Having the best hunting knife will be your best friend in the woods. The utility of this knife is skinning and field dressing the hunted animal for food. Given the timeless popularity of hunting knives, renowned manufacturers so far have introduced a number of technologies to improve the art of knife making. If you’re planning to hit a store without any idea of the factors that go behind choosing a perfect knife, chances are high that you’ll come out of the store feeling like a noob. That being said, the concept of perfection is considerably complex here. What might be the best hunting knife for you might not be a good choice for another, it all depends on how you intend to use it.
- 1 Best Hunting knife reviews of 2017 – Top picks
- 1.1 Fallkniven H1
- 1.2 Puma Skinner Stag Handle Blade
- 1.3 Benchmade 15016-2 Hidden Canyon Hunter
- 1.4 Ka-Bar BK-22 Companion Fixed Blade Knife
- 1.5 Benchmade 585 Mini Barrage
- 1.6 Morakniv Companion Fixed Blade Outdoor Knife
- 1.7 Buck Knives S30V 0347 Vantage Pro Folding Knife
- 1.8 Aspects to consider before choosing the best hunting knife:
- 1.9 Final Words on Choosing the Best Hunting Knife
Best Hunting knife reviews of 2017 – Top picks
This 8.3 inches long meaty knife is a name taken with respect by professionals. The no-nonsense Scandinavian, full tang design of the knife is exclusively designed for skinning and dressing. Don’t expect multitasking because the blade is solely meant to rip the meat apart from the tendons and joints. The durability is astonishing, it may last for years if you know how to handle it well. The showstopper of the event is indeed the 4 inches long, 0.2 inches thick 3G powdered steel blade that can through a deer skin and a fat pig’s carcass with same force, uniformity and precision. This blade has a very unique composition, while the inner part is made from a very sturdy steel, the outer covering is made from a soft steel for a nice balance between hardness and flexibility. The ergonomic no-slip Kraton handle is pleasing. An addition of a finger-guard could have rendered as the best you can get for money. But well, you can’t have everything, right? The ultra-light weight heightens the mobility of the knife. It can be single-handedly operated for performing the most challenging hunting chores without putting much pressure.
- Full tang design
- High durability
- 3G powdered steel blade
- Composite blade composition
- Ergonomic Kraton handle
- Finger guard
- Ultra Light weight
- Limited Usefulness
The Fallkniven H1 is arguably the best hunting knife for stripping the meat off of a carcass or skinning and dressing field game. It is extremely durable and well made but offers only limited usefulness. It is well respected by experienced hunters for its ability to quickly and effectively process game animals in or outside of the field. The rather intimidating presence of the Fallkniven can make it tempting to use it for other purposes, but it performs extraordinarily well for its intended purpose- a fact that is made evident by the budget quality finger guard which will not stand up to more demanding use. It’s a great knife to keep in your hunting gear box or fishing tool box.
Puma Skinner Stag Handle Blade
Veteran wild life enthusiasts would rejoice to have something like this in their survival arsenal when dealing with the toughest situations put forth by nature. This 4.7 inches long wonder from Puma is an ideal hunting knife in every possible way. It has toughness, hardness and durability- the holy trinity of a hunting tool written all over it. It has been rated as a top quality knife by 55-57 Rockwell hardness rating which is a huge achievement for any utility knife. The revolutionary handcrafted design of Stag comes from the most adept knife makers of the world. It devises a high quality 440A German manufactured steel to make the blade. The handmade scaled stag handle serves with comfort and firm grip while the brass finger guards safeguards your finger against nicks and cuts. All the components are backed by Puma’s limited period guaranty. Another notable is the high grain leather sheath with a lanyard hole for easy hanging. If you are searching for a product that rises to the most challenging occasions and stands abuses for an extended period with any downtime, pronto buy it and thank me later.
- High durability
- 55-57 Rockwell hardness rating
- Unique handcrafted design
- High quality 440A German steel
- Ergonomic grip
- Finger guard
- Puma limited guarantee
- Leather sheath
- Brass finger guards can bend under pressure
Made by one of the world’s most reputable manufacturer’s of high-quality hunting knives, the Puma Skinner is a durable and functional hunting knife that would be a welcome addition to any hunter’s toolkit. The 4.7-inch blade is more than sufficient for field dressing and skinning purposes. This high-quality hunter’s knife comes with a very well made high grain leather sheath which will help to protect your investment and keep it safe while rattling around in a toolbox or trunk. If you are searching for a product that rises to the most challenging occasions and stands abuses for an extended period with any downtime, pronto buy it and thank me later.
Benchmade 15016-2 Hidden Canyon Hunter
Benchmade has always been a one-stop destination for passionate outdoorsmen and adventure life seeking folks who settle for nothing but the best. This particular product-line from Benchmade introduces us to a cutting edge all purpose knife featuring a relatively compact design for the ease of carrying around in pocket. The modified clip-point blade sculpted from a super-strong CPM-S30V premium steel is a class of its own. The knife measures not more than 6.23 inches. The limited weight, to my utmost satisfaction, doesn’t bog down the usability at all. It is mounted atop a mositure-resitant Dymondwood handle that favours flexible movement and fits firmly into your hand. The small size of this knife is perhaps the touchstone of its superior performance. Handling the knife isn’t an issue irrespective of the size of your hand. The blade sharpness is sure to stun even the choosiest customers. It stays sharp as ever after prolonged use and can be re-sharpened in the adverse field in minutes.
- Multi-purpose blade
- CPM-S30V Steel
- Light weight
- Dymondwood handle
- High edge retention
- Small size hinders practicality
While the Benchmade 150 by Hidden Canyon is exceedingly small for a serious hunting knife, its high-quality manufacturing standards and durability make it an outstanding pocket companion for any hunting aficionado. While it may feel insubstantial when held in the hand, its multiple features such as the clip-point blade and moisture resistant wooden handle make it an almost perfect pocket sized companion knife for any outdoor purpose. While it is unlikely to be used enough to do much harm to the blade, it has a tendency to hold its sharpness extraordinarily well- and is surprisingly easy to sharpen. This is a great backup knife and one that you can count on being there in a pinch for many years after purchase.
Ka-Bar BK-22 Companion Fixed Blade Knife
You know, the old folks’ unquenchable love for fixed blade seems justified when you hold a mighty, monstrous hunting knife in your hand. The BK-22 Companion holds the true spirit of a traditional hunter’s knife, owning all the essential properties to help you survive like a boss in most dangerous places in the world. The 5.25 inch blade constructed from 1095 Cro-van steel offers stupendous strength and flexibility. It applies a drop-point mechanism with a flexibility up to 20 degree angle for tour-de-force performance. It is placed upon a premium moisture-absorbent Grivory handle for superior handling. The knife is packaged inside a glass-filled nylon sheath which itself weighs around 1.5 pounds. Although I would have preferred a classic leather sheath over a nylon sheath anyday, it would be harsh to call it a trade-off. The razor sharp blade can hold its edge for as much as 2 years. Need more valid reasons to count on it?
- 5.25 in. fixed blade
- 1095 Cro-van steel
- Premium moisture absorbent Grivory handle
- Glass lined nylon sheath
- Durable razor sharp blade
- Drop point styling reduces tip strength
While the drop point blade styling can present a durability issue in some cases, especially with a k-bar style knife that can be used for skewering, this Companion fixed blade hunting knife has many virtues. The 20-degree angle makes it exceedingly flexible in the hand, and the Grivory wood handle is a welcome feature. While the fixed blade may not be a great match with the drop point tip, and the extremely sharp blade make this knife best when used for precision field dressing- this knife is still a very high-quality hunter’s knife. A great main-line knife, most hunters who carry this would probably want some kind of backup pocket folder in case of tip breakage or should the edge lose its bite. The glass lined sheath will help it keep it a very fine edge, but could be impractical in the field due to its relative fragility. This is a rather showy knife but can be extremely formidable in the hands of an experienced user. Need more valid reasons to count on it?
Benchmade 585 Mini Barrage
The Benchmade Mini Barrage is available in two sheer varieties- mini and serrated. The Mini range comprises of small-sized, razor sharp cutters featuring a 2.9 inch long blade made from 154CM stainless steel. This is one of the smallest knives in the market as per my research, yet the limited dimension doesn’t make it any less formidable than its counterparts. There’s a lot to praise in this classic folding knife from Benchmade. The Axis lock mechanism engineered in this model facilitates quick release and reverse folding of the knife with a single press of the thumb stud. These thumb studs are equipped with a reversible pocket clip for full range and improved performance. The blade holds its edge long after repeated use which itself is a good enough excuse to own this knife. Ergonomically sound, swift deployment, amazing strength and stunning durability-Benchmade Mini renders all the qualities you should be looking for in an economical hunting knife.
- Choose mini or serrated
- Quick release
- Reverse folding
- Reversible thumb studs
- Easy release can endanger fingers
- Small blade
While diminutive, the Benchmade 585 Mini Barrage is a durable, flexible, and useful hunting tool. The quick release mechanism is great when you don’t have a hand free to fold it up, but can pose a slight finger nicking hazard. The reversible thumb studs allow the user to switch the clip side for left or right-hand use. Versatility like this is a plus, but can also run the risk of losing the knife if the studs come loose while clipped when you’re moving around on wooded terrain. Some may prefer to pocket the small knife to avoid the risk of dropping it. Consider this an excellent backup knife, especially with its versatility which is ideal for a knife that you may not handle frequently- but only use when the situation demands.
Morakniv Companion Fixed Blade Outdoor Knife
The Morakniv Companion is well- acknowledge for its wide range of applications apart from skinning and filleting. The concrete high carbon steel blade is sharp enough to piece the tough animal skin and slice the meat uniformly. To ensure superior user safety, the brand has included a high friction grip over the blade to prevent accidental slips. It can be used for a number of hunting tasks such as boning, filleting and field dressing small to medium kills. Carbon steel has a stunning edge retention quality which means you won’t have to spend hours sharpening it when you need the knife the most. Mora companion’s ergonomically sound design has minimum non-function weight, therefore it’s delightfully simple to deploy and manoeuvre even when you’re a newbie. Having said that, the blade isn’t capable of taking excess load so be very careful about its applications. The handle of this Mora knife is made from a strong and dependable plastic material that effectively absorbs sweat from your palm for tight grip.
- Multiple applications
- High carbon steel
- High friction grip
- High edge retention
- Ergonomic handle
- Low load capacity
- Plastic handle
The Morakniv Companion is a highly flexible outdoors man’s field knife. With its high carbon steel, the otherwise insubstantial blade has high durability and usefulness. The high friction grip is a great safety feature. The handle has high porosity to allow it to absorb sweat and prevent slippage. This is an excellent feature since few users anticipate the difficulty of using a knife under pressure. The handle performs well despite the fact that it is made from plastic- an aesthetics related drawback for many discriminating hunters. But rest assured that it does not hinder the knife’s functionality or the high quality of the grip surface. The Morakniv holds its edge exceedingly well, helping to ensure that it will cut on demand- and reduce the amount of time spent sharpening it. It is great as either a primary hunting knife or backup.
Buck Knives S30V 0347 Vantage Pro Folding Knife
Buck is one such brand that is synonymous with reliability and genuine quality. The 3.25 inch modified S30V steel blade is a welcome addition to the world of hunting knives. For its negotiable weight and size, it can be used extensively for various hunting purposes without making your hand fatigued. Buck’s patented Edge2x technology is the backbone of this model. It adds fantastic sharpness, edge retention ability and sturdiness to the blade to enable it for covering almost any task you need in the campsite. Moreover, Buck’s lifetime warranty is always a bonus. Another feature worth appreciation is the Moulded Nylon G10 Black Handle and tip-up carry clip for maximum grip. It uses a liner lock mechanism that allows a hassle-free single-handed opening. All this and more found in one knife that can be ours for a shockingly low price!
- High durability & reliability
- S30V steel blade
- Versatile design
- Patented Edge2x technology
- High edge retention
- Buck lifetime warranty
- Tip up clip
- Low price
- Small size
- Nylon rather than leather case
Buck, (known for making some of the world’s best hunting knives) delivers yet another high-quality folding hunter with the added benefits of their exclusive special patented Buck edge technology which you just cannot get with other manufacturers. Buck’s Edge2x technology is a highly secretive forging and sharpening technique that gives Buck an edge (forgive the pun) when it comes to retaining a fine and sharp edge that you can count on out in the field. The tip up clip and nylon case make the Vantage Pro even more practical. This is an excellent knife for family camping or for outdoor use of any kind. And with Buck’s lifetime guarantee, you can be sure that you’re getting a high-quality knife that is well worth the investment.
Aspects to consider before choosing the best hunting knife:
The quality of the material used for making the blade is the biggest deciding factor for choosing any knife, it has the authority to make or break the deal so don’t mind being a little picky about it. Stainless steel and carbon steel are most preferred material by the majority of brands. The heated debate over which one makes the best hunting knife is never-ending. Practically speaking, each has its own share of pros and cons. Stainless steel is built from multiple components like iron, carbon, chromium, nickel etc. It reserves a tremendous rust resistance property but when it comes to slicing the meat with butter smoothness, it doesn’t live up to the expectation. On the other hand, the razor sharp carbon steel catches the stain very quickly. Be smart enough to know your priority, that’s the best tip I can give you.
Fixed or folding hunting knife
Hunting knives essentially come in two varieties, folding and fixed. If you’re keen on emphasizing on safety over performance, folding knives will you justice. While they are hard to clean up, less likely to last long and unable to tolerate abuse, the neatly propped up locking blade mechanism in the knife makes it extremely safe to carry around in pocket, easy to deploy and increases the application as well. Apart from field dressing, you can also use it for general all-around tasks. However, the experienced, fastidious outdoorsmen swear by fixed blade knives. Their eagle-eye vision and years of experience in the wild tells them that performance and durability always triumph over mobility in do or die situations. Fixed blade knives can handle heavy-duty, burdensome tasks without breaking or losing the edge quickly. Moreover it’s easy to touch up and clean.
Testing the grip of the knife should come next in your to-do list while shopping for a decent hunting knife. The material used in making the handle should is of utter importance. In worst case scenarios, you certainly don’t want a tool that you can’t even hold properly. The grip of a quality handle, at the best, feels comfortable and firm in the hand, it has to be perfectly angled to fit the palm of your hands. While the traditional knives still stick to wooden handles for ultimate strength, plastic and rubber handles now a days are giving a tough competition to it.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to what purposes you wish to fulfill with your knife. If you’re thinking the use of hunting knives are strictly limited to skinning, you need to learn more about these knives. Folding knives can also be used for batoning, making firewood, cleaning the bushes and many other general works like breeze. A few brands have recently launched hunting knives sporting two different types of blades for multitasking. One is solid enough to cut through the bones and joints and the other performs everyday tasks. Nonetheless, durability is a major issue faced by such flashy multipurpose knives.
Leather sheaths have been used in covering the choicest weapons and knives since time immemorial. The material is easy to maintain and will last for ages if taken care of properly, plus it adds that rugged hunting look to the hunter when hung around the blade. Kydex, the newest kid on the block, is giving enough competition to leather sheaths to become the future of knife sheath. Kydex is basically a thermoplastic material that fits to the knife per se and thus eliminates the need of a strap-on joint. However, it is not free of downsides. Many reviewers have claimed that Kydex tend to dull the edge of the blade to some extent in the long run.
Final Words on Choosing the Best Hunting Knife
There is no shortcut to reach a conclusion as to what product will cater to your needs with utmost efficiency. The options are never-ending, each brands has some novelty to offer. Almost every hunting knife performs more or less the same action. What distinguishes one from another (and truly determines the best hunting knife) is the overall quality of the parts like the blade material, handle, weight and the likes.
Despite of the introduction of a plethora of innovations in manufacturing, the overall design of these-task specific knives have remained the same over the years. Only the materials have become sturdier and more durable, the designs have also been made to suit the taste of the current generation. So pick your product wisely and make your outdoor journey a bit more fuss-free.