speaks volumes. This is still a very solid knife, even if it’s not a bestseller in every category.
This is one of the best hunting knives on the market. As you look at knives, you will no doubt be intrigued by the Benchmade 15016-2 Hidden Canyon Hunter. This is a small, compact option, but where it lacks in size, it makes up for in precision design and layout. The blade only measures 2.67 inches, and the full length is 6.32 inches. It’s small, simple, and gets the job done in many aspects. The blade is made of CPM-S30V premium stainless steel, and comes out incredible sharp. You will find that the handle’s durability is definitely going to be a highlight in your hands. The handle is made of Dymondwood, and it is water resistant to avoid slippage.
Handling this knife is definitely a positive. You’ll find that despite the size, you will be able to cut with precision, and style. The customized blade is no slouch in comparison to other knives. The blade has been made to last a long time, and comes backed by a warranty to give you peace of mind.
It's easy to dismiss this option since it’s not exactly big, but if you actually test it out for your next trip, you’ll realize that this is definitely a solid choice. The Benchmade 15016-2 Hidden Canyon Hunter is no-nonsense. It’s strong, feels great in your hands, and can be taken discreetly across any hunting trip you may explore.
This is a cool looking blade. The name is even cool. The Cold Steel Voyager XL Vaquero Plain Edge Knife has a lot to offer, even if it is a little smaller than some of the early onset hunting knives featured. This knife has a thickness of 4MM, and the length of the blade is only 5.5 inches. The weight of this solution is going to shock you, coming in at under 7 ounces. The extra wide blade brings a lot to the table, and the strength is second to none.
The parts of the knife are precise. The design is laser cut, and there is an easy locking mechanism in place. The Cold Steel design has been made to ensure that you don’t have to sharpen, or maintain your knife over time. Simply put, it’s an upgrade that you don’t have to think too much about. The company has staked a reputation on the strength of their releases, and this is a high end solution, with a simple design that easily fits your hand.
Overall, the Cold Steel Voyager XL Vaquero Plain Edge Knife has a lot going for it. However, it is not the best knife in the business. Yes, it’s a strong option, and it works out great amidst folding styles, however, it is not going to win awards. As far as a compact hunting knife, however, it works very well and it is a knife that fits easily in your pocket.
Going forward with yet another small hunting knife, consider the Benchmade 585 Mini Barrage. This is a knife that packs a serious punch. It’s small, at only 4.75 inches in length, and a blade that is just under 3 inches long overall. The blade is made of 154CM stainless steel and is definitely compact when folded. Open it’s 8.35 inches in length, but folding it makes it seem very small. The best thing about this, aside from the sharp blade, is the fact that it is under 5 ounces. This is a light, simple option that comes incredibly sharp out of the box.
There is an axis lock mechanism, and easy one handed opening. There is a small safety so that you don’t aren’t going to get stuck. The quality and design of the handle is made with slip resistant elements. It’s ergonomically designed for right or left handed users, and it’s backed by a solid warranty.
Some may find the handle and blade to be of two types of quality, but reviewers have noted that it’s something that is easy to overlook in the field. Despite some minor issues that some may have, this is a solid knife that is easy to use, compact, and strong overall. The Benchmade 585 Mini Barrage is not the best in this guide, but it’s still a strong contender, none the less.
For the hunter that is looking at a lower cost option, the Schrade 165OT Old Timer Fixed Blade is definitely a solid release. This is a fixed blade, but it’s strong, and made to last. The blade is made of high carbon steel and has a lifetime warranty attached to it. The length of this blade is 9.5 inches long. The hand is ergonomically designed, and this comes with a leather sheath. You may see this and think that it’s a lightweight, but it’s just under 10 ounces, and strengthened throughout the blade.
Schrade is a company that has been putting out quality blades for some time. They are a respected company in the industry and the Old Timer knife is not made without their signature design influence. It’s easy to hold, strong, and is perfect for just about any hunt you decide to go on. The blade itself is sharp, and can be made even sharper if you’d like, but it’s one of the major selling points of this solution.
The price is very low for the Schrade 165OT Old Timer Fixed Blade, which is why you may want to consider this option. The blade is strong, made of precision steel, and is no-nonsense overall. High quality, low price, and stellar design all make this an outstanding choice amidst hunting knives mentioned here.
For the hunter that want’s a stellar design, this is the one to get. The Buck Knives 110YISLE Yellowhorse Rising Wisdom Folding Hunter Lockback Knife Custom has been made with art and function in mind. It’s a high priced option, but it looks incredible. This is a custom piece that is limited to 250. You will pay a “collector’s Price for this, but it’s a solid solution to explore.
The blade is only 3.5 inches and an overall length of 4 7/8 when it is shut. The stainless steel blade is made of 420HC and is very strong. The design of the handle is another classic option from David Yellowhorse. There are 3 different designs that you can take note of, and each one makes this option stand out overall. The package, when purchased, is not just a blade in a box. You will receive the knife, alongside certification, numbers, and an inlay shield, with a wood display stand. This is a work of art for sure.
When it comes to beauty, this is a major option. If you want to use it you can, but many collect it and just keep it on display. The price tag is quite high on the Buck Knives 110YISLE Yellowhorse Rising Wisdom Folding Hunter Lockback Knife Custom, but when you take a look at what you get, it certainly warrants the asking price, and is definitely worth investing if you’re a hunter.
This is one of the coolest looking knives on the list. The Boker Traditional Series Folding Hunter Knife With Jigged Bone Handle has a nickel silver bolster, and is 4.5 inches in blade length. The blade is made of high carbon steel, and comes equipped with an additional multipurpose blade. You get 2 blades in 1 here. The cost is low, and the features are quite nice. Perhaps the outstanding element on this is the handle. The jigged bone handle is non-lip, easy to use, and looks great and is the best deer hunting knife.
You can open the secondary knife with a fingernail groove that is in place. The full length is 5.25 inches, and fits into any pocket with ease. The blade is strong, sharp, and durable. It’s lightweight, and comes with a limited warranty. The bone handle is the real selling point, however, as it is definitely visually appealing overall.
Boker has done quite well with creating this knife from a visual standpoint. The blades are strong, sharp, and also work very well when on the field, but overall, it’s a short, pocket knife that may not match up to some of the weighted, stronger options mentioned on this list. The Boker Traditional Series Folding Hunter Knife With Jigged Bone Handle is a must see for sure, however.
As you look at the list above, you’re going to see that there are two major styles of hunting knife. There are those that prefer a fixed blade and those that like a folding option. Many experienced hunters like a fixed blade as it will stay put, and there are no accidents, and issues. However, people that favor folding styles will like the portability and strength that comes with it. Here’s the truth about the two, none is better than the other. When it comes to the durability of options, fixed options and folding solutions have the same major factors. They are made of precision metal, and can dull just like anything else. The only added upside to fixed options is that they are easier to sharpen, and clean.
Folding blades are versatile, can be placed in a sock, in a pocket, and often times are just better to travel with. However, fixed blades are usually bigger, weighted, and help with harder projects. If you want to carry a knife in your pocket, then folding solutions make sense. However, if you want a larger option that you wear on your belt in a sheath, then you will want a fixed solution. Preference is really what matters here, as one is definitely going to appeal to a certain crowd over other solutions, simple as that.
When it comes to blades, you are going to find that there are two major materials at play. The first one being stainless steel, and the second being carbon steel blades. These are the two most common options that you are going to end up seeing. Which is better? Well that’s a matter of what the steel may be mixed with. In some instances, there are several components that can be put in with stainless steel. Some companies use carbon, nickel, or iron to even them out. While it’s resistant to rust, there are some stains that could occur. These aren’t made for their shine, and shimmer, so don’t expect them to be luminous. They aren’t swords.
The best of the materials goes to carbon steel. This is the sharpest, easiest to maintain, and definitely sharp overall. It doesn’t go dull fast, and you can sharpen it if need be. That’s not to say that a thick stainless steel solution isn’t going to work out for you. However, you’re going to find that they may not match over time. Carbon, on the other hand, will rust, and can even discolor if you’re not on top of the cleaning and maintenance of it. The tradeoffs are definitely worth exploring here, but you’ll find that the two options have equal release cycles when it comes to hunting knives.
As you break down the different options overall, you’re going to find that handles can be made of various options. The price of your knife can vary depending on the handle and blade combination. You should look for something that is slip resistant, and doesn’t come with too many bells and whistles in the handle itself. Grip matters most. The grip that you have is going to determine whether or not you are going to be able to cut and work through whatever you’re dealing with. Fixed blade options have heavy handles and are usually ergonomically designed. They are of a higher quality overall, no doubt. Folding blades may not always give you a good handle, but their versatility is what people look for in regards to that design point.
Honestly, fixed blades are going to come with these out right. Folding solutions may not always come with a holder, or sheath at all. A bad sheath is going to prove to be miserable, so this is an important thing to consider. There are several uses for this, and it’s not just to hold your knife in place. Yes, there is utility in mind, but it’s not the only thing.
A great sheath should be made of leather, Kydex, or nylon. However, the best option is going to be leather, and one that is made of high precision fabrication. Some will say that Kydex can work well, but it’s best to just stick with a strong leather solution to be safe.
Leather is a strong solution that dates back quite a long way. The reason why it is still used is simple, it’s durable, easy to care for, and can last you a long time. Durability, especially when made by an experienced leather crafter, is second to none when it comes to materials. Look at the history of blades and you’ll see that the preferred option is usually leather.
Those that prefer Kydex will cite that there are a few things that make it stand out. This is a thermoplastic option. Many people like it because it’s low cost, and seems to hold blades in place without losing their edge. It’s strong, and definitely easy to use. The price tag is really the big deal here. Many manufacturers are saving money on the sheath by going with this material as it costs less to create and use compared to higher quality leather sheath solutions.
Right now there are debates raging over which is better. In the end, leather maintains a strong hold because it’s been around for a long time. It is a tried and true option, with a lot of upside, but definitely not advanced. That’s something that you will no doubt want to consider overall. Also, the best hunting knife will have a quality sheath.
When you go back through the list above, you will notice that there aren’t a lot of multipurpose knives. There’s a reason for that. The main reason is because there aren’t a lot on the market that have stellar quality for hunting. The reason why there wasn’t more attention paid to these knives is because the function is traditionally not there. In fact, many hunters will recommend that you purchase two different knives that serve the purpose of one of these knives play through. The Boker option is dual bladed, but it is well reviewed, made of high quality construction, and priced to sell. It’s perhaps one of the better examples of what can be done with a multipurpose blade solution. The handle also makes it quite good visually.
Searching for the best hunting knife is not difficult. Looking for the best can be tough because there is just so much available to the general public. Hunters will be lost in the shuffle of searching for an option if they aren’t sure what to look for. If you’re going to hunt today, you should have a good knife at your disposal. You don’t need a technical masterpiece, but you should have a strong blade in case you’re stuck, or you need to cut wire, rope, or just about anything. There aren’t a lot of innovations that have hit knives in general. There are a few, but the blades and handles are often basic because utility matters more than visual design flow.
As far as innovations are concerned, Kydex is definitely the big jump that many are split on. This option could become more common when it comes to blades, sheaths, and more. This option is getting improved often, and may very well become the standard bearer for sheaths. As it improves, the industry may move towards this instead of leather, as the costs really become a factor for many companies.
At the end of the day, the above will help guide you to make a good purchase in regards to hunting knives. Making a well informed decision is important. You don’t want to get stuck in the wild without a good, sharp blade available to you. Overall, make sure that you pick one that fits your needs, hands, and is easy to carry. There is so much to explore on this topic, but the above should be enough to get you through the ups and downs of picking a good solution for your next trip. Whether you’re a beginner or experienced, you’ll find that this collection and guide will help narrow down the field properly. Whether you’re collecting, or you’re using them outright, these are all going to help you learn what is the best hunting knife on the market.
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