Hunting knives are some of the most significant utensils in the wilderness. Most people use them for more than just skinning game and preparing meals. In fact, they are powerful and solid enough to build shelters, cut poles and ropes as well. A good hunting knife can successfully support enthusiasts for a lifetime, only to be passed along to the next generation. This is one of the main reasons wherefore you have to buy the best hunting knife for your needs. Sacrificing quality is a terrible mistake, as good knives perform all kinds of tasks when hunting. If properly maintained, they will successfully last many years.
There are several considerations to go through when about to purchase a hunting knife. But before going into deeper details, ask yourself how you plan to use it. If you look for something specific – like skinning a deer, you might need to look for specialized knives then. There are knives for skinning prey, as well as knives with more powerful blades for shelter building. General knives are usually more popular, as they come with multifunction standards and can be used for pretty much any task in the wilderness – but nothing specialized.
At this point, it is highly recommended to think about your most popular tasks upfront. These considerations will help you determine the optimal features for your necessities. A classic hunting knife with a fixed blade is a primary choice for skinning your prey, cutting ropes and food or getting firewood. But on a different note, if you might need a screwdriver to fix the ATV or the dirt bike in the middle of a forest, you should probably look for a multi-tool unit. Keep in mind that even when it comes to hunting, the knife should be chosen with your favorite game in mind, as well as specific actions. What works for skinning may not always work for separating bone.
Best Hunting Knife: Choosing the Right One
Apart from the overall purpose of a hunting knife, think about your available budget and length standards as well. Once you got these elements covered, it is finally the right time to analyze smaller details and figure how they can support your hunting sessions in the long run.
Folding Blades Versus Fixed Blades
Hunting knives might come with both folding and fixed blades. Their names are self explanatory. Up to 80% of large hunting knives have fixed blades though, yet there are plenty of exceptions a well. Fixed blades are always open. Folding knives have a pivot, so the blade can be hidden inside the handle.
- Fixed: The blade goes through the handle, so the knife is sturdier and can be used in more intense tasks. No parts are moving, so this option in stable and very simple to clean. It is riskier to transport and demands a sheath.
- Folding: The blade is smaller than in fixed knives, so these models are easier to carry in a pocket and not only in the sheath. Transportation is safe. Despite the construction, modern technologies have made these knives a breeze to open. They are difficult to clean because they gather tissue, blood and other particles inside.
The edge design can get quite diversified. Each type depends on what you normally use the hunting knife for. It is one thing to peel a fruit and a different thing to slice something or cut ropes. From this point of view, there are two choices – plain and serrated, as well as a middle one.
- Serrated: The serration allows more cutting power, so these knives are ideal for operations that plain knives just cannot handle. For example, hard cutting demands serrations for better results. When cutting a rope or a branch for a shelter, chances are the serrated blade will act like a saw. These blades are hard to sharpen though.
- Plain: Ideal for clean and accurate cuts, plain blades can be sharpened in no time. They are efficient in soft cutting and almost entirely worthless in pulling cuts. If you plan to cut plenty of ropes and wood, the serrated alternative is better.
- Partially Serrated: These blades are somewhere in the middle. They require a little attention when using them for specialized tasks, but they are more convenient and relatively simple to sharpen.
Hunting knives are naturally longer than other types of knives.
- Small: Small hunting knives measure under 7 inches. They are indicated in small game, as well as mild tasks in the wilderness, only because of their limited strength. The good news is that they are easy to carry around.
- Medium: Medium hunting knives are under 10 inches in length. They are general and can satisfy up to 90% of all hunters. They also take heavy duty tasks over, not to mention all kinds of features and specifications.
- Large: Large hunting knives are recommended to professional hunters, as well as those who spend a decent amount of time in the wilderness. In some parts, they might be banned, so double check local laws.
Pay special attention to the steel specification in hunting knife blades.
- S30V: High vanadium steel provides a tight mixture of rust and wear resistance, not to mention the strength. Sharpening S30V knives can be a bit challenging, but edge retention is outstanding.
- 154CM: High carbon steel is known for the wear and tear resistance. It retains sharpness with no problems at all, yet it is mostly used on short blades due to its brittle properties.
- VG-10: This type of steel is similar to 154CM steel, yet it is more durable and powerful. It is less likely to be affected by corrosion, while sharpness retention will never be a problem.
- 420HC: This variety leaves no room for mistakes when it comes to corrosion, but its hardness is limited. However, the best part is that you should face no problems in sharpening it. It is more useful if you would rather skin game than build shelters.
The handle is irrelevant if the blade is not useful enough. But once you choose the right blade, pay special attention to your hunting knife handle too.
- Wood: Solid and durable if you choose hardwood, but easy to scratch.
- Aluminum: Lightweight and easy to maneuver, even if hands are sweaty or wet.
- G-10: Based on fiberglass, durable, lightweight and can face wear and tear.
- Rubber: Ensures a perfect grip under all circumstances, but it is not the most durable material in the world.
- Celluloid: A mixture of plastic and natural materials, yet its durability and quality depend on the natural materials.
- Titanium: Strong, lightweight and can easily face corrosion, but it is more expensive than other basic materials.
- Delrin: Feels heavy when compared to other materials and wear becomes visible, yet it is durable.
- Micarta: Similar to G-10, but not as strong as durable, yet it ages gracefully.
- Bone: Durable and quite popular, yet it cannot compare to other materials in terms of durability.
- Stainless steel: Durable, heavy, solid, but not as powerful as titanium.
Top 5 Hunting Knives OF 2017
Ridge Runner Executive Wood Bowie Knife:
When looking for large game hunting knives, this model is the optimal middle choice between size and functionality. The 10 inch long blade is supported by a handle that is two times shorter – great for power calibration. All in all, the knife is ideal for large animals like elk or deer.
MTECH USA MT-086 Fixed Blade Knife:
You better be careful when you unfold this knife because it is razor sharp. It is great if you do not have a professional sharpener nearby. As for its hunting capabilities, it offers a wide plethora of middle choices. The handle draws attention with its rugged design, which ensures a top-notch grip.
Tac Force TF-705:
This hunting knife is an all purpose knife for the wild enthusiast. It is exceptional to hunt, prepare shelters, cut ropes and branches, as well as personal defense. The blade measures four inches in length. It is great for small game, but it will also support you in “heavy duty” operations.
Survivor Outdoor HK-1036S:
The HK-1036S model is quite useful for anything that has something to do with outdoor activities. Its multipurpose functionality makes it great for camping experiences, yet it is just as good in hunting. It might require a bit of sharpening upfront, yet cost efficiency is outstanding.
Tactical Hunting Survival Knife Skinner Bowie Fixed Blade:
This fixed blade knife is highly recommended to those who shop on a budget, yet its capabilities are likely to surprise you. It also comes with a durable sheath for personal protection.
As a short final conclusion, hunting knives can get quite diversified, but a little attention to small details can narrow your choices. Find something to match your necessities and there is no way to fail in your hunting ventures. Hunting knives can often be used as camping, multipurpose and survival knives.